I Can’t Keep Blaming Mr. Hitler

True, Hitler did send columns of determined men with guns to conquer areas where my family in Europe lived, followed by special squads of “ideological” specialists who worked with desperate, angry locals to kill everyone in my family (and their ilk) left in Europe.   Not a bit nice, as my grandmother Yetta used to say about people who did awful things.   Yetta herself had six siblings (every brother and sister she had) and her two parents murdered, by local Ukrainians, granted, but at the behest of specialized men who took an oath of personal loyalty to Mr. Hitler and did everything he told them to do. [1]     

I tend to think regularly of the outsized influence this conceited little puke had on my family, by killing virtually all of them — and then I think– you know, it all took place thirteen years before I was even born.    There are, after all, two sides, at least, to every story, plus all that nuance.   Maybe I am just being a melodramatic little bastard by continuing to make a big deal about this Hitler business, blaming that long-dead extremist demagogue for things that had nothing whatsoever to do with him.

I mean, people in my small family here, people I actually knew well, hated each other– having nothing whatsoever to do with Adolf Fucking Hitler.   A pair of half-siblings, my father’s first cousins, didn’t exchange a word for the last thirty years or more of their long lives.   What had Mr. Hitler to do with that?  Absolutely innocent on that count, your honor!

My fractured family, largely extirpated by men obedient to Mr. Hitler, was composed, a couple of generations back, in Hitler’s day, of a large group of hardworking poor people.   They were what you call “nobodies”.   Their lives fell silently into that huge statistic of dead people killed in the deadliest war in history.   On my father’s side the disappeared hamlet they came from, down to its precise location in the marsh land of Belarus, was one of literally thousands of Jewish enclaves permanently wiped off the world map in those years, when men like Mr. Hitler and his kind made big, important decisions about who shall live and who needed to be exterminated.  

I look at my own circumstances, ponder the epigenetics of it sometimes, the way my grandparents’ experience of being the sole survivors of large, murdered families might have shaped their personalities, how that unspoken of trauma of their murdered brothers and sisters and everyone else they knew altered the things they passed on to me without any of us being aware of it.   Then I think, there you go, blaming Mr. Hitler again!

I sometimes find myself comparing the circumstances of my own family with those of the proud, accomplished Jared Kushner and his family.   Jared has that haughty bearing, proud and imperious as a top SS man in the old photos.  It may seem unfair to make that comparison between a very wealthy Jew and the most “ideological” of the Nazi leadership cadre (most top SS men, as they say, were “well-born”), but you have to admit, looking at the way he carries himself, that Jared is an indomitable man and appears quite certain of his superiority.   Jared would never allow himself to be marched to a ravine for a bullet in the back of his head, after giving up his clothes for payment to his murderers.  No way.  Jared would find a way to win, to vanquish his enemies, because a guy like Jared Kushner, let’s face it, one of the President of the United States’ top advisors, is a winner.   His kind doesn’t get shot lying face down in a ditch like a nobody.

You may be tempted to call it a matter of pure, dumb luck, observe that Jared was randomly born to a very wealthy family of Jews who escaped the Nazi murder machine and managed to thrive in the United States, amassing a fortune of almost two billion dollars in barely two generations.  Think deeper.   It is just as likely a matter of character, which is, of course, destiny.  The best are the best for a reason, n’est-ce pas?  If it was mere dumb luck that Jared’s grandparents arrived here and were able to build a modest family business, buying and renting out multiunit apartment buildings in New Jersey, into a thriving real estate empire in just a few decades while mine worked as hard for a fraction of the reward, then what does it all mean?  What is the possible meaning of this random, merciless arrangement? 

I get worked up sometimes considering questions like these and I eventually get back to blaming fucking Hitler.   At the same time, I know that Mr. Hitler was merely a symptom, a purulent boil that was fated to burst upon the scene, like any inevitable destructive psychopath whose message manages to resonate with millions and spurs them to unthinking violence.  

I mean, if Mr. Hitler had never lived, had never come to power in the most civilized, highly industrialized nation of his day, had never held sway over millions of Germans (36.8% voted for his party in the last election of the democratic Weimar Republic), how different would the world be today?  How different would my life be?  Hard to imagine.   And senseless to try, really, except for the lessons I take from it, having studied Mr. Hitler and the rise of the movement he led, some might say obsessively, on and off for literally decades.

I realize, of course, that even if Mr. Hitler (I’m adopting the New York Times style here, the Grey Lady once puckishly referred to “Mr. Clapton” and “Mr. Diddley” in a piece about Eric and Bo) had never existed, most of my family probably never would have arrived here in the USA anyway.   By 1924 prominent American “nativists”, xenophobes and racists, under the banner of Eugenics (a discredited sham science that the learned and unimpeachable Mr. Trump devoutly espouses to this day), had severely restricted immigration from shit-hole countries like the places my people come from.  The few who arrived here came in before the land of the free largely closed its doors to immigrants in 1924, the last of them, my grandfather, sneaking in in 1923.

1924, coincidentally, was the year of my father’s birth, in an unforgiving, crime-infested  slum in Lower Manhattan.    Trump’s feverishly imagined Baltimore has nothing on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1924.   1924 was also the year, nine years after D.W. Griffith’s darkly influential silent film masterpiece The Birth of A Nation extolled the heroism of the Ku Klux Klan, that Klan membership in America reached its all-time peak of 2.4 million proud sheet wearing members.   Birth of A Nation was the first motion picture screened in the White House and President Woodrow Wilson, who watched it raptly, [2] later enthused “it’s like writing history in lightning, and my only regret is that it is all so terribly true!”

What was so terribly true, in the eyes of the otherwise progressive Woodrow Wilson (aren’t people complex?), was that the former slaves down south had been completely out of control, savagely and vengefully dominating the innocent local whites and raping the women — also attaining political office in many areas with their new bayonet-imposed right to vote.   As Griffith showed in his blockbuster epic, history written in lightning fifty years after the fact, a heroic band of white underdogs, modern day knights in sheets, arose to protect the glorious South from these unrestrained black beasts and protect the honor of their pure, white women.  

I was exposed to a big chunk of this controversial movie by an Italian visiting professor, during my time in graduate school at City College.   Almost ninety years after Griffith wrote his terribly true history in lighting, she insisted the group of us in her comparative literature seminar watch it.   I was there as part of my study of, eh, creative writing.   We all agreed that movie was some fucked up and incendiary distortion of history as we knew it.   It also explained a lot about historical revisionism and the dramatic power of heroically presented bullshit shouted through the right megaphone.

The forces of violent, irrational hatred in the world are always simmering (open virtually any history book anywhere if you doubt this).   Mr. Hitler sometimes, in the early days, when he was up and coming, humbly referred to himself as a “drummer”, the kid tirelessly banging the drum to set the cadence for the righteously marching troop parade.   Like the guy on the old slave-powered Roman galley, the hortator, some poor bastard who beat a drum and chanted to set the cadence for the coordinated pulling of the heavy oars by the other slaves, as ordered by the captain.

We have a hortator, inciter, encourager, exhorter, urger like that right here, in charge of scrawling his name jaggedly across the bottom of Executive Orders, veto pen in his other hand, and though I hesitate to invoke his tiresome name (again) in a piece about blaming Hitler, well, really, who can blame me?   Ah, fuck him [3] and the Nazi hordes he rode in on.   I really do have to stop blaming Mr. Fucking Hitler, though.

 

[1]  Hitler’s every word was, literally, law.   The Nazis phrased it “Fuhrerworte haben Gesetzeskrafte” and it was left to an army of Nazi lawyers to put their infallible leader’s every utterance into crisp legalize and codify it into the German legal code of the time. 

[2] I’ll try to keep the fucking toilet type adjectives and nouns here in the footnotes, gentle reader.  Wilson was a racist motherfucker if there ever was one.  He was the only U.S. president  in history born and raised in the Confederacy, so there’s that– he grew up in besieged and eventually defeated territory that had staged an armed rebellion against the United States.  In fairness to him, the famous Progressive also apparently hated Jews, a people who are not, except to certain racists, actually a “race”, though, like the Fuhrer himself (who had more than 300 “do not touch” Jews on his list) he had Jews he thought were first class.    He nominated Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court in 1916– a bold and progressive move.    As it was later written of Brandeis by Justice William O. Douglas:

 “Brandeis was a militant crusader for social justice whoever his opponent might be. He was dangerous not only because of his brilliance, his arithmetic, his courage. He was dangerous because he was incorruptible … [and] the fears of the Establishment were greater because Brandeis was the first Jew to be named to the Court.”

the Wiki continues:

On June 1, 1916, he was confirmed by the Senate by a vote of 47 to 22, to become one of the most famous and influential figures ever to serve on the high court. His opinions were, according to legal scholars, some of the “greatest defenses” of freedom of speech and the right to privacy ever written by a member of the Supreme Court.

source

[3] Shit, sorry, gentle reader, I f–ed up.  So hard to keep the fucking cuss words out of it, idn’t it?

Giant Two-Year Old Keeping Promises

Talk about turning up the heat on the water in the frog pond… yesterday a room full of beneficiaries of toxic pollution celebrated the Trump administration’s announcement that it had repealed an Obama-era law that protects water from pollution.   The president [1] promised his angry crowds that he would invalidate everything the lying Kenyan-born secret Muslim Socialist Obama managed to pass into law.  He’s keeping those promises — fuck nontoxic drinking water, they sell it at the store, buy all you want.    Amy Goodman [2]: 

The Trump administration has finalized the repeal of an Obama-era clean water policy that protects thousands of streams that flow into large rivers and lakes, as well as wetland areas that filter pollutants and absorb floodwaters. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler — a former coal lobbyist — announced the rule change Thursday to thunderous applause during an event at the headquarters of the National Association of Manufacturers in Washington, D.C. Environmentalists say Trump’s move to rescind the 2015 regulation, known as the Waters of the United States rule, will remove pollution controls for 60% of U.S. bodies of water, endangering the drinking water of over 100 million people.

USA!   USA!!!!   Chant it with me, assholes, or I’ll shoot you in the face!

 

 

[1]  Lest any of you stupid Trump-bashers forget, the state of Alabama was devastated by Hurricane Dorian, much worse destruction than the Bahamas and Puerto Rico suffered recently!  The president was TOTALLY vindicated in correcting that weather map and the so-called government scientists and deep state “experts” suck ass.  USA!  Lock her up!

[2] Amy reported on the Friday the Thirteenth treat citizens of Baltimore gave the rest of us yesterday.   A few seconds, check it out.

Frog in slowly boiling water

You know the old bit about the frog in a pot of warm water.  Heat turned up slowly, as the frog adjusts to the new heat, turn it up another bit.  The frog eventually gets uncomfortable, but it’s not bad enough yet that he tries to jump out of the pot.  Then the water boils and Froggie gets parboiled.     So it goes with creeping totalitarianism, the heat gets turned up one tick at a time.

Medical Deportation Order, recently promulgated by POTUS.   “Illegal aliens” who are being treated for deadly medical conditions in the United States must be deported to die back in their shit-hole countries of origin.  Fair is fair, criminals must not be allowed to get away with their crimes.  The law applies to all, except for certain special exceptions we don’t need to go into.    Look, honestly, if you’re rich enough to have an army of lawyers, you can fight off the law for a long time, sometimes indefinitely.  If not, we slap the cuffs on you, get on the bus and back to your shit-hole to die.

This calculatedly cruel policy is part of slowly turning up the water in the pot.  Let’s see if there’s any kind of outcry among the loyal base.   Yes, it is arguably horrible that very sick people will basically be taken off life support and sent back to places they’ve left, to die.   On the other hand, these illegal alien criminals should not be rewarded for their terrible crime of leaving a worse place to come to a better one.  Where are their papers?   Their respect for law and order?    Remember, a criminal alien is nothing like you and me!   Our pure nation is infested by this dangerous vermin and we need to fumigate the place.

This kind of divisive play is part of the standard fascist playbook.  Villainize groups of people that the Nation/People can turn its collective rage upon.   This goes back through history, when local aristocrats unleashed mobs to vent their fury on the Jews, the moneylending parasites [1]  who were the cause of all their problems.   When the mob was done venting, they put their yokes back on and went back to work for the aristocrats, who had them whipped.

If you are a person of limited intelligence, angry, frustrated at your declining possibility for the American Dream as more and more wealth flows upward to your betters, racism is probably for you.  I know there are also a few racists of average or even above average intelligence, but I’m not talking about those vile creatures.   I’ll go out on a limb, and no insult intended:  most racists are dumber than shit.

If you are a populist politician, eye on the crowd’s reactions, you love the mass of people at your rallies who are dumber than shit.   They get a vote just like everybody else.   They tend to do what they’re told.   They will support you, if you keep telling them what they want to hear, even if you go out on Fifth Avenue and start shooting them in their adoring faces.  It’s true!  Hah, kind of funny when you think about it.

I just listened to the audiobook of Jason Stanley’s brilliant How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them.    I read the slim volume some time back after hearing Medhi Hassan’s interview with the author.   Listening to it I noticed many fascinating details I’d missed the first time.  Among them was Stanley’s description of his German Jewish mother’s heroic action during the early days of the Third Reich.    She dressed as a Nazi Social Worker and went to the local concentration camp every day.  She was able to extract Jews, one or two at a time, from the escalating Nazi killing machine.   

Most Jews at that time did not believe her stories about conditions in the concentration camp, few believed that this awful fate, even if true, would ever be their’s.   After all, mass killing of German Jews had not started, things were bad, true, but not horrendous, and they were German citizens still, after all.   She and her husband got out of Germany in time (hence the birth of their son Jason) but many other Jewish frogs in that rapidly heated pot that was The Thousand Year Reich, did not.  

We don’t see the worst arriving in one dramatic clap.   It advances by stages.  First you consolidate and control the mass media, decide what people learn about events and what they don’t.   You control the narrative on every important subject, creating distracting controversy as needed.  Say the massive release of carbon from fossil fuel is actually 70% of the cause of the rapid, disastrous warming of our planet — create and fund as many think tanks as needed to debunk that awful fact.    One step at a time, you get extremist judges into lifetime posts, you pack state legislatures with pliable, ambitious politicians who will pass legislation you write, just one foot after the other, forward, onward, endlessly.  If you have unlimited money, make sure the Supreme Court declares that you have unlimited political influence.    In the end, there will be nobody able to challenge your privileges and immunities.

The water warms one degree, two degrees, at a time.  Like the so-called ice sheets and the “permafrost” that’s melting much faster than predicted.  You know what?   There’s liquid gold under that permafrost, a shit ton of money for someone with the know-how to go get it.   Two sides to every story, yo.   Now, Mr. Doomandgloom, let’s turn this jacuzzi up just one more tiny notch, shall we?  [2]

 

 

[1]  In many places, Jews, who were not allowed to own land, or to practice many professions, were employed by aristocrats as tax collectors and money lenders, as usury was formerly forbidden between Christians. 

Today, of course, money lending parasitism is big business, largely out of Jewish hands.   If you need $600 dollars quick you can always go to a payday lender and get the money right away.   Only trouble is, you will often pay back up to three times that amount.   Don’t bother reading the fine print when you sign for your loan, you’d need a lawyer to explain it to you.    As far as I’ve heard no mob with pitchforks and torches has ever gone after one of these lucrative corporations.   In fact, they got a recent gift from Trump’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

[2]  I know, I know, what happened to cleaning part of my kitchen table today?   I’m on it, set the timer to 30 minutes, boss.

Inchoate Anger and the Will to Power

Anger, what can I say about you, my old friend?   You are one upsetting, blood pressure raising, world-distorting,  bad motherfucker.   Hard, you are one hard bastard.   With you blowing stinking wind into the sails of people’s worst impulses, every atrocity ever committed appears righteous at the time.   The fucking Jews?   Fuck!  Hack them, gas ’em!  Armenians?  Drive them to drown in rivers!  Tutsis in Rwanda?   You know what to do!   Blacks all over America?   Dangerous criminals who need to be kept in their place by any means necessary!   Migrants fleeing horrors, seeking asylum in the USA?   Rip their kids away, put ’em in stinking, privatized for-profit concentration camps!   On down the list … Rohingya, let one of the poorest countries on earth take care of those raping refugees! 

Every one of these “policies” and countless others like them — and they are actual policies pursued by governments of one kind or another — is insane on the face of it.  Unless — and this is the golden, yea, platinum, “unless” that animates our bloody “wise ape” history — you are enraged.  If you are enraged it makes perfect sense to vilify people (en masse, you know, screw ’em, they all suck) humiliate them, beat them, confine them, torture them, kill them.   Fuck ’em, you know what I’m sayin’?

For the most part most of us get no say in these and other brutal policy decisions made in our names, even in a great experiment in representative democracy like ours.  When the time comes we can surge forward with the enraged mob, stand aside or run from the mob, as the case may be.  How does this unthinkable thing happen, over and over and over?

People arise, with a certain charisma, and a titanic Will to Power (in the sense of a need to control others), and act as lightning rods for the inchoate anger most people have within them.  We all have things that make us angry and often these things involve “the way things are”, a manifestly unfair system that consistently rewards the super-wealthy (often the randomly well-born dynastic inheritors of their fortunes) and more or less screws virtually everyone else, and then we die.  

A telegenic, otherwise mediocre person speaking as a “genius” directly to the bitterness in the hearts of his rightfully screwed countrymen takes the national stage.  These front men are poets of rage.   Their words galvanize the anger and sense of betrayal in their audience, they inspire bold action.   Soon armies are marching under their banners, supported by the super-wealthy beneficiaries of the cathartic distraction these organized campaigns of hatred provide.    We all know how this works.

It was generations of armed men on horseback riding in to “take care of” the Jews, responsible for every evil, in one eastern European shit-hole after another (for the benefit of the aristocratic landowners who were keeping the serfs and everyone else in misery).    White “knights” on horseback here in America, coming at night to burn down the houses of blacks who voiced discontent with the injustices they were forced to endure, torturing and killing the most vocal of them (the wealthiest county in the USA before the Civil War was in slaveholding Mississippi– most of the Klan, and all other whites, were disenfranchised “white trash”, sometimes called, to their fury “white niggers”, some things never change).

I am in a kind of rage right now, in the aftermath of thinking hard about a longtime friend’s wasted life of unexamined rage and my long campaign of trying to be better than I am capable of being.   His deeply repressed rage led him to an uncontrollable desire to dominate others.   It made him feel no better to be the boss, but it was something he had to do.   Men like him, acting on selfish compulsions to control that they have little clue into, make the policies the rest of us live and die by .    

I’m thinking about the climate catastrophe “debate” in this great nation, a prime example of the triumph of the rage to prevail over the natural needs of human beings.   You wouldn’t think this looming crisis would be the subject of much debate.   We all need clean water, air to breathe that’s not poisonous, food that’s non-toxic, shelter that’s not threatened with destruction by increasingly common killer storms.  

It’s not that hard to make the connection between the massive amounts of carbon pumped into the air by a century of accelerating extraction, refining and burning of fossil fuels and the massive increase of carbon in our atmosphere — and the rapidly and unnaturally warming of our planet, to disastrous effect.   Why haven’t earthlings organized across the globe to stop the rapid destruction of our habitat?   Our division is largely the work of organized, determined American Climate Change Skeptics.  Huh?

Enter the vampire motherfuckers and their eternal corporate avatars.   Making billions in their government subsidized industries of death there is no more determined group of individuals on earth.  The Tobacco Industry fought the families of lung cancer victims to a standstill for years, as they did what they needed to do, finding other markets and new products, diversifying, to preserve their handsome profit margin.   Until very recently Big Pharma successfully fought off all responsibility for the plague of desperate overdose deaths from the overprescription of highly addictive drugs they profited from.    The fossil fuel industry, same deal, merchants of death and deniers of death, aided by generous government policies toward them and represented by an army of talking heads posing as think tank backed scholars.  

You do what you need to keep the toxic shit pumping until every last drop in the earth and under the seas is monetized, damn the torpedos.   Charles Koch is just one of the most successful of these self-worshipping earth raping fossil fuel extracting parasites.   In every case of a corporate psychopath who places profit and domination above all else, you have a personal story of rage, as far as I can tell. Charles is a vivid case study and, thanks to the great Jane Mayer and others, we have the materials of his hideous case close at hand.

You can read the details of how the rage to prevail was instilled in Charles Koch, the unscrupulous son of a determined man who fought the government of the US, and the combined might of the other American petrol companies, to profit handsomely from the dirtiest fossil fuel refinement process ever known and who made his initial fortune working for Stalin and Hitler, men, in Randy Newman’s immortal line, “who need no introduction.”   Here’s a quick tour, with the author of the definitive book on Charles and David Koch (the Koch Brothers — the other two brothers were bought off after massive, protracted, ugly litigation) and the highly successful Koch-funded public influence machine.

You have a wealthy and ruthless father, who only wants to prevail.   In the case of little Charles this father was Fred Koch.   Fred Koch was not a hands on dad, though he was a demanding father who expected hard work and great things from his heirs.  When they were young Fred, who had made profitable deals with Stalin in the Soviet Union was over in Nazi Germany, building an important refinery for Mr. Hitler.  

The boys were raised by a nanny, a German woman, a Nazi, in fact.   Fred left the initial disciplining and toilet training to her.   She required them to defecate every morning on a strict schedule or face severe and humiliating consequences.   When France fell to Mr. Hitler, she returned to Germany to celebrate her beloved Fuhrer’s triumph.   The Koch boys grew up as best they could, I suppose, with a significant amount of rivalry and bullying.  The brilliant Charles, the Alpha Koch brother,  is known to be an unchallengeable autocrat, as all the great captains of industry style themselves.

Fred Koch was one of the founders of the John Birch Society, a group of wealthy right wing lunatics who organized in 1958 to save the country from Communism following the Brown v. Board of Education decision that held, to everyone’s shock, that American institutionalized racism was a bad thing that needed to be changed.   The John Birch Society called for the impeachment of Earl Warren, the Supreme Court justice they felt was most responsible for the reprehensible activism of striking down the “Separate But Equal” doctrine that kept everything kosher between the races.

Charles may well have hated his overbearing, unloving, demanding father, I have no sense of that.  He hewed to his politics while the old man was alive, as a member of the John Birch Society (he quit after the old man croaked).   After the old man died he fought two of his brothers in court for years for control, along with pliable younger brother David, of the father’s vast fortune and business empire.   The institutions Charles Koch and his network of fellow liberty lovers set up advanced the old man’s extreme notions about liberty above all else.   This liberty includes the unfettered right of heavily polluting industrialists to continue to profit from the extraction and refinement of fossil fuel unencumbered by any regulation or other interference from an “elected” government of liberty-hating tree hugging Negro embracing Jew bastard liberal elite social justice jackasses.

Count me among those hateful absolute liberty-hating jackasses.  

Have a very nice day.  I’m going to go play the guitar, try to calm myself down a little bit.

 

 

 

Why Trump didn’t testify for Mueller

perjury trap.

Here is Mueller’s intro to Appendix C, the complete written questions and Trump’s “insufficient, inadequate, incomplete, imprecise”  answers.  Mueller explains. quite logically, why he didn’t pursue in person testimony from our historically candid and truthful commander-in-chief:

Beginning in December 2017, this Office sought for more than a year to interview the President on topics relevant to both Russian-election interference and obstruction-of-justice.  We advised counsel that the President was a “subject” of the investigation under the definition of the Justice Manual—“a person whose conduct is within the scope of the grand jury’s investigation.” Justice Manual § 9-11.151 (2018).  We also advised counsel that “[a]n interview with the President is vital to our investigation” and that this Office had “carefully considered the constitutional and other arguments raised by … counsel, and they d[id] not provide us with reason to forgo seeking an interview.”   We additionally stated that “it is in the interest of the Presidency and the public for an interview to take place” and offered “numerous accommodations to aid the President’s preparation and avoid surprise.”  After extensive discussions with the Department of Justice about the Special Counsel’s objective of securing the President’s testimony, these accommodations included the submissions of written questions to the President on certain Russia-related topics.

We received the President’s written responses in late November 2018.   In December 2018, we informed counsel of the insufficiency of those responses in several respects.   We noted, among other things, that the President stated on more than 30 occasions that he “does not ‘recall’ or ‘remember’ or have an ‘independent recollection” of information called for by the questions.   Other answers were “incomplete or imprecise.”’  The written responses, we informed counsel, “demonstrate the inadequacy of the written format, as we have had no opportunity to ask followup questions that would ensure complete answers and potentially refresh your client’s recollection or clarify the extent or nature of his lack of recollection.”  We again requested an in-person interview, limited to certain topics, advising the President’s counsel that “[t]his is the President’s opportunity to voluntarily provide us with information for us to evaluate in the context of all of the evidence we have gathered.” The President declined. 

[entire short paragraph redacted:  “Grand Jury”]

Recognizing that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily, we considered whether to issue a subpoena for his testimony.  We viewed the written answers to be inadequate.  But at that point, our investigation had made significant progress and had produced substantial evidence for our report.  We thus weighed the costs of potentially lengthy constitutional litigation, with resulting delay in finishing our investigation, against the anticipated benefits for our investigation and report.   As explained in Volume Il, Section II.B., we determined that the substantial quantity of information we had obtained from other sources allowed us to draw relevant factual conclusions on intent and credibility, which are often inferred from circumstantial evidence and assessed without direct testimony from the subject of the investigation.

source

The best line from the deadpan Mueller:

Other answers were “incomplete or imprecise.”

Among these answers was the president’s response to the final, multi-part question about his knowledge of the actions of his associates during the transition period, two subsections of which read:

Following the Obama Administration’s imposition of sanctions on Russia in December 2016 (“Russia sanctions”), did you discuss with Lieutenant General (LTG) Michael Flynn, K.T. McFarland, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, Jared Kushner, Erik Prince, or anyone else associated with the transition what should be communicated to the Russian government regarding the sanctions? If yes, describe who you spoke with about this issue, when, and the substance of the discussion(s).

and

At any time between December 31, 2016, and January 20, 2017, did anyone tell you or suggest to you that Russia’s decision not to impose reciprocal sanctions was attributable in any way to LTG Flynn’s communications with Ambassador Kislyak?  If yes, identify who provided you with this information, when, and the substance of what you were told.

You have to love Trump’s answer to this one:

[No answer provided]

Incomplete, inadequate, insufficient, sure, but hardly imprecise.   As precise a “fuck you, asshole” as you can write using three other words.   Why have I never seen any reference to this colossal FUCK YOU in the media?

I’ve got to ask Preet Bharara about this one.   As a former federal prosecutor, Preet, did you ever encounter this kind of in-your-fucking-face fuck you, you fucking fuck, even from the most psychopathic mobster?    Is there no sanction for this kind of deliberate and brazen evasion?

You don’t need information!

It is better simply to believe that those who run things know best and will tell you everything you need to know.   Once Donald Trump manages to get the WALL built, in spite of the obstruction of even people in his own party, the problems we face here in divided America will all be over.   That and locking up Hillary Clinton, and Ilhan Omar, and several other very nasty and divisive women and their “male” enablers.  Done and done, everyone will be happy, except, of course, for the haters, who are NEVER happy no matter what. 

Seriously, every oppressor, (every overbearing asshole, for that matter)  in history has first controlled the conversation by removing any “inconvenient truth” from it. This is the very first lesson in Authoritarian 101, remove anything harmful to authority from the conversation.  Look, if you can eliminate fact-based “dissent” that takes care of most of the problem.   Simple.  Just make them shut up, criminalize them, lock ’em up.   Don’t allow books like Dark Money, Democracy in Chains, Dirty Wars, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, How Fascism Works, A People’s History of the United States, to be published.   If they already exist, take them off the shelves and burn them, quietly, secretly, just get them out of circulation.  Make examples of a few of the leaders, the more grotesque the example the better, and the rest will fall into line.  Most people are not heroes.

I once read sections of Frederick Douglass’ autobiography (Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave) to my class of third graders in Harlem.   They were shocked, had never heard any of this shit.  Couldn’t believe blacks allowed themselves to be treated that way.   They were outraged.  One tough kid, speaking for everyone, said if he’d been there in Africa he would have killed the slave kidnappers.   The class agreed.  I had him and the five other toughest kids stand up and come to the front of the room to play the Africans.  I then chose two of the smallest, most timid kids in the class and cast them as the Europeans intent on collecting slaves.   The class was relishing the confrontation that would set history straight. 

As they were about to begin I said, as if in afterthought, “oh, wait, you’ll need these,” and handed each of the frightened Europeans a rolled up piece of paper. “Those are your guns,” I told the class.   The two slavers smiled.   The Africans wanted their guns but I told them in those days Africans didn’t have guns.   Then they stood fifteen feet apart and began acting.  The hideous truth became clear as soon as the first African stepped up to tell the slavers to fuck off.   The room got very quiet as a supremely disquieting light went on overhead.

Without this obvious detail of gun vs. strength and courage alone you can build a whole story about the docility and inferiority of a people who “allow” themselves to be enslaved.  And killed, literally by the millions, during the long, cramped, stinking voyage from the life you knew to a life as a piece of property in the service of some god-fearing “white” person’s limitless wealth.   The Middle Passage, as the infamous trans-Atlantic voyage is called.

The suppression of important factual detail is essential for any narrative that justifies brutal inequality, persecution, tyranny.   In your personal life, notice how anyone who has ever sought to exploit you will always pressure you not to reveal the shameful details to anybody.  If you tell somebody, you’re some kind of rat, unmanly, a cowardly weasel who can’t simply be sodomized and take it like a choir boy.   My brother-in-law reminded me of this several times over the years.

In our neoliberal order only monetary profit has real value, increasing personal wealth is the only overarching goal.   As our recent liberal presidents have all done, you can support the civil rights of homosexuals, the rights of all minorities to be free from discrimination, the right of a woman or girl to seek an abortion if she needs one,  the right of every child to have a free, quality public education and also the right to live in a nontoxic environment and work at a safe workplace, the right not to be randomly mowed down by a maniac with a military assault rifle.   All these things are generally considered “liberal” positions and things that most Democratic (or “Democrat”) politicians support.  At the same time, as a neoliberal, you back policies and laws that make things easier for the wealthiest, and for those powerful, eternal, real-life vampires, corporations, to do what they do best: “create wealth”.

The only fly in this otherwise soothing ointment is that horrific systemic inequality flows from these practices.   If a small group owns almost everything, there is a gigantic group that will have to make do with almost nothing.    Call it the “free market” if you like, and forget the whiners who complain that those who pay the biggest price have nothing to say about the quality of the freedom they receive.    

There was a worldwide effort, started around the year 2000, the Millennial Development Goals, for the wealthy countries to greatly reduce poverty and hunger in the “underdeveloped world” by 2020 (if memory serves).   It turns out that all of the aid the wealthiest countries provide to the “Third World” (the global south) amounts to a tiny percentage of what is extracted from their governments every year just to pay the interest on the debt owed to the wealthy creditor nations for “development” loans.   Everybody wins under this global system, except for the one or two, or three, billion worldwide who live short, miserable, insecure lives of want, including unbearable hunger. 

The numbers did not look good for greatly reducing the metrics of poverty by the specified date.   So really smart people began tweaking the metrics (as American lawyers tortuously tweaked the definition of “torture” a few years back).  It turns out hunger numbers can be reduced by an impressive margin, with the stroke of a pen, if you define hunger as “severe and persistent malnutrition, less than 1,200 calories a day, that persists for more than a year.”   Heh, you see what we did?   If you get a good meal every ten or eleven months, problem solved.  We have now lifted a billion people out of hunger!  Have a blessed day and please continue your charitable giving.

The devilish details of this worldwide anti-poverty program are set out in an early chapter of a troubling book (sent to me by a friend)  called The Divide: Global Inequality from Conquest to Free Markets, by Jason Hickel.   I don’t have the book with me at the moment, so that quote about hunger, although true in essence, was pulled out of the memory hole.   The caloric number may be off, but the money shot is that hunger, as defined by these do-gooders and for purposes of creating a more uplifting narrative of success, must be persistent and last for at least a year to make the cut as something wealthier people need to feel any urgency to do anything about.  

Hickel states that the amount of food discarded daily in wealthy countries would, if somehow put into the hands of the starving, immediately solve the world hunger problem.   World food scarcity is not the result of actual scarcity, but of institutionalized not really giving a fuck about literally billions of starving people you will never see.   Go figure.

I am constantly reminded of this suppression of information needed to make informed, moral decisions, having grown up in a family where certain truths were never mentioned.   Thirteen years before I was born, in the region the family came from, everyone was murdered.  Our entire family, outside of five or six who came to the United States before the restrictive immigration law of 1924, slaughtered.   Not something that could ever be discussed because… oh, just shut up!   A father who was always angry, it turns out, had good reason to be disturbed, he’d been despised and whipped in the face since infancy by the violent little mother who called him “Sonny”.    He should have sought help, but he didn’t need to whine to some shrink like he predicted his children would.  End of fucking story.

Do you want to live in a world where you’re not allowed to know any unsettling background on anything that ever happened, anything that is happening now, anything that will happen in the future?   If you do, rejoice, there is nothing to think about!

 

   

FOX News Nails Rabid Anti-Trump Hatred

We’ve been watching The Loudest Voice, the Showtime series about Roger Ailes and top-rated Fox News.   You will recall that Ailes finally had to step down as head of Fox, after doing everything in his considerable power to help elect Donald J. Trump president.  Ailes had to leave because Gretchen Carlson got millions of dollars in settlement/hush money over sexual harassment from Fox when it came out that Roger had been molesting many women at Fox and Roger, apparently,  kept demanding things like short dresses and blowjobs from other women at the station.   I wasn’t there, of course, and this could be the same kind of liberal hit job that brought down Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby, Bill Shine [1] threatened poor Boof Kavanaugh’s entire life and even ended the career of liberal lion Al Franken.  [2]

So anyway, Fox had a bombshell today.   They had a Republic(an) Member of the House Judiciary Committee spill the goods on Trump-hater Jerrald Nadler.   Nadler, we learn, began an impeachment inquiry even before Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election (“widespread and sweeping” though “insufficient evidence of criminal conspiracy, due in part to perjury and destruction of evidence”) and obstruction of the investigation into Russian interference (“we can’t say he didn’t obstruct it, in at least ten different ways”) was released!   

Fox reports, under the banner DEMOCRATIC COURT FILING SUGGESTS TRUMP IMPEACHMENT PROBE BEGAN BEFORE MUELLER EVEN SUBMITTED REPORT,  that Nadler’s committee apparently initiated an inquiry on March 4, 2019 into

‘threats to the rule of law’ encompassing alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption and other abuses of power by President Trump, his associates and members of his Administration, one critical purpose of the Committee’s investigation is to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment against the president.

(per court filing yesterday)   

source

Of course, a nitpicker might point out that public corruption (including profiting from his hotel in Washington DC while president, regular publicly funded trips to his resorts, with full staff (armed with Mar-a-Largo credit cards), appointing unqualified family members to high government positions) and other abuses of power (declaring a state of emergency to overrule Congress and build his wall, ignoring court order to stop separating migrant children from their parents, telling subordinates to create false evidence and disobey all subpoenas, dangling pardons, bypassing security clearance screening for his son-in-law and others) were not within the scope of Mueller’s investigation.   

And a Trump supporter might say, as the President himself does, that this is all bullshit.  For example, anyone who had the power to do so would address a meeting of world leaders and pitch holding the next conference at his luxury resort in Miami.    Plenty of parking, huge beautiful accommodations, everything first class, the best, and in Miami– enjoy it before it’s underwater, folks.

Yes, there are partisan issues at stake here, as always.   Trump diverts over $155,000,000 from FEMA disaster relief funds, at the start of hurricane season, to shore up his operations at the southern border where the crisis (a hoard of rapists, if you must know) rages out of control.  The money will pay for additional detention spaces and new expedited courts to get more migrants lawfully deported.   Trump decides Planned Parenthood gets no money under Title X if it continues to counsel women about the option of abortion.   Trump continues to appoint lifetime judges off the Federalist Society’s list as his own team of lawyers fights disclosure of anything that could shed light on his suspected shady financial operations with entities like Deutsche Bank — even as he is the victim of history’s longest tax audit. 

There is also the sobering fact that we live in a country that has, under Trump, virtual state TV, the sole source of fair and balanced news for tens of millions of a carefully cultivated demographic.  On Fox, criticism of the president diverting a dump truck full of money from FEMA to stop a manufactured (“fake”) existential threat at the southern border is laughed away as typical liberal propaganda.   

As Fox tells us:  the Dems are pathetic, pretending to wait for the Mueller report while rushing to irrationally accuse the president of everything under the sun even before the report was even partially released.   Bill Barr said Trump was completely innocent, and right to feel that he was the victim of a witch hunt and fully justified in shutting down the investigation – which was his totally within his legal prerogatives as POTUS–  into his totally innocent behavior.  Bill Barr, ladies and gentlemen [3].   The People rest.

 

[1]  Bill Shine (born on the Fourth of July), you may recall, was hired by the President as White House Communications director after Shine was fired from Fox for his longtime role in covering up sexual harassment (and worse) at Fox News.   

from Shine’s Wikipedia page:

In particular, those objecting [to Shine’s appointment as Trump’s Communications Director]  cited Shine’s awareness at the time of the channel’s hiring private detectives to intimidate alleged victims of Roger Ailes.[32][33][34] Later it was reported that Shine’s compensation upon leaving Fox was in the neighborhood of $15 million dollars.[35]

On March 8, 2019, it was announced by the White House that Shine was resigning from his position to serve as an advisor to President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign.[36] Shine said in a statement about his resignation that he is “looking forward to working on President Trump’s re-election campaign and spending more time with family.”[36]  In May 2019, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told Politico that he did not intend to replace Shine with a new communications director.[37]

 

[2]  while looking for names to add to this list I came across this:

Donald Trump (R), the 45th President of the United States, was accused of sexual assault by 13 women during the 2016 election and he denied the allegations.[166] The allegations arose after The Washington Post released a 2005 video of Trump, recorded on a hot microphone by Access Hollywood, in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.[167][168][169]Trump himself renewed the controversy a year later by alleging that the video was fake,[170] to which Access Hollywood replied, “Let us make this perfectly clear — the tape is very real. Remember his excuse at the time was ‘locker-room talk.’ He said every one of those words.”[171][172] The first reports of an alleged 2006 affair between Donald Trump and adult film star Stormy Daniels were published in October 2011 by the blog The Dirty and the magazine Life & Style.[173][174]

compare and contrast:

Al Franken Senator (D-MN), was accused by radio newscaster Leeann Tweeden of forcibly kissing her as part of a skit and later being in a photo pretending to grope her without consent (there was no actual physical contact) during a U.S.O. tour in 2006. Tweeden produced photo evidence of the pretend grope, taken of Franken when Tweeden was asleep. Franken admitted to the allegations and apologized for his actions and then resigned.[175]

just for fun:   (left to right: Karen MacDougal, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Melania Trump)

Clinton_Trump_2000_08.jpg

 

[3] a hell of a bagpiper, I’ve heard.