“Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you no decency left?”

Chris Hayes with an excellent essay on the power of live, sworn testimony to topple corrupt, powerful bullies. A witness from the Army spoke the words above to lying, bullying demogogue Joe McCarthy on June 9, 1954, back in more innocent days when lies debunked were accepted as lies, and lying was still considered bad, wrong and disqualifying for an office of public trust.

Joseph Welch’s words to destructive Senator Joe McCarthy ended McCarthy’s reign, McCarthy was censured and finished drinking himself to death three years later. McCarthy’s unscrupulous, evil gunsel Roy Cohn begat ratfucker Roger Stone, forming a straight line from Nixon to Trump. I find the history fascinating.

vocabulary word of the week (4)

Invidious.

In law school we read certain kinds of cases where the plaintiff needed to prove invidious discrimination. Apparently, in such cases, regular discrimination was not enough to get you relief from a court under artfully drafted nondiscrimination laws. After all, de minimis non curat lex (the law does not concern itself with trifles).

Here’s what invidious means, in general usage:

Here’s a reminder not to rely on the number one google hit for solid information. Opening that page informs us that in the law invidious has many synonyms:

  • abominable
  • calculated to provoke resentment
  • disagreeable
  • disliked
  • disobliging
  • harmful
  • hateful
  • hurtful
  • injurious
  • invidiosus
  • irksome
  • likely to excite ill will
  • loathsome
  • malicious
  • objectionable
  • obnoxious
  • odious
  • offensive
  • plaguesome
  • rancorous
  • spiteful
  • troublesome
  • unacceptable
  • unaccommodating
  • ungracious
  • unkind
  • unpleasant
  • unwelcome
  • vexatious Associated Concepts: invidious discrimination

Not very useful, not to mention that no actual definition is attempted. Invidiosus [1],Your Honor?

Here is a more useful entry, two or three tics down the screen:

Invidious Discrimination is treating a class of persons unequally in a manner that is malicious, hostile, or damaging. If there is rational justification for the different treatment, then the discrimination is not invidious.

The criteria delineating the groups, such as gender, race, or class, determine the kind of discrimination.

Invidious discrimination generally refers to treating one group of people less well than another on such grounds as their race (racism), gender (sexism), religion (religious discrimination), caste, ethnic background, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, sexual preference or behavior, results of IQ testing, age (ageism) or political views. Discrimination on the basis of such grounds as subcultural preference (Punks, Hippies, Mods, vs. Rockers) is also common.

The effects of invidious discrimination span the spectrum from mild, such as slow or unhelpful retail service, through racial and ethnic slurs, denial of employment or housing, to hate crimes and genocide.

https://definitions.uslegal.com/i/invidious-discrimination/

[1] Country of origin: United States Location: Saint Paul, Minnesota Status: Active Formed in: 2006 Genre: Death Metal Lyrical themes: Depression, Anxiety, Dystopia …

Bill Barr, who told Trump claims of massive election fraud were bullshit

This is why Bill Barr is one of the most despicable and rightfully hated of Trump’s bullying enablers. To save his skin, the most corrupt AG in American history quit right before the armed attack on the Capitol. Then stayed silent about what he knew to be a supremely destructive Big Lie (that he was instrumental in spreading). Now he poses as a voice of reason, an honest arbiter of who is detatched from reality. Here he was, authoritatively spreading disinformation for the entire year before the 2020 election, soundbite courtesy of Fox News.

Check out the mendacious partisan’s short, pure bullshit resignation letter, shortly before the planned Hail Mary violence to overturn the nonfraudulent election :

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/20424018-attorney-general-william-barr-resignation-letter

Fuck him and the whores he rode in on.

Advice from “an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani”

Liz Cheney with another great line today, about Trump’s willful ignorance about losing the election and rejecting advice from his more clear-eyed advisors, instead following “the course recommended by an apparently inebriated Rudy Giuliani” to just claim victory.  If I was Rudy, I’d be drunk too.

The pundits all seem to agree that these hearings will change no minds among the 25% to 30% who believe the imperfect vessel of Trump as leader was sent by Jesus Christ Himself, to restore moral clarity to a fallen nation.   It certainly won’t change minds among the 3% of Americans who own 40% of the guns, nor the 0.5% who own everything else.  Those groups are not the target of these hearings.  

The 110,000,000 eligible voters who sat out the 2020 election (that number still blows my mind) which saw record levels of voting, in the teeth of a pandemic, are one target.   Most of these apathetic couch potatoes won’t pay much attention, but some will, if the hearings are done right, which, so far, so good.   

Another audience is the prudent, apolitical Merrick Garland, who, it must be pointed out, has already indicted several domestic terrorists for seditious conspiracy, a seven tentacled conspiracy the Committee is laying out evidence of.  It is inconceivable that a DOJ already investigating seditious conspiracy on behalf of a president who lost and falsely sworn  electors for that same person, will not reach the obvious conclusion about who the raging, scheming octopus at the center of these flailing tentacles is.

The pundits remind us not to get our hopes up, and FOX crows that no minds will be changed by the hearings, no matter how clearly and powerfully the January 6 Committee presents their findings.  But, you know what, fuck the pundits.  They appear to us on mass media controlled by the advertisers, our most powerful corporations. 

The real problem for Democrats in the midterms, we are told by most pundits (or “pundents” as Sarah Palin says), is Biden inflation, which afflicts only Biden’s America, and the exploding price of gasoline, which the oil giants are powerless to control (even while making record profits) and which no American law can regulate or offset.  Taxing windfall profits is functionally illegal in the USA, unlike in Great Britain where a Conservative government recently imposed a windfall profits tax, payable to consumers, to offset the spike in gas prices.

If you are a wealthy corporation intent on maintaining a wonderful, often tax-free status quo for the wealthiest, the more you raise prices, the higher inflation gets, the better your chances of getting rid of so-called do-gooders like well-meaning, weak Joe Biden and his party of flawed idealists and social justice warriors. Better to have their own in charge of government regulation and taxation. Trump 2024.

I’m watching these hearings with great appetite.  A coherent picture is emerging and the only conclusion that makes sense is that criminals of this scale must be, and will be, brought to justice.  Like many, I’ve been frustrated at Merrick Garland’s seeming hesitancy, questioning his ability to act as the wartime consigliere we need at this perilous moment in human history.  I have to believe he is pursuing a smart strategy, building a complex racketeering case that cannot be overturned on appeal.

Glenn Kirschner points out that by giving the J6 Committee the first crack at a thousand witnesses (something the DOJ always likes to get) Garland allowed all of their testimony to become public, and increase the pressure among the public to bring these criminals to justice.  If DOJ had heard them first, in the Grand Jury, everything they said would have been kept strictly secret until indictments, in 2023 or later.   We’d learn only “Ivanka spoke to a grand jury under oath for five hours.”  How much would that suck?

Be of good cheer.  Hope and hopeful action are indispensable. 

Winning, losing, and the urge to create

Some people love creativity for its own sake, for the exhilarating feeling of making something new in a world that has seen, heard and tasted everything.   Most people in our culture understand creativity in the context of success or failure, the urge to invent being a transactional impulse that can move someone to an exalted place if sold, or a depressing place if creativity is left unmonetized.  If you’re really good at a hobby, most people smile blandly, understanding only what the world considers financial/artistic success, that of the professional. Sometimes they may be moved to say “you should do this professionally!” a high compliment.   

I know I have nothing to say to the world on this score, but I can assure you that the first view of creativity is the better view, in every possible way.  Do what you love, as much as you can and feel grateful for that love and the feeling of fulfillment creativity brings.

Now I think of the ultimate transactional American, former president Donald Trump.   To men like him only domination matters.  You are a sucker and a detestable chump if you let anybody beat you, that’s all there is to it.  His father Fred was a psychopath who amassed a vast fortune.  His mother, Mary, a dirt poor immigrant from a godforsaken Scottish island, married the wealthy psychopath and produced several children.  The oldest boy, Fred Jr. had all the tools, intellectual, social, emotional and otherwise, to do anything he set his mind to. 

Fred Jr. was, according to his little brother Donald, loved by everyone.  He was, Donald said, a great athlete, funny, popular, the first person people would call if they were in trouble, he was an amazing person, everyone liked him, everyone wanted to be friends with him.   In Donald’s version this is what killed his older brother, he was too nice, people fucked him and he drank himself to death.  Talk about a lesson learned.

Dad started paying baby Donald $200,000 dollars a year back in 1947.  By the time little Donald was eight, he was a self-made millionaire.  When Fred Jr., managing a Trump property, did a kind thing for tenants without forcing a long court fight, his father flew into a rage and Fred Jr. opted out of the family business and got a commercial pilot’s license.  Little Donald, a distracted student and schoolyard bully, was eventually sent to a reform school for wealthy juvenile delinquents, after buying a case of switchblades. 

After Fred Jr.’s banishment the far less talented Donald was reluctantly groomed to become the heir of Fred Trump senior’s real estate empire.  Starting with every advantage in the world, except the love of his parents,  Donald launched many closely held businesses where he was the boss, made every decision, the buck stopped with him.  He learned young about the power of unscrupulous lawyers, guys like the satanic Roy Cohn, ready to bend and break the laws to prevail, working on a gigantic retainer that was a business expense.  He learned to stiff people who worked for him, get revenge on anyone who tried to take him to court, he declared bankruptcy over and over.  He refused to lose, even though every business he ever launched, outside of his personal brand, failed.  If you lose, you are a loser and deserve your humiliation.

Do you have any doubt that Donald was at the center of the seven tentacled plot to overturn the results of an election that humiliated him?   His only choice, faced with losing again, was to lash out desperately and enlist a group of blindly ambitious toadies to carry out his crazy plans.  They did so.  Is any of it surprising?   I’m looking forward to the rest of the case against him, laid out as clearly as in the opening hearing the other night.  Laying out that case persuasively, in the face of virulent propaganda, is an act of great, other-directed creativity.

Capitol Police officer/actor lies about Trump’s peaceful protest on primetime broadcast!

It is amazing, even in an ad-driven post-truth culture where “alternative facts” galvanize more passionate support than regular ones, that a carefully orchestrated prime time presentation is necessary to illuminate what most fair-minded Americans, having witnessed it on live TV, already know to be true.   

The violent storming of the Capitol, to stop the peaceful transition of power, was organized and fomented by the former-president in consultation with a small cabal of mad dead-enders like Sydney Powell, Mike Flynn, Rudy, Steve Bannon, the MyPillow CEO, and lesser known key players like John Eastman (former Clarence Thomas law clerk) and Jeffrey Clark (American Eichmann). 

We now learn that the storming was led by actual storm troops, three hundred or so Proud Boys who had been standing back and standing by, went to the Capitol earlier on January 6 to scope out the police lines and finalize a coordinated plan of attack so the locked down Capitol could be stormed by an angry mob.

We now know why there was no parade permit applied for that day (or at least none granted by DC police).   Trump’s secret service had already nixed the big guy’s participation in the protest at the Capitol.   It simply could not be organized, with that huge angry crowd at the Ellipse forming an unstoppable human tsunami if they’d all marched off together behind Trump’s motorcade to “stiffen the spines” of Republicans reluctant to subvert democracy.  In some cases this stiffening of the spine would be accomplished by the extreme means of hanging by the neck until good and rigid.  Not to worry, though, nobody was actually lynched with a rope.   Not to say it wasn’t very, very ugly there in the midst of the storming of the Capitol.

At one point, a police officer who was injured at the Capitol, Caroline Edwards, testified to seeing “officers on the ground. They were bleeding. They were throwing up. I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people’s blood. I was catching people as they fell. It was carnage. It was chaos.”

“I can remember my breath catching in my throat because what I saw was just a war scene,” she said. “It was something like I had seen out of the movies.”

source

She had been trying to help Officer Brian Sicknick, who later died of “natural causes” (the medical examiner commented that the two strokes Sicknick suffered during the fighting were likely related to the mortal combat he faced), his face white after gassing.  She found his color troubling, since pepper spray produces a red face, but he was white as the sheet of paper she held up. 

Her confusion ended a moment later when she was sprayed in the face with the same mystery gas and she was blinded and fell to the ground again, as Trump’s peaceful supporters peacefully made their way into the Capitol to exercise their sacred First Amendment right to use deadly violence if all else fails. As unimpeachable Clarence Thomas’s Framers had explicitly intended, right in the text of the sacred document.