Comparing Trumpists to Nazis

Publicly calling a fellow American a Nazi is generally considered out of bounds in today’s America.  It’s as bad as calling someone a nigger, a kyke, a faggot, a cunt or a motherfucker.  It’s kind of a credibility destroying deal-breaker here, to call a political opponent a Nazi, no matter how obnoxious, irrational or lawless that political opponent might be. 

It’s true that the current president famously compared the FBI and the CIA,  U.S. intelligence agencies, to Nazis, but he just says things in anger and nobody gets too excited about his puffery, exaggeration, distortion, lying.   He’s a salesman and he’s always selling the one product he has to sell: himself.   He’s sui generis, you know, and that’s putting it as elegantly as I can.  His evangelical supporters call him a flawed vessel for God’s will, he is definitely that too, I suppose (if you imagine God’s will as those who support Trump do).   He routinely gets away with things no past presidential candidate or president ever imagined surviving politically.

But for more responsible public actors, comparing fellow Americans to Nazis is generally out of bounds.   After all, the Nazis were directly responsible for the deaths of many millions of people, probably more than 20,000,000 [1] during one of the darkest periods in recent history.   The Nazis set up mechanized death camps where they mass-murdered millions on industrial assembly lines.   The Nazis were fucking Nazis, the historical gold standard for evil operating under cover of state action.    Josef Goebbels said if they won the Nazis would be remembered as history’s greatest benefactors, if they lost– history’s greatest criminals.   They lost, kind of, though their fighting spirit fights on in the hearts of those filled with righteous rage for their holy cause.   

In limited contexts it’s fine to compare people to Nazis in American politics.  In a pinch, to convince Americans to go to war for no reason anyone can comprehend, you can compare Manuel Noriega to Hitler, or Saddam — another “modern-day Hitler” —  that’s fine, though it’s generally out of bounds for one American to call another a Nazi.   But call a dictator a Nazi, Hitler, then the choice is simple: do you stand up to this Hitler or do you bend your knee like the cowardly Neville Chamberlain?

Beto O’Rourke recently compared the Trump administration to Nazis.   He meant they are ruthless, blindly loyal to their unhinged leader, obstructionist, they routinely lie, they incite violence and hatred, they have utter contempt for anything but “winning”, maintaining their grip on power   O’Rourke was challenged on the comparison.   He had a good response: give me a better comparison.

Personally, I don’t have one.  Reading about the Nazi regime, the cult of personality built around the infallible Mr. Hitler, I am reminded over and over of how the Trump administration operates and what it is trying to do, in many cases succeeding in doing.   If Trump survives impeachment and is reelected in 2020, American democracy is pretty much over.  He will have vindicated the principle that one man, if he is great enough, may flout every law and ethical norm to instill his vision, by force of his will, on the nation he rules.  Let’s take a quick stroll through the familiar terrain of his rise and his rule. 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III was the first U.S. Senator to openly endorse Donald Trump’s candidacy.  He stood on stage with Trump, at a time when Trump still was an unthinkably clownish long-shot candidate, and introduced him as the next president of the United States.  As a reward for his great loyalty Trump made Sessions, a man too racist to be confirmed to the federal bench, Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement official.   

Once confirmed, Sessions got busy talking about God, and how he’d crack down on marijuana using the draconian federal laws Nixon wrote, and how Trump answers to a higher power than ordinary politicians and how he must be obeyed, how there was absolutely no racist pattern to voter suppression schemes after the Supreme Court curtailed the Voting Rights Act and so on.    He spouted a lot of crap.  But when he was called out, in open testimony, under oath, for having been untruthful about his contacts with Russians during the campaign and transition, he listened to ethics advice from the professionals at the Department of Justice and recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Now the story kicks into another gear.   Trump was enraged by this “betrayal” by Sessions.   Sessions, according to Trump, had not taken a principled stance as required by law and professional ethics, he’d acted like a weakling, instead of being like Roy Cohn, a powerful Pit-bull who’d do whatever was necessary to win, including taking an open, greasy dump on the law (Cohn was eventually, years too late, disbarred for his corruption, but that’s a trifle).  Trump humiliated Sessions regularly, mocking him publicly as a wimp, imitating his southern accent, his squeamish fealty to weak-ass “liberal” things like so-called law and ethics.  

Then, to be concise in hitting just a few highlights of the way Trump goes about his business, Trump fired FBI director Jim Comey when Comey wouldn’t declare his personal loyalty to Trump and “let the Flynn thing go”.  When Deputy A.G., Rod Rosenstein, overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the closely contested 2016 election, was forced to appoint a Special Prosecutor, Trump went ballistic, blaming and eventually forcing Sessions to resign, after making repeated attempts to get Sessions to “unrecuse” and limit the scope of Mueller’s investigation. 

Mueller wound up writing a whole volume of his report detailing and analyzing Trump’s many efforts to obstruct justice, though Mueller refrained from drawing any prosecutorial conclusions, pursuant to a DOJ directive and for reasons of bending over backwards to appear scrupulously fair.

Mueller’s investigation resulted in numerous indictments and several convictions of close Trump associates and  found “sweeping and systematic” Russian election interference on behalf of Trump.   The Republican senate recently released a report coming to the same conclusion: Russians had done everything possible to tilt the 2016 presidential election to the candidate who won.

What to do?   Find an Attorney General who will act like Roy Cohn, do whatever is necessary to protect the leader/client.   The A.G., after all, in Trump’s view, is the president’s most important body guard.  He’s in charge of all law enforcement on a federal level.  He says what’s a federal crime and what’s pure commie bullshit and a conspiratorial partisan witch hunt against a totally innocent man.   Enter the pathetic porcine puppet of this puerile president [2], a debased lawyer of the Antonin Scalia school, with a God-driven worldview based, perversely, on what he believes Jesus would do — if Jesus was a xenophobic privileged white seventy year-old. 

How do you defend a president as apparently corrupt and incapable of not lying as this Donald Trump character?   You take his lead, the boss has genius marketing instincts.    Trump repeatedly said the Mueller probe was a partisan witch hunt that would totally exonerate him.   Barr agreed, made the counter-factual call that the report exonerated Trump of everything.  Trump said the vicious partisan “Deep State” traitors who initiated the “politically motivated” investigation (that came to the same conclusions about Russian interference the Republican senate did) to overturn the will of 78,000 strategically perfect voters and their Electors, should be criminally investigated and punished for treason, for being spies!   Barr agreed and now Barr’s Department of Justice has initiated a criminal investigation into the Department of Justice.

During Hitler’s “Thousand Year Reich” not a word of the liberal Weimar Constitution was ever changed, once Emergency Powers were invoked pursuant to a Patriot Act-style vote in the German parliament.   No change to the democratic blueprint was necessary, everything was down to enforcement by Nazi police, the decisions of Nazi judges in Nazi courts.   German law enforcement was headed by Hermann Goering for a while, when he wasn’t too whacked out on drugs, then more sober men like Heinrich Himmler stepped into the void.  There is never a shortage of supremely ambitious men to step into fateful roles next to the most powerful men in the world.

Barr starting a criminal investigation of his own agency, in what universe does that seem remotely impartial, fair or just?   Only one that I can think of off-hand, though one is, of course, reluctant to call even these lawless motherfuckers Nazis.

 

 

[1]   World War Two fun facts:

WORLDWIDE CASUALTIES*

Battle Deaths 15,000,000
Battle Wounded 25,000,000
Civilian Deaths 45,000,000

*Worldwide casualty estimates vary widely in several sources. The number of civilian deaths in China alone might well be more than 50,000,000.

source

 

[2] tip of the yarmulke to Laurence Tribe for that apt, alliterative aspersion.

 

A pattern of corruption and obstruction

We live in an age of emotion.   The facts, increasingly, are ignored as strong opinion, fanned by sensationalism and spread by the wildfire of instant “social media”, reigns.   If something happens once or twice, a wide range of plausible sounding reasons can be advanced to explain it.  It’s often hard to know which explanation is closer to the truth.   When a strong pattern emerges it becomes much easier to rule out doubtful excuses.  Look at the pattern of behavior then apply Martha Kavanaugh’s  judicial maxim, her jury instruction to fact-finders:    ‘Use your common sense. What rings true? What rings false?’

One of the techniques Trump (and the right) got from Roy Cohn, a notoriously evil and self-loathing man, is to accuse the enemy of exactly what you are doing.   If you are accused of being homosexual (at one time a powerful and damaging, career and even life-destroying charge), deny it strongly and threaten enemy  homosexuals with public outing and shaming.   If you are charged with corruption– the person making the charge is obviously corrupt!    If there is an investigation into you, or people in your administration — investigate the investigators!  If anyone close to you is called on to resign– tell them to fucking resign!  Like so:

screenshot_20191014-145608_chrome.jpg

A ‘seditious conspiracy’ — that means treason and hangings, make no mistake.  And of course Nancy Pelosi should resign– she’s in the middle of this sinister cabal of death-worthy traitors.  What else is Trump’s 2020 campaign manager going to say?  Come on.  He’s a loyal guy with a very important product to sell.

There is a clear pattern in the Trump administration, an appearance of winking at corruption, being above the law and a pattern of protecting wrong-doers.   A number of Trump’s cabinet appointees had to leave under investigation for illegal or unethical misuse of their powers.   Point this large number out at your peril.  Whenever he feels attacked, the President hits back harder, as he learned to do from his mentor Roy Cohn.  

This unalterable pattern of behavior speaks to Trump’s singleminded motive, as set out in volume two of the Mueller report, which his defenders attack as an unfair partisan hit job that nonetheless, and against all odds, completely exonerated him.   When he learned he was under investigation for obstruction of justice his first words were “I’m fucked…”  Then he quickly recovered his fighting spirit.  When he feels attacked, the president fights back, hard, a practice his supporters, like Bagpiper Bill Barr, find completely appropriate in any situation.  If you’re innocent, scream it loudly, angrily and attack anyone questioning it!

It is fair to point out that only three close Trump administration associates have actually been convicted of any real crimes — his long-time personal lawyer, his first national security advisor and his 2016 campaign manager–  and that he only fired two FBI directors and one Secretary of State — and has so far only had two appointed, and one acting, Attorneys General.  

The Communists at Business Insider have compiled a list of all the resignations and firings of top Trump officials (as of September 10, 2019) a long list in the less than three years of his administration, but, take that list with a grain of salt and a shot of penicillin.   Fake news is everywhere and it is easy to accuse rich political appointees who allegedly use their government positions to enrich themselves further of being corrupt.   As Trump himself might reason:  who among us would not take a $120,000 trip to Europe on somebody else’s dime?  Duh!

The New York Times reported that Trump’s father was a tax cheat who engaged in a decades-long pattern of fraud to increase his wealth and enrich his children while avoiding taxes.   Trump’s attorney threatened to sue the Times when the story was being reviewed for publication (as reported in the Times)   20181029_184055 (3)

but no law suit was ever brought.   This means the NY Times had evidence to prove that facts of the story were beyond dispute and no defamation suit could be credibly brought against the Times.   You know Trump would have sent his lawyers after the Times if he could have.   The New York Times later reported that Trump lost over a billion dollars during a decade as the result of bad business decisions, and also that he had received the 2018 equivalent of $400,000,000 from his father.    Trump did not sue the Times over this fake story, though he angrily dismissed it.

Corrupt.  Look up the word in the dictionary and you will find Trump’s face next to it.  What? Nothing to see here!  Nothing whatsofuckingever to see here!   Lock her up!   Lock her up!

Nothing to Hide

Today is Yom Kippur, the day in Jewish tradition when our deeds of the past year are weighed, our apologies, attempts at reconciliation, the repayment of our debts are considered, and we are judged and marked down in an ineffably gigantic book for a year of health and peace or one of trouble.   When the day of fasting ends, the book is sealed.

I feel virtuous today because I made one stinking sincere apology the other day.   Sekhnet and I, and most Jews we know, are fasting today.   Don’t ask me why, I suppose it’s for the discipline.   One year in high school I fasted every Friday for a while, back when I weighed 137 pounds.  I do it once a year now, on Yom Kippur.  It’s the least I can do, so I do it.

The pious fasting of a horde of bad-breathed Jews who paid top dollar to pray all day at Hillcrest Jewish Center and, after a final blast of the ram’s horn signaled the Book of Life was sealed, race home to eat, always left me cold.  It still does.  On the other hand, I like the idea that we should seek forgiveness from those we’ve hurt.   The world would be a much better place if making amends was widely practiced.

Alas, it’s not.  We are, for the most part, unrepentant because we’re justified.  We are geniuses at justifying why we don’t owe some thin-skinned asshole who claims we hurt them jack shit.  Easier to write the person off, fuck ’em, you know what I’m sayin’?

This year I’m thinking I’d almost rather be in synagogue than listening to the talking heads I’m compulsively listening to.   On this holiest day of my people’s year I find myself in my regular chair, laptop on, watching the hideous shenanigans of a deranged man who was never the sharpest knife in the drawer (and his failure to master basic spelling is not the only tip off) and who is now the sharpest and deadliest pair of scissors this country has ever drunkenly raced around holding.  

His dead-enders in Congress, driven by blind ambition, supported by dark money, rush in a gaggle to explain why what he did — seeking dirt on a political rival from the new Ukrainian president (a Jewish comedian with a law degree, don’t you know?) in exchange for releasing defensive weapons Ukraine needs to protect itself from Putin–  if he even did what he admitted he did (and he’s known to joke, josh, provoke, tweak, trigger, sometimes lie, so who knows why he actually said that he did it?) is not nearly as bad as the desperate and despicable unconstitutional acts of the partisan lynch mob determined to bring him down.  

The angry Democrats have convened a kangaroo court.  That’s it!  There’s our talking point!  This constitutional provision about impeachment is allowing the crazed, jealous, loser Democrats to hold a kangaroo court.   The president is the best, the jealous assholes who are determined to impeach him, those disgusting defecators, have convened a kangaroo court!   Here’s Trump tweeting the phrase, echoing it into microphones under the blades of his helicopter, now another loyalist says it, now another and another.  You see, it is a good defense, the “court” is a kangaroo court, not a real court, it’s an illegitimate, traitorous fake court, run by a “malicious Captain Kangaroo”. [1]  

The president has nothing to hide.  That’s why he’s not allowing any testimony to be given or any documents to be produced.  Nothing to hide!  Kangaroo court!   Obstruct this, libs!   Illegitimate, illegal!   Smelly!   Cooties-infested!   BULLSHIT!   Treasonous traitors!   Enemies of the People!   It’s nobody’s business how badly I did on the SATs (my scores were perfect, by the way), what my grades were at Wharton (5.0 all the way), who I got money from as reported on my taxes (totally legal — and which you losers will never, NEVER see) what incriminating texts my people sent each other.   Article Two, you traitors, I can do whatever I want!  Read the constitution, I hear it’s something.   And, by the way, fuck you and the stinking kangaroo you rode into your kangaroo court on, Captain.  You’re deranged, not me.  LOL!

 

[1]  37 year-old Florida congressman Matt Gaetz made this impassioned charge to a gaggle of reporters: 

“We would sure like to see the Volker testimony released before we continue the depositions and transcribed interviews. And what we see in this impeachment is a kangaroo court, and Chairman Schiff is acting like a malicious Captain Kangaroo,” Gaetz told reporters Tuesday morning after the State Department blocked scheduled testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a key figure in the Ukraine controversy.

Apparently this maligning of Captain Kangaroo (innocent of all charges, he never, even once, presided over a ‘kangaroo court’) triggered such a viral response on Merriam-Webster’s site that they felt obliged to step in and straighten this shit out.  Here’s the rest of the story.

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.

Organizing my attack

Sometimes we get insight in a very roundabout way, only after a thing has been gnawing at us for a very long time.   It can take being nibbled by a particular demon for many years before you jump out of your chair one day and say “what the fuck?!!” look down and see what is snacking on you.

At the end of several long, stressful days getting the house ready for the contractors (the lioness’s share done by indefatigable, self-proclaimed working dog Sekhnet)  I went through a pile of papers (a short stack) propped helter skelter on a board laid across an open desk drawer.   More than half the pages immediately went onto the recycle pile to be carried down to the bag.   The rest, mostly drawings, I clipped neatly into the clipboard they were lying haphazardly on.   

Not really very hard, I realized, though the volume and variety of papers here, as I glance around, is many, many times more than that short stack at Sekhnet’s I dispatched in a few minutes.   Of course, Sekhnet is right — spending a half hour a day at it would make a big difference within a few days, even here, in the eye of the storm.

Another insight hit me when I pulled a page I’d printed out of the pile and began reading.   It was my unsent pitch to a publisher who welcomes book proposals from unknown authors.   A two paragraph evocation of the book I thought I was writing about my father, something I worked on hours every day for two years, a massive, unwieldy first draft.   

I stopped reading my pitch shortly into the second “reveal” paragraph.   I was glad I’d never sent the thing, it was a labored, strenuous, grunting swing at nothing but air.   It did not present a hint of a compelling idea for a book.

I recently saw a best-selling author, in the windup to an ad for his Master Class on how to become a successful writer, describe the writing of the second draft as an exercise in convincing everyone that you knew exactly where you were going when you wrote the first draft.    Wow.    That’s precisely my challenge in putting together the book of my father’s life and then successfully pitching it.   

The story of my difficult father’s life is not the tired old story of a smart idealist with an abusive dark side, fighting for justice for strangers while doing great harm to his own family.   It’s not the story of a man’s triumphant emergence from childhood poverty into the middle class (along with a large cohort of World War Two vets at a unique and fleeting moment in history).  It’s not the story of monstrous anger, righteous and senseless both, and a rigid inability to forgive.   

Those things are part of the back story.   The book is more of a meditation on the nature and substance of history itself, what we remember and what we forget, and the imagining of a lifelong conversation that should have been.   That conversation with the skeleton of my father, the one that began the last night of his life, is the heart of the book, though it’s not the story I need to tell, shop and sell.  

The real story is what I suspected from the start, the difficulty of forgiveness and a rare moment of grace, just before death, when an unbearable burden is lifted, the regrettable truth finally spoken and reassurance given to the dying man just before his light winks out.  The story is about exactly what those regrets are made of, what was learned, and lost, how the unlikely and precious moment came to happen at all.

Twenty-five years ago an old friend celebrated my decision to become a lawyer (an ill-considered one, at best) as me finally being about to “compete”.  I get what he was saying, I’ve always kept myself out of the economic competition that defines our materialistic culture, refusing to race the rest of the rats for the mirage of an illusory goal (or simply being a cowardly rat, depending on your view).   I did not embrace the world’s second oldest profession, nor did I ever really compete in it, outside of plucking the occasional victim out of the meat grinder of justice, as when I saved an old woman from homelessness at the hands of zealous NYCHA attorneys.

In mulling over the anger I’ve been feeling lately I realize part of it is my chafing feeling of paralysis (not helped by painfully arthritic knees — as Vonnegut said “be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.”), of being overwhelmed by difficult things that are hard, true, but clearly not impossible.    Part is anger at my resigned acceptance of a limited, frugal life, foregoing comfortable middle class options while muttering here in great, sometimes worthwhile, detail about the objectively atrocious state of things and what I have pieced together.   

I’m angry about having no voice, in spite of speaking all the time (as I am silently doing right now, you dig?), and often finding and saying things I think would advance the larger discussion in a threatened world increasingly dominated by mindless bluster and vapid shouting.   I’m angry that evil idiots, often born “booted and spurred” to ride the rest of us [1] rule and I that have nothing to say about any of it, no matter how well I may say it.    And that others, professionals, who blow “thoughts” out of their asses, are well-paid to do it.

I’m angry about my inability to marshal my abilities to tell a story and get paid.   I’m angry that I have to monetize my writing in the first place (but in an uncertain casino economy one needs to keep some money coming in) and I’m angry that I’m not getting any money for it.

I’m angry that I’m not getting paid for writing what I write and I’m angry that I’m doing virtually nothing about it.  It is a frustrating cycle and it presses on because I do not confront the hard work I need to do to market and sell my work.   I am, on a fundamental level (and as hard as I’ve often worked in my life) lazy, preferring at any given moment to do what I like rather than what needs to be done.  Since writing itself is satisfying to me, once I have the words in final form, I never think of it as unproductive unless paid for.   When I think of it that way, through the eyes of the world, it pisses me off.   

I don’t mean to say that lazy is the last word on my life, it certainly isn’t (he hastily added).  There is also fear, of course, long habit, the actual daunting difficulty of the uphill task, and so forth.   I learned a very important life lesson during a dark time in my life — how crucial it is to be kind to yourself.   I don’t pile on myself when the going gets tough and I never reduce myself to the sum of my faults.   

On the other hand, this anger I’ve described is something only I can work on, a grating car alarm only I have the key to silencing.  I also remind myself that I don’t need to be paid a million bucks or write a blockbuster hit, a couple of thousand dollars would be a very good start.

Sekhnet observed the other day that the therapy I’ve gone through did not touch my powerful aversion to organizing my papers, my life.   Fair enough.  I’ve recently come to think of my great and irrational resistance to going through old papers as an odd reflection of my fear of death, but what the fuck is up with that?

Anger at how difficult it has been for me to read the proverbial writing on the wall, about situations, sometimes about people, the bottom-line nature of the reality we are all living in, is less than useless.    Anger, while it can alert us to a problem in the manner of all pain, disables the ability to see any path out of it, as anger directs all energy back to itself.  Time to poke a few breathing holes in this smothering carapace of aggravation, I say.  

 

 

 

[1]   The well-read Thomas Jefferson, master of the felicitous phrase, stole this famous image for his final letter (shortly after the great passage about democracy  “arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government”).

The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.

source

from Richard Rumbold, a man executed by the English for treason more than a century earlier.  Rumbold delivered the line toward the end of his final remarks, moments before he was drawn and quartered :   

I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.

source

I always loved this image of people born “booted and spurred” to ride the rest of us, particularly at a moment like this — Avi Berkowitz, 30 year-old assistant to Trump Special Advisor Jared Kushner, himself the supremely unqualified son of a billionaire. is elevated, by another very important man who inherited hundreds of millions and squandered more than that, to take the helm of  Trump’s secret, still unreleased Middle East Peace Plan that these born booted and spurred individuals are already boasting about. 

as to Richard Rumbold, here’s some great detail:

Note 1. Delivered in Edinburgh. Rumbold was captured after having been wounded and then separated from his companions in arms. An immediate trial had been ordered that he might be condemned before he died of his wounds. He was found guilty on June 26, 1685, sentenced to be executed the same afternoon, and was drawn and quartered, the quarters being exposed on the gates of English towns. [back]
Note 2. At this point Rumbold was interrupted by drum beating. He said he would say no more on that subject, “since they were so disingenuous as to interrupt a dying man.” [back]

 

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.

 

 

 

Imbecile-in-chief intent on laughing last

Of all the damage this destructive narcissist has done so far, the thing that probably irks me the most (from a competitive list) is his despicable championing of a down-the-line partisan hack with multiple skeletons in his closet for a lifetime position on the Supreme Court [1].   The Federalist Society poster boy (a life member who was in its inaugural class at Yale Law School in the 1980s) will rule on important legal issues, unappealably, for possibly decades.  Every one of his votes can be predicted based on the issues involved, the position radical, corporatist conservatives favor, and his thoroughly consistent past rulings.   There were twenty-four other names on the list the Federalist Society gave Trump, yet the president chose to force the most despicable controversial and openly divisive of them on America.   For a generation.

Looking at choir boy Kavanaugh’s perpetually smiling face, looming out of his black judicial robes, makes me sick.   It’s tempting to use words like “scumbag” and “piece of shit”, but you get the point.   If an ugly, syphlitic penis had a face, it would be that self-satisfied, smirking mug.

I just read an excellent article by a writer named Megan Garber about the power of uproarious mockery and how Trump used it against Christine Blasey Ford, whose testimony was so vulnerably candid and powerful that even FOX news was in despair, during the break in the hearings, wringing its collective hands that Kavanaugh’s chance for appointment to the Supreme Court was over.  That was before Kavanaugh “manned up” in the afternoon session to forcefully strike back against his vicious enemies, crying, snorting and accusing, aided by a shrill, indignant Lindsay Graham and an insurmountable one vote Republican party-line majority in the Judiciary Committee.

A few days later, while the FBI was doing a very limited, five day complete investigation into Blasey Ford’s accusations, Trump, in Mississippi, had a rally of supporters cracking up at her expense.    From Megan Garber’s account:

I had one beer,” the president, imitating Ford, said, thrusting his index finger upward to emphasize the number. He kept the digit upraised. “I had one beer!

The president then added another character to his routine: an anonymous interrogator of Ford. “Well, do you think it was—” he began to ask.

Nope!” he said, gleefully interrupting himself and his fictional questioner. “It was one beer.” The joke built speed. “How did you get home? I don’t remember.How did you get there? I don’t remember. Where is the place? I don’t remember.How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know.

At this, the crowd at the rally guffawed. They cheered. They broke out into applause. The president, thus galvanized, thus supported, thus loved, continued his one-man interrogation: “What neighborhood was it in? I don’t know. Where’s the house? I don’t know. Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know. But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember.

Of course, she remembered an awful lot of specifics, including, vividly, Kavanaugh’s drunken, dickish face looming over her as he held her down and groped her and his drunk friend Mark Judge nearby.  She remembered enough for the FBI to have easily found the exact home in which the attack took place that summer afternoon in 1982 — within a walk of the Country Club where she swam–  in  a locked room on the second floor, across from the bathroom at the top of the stairs.   Had the FBI been permitted to fully investigate, or even interview more than a small, select handful of “witnesses”, let alone talk to Kavanaugh or Blasey Ford, the specifics could easily have been confirmed.   Instead “Boof” Kavanaugh was.

Megan Garber includes this from what should have been Blasey Ford’s “end of story” testimony: 

“What is the strongest memory you have, the strongest memory of the incident, something you cannot forget?” Patrick Leahy, the Democratic senator from Vermont, asked Ford last Thursday, during her testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The professor of psychology, serving as her own expert witness in the attack that she alleged Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge perpetrated, replied: “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”

“You’ve never forgotten them laughing at you,” Leahy said.

“They were laughing with each other,” Ford replied.

“And you were the object of the laughter?”

“I was underneath one of them, while the two laughed.”

“Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”

Contrast this level of certainty and detail to what was contained in the written answers Trump gave to the Special Counsel during the investigation of his possible criminal conspiracy with Russia during his historic 2016 presidential campaign and his ongoing (and continuing) pattern of obstruction of justice, a pattern that escalated dramatically and immediately once the Special Counsel was appointed. 

Remember that these written answers were submitted because the president’s lawyers had ruled out an interview with Mueller, a guaranteed “perjury trap”  since the president has proved himself, over and over, to be simply incapable of not lying.    Trump’s lawyers’ written answers claimed he had no memory of anything, no detail too large or too small for him to have no recollection of.   

Mueller called these answers “inadequate, incomplete, imprecise and insufficient”.  A good description, certainly of the stand-up guy president’s final answer, to a detailed question about the soon to be sentenced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

TRUMP:

[no answer provided] 

Why this has hilarious FUCK YOU not been more widely publicized, I have no idea.   

The evasive and “inadequate” written answers and Mueller’s detailed queries have been on-line for a while.  You can read them here.  Scroll down to the last one for the punchline, or just check out the question and its “insufficient” answer below.  [2]   

Hilarious, no?

 

[1]  multiple accounts of years of his black out “beer” drinking, two independent, credible and detailed accounts of gross sexual impropriety (the one at Yale never investigated at all, in spite of numerous witnesses to it coming forward during the confirmation hearings), his denial of details of his close association with his disgraced former mentor Alex Kozinsky (and Kozinsky’s sexually explicit listserve), a long pattern of extreme partisanship including aggressive prosecution of then president Bill Clinton and undisclosed, classified services rendered to Dubya Bush, including during the controversial Florida recount episode.   

There was enough controversy that the voice of American Jesuits said Kavanaugh must withdraw his name from consideration.  Instead the blameless jurist made a tearful, snorting partisan speech accusing the Clintons of launching a well-funded dark money campaign of revenge against him — an unhinged speech that should have disqualified him.   To wit:

A calculated and orchestrated political hit, fueled with apparent pent-up anger about President Trump and the 2016 election, fear that has been unfairly stoked about my judicial record, revenge on behalf of the Clintons and millions of dollars in money from outside left-wing opposition groups. 

[2]

SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE:

b. 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).

c. On December 29 and December 31, 2016, LTG Flynn had conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about the Russia sanctions and Russia’s response to the Russia sanctions.

i. Did you direct or suggest that LTG Flynn have discussions with anyone from the Russian government about the Russia sanctions?

ii. Were you told in advance of LTG Flynn’s December 29, 2016 conversation that he was going to be speaking with Ambassador Kislyak? If yes, describe who told you this information, when, and what you were told. If no, when and from whom did you learn of LTG Flynn’s December 29, 2016 conversation with Ambassador Kislyak?

iii. When did you learn of LTG Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak’s call on December 31, 2016? Who told you and what were you told?

iv. When did you learn that sanctions were discussed in the December 29 and December 31, 2016 calls between LTG Flynn and Ambassador Kislyak? Who told you and what were you told?

d. 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.

e. On January 12, 2017, the Washington Post published a column that stated that LTG Flynn phoned Ambassador Kislyak several times on December 29, 2016. After learning of the column, did you direct or suggest to anyone that LTG Flynn should deny that he discussed sanctions with Ambassador Kislyak? If yes, who did you make this suggestion or direction to, when, what did you say, and why did you take this step?

i. After learning of the column, did you have any conversations with LTG Flynn about his conversations with Ambassador Kislyak in December 2016? If yes, describe when those discussions occurred and the content of the discussions.

f. Were you told about a meeting between Jared Kushner and Sergei Gorkov that took place in December 2016?

i. If yes, describe who you spoke with, when, the substance of the discussion(s), and what you understood was the purpose of the meeting.

g. Were you told about a meeting or meetings between Erik Prince and Kirill Dmitriev or any other representative from the Russian government that took place in January 2017?

i. If yes, describe who you spoke with, when, the substance of the discussion(s), and what you understood was the purpose of the meeting(s).

h. Prior to January 20, 2017, did you talk to Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner, or any other individual associated with the transition regarding establishing an unofficial line of communication with Russia? If yes, describe who you spoke with, when, the substance of the discussion(s), and what you understood was the purpose of such an unofficial line of communication.

TRUMP:

(No answer provided.)