A Cabinet of Sycophants and Acting-Idiots, Bill Barr edition

Donald Trump, as part of the unsolicited expert advice he gave to businessmen while he was campaigning for the presidency in 2016, advised would-be titans of industry to surround themselves with people less intelligent than themselves.   This way, he pointed out, you can always literally be the smartest man in the room, an important advantage for the boss.  Particularly if you’re the boss of a family business given to you by a demanding and ruthless father who never really had faith in your smarts.

In office, Trump’s been as good as his word, if we add the important caveat that if you are smarter than the smartest man in the room, you must hide your intelligence behind heroic loyalty to even the boss’s most idiotic and indefensible whims and policies. 

This caveat, obviously, does not apply to people like Betsey DeVos.  It applies directly to the most dangerous man in America: Bagpiper Bill Barr.   Follow the chain of events:

When, on May 17, 2017, after lawfully firing FBI director James Comey to end the Russia thing and the Flynn thing, and, obviously, the Comey-loyalty thing,  the president was confronted with the awful news that traitorous Acting A.G. Rod Rosenstein  (who stepped into the role after AG Sessions followed the advice of DOJ ethics lawyers and correctly recused himself from the Russia investigation — his recusal was seen by most lawyers and legal observers as mandatory) had appointed a Special Prosecutor, Trump was beside himself.

“Oh my God,” a note-taking witness quoted Trump as saying, “This is terrible.  This is the end of my presidency.  I’m fucked.”   He became angry and lambasted A.G. Sessions “How could you let this happen, Jeff?”   Trump said “Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels [sic] it ruins your presidency.   It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything.  This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”   source

To grasp the full weight of these words, here is John Lithgow’s excellent dramatic reenactment. 

The Mueller Report, Volume Two, details the undeviating pattern of presidential actions intended to obstruct the investigation into presidential obstruction of justice.   Don McGahn, Trump’s White House counsel, refused to fire Sessions, as he was asked to do by the president, and refused to write a knowingly false letter for the files at the president’s request, a letter denying that Trump had ever asked him to fire Sessions.  Trump pressured Sessions, accepted Sessions’ resignation letter, refused the resignation, but held on to the letter for leverage against his disobedient but very loyal AG.   

He called on several other people, including the pugnacious Corey Lewandowski who was not in the government at that time (a “back-channel,” just like unofficial Rudy in Ukraine), to deliver coercive messages to Sessions about his refusal to “unrecuse” and to fire the Special Counsel.  That his servants did not carry out his orders was later used by the president’s defenders to justify the lawfulness of Trump’s actions under the absurdist rationale that mere attempted crime is not a crime.   After all, as every schoolchild knows, there’s no such crime as attempted murder.

Trump later lawyered up and (following new AG Barr’s advice in a letter that was published) asserted a ridiculously broad and audacious privilege (one that would require a major 5-4 Supreme Court reversal of strong unanimous precedent if Trump’s claim was to be upheld) against ever, under any circumstances (including during his impeachment), allowing testimony or evidence that could be adverse to his interests in remaining the Unitary Executive and the businessman most well-shielded from investigation in the world, as long as he remains POTUS.   

Volume Two of the Mueller Report was a catalogue of the president’s seamless pattern of guilty-looking actions to obstruct an investigation into his obstruction of justice, a pattern that contained all the elements for sustainable obstruction of justice charges.  Take a few moments to go watch a bit of that marvelous dramatic reading of the Mueller Report, Volume Two.  Mueller famously wrote that he could not exonerate Trump of obstruction of justice, even as he was prevented, by an OLC legal directive, from charging him with a crime, regardless of the seeming weight of the evidence that Trump had actually done what the sworn witnesses said, as long as Trump was the sitting president [1].   

Enter Bill Barr, the new AG, the man who took the AG job just in time to make the Mueller findings disappear, as he’d promised to in his published audition for the job.  There were calls for Barr to resign the other day after some public, transparently partisan presidential DOJ ass-licking on Barr’s part (no judgment, Barr clearly just likes the taste).  1,100 former federal prosecutors had signed a letter calling for his resignation, citing his unfitness to oversee all federal law enforcement.   I went on-line to read their letter.   

The letter that came up first was another letter signed by more than 1,100 former DOJ prosecutors,dated May 6 2019.  It was a reaction to Barr’s lies about the findings of the Mueller Report as well at least one lie to Congress,    That letter, which will be familiar to many, is here.

As for lying to Congress, Barr famously pretended, under oath, not to have received the politely indignant letter Mueller sent him immediately after Barr publicly, and deliberately, mischaracterized the findings of Mueller’s report.  Barr claimed he had no knowledge of how Mueller felt about Barr stating that Mueller’s report had, basically, completely and totally exonerated the president, an innocent man whose innocence completely justified all the lawful actions he took to try to end the baseless investigation into his obstruction of justice.   Mueller had written Barr with his strong objections to Barr’s mischaracterization immediately after Barr’s public dismissal of Mueller and his findings.   So?

Barr’s successful obstruction of public knowledge of what Mueller’s report actually contained about Trump’s obstruction of justice made the contents of the report a dead letter in the public mind.  Nothing to see here.  Just angry, loser partisans going after an innocent and all-powerful man, based on their own crippling loser inadequacies.   

Mueller’s fully-redacted summary of Volume Two, which was made available to Barr along with the report itself, was withheld by Barr for a month while Barr’s own “summary” publicly substituted its far-fetched story-line for the one Mueller’s sworn witnesses had told under oath. 

Mueller, by all accounts a good and honest man, a Boy Scout who believes in the rules,  is said to have shit the bed by writing his report with the prissily ornate disclaimer-laden legalistic prose that requires a law degree to parse (read the report, counselor!) , and in a real way he certainly did, At the same time, as was he charge, Mueller also preserved a trove of eyewitness testimony and other evidence, indicted and secured the convictions of several of the president’s closest associates (Flynn, Manafort, Cohen and Stone come to mind).   In a functioning participatory democracy, one whose chief law enforcement officer is not an unprincipled God-fearing toady, Mueller’s report would have performed the duty that had been entrusted to Mueller’s team, by turning over an impressive pile of evidence and letting the facts speak for themselves to the American people.

Barr’s disinformation campaign to squash Mueller’s findings to protect the president was so successful it convinced iron-willed Nancy Pelosi, the most powerful Democrat in the country, that most Americans are already too brainwashed, too stupid, or both, to understand the immense gravity of the facts Mueller set out, the ones Barr successfully made to disappear.   She made a political calculation and restricted the impeachment to very limited, much weaker grounds, although there was the planned benefit of a relatively straightforward, easy to follow story, Trump’s shakedown of the new president (of a country nobody in America can find on a map [2]) to get dirt on a political rival. 

In my mind, Pelosi used her outsized power (which I compare to Moscow Mitch’s awesome power in the Senate — in neither case does it speak well of democracy to have a single strongman in each House speak for the will of the People) to silence the voices of anyone who argued for a third article of impeachment — Obstruction of Justice, a federal crime-in-progress by our untouchable, lawyered up Boss-in-Chief.  In the context of a three year continual process of obstruction and abuse, of court processes as well as subpoenas from Congress and attorneys general all over the United States, the president’s actions in Ukraine actions could be seen in their proper perspective, as part of an ongoing pattern of the president committing the federal crime of obstruction of justice.   Pelosi made a strategic decision to play a weaker, but  arguably more straightforward, easily understandable, number card instead of the most powerful face card in her hand to play.  Oh well.

In December 2019, at the end of the Inspector General’s  investigation into the sordid origins of the what, unaccountably became the vicious partisan Mueller Witch Hunt conspiracy against Mr. Trump, the Bagpiper sucked his own bagpipe, as follows:

Screenshot_20191213-150447_NYTimes

The “intrusive investigation”  started on the “thinnest of suspicions,” suspicions in Barr’s view “insufficient” to start the Mueller probe (and, of course, in fairness, the investigation only only led to the conviction of a mere six (6) of Trump’s many close 2016 campaign associates for crimes related to a cover-up of Russian interference in the 2016 campaign and other improprieties.  Just yesterday the innocent, unfairly persecuted Roger Stone was unfairly sentenced for several arguable non-crimes, including jail time for the non-crime of “Obstruction of Congress.”  Horrible and very unfair, according to our nation’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer, Donald Trump. 

The country’s other, secondary Chief Law Enforcement Officer, Bagpiper Bill Barr, continues to stand by his arguably untruthful positions.   The conclusion by Mueller, our intelligence agencies and even in McConnell’s own Senate Report, that Russian efforts to sway the outcome of the 2016 election in favor of Donald John Trump were “sweeping and systematic” — SO?  That the efforts are ongoing and absolutely planned for the 2020 election, in progress now, urgent, danger, Will Robinson.   No action whatsoever needed to protect the integrity of the American electoral system, according to no less an authority than Moscow Mitch … puzzling, isn’t it?

The February 16, 2020 letter from 1,100 ex-DOJ officials calling for Barr’s resignation (that number is now over 2,000)  the one I was actually looking for is here.      The outcry came about when Trump whined on twitter that his friend Roger Stone was facing a long prison sentence for his numerous so-called crimes to protect the president, totally SAD! horrible and very unfair!  After the tweets DOJ withdrew its sentencing memo, a memo that asked for the seven to nine years prescribed by law for those serious crimes of lying and corruption to advance a corrupt scheme.  Not to mention witness intimidation (pretend I didn’t mention it) and defying a judge’s gag order.  (The charges in that case were based on Stone’s repeated lying and obstruction in connection with Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election.  Talk about grounds for twitter recusal, Mr. President…)

The lawyers formerly employed by the Department of Justice make another excellent case in their recent letter calling for Barr’s resignation.  It is a case that  the DOJ should really look into.  Whoops.  (ROTFLMAO!)

When Trump was in his moment of political and personal agony, on May 17, 2017, when he cried out to his inner circle that he was “fucked”, in his anguish, he cried out rhetorically for his Roy Cohn.  The evil and self-hating Roy Cohn, among his other destructive life achievements, was, for years,  the unbeatable attorney to all five major organized crime families in the United States.  The Trump family business was a long-time client of Roy Cohn’s.

Cohn was the man who taught Trump how to use the law as a sword and a shield.  Countersue audaciously, when you lose, appeal, drag it out, make them go bankrupt, break their balls with motions, kill them with process, make ’em spend millions if they want to try to beat them, make them pay while at the same time destroying them in the press.  Cohn’s taught Trump that unscrupulousness was no vice, if your aim was to keep a guilty person out of prison.  He showed Trump how to use the mass media to influence public sentiment, introduced him to friendly contacts at the tabloids, showed him how to publicly bully foes real and imagined and how to lie confidently (Trump probably didn’t need tutelage in that, he’s a Hall of Famer in that category).   In the end, when Cohn was disbarred, indicted, dying alone of AIDS he swore was cancer because everyone knew he hated fucking fags (don’t ask…) Trump, a man known for loyalty and his many deep friendships, turned his back on his longtime mentor. 

But in that moment of agony, on May 17, 2017 when Trump cried out for his Roy Cohn, the unprincipled Bill Barr’s ears pricked up.   Opportunity was knocking, history was knocking, Barr’s destiny was knocking.   Barr presented himself, a fatter, slicker version of Roy Cohn.  You an picture his courtly bow “at your service, my liege.”

Barr, the president’s current Roy Cohn, is a long believer in the infallible authority of the powerful and well-connected.  He is ever mindful of his own righteous version of truth and justice.  His public credibility (among the credulous) is bolstered by his sober demeanor: judicious in his pauses, utterly certain in his pronouncements, his cynical but authoritative-sounding use of legal chicanery. 

He argued to the American public, during a live appearance after he told America what Mueller’s report had actually concluded (while concealing Mueller’s actual summary for weeks), without betraying the slightest hesitation or irony, that Trump’s innocence was apparent, from the report itself.  Barr said that the crucial element of corrupt intent, necessary for proving the crime of  “obstruction of justice” could not be established.   Barr said, without breaking expression, that the president was simply understandably angry and frustrated at the persecution by Mueller and so did what any of us — knowing we were 100% innocent victims of a vicious conspiracy — would have done– used every one of his legal, self-defending powers to intentionally protect the rights of an innocent man.

Barr looked at the camera calmly, feeling no need to add at that moment what a weaker person would have blurted out:  so suck it!

Barr is Trump’s Roy Cohn, not much more to say about that.  Truth, particularly if potentially incriminating, will not be allowed to stand in the way of carrying out God’s will on earth, and God, clearly, demands a Unitary Executive to rule over these corrupt and evil generations.  Without vast powers to enforce the will of God, the soul of America will be lost to the invading haordes and wicket “social justice warriors”.

 

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[1] It’s fair to say Mueller punted in his noncommittal report, turning the ball over to the Congress for impeachment, after he performed an insanely legalistic ballet that enabled him to remain civil, polite and scrupulously unbiased, even when his investigation was documenting clearly very bad behavior by the president and his inner circle. 

[2] Not to get too far afield here, but Paul Manafort made tens of millions in Ukraine using his brilliant campaigning techniques to help get a Russian-backed thug named Yanukovich elected president of Ukraine.  (Unfair to call him a ‘thug”, I suppose, it was decades before his election, the convictions and two prison terms for assault)   Manafort’s efforts succeeded and Yanukovich was elected president of Ukraine, only to be ousted a few years later by a popular uprising.   After Yanukovich fled to Russia he was tried in absentia in Ukraine and found guilty of treason.   Manafort’s next client was Donald Trump, for whom he worked for free and on whose behalf he gave polling data to Russian agents.  Just sayin’… Nothing to see here!!!

Fucking Bagpiper Strikes Again

I had hesitated to post this bit I wrote the other day, because, you know, we’re all overdosed on the inescapable partisan poison, the piece could seem to put my Catholic brothers and sisters in a bad light (because of a few supremely ‘bad apples’) and everyone knows what a shameless, smug, provocative contrarian piece of shit Trump’s personal AG is — so, I decided to leave it be.  

Then I heard Barr’s comments today about “communities” (black and brown people) having to show more “respect” for law enforcement or they’d find police turning their backs on them when police protection was needed.   You have to love the way this self-righteous pig-faced fuck just continues doubling down in his righteous assholishness, tirelessly carrying the president’s piss bucket, including, it now appears, POTUS’s  most racist urine (which is champagne to some of the finest in his 39% base).  

Barr tells an audience of law enforcement officials that  THEY (complaining urban communities of brown people) have to show “more respect” to police or the ungrateful bastards will “find themselves without the police protection they need”.  You don’t have to read between the lines here:

“They have to start showing more than they do – the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said. “And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”

 Read all about it.

So, yeah, fuck that fawning lapdog of American autocrats.  Here’s the post.

Once again, as before his cunningly orchestrated slow-motion release of the “exonerating” Mueller Report, AG Bagpiper Bill Barr gets out in front of a DOJ report on an investigation to impose his counterfactual spin on it for the sharply divided public.   He initiated a criminal investigation into partisan traitors in Obama’s DOJ who allegedly used the infamous Steele Dossier as a pretext to launch a campaign of illegal “spying” on candidate Trump and after his election started a baseless partisan witch hunt against the innocent president-elect.   The new report, apparently, does not confirm this anti-Trump conspiracy.   Barr comes out swinging, a week before he releases the report, giving a spin that will dominate and muddy the public discussion until the conspiracy-debunking report is released and long afterwards.   FOX will have the AG’s Trump-vindicating soundbites to play to Trump’s beloved low-information voters through the 2020 election.

Barr is a partisan, a reactionary and a shameless front man for a shameless president.   A conservative religious Catholic who went to all the finest private schools (he graduated from Roy Cohn’s alma mater, Horace Mann), during a time when radical social changes were being demanded by organized activists, he was raised by a father who seethed against the erosion of morality.  As reported recently in the Vanity Fair piece about Barr and his father Donald Barr, Bagpiper’s beloved father Donald used his influence as imperious headmaster of the Dalton School to energetically, sometimes unscrupulously, fight the winds of social change blowing in the late 1960s.  The elder Barr hated the pot smoking, libertine young anarchists irrationally intent on bringing down the system, trying to swing the pendulum away from discipline, class and tradition toward chaos.  Donald Barr was never shy about being a provocative right-wing  contrarian, even when it eventually cost him his job as headmaster at Dalton.  

Donald Barr’s son Bill apparently feels the same way as his tough as nails dad.  What we need is morality, good, old-fashioned Christian piety and a government led by a powerful and unchallengeable CEO who will do God’s will here on earth.  It continues to amaze me when a religious Christian endorses someone like Donald Trump in the name of Christ, though, really, at this point, why should it amaze anyone?     As a Jew, admittedly, I have only the most fleeting understanding of the teachings of Jesus.   I always thought Jesus’s message had to do with humility, modesty, protecting the weak, loving one’s neighbors, being eternally ready to forgive.  Then again, what the hell do I know about it?

Still, it’s hard not to notice, in addition to the many devout Evangelical defenders of the Flawed Vessel of God’s will that is Mr. Trump, the several prominent, very conservative Catholics who have risen to the top ranks of government under the magnificently Imperfect Orange Vessel.   We have the two Jesuit educated Georgetown Prep alumni Trump appointed to the Supreme Court, Messers Gorsuch and Kavanaugh.   We have Barr.  We have the incomparable Mick Mulvaney.   We have, it emerges, current lead White House counsel, Pat Cippolone, a Catholic so impressively pious he influenced Fox’s Laura Ingraham (Cippolone’s wife worked for Fox, that’s how they met) to convert to Catholicism.   Cippolone, we note, is a pitbull for the president, in the same league as blustering bulldog Barr.

God only knows why I am even writing this…

Even on Thanksgiving…

I wake up thinking that the most famously unscrupulous, inept, attention-craving and litigious man born to great, unearned wealth in the United States became the most unscrupulous, inept, attention-craving and litigious president in history.   He uses the courts, as he was taught by his surrogate father, the disbarred Roy Cohn, to exhaust opponents, bankrupt them, play out the clock on statutes of limitations, extract favorable settlements with no admission of guilt.   This is what I wake up thinking on Thanksgiving, a day I should be thinking about tomorrow’s fabulous sales.    

Instead I’m thinking “Jesus, he successfully obstructed justice in the Mueller probe.”   Key witnesses to his campaign’s collusion with Russians, at his urging, with pardons dangled, lied to investigators and destroyed evidence — resulting in a finding of “insufficient evidence” of a criminal conspiracy with Putin, although there was substantial evidence showing repeated coordination between the parties and that Putin exerted great influence in his useful idiot’s 78,000 vote Electoral College mandate.   Mueller and the Republican-controlled Senate both concluded there was massive Russian election interference in favor of Putin’s preferred candidate, the guy who won in spite of losing the election by 2.9 million votes.

He is successfully using an absurdly broad blanket claim of “protective immunity”, conjured by his corrupt AG Bill Barr, to silence fact witnesses and prevent the disclosure of evidence in his own impeachment.   I say successfully because, although he keeps losing in court he is able to appeal each time and he only has to run out the clock on these claims for a few more months in order to successfully obstruct the impeachment of history’s most openly unscrupulous, inept, attention-craving and litigious president.   Roy Cohn lives!  

Many of us have a lot of reasons to be thankful on this Thanksgiving, but having this brazen sociopath in the world’s most powerful position (outside of the Kremlin), using the Department of Justice and the American judicial system, the appeals courts in particular, to subvert the lawful administration of justice, defy legal process and pervert all democratic norms sure ain’t one of them.  

I’d be thankful for a day I don’t wake up hearing the list of who this sick puppy has attacked on twitter while I was sleeping.  As a citizen of the world’s still most powerful country, and also one of its multitude of famously powerless consumers, I wake up praying for the serenity to not get angry as hell just thinking of the fucking serenity prayer.

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:

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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.