Saturday, April 20, 2019

There will be no radio drama posted today, Holy Saturday.  I can't find one appropriate.  I'll post a couple during the week.  I've got an archive of them if you can't wait, type Radio Drama in the box at the upper left hand of the screen. 

Lying Isn't Limited To Sarah Huckabee Sanders

In an article in the Guardian titled, Nancy Pelosi shows no restraint in disparaging young progressive women, Arwa Mahdawi says:

There seems to be no rule about not insulting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez from abroad, for example. On Monday, Pelosi told an audience at the London School of Economics that a “glass of water” could have won a seat in Ocasio-Cortez’s “solidly Democratic” district. Which rather glosses over the fact that 28-year-old Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joe Crowley, a 10-term incumbent, in the primaries. And completely misses the point that Ocasio-Cortez was elected because people are desperate for real change, not more establishment centrists like Crowley. (Who, by the way, then went off to join a corporate lobbying firm that reps clients from the fossil fuel industry.)

Mahdawi links to a piece in Newsweek which gives fuller quotes as to what Nancy Pelosi said which show, if she was insulting Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in her comment, she was insulting herself, as well.  And, of course Mahdawi seems to have missed that Nancy Pelosi praised AOC in the same comment.  

“When we won this election, it wasn't in districts like mine or Alexandria's. And she's a wonderful member of Congress, I think all of our colleagues will attest,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, told an audience Monday night at a London School of Economics event during a U.K. visit.

“But those are districts that are solidly Democratic. This glass of water would win with a D next to its name in those districts,” she said, picking up the water at her table.

“And not to diminish the exuberance, and the personality, and the rest of Alexandria and the other members...but the 43 districts—we won 43, net gain of 40—were right down the middle. mainstream, hold-the-center victories.

I would bet you that when she heard that, as I'm sure she must have, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez would recognize the truth of what Nancy Pelosi said but a New York lefty writing for the Guardian, not only didn't understand what was said, she translated it into exactly what it wasn't.  Or, rather, didn't figure she'd get an article out of pointing that out.  That is as common a practice on the play-left of the kind that never wins more than a seat in a legislature or municipal council here and there or, more rarely, a House seat in a safe district in a few cities in the United States but never wins a majority that could put a Democrat in the Speakership or wins a Democratic election. 

More aptly, perhaps, Arwa Mahdawi critisized what has been called the tepid response of Nancy Pelosi to Trump whipping up the very real potential of an assassin trying to murder Congresswoman Ilhan Omar:

Pelosi also doesn’t seem to find it necessary to treat Minnesota congresswoman Ilhan Omar with much respect. She has made it abundantly clear that she sees Omar as a nuisance to be dealt with, rather than a colleague to be defended. When Trump recently tweeted a racist video dishonestly accusing Omar of minimizing 9/11, the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders jumped to Omar’s defence. Pelosi’s reaction, meanwhile, was to not mention Omar’s name and tweet a thinly veiled jab about the memory of 9/11 being sacred ground.

What she is refering to was said in a tweet:

Nancy Pelosi
 The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence.  The President shouldn’t use the painful images of 9/11 for a political attack.

Which is probably a good example that Twitter is a lousy place to address points like this in.  I will grant that that, by itself is not adequate, though to pretend that is the extent of Nancy Pelosi's response is as dishonest as Mahdawi's use of what she said about House members from atypically liberal districts.  

I would point out that Nancy Pelosi's job is considerably different from Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren's, Nancy Pelosi's first and formost job after passing legislation in the House is tryping to protect and expand the Democratic majority in the House and not to have the Democratic caucus in the House become a political issue used by Republican-fascists, Greens (to repeat myself) the play-left (including those already mentioned in the second) and others to put the House in Republican-fascist hands, keep the Presidency and the Senate in those hands.  Her responsibilities are to the whole country as well as to individual members.  Ilhan Omar has been used in the media to try to do to Democrats in the United States what the media and Brit fascists have done to Labour into Britain, paint it as antisemtic to prevent Labour forming the next government.   Apparently The Guardian is joining FOX and RT and Sinclare in doing that.   Nancy Pelosi is certainly aware of that.   Politics isn't always a matter of telling the whole truth every time.  No one does that.  I certainly couldn't do Nancy Pelosi's job, I know her critics couldn't, especially those on the play-left side of media. 

I strongly suspect that I'm farther to the left than the Guardian Writer, I am certainly farther to the left than any lefty who doesn't realize there is nothing, nothing at all more radical than winning elections, holding seats MAKING AND IMPLIMENTING LAWS THAT MAKE LIFE BETTER.  That is something that many on the play-left not only don't get, imagining their imaginary pie-in-some-never-to-come-sky is more radical than reality, but actively work to prevent.  There is no group of those more prone to treating their imaginary ideas  above real reality than those who write and babble for a living.  Especiallly those from elite educational backgrounds from places like Oxford.  

Ratfinks Of Rectitude

In the kaleidoscopic corruption revealed  in even the truncated Mueller report and the various points of view from non-Trumpian lawyers that I've been listening to - what's the point of listening to the Trumpian ones, they obviously don't mind lies - I can't remember who it was who finally said something that readers of this site will know I've thought about a bit, that Rod Rosenstein, sold to us for the past two years as some stalwart figure of principle is actually a figure of the weakest character.  

Whether it was him giving over the excuse to fire Comey with about as much resisence as Dr. McGroovy (c. 1969) giving him Trimp the health report Trump dictated or, to the contrary when he was hanging with the guys at the FBI suggesting wearing a wire to bust Trump (which he claimed was a joke when it was revealed) or various other things before he reached his cowardly apotheosis of standing like a drugged emu behind William Barr as Barr told lie after lie about the document that would be released, which Rosenstein knew would expose both of them as liars, Rosenstein has been a profile in garbage.  

I understand that he had one use, as a buffer, of sorts, between Mueller and no-Mueller, one who, perhaps, saw his best advantage coming from being seen as Mueller's protector as he did his report.  Maybe, at least for a lot of it,  Rosenstein was counting on Mueller taking out the Trump, to speak of garbage, and Rosenstein could go back to prosecuting people like a good little bathroom monitor.  But somewhere he must have realized that wasn't going to happen and then Andrew McCabe, who he'd been in on screwing, revealed his suggestion of someone wearing a wire.  

I'm about done with Rosenstein but I'm not done with the journalists, the insider lawyers and others who have been mischaracterizing him for the past two years.  Do they never learn?  A few who I had assumed had more sense said that it was Rosenstein's blank stare, lying buttress holding up Barr that opened their eyes.  I'm hundreds of miles from the elite ranks of DC and thousands from it as measured in class but I saw it as soon as we found out about the Comey firing memo - to speak of connected, DC establishment tools who had one use.  I figure if such people as Comey and Rosenstein are volunteering to be tools that people who can use them for better than their ususal purposes may as well.  But they should never misunderstand that that usefulness is tied, most of all, to what they figure is best for them, best for their self-image.   I remember the type, the upright, upstanding boy-scout type who would stab you in the back or fink on you as soon as they figured that would get them what they wanted. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Lamentations of Jeremiah For Good Friday - St. Mary Coptic Church Seattle, Washington

Lamentations 3: 1-66
Sung in English

Walter Brueggemann in talking about why so many churches leave out the Psalms of lament and anger says that they fail to address some of the most important parts of human emotion that are uncomfortable but that can't be left unaddressed.  These verses, sung on Good Friday certainly include those emotions. 

I might love some of the polyphonic settings of the Lamentations in Latin but I've never heard them sung so effectively before.

The Lord Is Crucified With A Needle Now

Daniel P. Horan, a Franciscan friar and assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, has written an article saying that Good Friday, the day of commemoration of the state murder of Jesus Christ by the Roman State, is the natural time to preach against the death penalty.   He points out that this is the first Good Friday since Pope Francis has made it an official teaching of the official Catholic Catechism that the death penalty is in moral opposition to the most valid of moral authorities in Christianity, Jesus.   From the Catechism:

2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.

Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.

Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that "the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person" and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

Fr. Horan, no doubt to counter the many Catholic advocates of state murder, a number of them presently sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States, points out:

One of the traditional go-to justifications for supporting the death penalty among American Catholics had been a clause in the 1992 Catechism of the Catholic Church that acknowledged the possibility that state execution of criminals could be justified as a last resort and for the sake of the common good. That document was promulgated under St. John Paul II, who was an outspoken critic of the death penalty (including in the United States) and who, according to reporting by Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese, didn't want to include the exception and would have preferred to see the practiced entirely abolished. "But some in the Vatican were concerned about how the church would explain its change in teaching," Reese explains. So, to avoid having to provide a difficult explanation, "John Paul had the catechism say that the death penalty was only permitted 'if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.' The catechism quotes John Paul, who stated that cases requiring the execution of the offender 'are very rare, if not practically nonexistent' (no. 2267)."

Last August, Pope Francis accomplished what John Paul could not during his own ministry as bishop of Rome. The pope instructed the prefect of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to revise paragraph 2267 of the catechism.

Even as much of a critic as I am of John Paul II and Benedict XVI, they were quite consistent in opposing state murder.

In a year of bad news for Catholicism, of lapses in moral courage, this was one of the brightest spots, even as the sin it addresses it is a spreading mortal sin corrupting the United States.    

I would wonder why the right-wing bishops who bar Catholics from receiving communion, even kicking their kids out of Catholic Schools for deviation from official Church teaching never, in my memory, bar Catholic politicians and Supreme Court Justices from communion over their support for and imposition of state murder, a serious mortal sin in probably every case even under JP II's narrow exception.  Only, I don't ususally need to wonder hard about things like that.   I would love someone to get Cardinals and Bishops such as Raymond Burke, Bishop Joseph Strickland, David Konderla, Robert Morlino, Daniel DiNardo, the odious TV bishop, Robert Barron or the rest of the right wing enemies of Pope Francis on record as to this issue.  Let them prove that their "right to life" views are as seamless as those of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, himself the victim of right wing smears, by supporting this clear official teaching of the Church.  

Disappointed Members Of The Mutual Admiration Society

I listened to but did not watch William Barr's disgusting Republican spin session yesterday morning, they said that Rod Rosenstein was standing behind Barr so I knew that, I didn't see the unblinking stare of Rosenstein as Barr told lie after lie after lie, which Rosenstein certainly knew were all lies.  Lots of guesses as to what Rosenstein's blank, unblinking stare might have meant.  I didn't see it but I wonder if he might have been calculating how much credibility he might still have, if he were in such a deficit that he would never get out or which of his buddies in the media and among DC lawyers to get to cover up his bare-assed naked shame for him. 

If I had a dollar for every time some Republican or Democratic lawyer or legal scribbler in the media assured us that Rod Rosenstein was a golden boy of legal propriety both before and after his role in Trump's obstruction campaign was revealed, when Rosenstein's note giving Trump an excuse to fire James Comey who wouldn't give Mike Flynn a pass, something Rosensein knew as he gave Trump that excuse, it would add up to a tidy sum.   The sum of those who have, since, expressed their shocked surprise that the sleaze has turned out to be a sleaze is lower but I'd certainly have enough to buy a rather nice gardening tool or one of those books I can't afford to buy new. 

Anyone who trusts the assurances given about these highly connected, Ivy leaguer lawyers sense of honor, without proof, is a chump.  Especially those who buy them from their fellow connected, Ivy leaguer colleagues.  Or those who came from the Ivy equivalents.  For me, from now on, those types have to earn their credibility and they'll lose it immediately if they stick up for someone as slimy as Rosenstein or Barr. 

The Supreme Court Has Been More Effective Than Putin In Preventing Government Of By And For The People

As I am typing this NPR has on the Russian with an American accent Vladimir Posner.  He's saying he doesn't think Putin's regime screwing with American elections is a big deal and is implying it was an off the cuff thing because Putin was beefin' with Hillary Clinton for comparing him with Hitler and he is implying that, it's not something Americans should be upset about, saying he doubts that Putin knows, himself, if he's going to try ratfucking our election next year, yet. 

On a network that regularly goes through the motions with useless establishment talking heads, I don't think I've heard a more transparently lying and useless interview.  Why anyone would expect more from Posner who has been turning like a weather vane on American media since the days of Perestroika, changing with the winds of Russian politics, I don't know.

One of the things he did point out, which is true, is that the American government has ratfucked elections in other places, which is a fair point to make.   But that's certainly not going to improve under the kind of governments we get with billionaire ratfucking of our elections.  There is an off chance that a government of, by, and for the American People might, out of the vestiges of a sense of fairness among the common People, think that People in other places should decide who is going to govern them.  Republican-fascists are bent on that never happening here so why would they be less likely to interfere in government of, by and for their own People elsewhere.  

Posner's cynicism would seem to be typical of Russian culture, certainly understandable in a People whose culture and soul has been so damaged under the Czars, the Communists who were no less than the worst kind of Czars and the Communists who went seemlessly from Marxism to outright gangsterism.  I'd really hate for the American soul to be corrupted similarly and for so many generations of entrenchment.  That is the fondest hopes of the likes of the Murdochs, the Mercers, the Kochs and the Repubican-fascist establishment. 

I have always, from the start of the exposure of Putin's rigging of the election, pointed out that that corruption of the American  Constitutional system was a product of the Supreme Court thwarting the attempts by the elected government to clean corruption out of our politics.  They opened up the American electoral system to the corruption of, first, domestic millionaires and billionaires and, then, foreign billionaires.  The corruption of our system is a direct product of the least democratic branch of our government, the Courts, as staffed by the product of those same elite law schools where the theory of unitary executive fascism incubated. 

We Will See If Robert Mueller Is OK With His Friend William Barr Turning The American Presidency Into A Crime Mob

One of the things that is clear from the truncated version of the Mueller Report is that it wasn't nearly a complete investigation.  As I think I recall from a long day of reading and listening, it was Adam Schiff who said that Mueller and his team left the massive issue of Trump's finances virtually untouched, which means all of those known and incredibly shady financial deals with Putin's oligarchs, the German bank which was laundering money for such oligarchs and others didn't go into informing Mueller's conclusions and decisions. 

Another thing we know, he didn't go after Donald Trump jr. Ivanka and the rest of Trump's family members who were thick as the thieves they are in it. He chose to not force their testimony to a grand jury.   The only person among the talking heads I heard who had the same reaction I did to that was Elie Mystal at The Nation, of all places:

Mueller didn’t subpoena Donald Trump. Or Donald Trump Jr. Or Ivanka Trump. Or Eric Trump. Or Jared Kushner. His failure to directly ask those five principles a single in-person question represents a failure of his investigation. It’s a failure that will haunt this country for some time.

Mueller’s reasons for not subpoenaing Trump are what the scientists would call “bad.” The report says that investigators sought a sit-down interview with Trump, but were rebuffed. It says that they received written answers from Trump’s team, but these were “inadequate.” The report includes those written responses, and Trump’s lawyers use the phrase “can’t recall” 37 times, which puts Trump’s memory on par with a goldfish. Mueller concludes that the cost of issuing Trump a subpoena that would delay the investigation as Trump fought all the way to the Supreme Court outweighed the benefits of securing his testimony.

That’s unacceptable. You can’t hold yourself out as a nonpolitical prosecutor only concerned about the facts, and then make a decision to not secure additional facts based on a purely political calculation. Getting Trump to testify under oath about Trump’s intention behind all of the acts he committed that look like obstruction of justice is crucial to the inquiry of obstruction of justice. You are just not investigating obstruction of justice if you do not attempt to get those facts, and saying, “Well, he’d resist,” is simply not what we deserved from the special counsel.

It was Mystal on one of the news shows yesterday who pointed out Mueller must have known that Donald Trump's mob boss manner of operating, the kind of gangster speak that his lawyer, Michael Cohen, laid out in his testimony to the House judiciary committee, meant if you were going to get him you had to go after the next generation of his crime family.  Something that Mueller chose not to do.

My question, asked before the truncated report was released was if Mueller or his boss for most of that time, Rod Rosenstein would have treated middle class or poor people the way they treated the Trumps and Kushner, I can't believe they gave the benefits, THE PRIVILEGES they granted to them to poor people who fell into their professional focus.  I doubt Robert Mueller would refuse to question a blue-collar class suspect because he thought he was stupid or that he would lie to him, one of the excuses for not going after Donald Trump jr.  I doubt they'd let a 17-year-old kid off like they did the scion of a mobster in his late 30s.  Elie Mystal sensibly asks why the people who Mueller prosecuted and got prison time shouldn't think they were unfairly treated with harsher justice as the Trumps were handled with kid gloves. 

I don't, not for a second, believe that Trump being a Republican is not a part of it, either. 

I do think Robert Mueller did, obviously, kick this over to the Democratic House which, as Mystal says, might have been better for Mueller but it is not better for the country.  In doing that Mueller certainly knew he was giving William Barr, a man he has known professionally and personally for a long time, he knows Barr's character as exposed in his past lying to Congress about his work for the Bush I administration and his devotion to giving Republican presidents fascistic power as a devotee of the unitary executive excuse for doing that.   Mueller also knows there is absolutely no chance that if impeached, Trump will not be convicted in the Republican controlled Senate.

There is some reason to sympathize with some of Mueller's decisions on a professional, lawerly basis, his decision to not come to the obvious conclusion that Trump, as he confessed to Lester Holt on national TV, that he fired Comey to end the investigation into Russian contact with his campaign, because of the Department of Justice policy to not indict a sitting president.  The very policy that that other deputed to be honorable man, James Comey violated when it was Hillary Clinton running as a Democrat.  That is the clear statement in Mueller's Report that William Barr, knowing lied about from two days after Mueller gave him his report.  The only reason Mueller gives to not state the obvious was that policy. 

But that policy, itself, is an invitation to a criminal like Trump to commit these kinds of crimes in office.  It should be changed. 

If Robert Mueller's chosen failure was him going along to get along in his own, Republican establishement or if it was part of a larger strategy may become clearer.   That's not important at this point.  What's important is that this report isn't a product of a complete investigation and it can't be sold as such, though that is how Barr has pushed it before it was publicly known and how the media will try to sell it in their own lazy-assed, Republican enabling manner.   I think it's necessary for Democrats to get Mueller on the record, in front of the cameras admitting that his investigation didn't completely investigate even the known crimes of the Trump regime and his crime family who are a part of that.

William Barr, clearly, supports the idea of a crime mob presidency, that's what the fascism of his unitary executive theory, cooked up in places like Harvard Law School, the University of Chicago Law School, ground zero in the destruction of American democracy.   The extent to which Robert Mueller is OK with that will be apparent for the length of time he stays silent on the preliminary character of his report.  Tic-toc, Mueller.   You've already let too much time go by.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Barr's Second Pardon Of A Criminal Regime And Why He Can't Be Allowed To Get Away With It Again

Surprise, surprise, Barr said that he and Rod Rosenstein didn't agree with the legal theories that Mueller based some of his conclusions on, considering Barr is a Unitary Executive fascist it's no surprise he would figure that obstruction of justice by Trump is not possible.  I don't know what Rosenstein, standing there like a stuffed chipmunk based his disagreement on but I can't help but think it's in his role as a Republican apparatchik, a carrerist, what is euphamized in such circles as "an institutionalist".   

If Mueller did, actually, disagree with them and he remains silent for the whole weekend he's no better than a stuffed dummy, himself.  If he falls back onto the high hill of "professionalism" in maintaining his silence while the United States is in the deepest peril of internal subversion since the fall of the Confederacy, it only plays up the unpleasant fact that such "professionalism" is a capacious enough sewer to include such subversion. 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out for the day, after the Liars Digest condensed version of the Mueller Report is released to the Congress where more informed, honest and trustworthy minds will go over it.  I am expecting that there will be obvious deficiencies in what Mueller looked at and how deeply he looked into it.  If he reports that Rosenstein didn't hamper his investigation that won't speak very well of his intentions, if he felt hampered by the written scope of his investigation would also be interesting to know.   I suspect that Mueller's "professionalism" and his professional and personal ties to Barr and Rosenstein might well influence what he thinks and says in that regard, I'm prepared to be pleasantly surprised, I'm always happy to be pleasantly surprised, in the end.  But it isn't what I've come to expect from connected professionals. 

In the end, as it will probably always require, the Democrats in the House will have to conduct a more in depth investigation.  Perhaps Mueller was counting on that happening, maybe he was counting on other parts of the Department of Justice outside of DC and states attorneys general to do what he wasn't able to.  Perhaps he has a wider plan than is contained in the confines of his report.  Mueller will probably fall back, at some point, by disclaiming the realm of politics in his investigation though that's a transparent fraud if he lets Barr's and Rosenstein's non-press conference press conference stand.   

But in a democracy, politics is not a lower thing than mere professionalism.   It is the extent to which the politics are in service to democracy that it rises far higher than mere profession scruples. 

In egalitarian democracy there is no authority higher than The People, the second highest one the people they give the privilege of serving them in the Legislature and, theoretically, at least, the president.  The presidential part of that is the weakest link, especially in our putridly distorted system.  It's up to The Peoples' House to act as a superior force in holding presidential crime to account, when, as in one-party, Republican-fascist governance such as we had for the first two years of Trump's regime, that is impossible.  Which is the reason that The People took away their control of the House, hopefully next time it will be the entire apparatus of elected government and they will reign in the excesses of the Republican-fascist dominated judiciary.  If that happens, this should not be allowed to just be let go as  Nixon's crimes, the crimes under Reagan-Bush I's Iran Contra and the crimes of Bush II were allowed to just lapse as the DC-NYC media encouraged and William Barr helped many criminals get away with it.  It is because Barr was not held to account that he was standing in front of the American People lying to pardon Trump's crimes today.   If our system doesn't, finally, learn that lesson, American democracy is dead.  

Maybe A Failed Lent Can Lead To A Good Easter Time

I haven't had a very successful Lent in 2019, I'd intended to write more appropriate posts and had intentions to do more in the way of personal practice than I have managed.  This has not been a very successful period leading up to the most significant day in the Christian religious year.  Maybe I should make amends during the Easter Time, from the great Easter Vigil to Pentecost, which is ten days longer than Lent.  

Being old enough so I remember the dreadful, pseudo-medieval 1950s Catholicism of my youth, Latin masses that more than 99% of those attending didn't understand most of, the Index, banned movies (in itself maybe not really a bad idea, they're only movies),  pseudo-medieval clap-trap,  a whole host of awful stuff that neo-Integralist fascists funded by non-Christian-Catholic billionaires the Catholic right are trying to revive under the leadership of thugs like Cardinal Raymond Burke and Georg Ganswein, I remember how really pathological the end of Lent could be.  

You can see vestiges of that in those putrid reenactments of crucifixion in places like the Philippines,* reenactments which, here, motivated by an obvious Republican-fascist political intent, things which show that that form of anti-Christianity is a sick death cult that has everything more to do with remnants of non-Christian paganism and, worse, Mammonism, than it does the Gospels and Letters, which are the only authentic accounts of the death and Resurrection of Jesus.  

Yes, the Resurrection, something that cannot be separated from any aspect of the Crucifixion of Jesus without turning his death into a morbid fixation, a long, disgusting, simulated snuff, S&M flick as filmed by Mel Gibson, the rising from the dead pinned on as an afterthought.  

Yes, I think this year I'll concentrate on having a more successful Easter Time.  I might love Lent but it's only the preparation,  Easter is the reason for it.

*  I should point out that nailing people to crosses is something that the Catholic Church officially discourages, though I don't know why they don't go to the bother of issuing a ban on it.  It is a sick spectacle that has nothing to do with healthy religious practice and isn't useful for understanding the kind of pathological conditions that produces it.  

About The Mentally Ill Woman Who Went To Colorado And Ended Up Killing Herself There - Bill Moyers Is Long Retired

There have been so many mass shootings in the 2nd Amendement, Freedom of the Press United States since 2006 when I wrote about the murders of the Amish school girls that you have to wonder about why the 18 year old girl who posted obsessively about the even earlier Columbine killings, things bad enough online that she was being watched, was obsessed with that one which happened even before she was born.   

The only way she could have even known about it was through what she saw about it, what she watched, what she heard, what she may have read, though I think it's unlikely that such obsessions, these days, among media trained minds, a text report of fact is what started them down such a twisted cul de sac.  If I were looking for her motivations, like the motivations of other such people such as the two young assholes who committed the murders, her heroes, who knows what else they were to her, I'd look at the TV shows and movies they watched, these days what online media and social media they looked at and read.  That's what produced the ideas that led her to fly to Colorado where, under the out of date, ill considered and far from above board Bill of Rights as interpreted by Supreme Courts, she was able to get very far into her reproductive self-expression, her work of performance art, what she seems to have been intending in a reproduction of that mass murder.  

We may never know what it was, in the end, that prevented her from doing what she seems to have been bent on doing.  If it was some vestige of moral teaching that, in the end, overcame her obsessive sickness, if it was her finding herself incapable of doing it.  That might be important to know too but it's certainly nothing you can depend on to prevent the next such sad, dangerous person from carrying through.   

Not dependable, as well, is the sense of moral responsibility in the kind of media that encourages such mentally ill people or doesn't care that they're encouraging them as they try to figure out what will get them a larger part of the limited audience share in today's media business. 

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The Murderers Hiding In The Audience Share

Posted by olvlzl

In the news coverage of the murders of the school girls in Pennsylvania there was talk about the similarities between the actions of the murderer and those of the man who took hostages and murdered a school girl in Colorado the week before. One report I heard went into quite a lot of detail about the similarities, a lot more detail than could have been useful to their audience. They’ve got to fill those 24 hours with something. I guess. But, considering what they were saying about copy-cat crime, you would think that it might have occurred to them that a particular segment of their audience might have found their descriptions very useful. I wonder why none of them seemed to think it was possible that some murderer of the near or distant future might have found their information quite instructive.

What is the use of crime reporting? It shouldn’t be useful for the trial, that’s certainly not the role of reporters but of police and prosecutors. Nancy Grace might be confused about that but real reporters shouldn’t be. Ideally jurors wouldn’t have heard any news reporting that could prejudice their decision about the evidence presented in trial. The right to a fair trial, both for the accused and the public, is clearly more important than whatever right the casual observer has to know most of the details as soon as possible.

There is some public interest served in reporting some facts of these crimes. The public needs to know that crimes are being committed and the nature of those crimes especially if the criminal is still at large. But there is a level of detail that goes past what is needed and risks becoming prurient or even dangerous.

Most people can listen to the sordid details and speculations generated by the cabloids with only their character damaged but pretending they are the only ones who could be listening is willful ignorance. The old justification for allowing pornography was true, most people who consume it don’t imitate it. But a study of the effects on the general population wouldn’t show much that was useful. It is the people who do commit horrible crimes who need to be studied. Where did they get the ideas for their crimes, especially those that don’t seem to be original ideas. What is the copy-cat effect of the crime shows on TV?

Is there a significant effect? Are there people susceptible to imitating the crimes spelled out in such loving detail on A&E and Discovery? On the cabloid news stations? And if there is an effect proven beyond a preponderance of the evidence what use should be made of that fact? I don’t know.

But since they are the ones who are always talking about copy-cat murderers don’t they have a responsibility to take that into account when they are structuring their dramatic recitations of these crimes? They certainly do write the shows for dramatic effect, to follow a saleable narrative. Can they make them profitable and responsible at the same time? Maybe they need to look for a good model of responsible reporting. They won’t find much of that on American TV outside of Bill Moyers.

Update:  Someone asked me about "olvlzl".  That was the second pseudonym I used to post comments under after I realized the first one I had EPT (the initials of E. P. Thompson) had associations with a pregnancy test involving urine.  olvlzl were letters that came up in a confirmation code somewhere in my internet surfing and I liked the look of the letters.  They meant nothing but I used it as the name of my first blog and the first year and a half or so as I was Echidne's weekend writer.  I started using my name while under attack for the first pieces I wrote about the malignant and anti-democratic and, as I studied it more,  pseudo-scientific nature of Darwinism. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Cut Out The Tall Silent Type Act Mueller, It's Just Part Of The Cover Up At This Point

“He just did his job. For Mueller, it’s always about the work, and never about him.”   

That's what Sally Yates, the acting top official of the Justice Department, during an all too brief period when you might call it that without a sense of sarcasm, said about Robert Mueller today.  She said it in praise or the head of the Mueller Investigation, just the latest layer in the banana split of sweetness heaped on him.  

I have respect for Sally Yates but, as I said yesterday, I have a lot less for the lawyers in and around the Department of Justice with each passing day, with each passing day as Mueller is going in to work to adjust the report he wrote so William Barr can release and, we now know, spin what Mueller concluded about his investigation into criminality in the Trump campaign and regime by people close to Trump and Trump himself.   

With all due respect to Sally Yates, though, "always about the work" is not nearly enough when it comes to these issues.  What is needed is the protection of democracy from a fascist strong man of obvious amorality and depravity and if "about the work" doesn't do that then what Robert Mueller was a part of will have furthered the goal of Trump and Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, Lindsay Graham, you could name a list of those trying to impose a one, Republican-fascist party rule on the United States through corrupting the elections process, rigging the anti-democratic features embedded into the Constitution and, most of all, stacking the courts with their fellow Republican-fascists.   

Sally Yates, today, called Robert Mueller the “the inverse of the man he would ultimately come to investigate,” even as he's participating in William Barr's obvious manipulation of his report, participating in covering up what the House Democrats see of it and, probably of more importance, the supporting evidence of what Mueller and his team wrote.   If he didn't know it before, he knows today that Barr and Rosenstein are going to further spin what is released, knowing that Barr's Department of "Justice" has been keeping the Trump regime informed of what the Report says even as he stiffs the Congress and the American People. 

In such a circumstance, what she also  says about Mueller, that he is, “Distinctly apolitical, he confounds those who can’t comprehend a person driven by his all too uncommon values: honor, integrity, humility, service,”  I'll believe it when I see the full Report.  

I can't remember which lawyer it was who I heard say something the other night, something I'd thought but hadn't heard anyone else say,  How could Mueller have declared his work finish without getting a number of figures before a grand jury to answer questions or even to give a deposition,  Donald Trump sr. the major one of those.  Other information that has been coming out leads me to think he left major issues in this untouched, we may or may not know if that's the case.  If that's true and he doesn't address that deficiency of his report, I don't trust him.  If he leaves that as a dead letter as his report is peddled as a complete exoneration of Trump, as Barr is spinning it and as I have every expectation that Rosenstein will bare himself as the kind of Republican of repute who will do that for Trump, Robert Mueller's golden reputation is just more PR spin.  I remember being told similar things about James Comey.   The one person I didn't hear it about from top flight lawyers was Andrew McCabe and of all of them, he's the one who has come out least damaged in my thinking, so far.  He's the one who lost the most, too. 

Stupid Mail

To the post-literate as to the never more than semi-literate (especially those with college credentials) all adult vocabulary sounds like what they would call "post-modernist" babble.  

TV has made even the "educated" idiots.  That blog is the home to some of the worst of those I've seen. 

By the way, they don't know the meaning of "post-modernist" they just know they're not supposed to like it because that's how they heard the word used.  Lots of the words they throw around are held in their minds as the most marginally informed, random sounds of passive vocabulary, recognized as words but without them understanding any of their denotative significance.   They'd think that sentence didn't mean anything because of that.  It's "haaarrrrrrd".

They Love To See Even Young Children Suffer: Republicans In 2019 Are Irredeemably Evil By Intent

Yesterday I more or less asked how any person of honor or morality could be a Republican after Bush II and, now, Trump but this story shows that no one who has any moral foundation or honor could be a Republican.  

Most Republicans are rejecting Democrat-led state bills to tighten childhood immunization laws in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in two decades, alarming public health experts who fear the nation could become as divided over vaccines as it is over global warming.

Democrats in six states — Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, New York and Maine — have authored or co-sponsored bills to make it harder for parents to avoid vaccinating their school-age children, and mostly faced GOP opposition. Meanwhile in West Virginia and Mississippi, states with some of the nation’s strictest vaccination laws, Republican lawmakers have introduced measures to expand vaccine exemptions, although it’s not yet clear how much traction they have.

Some of the worst of the Republicans doing this are MDs like Rand Paul, a Republican so devoid of morality that he uses his Congressional Socialized Medicine for himself, even as he is one of the most depraved of the assholes who support this depravity.  And there is the depraved, mental degenerate brain surgeon, Ben Carson. 

The political struggle over vaccination is complicated by the fact that President Donald Trump and two of his Republican primary foes, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) an ophthalmologist, and Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is now HUD secretary, both voiced support for disproven theories linking vaccine to autism during a 2016 debate. Just last month, Paul said he had his own children vaccinated but railed against government mandates to do so.

Republicans are such moral degenerates that they knowingly want laws that will result in more children being exposed to diseases that could be prevented, who don't care if they suffer short or long term illness and health consequences, become disabled from various childhood and other illnesses, consequences including blindness, deafness, brain damage, permanent respiratory problems.  Remember that at the same time they are grandstanding for the idiocy of allowing the most ignorant, superstitious and social-media-media retarded parents to practice a criminal level of neglect and abuse of their children,  of endangering the life and well being of children as a "parental right" that they will certainly cut any kind of program for caring for such children, for providing them with aid, educational help - I can imagine Betsy Devos will be trying to schedule the use of her 19th yacht as she cuts that out of the budget - Trump and William Barr are trying to get the Republican-fascists on the courts to get them thrown off of any health insurance and, you know, I don't have any confidence that the Republican-fascists put there by McConnell, Grassley and Graham won't do that. 

Republicans in 2019 are the worst political force in the history of the country, even the most vile segregationists and slave-owners and Indian murderers had higher standards than they do, as a group.  Individuals, yes, but it was never as generally spread across an entire political party as it is now.   The Republican Party is totally devoid of any virtue, no one who is a part of it has any right to be exempted from responsibility in what it is. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Hate Mail - Why Are You So Mad At Sam Seder and Michael Brooks - Why Do You Hate Assange

I have written enough about that.  Instead of going into it, here's an excerpt of a piece I wrote in August, 2016:

In the mean time, here are some instances in which Julian Assange, complaining about the time and expense of "vetting" the stuff he has used and uses to gain fame and, I'd guess, fortune for himself, including the private information they or their contributors have stolen in the past.

WikiLeaks’ global crusade to expose government secrets is causing collateral damage to the privacy of hundreds of innocent people, including survivors of sexual abuse, sick children and the mentally ill.

In the past year alone, the radical transparency group has published medical files belonging to scores of ordinary citizens while many hundreds more have had sensitive family, financial, or identity records posted to the web. In two particularly egregious cases, WikiLeaks named teenage rape victims. In a third case, the site published the name of a Saudi citizen arrested for being gay, an extraordinary move given that homosexuality is punishable by death in the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom.

‘‘They published everything: my phone, address, name, details,’’ said a Saudi man who said he was bewildered that WikiLeaks had revealed the details of a paternity dispute with a former partner. ‘‘If the family of my wife saw this . . . Publishing personal stuff like that could destroy people.’’

WikiLeaks’ mass publication of personal data is at odds with the site’s claim to have championed privacy, even as it laid bare the workings of international statecraft, and has drawn criticism from the site’s allies.

Attempts to reach WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange were unsuccessful; a set of questions left with his site wasn’t immediately answered Tuesday. WikiLeaks’ stated mission is to bring censored or restricted material ‘‘involving war, spying and corruption’’ into the public eye, describing the trove amassed thus far as a ‘‘giant library of the world’s most persecuted documents.’’

The library is growing quickly, with half a million files from the US Democratic National Committee, Turkey’s governing party, and the Saudi Foreign Ministry added in the last year or so. But the library is also filling with rogue data, including computer viruses, spam, and a compendium of personal records.

The Saudi diplomatic cables alone hold at least 124 medical files, according to a sample analyzed. Some described patients with psychiatric conditions, seriously ill children, or refugees.

‘‘This has nothing to do with politics or corruption,’’ said Dr. Nayef al-Fayez, a consultant in the Jordanian capital of Amman who confirmed that a brain cancer patient of his was among those whose details were published to the web. Dr. Adnan Salhab, a retired practitioner in Jordan who also had a patient named in the files, expressed anger when shown the document

‘‘This is illegal what has happened,’’ he said in a telephone interview. ‘‘It is illegal!’’.


Wikileaks is a bunch of irresponsible thugs, tools of the Putin regime (about which they don't seem to reveal much, Assange is a massive a-hole and so are his supporters.  I don't recall who the journalist was, as I recall it was someone in the Guardian, who reported about a dinner with journalists where Assange had it pointed out that he could get people killed with some of the stuff he was planning on publishing which contained names of people, as I recall it was journalists, who had worked with western entities, naming them would make them targets for assassination.  Assange said he thought they deserved to be killed, shocking the journalists.   If that's Sam Seders and Michael Brooks' idea of journalism, they're dead to me. 

I hope the scumbucket rots in prison. 

Update:  I found it

You did not have to listen for too long to Julian Assange's half-educated condemnations of the American "military-industrial complex" to know that he was aching to betray better and braver people than he could ever be.

As soon as WikiLeaks received the State Department cables, Assange announced that the opponents of dictatorial regimes and movements were fair game. That the targets of the Taliban, for instance, were fighting a clerical-fascist force, which threatened every good liberal value, did not concern him. They had spoken to US diplomats. They had collaborated with the great Satan. Their safety was not his concern.

David Leigh and Luke Harding's history of WikiLeaks describes how journalists took Assange to Moro's, a classy Spanish restaurant in central London. A reporter worried that Assange would risk killing Afghans who had co-operated with American forces if he put US secrets online without taking the basic precaution of removing their names. "Well, they're informants," Assange replied. "So, if they get killed, they've got it coming to them. They deserve it." A silence fell on the table as the reporters realised that the man the gullible hailed as the pioneer of a new age of transparency was willing to hand death lists to psychopaths. They persuaded Assange to remove names before publishing the State Department Afghanistan cables. But Assange's disillusioned associates suggest that the failure to expose "informants" niggled in his mind.

Yeah, I hope the scumbag rots in jail.  Sam and Micheal are chumps, so are the rest of his supporters who mistake him for a journalist. 

Update 2:  Also:

James Ball joined [Wikileaks] and thought that in his own small way he was making the world a better place. He realised that WikiLeaks was not what it seemed when an associate of Assange – a stocky man with a greying moustache, who called himself "Adam" – asked if he could pull out everything the State Department documents "had on the Jews". Ball discovered that "Adam" was Israel Shamir, a dangerous crank who uses six different names as he agitates among the antisemitic groups of the far right and far left. As well as signing up to the conspiracy theories of fascism, Shamir was happy to collaborate with Belarus's decayed Brezhnevian dictatorship. Leftwing tyranny, rightwing tyranny, as long as it was anti-western and anti-Israel, Shamir did not care.

Nor did Assange. He made Shamir WikiLeaks's representative in Russia and eastern Europe. Shamir praised the Belarusian dictatorship. He compared the pro-democracy protesters beaten and imprisoned by the KGB to football hooligans. On 19 December 2010, the Belarus-Telegraf, a state newspaper, said that WikiLeaks had allowed the dictatorship to identify the "organisers, instigators and rioters, including foreign ones" who had protested against rigged elections.

The proof of Assange and Shamir's treachery was strong but not conclusive. Given Shamir's history, there were reasonable grounds for fearing the worst. But even now, you cannot show beyond reasonable doubt that the state has charged this pro-democracy politician or that liberal artist with treason or collaborating with a foreign power because WikiLeaks named names.

One can say with certainty, however, that Assange's involvement with Shamir is enough to discredit his claim that he published the documents in full because my colleagues on the Guardian inadvertently revealed a link to a site he was meant to have taken down. WikiLeaks put the cables on the web last month with evident relish, and ever since I have been wondering who would be its first incontrovertible victim. China appeared a promising place to look. The authorities and pro-regime newspapers are going through the names of hundreds of dissidents and activists from ethnic minorities. To date, there have been no arrests, although in China, as elsewhere, the chilling effect WikiLeaks has spread has caused critics of the communists to bite their tongues.

Hate Mail

If I'd really wanted to discredit the atheist pricks, I'd have pointed out that the two times the building of Notre Dame de Paris fell into atheist hands they tried to destroy it, during the French Revolution when it was looted of much of its most ancient art (some of which didn't turn up again until the 1970s) was descrated and, at one point as I recall, almost burned down by arsonists, something that was attempted again during that other event held up as a wonderful thing in atheist lore, the Paris Commune.  Of course worse than them looting, vandalizing, trying to burn down the building and desecrating it was the murders of clergy and religious and lay people during those trial runs of atheist governance, something that, along with the destruction of churches and cathedrals and art has been a uniform feature of atheist governance every time it was done, possibly the Cuban government the least depraved in that regard.  

Commentary On John 2:19

As I pointed out last night, in a world full of uncertainties one thing you can always count on is the pricks of the internet to come out on any occasion.  And, as long time readers of my writing won't be surprised, the ones I'm talking about are the anti-religious, anti-Christian, anti-Catholic pricks, atheists, some "agnostics".   Maybe it was the shock of seeing the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris destroyed by fire, of knowing one of the great icons of European Christianity,  European Art, probably the central symbol of the French nation and culture was burning, but I was really surprised at how prickish the pricks were  last night.   especially prickish to Catholics who were horrified to see one of the central churches of their religion burning. 

In many of the comments, some of them sent my way, atheists slammed Catholics for mentioning the fact that the building is a Cathedral, a church, a place of Christian worship, the entire reason the building was built, the reason all of the art in it was made, the reason the music that came from it was created and performed, in every aspect, in every way, the existence of Notre Dame Cathedral was an expression of the Christian religion.  There is no honest way to try to turn it into a museum, as some Communist government would a famous Church under their domination and pretend it means that. 

None of the artistic or architectural significance of the building is honestly, artistically or even rationally dissociable from that religion without doing damage to its integrity, any appreciation of that art which is not informed by that religious content is a distortion of it.  You can get something out of the form, you can get something out of the attractiveness of religious art but if you don't experience it in line with those whose religious devotion was their motivation in creating what they did, your experience is a distortion of it.   To an extent that can even be true if you are religious, a Christian, even a Catholic and have a different theological orientation to the creator.  There are works by composers, such as Guillaume de Machaut which are almost impossible to experience as he intended because, as the writer of the words and the music, you would have to believe as he believed to really get what he wanted you to.  You would, for example, have to really despise the devil, to hate sin, to believe in Redemption History which would mean you would have to believe both Testaments and share Machaut's view of both divine and chivalric love (he was a very French, very worldly, late Medieval cleric) to get the emotional intensity of this Motet

To really get it the beliefs behind it are as important as understanding the words and singing the right notes in the right rhythms. To get some idea of that, you can read the notes for the video.  It is, in a very real way, not possible for us to fully understand art to the extent that we don't share its intellectual, emotional and credal basis.   I learned that when I read a translation of Basho's Journey To The Interior and found myself doing nothing but floundering.  And I was reading the included, far longer and more extensive explanatory commentary as I read the translation. 


When I posted that passage, John 2:19, in which, confronted by the authorities Jesus scandalized them by saying if they demolished the temple, he would build it up in three days, a passage certainly known to almost everyone who was involved with building the Cathedral, something they would have heard read in that Cathedral many times over their lifetime. I was trying to understand what I was seeing and hearing. I am not an expert in liturgical history but I would be surprised if that passage were not part of the typical Lenten liturgy then, something which, if they witnessed the destruction of their Cathedral during Holy Week, they'd have thought of.   

I was trying to imagine how the destruction of the Second Temple by the intentional looting and burning of it by the Romans was as devastating to the Jews in the Apostolic period as watching Notre Dame burn, maybe even worse because it was destroyed by the occupying army of Rome which would continue to occupy their country, its destruction part of their imperial domination, their program of destruction of their identity.  It would have been like the Nazis buring it down, no doubt something that was all too imaginable during the war, as the pricks on the internet tried to whip up with lies,  trying, Nazi-like, to pin the fire on Muslims, yesterday. 

In John's Gospel, just the idea of the Temple being destoyed was horrible to imagine for those in Jerusalem.   And, remember, it was the Second Temple, the one built after Solomon's temple was destroyed by the Babylonians, rebuilt five hundred years earlier.   The people who built Notre Dame certainly knew what Jesus said, they would have either heard it read or would have heard it sung (I believe but don't know that the Gregorian antiphon was sung then) they would have fully believed that Jesus did what he said, only he didn't mean the building, he meant his Resurrection.  

If you don't believe in the Resurrection of Jesus, I'm sorry, it couldn't mean the same thing to you that it does someone who does believe that.  If you don't believe in The Blessed Virgin,  even if you share my believer's skepticism of the Birth narrative, it couldn't mean the same thing to you as someone who does.  It is called NOTRE DAME, for the love of Mike!   People who believe it hear the music, they see the art, they see the architecture - the people who built would have believed those things as they built what even the most atheistic of asthetes sees.  But it had to have meant more to them than it could to those who don't believe it. 

As a Christian, as one who is still considered a Catholic and who, culturally has no choice but to be one, I don't apologize for taking the words of Jesus and James and Paul, the example of Mary. Notre Dame (who I am apostate enough to consider the first Christian priest)  to be more important than the building and art that are admittedly important things about the whole thing.   I don't apologize for thinking the lives of the firefighters is more important than any object rescued or destroyed.  If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't get any of the art that flows from the Gospels, the Letters, The Law and the Prophets.  Any person who doesn't believe that doesn't get any of it, at all.  If I didn't believe the lives of People was more important, the art would mean nothing to me. 

Robert Mueller Is Giving Us Every Reason To Believe He's Not Better Than His Good Buddy Barr

The sleaze beneath the elite patina of Republican lawyers involved with the investigation into Trump's family, campaign and administration with the Putin crime family and the cover-up into that is seeping out and it stinks.  That is despite the assurances of other lawyers, Republican, of course, but also Democrats, that the lawyers,  Rod Rosenstein, William Barr and, yes, Robert Mueller who is close, professionally and personally to both of his fellow Republican lawyers and officials, were men of integrity who you could put your trust in.  

Dutifully, that is how the media, largely, covered all of them.   That was despite well known reasons to not trust Barr from the time of his service to George H. W. Bush.  Especially discrediting was Barr's participation in writing Bush I's pardons which were clearly issued to protect him from criminal involvement in serious crimes including terrorist killings in Central America in the Iran-Contra scandal.  That should have been enough for anyone to identify Barr as not only a sleazy lawyer serving a powerful Republican politician, but someone who was willing to lie about it.  

Rod Rosenstein, chosen to be Jeff Sessions #2 at the Department of Justice by Donald Trump, reason enough to have your sleaze sensors alerted, soon proved himself to be of dubious character by writing a memo in support of Trump's own admitted cover-up firing of James Comey.  I'm no lawyer but . . . no, the right word is probably "so" that was enough to lead me to not trust him despite all of that professional comity as expressed by his fellow connected DC establishment lawyers on talk shows and news interviews.  

Robert Mueller, who has the most cred of these three and, who knows, may actually be a man of the integrity attributed to him, has also been a member of the criminal administrations and, after the turn of the new century, Republican regimes.   His appointment by Rosenstein after Rosenstein had given the world every reason to not trust him made me skeptical of Mueller's reputation, along with his previous appointments by some of the worst presidents in our history.

Robert Mueller's reported close professional and personal relationship to William Barr, apparently right up to the present, leads me to wonder just how much integrity he could have.   The doubts I have about that are magnified because of the known sleaze committed while Barr was as a lawyer, an alleged law man who had used his credentials to enable powerful criminals in getting off.  I have my doubts that someone like Robert Mueller would socialize and have warm relations with a minor blue collar wrongdoer who had done far less and whose crimes hadn't harmed nearly as many people, whose real crime was not having elite educational credentials, power, money and a place in the DC-NYC establishment. 

And yesterday further reasons we shouldn't trust Barr at all and why Robert Mueller's relationship to him should diminish the automatic trust he's given came out.   Barr has lied to Congress, misleading it about serious matters in the past in pretty much the way he seems to be with Robert Mueller's report.  

On Friday the thirteenth October 1989, by happenstance the same day as the “Black Friday” market crash, news leaked of a legal memo authored by William Barr. He was then serving as head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). It is highly uncommon for any OLC memo to make headlines. This one did because it was issued in “unusual secrecy” and concluded that the FBI could forcibly abduct people in other countries without the consent of the foreign state. The headline also noted the implication of the legal opinion at that moment in time. It appeared to pave the way for abducting Panama’s leader, Gen. Manuel Noriega.

Members of Congress asked to see the full legal opinion. Barr refused, but said he would provide an account that “summarizes the principal conclusions.” Sound familiar? In March 2019, when Attorney General Barr was handed Robert Mueller’s final report, he wrote that he would “summarize the principal conclusions” of the special counsel’s report for the public.

When Barr withheld the full OLC opinion in 1989 and said to trust his summary of the principal conclusions, Yale law school professor Harold Koh wrote that Barr’s position was “particularly egregious.” Congress also had no appetite for Barr’s stance, and eventually issued a subpoena to successfully wrench the full OLC opinion out of the Department.

Read the whole thing and, while you're reading it, remember, this is all stuff that Robert Mueller would have known about for years.  It makes his Sphinx act in regard to his report into Trump wrongdoing go from seeming like professional propriety to being something quite a bit less reassuring. 

Barr's cover-up shouldn't have to wait years to be exposed, Congress should do everything necessary,  if the judiciary is as corrupted with Republican-fascists as Trump is putting his hopes in and, clearly Congressional Republicans along with him, Democrats in the House should use everything it can do to force it into the daylight.  I would include forcing Mueller to testify, both in closed session and in open session, as should key members of his investigative staff and others.  Barr should be investigated for corruption and, if Rosenstein participates in his cover up, he should be investigated too.  I, for the life of me, don't understand how Rosenstein's participation in the Comey firing isn't already the subject of a House investigation. 

I am sick and tired of seeing these kinds of people, Barr, Rosenstein, getting away with things far, far worse than would land a working class person, a poor person a person with nothing in prison for years.  I'm wouldn't be surprised if Rosenstein and Mueller felt very satisfied by putting people like that in prison even as they socialized and had cordial professional relationships with the likes of William Barr.  I don't respect that class of lawyers, and from now on only by those rare figures in that world who show the slightest amount of moral discernment and judgement.  This is a symptom of moral rot among the well connected and highly placed.  If Robert Mueller is such an exception is something of which I am increasingly skeptical.   If the cover up continues, if the Judiciary and Intelligence committees have to subpoena him to appear and blow the lid off of it, if his sense of petty professional propriety is not overcome by the outrageousness of Barr's and Rosenstein's cover up, he has never deserved the reputation given him by his fellow lawyers. 

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hate Mail - Guess Who

That's what so special about the internet on tragic occasions, it's the pricks. 

The Loss Of A Church Building

Démolissez ce temple, leur répondit Jésus, et en trois jours, je le relèverai.  Jean 2:19

Watching the live video stream of the burning of Notre Dame de Paris, figuring it's pretty much a total loss, my first thought is hoping there is no loss of life as has been reported. That should always be the first reaction to a fire. 

It feels so surreal.   I've never been to Paris and, if I were to go to France would probably have avoided it, but so much of western culture is so tied up with that Cathedral.  Sight unseen, it feels like a personal loss.  Musically, it is one of the foremost birthplaces of counterpoint and has had importance in music right up till today.  Its organs and choir and acoustics have been renowned, its musicians some of the finest in the world.  Artistically, it was full of works of art that dated right back to its medieval beginning that are totally gone.   Its architecture, like all old architecture, is unique, its landmark status too.  The Black Churches which are being burned down have the same meaning for their congregations and communities. 

I can't imagine that something won't be built to replace it, If there isn't enough to recover, as it looks from the video stream, I hope they won't try to reproduce what was there.  That would turn it from a unique part of history into something phony.  An imitation.   

It is, first and foremost, a place of worship,  whatever they replace it with I hope it is an authentic Christian place of worship, a Catholic place of worship and of Christian life.  Christian churches should be places of provision for the poor, the outcast, the sojourner.  If I were on any committee dealing with that, I would point to the description of worship among the followers of Jesus in the letters of James and Paul the other books of the New Testament.  

I hope the reports that no one was killed are true.  I'm afraid to go back to the coverage.  Attending the memorial service of the fire fighter who died in Maine a few weeks back, that's foremost in my mind.  Pray for the People, The People are the Church. 

Update:  They are reporting that a fire fighter was seriously injured but that's all I've read about it.  

Update 2:  No word on other injuries.  

Thank heaven, they're saying there is no evidence of arson or terrorism, this could have turned a terrible catastrophe into something much worse. In the United States, fueled by our "free press" there would probably have already been acts of reprisal against totally innocent people. 

One of the commentaries in the French media said one of the problems Notre Dame had was that too many different entities had authority over it and that hampered preservation and restoration planning.   They're saying they structure, by which they seem to mean the towers that were largely saved and the outside shell have been saved and I guess they're going to rebuild inside that.  President Macron has already announced a national subscription to rebuild, I read that 100 million euros have already been pledged.