Tag Archives: Supreme Court

Joe Biden is Full of it: The Clarence Thomas Hearings

I am still watching the Biden town hall on CNN, but I just want people to hear the bullshit answer Biden just gave to a woman in the audience.  She made the statement that times had changed since the Clarence Thomas hearings, and asked Biden how he had changed and how he would answer people who were still unsatisfied with how he handled the hearing.

I just want you to read the answer he gave.

  • “I opposed Clarence Thomas (unintelligible) beginning. I believed Anita Hill from the beginning. And I tried to control the questions under the laws that exist for the Senate.  And I was unable to do it.  Just like the last hearing…they were unable to control, keep people from being able to ask questions.  What I did was I made a commitment; I made a commitment never again would the Judiciary Committee only have men on that committee.  So, I went out and I campaigned for two people, Carol Mosley Brawn, an African American senator from the state of Illinois and Diane Feinstein…on the condition that if they won they would join the committee….I kept that commitment.  And secondly I made another commitment, that I was going to get the Violence Against Women Act passed which…I wrote myself, the Violence Against Woman Act.  Number three, I’ve spoken with Anita Hill and I apologized for not being able to protect her more.  I’m trying to think, and I raised the question for example, I raised the question, should we in fact have those hearings in camera….when, because you’re gonna always be subject to being vilified no matter who comes and says he said she said this happened, and so here’s the deal….and she said, and I think she’s right, she said No, it’s better not to do that.  We should have it in the open, so we gotta find a way to change the rules as to what can be asked, but in a hearing….it’s impossible to say you can’t ask the question…I won’t go into more detail…I wish I could have protected her more.  I publicly apologized, apologized then and I was able to…we owe her…a lot…because what she did by coming forward, she gave me the ability to pass the violence against women act.  We owe her a great deal of credit.”

 

 

 

 

Essential Reading: Cheating Justice

 

Reviewer of Cheating Justice:

“…no one in our government has the backbone or balls to do the right thing.”

Not then, and not now.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t remember this book getting a lot of play in 2013. It should have. And, it should be getting a lot of play now in the context of the take-over of the government by a transnational organized crime group otherwise known as the Trump administration.

Elizabeth Holtzman has been on numerous news programs in the past three years, but I cannot remember once, once, hearing her asked about this book, which every news pundit needs to be reading and talking about.

I remember being 20 years old and watching Elizabeth Holtzman on television as a member of the House Judiciary Committee. I stayed home from work to watch her vote for articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon in 1973.

Years later, Holtzman became an outspoken advocate for impeaching George W. Bush.

In this book, Holtzman points out that legal accountability (for Bush and Cheney, et. al.) could have come many years after the president and his staff were out of office.  when she wrote the book, it wasn’t too late.

But, accountability didn’t come.  There was no legal accountability for Bush and Cheney and others who conspired to deceive the American people about the need for a war against Iraq, who broke surveillance law against wiretapping, and who authorized and used the form of torture known as waterboarding.

I live in fear that this is exactly what will happen with Trump and the rest of his chronies, Barr, Mulvaney, Bolton, Sondland, Conway, Bannon…

As Holtzman’s book clearly illustrates, the Trump administration is not the first to use the Office of Legal Counsel as a mechanism to create the impression that their illegal behavior is legal.  The Bush Administration used the Office of Legal Counsel to craft opinions so absurd that they then made the decisions classified so people couldn’t see how rationally tortured they were.   So, this is not the first time the OLC has been an essential part of Executive law breaking.  The OLC is a tool in the kit of unscrupulous authoritarians.

I don’t hear anybody, though, pointing this out.  I don’t hear any discussion of the long history of using the OLC as a weapon.  I don’t remember anyone having Holtzman talk about the OLC and Mueller’s use of the opinion preventing presidental indictment as a dodge to hold him accountable.  I don’t hear anyone having Holtzman talk about the centrality of the OLC in the Republican campaign to install a one-party state in which authoritarian government rules.

This is not the first rodeo for these folks (the Barrs, the Mulvaneys, the McConnells). They know how to play this game and are playing it for all it’s worth. Nobody in the corporate media is talking about it. Instead, the corporate media is mired in the ins and outs of what amounts to Trump psycho babble and hours of analysis of polls they themselves admit are no longer accurate because of changes in technology.  There is endless discussion of the minutia of legal reasoning, whether criminal intent can be established in white collar and corporate and government cases without a verified videotape of the offender committing a specific crime and confessing to it.

There is no discussion of why the laws regarding state, corporate and white collar crime have been rewritten to make them almost impossible to convict on.  There is no discussion of the cowardice of state and federal prosecutors to go after the crimes of wealthy people and the loss of expertise to prosecute complicated cases.  (See Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.”)  Where is this discussion?

The Republicans have been laying the groundwork for this take over of democracy for decades. William Barr has been intimately involved in crafting the mechanisms of state to accomplish this purpose. He saw that Trump could be the man they could use to achieve this end, and he auditioned for the job.

These guys aren’t playing. They have been at this for decades and they are not going to give up. People need to stop deluding themselves that this is politics as usual. It is not.

The Chris Coons of the world will sell us out. While congratulating themselves and having the corporate media heap them with praise for “bipartisan” effort,  the Coons will make deals and compromises.  Coons did just that and helped Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court.  The Joe Bidens of the world just want to go back to business as usual – the regular corruption with good manners. The corporate news pundits like Nicolle Wallace will laugh us through normalizing the end of democracy, having a grand old time doing it. The Chuck Rosenberg’s of the world will sooth us and tell us that there’s nothing to be alarmed about, the professionals will save us. They will not. And we must not let them fool us into thinking so.

The leadership of the Democratic party is culpable as well. George W. Bush should have been impeached.  He should have been put in jail along with Cheney.  The man knowingly lied us into a war where almost 5,000 Americans were killed and God knows how many Iraquis.  But he is now treated like a sweet, dottering old fool.  The fact that he is spending his time painting the faces of dead servicemen isn’t even considered weird as hell.

And, we have Nanci Pelosi publicly joking that people wanted her to impeach Bush.  She makes this statement and waits for people to laugh.  How stupid, how naive that people wanted her to impeach Bush.  This is where we are.

“Cheating Justice” is a book that is essential reading for anyone who thinks Trump is different, that Trump is not the logical culmination of Repubican starategy launched decades ago. It is essential reading for anyone who believes that Republicans have been led down an immoral rabbit hole by Trump. It is essential reading for anyone who believes (as Biden purports to) that the Republicans will go back to being rational and honest people after Trump is gone. THEY WILL NOT.

Republicans were corrupt before Trump and they will be corrupt after Trump.

 

Comments on Cheating Justice:

The crimes of the Bush/Cheney Administration were exposed but unpunished. “Extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping, torture: we cannot live with this legacy, but neither can we seem to escape it. No one is better qualified than Elizabeth Holtzman—prosecutor, congresswoman, member of the Watergate committee—to confront this legal and moral conundrum and show the way forward. Cheating Justice, like its author, is fierce, bold, and unflinching. A powerful, necessary book.”—Mark Danner, author of Stripping Bare the Body
Gloria Steinman: The Bush/Cheney administration “subverted civil liberties, human rights and the law itself and then used”… 9/11 to cover it up.”

JohnConyers, Jr.: Holtzman’s book could provide us important insights into “how we can prevent those (actions) from recurring.”

They Were Chosen Because They Were Sleaze

nicolle

One of the main reasons we are in such a disastrous position politically in this country is the corporate media.  The corporate media gave Trump tens of millions of dollars of free airtime in the 2016 election, did not cover (and have still not adequately covered) Trump’s extensive criminal financial background and associations, and continues to normalize his criminal behavior and that of his minions.

Tuesday night, I tuned in to watch part of Nicolle Wallace’s program and found her and her panel constructing a narrative that US Ambassador to the EU, Gordan Sondland was basically a good guy who had wanted to be an ambassador for years.  As they spun the story, Sondland had worked so hard to get the job as an ambassador.  Sondland was just so thrilled to have been appointed, he wanted badly to please the Trump administration.  The poor inexperienced man was caught between Trump and Giuliani and was just trying to do the right thing for Ukraine.  Poor soul.  It was all just another example of how good people get ruined when they associate with Donald Trump.

There are so many things wrong with this narrative, I don’t know where to begin.  First, there is no evidence to support this fiction. Sondland didn’t work hard to get appointed ambassador.  He bought the position with a $1 million contribution to Trump’s campaign.  There is no evidence in the text messages and cables that Sondland cared one whit about doing the right thing for Ukraine.  He cared about assisting the “drug deal” that Trump, Guiliani and the rest of them were putting together.  Sondland knew what he was doing was wrong because he tried to cover it up by asking Volker to communicate with him over the phone rather than in writing about the plot.  Gordon Sondland is not a good person who got caught up in a criminal enterprise.  He was chosen because he was and is just the sort of person who would happily get involved in a criminal enterprise.

But, corporate media stars like Nicolle Wallace, Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will white-wash all the major players in this running transnational scandal.  They have done so for years.

Scarborough and Brzezinski were called “supporters” by Trump himself and were celebrating at Mar-a-lago after the election.  They only broke with Trump after he outed their adulterous affair.  Nicolle Wallace spent months castigating all the Trump administration members who didn’t quit their jobs in the White House.  She, however, worked for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who lied us into a war that killed almost 5,000 American and God knows how many Iraqis.  Wallace was on television just after Bret Kavanaugh delivered a contrived temper tantrum at the end of his confirmation hearings.  Wallace felt sorry for him, fell for it hook-line-and sinker.  Scarborough spent months before the Mueller report came out telling us that our “institutions continue to hold.”  This morning, Brezezinski told the MSNBC audience that Sen. Kennedy (sucks being this dumb) was a “good guy” and had allowed himself to be drawn into Trump’s sleaze.

These people are not good people who have been drawn into anything.  Most of them were chosen because they were the same sort of sleaze Trump is.  Others went into this with their eyes open, so craven they didn’t care what they were agreeing to.  They all deserve contempt, ridicule, impeachment, many of them prosecution, and shunning.

These people were immoral scum before Trump even thought about running for office and they will be immoral scum after he leaves.  People like Mitch McConnell and William Barr are not “good guys.”  They are dangerous men, willing to do anything, anything to maintain this shot at permanent power they have carved out around Donald Trump.

When people like Wallace and Scarborough and Brzezinski try to absolve them of guilt and weave fictional narratives explaining their behavior, they become enablers of this attempt to overthrow and crush democracy.

The Corporate Media and the Wet Dreams of a Man Who Controls the Nuclear Codes: We Can’t Let Them Get Away with it.

impeach mf

 

It’s been a bad few days, a shocking few days, a disorienting few days.

First, late last week, the story broke that Bill Barr had launched a criminal investigation into the 2016 FBI probe of Russian attacks on the election.  In doing so, the Justice Department became an authoritarian enforcement arm for the White House.  The clear purpose of this criminal inquiry is to harass and punish people in the FBI and the intelligence communities who dared to investigate a transnational criminal who was running for, and then became president, Donald Trump.

But, no sooner had the story broken than the corporate news normalizers (Chuck Rosenberg, et. al.) hit the air waves to tell us that this wasn’t what it was – the use of the Justice Department to prosecute Trump’s enemies.

“It’s only a diversion from the impeachment inquiry,” we were told.  “Barr’s co-conspirator John Durham is a man of integrity, an adult in the room. He would never be involved with anything improper.”  “The investigation is going nowhere.”  “They haven’t even said what crime they were investigating.”  “Let’s wait and see what they come up with.”

There’s a fundamental kind of disorientation you experience when what is right in front of your eyes is denied by others looking at the same thing.  I am used to it from the corporate media, but the past few days have just been crazy-making.

Sunday morning, I turned on the television and before I had a chance to take the first sip of coffee, I was confronted with Donald Trump’s ugly face staring out of the television screen, making some sort of announcement.  I felt like the deer in the headlights.  My partner and I sat propped up in bed, speechless, and listening first to a dead-toned reading of a prepared statement about Bathdadi’s death and then to a totally unhinged Trump wet dream about the actual killing.

When Trump talks about violence he does so with relish.  He draws out the phrases and words almost as if he were tasting them on his tongue.  Sunday, he was visibly savoring the details of Baghdadi’s death.  He was enjoying the video of the man’s humiliation, his crying, his whimpering, his terror.

I have listened to Trump enough to know when he’s pulling shit out of his ass.  I knew even then he was making this up.  What we were listening to was a violent wet dream inside the diseased head of a man who controls the nuclear codes.  I felt nauseous.

Donald Trump’s brain is filled with sick-making fantasies.  Some of these fantasies are of the terrorizing, humiliation and utter destruction – in slow motion and in technicolor – of his enemies.  What we were listening to Sunday morning was what he would like to do to anyone who opposes him.  What we were listening to was what he would do to anyone who opposes him if he thought he could get away with it.  What we were listening to was what he will do to anyone who opposes him if we don’t stop him.

By the time Trump finished and I got to the study to turn on the computer, the corporate media was doing its job.

I sat and stared with disbelief into the face of a young woman reporter who had listened to the same public statement I had.  “Trump” she said “is a vivid storyteller.”  He has an “unconventional style.”

What the corporate media then did throughout the day was transform an obscene display of crassness, mental illness and sadism into a question of style. Donald Trump is not a vivid storyteller. Donald Trump is not unconventional.  Donald Trump is a madman.

I tried to spend most of the day dealing with cats, Naan, and working on a seminar about the 1960 film, Elmer Gantry.

Monday morning, I hadn’t even turned on the television when my Twitter feed went wild.  Reaching over to get the Mini, I read a stream of comments that made me groan out loud.

The two worst people in the entire world (Joe Scarborough and the dreadful Mika) were evidently on air lecturing the rest of us and calling us “unAmerican” for booing Donald Trump and chanting “lock him up” at a ball game.  These two narcissistic, self-promoting, vacuous and disgusting examples of what this society has become had the audacity to scold and shame American citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights.

These two people helped get Trump elected by giving him millions in free air time.  Trump himself referred to them as his “supporters.”  They got his permission before they asked him difficult questions in an interview, and they were partying at Mar-a-Lago after the election.  They saw themselves in the White House.  Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski turned on Trump only after he threatened to (and eventually did) out their adulterous affair.

Morning Joe is usually good fodder and provides such delicious examples of wretched corporate media coverage (not to mention obsequious butt kissing from the panel), but I couldn’t even turn on the television.  I knew I would throw something and I enjoy that television.

By mid-morning my Twitter feed was telling me that the most hypocritical, sanctimonious and compromised of all Democrats, Chris Coons, had joined the Joe and Mika team admonishing Americans for spontaneous political expression.  Coons, while presenting himself as being “bi-partisan” and oh such a good guy, helped arrange a sham “investigation” of Bret Kavnaugh that helped him get to the Supreme Court.

The one true point of all this is that the Club of Elites (including the corporate media and the political establishment) wants to handle the Trump fiasco itself.  They do not want the American people empowered.  They do not want legitimate outrage, protests, boos, chants, action.  They are terrified that people in this country might realize they have the power to throw the bastards out whenever they choose to.  They are terrified that people might realize that they have the power to provide themselves with adequate health care, good public schools, living wages and jobs, a fair criminal justice system.  They have the power to demand that the white collar, corporate and political criminals be put under the goddamn jail for their blatant thievery and gutting of the American economy.

The sheer fact of the matter is that the Joe Scarboroughs, Mika Brzezinski’s, the Chris Coons, the Nancy Pelosis, the Ellens, the Danny Deutschs of the world have more in common with each other than they do with us.

They want Trump out because he’s upsetting the game, but they want to handle it themselves.  That way, the polite in-house corruption, cheating, self-dealing and graft can continue.

The corporate media is not even remotely on our side.  They will debate minutiae, trivialize political division, suppress radical expression, flood the air waves with normalizers. They will never, unless they are forced to by the American people, admit that what we are experiencing is a disaster, a terrifying crisis, the transformation of a once proud democratic country into an authoritarian state.  For as long as they can get away with it, they will tell us to “move along.”  “Don’t freak out.”  Go enjoy yourselves, look the other way.

We must not let them get away with it.