December 16: Birthday of Ludwig van Beethoven, of Arthur C. Clarke and Philip K. Dick.
We begin with William Webster, former US Federal Judge and FBI Director under Carter and Reagan:
I Headed the F.B.I. and C.I.A. There’s a Dire Threat to the Country I Love.
William Webster / New York Times
… The country can ill afford to have a chief law enforcement officer dispute the Justice Department’s own independent inspector general’s report and claim that an F.B.I. investigation was based on “a completely bogus narrative.” In fact, the report conclusively found that the evidence to initiate the Russia investigation was unassailable.
… Calling F.B.I. professionals “scum,” as the president did, is a slur against people who risk their lives to keep us safe. Mr. Barr’s charges of bias within the F.B.I., made without providing any evidence and in direct dispute of the findings of the nonpartisan inspector general, risk inflicting enduring damage on this critically important institution.
That is a 96-year-old “by-the-book” civil servant of unimpeachable credentials (pun intended) screaming his disgust at the slurring of the machinery of Justice by Messrs. Barr and Trump.
But, in a case that’s as “open and shut” as any ever seen in the courts of law, endless lawyers and congresscritters — with “R” branded to their names as ever “A” was in a Nathaniel Hawthorn novel — find mysterious exoneration in the absence of facts, evidence and compelling alternate narratives.
The Scarlet Letter – illustration by
Mary Hallock Foote 1850.jpg
Which is the definition of the abrogation of the “rule of law.”
Would I demand impeachment had Obama done the exact same thing?
I don’t have to pretend that I might have. I have stood for the right — as I saw it — against all parties friendly and hostile too many (expensive) times to doubt it.
The rule of law that GOPs endlessly harped on to pretend that lying about a consensual sexual act (that would never have happened had not the GOPs shut down the government and FORCED the White House to run on intern labor, since all the professionals were prohibited by law from coming to work, oh, and the married Speaker of the House, dead set on impeachment on December 19th, was banging his secretary on the Speaker’s desk while attempting to remove Clinton, and who is now the “first lady” to that SAME secretary — now our Ambassador to the Vatican in a straight-up insult to the Catholic Church, sending outrageous adulterers to Rome as representatives of the US government?!??) that selfsame rule of law is coughing up blood.
You see, Newt Gingrich’s behavior isn’t even troubling to our “moral” GOPs. He is free to go on Faux Nooz and intone about how “wrong” this impeachment without a WORD said about his all-but-criminal hypocrisy in the LAST one, orchestrated BY himself.
Suddenly that horror of Bill Clinton lying under oath about a private act not touching presidential duties is a laughable kerfuffle when Donald J. Trump (the “J” stands for “Judas”) engages in conduct SPECIFICALLY FORESEEN BY THE FOUNDERS as the REASON that impeachment exists in the Constitution in the first place!*
[* Read Federalist papers #65 and #66, written by Alexander Hamilton to explain the Constitution to the voters who would be voting to adopt or reject it. They’re SHORT.]
Neither is prejudging a trial and stating THAT he has prejudged the trial and INTENDS (implicitly) to violate his sacred oath as a juror even before taking it (and having served in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps of the US Air Force for thirty-three years, as well as, by virtue of his admission to the bar, being an officer of the Court in all areas he is admitted to practice law) which is precisely what Senator Lindsey Graham (a mad screamer about the “rule of law” in the Clinton Impeachment and a “House Manager” for same at the trial itself) has done all weekend.
The very notion of a “rule of law” is under extreme and potentially fatal stress.
It is the final and irrevocable “my way or the highway” approach to governance, which is where we are at.
Consider the FIRST paragraph of The Republican Staff Report “defense” of Trump in the released-today Judiciary Committee Report to the House (on impeachment):
On November 8, 2016, nearly 63 million Americans from around the country chose Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States. Now, less than a year before the next presidential election, 231 House Democrats in Washington, D.C., are trying to undo the will of the American people. As one Democrat admitted, the pursuit of this extreme course of action is because they want to stop President Trump’s re-election…. The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations…* [emphasis added]
From the official dissents in the back of the Judiciary report:
* Republican Staff Report Prepared For
Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Committee on Oversight and Reform
Michael T. McCaul
Committee on Foreign Affairs
December 2, 2019
Fallacy? Cherry-picking (and a soupçon of ad hominem).
The first sentence and all its highfalutin’ Appeal To Popular Opinion fallacy is based on the parallel fallacy also called “Argument By Selective Observation.”
Yes, Trump received 62,984,828 votes, but his principal opponent, Hillary Clinton received 65,853,514 votes! Almost three million votes MORE than Donald J. Trump (the “J” stands for “Judas”).
THEREFORE, IF Trump’s votes are the justification for ignoring the impeachment (which itself is a dodge, since if Trump murdered someone in cold blood, the number of votes he received would count as NOTHING in the consideration of the crime), Hillary Clinton’s votes would suggest, three million more times, that Trump OUGHT to be removed from office.
This wouldn’t do in their opening appeal, so Hillary Clinton’s almost 66 million votes had to be suppressed for the argument to work. That’s a lot of cherries to pick, n’est ce pas?
An extremely SELECTIVE observation to begin with. This is a fundamental thumbing of one’s nose at the very notions of evidence, reason and law.
In other words: to “defend” against a clear series of crimes, criminal attacks on the very nature of law itself are being marshalled.
One wonders what Trump is doing for them (or threatening them with) to provoke such a radical betrayal of the very law itself. Why would they want to do THIS for HIM? It is a puzzlement.
Certainly Mitch McConnell’s brazen attempt to stuff the Federal judiciary with unqualified ideologues is part and parcel to this attack on the fundamental bedrock of our republic.
It is there for all to see, but very little is said. It is of a piece. It is all a part of some grand, but not-very-well-thought-out scheme to implicitly enact Hassan I Sabbah’s* injunction: Nothing is true; all things are permitted.
[* It isn’t by accident that we derive two English words from Sabbah: “assassin” and “hashish.”]
Not-very-well-thought-out as we shall see at the end.
It is a bizarre argument from a party which has renounced the use of reason — albeit not treason — as a tool of politics-as-usual. At present, one is hard-pressed to find a Republican who will admit that colluding with Russia was wrong, even if they might admit that 272 contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives occurred at all.
And, as I attached the slightly later comment: ” The evidence presented does not prove any of these Democrat allegations…” it is not the “Democrat party.”
The “Democratic” party has been “Democratic” since 1828. It is the oldest active political party in the world, and there is no excuse other than sheer turdishness not to call the Democratic Party by its name. It is junior high school boorishness and has no place in the governance of our Republic. That’s the soupçon of ad hominem I was talking about. It seems to have started with Bob Dole, whose gravestone will read (as will the entire GOP’s): Here lies Bob Dole, who cared more for his party than his country.
Or, in this case: here the Republican party lies … no more.
And that was just the first paragraph of the “defense.”
If the intent of the GOPs is to make a mockery of the Rule of Law, they have succeeded admirably.
If their intent was to begin the death of the Rule of Law, they are well along the Path to Success.
But I should caution our pillaging, plundering, prevaricating preterites:
When the rule of law is dead, there is nothing to stop Democratic sympathizers from killing Republicans without consequence.
And, as not well publicized, it turns out that they own guns, too.
I am not being hyperbolic. I am trying to scare hell out of you.
This isn’t about a crook in the White House.
This is about the end of “separation of powers” and “co-equal branches of government.”
Worse, it is about the bedrock on which we have built our castle of “America” on: the rule of law. The notion that no man is above the law, and that ALL are equally subject to its rule.
The statue of the Goddess of Justice has a blindfold over her eyes to indicate that impartiality.
Not, as our GOP fiends seem to believe, to keep Justice from seeing the evil that they do and pretend to be immune from prosecution for.