« Living Space | Main | Whatcha watching? »

August 02, 2023


I figure pictures are nice even when it's quiet around here.

None of us can have too much beauty in our lives.

Nice picture.

But open thread you say? Well, with apologies all around, here's a tidbit for wj.

The current manifestation of the GOP needs to be ground into dust.

The current manifestation of the GOP needs to be ground into dust.

No argument at all.

Well, except for the detail that cleaning up the resulting toxic waste might be a problem. Perhaps stop with grinding to gravel? Easier to load into rockets and drop into the sun. (Or, for a less technologically challenging solution, drop into a nice subduction zone somewhere. And we could simultaneously clear out some spent nuclear fuel rods....)

Thanks, bobbyp, I didn't want to be the first person to break the silence. What is happening is simultaneously reassuring (that the charges were finally made), and terrifying (when one examines the reaction by GOP voters and of most GOP politicians). It's hard to imagine what is going to happen, both short term and long. But whatever does happen, it's impossible to argue with your final sentence. FYLTGE.

Have just read that Paul Campos piece that bobbyp linked from LGM.

When Campos says, contrasting e.g John Roberts and Bill Barr with John Eastman and Jeff Clark:

The only difference between the former and the latter lawyers are the purely pragmatic judgments they make about what it’s possible to get away with in the American legal system, given its current contours.

I think this is very harsh. On the other hand, it's really hard to disagree with my bolded part of this:

John Roberts knows he needs to get five votes in any case of significance, and behaves accordingly. He’s also all in on advancing reactionary authoritarian ethno-nationalism, because in America right now you’re either opposing the Republican party project or you’re supporting it. There’s no neutral “rule of law” middle ground on this question, which is really the only question.

(although on the first sentence of that, given that he only has to get the votes of other conservatives, the point is not all that persuasively made.)

This conversation reminded me of one of the random ads that popped up on my FB this week for the "We the People" bible. It was a KJV bible bound along with the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution with an embossed cover meant to resemble the American flag. All of the content is public domain, so the asking price really maximizes profit on the back of propaganda and idolatry. It hits in exactly the same fetish object way that the bible verse inscribed AR15s do.

What an amazing concretization the folly of the current All Culture War GOP.

"I think this is very harsh."

Nah. Now this is harsh. And most likely true as well. The reactionary authoritarianism of Bill Barr has been documented rather substantially.

And this is my irregular reoccurring reminder that the American right is as involved in following the Carl Schmitt line as every other party of illiberal nationalism.

It works for Orbán. They will try to make it work here.

It's all about the friend/foe distinction.

A line from a Baloon Juice comment which is too good not to share:

"Florida will ban AP Calculus next, because integration is fundamental to it."

At Politico:

Conservatives took umbrage at the use of Section 241, a century-and-a-half old law, to prosecute Trump. “Smith is charging Trump with a civil-rights violation … based on a post-Civil War statute designed to punish violent intimidation and forcible attacks against blacks attempting to exercise their right to vote,” the National Review editorialized. “What Trump did, though reprehensible, bears no relation to what the statute covers.”

And yet, it does. The Enforcement Acts, one of which was known also as the Ku Klux Klan Act, given its prime target, criminalized widespread attempts by former Confederates to deny Black Southerners their right to vote, to have their votes counted and hold office — rights they enjoyed under the Reconstruction Act of 1867, the 14th Amendment and soon, the 15th Amendment. Coming at a time when American democracy teetered on the edge, these laws gave teeth to the federal government’s insistence that no eligible voter could be denied the right to vote and have his vote counted. (At the time, only men could exercise the franchise.) The laws were a direct response to Southern Democrats’ efforts to abrogate the practical effects of the Civil War and nullify Black political participation and representation.

Today, American democracy stands once again at a crossroads. The refusal of many Republican officeholders to accept the outcome of a free and fair election, and Trump’s outright appeal to fraud and violence in an effort to overturn that election, are precisely the kinds of antidemocratic practices the Enforcement Acts were intended to criminalize and punish.

A lesson in history follows.


The Enforcement Acts, one of which was known also as the Ku Klux Klan Act, given its prime target, criminalized widespread attempts by former Confederates to deny Black Southerners their right to vote, to have their votes counted and hold office.

And now folks who proudly wave Confederate battle flags are working to do the same thing. Quelle surprise. Although this time they have expanded their focus beyond just blacks, to incluse anyone else who opposes them.

I suppose a fair-skinned person who opposes black disenfranchisement will be called a WINO.


"I suppose a fair-skinned person who opposes black disenfranchisement will be called a WINO."

I, for one, welcome them into the community of wine-drinkers.

The MAGA whiners, on the other hand, can DIAF.

Jabbabonk concentrated his efforts on majority black districts. But that was probably primarily* because blacks vote overwhelmingly Democratic, so nullifying votes there en bloc would hit fewer MAGA/GOP voters. And en bloc nullifying requires far less research than selective post election disenfranchisment.

*although blaming voter fraud on n-words has its secondary advantages in RW politics.

"I, for one, welcome them into the community of wine-drinkers."

As some actually famous person put it, "I welcome their hatred."

I'll drink to that.

Good politico piece, bobbyp.

I'll drink to that.

Moi aussi.

Sorry - good politico piece, nous.

Oh my God. The thought did cross my mind that this might be an April Fool's joke, til I checked the date. This is the man who replied "That's why there's an Insurrection Act" when told there would be riots in the streets if the 2020 election was overturned in Trump's favour.


In a conference room near the Capitol, young conservatives gathered in April to learn how to run for office — how to win and wield government power.

Among the keynote speakers at the summit, hosted by a group devoted to “training America’s future statesmen today,” was Jeffrey Clark, the former senior Justice Department official who in 2020 sought to use federal law enforcement power to undo then-President Donald Trump’s defeat.

Clark, who accused the Biden administration of abusing its power, “really fired up our attendees and inspired them to get more active in the political process,” recalled Aiden Buzzetti, president of the Bull Moose Project, which takes its name from Theodore Roosevelt’s split with the Republican Party in 1912. Clark was chosen to speak, Buzzetti added, because of his “very unique résumé and experience with the federal government.”

The criminal indictment of Trump unsealed on Tuesday depicts in vivid detail Clark’s alleged role in the conspiracy prosecutors accuse Trump of orchestrating. The indictment identifies Clark only as “Co-Conspirator 4,” but includes details that match existing reporting about Clark’s post-election role. It portrays him as a linchpin of plans to bypass the acting attorney general and use the imprimatur of the Justice Department to spread “knowingly false claims of election fraud” and deceitfully substitute legitimate electors for sham alternates supporting Trump.

But, as the April leadership summit shows, Clark has won admiration within the pro-Trump wing of the GOP, rather than being shunned for plotting to use Justice Department authority to strong-arm states into disregarding the will of voters.

Last year, he landed a top job at a think tank laying the groundwork for a possible second Trump term. A once-obscure government bureaucrat, Clark now appears as a pundit on conservative television and podcasts. In July, he was spotted at a party celebrating the publication of an authorized biography of former Fox host Tucker Carlson at Washington’s swanky Metropolitan Club. He recently posted a picture of himself at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, enthusing about the weather in South Florida.

With Trump the runaway favorite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, Clark, 56, is poised to gain sweeping authority if the former president should clinch another term — potentially even in the role of attorney general, which eluded him just before Jan. 6, 2021.

Clark would be “100 percent shortlist” for the nation’s top law enforcement position or else White House Counsel if Trump returned to the Oval Office, said Stephen K. Bannon, the Trump ally and onetime White House strategist, who has hosted Clark on his far-right “War Room” show. The hype that surrounds the former mid-level Justice Department official shows how Republicans are lionizing figures key to Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

And it goes on. bobbyp, and anyone else who has said this in the past is right. The GOP delenda est. It must be destroyed, razed to the ground, and the earth salted, just as they did to Carthage. And then maybe sane conservatives can rise up and build a new party.

The indictment identifies Clark only as “Co-Conspirator 4,”

I really, really hope that he doesn't end up as one of the co-conspirators who gets a plea deal for cooperating. I'd like to see him, especially, locked up for a few decades.

Why him especially? Because, unlike the others, he was actually a Justice Department official at the time. Unlike the private citizens involved, he took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. And then tried to subvert it. Call me old fashioned, but an oath ought to mean something.

You provoked me into looking up Richard Donoghue's Jan. 6 committee testimony about Jeff Clark. It's worth rereading, here is the money quote

Steve Engel, I remember, made the
23 point that Jeff Clark would be leading what he called a graveyard; there would be no one
24 left. How is he going to do anything if there's no leadership really left to carry out any of these ideas?

I made the point that Jeff Clark is not even competent to serve as the Attorney
2 General. He's never been a criminal attorney. He's never conducted a criminal
3 investigation in his life. He's never been in front of a grand jury, much less a trial jury.
4 And he kind of retorted by saying, "Well, I've done a lot of very complicated
5 appeals and civil litigation, environmental litigation, and things like that." And I said,
6 "That's right. You're an environmental lawyer. How about you go back to your office,
7 and we'll call you when there's an oil spill."

"The Gang That Couldn't Crime Straight"

Might have to wait until TFG is Most Sincerely Dead to make that documentary/comedy. Right now it's in the "True Crime/Horror" genre.

Aaand, in episode 2 of The Gang That Couldn't Crime Straight, we have America's Mayor has become a Global Punchline


I'm about to read the transcript, but from the article this was my favourite, on Jews:

“They want to go through that freaking Passover all the time,” he said. “Get over the Passover. It was like 3,000 years ago. OK, the Red Sea parted. Big deal. Not the first time that happened.” (Alas, he didn’t provide any context on previous Red Sea partings.)

Truly, only the best people.

From GftNC’s Guardian link:

Giuliani’s descent from “America’s mayor” to a global punchline has prompted much analysis over the years. There’s a constant refrain of: “What happened? How did Giuliani go from hero to crackpot?” In the end, I think that while Giuliani’s fall from grace has been dramatic, it’s not really a huge mystery. Far from being a hero or unique talent, Giuliani has always really just been a mediocre white guy who failed up for much of his life. He gets a lot of credit for helping turn crime around in New York during the 90s but, the truth is, he was only marginally responsible for that. Were it not for 9/11, his mayoral career would probably not be regarded in the light it is now. “It’s callous to put it this way, but September 11 was a lucky break for him,” the New Yorker wrote in a 2022 profile. “It gave Giuliani’s career new life.”

Yes, I have to say, anybody who ever bought the "America's Mayor" bullshit was pretty idiotic, but it seems lots did (probably mainly Rs who had previously been hypnotised by his "law and order in NYC" persona). Apparently it's not such a stretch to say you can fool some of the people all of the time, but even though my favourite bit was the Passover part, with any luck the sex stuff on the tape, added to people's memory of the Borat footage, will cut through any remnants of favourable opinion. Mind you, having said that, in view of the Jeffrey Clark stuff upthread, nothing would surprise me any more.

These people continue to succeed in the modern GOP entirely because they are willing to keep carrying water on Culture War issues without any second thoughts or squeamishness.

The base truly does not care about their character. Character only matters when pointing out the evil of their opponents. They are willing to excuse anything to maintain momentum in the war.

Re: the photo. TO me, that looks like one of those moments when something seen startles me into a moment of clarity, when all thoughts vanish and I just am.

@wonkie -- that makes me happy. It hits me that way too.

Creative misuse of words part #Severalth (I think the last one may have been "guttural" meaning "from the gut"):

Appearing on five television networks Sunday morning, a lawyer for former President Donald J. Trump argued that his actions in the effort to overturn the 2020 election fell short of crimes and were merely “aspirational.”


“What President Trump didn’t do is direct Vice President Pence to do anything,” Mr. Lauro said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “He asked him in an aspirational way.”


During that call [re Georgia], President Trump pressured Mr. Raffensperger to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” to win the state and suggested that Mr. Raffensperger could face criminal repercussions if he did not.

“That was an aspirational ask,” Mr. Lauro said.

“That was an aspirational ask,” Mr. Lauro said.

As in, "My client aspired to lead a criminal conspiracy to overthrow the government. And accordingly asked for assistance." Got it.

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent Veep?"

Too bad for him that Secret Service protection for ex-VPs only lasts 6 months after leaving office.

In his shoes, I'd be hiring some serious private security. There would seem to be a non-zero (to put it mildly) possibility that one of the cult members will decide to do a little freelance witness tampering . . . with extreme prejudice.

The comments to this entry are closed.