Guilty Guilty Guilty; Over and Over and Over

  • Trump found guilty today on 34 charges; we oldsters remember the Doonsbury cartoon about Nixon: “Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!”, which is apropos here;
  • With a comment from David Brin, who has been saying the same things about Republicans, over and over and over;
  • How Trump’s lawyers took the jurors for idiots;
  • Thomas L. Friedman on the absence of shame among Republicans;
  • A Supreme Court Justice with seditionist sympathies; an LA lifeguard imposing his religious scruples on the public; Robert Reich on Trump supporters’ embrace of fascism;
  • And items about the fantasy worlds some Republicans live in: the Capitol was built by literal giants; Boebert takes credit for what she voted against; the government is promoting atheism; and how some Christians are boycotting Fox News for promoting witchcraft.
  • And an essential, pure, Enya song.

So, it didn’t take long for 12 jurors to come to a consensus today, in the criminal trial against Donald Trump. Guilty, on 34 counts. And right on cue, the MAGA-verse erupted into outrage. Law and order is all very well when it’s about thugs on the streets, but not when it’s about one of *them*. (Imagine if Biden were subject of similar charges.) This happens over, and over, and over again.

Since it popped up on my Fb feed just now, I’ll quote this comment by David Brin, who in his book POLEMICAL JUDO (reviewed here) and elsewhere, has been saying similar things over, and over, and over again.

Facebook: David Brin, 30 May 2024:

And so we shift to a tsunami of memes calling New York sin city and hence no jury trial can be fair! A city that raised all the Trumps and made them rich. One that sends floods of its tax revenues to prop up red states. The ‘hero city’ pride of Rudy Giuliani, cannot have unbiased juries. The same movement that used to claim that the only true democracy was exemplified by Grand Juries now declares that GJs and trial juries – even in Red States and where the jurors are mostly white retirees – are always manipulated fools! Because GJs across the land have indicted – and trial juries convicted – upward towards one HUNDRED times as many Republican politicians and associated factotums as Democrats. For crimes that range (very often) to child predation/perversion…

… all of which would indict the GOP as a criminal enterprise, unless you concoct a neutralizing narrative. And they have! That all of it – hundreds of examples plus lost elections – results from a nebulous vast CONSPIRACY! One that operates with inhuman perfection, never-ever-even-once leaving any solid, palpable evidence, under the very noses of the governors and other officials and GOP appointed judges in red states.
Yeh, that’s the ticket. A vast conspiracy of hundreds of thousands, without a single leak, despite Fox and Koch ‘whistle blower’ rewards offering millions! Yeah, that’s it! The “FBI is the Enemy of the People!”

No, it is the enemy of Vlad Putin – your lord, even higher than Donald Trump. Vlad who called the fall of the USSR ‘history’s greatest tragedy’ and openly blames every US institution now denounced on Fox. And yeah, as Vlad writhes in increasing desperation, I have wager offers (give odds) that Don won’t reach November, as his former masters realize they can no longer ‘control him.’

All of our lives are endangered by Democrat polemical incompetence… e.g. at showing the perfect overlap, now, of the Kremlin’s Enemies List with the declared enemies denounced by MAGA.

ABC News, 30 May 2024: ‘Shameful’: Republicans quickly come to Trump’s defense after his conviction, subtitled “Speaker Mike Johnson continued to claim the justice system has been weaponized.”

All of these are textbook examples about how people react emotionally, or tribally, and then use “reason” to justify those reactions. Kahneman, Haidt, et al. Conservatives “believe” in the Constitution only when it suits their purpose.


Picking up from where we left off yesterday.

Yesterday’s news, but still significant.

Washington Post, Dana Milbank, 29 May 2024: Opinion | In closing, Trump’s team takes the jurors for idiots, subtitled “Trump lawyer Todd Blanche treated jurors as if they were deaf or slow. ‘THAT. IS. A. LIE!’ he bellowed at them.”

Donald Trump’s lawyers ended their defense of the former president in a way uniquely suited to their client: with a ludicrous and easily debunked lie.

In Tuesday’s closing arguments of Trump’s hush money trial here, Trump lawyer Todd Blanche told the jury that the revelation of the “Access Hollywood” tapes — Trump’s “grab ’em by the p—y” moment, which set off the fateful effort to buy Stormy Daniels’s silence — was not the earthshaking event we all remember it being for the 2016 Trump campaign. Rather, Blanche said, it was just one of those things “that happens all the time in campaigns.”

It was unprecedented at the time, and most of us were surprised his fans didn’t care. That said a lot about his fans; and the way these lawyers treated the jurors says a lot about how they think of everyone — more projection here — as idiots.



NY Times, Thomas L. Friedman, 28 May 2024: How We’ve Lost Our Moorings as a Society [gift link]

The conventional wisdom is that Donald Trump’s trial over his alleged efforts to buy the silence of a porn star on the eve of the 2016 election is the least important of the cases against him. Politically that may be true. But more than any of the other cases, this one is revealing of a trend ailing America today: how much we’ve lost our moorings as a society.

About how shame was once a mangrove swamp.

It used to be that if you were a candidate for president of the United States and it was alleged — with a lot of evidence — that you falsified business records to cover up sex with a porn star right after your wife had given birth to a child, you would lower your head in shame, drop out of the race and hide under the bed. That shame mangrove has been completely uprooted by Trump.

(What is the ultimate root cause here? Authoritarians have come and gone; Western civilization at least has most survived them. How has Trump in particular made everything so much worse? And how is half the US population inclined to vote for him again? Again I’m tempted to blame social media, and its divisive effects, though some thinkers (like Pinker) think that’s an implausible explanation.)


And now we have a Supreme Court Justice with seditionist sympathies.

Salon, Lindsay Beyerstein, 26 May 2024: “A formula for civil war”: Second flag flown by Supreme Court Justice Alito dire sign for democracy, subtitled “What every American should know about Alito’s Appeal to Heaven flag”


LA Times, 29 May 2024: Lifeguard who took down Pride flags at beach sues L.A. County over religious discrimination

An LA County public employee took it upon himself to impose his religious scruples on members of the public. This goes to my long-standing definition of Christians (and like followers of other hard-line religions): the inability to get along with people unlike themselves.


Robert Reich from a few days ago.

22 May 2024: But seriously, is Trump now openly embracing fascism?, subtitled “It may be the ideological heart of his campaign.”

I don’t think I’ve noted any of the stories about the “unified Reich” comment. How much more evidence do people need??

As I’ve noted, on Monday evening Trump posted a 30-second video on his Truth Social site featuring images of hypothetical newspaper articles celebrating his 2024 victory and referring to “the creation of a unified Reich” under the headline “What’s next for America?”

References to “the creation of a unified Reich” appear three times in the short video, including “German industrial strength significantly increased after 1871, driven by the creation of a unified Reich.” One hypothetical article asserts that Trump deported 15 million migrants in a second term, while text onscreen lists the start and end days of World War I. Another headline says he rejected “globalists.”

There have been indications of Trump’s fascination with fascism before this. Consider his uses of fascist language — calling immigrants “vermin” who “poison the blood” of America — and his repeated fascistic claims that “I am your voice. I alone can fix it.”

Besides, the white Christian nationalism that Trump touts bears a remarkably close resemblance to Nazism.

During his time in office, Trump reportedly claimed that Adolf Hitler “did some good things.” Trump berated his generals with insults like, “you f—king generals, why can’t you be like the German generals … in World War II?” according to the account of former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.

More generally, see this.

But this Third Reich video is the first time Trump has explicitly embraced Nazi fascism.

The “Third Reich” was the official Nazi designation for its regime from January 1933 to May 1945, as the presumed successor to the medieval and early modern Holy Roman Empire of 800 to 1806 (which the Nazis designated the First Reich) and the German Empire of 1871 to 1918 (which they called the Second Reich). Hitler stoked resentment against the loss of the German Empire and against Jews, whom the Nazis often referred to as globalists.

He gets away with this in part because few people know history, or would even recognize the word “reich.” And even if it wasn’t Trump personally who wrote that line, one of his supporters did. Which tells you a lot about his supporters.


More quickly:

Joe.My.God, 23 May 2024: New Far-Right Film: Capitol Was Built By Literal Giants

They live in a fantasy world. Borne of religion.


Joe.My.God, 23 May 2024: Buttigieg Blasts Beetleboob For Lying About Bridge

The official White House press office shared Boebert’s post adding: “One thing about Congressional Republicans…they’re going to take credit for investments they voted against.”

Do these people possess an ounce of integrity? Over and over and over again, Republicans criticize Democratic politicians for not spending government funds that they voted against. Or for taking credit for government spending in their states from policies they voted against. Hypocrisy; loyalty to a higher cause, I keep supposing. Tribalism.


Once again, without evidence.

Friendly Atheist, 23 May 2024: GOP still claims, without evidence, the State Department is “promoting atheism”, subtitled “GOP leaders are desperately trying to stir up controversy by claiming the Biden administration used taxpayer dollars to spread godlessness.”

No, it’s about the US government protecting religious freedom of all kinds all over the world — even atheism! Either Republicans do not understand this, or they are misrepresenting this.


One more.

Joe.My.God, from Chairsma News, 23 May 2024: Christian Site: Boycott Pro-Witchcraft Occult Fox News

So the extreme Christian fringe is rejecting Fox News?? What’s left? The Church, presumably. Theocracy.


From Enya’s breakout album, Watermark: Exile, from 1988.

This is, I’ve always thought, one of Enya’s “purest” songs. There’s one more.

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