Bizarre Barr

it would be nice

The best way to find out what is in a document is to read it. I will probably try to read the whole Mueller report, but I haven’t yet had the time to do so. (Writing this blog is a hobby of mine, not a job, so I didn’t “pull an all-nighter.”)

If you want to read it for yourself, you can download it here. Or you can buy it on Amazon, inasmuch as there is no copyright in works of the United States government.

Meanwhile, in the past 24 hours an ocean of ink has been spilled by commentators commenting on Barr’s bizarre performance yesterday morning. I recommend, for example, the generally reliable Jonathan Chait, who nicely described the differences between the truth and what Barr said, in his post titled Congress Should Impeach William Barr.

But Chait thinks Barr’s toadyism is straightforward. By contrast, over at The Bulwark (Bill Kristol’s hideout) a post headlined No Honorable Middle Ground for Barr comes closer to the truth as I see it. Barr has learned from people like Jim Mattis and John Kelly that you cannot work for Trump while trying to preserve your personal integrity. If you try to do that, he will fire your ass on twitter.

That leaves the choice: either don’t work for Trump in the first place, or work for Trump and go full toady. OR AT LEAST PRETEND TO GO FULL TOADY.

So what happened yesterday? What happened was that in the morning Barr gave a news conference where he told lie after lie, see Chait, supra, and then, two hours later, released a redacted but still very meaty Mueller report that clearly revealed the mendacious nature of the morning news conference.

And just who was Barr trying to fool? I submit that he was trying to fool the one person in the country most likely to be taken in by this charade, to wit, one Donald J. Trump.

If Barr were an actual compeat today, then I think he would have redacted a lot more than he did react.

But you don’t have to take it from me. If Barr is an actual Trump toady, then he will shut down or obstruct the 14 still on-going investigations of Trump and his world, notably the federal investigation in the Manhattan district attorney’s office. That way, he can have the honor of occupying the same jail cell occupied by his illustrious predecessor John Mitchell.

But if Barr is only a pretend toady, he will let the investigations go forward while continuing to hop up and down yelling “no collusion”—until such time as Trump’s lizard brainf inally gets the message that he is being taken for a ride.

Waiting for the Mueller Report and Its Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Redactions

As I write, we have seen the morning Barr show but have not yet seen the report—that would be the one with the itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie redactions.

A Good Lawyer Making a Bad Case

The Barr performance this morning was that of a good trial lawyer making an opening statement to the judge and jury, with respect to a very bad case.

The Theology of Conspiracy

I was an antitrust lawyer, so inevitably that’s one of the perspectives I bring to the situation. In antitrust, we were forever dealing with complicated, messy, ambiguous fact patterns and deciding whether those complicated fact patterns should or should not be called a conspiracy. To that end, we applied legal criteria—legal criteria that are, themselves, the subject of much legal debate and “refined” analysis.

Having that perspective, I wait to see what legal criteria Mueller employed to look at a complicated fact pattern and find insufficient evidence of an illegal conspiracy. I can guess and speculate, but of course I won’t, especially at this hour.

A Man is Presumed to Intend the Natural Consequences of His Acts

Applying this well known legal maxim, one thing we can say for sure is that William Barr has acted in a way calculated to generate many, many headlines proclaiming that he has joined the Cult of Trump and become the complete toady.

William Barr knows that his conduct is generating these sorts of headlines.

Therefore William Barr intends that these sorts of headlines will be generated.

If it Walks Like a Duck and Talks Like a Duck …

Or, to change the metaphor, if it looks like a strawberry shortcake and smells like a strawberry shortcake and tastes like a strawberry shortcake, then it’s very probably a strawberry shortcake.

Therefore, it’s entirely understandable that if Bill Barr walks like a Trump toady and talks like a Trump toady, then he’s really a Trump toady.

I still don’t believe the act, though the acting is really good, and the act is becoming more convincing. Maybe even good enough to yank the wool over the Trumpster’s eyes, if such is the intent.

These Days, It’s Hard to Distinguish Between Satire and News

fake news

Andy Borowitz, Putin Almost Done Redacting Mueller Report:

MOSCOW (The Borowitz Report)—After putting in what one associate called a “hellish all-nighter,” the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is almost finished redacting Robert Mueller’s report in time for its release, on Thursday.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Attorney General, William Barr, submitted the approximately four-hundred-page document to Putin for his approval, but the Russian President was reportedly “in a state of disbelief” over how much Barr had failed to redact.

Quickly assembling a crisis team at the Kremlin to implement further redactions, Putin told his associates, “Put some coffee on, boys—it’s going to be a long night.”

Bill Weld Seeks the Republican Nomination for President

Meanwhile, it has been noted that Pete Buttigieg sent words of sympathy to the French people—uttering complete and grammatical French sentences. I anticipate that Trump will shortly be shame tweeting him for speaking French while gay.

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Greetings to today’s readers from the antipodes in Australia and New Zealand. Not to mention others from Chile, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.

Notre Dame is Burning

C’est une histoire qui a pour lieu
Paris la belle en l’an de Dieu
Mille quatre cent quatre-vingt-deux
Histoire d’amour et de désir
Nous les artistes anonymes
De la sculpture ou de la rime
Tenteront de vous la transcrire
Pour les siècles à venir

Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre

Pierre après pierre, jour après jour
De siècle en siècle avec amour
Il a vu s’élever les tours
Qu’il avait bâties de ses mains
Les poètes et les troubadours
Ont chanté des chansons d’amour
Qui promettaient au genre humain
De meilleurs lendemains

Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre
Il est venu le temps des cathédrales
Le monde est entré
Dans un nouveau millénaire
L’homme a voulu monter vers les étoiles
Écrire son histoire
Dans le verre ou dans la pierre
Il est foutu le temps des cathédrales
La foule des barbares
Est aux portes de la ville
Laissez entrer ces païens, ces vandales
La fin de ce monde
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille
Est prévue pour l’an deux mille