the curious ‘martyrdom’ of ashli babbitt

Jesus suffering fuck. Yesterday Comrade Trump held an ego rally in Sarasota, Florida (as if Florida hasn’t suffered enough recently). Like all his ego rallies, this one was filled with the usual lies and the customary bullshit. But lately Trump has added a sparkly new element of sedition to his repertoire. At the rally yesterday, he repeated a line he’d used earlier as a distraction from the indictment (on multiple felonies) of the Trump Organization’s Chief Financial Officer and the Trump Organization itself. He asked this question:

Who shot Ashli Babbitt?

It’s not really a question, though. I mean, it’s not like Trump was asking the crowd for an answer. No, that question is a code. It’s a shout out to the seditionists who tried to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power. Those four words contain an entire galaxy of disinformation, lies, delusions, and sedition. They imply that Ashli Babbit is some sort of martyr–that she knowingly sacrificed her life in the service of Trump.

Babbitt, as you know, was part of the violent mob that illegally stormed the Capitol Building on 1/6/21 in an effort to prevent the certification of the 2020 presidential election. She was a devoted follower of the QAnon conspiracy theory–one of those people who believed (and maybe still believe) Comrade Trump was engaged in a secret war against a cabal of Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles (primarily Hollywood actors and Democrats) who operate a global child sex trafficking ring. Don’t ask me why Trump, who was the actual president of the United States, would have to conduct a secret war against these people. I mean, I’m confident most folks are pretty much opposed to Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles, even if they’re NOT part of a global child sex trafficking ring. You’d think a president would have no problem publicly announcing, “I’ve had it up to HERE with all those Satanic, cannibalistic pedophiles, this shit has to stop!” But no, the QAnon folks believe Trump’s war against the pedophiles had to be conducted in secret because…something something.

So Ashli Babbitt, to support Comrade Trump in his secret war, joined the insurrection and stormed the Capitol Building. She made her way to the barricaded door of the Speaker’s Lobby, behind which several Members of Congress and their staffs were escaping. One rioter shattered a window into the Lobby, and Babbitt decided to climb through. By that point, security personnel had been alerted that pipe bombs had been discovered in parts of DC. They’d also been told some of the insurrections were probably armed. Babbitt was wearing a knapsack as she started to climb through the window. Security staff can be heard on the video shouting “Get back! Get down!” But she didn’t; she started to climb through the window. A member of the security services fired a single shot, which killed her.

For years right-wing extremists have relied on he-did-not-comply-with-police-orders as a justification for law enforcement killings of unarmed people (mostly black men). Ashli Babbitt failed to comply multiple times. First she failed to comply with police orders to stay behind the barricades outside the Capitol Building. Then she and others illegally broke into the Capitol building. She did so with the criminal intent to disrupt a legal election process. Finally, she refused to comply with the lawful orders of several armed law enforcement officers who had their weapons drawn and pointed at her.

Ashli Babbitt willfully and knowingly, despite repeated warnings, attempted to enter a restricted (and barricaded) area through a window that had been criminally breached, and was shot and killed as a result.

To Trump supporters, this makes her a martyr.

Well, not at first. At first, Trump supporters claimed the Capitol was stormed by Antifa masquerading as Trump supporters. That meant Ashli Babbitt was probably an Antifa crisis actor. I’m NOT MAKING THAT UP. Early on there were several posts on FreeRepublic that suggested Babbitt wasn’t a real Trump supporter at all, that she wasn’t even a true QAnon believer, that she was, in fact, part of a false flag operation designed “to stop Trump from having rallies.” There were even early posts suggesting that Babbitt wasn’t even dead.

“…why was she the only girl in the room with all of those Antifa and BLM people and why would she be the first to climb through the window? Wouldn’t that be a guy thing? What would a hardcore Trump supporter who is a Quanan fanatic be inside the Capitol rather than listening to Trump’s speech? [T]he people in the room did not hit the deck when the gun went off… [and] how convenient a BLM guy with the CNN reporter just happened to be in the perfect spot to record it.

This was a fake riot to embarrass the fake violent Trumpsters to give the House a reason to stop counting and shame the Repubs to hide the fake vote. This was their final coverup to get their fake President across the finish line”

But the Ashli-is-Antifa conspiracy theory died off pretty quickly and was consumed by the Ashli-the-Martyr conspiracy theory. Oh, and just to be clear, these right-wing nutjobs see her death as a murder. A deliberate murder. An assassination. A nonjudicial execution, in fact. Even members of Congress are willing to spread that lie. During a hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar, the GOP’s current Bull Goose Loony, flat out asked, “Do you know who executed Ashli Babbitt?” Gosar went on to claim, “The Capitol Police officer that did that shooting appeared to be hiding, lying in wait and then gave no warning before killing her.”

Comrade Trump, by asking ‘Who shot Ashli Babbitt?’ is deliberately feeding that same rabid rat delirium. He’s not only telling his followers that the election was stolen from him (and them), but that his enemies are willing to kill them if they stand up for Trump. That’s not only a despicable lie, it’s dangerous. You know some of his followers are out there, armed and angry, plotting to take revenge. And some are probably willing to join Ashli Babbitt and become martyrs.

curiosity and ragnar the cheesemaker

I have a morning routine, which rarely changes (because, you know, it’s in the morning and I’ve just awakened and and any activity that requires actual thought is probably beyond my capabilities). Greet the cat, check the perimeter (with the cat), feed the cat, ingest some form of caffeine, pet the damned cat, read the news, read more news, continue to pet and feed the fucking cat, consider reading email, decide against reading email, check Twitter, check Facebook.

By the time I reach the ‘read more news’ point, I’m moderately awake, properly caffeinated, and curiosity has kicked in. That generally results in me doing some level of research about what I’m reading. For example, this morning I saw something about ‘cult’ television shows. Not shows about cults; shows with cult audiences. No, wait…that sounds like the audience members are in a cult. Like everybody in the Order of the Solar Temple gathers around the television in the afternoon to watch Jeopardy. I’m talking about television shows that are obscure or generally unpopular with mainstream audiences, but still attract a devoted fan base. Somebody mentioned a British show called The Strange World of Gurney Slade. Which sounded weird and interesting, so I did some research and learned…well, that it was weird and interesting.

My point, if you can call it that, is that at some point in the morning, my need to read the news gets hijacked by my need to know and understand random stuff. This morning it was a few minutes of Gurney Slade. Then, on Twitter, I came across this simple question: Did Vikings make cheese? And my morning was gloriously ruined.

First, the question itself is wonderfully weird. You have to wonder what sparked the question. I assume it wasn’t just an idle thought; something caused this person to wonder if Vikings made cheese. Maybe they wanted to know what foods Vikings packed for a long voyage, maybe they were curious about Vikings and lactose intolerance–I don’t know. But it was an interesting question. But my immediate response was delight at the notion of a Viking cheesemaker. Some hirsute guy who, instead of setting off with the crew to raid the coast of Britain, decided, “Naw, I’m going to hang here and make a cheese.” Ragnar the Cheesemaker.

That led me to wonder how the process of making cheese was discovered, which eventually led me to read a sentence that not only took up much of my morning, but will likely haunt me for the rest of my life.

Cheese may have been discovered accidentally by the practice of storing milk in containers made from the stomachs of animals.

Okay, if you’re anything like me, you immediately started asking critically important questions. Who the fuck thought it was a good idea to store milk in the stomach of an animal? Who first said, “Dude, we got all this milk and we got no place to store it. Fetch me the stomach of an animal, please.” Who thought it was a good idea to store anything at all in the stomach of a dead animal? Who conceived of animal stomachs as prehistoric Tupperware containers? Somebody, while gutting an animal, must have had the idea, “Hey, let’s hang on to this stomach…we can clean it out and store stuff in it!”? Where would you keep the empty animal stomachs you plan to use later to store milk? And who, having left that first batch of milk in an animal stomach long enough for it to curdle and separate into curds and whey, thought, “Fuck it, I’m eating it anyway.”?

Medieval cheesemakers

My research also brought me to an article entitled Make Butter Viking Style, but I had to stop reading almost immediately, because of this:

Step One: Bring the crème fraîche up to room temperature and whisk it as if making whipped cream.

I am not convinced this is how Vikings made butter. I could go on (and believe me, I did), but you get my point. This has been my morning. Cat, Miami condo collapse, infrastructure agreement, some GOP bullshit about the military, cult television shows, Vikings, cheesemaking, animal stomachs, butter production. Every morning is like this for me. I’m completely fucking worthless from about 0700 to maybe 1000 hours, because of stuff like this.

And the worst thing about this? I have absolutely no use at all for what I’ve learned this morning. The odds of Gurney Slade or the history of cheesemaking (or, lawdy, the evolution of storage containers) ever coming up in conversation are astronomical. But this stuff will rattle around in my head for hours (or days or decades) and possibly spill out at some wildly inappropriate moment.

something you hope never happens

This is something you hope never happens in your own community, in the place that you call home.” That’s from Vince Niski, the Chief of Police in Colorado Springs, following the mass murder of six people (and the suicide of the shooter) in the early hours of Mother’s Day.

Something you hope never happens in your own community. As if this was the first mass murder in Colorado Springs in Vince Niski’s experience. As if Matthew John Murray hadn’t killed five and wounded five others in a pair of church shootings (one in Colorado Springs, one in Arvada) in 2007 when Niski was just a lieutenant in the Colorado Springs PD. As if Noah Harpham hadn’t killed three random people in the streets of Colorado Springs in October of 2015, when Niski was the Deputy Chief of Operations. As if only a month later, in November of 2015, Robert Lewis Dear hadn’t killed three and wounded ten at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic. I’m sure each time Vince Niski hoped it was something that would never happen again in his community.

Colorado Springs Chief of Police Vince Niski

At this point, they police aren’t releasing the name of Colorado Springs’ newest mass murderer. The Colorado Springs police describe him as ‘the boyfriend of one of the female victims.” Former boyfriend is more likely. Or a boyfriend in the process of becoming a former boyfriend. Or just another angry man who doesn’t feel he’s getting the respect he deserves as a man. Regardless, he drove to the party, walked inside, and began shooting people–including his supposed girlfriend. Then, as happens routinely in these man-angry-at-a-woman mass murders, he killed himself.

As Chief Niski says, this is something you hope never happens in your community. Except it does, all the damned time. Maybe not with such a high butcher’s bill, but it happens all the time in every state in the US. You can hope your fucking heart out, but angry men with access to firearms are going to continue to make it happen. If your community is Colorado Springs–if your community is in a state that doesn’t require a permit to purchase a firearm, it’s more likely that this will happen. If your community is in a state that doesn’t require firearm registration, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community is in a “shall issue” state–meaning local sheriffs MUST issue a concealed weapons permit if an applicant meets certain criteria**–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows people to openly carry weapons without a permit, it’s more likely it’ll happen. If your community allows you to make, possess, or own a ghost gun–a handmade firearm without a serial number–it’s more likely it’ll happen. If you live in a state that has actually banned local communities (with the exception of Denver) from enacting their own stricter firearm safety laws, then it’s more likely it’ll happen.

It’s not Chief Vince Niski’s fault that Matthew John Murray was able to assemble a small arsenal in preparation for his angry man murders–a Bushmaster XM-15 semi-automatic rifle and three semi-auto pistols (a Beretta .22-caliber, a Beretta .40-caliber, and a Springfield Armory 9mm). Or that Noah Harpham was able to buy a DPMS Classic 16 semi-automatic rifle and two handguns (a Ruger SP101 .357 Magnum revolver and a Springfield Armory XD-M 9mm pistol). Or that Robert Lewis Dear bought an SKS semi-automatic rifle (and the multiple propane tanks he’d brought to the Planned Parenthood clinic with the intent to turn them into explosives). Niski had nothing to do with it. But he’s been around the block long enough to know that if those three angry men could find the means to kill sixteen people and wound about that same number, it’s no surprise another angry man could find the means to murder half a dozen people at a birthday party. Which, according to Chief Niski, is something you hope never happens in your community.

But if it’s happened four times in the last decade and a half, it’ll probably happen again. It’ll probably happen again because the people of Colorado LET IT HAPPEN. Because they’ve elected people who have refused to take any step to reduce the likelihood that it’ll happen again. Chief Niski’s hope is fucking worthless unless somebody takes action to implement actual reasons for hope.

What happened on Mother’s Day is NOT Chief Niski’s fault. He’s only guilty of voicing the stupid platitudes that chiefs of police are expected to repeat every time something you hope never happens in your own community happens in your own community.


** What are the criteria for being automatically issued a concealed weapon carry permit in Colorado? You have to be a Colorado resident, age 21 or older. You have to attest that you’re not a felon or mentally incompetent. You have to attest that you don’t chronically or habitually abuse alcohol, and that you don’t use (or are addicted to) controlled substances. You have to be free of a civil or criminal restraining order. You have demonstrate ‘competence’ with a handgun. How do you do that? By 1) having an honorable discharge from the Armed Forces within past three years, 2) having proof of pistol qualification in Armed Forces within past ten years, 3) being a retired law enforcement officer with pistol qualification within past ten years, OR 4) completing four-hour handgun training class within the past ten years.

trump and socrates

Somebody at the White House needs to remind Comrade Trump that he’s still the President of These United States — and that a big chunk of his job is to pay attention to what’s going on in the nation. Anybody who has spent any time at all on social media or watching any actual news show on television has heard of the QAnon conspiracy theory. I mean, back in 2019 the FBI designated QAnon as a “domestic terror threat” because of the group’s potential to incite extremist violence. That’s the sort of thing that ought to grab a president’s attention.

But somehow QAnon and the national security threat it poses seems to have largely slipped right by Donald Trump’s keen eye. During his town hall last night, he said this:

“I know nothing about QAnon…I know nothing about it. I do know they are very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard, but I know nothing about it.”

Trump, who is a narcissist of the first water (okay, quick but pointless digression…’of the first water’ refers to the way they used to grade the clarity and translucence of diamonds…c’mon, you know you wondered about that), wants us to believe he knows nothing about a group that has him at the heroic center of their belief system. He may not be aware of exactly how loopy the QAnon community is, and he may not think they’re a terrorist threat, but it surpasses belief that he’s unaware of their love for him.

But then again, Trump has displayed an uncanny ability to NOT know things. Here are a few of the things he’s admitted not knowing anything at all about.

— QAnon
— Russia paying bounties on Coalition troops in Afghanistan
— Steve Bannon’s involvement in a fundraising campaign to support the building Trump’s wall
— WikiLeaks
— the Proud Boys
— a recent bungled incursion into Venezuela
— Dr. Stella Immanuel, the woman who says masks don’t work and insists there’s a cure for Covid-19
— the Air Force refueling at Prestwick airport in Scotland and staying overnight at Trump’s expensive Turnberry golf resort a 40 minute drive from the airport instead the many hotels within a few minutes of the airport
— Rudy Giuliani’s associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, who are currently awaiting trial for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, campaign finance fraud, and lying to the Federal Election Commission
— David Duke and the KKK

That’s a LOT of important stuff NOT to know about, especially given the fact that knowing about important stuff like this is a critically important part of the POTUS job description. I’m not even mentioning the stuff Trump obviously knows about, but hasn’t really bothered to deal with. Stuff like Saudi Arabia murdering and dismembering a Washington Post reporter. But we can safely say the scope of his ignorance is matched only by his amazing expertise in an astonishingly wide array of fields of knowledge.

Here are a few things Trump has said he knows more about than…well, anybody.

— drones
— ISIS
— tax law
— the horror of nuclear
— campaign finance
— social media
— forestry
— courts
— immigration system
— trade
— negotiating
— infrastructure
— tariffs
— renewables
— Cory Booker
— the Federal Reserve
— the military
— windmills and wind energy
— banking

Socrates, the Greek philosopher and minor character in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, said this: “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” It sounds a lot more impressive in Greek. But basically, he was saying an individual can only know a limited amount of stuff, and what that person knows isn’t much at all compared to what the individual doesn’t know.

But Trump is no Greek philosopher. When he says he doesn’t know something, there’s a decent chance he knows enough to lie about knowing it. And when he says he knows more about something than anybody else, he’s absolutely lying.

I suspect Trump isn’t as knowledgeable as he claims. I suspect he’s not as ignorant as he claims. In fact, I suspect D.J. Trump is what those of us in the justice biz call ‘a lying sack of shit’ (DISCLAIMER: I am no longer in the justice biz, and haven’t been for quite a while, but I can still recognize a lying sack of shit when I see one).

I’m not say I know more about lying sacks of shit that anybody else, but spotting lying sacks of shit is like riding a bike — you never really forget how to do it.

people in the dark shadows

I watched most of Comrade Trump’s interview with Laura Ingraham last night. It was surreal, even by Trump standards. We expect him to tell lies and exaggerate stuff, but lawdy. Y’all should watch it for yourselves and make your own judgments, of course, but I’ll say it once again. Lawdy.

I’m going to ignore most of the exaggerations and lies. I’m going to ignore the claim that Portland, Oregon has been “burning” for decades, and the claim that he “solved” Kenosha (whatever that means), and the claim that if Biden is elected “you would have riots like you’ve never seen,” and the claim that there were “horrible race riots” during the Obama years (there were two in eight years), and the claim that “one company is giving hundreds of millions of dollars [to BLM],” and the claim that he’d signed an executive order that punished folks with “ten years in jail if you knock down a statue or monument,” and the claim that he’s done more for African-Americans “than any president in the history of our country, except for maybe Abe.”

I’m going to ignore all that and focus on what I consider the craziest claim made in the interview. Comrade Trump claimed Uncle Joe Biden is “a weak person. He’s controlled like a puppet.” Ingraham slid right by the irony of Putin’s puppet claiming Biden is a puppet, but to her credit, she asked who was controlling Biden. This was Trump’s reply:

“They control him. People that you’ve never heard of. People that are in the dark shadows. People that you haven’t heard of. They’re people that are on the streets. They’re people that are controlling the streets. We had somebody get on a plane from a certain city this weekend, and in the plane it was almost completely loaded with thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black uniforms with gear and this and that. They’re on a plane.”

Ingraham was sort of goggle-eyed at that. But she asked where this was taking place, which was a valid question. Trump said,

“I’ll tell you sometime, but it’s under investigation right now, but they came from a certain city, and this person was coming to the Republican National Convention, and there were like seven people on the plane like this person, and then a lot of people were on the plane to do big damage. They were coming for–this was all — this is all happening.”

That’s NOT your basic Trump exaggeration; it’s NOT your basic Trump lie. It’s flat out batshit crazy conspiracy paranoia. People nobody has ever heard of, people in the dark shadows, controlling Joe Biden, sending a a cadre of gear-laden thugs in dark uniforms on…well, apparently on a commercial flight to DC.

“…thugs wearing these dark uniforms, black unforms with gear…”

Like any reasonable person, I went to FreeRepublic to see how those patriots responded to Trump’s claim. The first report on Freep included a link to this video clip on Acyn Torabi’s Twitter.

Initially, the posts were skeptical about the report. Some of them didn’t believe Trump would say something that loopy. When a lot of Freepers couldn’t access the video, it sparked another instant conspiracy theory.

— Apparently twitter blocking going on — by Cold Heart (Legalize Hydroxychloroquine)
— OK twitter is censoring this! UNREAL! (I’m not surprised) — by RandFan (3C)

But once it became clear that Trump DID, in fact, say this, most Freepers quickly fell in line. Of course there was a plane full of thugs in black uniforms.

— He sounds like he is describing a plane filled with Antifa, which makes sense since they are going from city to city. by CaptainK (‘No collusion, no obstruction, he’s a leaker’)
— As much as I do believe, a 3rd party or parties, are using the riots to bring down this country, I don’t believe a majority of Americans will accept that idea – yet. And shouldn’t be talked about – yet. by 11th_VA (Don’t Be a thug, if you can’t take a slug)
— He is talking about a terrorist organization most likely tied to Barak. by bray (Pray for President Trump)
— Trump said it. I believe it. That settles it. by Governor Dinwiddie (Guide me, O thou great redeemer, pilgrim through this barren land.)
— Trump says nothing without solid knowledge. Name once when he’s been wrong. by getitright (Finally- a president who offers hope!)
— I Heard days ago about antifa going on planes to different states funded by soros by Sarah Barracuda
— [W]e have a world-wide pandemic which is probably a hoax, riots all over the country and the world which were ostensibly kicked off by “police brutality” which turned out to be a hoax, mandatory mask ordinances except when rioting, not to mention murder hornets, hurricanes, massive wildfires, and the US government dropping huge hints about aliens and UFOs. There is no such thing as a conspiracy theory anymore. by fr_freak
— As far as a planeful of ANTIFA NAZI’s traveling interstate to cause mayhem at the RNC convention being investigated by the SS and FBI are very believable to me. by phoneman08 (qwiyrqweopigradfdzcm,.dadfjl,dz)
— I remember seeing an old photo of Soros and a younger Obama in the same room. by RealVirginia

I was only mildly surprised by this response. After all, a lot of these folks believed (and many still believe) Hillary Clinton organized a cannibalistic Satanic child sex-torture ring and ran it out of an underground series of tunnels and bunkers beneath a DC pizza parlor. That’s a solid platform for believing Uncle Joe is a puppet for a cabal of dark shadowy rich perverts who fly BLM-Antifa shock troops all over the nation on…okay, I’m still having trouble with all of this happening on commercial airlines.

Whatever happened to black helicopters? I mean, if you can build an underground network of Satanic sex bunkers under the nation’s capitol, surely you can afford a black helicopter or two.

really well

I’m old enough to remember this:

Washington state officials confirm first coronavirus death in U.S.

I remember it like it was yesterday. It wasn’t yesterday, though. It was 78 days ago. The first reported Covid-19 death, according to the news reports, was “a man in his 50s who had underlying health conditions.” This article also included this stunning news:

“This marks the first virus-related death in the U.S. amid an outbreak that has exceeded 85,000 confirmed cases around the world.”

Let me repeat that. 85,000 confirmed cases around the world. NOT deaths, just confirmed cases. NOT in Washington state, NOT in the United States, 85,000 cases in THE WORLD. 78 days ago. The United States had 22 confirmed cases.

When I started writing this, there were 90,203 confirmed Covid-19 deaths in the US. Let me repeat that as well. In the last 78 days, we’ve had an additional 90,202 confirmed Covid-19 deaths. Deaths, not cases. Deaths. By the time I finish writing this, we’ll likely have another thirty or forty more.

This morning, Comrade President Trump tweeted this:

More than 90,000 Americans dead in 78 days. That’s more than 1,100 Americans every day. Almost 50 Americans dead every hour. We’re doing REALLY well, medically? What the fuck does that even mean?

Just 78 days ago, Trump said this:

“Additional cases in the U.S. are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover and we think that will be a statement we can make with great surety now that we’ve gotten familiar with this problem. They should be able to recover should they contract the virus. So, healthy people, if you’re healthy, you will probably go through a process and you’ll be fine. Since the early stages of the foreign outbreak, my administration has taken the most aggressive action in modern history to confront the spread of this disease.

There’s no reason to panic, at all.”

No reason to panic. Healthy people will probably be fine. Probably. Unless they’re one of the 90,000 Americans who died in the last 78 days. I know I keep repeating that, but Jeebus on toast, we’re talking 90,000 dead in 78 fucking days. And it’s not stopping. There were 90,203 when I started writing this; now there are 90,311 (although, in fairness, I did take some time to play with the cat and make myself a late breakfast, but Jesus suffering fuck that’s still a hundred more dead folks in just the last hour or so).

You’ll probably be fine. We’re doing REALLY well, medically.

Yesterday 38 of the 50 states reported more deaths. Despite that, Comrade Trump is encouraging every state to relax pandemic precautions in the name of ‘the economy’ (whatever that means). You know that question folks always ask — your house is on fire, you only have time to grab one thing, what do you grab? Most folks say they’ll grab something of irreplaceable sentimental value. Family photos, something like that.

The United States is on fire. Trump grabbed the economy and he’s leaving the rest of us to burn.

One more time. 78 days. 90,332 dead. We’re doing REALLY well, medically. Nothing makes sense anymore.

 

escapes?

I’m old enough to remember when you could trust The New York Times. And, to be fair, you can still trust most of their reportage; they have some exceptional reporters. But the opinion page of NYT has become pretty sketchy — not because I sometimes disagree with their op-eds, but because the editorial leadership apparently decided they need to give a voice to conspiracy theorists and conservative propagandists. And the headline writers for NYT are…well, they’re rubbish.

Here, look at this headline from this morning’s NYT:

Andrew McCabe Escapes Charges While Barr Tightens Control on Flynn Case.

Escapes. Andrew McCabe escapes charges. That makes it sound like the charges were justified, but McCabe somehow managed to dodge or sidestep them. In fact, the accusations against him were total bullshit. They grew out of Comrade Trump’s hatred of FBI Director James Comey, who was seen as insufficiently loyal. Trump had Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire Comey; he saw McCabe as a Comey loyalist and was angry with Sessions for not firing McCabe as well.

McCabe became a target of Trump’s rage-tweeting. He focused his rage on two things. First, McCabe had overseen the FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation, which found no criminal activity. That pissed off Trump. Second, McCabe’s wife had run an unsuccessful campaign to become a Democratic state legislator in Virginia. She got a campaign contribution from a political action committee run by the Virginia Democratic Party and Terry McAuliffe, who was the governor of Virginia. McAuliffe was a friend and supporter of Hillary Clinton.

In TrumpWorld it’s inconceivable that McCabe could possibly conduct an unbiased investigation of the Clinton Foundation when his wife was a Democrat who was given a contribution by a PAC associated with somebody who was a friend of Hillary Clinton. In TrumpWorld, everybody is assumed to have corrupt motivations. Probably because everybody in TrumpWorld actually HAS corrupt motivations.

The Wall Street Journal ran a story suggesting it was possible McCabe had slowed the FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe authorized the FBI press office to speak to the WSJ reporter to correct the story. McCabe had in fact worked to protect that investigation. Trump and his cadre of loons referred to McCabe having the press office speak to a reporter as a ‘leak’. 

It’s not clear if the WSJ report by itself sparked an FBI Inspector General investigation into McCabe’s role in the Clinton investigation or if there was some political pressure involved. In any event, the Office of Inspector General started an investigation. The OIG found that McCabe, as Deputy Director of the FBI, had the authority to have the press office speak to that reporter. The question became whether he had them speak to the reporter in the interest of the FBI or in his own personal interest. Did McCabe authorize the ‘leak’ in order to make the FBI look good or to make himself look good.

Seriously, that’s it. The OIG found that McCabe had violated FBI policy in that the press release seemed more in McCabe’s interest than in the public interest. They also found McCabe “lacked candor” when interviewed by OIG investigators. And that’s why he was fired in March of 2018 — 26 hours before his scheduled retirement, denying him full retirement benefits. A classic TrumpWorld act of vengeance.

After he was fired, Trump’s Department of Justice continued to investigate McCabe for a year and a half, trying to find something to charge him with. They took their ‘case’ to the grand jury in September of 2019. It’s been said that a grand jury will indict a ham sandwich if the prosecutor has even a shred of a case. The McCabe grand jury refused to indict him. Normally, when a grand jury refuses to indict, a criminal investigation is ended.

Not for McCabe. The DOJ kept the case alive until yesterday when, as the New York Times reported, he ‘escaped’ charges. This is a guy who devoted his life to the FBI. He served on the FBI SWAT team, he was part of the Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force (which was not a walk in the garden), he served in the Counterintelligence Unit, he helped revise the rules for high value detainee interrogations (the FBI refused to engage in waterboarding), he was part of the Boston Marathon bomb investigation, he took part in the investigation and arrest of the guys behind the Benghazi attacks. The FBI can be pretty fucked up, but this guy repeatedly put himself on the line — which is something nobody named Trump has ever done.

And the New York Times says he ‘escaped’ charges.

Andrew McCabe — even his glasses look like they’re FBI issue.

It’s bullshit like this by NYT and other news sources that boost Trump’s insane ‘Deep State’ conspiracy theories. It’s bad enough to have a criminal enterprise operating out of the White House, it’s bad enough to have a POTUS who is a narcissistic vengeance demon enabled and encouraged by sycophants in Congress, it’s bad enough to have a Department of Justice that acts as an arm of TrumpWorld rather than in the public interest. It’s bad enough to have all that without NYT adding an aura of legitimacy to this bullshit.

I remember when you could trust the New York Times. I suppose you still can, if you ignore the headlines and much of the opinion page. But is it worth the effort? And why would you bother?

doesn’t make sense

Somebody explain this to me. On 27 December, a rocket attack on a base in or near Kirkuk killed an American — a contractor for the Department of Defense — and wounded a bunch of US troops. The US responded with air strikes against Iranian-sponsored militias, which killed 25 people. That pissed off Iranian sympathizers in Baghdad, who proceeded to partially overrun the American embassy. And that is apparently what led Comrade Trump to blow the shit out of Qasem Soleimani.

Iranian militants

Okay, that’s all stupid in itself. But that isn’t what I want explained. THIS is what I want explained to me. On 5 January, an attack by al-Shabaab on a base in Kenya (on the border with Somalia) killed three Americans — two DOD contractors and a member of the US military — and destroyed about US$500 million worth of aircraft and high-tech surveillance equipment. The US responded with a strongly-worded commitment “to pursue the perpetrators of the attack.” In other words, the US basically said they’d just continue to do their job.

al-Shabaab militants.

That’s what I want explained. Why one attack by Islamic militants (which resulted in a single US death) sparked such massive retaliation while a similar attack by Islamic militants (which resulted in more deaths and more destruction) resulted in nothing more than a further commitment to fulfilling the mission.

I know the Trump trump administration won’t truthfully explain anything to anybody. It’s silly of me to expect them to explain this. If an explanation exists, I suspect it’s stupid. Like, say, Trump wants headlines; the news media pays attention to Iraq and Iran; nobody really cares who gets killed in Africa; Trump wants/needs/demands more and bigger headlines.

I want this to make sense. I know it won’t make sense. But I still want it to.