Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Looking for Mister Good Barr

I confess. I posted The Barr Letter and Useful Idiots of the Jaded Left to troll for tin-foil hats. I am agnostic on the Mueller investigation. I have never viewed Mueller, Comey or Rachel Maddow as the savior of truth, justice and the American Way. My objection to Taibbi, Greenwald et al.'s gloating is primarily against their premature ejaculation -- although their glee is also reprehensible under the circumstances.

But here is the thing about tin-foil hat thinking: if you are going to engage in it, do it right. Let's say there is this vast establishment, deep state conspiracy to overthrow the popular will electoral college result of the 2016 election. Hey, I can get down with that! What makes the Glenns and the Matts and the Halaszes and likbezes so confident that William Barr isn't part of that conspiracy? Absolutely nothing. They simply haven't thought through their heist.

Here's how I would NAIL Donald Trump if I was William Barr: I would write a four-page letter that appears to exonerate him from conspiracy or coordination and in which I explicitly decline to indict on obstruction of justice charges. See what I did there? No?

I sidestepped the "can't indict a sitting President" rule. That sets a precedent. Now we let that settle in for a while. Nobody objects -- least of all the President of the United States who thinks he has just been cleared. Next comes the indictment from SDNY. But wait a minute! You can't indict a sitting President! Oh yeah? The Attorney General just waived that rule.

Is my little scenario true? I doubt it. But it is no less plausible than the half-baked conspiracy scenarios heralded by the half-cocked tin-foil hat crew. Of course the paranoid style is not noted for  consistency or for thinking things through.

19 comments: said...

I do not know if your theory is right, but I do think the Trump/Hannity folks are falling into an overly optimistic pit (Trump is right now ranting nonsense on Hannity live), quite aside from the ongoing SDNY trials coming up as you note.

One issue that the Trumpisti are pushing is they think the House committees should stop their investigation because of the supposed finding of "no collusion," although as we know that is not what the Barr letter says, quite aside from what might or might not be in the actual Mueller Report, which we may not end up getting to see (and we may not even know how many pages it has). But the Mueller group were mandated only to study what went on in connection with the election and possible obstruction of justice connected to that.

What they presumably did not examine, except possibly for obstruction issues, is all the nonsensical and weird stuff that Trump has done in connection with Putin ans Russia since he got in office, which many of us think has been at least partly driven by his longstanding financial links with Russian oligarchs (and hopes for a future Trump tower in MOscow), with likely much of this in his still-unreleased tax returns. None of this was settled by the Mueller Report, so it is completely fine for the vsrious House committees to examine and study these matters.

2slugbaits said...

(Trump is right now ranting nonsense on Hannity live)

You mean you were actually watching Fox Noise???? You're a better man than I. I salute you for taking one for the team.

Anonymous said...

Appalling thinking and writing, appalling smearing of people deserving complete respect. No decency at all.

Anonymous said...

Writing to hurt decent people is horrid, not a strange type of game. Stop the hateful writing, if you consider yourself decent. Stop the hateful writing.

Anonymous said...

No, you are not "trolling," you are trying to harm people who have done no harm. Appalling. said...

Go fuck yourself, Anonymous. Trump is a horrible and disgusting human being who lies 22 times a day now, and Hannity is down there in the sewer with him. They deserve nothing but utter contempt, as it appears you do as well.

Go to hell, scum.

Anonymous said...

Oh Dear, foul-mouthed louts who will destroy a Taibbi or Greenwald with no compunction. Destroy decent people because you do not like a president. The issue is not an awful president, but the disdain shown for decent journalists, the disdain for journalists of integrity.

The president may be awful, but smearing truthful journalists for political motives is intolerable.

Fine, now curse and be content.

Anonymous said...

President Trump frightens me and has from the beginning of his presidency. I found Donald Trump terrible through the Obama years. All that bothered me was the attack on Glenn Greenwald, which made whatever else was written intolerable.

I wish Sandwichman and Rosser well and will read all they write on this presidency and other matters, but the attack on Greenwald was painful to me.

Sandwichman said...

"...the attack on Greenwald was painful to me"

Just imagine how painful is was to Greenwald! GG is trudging down the well-worn path of the apostate/renegade, as exemplified by David Horowitz and Christopher Hitchens before him. It starts with taking an "unfashionable" position and proceeds through being ostracized by one's former comrades and celebrated by one's former adversaries. The latter can be intoxicating, especially when mixed with remunerative opportunities that far exceed what was available when slogging away at "left" journalism. I don't suggest that any of these fellows was "bought off." They just found that their "second thoughts" were more marketable than their first had been.

Barkley Rosser said...


I think Taibibi's piece ignored some things, and I think Greenwald has done so also, over a long period of time. My use of bad language in a personal attack was directed at Trump. For all I know, both Taibibi and Greenwald are moral and decent and nice people. I do disagree with dome of what they have written. My personal bile is directed at Trump, not either of them. For the record.

Anonymous said...

"GG is trudging down the well-worn path of the apostate/renegade..."

I may be a fool then, because I never imagined such a path even though I knew the path was taken before.

Rosser is right in his criticism, as was Sandwichman, I see that on a second reading of Taibibi.

Perhaps the problem for me was actually my not wanting to recognize how dangerous this president is. I do not want to be afraid, but I am.

I appreciate the argument which got me to think more.

john c. halasz said...

Yipee! I've been promoted to the front page, the OP! Because I'm suppose to be a tin-foil hat type who dares to question, as mere "skepticism", the received wisdom of the MSM. Here's a good summary of the MSM mentality:

Groupthink is often characterised by:
■■ A tendency to examine too few alternatives;
■■ A lack of critical assessment of each other’s ideas;
■■ A high degree of selectivity in information gathering;
■■ A lack of contingency planning;
■■ Poor decisions are often rationalised;
■■ The group has an illusion of invulnerability and shared morality;
■■ True feelings and beliefs are suppressed;
■■ An illusion of unanimity is maintained;
■■ Mind guards (essentially information sentinels) may be appointed to protect the
group from negative information.

And that's exactly what was instilled by #Russiagate. And yet "we" who never fell for the neo-liberal corporate Dembot ruse, to avoid their own abject failure in losing to an obvious fraud like Trump in blame-shifting fashion and to maintain the hold of the neo-liberal Dembot elite upon their degenerate party are supposed to be the "true" conspiracy theorists and traitors to the robust "left", supporting Trumpistas in their "vindication"? And random slanders are cast upon the undeluded. Somehow Greenwald is supposed to be responsible for Snowden's exile in Russia and thus delivered him up to the Russian security services. I wouldn't call GG a leftist, he's a lawyer and mostly a civil libertarian. But I did watch "Citizen 4 "; he came off as something of a (self?)-promoter and not just a journalist, but it was filmed in Hong Kong before Snowden's identity was known, since Snowden had hoped to gain asylove. That slur is baseless. Of course, GG works for a billionaire, just like the actual conspiracy theorists at the Bezos Post). And Taibbi who has Russian experience and explicitly connected the current journalistic "failures" of the MSM with their failures with the Iraq WMD fiasco is nonetheless accused of claiming that the MSM was pure until their latest "failure". DO you not recognize the difference between the invocation of a normative standard and a factual assertion? Which just makes him like ""left" traitors like C. Hitchens, seeking lucrative career advancement and their reward in heaven. I don't know that Taibbi is exactly "left", though clearly vaguely left-leaning, (though is famous vampire squid article was a slander on actual vampire squids), but he's a cynical journalist in the best sense and finest tradition of that limited profession.

john c. halasz said...

But most of all, you S-man have violated basic norms of reasonable and rational discourse (or discussion or argument). One might start with basic speech act theory, add on gice's maxims of conversational implicature and advance to Brandom's de-ontic score-keeping to get an idea of what's involved. (you yourself have invoked similar notions in the past). And now here you claim that you were just trolling "useful idiots", openly admitting that you are operating in bad faith. But pray tell, who appointed you arbiter of what's genuinely "left", other than your own snobbery and self-conceit. (You accused another commenter of "word salad" which was beneath you to respond to, when what you've expressed is just shit-for-brains). Nut perhaps your worst sin here is your actual lack of political judgment and acumen. Because the whole #Russiagate scam has actually re-enforced Trump's position and his discrediting of the MSM, (deservedly so, but not at all for Trump's "reasons"). There are people who can think their own way out of the paper bag they have placed on their own head. And they aren't just Trumpistas, but also Dembot "liberals" who were easy marks for the establishment elites. And most disturbing of all has been the alignment between the Dembot media and the intelligence "services", such as Clapper, a self-admitted perjurer and Brennan, former head of the much vaunted CIA. In fact, the Dembots actively recruited former CIA in the recent congressional elections as "moderates" to bolster their incumbent position. In surprised that you would want to joint the paper bag legions.

And now in this post, you confabulate an account of Barr's machinations, which you nonetheless declared yourself "skeptical" about, while trying to pin it on us traitorous skeptical "conspiracy theorists". Except that you betray your ignorance, already self-avowed, of the facts of the case. (While accusing us of "premature ejaculaton". Sorry, to use PC jargon, that's just sexist. There were no women who resisted "the resistance"?) Barr and Mueller were close associates in the Bush Sr. Justice Department; both are mainline Republicans and possibly personal friends; Rod Rosenstein also read the report; and just today Barr announced that the Mueller report would be released in a few weeks with suitable redactions and that the Whitehouse would not receive any advance copy). SO just who is wearing the tin-foil hat, disguised by the bag over his head?

SO just to get the facts straight, here's an early article on Russiagate by the late Robert Parry. (Are you going to accuse him of being just another bad journalist?):

Though I'm not a big fan of Chomsky, some consider him an arbiter of what's "left":

When one presses on someones ego-defenses, threatening and even possibly breaching them, one tends to get a bit of paranoia popping out and a highly projective reaction. But the point is not to take those projections at "face value" and re-enforce those ego-defenses, but to allow "space" for repairing and restructuring those defenses. (Yeah, I've read Winnicott). S-man, you need to repair your ego-defenses. And in the meantime, just STFU!

Sandwichman said...

Frankly, John, there is no left in the U.S.A. There are only scattered remnants of "lefties". In that context a "left" journalist would be somebody those lefties would be more likely to read and perhaps trust than the mainstream (corporate) media. There are six million stories in the naked city but two of the master narratives we can identify as "Russiagate" and "the Russia hoax." Only one of those master narratives, "the Russia hoax" is unitary and self-conceived, the other is a projection that bears some similarities to major elements of what is out there.

Your intuition that I base my analysis and polemics on narrative analysis is quite correct. I could show you how I do the trick but it won't be on this topic.

Sandwichman said...

Incidentally, John, I wouldn't label your comments word salad -- more like word ratatouille. Once you accept the fact that the media spectacle is kayfabe, you can play all sorts of speculative games about who the real good guy is and who the real bad guy is. But at the end of the day it is all just a show for your entertainment while the military-industrial complex marches on.

Calgacus said...

No, Sandwichman, the "Russia Hoax" narrative is based on millennia of thought in logic and the law and the most important available evidence. Russiagaters are the accusers; they have the burden of proof. Those they accuse, including Bad Guys like Trump have the presumption of innocence. And the innumerable contradictory Russiagate stories appear to have very little contact with reality or even logic, for the "Russia hoax" narrative is based partly on facts accepted by all sides; I have been repeating some in the other thread.

I am here because I am interested in your knowledge of economics and society and politics and above all, their history. But on current events and attitudes - you seem to be getting things completely backwards. Accusing GG as an apostate/renegade makes no sense, because it inverts the currently accepted "left" and "right" positions.

Right wing positions mostly:
(1) Repub flavor: Trump is great, Clinton is awful. Russiagate is a hoax.
(2) Dem flavor: Clinton is great. Trump is awful. Russiagate is real.

Left wing position mostly:
(3) Trump & Clinton are awful. Russiagate is a hoax.

GG holds and has been supporting the left position & is being lionized, by most of the left such as it is, because of it. Saying he is treading that path is like saying X is a renegade to the Left and a capitalist spy - because X said "All power to the working class! Down with the bourgeoisie!" Huh!!??!!

I don't think you or Rosser are "apostates or renegades" at all. But if you presented your arguments and positions on many, imho most, obviously left forums, you might well be mocked as DNC shills & renegades hardly better than Trump or Clinton. Based on what you have been saying about Russiagate, most current leftists would be suspicious of you as a renegade, not Greenwald. said...


My only comment on this involves Greenwald. I very much appreciate that he helped get Snowden out. More generally I respect his independent view more broadly. I am sorry that he seems recently to have supported some interpretations of recent events in ways that I find hard to disagree with, but that is how things go.

Anonymous said...

"I am sorry that he seems recently to have supported some interpretations of recent events in ways that I find hard to disagree with, but that is how things go."

Is this sentence mistaken? Should "disagree" be "agree"? Please clarify this sentence. said...

Yes, Anonymous, you are right. I mistyped.