Another Clockwork Orange

Do we need any further evidence that we are living in a world that could easily have been described by Jean Paul Sartre, George Orwell, and Anthony Burgess??

You don’t think so?  Let me help you.

Robert Mueller finally testified in front of Congress.  Right after receiving a letter from the Department of Justice led by William Barr threatening dire consequences if he said anything that was not in the original (but redacted) version of the Mueller report sent to Congress by the very same Attorney General.

Mueller said at least three things of note:
(Source of all quotes is Politico, July 24, 2019)

  1. “The president was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed,” Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee, adding that Trump could theoretically be indicted after he leaves office. He added, “We did not address ‘collusion,’ which is not a legal term.  Rather, we focused on whether the evidence was sufficient to charge any member of the campaign with taking part in a criminal conspiracy.  It was not.”
  2. Mueller repeatedly affirmed evidence he gathered that Trump took actions to impede his investigation, and he refuted Trump’s claim that the report showed “no obstruction” and “no collusion” — a term Mueller said he didn’t even explore because it’s not a legal term.
  3. “The reason, again, that you did not indict Donald Trump is because of [a Justice Department] opinion stating that you cannot indict a sitting president, correct?” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) asked. “That is correct,” responded Mueller, who declined a chance to retract his comments when pressed later by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.). Mueller, however, corrected himself during the second portion of his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, saying, “That is not the correct way to say it.  “Mueller clarified his response by noting instead that the Justice Department policy that prohibits the indictment of a sitting president meant that he “did not reach a determination as to whether the president committed a crime.”

Now, while I am not a lawyer, it seems to me that the DOJ letter from Barr to Mueller smacks of both witness intimidation and prior restraint.  Nevertheless, Mueller’s testimony, when passed through my finely tuned bullshit-ometer, appears to say a couple of things in plain English, to wit:

  • we did not prove Trump’s innocence, and it is likely that the crimes committed can be prosecuted when he leaves office;
  • obstruction of justice by Trump did occur; and
  • policy, not law, determined that Mueller purposely did not try to determine whether the President committed a crime with the obvious conclusion that had he been asked to reach such a determination, he could have….with the implication that it would not have been good for Trump.

Here is Trump’s and the White House’s reaction to the Mueller testimony:
(Source: ibid)

  1. The Headline: “‘Euphoria’: White House, GOP exult after a flat Mueller performance. West Wing aides were spiking the proverbial football even before the former special counsel had finished testifying”;
  2. “Trump declared the hearing an unmitigated catastrophe for Democrats — and for Mueller himself. Quoting Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, he tweeted that the hearing “has been a disaster for the Democrats and a disaster for the reputation of Robert Mueller.’ Chris Wallace @FoxNews.”; and
  3. “The Trump campaign was also locked into the hearings, setting a goal of raising $2 million off of the event. In a plea to supporters, the campaign asked for $5 contributions “to send a powerful message to the entire nation that this WITCH HUNT must end.””

Now, what is Orwellian (or Sartre-ian or Burgessian) about this?  Let me illustrate:

Sartre (No Exit)

  • “So, this is hell. I’d never have believed it.  You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales!  There’s no need for red-hot pokers.  Hell is—other people!”

Burgess (A Clockwork Orange)

  • “But what I do I do because I like to do.”
  • If he can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange—meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil.”

Orwell (1984)

  • “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”
  •  “….We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it.  Power is not a means; it is an end.  One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship.  T

Not convinced? Then, how about this: Trump is Goebbels-esque. Although assailed by some when this comparison is made, the Trumpian approach is quite similar Goebbels’.  The big lie works.  The thought process is the same. Don’t believe?  Here are some Goebbels quotes:

  • “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.  The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic, and/or military consequences of the lie.  It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
  • “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.

I rest my case.  Trump is obfuscating the truth.  He is lying about his campaign’s involvement in Russian interference in the election.  Trump did attempt to obstruct justice and his Attorney General apparently is still doing so.  The so-called “idiotic” repetition of “no obstruction, no collusion” is in fact not idiotic – it follows the Goebbels propaganda script.

Trump is a bigot, a fascist, a sexual predator, and a crook.  But he is also President of the United States of America.  If that doesn’t turn your stomach, if that doesn’t convince you that the party enabling Trump has abandoned its values and lost the moral backbone required to lead, and if that doesn’t lead you to the conclusion that ANY Democrat currently running for President would be better for our country than the current occupant of the White House, then, yes, we will get what we deserve.

Which will be a country with less conscience, less compassion, more hateful, more bigoted, more violent, with diminished international reputation, worse quality of air and water, more religious extremism, more constrained rights for women, minority religions, LBQT, and people of color, a bigger deficit, more income inequality, more desperate poor people, more government interference in our personal lives, less product and food safety, less influence in the world, and a whole lot less pleasant to live in.  And that would just suck.

2 thoughts on “Another Clockwork Orange

  1. One important fact that I think is key which may change your premise…Mueller requested the guidelines for his testimony from the AG in a letter on July 10th…not the other way round. The DOJ was simply complying with his request and provided guidelines consistent with own statements at his May 27th presser. The letter has been made public. It is anything but “threatening.” No new news yesterday…but a real loss in credibility for Mueller and his team. Time to move on and address other issues…IMO.

    1. I disagree. ANY letter from the attorney general who has repeatedly restricted full access to the report who then, prior to testimony, sends a letter demanding the witness in front of Congress, limit the testimony is a Threat and is definitively prior restraint regardless of the lovely lawyer speak employed. I consider it to be prima facie obstruction of justice.

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