The Contortionists

Being ever disposed to find the good in less-than-optimal situations—how else did you think we’ve lasted this long?—we’re going to look for the bright side of the state of our justice system.

[Several days later.] Hmmm…. The closest thing we’ve found is a firm conviction that our deepest suspicions had failed to plumb the depths of judicial depravity.

More than three years ago we all watched a depraved megalomaniac and career criminal, who had somehow evaded the law long enough to take over a political party and then the White House, whip a mob into a frenzy and then direct it to overthrow the government—a treasonous act that damn near succeeded.

Turns out that, with our justice system as it is currently consituted, they probably needn’t have bothered. Give our Supreme Court enough time and it won’t take a despot to turn this country into a fascist theocracy.

We already knew this, but just refused to face it. The majority of these berobed bandits committed perjury to get on the court in the first place: “Rowe v. Wade, yadda yadda, stare decisis….” As soon as they got the chance—thanks to three new appointees installed by the corrupt despot seeking their protection—they threw half a century of settled law right out the window.

This appalling situation would be less galling if they weren’t so damn sanctimonious. They’re forever invoking the sacred intent of our hallowed Founding Fathers. That intent was to preserve the power of certain white males imbued with enough wealth and arrogance to claim they could own Black men, and further increase their wealth through the rape of Black women.

Due to a glacially slow evolution of public values, that program is a little more difficult to defend these days. This is why it’s so important to cultivate the ability to keep a straight face while rattling off impenetrable paragraphs of legalistic jargon.

Back in January, attorney D. John Sauer, representing the man who would be king, argued in the D.C. Court of Appeals that if a president were to order Seal Team Six to assassinate his political opponent, he’d be immune from criminal prosecution unless he were impeached and convicted first. He didn’t get far.

The Gang of Nine could have left the case alone. The former Seditionist in Chief could have gone to trial. American voters might have learned whether a jury had found him guilty of trying to get his own vice president lynched. But noo….

And so we had last week’s farce.

“Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

“Without presidential immunity from criminal prosecution, there can be no presidency as we know it. For 234 years of history, no president was ever prosecuted for his official acts. …

“If a president can be charged, and put on trial, and imprisoned for his most controversial decisions as soon as he leaves office, that looming threat will distort the president’s decision-making precisely when bold and fearless action is most needed. …”

At this point in the proceeding, we like to imagine Harvey Keitell or Joe Pesci muttering the old proverb, just loud enough for John Roberts to hear, “if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.”

If Joe Biden only had sufficient faith in the brand of jurisprudence promulgated by The Former Guy’s legal team, he could reach for the phone and say, “Get me Seal Team Six.”

The Nation’s Elie Mystal has a law degree, so let’s ask him—well, let’s let MSNBC’s Joy Reid ask him—what he thinks of this case, and the Court:

“Donald Trump called his shot months ago. He said my Supreme Court justices will never let this happen to me, and he was absolutely right. So, with that information, my question to the American people is, ‘Now, what are you prepared to do?’

“Because the Supreme Court has exposed itself as a partisan institution, full of hacks, that will do everything in their power to protect Donald Trump, and make sure that a Republican can be elected, not just in the next election, but in every election going forward.

“So what are we gonna do about that? And my answer to that, obviously, is that you cannot do anything in this country unless you expand the Supreme Court to take away their power and start removing some of these justices who have already exposed themselves as criminals and liars.”


Hell in One Paragraph

Time Magazine interviewed The Former Guy recently. In one striking paragraph, the interviewer, Eric Cortelessa, laid out his agenda: “carry out a deportation operation designed to remove more than 11 million people from the country… build migrant detention camps and deploy the U.S. military, both at the border and inland… let red states monitor women’s pregnancies and prosecute those who violate abortion bans… withhold funds appropriated by Congress… fire a U.S. Attorney who doesn’t carry out his order to prosecute someone… pardons for every one of his supporters accused of attacking the U.S. Capitol… not come to the aid of an attacked ally… gut the U.S. civil service, deploy the National Guard to American cities as he sees fit, close the White House pandemic-preparedness office, and staff his Administration with acolytes who back his false assertion that the 2020 election was stolen.”


Is There a Common Theme Here?

You Snooze, You Lose, Part XXVII: We had been looking forward to sharing with our readers the content of a tweet from the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. Libertarianism is, of course, the dominant governing principle of both the Free State Project, and the Republican Party. Unfortunately, we failed to grab a screen shot. Even Elon Musk’s censors wouldn’t put up with it. We can summarize its content, though: superimposed on, or adjacent to, a photograph of a mass protest, the text said the solution to disruptive protests was to shoot the protestors.


The Ineradicable Elliot Abrams

A casual reader might get the mistaken impression that this newspaper supports the Biden administration. How could we, when it appointed Elliot Abrams to the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy? Abrams was Ronald Reagan’s overseer of human rights abuses in Central America. His legacy can be seen to this day on our southern border, attempting to flee the consequences of his work.

Isaac Chotiner recently interviewed Abrams for The New Yorker. Here’s the first question, and answer:

Chotiner: “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”

Abrams: “No.”


Sandbagging Seabrook

Legend has it that King Canute, having set his throne by the sea, commanded the tides not to rise. The results were exactly what anyone, Canute included, might have expected: the king’s feet got wet.

Canute, no fool, knew what would happen. He was telling his courtiers that the power of kings has limits. Then, hanging his gold crown on a cross, he signified his belief that only God can command the tides.

Canute died 989 years ago. Science has advanced since then. More modern thinkers, such as NextEnergy, the owners of the Seabrook nuclear power plant, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, believe sandbags can stop not just the tides, but storm surges, as well. According to a 2018 assessment of flooding at Seabrook, “Properly placing sandbags to the specified heights will provide adequate physical margin against the PMSS [Probable Maximum Storm Surge] flood.”

A new Government Accountability Office [GAO] report notes that “Commercial nuclear power plants in the United States were licensed and built an average of 42 years ago, and weather patterns and climate-related risks to their safety and operations have changed since their construction. Climate change is expected to exacerbate natural hazards—such as heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, sea level rise, and extreme cold weather events—that can affect nuclear power plant safety and operations in various ways. Some of these effects are already occurring, and many are expected to continue to worsen.

“However, NRC does not use climate projections data to identify and assess risk as part of the safety reviews it conducts or the probabilistic risk assessments it reviews during the initial licensing process. NRC has also not fully developed POANHI [Process for the Ongoing Assessment of Natural Hazard Information], which the agency relies on to identify and assess changes in natural hazard risks, including climate change.” The GAO goes on to recommend that the NRC wake up and get with the program.

We, of course, have no doubt that the NRC will snap to attention and swing into action. While they’re at it, we hope they’ll take a gander at the Seabrook emergency evacuation plan. Maybe issue each household a Jetson-style flying car, which by our estimate will be the only way to get out of here in case of a meltdown.


This Fortnight in 1892

The reappearance in New Hampshire of Stilson Hutchins bodes no good… to the Manchester Union. [His] assumption of the management of the Concord People and Patriot means that he will publish a sterling democratic paper with free lance proclivities within the party. … the Manchester Union will have to hustle faster than it has been doing… to retain its following.

New Hampshire Gazette

May 12, 1892, pg. 4.

Stilson Hutchins (1838–1912) was an American newspaper reporter and publisher, best known as founder of the broadsheet newspaper The Washington Post [in 1877]. Hutchins was also a Southern sympathizer and an outspoken racist against African Americans, Asian Americans, and immigrants. … Hutchins was born in Whitefield, Coos County, New Hampshire, on November 14, 1838…”



RiverRun Bookstore Recommends …

The House in the Cerulean Sea, by T.J. Klune.

Klune creates a world of magic and love that will stay with you for a long time. This light, imaginative, hilarious book reminds us to stop seeing only the outside of someone, no matter their religion, gender or race. If you’re jaded and scoffing already, then you definitely need to read this novel, ASAP. You’ll be glad you did.

Readers: Because we love and depend on RiverRun Bookstore, we signed up for membership at We hope you will, too. – The Ed.

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