So, essentially, we made the rubble bounce for two decades and ended up right where the Russians, the British, the Persians, the Mongols, and Alexander the Great ended up. https://t.co/KYXECow9Xe
— Charles P. Pierce (@CharlesPPierce) April 13, 2021
Nothing wrong with what they’re proposing — but the term “defunded” is not just shitty, it’s really loaded against the Dems:
On call, Clyburn warned against using defund police rhetoric, and others spoke out too including Cicilline and Bass. AOC, who has previously spoke out in favor of defunding and slashing NYPD budget, urged her colleagues to try to understand the debate and not mock it, per sources https://t.co/QFJCg4YU3P— Manu Raju (@mkraju) June 8, 2020
Joe Biden's campaign promises police reform without defunding departments https://t.co/rwIdIK7Z3L— TIME (@TIME) June 8, 2020
After cops ignored the Mayor’s 30-day ban on teargas, Seattle City Council is now talking about defunding their PD by 50% and reinvesting those $ elsewhere.— Joshua Holland 🔥 (@JoshuaHol) June 8, 2020
This is the scandal. Not defunding the police, which isn’t even Biden’s policy. https://t.co/YeDQIFskBw— Janet Johnson (@JJohnsonLaw) June 8, 2020
And now the prosecutors have resigned from the case, which is all you could do if you have any integrity:
Swamp Rabbit wanted to know why Iran hates America, the beacon of democracy and the land of opportunity. “Just because,” I told him.
Iran hates us just because we overthrew its democratically elected prime minister and propped up the corrupt Shah (1953). Just because we backed Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war, which cost more than a half-million lives (1980-1988). Just because we shot down an Iranian airliner, killing all 290 people on board (1988). Just because we withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and doubled down on economic sanctions that have hurt millions of Iranian citizens.
And just because we took out Qassim Suleimani, the second most powerful character in Iran and a national hero.
“What you mean by took out?” Swamp Rabbit said. “Did we wine and dine him?”
I told him “took out” is a U.S. military euphemism. It sounds cooler than “killed,” much less alarming than “assassinated” and not nearly as ugly as “murdered,” the word used by former New York Times reporter James Risen in an Intercept piece about the hypocrisy of American foreign policy.
“But Suleimani was a terrorist,” Swamp Rabbit said, playing devil’s advocate. “His posses killed hundreds of Americans.”
“Depends which side of the fence you’re on,” I replied. “If you’re in Iran or Iraq, you probably think Bush and Cheney are terrorists, and Petraeus and the other generals. How many people did they kill?”
“But Mike Pompeo said Suleimani was planning more attacks,” he said. “What’s the big deal about killing him?”
I told him President Gerald Ford issued an executive order banning assassinations (1976). A current version of the ban is still in effect. Which means killing Suleimani was illegal. Which means we shouldn’t be outraged or even surprised if Iran blows up some high-ranking U.S. officials.
“But Pompeo said attacks were imminent,” Swamp Rabbit insisted. “And that this was — what you call it? — a targeted killing, not an assassination.”
“Pompeo is an Opus Dei member,” I replied. ‘He hates Iran for being a heathen country and thinks good Christians will continue to fight heathens right up to the Rapture. He thinks lying is okay if you’re lying for the Lord. His mascot Mike Pence feels the same way.”
Swamp Rabbit reached for his whiskey flask and drank deep. He was enjoying himself. “But them bosses in Iran are religious nuts, too. They got big chiefs called ayatollahs. Ayatollah means sign of God.”
I took a deep breath and exhaled. “The point is that America is run by bigoted hypocrites, just like Iran. It’s an open secret our news media will never acknowledge.”
“Well, no shit,” he said. Why didn’t you say that in the first place?”
Footnote: Sure, the assassination ban is vague. Several presidents, including Barack Obama, argued that it doesn’t apply to targeted killings of “nonstate actors” — Osama bin Laden, for example. But Suleimani was definitely not a nonstate actor. If the ban doesn’t cover his case, it’s worthless.
“So you’re telling me part of the multibillion-dollar wall Trump is having built on the Mexican border can be breached with a hundred-dollar saw? You’re not making this up?”
Swamp Rabbit wasn’t making it up. He was reading from a news article he’d called up on my laptop:
…When fitted with specialized blades, the saws can slice through one of the barrier’s steel-and-concrete bollards in minutes, according to [border] agents, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the barrier-defeating techniques. After cutting through the base of a single bollard, smugglers can push the steel out of the way, creating an adult-size gap. Because the bollards are so tall — and are attached only to a panel at the top — their length makes them easier to push aside once they have been cut and are left dangling…
Swamp Rabbit’s parole office, Victor Cortez, interrupted to vouch for the story’s accuracy. “I’ve got one of those reciprocating saws,” he said. “With the right blades it will cut through anything.”
I don’t believe you,” I said. “That reporter is tripping.”
“Just because you can’t drive a nail don’t mean some saw can’t cut through steel,” Swamp Rabbit replied.
I asked why the U.S. Border Patrol didn’t build a regular old brick wall. The rabbit said it was because they thought the concrete and steel bollard system was the best design they could afford.
“They can peek through the bollards — poles is what they are — and see them pesky refugees coming,” he explained. “And they can fix the poles that get wrecked if the refugees are too fast for them and sneak through.”
I persisted, just for the sake of argument. Didn’t Trump say the new wall would be “virtually impenetrable?” Didn’t he assure all those good old boys in the MAGA hats that he would save them from the marauding rapists he warned about?
“The Mexicans were gonna pay for the wall, too,” Swamp Rabbit noted. “If Trump said it, you can bet it ain’t true.”
Footnote: The refugees or aliens or whatever you want to call them are using ladders as well as saws to get past the wall. Who would have thought?
I spoke to the president over the last several days, and President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.
— National security adviser John Bolton
Swamp Rabbit and I were watching Donald Trump and his henchmen on TV. I noted that John Bolton looks like God just appeared to him in a burning bush and scared him so bad his goofy mustache turned white. He’s one of those dangerously kooky neocons who, a few years ago, wouldn’t have been allowed anywhere near the White House. Now he’s a fixture there, echoing a dangerously kooky president who, arguably, would start a major war to take the country’s focus off the criminal investigation that will eventually, inevitably bring him down.
“Mueller might charge Trump, but that don’t mean he’s going down,” Swamp Rabbit said. “He’s the president. He’s got the Supremes and all them minions in Congress on his side.”
I told my friend that Trump and Bolton’s trash talk about Iran might come to nothing, just like his trash talk about North Korea. That Trump will be indicted if Mueller has the goods. That the law is on our side.
“Which law?” he said. “Most of them legal experts say there ain’t nothing in the Constitution that says a sitting president can be indicted. Nobody can tell the president what to do.”
The old rodent has a point. The language in the Constitution regarding presidential crimes is a bit vague. It says a president who has committed serious offense may be removed by Congress, but it does not say he can be criminally prosecuted while in office.
Few people in the news media are admitting this, but the apparent problem is that “the founders” simply couldn’t imagine an America that would elect a would-be dictator, or a Congress and courts system that would accept and support a would-be dictator’s misconduct, or a gaggle of presidential advisers who were nothing more than demented yes men.
I said, “You’re right, Trump would pull the trigger, or press the button, or whatever it takes to make the heat go away. But I’m hoping the general public will stop him before it comes to that.”
“Don’t count on it,” the rabbit replied. “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran is a pretty catchy song.”