How are so many people confidently claiming that Trump is simply too important to go to jail. https://t.co/HNHyPZnAtW
— Franklin Stove Expropriator (@agraybee) April 1, 2023
Upon news of The First Indictment, Dave Roth re-upped one of his excellent Defector essays:
… The basic premise of Trumpism and the fundamental promise that Trump has made during his political career is that those who are with him will be treated one way, and those who are not will be treated in another, much worse way. Because of how Trump is—because of how avaricious and joyless he is, and because of how fearful and paranoid he is, and because of how unrelentingly aggrieved he is—this promise is fundamentally negative. Only the most powerful of the people that fell into formation behind him will receive any positive benefit from anything that he does; this is axiomatic, as Trump doesn’t do anything for anyone other than himself. Everyone that follows him understands and accepts this to some extent, and the less influential of those who lined up behind him either out of perceived interest or some rote and sour habit or pure servile instinct surely know as much. They also know that they will receive a more diffuse but still quite valuable dividend for their service, which is the certainty that they will never be treated as badly as the people on the other side.
That certainty is false, of course, but that doesn’t mean it’s not valuable. Trump has lived his life inside a curdled and childish belief that he can do and take and keep whatever he wants, without consequence, forever. As a sort of tabloid cartoon of a rich person, an adult Richie Rich that had somehow figured out how to use a smartphone and commit adultery, this delusion has served him decently well; the realities of his wealth and the structural forces that the country has built to protect people of similar fecklessness and similar means conspired to sustain it for decades. The version of this impunity that Trump sells to his audience is a cheaper reproduction, not sold in any store and available exclusively through this limited-time television offer, in which they can feel as invulnerable and unaccountable as him, and be just as lazy and just as cruel, without actually being anywhere near as well-insulated from the consequences of their actions. “I play to people’s fantasies,” Trump “writes” in the ghostwritten Art Of The Deal. “People may not always think big themselves. but they can get very excited by those who do.”
“That,” Trump continues, “is why a little hyperbole never hurts.” When it comes to building a brand or a public image, the utility of this sort of theatrical dishonesty is at least debatable. But the open secret with Trump is that there is nothing underneath all of this—not just no actual values beneath the pretend ones or actual product behind the pitch, but nothing at all. There is just bottomless idiotic appetite and unstinting demand, the urgency and endlessness of which makes any number of outlandish cruelties not just possible but inevitable. Trump is not the only person who is like this, but it may be that no one is more like this than him. Discernment isn’t on the menu, but it also fundamentally isn’t an option—admitting any kind of error or demonstrating any kind of vulnerability would mean not just defeat but a sort of death. The nature of this country and its economic and political depravities guarantee that such a person—someone rich enough and determined enough, stupid enough and frightened enough and selfish enough—can go a very long way. The idea of being that way is something that can be sold, because the shiny false certainty of it is something that people want to display, and feel themselves. It is a poisonous lie, but an aspirational one…
A lot of the people mad that Trump was indicted were furious Clinton wasn’t.
— Undeclared Cheese Computer (@Hal_RTFLC) March 31, 2023
Remember when Clinton was sued and argued that you can't tie up a president in court only for the Supreme Court to laugh at him?
— C🔆co Writes (@WritesCoco) March 31, 2023
Seriously, what’s to stop every Republican congressman and senator and governor from doing this, each raising a paltry $5K for it, and declaring themselves preemptively immune?
— The Fig Economy (@figgityfigs) April 1, 2023
I was told the libs would rehabilitate Trump yet it's not the libs saying he shouldn't be prosecuted.
— Franklin Stove Expropriator (@agraybee) April 1, 2023
I don’t care if he has to go to jail, I just want to see a picture of him with a prison haircut.
@patrick II: Mugshot without the ever present spray tan
I’m sick to the gills of psychoanalyzing this jerk.
Can we just dump him headfirst into the nearest porto-potty and close the lid?
@patrick II: i want them to shave his head
@patrick II: @Urza:
I’ll bet you both my imaginary ONE BILLION DOLLARS we never see a mug shot from this case.
Other cases? Maybe, but not this one.
I am, of course, talking out the side of my neck, but still, ONE BILLION DOLLARS!
Who does Grunwald think should prosecute Trump for crimes against New York state laws, if not a New York District Attorney? Is he seriously suggesting Republicans would accept a prosecution by Merrick Garland?
The fundamental problem is that Americans insist on electing so many judges, sheriffs and attorneys general. Of course their decisions are sometimes going to be political. That’s how they get elected! If you don’t like that outcome, take them out of the partisan electoral process, as is done in many other countries.
I think most of us have a sense of how empty Trump is and how venal his and his followers motives are, but Mr. Roth’s writing on the subject may be the best I have read.
@HumboldtBlue: I don’t have a billion to bet- So what odds are you giving me?
for me… Trump is the gravy on the mashed potatoes…. and I want every ever lovin’ spud prosecuted. I want the field where the spuds grew, rent asunder that forever more, no spuds will grow there.
As shitty as Trump is, and we all fully understand just how shitty he is, it’s the entire edifice that provides succor and support that needs to be burnt to the fucking ground. Everyone who benefited from this shit show at a minimum has to repay those ill-gotten gains and shunned from the limelight and all levers of power.
You coordinated with him on the coup, that’s prison and banned from holding public office
conspired in the treason, jail and no longer able to vote, much less hold public office
you ran a propaganda network, sorry, that’s now seized as a criminal asset and sold off. By the way, your citizenship is revoked and all those people who worked for you are now out of work. So fuck you and take your old racist ass to Fiji.
You got a SCOTUS seat after you lied to Congress, here’s some severance pay and a new job at the community food bank. C Y L
All you talking heads taking money to lie on the network, find a new career.
All you christian racists, guess what, your tax exempt status is now revoked. Here’s your tax bill.
I am feeling just a “tad” vindictive tonight…. so forgive a guy with bad allergies who has simply had enough of the dance, its masks off and time to stop the music.
Great essay, thanks for posting it.
It would seem that Mother Nature has already pre-empted this requirement
I agree re trump himself, but his supporters and their appetites bear a lot of scrutiny. Particularly for political formations that must oppose them, up and down the ballot.
Agree re elected prosecutors and judges. Worst thing ever for any kind of disinterested justice. Simply a terrible idea.
@piratedan: Well, we can dream.
Damn. I thought I was talking to Elon.
Hesitating between shaved heads for all his supporters, enablers and abetters or, the more permanent warning signal of a tattooed “MAGA” on their foreheads (red embroidery on breast just not prominent enough). Willing to consider “Brand TRUMP” as variant of latter option.
Cathie from Canada
Trump is The Golden Calf – he has no actual substance or philosophy or beliefs, so when his followers look at him they see only a distorted but comforting reflection of themselves and they love him for it.
As long as it’s a “full throated” side of your neck, that’s fine!
(I try never to go above 87% throated, myself.)
Unlike Woodrow Wilson who asked congress to make the world safe for democracy, Trump asks his followers to make the world safe for sociopathy.
@Cathie from Canada:
He has substance, philosophy, and beliefs: White people are better than any other race, a woman’s only value is sex, and anyone who challenges this philosophy must be brutally punished. He lives and breathes this philosophy, displays it viscerally in all he does, and Republican voters love him for it.
At the same time, he is the obvious proof that philosophy is wrong, but they only see that he was rewarded for it.
I live in a very red area of a very blue state. My hard scrabble next door neighbor still has his Trump sign up in front of his house. It’s a puzzle for me because this guy has been a great neighbor, to the point of running water to my house from his water system when I was having my system replaced. We are in a rural area so everyone has their own well etc. It was a big deal that he so generously offered to help. OTOH I’m a White widow he’s known for years, but I can’t reconcile his support for hateful policies with his personal actions.
I don’t think anyone can actually top Dave Roth on this.
He’s summarized Shit For Brains in 3 paragraphs succinctly and spot on. And this has been his entire life, not just the last 1000 yrs. At least it seems like a thousand years since some how we elected SFB for president. Having done that really does not say anything good about our country. We could have elected any one of the White House janitors and they would have done a dramatically better job as president. I’ve never met one of them but I’d bet they are all far, far smarter and I know they are all better humans.
@Cathie from Canada:
SFB has a philosophy. It is that he is the worlds smartest, best human and deserves everything he can con anyone out of. He is of course as wrong about this as he is about everything else and has been his entire shitty life.
@Rose Weiss: We have a neighbor like that. He would do anything for us, but I can hardly stand to talk to the guy when we bump into him when he and his landlady are on their daily walk.
@Rose Weiss: @opiejeanne: I had a friend once: we got along so well I used to say I was Boswell to his Johnson. He always treated me as well as a friend could. But wow, RWNJ. Wow. Just. Wow. In 2004 he told me “Chet, what’s the big deal about a few stress positions?” And that’s just an example: he was all-in on everything you’d read over at The Corner (National Review Online). His political positions were so extreme, and yet my love of him as a friend was so great, that I insisted we never speak of politics, b/c that way we could remain friends. But …. well, then TFG ran for President. And in the fullness of time, he voted for the bastard, and became a former friend.
Ah, well. In my relations with him, he was everything you could possibly ever ask for in a friend. Truly. And yet, he voted for people who would put me and mine in camps. Ah, well. I guess he’s still marinating in his love of TFG. Good for him, I guess.
@Rose Weiss: I had a boss like that. He was the best boss I’ve ever worked for and was very kind when I was going through some hard times. He talked politics with others but not me, I assume he knew no good could come of that.
I never talked politics with him either, but based on where I lived, he could make accurate assumptions about my politics.
April 1 birthday lady Alberta Hunter: “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”.
Featuring Harry Carney, baritone sax, inspired by a visit to the cell where Shah Jahan was imprisoned: “Agra”
In other news: it is election day in Finland with Sanna Marin’s position as the Prime Minster at stake. Her Social Democrats are actually doing surprisingly well in the opinion polls given that being in the government coalition, especially as the leading party with the PM seat tends to erode support among voters; in fact with the elections getting closer the Social Democrats have been making slight gains. However, the race between the three biggest parties is too close to call with the Finns party as one of three big three parties; this is a grave concern for progressively minded people here as the Finns are essentially anti-progressive (anti-immigration, socially-conservative, climate skeptics, … in a word, MAGA-ish).
BBC has a nice summary
A brief explanation of the Finnish political system might be in order: we have a multi-party system with the center of power in the unicameral parliament. The government or cabinet of ministers led by the PM can only stand as long as it has backing majority in the parliament. After an election, the party with most seats in the parliament gets the first shot at putting together a government coalition (with that all-important majority in the parliament) and so usually gets the PM seat. (We have a president as well as a PM, but of the two the PM is the far more powerful as far as the day-to-day running of the country goes.)
My landlords are excellent property managers and very decent people, and I am fortunate I rent from them.
They’re also political assholes, and for them, it’s about money.
@opiejeanne: Yes, a puzzle for sure. My personal policy is to have nothing whatsoever to do with any Republican because they’re all supporting hate, racism, and misogyny. Fortunately for me, and typical for my neighborhood, those folks mostly keep to themselves so I rarely need to interact with them.
@Hangö Kex: I saw that her party was behind and was shocked. Fingers crossed, thanks for the explanation.
Background is I had no contact whatsoever with my parents for years because of our totally opposite political positions. My father was actually a member of the White Citizen’s Council back in the day. After years of not speaking, we all finally decided to never discuss politics, social issues, or philosophy of life so we could have some sort of relationship. But my father never really forgave me for not being racist.
You might be right.
I still would love to see a group mug shot of Trump and some of his Secret Service protection.
@Rose Weiss: maybe this
Great song. I’ve always liked Bobby Womack’s version.
@eclare: I think it is thanks to Marin’s popularity that the that the Social Democrats are still in the PM race. At any rate It is a nail-biter. :/ Usually we have a pretty good idea late in the election day, but this time it might well be down to a few or a single seat too close to call before recount.
@Steeplejack: …the first recording of the song
Great essay. Thanks for posting it.
The sad thing is that some people are attracted to Trump and continue to believe in him, no matter what.
ETA. There are notable differences, but I am also amazed at the number of people who want to excuse or continue the failed leadership of Boris Johnson.
I am reminded of the prison mugshot of Phil Spector – so different without the wigs et al
Thanks for the information on Finland. I had no idea that an election was looming. The only recent stories I had seen was about Finland being a happy country that was about to join NATO.
I clicked over to the website, read the full article and the comments, and am now (4:38 AM EDT) lying awake in a cold sweat wondering if the “Blois” in the name “Blois Olson” (that’s right, it’s a frackin’ name) is spozeta be pronounced “blwah” or “bloyze” or “buh-Lois” (as in buh-Lois buh-Lane)… 8^O
(Brilliant writing from The Gripes Of Roth, though…)
re: ONE BILLION DOLLARS
The Zimbabwean dollar bills are perfect for bets like these (and bigger ones, there was even a handy $100 trillion note).
@Brachiator: Russia finally managed to convince my compatriots that NATO is where we need to be; I suppose the thinking was that we’d be fine as long as we didn’t give Russia any real reason to be concerned and that they’d become more like a normal country after the cold war anyway. Besides I’d think there was a perceived risk of being mixed up in some far-away, not-our-business-at-all war.
I’m a bit surprised about the happy part, I do hope this doesn’t mean that everyone else is just terribly miserable. (A similar thought while working for a certain prominent Finnish cell phone company in its heyday: if we can be this successful doing what we do, the competition must real screw-ups.)
Despite the same title (which can’t be copyrighted), that’s not the same song.
I visited the Finnish parliament when I was in Helsinki. It was fun.
ETA: Musicologists talk about these “variations” of a song, but when the lyrics are different, the melody is different and the only similarity is the title and the “theme,” they’re different songs.
I wish we had a fun parliament.
Well, we do have a funky Parliament.
@Baud: Good for you. :) I’ve been meaning to, but haven’t gotten further than checking it out from the outside (did walk past it this Thursday while on my way to the National Museum to see their special exhibition on Akseli Gallen-Kallela.)
@Hangö Kex: Does Finland elect its MPs from individual districts? Where is Ms. Marin’s party most popular?
I, too, am sick of psychoanalyzing TFG. I wish he would just slink off to jail and never bother the rest of us forever. The brilliance of Roth’s article however, is to analyze what is wrong about our society that some idiot like this would ever get elevated to power. After tRump is gone, that sickness will still be there. The shocking thing about President Mango Mussolini wasn’t the fact that he was so depraved. The shocking thing was how many of our fellow Americans were.
We could burn some weed in the air ducts in Congress.
@patrick II: True!
@Geminid: Multiple MPs are elected per district (which results in a multi-party system); there are 13 districts: the smallest one currently gets six MPs, the largest 37 (the numbers depend on population, a special case, the self-governing Åland gets one MP regardless); D’Hondt method is used resulting in proportional representation with districts for regional balance.
Social Democrats are most popular in the larger districts with the major towns (where support traditionally came from blue-collar workers, but increasingly from people just feeling center-left is their political home). The more rural areas tend to prefer the Center party which has traditionally looked after their interests (as a result the Center party has been shrinking with the rural population). In the more populous areas the Greens and Left Alliance compete with Social Democrats, the National Coalition Party (conservatives, center-right) draws much of their support there as well (but there isn’t too much overlap with supporters with Social Democrats, most competition has probably been with the Center party trying to widen its base). The Finns are the newest party on the scene and they seem to draw support both in rural and more densely populated areas competing with all the other major parties except the Greens.
@Hangö Kex: Thanks. That multiple member district system sounds good, for Finland at least. If you care to discuss this, I’m curious as to how the different parties voted on NATO accession. The vote in Turkiye was unanimous, but with only ~280 members voting it seems like a lot of members were not there.
But I repeat myself.
@Geminid: I think the proportional representation the system gives works fairly well. A drawback of a multi-party system seems to be that government coalitions that can accomplish things can be hard to come by (can be a feature or bug, I suppose); in the past a government getting trough the four year election cycle didn’t always work out (but I’d think they have mostly managed this since the 1990s or so). A benefit from the coalitions would seem to be that since the parties need to work together in coalitions they need play reasonably nice with each other and so polarization doesn’t get too bad.
Finnish parliament voted overwhelmingly (188-8 (200 MPs, 3 absent + 1 for the speaker who – I’d recall – only votes to break ties)) to join NATO; most votes against came from Left Alliance (https://yle.fi/a/3-12449487).
Left Alliance inherited the base and many MPs of the Communist Party (which disbanded itself in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union); this probably explains the attitude of the MPs of theirs who voted against (strange as it is, as Russia these days is anything but socialist :); most of Left Alliance voted for joining NATO though. (This, btw, has to do with the governments lasting the whole election cycle since the 1990s; Communists had a way of polarizing things :).
@Hangö Kex: In the US, too, there seems to be an odd strain of Soviet nostalgia that drives some self-identified Marxists to support Putin (or at least be opposed to opposing him), as if today’s more or less fascist Russia were the USSR. I don’t understand it either.
Back in the 1970s, the announcers/play-by-play people for the NY Rangers (NHL team, in case you don’t know) had a similar pronunciation conundrum with Lucien DeBlois. They eventually settled on “de-blwah.”
Of course, Walter Tkaczuk (one of my favorite players at the time) was also a problem for them. At the start of his career, they called him “TAY-chuck.” They eventually figured out it’s “Ka-CHUCK.”
Oh, for those blissful pre-Trump days. Back when we thought Nixon was the worst thing that could happen to America.
Hmmm…wonder how money would work on the complex plane?
At any rate, imaginary dollars would still be orthogonal to real dollars, and money that existed strictly on one axis of the plane would have a value of zero on the other axis.
Should I know who this Grunwald person is?
@Ken_L: Don’t kid yourself. All prosecutions are political. They are based on laws written by politicians elected by people. And those laws pick and chose who to politically raise one over the other (e.g. crack vs powder cocaine, white collar crime penalties vs other crime).
We just ignore the “normal” stuff as political even though it is very political.
@Ken_L: State crimes are “free”, of course!
Ioway doesn’t fool around. It’s BOY-ZEE and DeMOYNE. At the FL company I worked at one of our biggest suppliers was DuBois, pronounced DuBOYCE.
@Edmund dantes: oh then I forgot to add prosecutorial discretion. The most political aspect of all. Who they actually chose to pursue.
“oh this case would be tough to win, pass”. Which tends to favor the white rich criminals a lot.
@scav: The new scarlet letter! Can’t decide whether it should be a simple “T” or the full “MAGA”.
I could see us moving to a Parliamentary form of government. President George Clinton (the latest in the Clinton Dynasty!) would tear the roof off the sucker, and VP Bootsy Collins would help the nation get under a groove, just for the funk of it.
Damn, they were good.
Maybe everyone would get, say $30 000i per year and these could be used to pay taxes the same as regular $ (to make sure they have a use / value)? (The latter provision would break the orthogonality though.)
@piratedan: Ah, the old “Healthy Political Immune System!”* Not available in most states due to dumb cheap corruption, know-nuthin’ ism, voter childlike ignorance
@SFAW: Well aware of the Rangers – in the heyday of the American Hockey League our Baltimore Clippers were their top farm team, we got to see a lot of the younguns on their way up (and the washedup on their way down).**
I remember Walt Tkaczuk as a Ranger, but IIRC the TV play-by-play team pronounced it “ka-CHUKE.”
** Dad saw his first Clippers game at the Baltimore Civic Center during his second childhood, catting around with his best buddy Mr Harry (their wives said, Go have fun, stay out of our hair) and it was love at first face-off. You can’t televise hockey, he told me once, it’s too fast, the puck is too small, and you have to see the whole rink to understand what’s really happening, Remind me some time to pass along his story about an exhibition game with the Canadiens, the immortal Jean Beliveau, and a scrappy Clippers defenseman named Nick Polano…
The whole TeaParty astroturfing of Obamacare pretty much sealed that deal with me. This shit has been festering out in White rural American forever. It was clear there was a set of voters that would use any excuse to vent their petty grievances against whatever enemy the GOP money would point them at. The shocking thing for me was how willing the other 2016 GOP candidates were to eat each other alive just to get next to TFG. They are now (finally) reaping some of that whirlwind. Who knows how many will be left after this is over and if any of those who were on the margins will learn anything from it.
There were some from the Bush/Cheney, Southern Strategy era of politics who decided that destroying everyone around you just to win one election was not something that could be sustained. And there had to be more in it for them than winning (and grifting). One party is doing a pretty good job of retaining the people who want to serve and want everyone to benefit. One decided to double down on the apocalypse. Those who rejected Thunderdome now know that we don’t have to let them take us with them when they decide to step into the 27+% ring.
@Aussie Sheila: ok, you think we should have them appointed by elected people who then appoint judges who keep them in power? The problem with NOT having elected judges and sherries was it became impossible to get rid of intrenched powerful people whom we had found out were corrupt. Elections made it possible to clean things up if the public cared enough. It always depends on the public.
I am not sure the present system I’d perfect, but there were reasons it happened so we will have to think carefully and perhaps change slowly. IMO of course.
@Gvg: and sherries should be sheriffs. I did not notice what auto correct or maybe a typo did until the edit window closed.
The shocking thing about President Mango Mussolini wasn’t the fact that he was so depraved. The shocking thing was how many of our fellow Americans were.
That’s sort of the thing. His one overriding deal was that he’s one of them. His father was a slumlord, so a great role model for SFB. His idea of himself is that he’s the greatest person alive. Most of the rest of us think different. But there is a segment of every population that will always think that he who has the most is the best, even when that is openly and obviously proven wrong, as in this sorry excuse for a human.
@Rose Weiss: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the quintessential white voter truism about American politics is the belief that we aren’t who we vote for. We aren’t the policies we support/oppose. And the worst possible prejudice is for any of us to judge someone by the fact that they choose to pal around with Nazis, strip people of voting rights, put babies in cages etc. Freedom means I can support Nazis, but if you think bad of me for doing so, then you are the real Nazi. This is sadly what many Americans believe. Americans (especially but not all/only white ones) build their whole political worldview under this assumption that the Personal and Politics are NOT connected and how dare anyone suggest otherwise. It’s why there is always violent pushback whenever we focus on collective action and systemic oppression. Trump voters are simply supposed to be given a pass. As if their vote has nothing to do with the damage he can do with that vote. You see the same assumption for Third Party/Non-Voters who also believe they should never be taken to task for letting horrible Republicans win because they just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary. It’s an absolutely childish attitude but it is VERY common. I guarantee your neighbor feels this way. He thinks he should only be judged for being nice to you and his family, not for throwing Black People, Immigrants, Women, Transgender People etc., all under the bus and enabling policies that destroy their lives and restrict their freedom.
@Matt McIrvin: I mean I get the fetish. When I was 12 I thought USSR uniforms were cool and Ivan Drago was kinda bad-ass and I loved Soviet spy movies etc. Then I grew up and learned about what that world was actually like, especially first-hand from my HS Russian teacher who defected and would practically spit when American kids would downplay or romanticize the Soviet Union. It’s so weird that I know people in their 50’s on the Left who still gloss over the way USSR invaded their neighboring countries, put up barbed wire fences etc., not to mention how horrible Russia is nowadays for journalists, LGBTQ people etc.
I will never understand the concept that the prominent people somehow should be LESS accountable for their actions, especially people who enjoy the benefits of a public trust (e.g., elected officials and police). They should be held to the HIGHEST standards. With power and authority come responsibility.
If evidence indicates a crime was committed, it is not political to charge and pursue prosecution. In fact, not doing so would be political.
Perhaps it’s a combination of mostly Russia opposes the USA and should therefore be rooted for, and the occasional thought that as someone who came up in the KGB, Putin must be a secret Communist, though I haven’t heard that one directly.
Zimbabwe has had frequent bouts of hyperinflation for decades now.
@Hangö Kex: I reckon joining NATO will give them a boost, no?
@Hangö Kex: It’s interesting watching Israel then because I can’t seem to understand those people at all.
As you can see with the U.S. changes are also glacially slow. It’s even slower because of the fragmentation and division.
I never understood leftist countries. They seem to be completely under political corruption – I can’t discern anything like worker rights, minimum income, or a number of things we agitate for. It just seems that most of them live in poverty and there is no proper wealth distribution. The rich is still rich, and the influential still run the country. These countries tell me that socialism / communism is a bust.
@WaterGirl: Why not both? MAGAT
@cain: I read somewhere that every political system is shit unless it specifically centers people. None of them actually says there should be civil rights or minimum wage. Perhaps we need a new name for such a system and detail the human rights that it stands for.
@SFAW: Please tell me I wasn’t the only one who mashed up two bumper stickers back in ’92 to say “George Clinton for president”
@Steeplejack: …it seems you’ve got some reading to do.
Michael Grunwald (who, I confess, I’d never heard of before today) is yet another Harvard-educated idiot. If a powerful person like a former U.S. president breaks the law, that is all the more reason to prosecute his ass, indict him and then give him a fair trial. This country made a big mistake by not prosecuting Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes and Cheney for their crimes. Gerald Ford’s decision to issue a blanket pardon to Nixon in 1974 was perhaps the worst thing that happened in this country in the past half-century.
@Steeplejack: ‘Musicologists’ is it?
Extra credit reading:
Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out”. Encyclopedia of the Blues. University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Record Research, Inc. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
@cain:I’ve observed Israeli politics from afar for some years now, and I agree they are very difficult to understand. Their system of proportional representation complicates matters; in the last election, 11 parties made it into the Knesset, numbering from 4 (Labor) to 32 (Likud). There were 13 in the last Knesset, and the governing coalition had 8 parties. It lasted a year (and then another 6 months as a caretaker government).
The political landscape is very fragmented. For one thing, 20% of the citizens are Arab. They vote in lower numbers than Jewish Israelis, though, and mostly for Arab parties. The Arab parties never participated in any government until the last one, when Mansour Abbas’s Ra’am party joined the coalition cobbled together by Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid. This move was controversial, but Ra’am gained an MK in the last election so some people must have liked it.
Two Ultra-Orthodox parties represent the Sephardic and Ashkenazi Haredim, as they are called. They tend to vote in large numbers because the rabbis tell them to. The Shas (Sephardic) and UTJ (Azhkanazi) parties form a distinct bloc aligned with Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Two opposition parties, Yesh Atid and Yisrael Beitanyu, strongly oppose the influence of the Haredim. The latter party draws support from Russian immigrants. It’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, was a bar bouncer back in Russia and it shows in his abrasive political style. As Finance Minister in the last government, he antagonized the Haredi by raising the tax on paper plates and plastic utensils, a staple of large Haredi families. So they turned out in large numbers last November and the tax was rescinded by the new Finance Minister.
There seems to be a split among the secular Ashkenazi and Sephardi as well. The Sephardi or Mizrachi, Israelis came to Israel in the early 1950s after they were expelled from North African and Middle Eastern countries. They were long an underclass, and I’ve read that in the 1970s they saw Menachim Begin’s Likud party as a vehicle to gain power from the establishment “WASPs”- as in White Ashkenazi Sabra Paratroopers (the European-origin Azhkenazi tend to be lighter skinned; Sabras were the native-born Israelis, named after a local cactus; and the Paratroopers were a military elite that contributed to the civilian business and political elites).
I don’t know how big a social divide this is now, but I noticed that one of the proponents of Netanyahu’s judicial power grab framed it as an attempt to shake the dominance of Azhkenazi elites.
And now there are over 500,000 Jewish Israelis living in the occupied West Bank who mostly align with Netanyahu. They form the base of the radical National Religious Party, whose 14 members are the 3rd largest component of the current Knesset majority.
So Israeli politics are indeed very complex, and maybe even more confusing than New York City Democratic politics.