Captain Combover and the Coefficient of Fiction
Washington Post — Attorney General William P. Barr has told associates he disagrees with the Justice Department’s inspector general on one of the key findings in an upcoming report — that the FBI had enough information …
Future president John Adams concluded his defense of the Boston Massacre soldiers thusly:
I will enlarge no more on the evidence, but submit it to you.—Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence: nor is the law less stable than the fact; if an assault was made to endanger their lives, the law is clear, they had a right to kill in their own defence; if it was not so severe as to endanger their lives, yet if they were assaulted at all, struck and abused by blows of any sort, by snow-balls, oyster-shells, cinders, clubs, or sticks of any kind; this was a provocation, for which the law reduces the offence of killing, down to manslaughter, in consideration of those passions in our nature, which cannot be eradicated. To your candour and justice I submit the prisoners and their cause.
This diverges from current Republican practice in two distinct ways: a refusal to look at facts and a refusal to look at law. Thus, the “candour and justice” Adams refers to are orphans in this GOP and this White House. We may well see, and GOP hopes seem to clamor for, a Supreme Court equally uneasy with facts and law.
And here we are.
Many would trace thi disconnect back to the murder of the “Fairness doctrine” by Reagan in 1986. It is certainly true that Rush Limbaugh (and his format of one-sided “debate” and slander-as-policy-discussion) begins at that date, but it was really a team effort of that era:
“Civics” (or “Government”) was made “controversial” in curricula across America, and, like the brave souls that school administrators tend to be, the subject was usually dropped. End of controversy. End of understanding how a bill becomes law (unless you watched Fraggle Rock, of course.)
Then, the same attack was made on “history” courses.
“Controversial”? Dropped or dumbed down.
Whether you agree with my hypothesis or not, the fact is that we HAVE been dumbed down and we are paying the price.
The New York Times noted in 2016:
If basic civics was still taught, and required, for high school graduation, Trump could not claim that judges “sign bills.”
The dumbing down of this democracy has been gradual, and then — this year — all at once. The Princeton Review found that the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858 were engaged at roughly a high school senior level. A century later, the presidential debate of 1960 was a notch below, at a 10th grade level. By the year 2000, the two contenders were speaking like sixth graders. And in the upcoming debates — “Crooked Hillary” against “Don the Con” — we’ll be lucky to get beyond preschool potty talk.
Trump, who says he doesn’t read much at all, is both a product of the epidemic of ignorance and a main producer of it. He can litter the campaign trail with hundreds of easily debunked falsehoods because conservative media has spent more than two decades tearing down the idea of objective fact…. If more than 16 percent of Americans could locate Ukraine on a map, it would have been a Really Big Deal when Trump said that Russia was not going to invade it — two years after they had, in fact, invaded it.
And now we confront a loggerhead wherein the law and the facts are as much against the GOP position as it is possible to be in a rhetorical universe, and yet the know-nothings bray their ignorance with pride and gusto, even when briefed by the intelligence community that the “Ukraine interfered in the US election” was demonstrably Russian disinformation, as Sen. John Kennedy (no relation to the real John Kennedy) brayed the talking point KNOWING its falsity, on the ABC Sunday morning news show last week, as he proved by taking it down the next day on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show, then REDOUBLED the original lie on “Meet The Press” this Sunday.
“Truth” is fungible to the GOP.
adj.1. Law Returnable or negotiable in kind or by substitution, as a
quantity of grain for an equal amount of the same kind of grain.2. Interchangeable.
n.often fungibles Law Something that is fungible.
[Medieval Latin fungibilis, from Latin fungi (vice), to perform (in place of).]
fun’gi·bil’i·ty n.American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition 2016
- According to the facts and the evidence, Donald J. Trump committed a crime.
- According to the fungible worldview of the GOPs, Trump was rooting out corruption and protecting the American taxpayer.
- According to the facts and the evidence, the Russian government interfered in the US election for good (to them) reason.
- According to the fungible worldview of the GOPs, Ukraine interfered in the US election for reasons inimical to their own survival. Oh, and without the capacity to do so.
- According to the Mueller Report, Donald J. Trump engaged in a massive coverup of his involvement with the Russians, but no “smoking gun” of collusion could be charged (although Trump campaign officials met literally hundreds of times with Russian agents.)
- According to Bill Barr, the FBI and the “deep state” (a term of art resurrected and specifically modified to apply to THIS unique instance) were “out to get” Trump and falsified the basis of their investigation to obtain FISA warrants.
Which is what Bill Barr is objecting to here, given the leaks of the Inspector General’s report stating that no such thing happened.
Bill Barr, without facts OR evidence has rejected the facts of his own department’s investigation because it does not coincide with his and his Combover Boss’ fiction.
The future of our Republic is in peril.
VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW
And those who see it are too polite to scream in the streets or carry tiki torches, while those who DON’T see it aren’t.
I need not elaborate further. You’re sharp. You’re not among the approximately THIRTY MILLION Americans who cannot read.
But we have reached the naked truth: Bill Barr accepts only those notions that he wants to accept and facts be damned.
As, evidently, he wishes all of us who like facts.
Which, as Mr. Adams noted, are stubborn things.
A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog, His Vorpal Sword (no spaces) dot com.