Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."





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Sunday, January 19, 2020

TWIDDLING MY THUMBS


On this quiet January Sunday, as we await the start of the Senate trial of the buffoon who, for purposes of the ritual, is always referred to as Donald John Trump, I find myself idly speculating on how it will all go down.  The outcome is settled, of course, but that hardly matters.  When I saw the first, great, film version of Death on the Nile, I knew how it would come out, having read the book, but that did not diminish my pleasure in the performances of Peter Ustinov, Maggie SmithAngela LansburyBette DavisMia FarrowDavid NivenGeorge Kennedy and Jack Warden.

I confess I had not realized that the senators will be required to sit silently, stripped of their cell phones, for hours on end – for many of them probably the longest unbroken period of waking silence in their lives.  The Republicans, having already decided their votes, will be condemned to listen to the excruciatingly detailed recitation of the evidence against Trump, unable to determine, until the bathroom breaks, how it is playing on cable TV.  Jim Jordan will be absent, but even the Senate version, Lindsey Graham, will be silent on pain of imprisonment [if the pro forma warning from the Sergeant at Arms is to be believed.]

The commentariat is obsessed with the possibility of testimony from Bolton and the threat of compensatory testimony from Hunter Biden, but I must confess my hopes are pinned on a nuclear eruption in the Senate chamber that I think is at least notionally possible.

The affair will begin on Tuesday, and as it drones on, Trump will be glued to his TV, tweeting obsessively.  After days of unbroken anti-Trump presentations [at least as I understand the rules], Cipollone, Sekulow, Dershowitz and company will get their chance.  It will all be terminally boring, and as the days go on, Trump will lose what little self-control he retains from his bone spur youth.  I genuinely believe there is a chance that at some point Trump will burst into the Senate Chamber and announce that he is taking over his own defense from his idiot lawyers, whom he scarcely knows. 

Mind you, this would not change the outcome, but it would be a moment of world-historical deliciousness. 

We shall see.



3 comments:

jgkess@cfl.rr.com said...

If you don't mind, my dear Professor, I'm going to re-purpose the phrase, "world-historical deliciousness"---I've got home-made lasagne in the oven.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I'll be right over.

Charles Pigden said...

Surely it will be like an ordinary trial. The Prosecution presents its evidence and the Defence gets the opportunity to cross-examine thei Prosecution's witnesses. Or is it NOT going to be like that? I think that that's how impeachment trials used to go before the House of Lords in the 17th & 18th Centuries. The Earl of Strafford ('Black Tom the Tyrant'), Charles I 's Viceroy in Ireland and chief minister during the two Bishop's Wars was so successful in defending himself against his House of Commons accusers, that they had to pass an Act of Attainder , essentially condemning him to death by an Act of Parliament. (Charles I, who had to sign the Act of Attainder for it to become law thought that his own execution was God's punishment for allowing an innocent man to be condemned to death.) So I think it going to be like the usual kind of courtroom drama that we have been watching on US and UK TV screens for the past fifty years so.

The Defence's problem is that there are a lot of highly respectable and credible witnesses against Trump whose testimony it will be really hard to shake. The Defence will have to argue/insinuate that Hill, Viindman etc are a pack of perjurers which is not a very plausible line to take.

Wouldn't it be great if the Senators got to vote in secret!