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Saturday, March 18, 2023


Well, Trump says he will be arrested on Tuesday and for once I hope he is correct. I suspect he will be indicted in Georgia within the next several weeks and perhaps by the end of May for the Mar-a-Lago matter as well.  Meanwhile, France is awash in garbage, England is in bad shape, Italy is in crisis, and Israel is close to what is being described as a civil war.

Perhaps there is something to be said for being very old.


Jerry Fresia said...

I see your point but I have been having problems of late so I'm leaning more to your long ago post about how great it had been or is to be young and alive. After all, if one treats the news and wacko friends and relatives as little more than watching TV, one is always anxious for the next installment.

Marc Susselman said...

The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

Marc Susselman said...

The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine
Justice maybe slow but it will come eventually.

The earliest known use of this expression is by 3rd century Greek philosopher Sextus Empiricus, who wrote 'The mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind small.'

Sextus Empiricus lived in the early 3rd century AD, possibly late 2nd century. He was a physician and philosopher who is thought to have lived mainly in Alexandria and Athens.

Although little is known of his life, some of his writings (Outlines of Pyrrhonism and Against the Dogmatists) survived the European "Dark Ages" to be rediscovered in the mid-16th century, at which point they were translated into Latin and caused quite a stir as they represented the most complete surviving account of ancient Greek and Roman skepticism.

Skepticism, in the context of classical philosophy, refers to the teachings and the traits of the Skeptikoi, a school of philosophers who took the position that one should avoid the postulation of final truths.

DJL said...

Why is Italy in crisis exactly? Same old, same old, it seems to me.

charles L. said...

What worries me in regard to Trump is how will his little maga fascist respond to his apparent arrest? Of course, we will hear from this orange psycho how it's all a witch hunt and that the "Marxist" democrats are behind all of it with Hunter Biden as the leader. With all this insanity one hopes that a final stake will be delivered through the "psycho wanna-be dictators heart and gets flushed down the sewer with all the other villains and rats of history.

Charles Pigden said...

Professor Wolff– you are forgetting the war in Ukraine, fascistic developments in Florida and other states and the ongoing climate crisis which is causing extreme weather events around the world. (Cyclone Gabrielle recently hit the North Island of New Zealand like a series of major air-raids and Cyclone Freddy has been a whole lot worse for people the Eastern parts of the African continent.)

LFC said...

Then, too, there's the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, coming on top of 12 years of war in the latter, which has basically wrecked the country. (Plus a lot of other things.)

R McD said...

I'm sorry that you saw fit to mention "England" as being in a shambles. Perhaps you did actually mean England--and it certainly is in a pretty bad way. But I suspect you meant the UK--and it certainly is in a shambles too. Meantime, for anyone who might be interested, that part of the UK known as Scotland is also in a shambles, and it's getting worse by the day while the SNP goes about selecting a new leader and hence a new Scottish government--that party has finally admitted that it has about 70,000 members (who'll get to pick their leader) after claiming that it had over 100,000. Seemingly 30,000 people gave up being members in the last year or so.

As for it being great being old, I'll admit to feeling a certain sad relief that I am now able to say I have no country and no political party. So I no longer have to defend or promote the indefensible.

R McD said...

I should have added, that not to worry, we're going to be taken care of:

Marc Susselman said...

Yes, the world is a mess, but has it ever been better? Would any of us prefer to have lived under Pax Romana? During the Middle Ages? During the Crusades? During the Renaissance and the Medicis and Borgias? During the reign of Genghis Khan? Napoleon’s ravaging of Europe? World War I or II?

Ásgeir said...

It was better in 2015.

Achim Kriechel (A.K.) said...

There is an episode in the old original series of StarTrek from the 60s. William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley are on board. For some reason, some of the crew end up in another dimension. The spaces of the two dimensions overlap, which leads to the fact that almost all things in both dimensions are in the same place. With the time this looks different. The time in the alternative dimension runs much faster than in the actual dimension. For the people who have fallen into the alternate dimension, all movement in the old dimension completely freezes. Everything freezes on the spot. For those who have stayed at home, the movement in the new dimension is completely invisible. Everything is moving far too fast to enter the realm of the perceptible. The only thing that the retards perceive is a noise that sounds like the buzzing of a fly. In reality, however, this buzzing is the sound of the language of the crewmembers in the alternate dimension, who are desperately trying to re-establish contact with their comrades "back home".
Finally, the contact succeeds by a trick. Someone gets the idea to record the buzzing on tape and then play the recording very slowly. Contact is re-established and, of course, as always, a solution to the problem is found.

I think this story could also be used as a very nice analogy for aging. The world we try to open up tumbles, the older we get, further and further into a new dimension in which causality runs faster and faster. It is a good thing that there are tapes.

Marc Susselman said...

Watching the news reports on the protests in France reminded me of this scene in Les Misérables. Revolution is in the French blood.

aaall said...

"During the Middle Ages," etc? As long as I was in coastal southern California - relatively peaceful, great weather, eating lobster on the Malibu. Also consider the Hawaiian Islands and New Zealand - no pesky humans at all and you do have that transporter. It's a big world and there have been quite a few human lifespan or so islands (real or figurative) of coolness.

Considering the Maggats: I recall a distant cousin we used to visit. Back in 1956 I asked her who she was voting for. She reared back and started in, "I voted for Harding the first time I could vote and I was so disgusted I swore I'd never vote again and I haven't and I won't."

After the hub and bub of the 19th century and the humiliations over Scopes, fundies sort of turned quietist until post Civil Rights and Roe. It's entirely possible that the backlash over Dobbs, etc. and Trump going down has them stepping back again.

Marc Susselman said...

There is always hope.

Marc Susselman said...

And this – Lee J. Cobb as Trump and Brando as Michael Cohen:


aaall said...

Just wondering but isn't what McCarthy doing some kind of obstruction?

Marc Susselman said...

No, it is not obstruction. Individuals, including politicians, are entitled to express their opinions regarding the wisdom, or lack thereof, and the viability, or lack thereof, of a criminal prosecution. They are entitled to encourage others to express their opinions as well. As far as I can tell, that is all that McCarthy is doing. What he is not allowed to do is to apply pressure on potential witnesses not to testify. That would be obstruction of justice, for which he could be indicted. I am not aware that he has engaged in such conduct.

Anonymous said...

If Trump is convicted does this impact his ability to run for president in 2024?

Marc Susselman said...

He can still run for, and be elected, President, even if convicted of a felony.

A word of caution, however. If he is indicted, it is believed that the DA will first charge Trump with violating NY business reporting law regarding the hush money he paid to Cohen to pay to Stormy Daniels. This would be a misdemeanor. The DA is expected to then try to shoe-horn that violation into a felony offense of failing to report the payment as a campaign contribution. Note: Former Presidential candidate John Edwards was indicted for the same combination of offenses, and he was acquitted on the most serious charge, and there was a mistrial on the remaining charges. The Dept. of Justice declined to retry him on the mistrial charges.

Marc Susselman said...

A story in the Saturday N.Y. Times provides confirmation of a rumor which has swirled around for several decades – that the Reagan’s campaign gave assurances to Iran during the Iran hostage crisis that if it did not release the hostages before the election, thereby hurting Carter’s chances of getting re-elected, Reagan would transfer arms to Iran, an exchange which later erupted as the Iran-Contra scandal during Reagan’s administration. According to an individual, Ben Barnes, who participated in a trip to the Middle East in September, 1980, the trip and scheme were orchestrated by former Texas governor John Connally (who was wounded in the same vehicle in which President Kenney was assassinated) and William Casey, the future CIA Director under Reagan. There is no direct evidence that Reagan knew about the scheme, but I think it unlikely that he did not know (or was already suffering from dementia). Had the hostages been released, Carter in all likelihood would have been re-elected.

Howard said...


The Reagan back room dealing is an early stage of a GOP power grab growing ever more brazen, with Trump and Post Trump.
There was a song by 10CC: "The things you do for love."
The GOP song is; "The things you'll do for absolute power"
Methinks they crave power more than they love the good old USA: witness the damage inflicted on all of us, including their base

Marc Susselman said...


It actually started with Nixon, about whom a similar rumor has existed that his campaign contacted the South Vietnamese leadership, thru Anna Chenault, the Washington socialite wife of Gen. Claire Lee Chennault ("Old Leatherface"), the leader of the Chinese air force during World War II, to persuade Thieu not to participate in the Paris peace talks with the North Vietnamese, which, if successful, would have boosted LBJ and Humphrey's election prospects. If this is true, and Nixon was aware of it, Nixon committed treason. See

So the Republicans have been up to their dirty tricks for several decades.

LFC said...


I think it's not "rumor" but fact. See:


LFC said...

That Wilson Center blog post by George Veith claims it's a "conspiracy theory," but a glance through the post shows he doesn't mention the Ken Hughes book at all.

aaall said...

Marc, the Nixon story has long been confirmed. The present story is more confirmation of a long standing rumor. Maybe we finally learn a lesson. BTW, the Pink sheets and other Chotiner, Stone, Rove tactics were "dirty tricks." Sabotaging ongoing peace talks was treason.

Johnson and Ford both choked because of fears of damage to the system. One could have ended Nixon and the other could have discouraged future Executive criminal activity. In retrospect those choices guaranteed more bad acts. In the same vein we might ponder the various Red Scares, Tonkin Gulf, Iraqi WMDs.

"(or was already suffering from dementia)"

Reflecting on the past actions of several folks I personally know who are now clearly suffering from various forms of dementia, the signs are there years to a decade or so prior to it becoming obvious. It seems most of us can compensate for quite a while. (Also JW and RR divorcing was one of those historical hinges.)

Re: Obstruction. I was referring to the letters demanding that prosecutors testify before various congressional committees about active criminal investigations, not just opining although that seems at least problematic.

anon. said...

Maybe we should keep in mind that it’s not just right-wingers, conservatives, what you will, that engage in the most awful lie-laden, consequences be damned sort of behavior?

In its resolute one-sidedness this site is in danger of becoming as corrupt and corrupting as, e.g., daily kos

Marc Susselman said...

LFC and aaall,

I found the claim regarding Nixon plausible, but was not sure the extent of the confirmation.

But the Republicans have been engaged in such strategies for some time. From the opposite perspective, President Lincoln delayed negotiations with the Confederacy in order to prevent the Civil War from ending before he had succeeded in getting the 13th Amendment passed prohibiting slavery and involuntary servitude. As depicted in the movie “Lincoln,” Francis Blair (the owner of Blair House, which is now used as a guest house for foreign dignitaries) headed a delegation to meet with designees of Jefferson Davis to discuss peace between the warring factions. They were headed back to Washington, when Lincoln sent a communication to Blair to slow down their progress towards the Northern capitol. When the vote came up in the House (the Amendment had already been approved by the Senate), the Democrats accused the Republicans of concealing the fact that the Confederate delegation was already in Washington, and argued that they should not ram rod ratification of the 13th Amendment through while peace negotiations were in progress in the capitol. This accusation was reported to President Lincoln, who then penned a letter directed to the Speaker of the House denying that there was a Confederate delegation in Washington. Paraphrasing, he said the he did not “know” that such a delegation was in Washington. This was technically accurate, because he had directed the two delegations to delay their approach to Washington. Lincoln’s personal communication in writing was sufficient to break the log jam, and Republicans, and several Democrats, who had been sitting on the fence, either voted in favor of the Amendment or abstained, allowing the Amendment to be passed by a 2/3 majority of the Representatives present, 119 to 56. The Amendment passed by just 3 votes. Lincoln’s delay of the peace talks enabled the Amendment’s passage. It Amendment was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865. Lee surrendered to Grant on April 9, 1865. President Lincoln was assassinated 6 days later on April 15, 1865. The states ratified the 13th Amendment on December 6, 1865 an event which President Lincoln did not live to see. Lincoln’s chicanery was, of course, of a totally different kind than Nixon’s and Reagan’s.

Out of curiosity, I checked how each State voted, assuming that all of the Northern States voted in favor. Not so. All of Michigan’s 6 Republican representatives voted Yea. One Democratic representative from N.J voted Nay; two others abstained. One Democratic representative from N.Y. voted Nay; 5 others abstained, as did 10 Republican representative.

Howard said...

So Marc

Nixon would have approved of today's GOP- would Reagan, specifically the power grab?

Marc Susselman said...


Actually, as much as I dislike both Nixon and Reagan, I do not think they would have approved of Trump's tactics or bullying. Trump is not a patriot, e.g., his mocking McCain. They would, I believe, disliked him for that.

aaall said...

"...Lincoln’s chicanery...of a totally different kind than Nixon’s and Reagan’s."

I'm not sure one party in a conflict is under any obligation to speed the end of that conflict regardless of the future consequences. Strategy, tactics, chicanery, and treason are different things.

On the other hand, Nixon was a private party conspiring with a foreign actor who was a party to a conflict that also involved his nation and which foreign actor saw an early resolution to that conflict as disadvantageous to them. Nixon saw a personal pony in his sabotage. Lincoln as commander in chief had an obligation to successfully prosecute the war, not merely end it regardless of the future consequences.

anon, we don't need tankie rags to understand that Blair was a neoliberal stooge and Iraq was based on neoconservative hubris and lies. Not sure what the kos reference is about. They opposed the imperialist Iraq War and they now oppose Russian imperialism in Ukraine. What's your problem?

aaall said...

"...specifically the power grab?"

Reagan was probably too nice, Nixon - if he could get away with it. Both would have problems swimming in the herrinvolk sea.

anon. said...

Don't appreciate your denigration of those you don't like as "tankies," aaall, since that carries the discussion nowhere. Anyway, I was just wanting to point out that political bad deeds are, shall we say, non-partisan.

As to my daily kos remark, I'm regularly dismayed to see that much of the conversation on the "left" or among "progressives" so often mirrors the take no prisoners, self-righteous, ugly patterns of engagement the "right" or the neo-whatevers regularly employ. I see I've returned to my opening sentence in a way, so I'll just stop.

s. wallerstein said...


We're good, they're evil.

That's the basic principle of politics everywhere.

anon. said...

Is that indeed the basic principle of politics everywhere, s. w? Perhaps you were being ironic? Anyway, I doubt what you assert is true. I think there are at least some who view their political opponents as in error or pursuing a wrong path, but I don't think everyone views those who don't agree with them as "evil." It strikes me that this is even more troubling a view than that of Carl Schmitt, the nazi lawyer, who, as I understand it, divided the political landscape into enemies and friends. It also strikes me as remarkably close to the notions of those Trump-supporting fundamentalists who take politics to be a great contest between good and evil. Are we all to become daleks? Exterminate. Exterminate. (Those who watched Dr Who will get the reference.)

As I've tried to intimate, in my view, it's not just the right-wingers who have caught a certain sort of political disease. We should try to wear political masks, wash our political hands, and hope for a political vaccine

s. wallerstein said...


There was some irony there, but that's my observation of politics, especially when it becomes as polarized as it currently is in the U.S.

I live in Chile which is almost as polarized as the U.S. and also divided into Good (us) and Evil (them).

In less polarized societies there is often an external enemy who is Evil, for example, in the U.S. during the Eisenhower era the Republican-Democrat divide was not Good versus Evil or Evil versus Good, but rather the Commies were Evil and We were Good.

Maybe in a small society, say, Luxemburg, it's different. I've never been in Luxemburg and it doesn't appear in the news much.

Marc Susselman said...

Jeopardy trivia:

Last night, the winner of Jeopardy was a history professor from Rowan University in New Jersey (formerly Glassboro State College, where, in 1967, a summit was held between LBJ and Premier Kosygin). In a category about “uncles,” her Double Jeopardy question was: “In a letter to Tacitus, this man wrote of his elder uncle’s death at Vesuvius from ‘some gross and noxious vapor’.” Her answer, Pliny, was correct and put her in the lead. (The letter was written by Pliny the Younger, about his uncle, Pliny the Elder, who died of asphyxiation while rescuing inhabitants of Herculaneum.

Not knowing much about Pliny, I later checked Wikipedia, and learned that he was on a vessel near Herculaneum when Vesuvius erupted. He got into a skiff to enter the harbor, and as his fellow sailors objected, he shouted, “audentes Fortuna iuvat,” “fortune favors the bold!” Apparently not always.

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