Billy B and Johnny D Drank Whiskey before the Special Counsel Appointment

I’ll have more to say about the NYT piece on the corrupt Durham investigation, though probably not till next week. But many people are commenting about how close Billy Barr was to Durham, as depicted by the way they sipped whiskey together.

While attorneys general overseeing politically sensitive inquiries tend to keep their distance from the investigators, Mr. Durham visited Mr. Barr in his office for at times weekly updates and consultations about his day-to-day work. They also sometimes dined and sipped Scotch together, people familiar with their work said.

In some ways, they were an odd match. Taciturn and media-averse, the goateed Mr. Durham had spent more than three decades as a prosecutor before Mr. Trump appointed him the U.S. attorney for Connecticut. Administrations of both parties had assigned him to investigate potential official wrongdoing, like allegations of corrupt ties between mafia informants and F.B.I. agents, and the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism detainees and destruction of evidence.

By contrast, the vocal and domineering Mr. Barr has never prosecuted a case and is known for using his law enforcement platform to opine on culture-war issues and politics. He had effectively auditioned to be Mr. Trump’s attorney general by asserting to a New York Times reporter that there was more basis to investigate Mrs. Clinton than Mr. Trump’s “so-called ‘collusion’” with Russia, and by writing a memo suggesting a way to shield Mr. Trump from scrutiny for obstruction of justice.

But the two shared a worldview: They are both Catholic conservatives and Republicans, born two months apart in 1950. As a career federal prosecutor, Mr. Durham already revered the office of the attorney general, people who know him say. And as he was drawn into Mr. Barr’s personal orbit, Mr. Durham came to embrace that particular attorney general’s intense feelings about the Russia investigation.

It is true that Special Counsels, under the regulations, are supposed to have more independence from the Attorney General than this.

But keep in mind that 17 months of whiskey sipping happened before Barr made Durham Special Counsel.

And Barr intervened this closely in many of the other investigations he orchestrated. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sipped whiskey with Scott Brady and Jeffrey Jensen, when they were conducting corrupt projects (accepting Russian-tied dirt on Joe Biden and undermining the Mike Flynn case, respectively) for him, as well.

The timing is significant in another way.

As NYT describes, when Billy and Johnny went to Italy chasing George Papadopoulos’ conspiracy theories, the Italians instead shared alarming information about suspected financial crimes with the two men. Rather than providing the tip to a normal investigator, Barr instead had Durham chase it down.

On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe, according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.

Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore. But rather than assign it to another prosecutor, Mr. Barr had Mr. Durham investigate the matter himself — giving him criminal prosecution powers for the first time — even though the possible wrongdoing by Mr. Trump did not fall squarely within Mr. Durham’s assignment to scrutinize the origins of the Russia inquiry, the people said.

Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.

But in October 2019, a garbled echo became public. The Times reported that Mr. Durham’s administrative review of the Russia inquiry had evolved to include a criminal investigation, while saying it was not clear what the suspected crime was. Citing their own sources, many other news outlets confirmed the development.

The news reports, however, were all framed around the erroneous assumption that the criminal investigation must mean Mr. Durham had found evidence of potential crimes by officials involved in the Russia inquiry. Mr. Barr, who weighed in publicly about the Durham inquiry at regular intervals in ways that advanced a pro-Trump narrative, chose in this instance not to clarify what was really happening.

By description, this tip too appears to precede the time when Durham was appointed Special Counsel. That’s important because, with every other investigation into Trump, Barr attempted to ensure it was shut down during the summer of 2020. If Barr succeeded here, too, then it would mean that it would not fall into the scope of Durham’s Special Counsel activities.

That’s important, because Durham is, by regulation, required to write a report about his prosecution and declination decisions. If Durham wants to see his report made public, we should fairly expect to see this criminal tip on Trump included.

There are a lot of questions about why Durham remains at DOJ. But one potential reasons is that Lisa Monaco believes his report could be a worthwhile thing: basically a long list of conspiracy theories that Barr had Durham chase that turned out to be conspiracy theories.

And this story may put some pressure on DOJ to make sure that happens.

191 replies
  1. Tom R. says:

    To spell out the timing:

    *) The Barr+Durham trip to Italy was the last week of September 2019.

    *) Durham was appointed special counsel on 19 October 2020, i.e. 15 days before the election.

    *) It’s a safe bet that the investigation into financial crimes was shut down in the summer of 2020 if not sooner. That too bad; I would have liked to see it explained in the “confidential report explaining the prosecution or declination decisions reached by the Special Counsel” required by 28 cfr 600.8(c).

    • Tom R. says:

      Additional fun fact: The order appointing Durham cites 600.4 to 600.10 but mysteriously fails to mention 28 CFR 600.3, which says in part “The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government.”

      I cannot imagine the howls of outrage if (say) Mueller had been appointed in the slightest violation of 28 CFR ….. or if the Mueller investigation had been as poorly predicated (or politically predicated) as the Durham investigation.

  2. Desider says:

    Besides Barr deceptively implying the Trump criminal investigation was for someone else, do you think Barr left it under Durham (despite not his mandate) so it could be ignored and die, whereas if picked up elsewhere in DoJ someone might do their job & investigate?

    • FL Resister says:

      Ya think? Looks like clear evidence that Barr killed an investigation into Trump’s possible criminality because he wasn’t the subject Barr and Durham were looking into. Nor did Barr refer it. Shocking.
      Perhaps attorneys can identify what this is called.

      Loved Marcy’s comment about Deputy AG Monaco carefully watching this all play out to examine the conspiracies Durham enters into the record of his final report. Hope she is as thorough as the intrepid Dr. Wheeler.

    • John B. says:

      I know I am not the one you are addressing the question to but yes, that seems reasonable and likely…

  3. stacy el hombre says:

    Everything Barr did under Trump was corrupt–not to mention what he did under Bush the Elder–until he refused to join the conspiracy to overthrow Biden’s election. This was seen by the MSM as a come-to-Jesus moment worthy of a profile in courage citation. Hypothetical: What if Biden’s victory depended solely on the outcome in GA or AZ, as Bush Jr.’s did on FL? Does anyone think this democracy-hating warthog wouldn’t have unleashed his Federalist Society Ninjas on the state in question to create the conditions for handing the election to his boss? Luckily, six states needed to be turned around for the heist to work. Barr knew this would be impossible, so he threw in the towel. The Times scoop is a nice reminder that this guy hasn’t improved.

    • bmaz says:

      “What if Biden’s victory depended solely on the outcome in GA or AZ, as Bush Jr.’s did on FL? Does anyone think this democracy-hating warthog wouldn’t have unleashed his Federalist Society Ninjas on the state in question to create the conditions for handing the election to his boss?”

      I’ve got news for you, the “Federalist Society Ninjas” were unleashed full, hard, and in a protracted fashion on Arizona and Georgia and democracy in both states held.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        There will always be dead-enders of which Kari Lake is merely the latest example. I think what Stacy was alluding to is that AG Barr punted because he could do the math and so got out when he could.

        Durham was apparently hired to find out the risks to Individual-1, which will not look very good in the report to come. I would guess I join many others on the board in thinking that the Durham Report will be murky fiction concocted to set off the RWNM. However, does that mean that DeSantis would ban it as trash history or embrace it as an opportunity to take his main rival down a peg?

        • John Paul Jones says:

          My question would be whether Garland is obliged to accept the report as written, or whether he has the power to add some sort of Appendix pointing out any factual errors or unsupported conclusions?

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      I’d agree that it’s not noble to protect criminals. I wonder how Barr viewed the criminals he was protecting.

      Barr’s actions as Attorney General advising George H. W. Bush on Irangate pardons flew under my radar at the time, but I’ve read a bit about them since. I wonder if Barr was surprised to discover that while George H. W. Bush might have committed some crimes in the course of performing his vice-presidential and/or presidential duties, Donald Trump did very little EXCEPT commit crimes.

      Put more clearly, Barr went from “protecting a president who might have committed some criminal acts” to “protecting a criminal who happened to be occupying the White House”. I wonder if Barr could see the difference, especially by the time he resigned as Attorney General, when Trump was in desperate post-election panic.

      • Just Some Guy says:

        “I wonder if Barr could see the difference, especially by the time he resigned as Attorney General, when Trump was in desperate post-election panic.”

        From the excerpts of his apparently-crummy book that Dr. Wheeler has graciously divulged here (so the rest of us don’t have to read his drivel), the answer appears to be: not bloody likely!

      • Rugger_9 says:

        The point is what AG Barr considered to be ‘criminal’ which to me looks very much like ‘disloyal’ to the RW authoritarians like Cheney the elder. That also includes an ‘ends justify the means’ prism to assess criminality.


  4. Tom-1812 says:

    The NYT story proves once again that with Barr and Durham it’s just “One Damn Thing After Another”. It always baffles me that people in their positions don’t seem to understand that, sooner or later (and sooner rather than later), the truth of their behaviour and actions will come to light. Unless they figure they’ll just brazen it out, or perhaps they just don’t care. Or maybe they’ll claim, “It was just the whisky talking.” Or perhaps as John Prebble wrote in his book on the original Forty-Five, the last Jacobite Rising under Bonnie Prince Charlie that ended at Culloden Moor in April 1746: “It is a sickness of the emotions and its symptoms can be seen on the labels of whisky bottles.”

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      That John Prebble quote is amazing, and perhaps amazingly applicable in this case as well. Thank you for including it in your comment!

      • Tom-1812 says:

        You’re more than welcome! The quote is on the first page of Prebble’s 1961 book, “Culloden”, which I was moved to read back in the late ’60s after my high school English teacher showed our class a 16 mm film version of Peter Watkins’ docudrama of the same name based on Prebble’s book. It was one of a series of books Prebble wrote on the history of the Scots Highlanders in the 18th and 19th centuries.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          I had the same experience after watching “Culloden” that is, I went and got the book, and then the other books in the series. I think he also did one on the visit to Scotland in the 1820s of the Prince Regent, and how that (and Scott’s novels) were in part responsible for the creation of the “traditions” of Scotland, clan kilts, highland games, and so forth. Single malt, as an aspect of that “tradition” seems to have come much later, but fortunately, it arrived during my lifetime.

          • Tom-1812 says:

            There was a failed Jacobite rebellion in 1715 which became known as “the ’15”. When Bonnie Prince Charlie landed in Scotland in 1745 to raise the clans again and overthrow King George II, it became known as “the ’45”. The number 45 is significant to Trump and his supporters as he was the 45th President, so when I referred to “the original Forty-Five” I was just trying to be clever.

            • Rayne says:

              Please don’t encourage the association of a parallel between legitimately oppressed Scots and white supremacist Trump and his Trumpistas. True cleverness knows its limitations.

                • Rayne says:

                  Scotland is still occupied when it can’t exercise autonomy to decide its own future without being ratfucked by Britain. That’s what happened in 2014 during the IndyRef; the ratfucking may have been a proof of concept ahead of Brexit, and Brexit the proof of concept ahead of Trump’s 2016 election.

    • Theodora30 says:

      We have no way of knowing just how many things people like this have gotten away with. For example there is strong evidence that agents in the NY FBI field office deliberately interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump. The media buried that story as well as the fact that there was an investigation of those leaks by DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz that was opened at Comey’s request — after the election when it was too late to stop them. We have never been told the results of that investigation or who the agents were.

      Maybe this information will finally be made public now that many people are suspecting that Charles McGonigal may have been one of the leakers.

    • Bugboy321 says:

      RE: “…the truth of their behaviour and actions will come to light.”
      I don’t know about Durham, but Billy Barr has been riding a wave of “One Damn Thing After Another” for a long, long time. In fact, I believe that’s precisely why he was hired…

      ETA: Agree with Spencer Dawkins about that John Prebble quote.

    • FL Resister says:

      Reading Marcy’s dissections of the botched up Durham cases, it had occurred to me a layperson that several boozy lunches in cozy places were likely involved though I thought it they would be with Rudy at that time.

      • rip no longer says:

        And 2+ hour boozy lunches paid for by taxpayers. Perhaps their work products involved some smears on the napkins.

    • Ebenezer Scrooge says:

      Yes, the truth usually comes out in time. But who cares? IOKIYAR. Ultimate disclosure is irrelevant to these guys, unless they worry about losing an election or personal criminal liability. They certainly don’t care about their reputation in the purlieus of this comments section.

      • John Paul Jones says:

        That was a pretty good imitation of a “Bah, humbug!” but I beg to differ. The truth, if you can get it, is always important, thus, whether or not Barr et al actually read this blog is kind of not the point.

  5. freebird says:

    Trump says that there is a unicorn and tells Barr to find the unicorn. Everyone knows that unicorns are a fantasy. Barr appoints Durham to find the unicorn. Because the Trump is a cult leader, Durham clowns himself by looking for unicorns.

    After I read the NYT article, I thought the headline should have been that Trump was looking for unicorns and didn’t find any.

    The thing is that Trump couldn’t be satisfied that the Mueller investigation didn’t hurt him and probably helped him with his base. No bad COVID response and Trump wins.

    • John B. says:

      Yes, I agree. If TFG had even an ounce of decency and competence he responds compassionately to the pandemic and the viruses’ effects on US citizens. And he would have won re-election. But he doesn’t and he didn’t. and yet, 74+ million citizens voted for him.

      • NeoGeoHa says:

        I’ve been saying that since the election. If he had only said; “Look, we didn’t realize how bad this virus really was, we’re gonna do everything we can to help and keep all American safe.” He would have won reelection. But we all know, though I will never understand, he is incapable of any admission that he believes portrays himself as wrong, weak, stupid, and/or a loser.

        • tinao says:

          NeoGeoHa, that is because he is certifiably mentally ill. I see that as a reflection on the gop. They would put an ill man in the Whitehouse to gain power, pure and simple.It cost our country dearly in lives and world wide esteem. I think Biden has been doing rather well repairing that damage. But the big question is will the gop finally admit it and reform accordingly.

          • Steve in MA says:

            “But the big question is will the gop finally admit it and reform accordingly.”

            So far I see zero evidence of this occurring in the next couple of years. Probably would take a resounding defeat and loss of all 3 branches to start clearing out the crazies in the GOP.

  6. viget says:

    Or counterpoint– maybe the Italian thing is still under investigation?

    Perhaps Durham had to spin it off when he was appointed special counsel because Barr refused to put that in his scope letter? Much like Mueller had to do with some prosecutions?

    • Theodora30 says:

      It is clear that Durham and Barr were working to protect Trump. I would bet that no one investigated the Italian’s information about Trump’s corrupt financial dealings. If the media doesn’t demand answers we probably will never get one.

      • Krisy Gosney says:

        The religion angle should be a part of this discussion, I feel. The reason they felt Trump was above the law was because it was man’s law and they saw Trump as operating under God’s law (as they interpreted it), in my opinion. They themselves were operating under God’s law too. It could be how Barr manipulated Durham to go the dark side for Trump. Get a little drunk and talk about how Trump is God’s anointed that needs to be protected from the ungodly so he can do God’s work on earth. Oh, and Hilary’s emails (!).

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Yes. I found it extraordinary that the Times saw fit to include it, albeit by describing Barr and Durham as “conservative Catholics,” which does not quite get across the Opus Dei radicalism of Barr’s views. These are folks who believe Pope Francis is wrong-headed at best, and illegitimate at worst, a Vatican analogue to Biden holding the presidency.

          What makes them so dangerous is their belief that they know God’s true will. Trump was in their view the necessarily flawed human vessel for God’s design–never mind that using their positions of power and authority to abet this divine plan involves a supreme arrogance that Jesus might spot in a split second.

          The First Sin was pride. Some Opus Dei members engage in self-flagellation. But that is not enough to guard against pride, and in fact it may add to it.

          • P J Evans says:

            I suspect that many Opus Dei members are proud of being members – and likely they’re proud of what they do to “humble themselves”, like flagellation and the like.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              I think they believe they’ve atoned for whichever sins they’ve identified. But they seem to have a “mote in God’s eye” problem when it comes to self-perception, and like most zealots they justify their excesses with the sanctimony of their cause.

              • bmaz says:

                “They” are a lot of people. And do not forget that “they” are in a lot of places, like the FedSoc and Supreme Court.

                • Ginevra diBenci says:

                  Exactly. It’s not so much that they are a lot of people, but that (as you point out, bmaz) they have come to dominate the most influential positions.

            • Ed Seedhouse says:

              I believe there is a technical term for that kind of thing: “spiritual pride”. As in “I realize more than others just how much I have to be humble about”.

          • Sandwichman says:

            “The First Sin was pride. Some Opus Dei members engage in self-flagellation. But that is not enough to guard against pride, and in fact it may add to it.”

            Thank you.

          • bgThenNow says:

            There are the Alexander Haig Catholics and the Berrigan Catholics, is how I always frame it. Somewhere in the way back machine is a reference Haig made to people involved in liberation movements in Central America, calling them “embryo terrorists.” I made a Halloween costume out of that sometime around 1986 I guess. I have relatives involved with Opus Dei. My father was more of the Berrigan variety. It was not a sad day when Benedict died.

        • Drew in Bronx says:

          Barr (as is the case with a lot of these Catholic “traditionalists”) fancies himself to be of the “aristocracy,” thus morally above the peons. In many ways he’s not nearly so deluded as other religious LARPers, but rather more cynical. He’d love to have the U.S. be a Catholic Commonwealth with his ilk organizing society, but he’s also clear-eyed enough to know the facts, such as who won the election, and to limit his abuse and corruption to areas where he thinks he can get away with whatever he’s doing. So he can sit down over scotch and plot out what will be prosecuted and what charges will be dropped (or never really investigated) but he won’t go beyond his power as Attorney General (even when he’s corruptly exceeding his authority).
          This is unlike Trump, Michael Flynn or John Eastman–people he appears to despise–they are not real aristocrats, unlike Barr, who after all grew up as the son of the headmaster at Dalton School.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Religion to one side (though I love the thread), Barr has been a fan of the “unitary executive” theory since high school. He believes that the President is empowered to do all sorts of stuff that most constitutional scholars would deem criminally subversive. And he arrived at this belief, not as an experienced legal scholar, but as a schoolboy. Was his conservative Catholic rearing a factor in preferring the idea of such a hierarchy? Most likely yes.

            • Drew in Bronx says:

              That’s the thing actually. There is quite a divide among Catholics on just the issue of how to weight hierarchy versus teachings about service/compassion/unions/etc

              It can be seen in the contrasts between popes: JohnXXIII/Paul VI/Francis on the one hand and John Paul II/BenedictXVI on the other. The hierarchical types hate Francis and loved Benedict & JP2–ironically demeaning and defying the very hierarchy they idolize. Barr is among the Francis haters & Biden is among the Francis lovers.

              (Don’t think that there aren’t clear parties & factions in the Catholic Church–they publicly deny it for PR & tactical reasons, but Francis’ behavior is clearly explained by his being the candidate of the anti-curial faction in the cardinals.)

              Barr has clearly ALWAYS been a part of the hierarchical faction and it was part of his upbringing. John Paul II is as much a part of his politics as Reagan.

                • John Lehman says:

                  Sorry should read:

                  How does TFG, being a supposed follower of the German Reformation leaders, fit into all this?

                • Drew in Bronx says:

                  Trump has not a clue about the German Reformation (his background is actually Reformed, which isn’t German, but French/Swiss/Dutch, but he has no clue about that either). Trump is entirely a self-absorbed rich kid, and his only idea about hierarchy is he wants to be the top, or he wants none at all.
                  Barr is an admirer of hierarchy, so very different. Barr seeks to tactically profit from hierarchy and get as high as he can, so he’s very different from Trump in that way. Barr’s departure from the administration in December 2020 is correlated with that. Barr wants a right wing government while Trump wants chaos while remaining in charge himself.

                  • John Lehman says:

                    Was thinking of Martin Luther (German) and the Ninety-five Theses initiating the Protestant Reformation. Of course Calvin (French-Swiss), Zwingli (Swiss-German) and Menno Simons (Dutch) joined Martin’s “Protest” against Catholicism later.

                    • Ginevra diBenci says:

                      Norman Vincent Peale was as close as DJT got to Martin Luther. The Power of Positive Thinking is his idea of Gospel.

                    • John Lehman says:

                      Yep…”Power of Positive Thinking” Fred Trump’s bible…he got rich from the US government subsidizing Fred’s residential developments then wouldn’t allow people of color to live there. Didn’t Woody Guthrie write a song about Fred’s racism? And what was grandpa Trump’s occupation in Alaska and Seattle…something about being a “broker” for people in the red light districts…?

                      Quite the Christian family.

              • earthworm says:

                OT, i know —
                i wish to add that possibly Francis’s prior life in the Argentina of the ‘Dirty War’ contributes to his ecclesiastical views and well developed sense of compassion.

                • Drew in Bronx says:

                  In his early career, Francis was the superior of the Jesuits in Argentina and he was pretty top-down authoritarian. It ended up going pretty badly and he really had to reflect and change how he did things. I think that part of the going badly had to do with the fact that the liberationists among the Jesuits who he was suppressing ended up being on the side of the angels in the Dirty War, etc while the conservative church authorities with whom he largely sided, turned out to be supporting the generals until too late.

          • Vicks says:

            God “the father” was the original authoritarian leader.
            From the home, to the church, to the president of the United States even young Billy Barr knew that bestowing MEN (real or imaginary) with powers (real or magical) that can’t be questioned or challenged is how they’ve been keeping this house of cards intact for centuries.

  7. Spencer Dawkins says:

    I’ve resolved in 2023 to read more, and comment less, on this site, but this quote is just too much for me.

    On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe, according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.

    Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham decided that the tip was too serious and credible to ignore. But rather than assign it to another prosecutor, Mr. Barr had Mr. Durham investigate the matter himself — giving him criminal prosecution powers for the first time — even though the possible wrongdoing by Mr. Trump did not fall squarely within Mr. Durham’s assignment to scrutinize the origins of the Russia inquiry, the people said.

    Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.

    So, is there a way for us to find out officially what the not-new, but new-to-us expanded scope of Durham’s investigation is/was, without interfering with the investigation, and without waiting for Durham to send his report to Garland?

    Just to include two minor comments – I can’t wait for Dr. Wheeler to write more about this next week, and I really appreciate that Durham’s picture is no longer the go-to picture for posts on his investigation. Durham and I look disturbingly alike (even more alike for the past few months, now that I am wearing glasses), and seeing him almost every day as another shoe fell about his investigation and I went to read about that, just depressed me!

    • tinao says:

      Hey Spencer, I totally agree that quote is a doozy. I just wanted to recommend some reading material I’ve been working through, ” The Silk Roads A New History Of The World” by Peter Frankopan. I am learning in leaps and bounds from this book. It’s a real eye opener!

  8. harpie says:

    Marcy: And this story may put some pressure on DOJ to make sure that happens.

    harpie: Oh, pleasepleaseplease, LET IT BE!

    • Tsawyer8 says:

      I’m with you, Harpies and Spencer
      It seems to me a DOJ gunshot could follow the same trail and find the same information from our Italian friends

      • Tsawyer8 says:

        I’m with you, Harpies and Spencer
        It seems to me a DOJ gum shoe could follow the same trail and find the same information from our Italian friends

  9. rattlemullet says:

    In my lifetime, has there ever been a time in recent history when so much weight has been shouldered by the DoJ to root out so much crime from one political party? In my life time it has been always the republicans to commit crimes while holding the presidency. Starting with Nixon and has band of petty criminals, then Regan with Iran Contra, followed by Bush II with his illegal war in Iraq, follow up bt the kingpin Trump where it appears everything he did was a crime. One common denominator through out this sullied history was floating Billy Barr.

    • harpie says:

      I was just looking at info I’ve saved about Edwin MEESE [because EASTMAN] when I came across this 4/21/20 piece from Charlie Pierce about BARR:

      William Barr Has Become the Hacko di Tutti Hacki of Attorneys General
      John Mitchell, Richard Kleindienst, William French Smith, Edwin Meese, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales—he’s put them all to shame.

      […] But William Barr, after auditioning quite successfully while helping squash the Iran-Contra threat to the presidency of George H.W. Bush, has become the full, blooming, odiferous flower of reeking corruption—the hacko di tutti hacki of all AGs. […]

      Last week, something called the Conservative Action Project wrote an open letter to Barr asking him to rein in state and local officials who are trying to keep their constituents alive. […]

      The first signature on the letter was that of…Edwin Fcking Meese. We will never be rid of them. Barr’ll probably live to be 105.

      Article linked here:
      3:39 PM · Apr 21, 2020

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          harpie, Thank you for reminding us that this has never been a spontaneous or unique movement, but rather a generational (d)evolution with roots that go way back. The Meese link is critical and I’m grateful to you for keeping a finger on it so I don’t feel the need; I never could stand Ed Meese, and his current spawn make my lip curl too.

          • harpie says:

            You’re welcome!
            The end of that CAP letter [just above MEESE’s signature]:

            We know well that you share our devotion to America’s Constitutional liberties, and we are grateful that you are in a unique position to act decisively in their defense.

            And, speaking of The Spawn, looking through the signatures, I wrote: Another Blackwell, Another Bozell, More Martins [though the Martins might not ALL be related]


            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              harpie, After staring at that (“We are grateful…”) sentence for ten minutes in nauseated horror, I understand why even the most dedicated researcher must at some point just slam the laptop shut and scream.

              A very good time to take the dog for a walk. In the rain.

          • Alan Charbonneau says:

            Yes, I could never stand Meese either.
            During the time of the “Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography” under Ed Meese, I recall thinking “I hate Meeses to pieces”. My feelings are unchanged.

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Yea, 91 year-old Ed Meese, sitting front table for a legal defense, even in an administrative hearing before the California State Bar Court? LOL. Mr. Eastman must think everyone is as out of touch as he is.

            Reagan Republicans – fond one of the most intellectually challenged and work shy presidents – laughed at Meese’s work ethic. His briefcase was said to be where briefs went to die. That was fine, though, because Reaganites didn’t want the Feds to do much, except prosecute DFHs.

            He and the rest of Eastman’s legal team are poster children for the worst Republican legal talent, plucked from the now sadly expansive GOP corner of the Berkeley faculty club lounge. It would be an exaggeration to call them window dressing. They’re more like the window smears that show up when the sun shines, but which won’t wipe off.

  10. flounder says:

    I’m still struck by the NYT reporters using the term “garbled echo” to describe being deceived in 2019 by “two people familiar with the matter” into being led to believe that the criminal matters Durham was investigating concerned Russia, the FBI, and the Clinton Campaign. A garbled echo would be a sound bouncing down canyon walls and distorted. That doesn’t jive with hearing the sound from “two people familiar with the matter”. The NYT remains a co-conspirator with Barr and Durham until they tell us whether these two people had direct knowledge and lied, or themselves were passing along an echo, a rumor. And if the NYT heard this from someone passing along an echo, describing them as “familiar with the matter” is dishonest.
    This happened six months after Barr pulled a nuclear-level fast one with his summary of the Mueller Report. Any reporter that didn’t have that fresh in their mind as they passed on echoes coming from Barr’s direction was engaged in malpractice, plain and simple.

    • bmaz says:

      The NY Times is a co-conspirator? Seriously? Where do you come up with this shit? What knowing overt act did they commit? How can you establish that?

      • SaltinWound says:

        The Times took what could have been a clear correction and released it belatedly, in the middle of an article, buried in verbiage. At the least they are continuing to confuse the issue after the fact.

        • bmaz says:

          What a load of crap. Sure, blame the press. It is such an easy move. Then, again, this discussion was facilitated by the very press people so casually vilify. And this blog is part of “the press”.

          By the way, I have been bitching about Durham since the Torture Tape “investigation” That was in the 2000’s. More than one person was on to the guy from the jump.

          • SaltinWound says:

            I know. I’ve been reading you for years. I’m surprised you think the Times handled the correction well.

            • BobBobCon says:

              I think the mess is that Savage isn’t in a position to issue a formal correction, nor are the other reporters on the byline.

              It’s an infuriating symptom of the bureaucracy of the NY Times that even if a reporter knows a past article needs correction, if the layers of management above disagree, it won’t happen.

              And the fact of the matter is the cowards at the levels of Ryan, Healy and Sulzberger will never, ever agree to corrections except at the most trivial level of typos.

                • Ginevra diBenci says:

                  The timing of Durham’s appointment, combined with the petty amounts of money received by Charles McGonigal, have me wondering if McGonigal might have been set up–not by Durham directly but by William Sweeney at NYC FBI, whom he apparently clashed with. McGonigal’s presence at the outset of Crossfire Hurricane would make him an attractive target for discrediting by Durham, and Sweeney knew it.

                  • Rugger_9 says:

                    There is probably more than a little rivalry going on in the NYC DoJ system. I’m reminded of the sordid competition between the LCDRs in my time because of the ‘up or out’ policy combined with the fact that a 20-year career was unattainable unless one made O-5 (CDR or Lt Colonel). Nothing was too petty or off the table.

                    Perhaps Sweeney engaged in something like the taking down his nearest rival a peg or two, but if the idea was to provide a ready-made victim for Durham, why didn’t Durham prosecute him, or McGonigal get shoved out of the FBI like McCabe was? You’re probably on to something but there’s a piece I don’t see yet.

                    • Ginevra diBenci says:

                      Yes, Rugger9, there are plenty of pieces I don’t see yet. They may not be there; I’m going on a hunch based on timing and the much-vaunted rarity of the McGonigal prosecution. That in itself made my hackles rise.

          • Bugboy321 says:

            Durham was involved with the Torture Tape “investigation”? Is that the one where they tried to figure out who destroyed the tapes at Guantanamo? JFC these two are made for each other…

      • flounder says:

        Sorry, hyperbole, but the NYT was stovepiping aluminum tube level deception here from a guy who got caught in an aluminum tube level lie six months beforehand. And they handwaved it away with garbled echo.

  11. PieIsDamnGood says:

    There’s a buddy cop movie in here. Loud and gregarious Barr embarrasses Durham while they’re chasing conspiracies in Italy, but after dodging liberal reporters and their pesky questions they sneak off to a little Italian winery.

      • PieIsDamnGood says:

        ohhh, maybe a National Treasure knock off? Barr and Durham have to sneak into the Vatican to steal an ancient piece of art with the single server’s ip address on it!

        • Drew in Bronx says:

          I knew a couple of old Anglican ecclesiastics, who in their younger days met while on sabbatical in Rome. They had an appointment at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in Ratinger’s (later Benedict XVI) early days there. While cooling their heels in an anteroom, they noticed a pile of stationery on a table which had the previous title of the agency on the letterhead. So they nicked it.
          For years after that, people were receiving prank letters from The Holy Office of the Inquisition that they sent. (I think this lasted until one of them was the Archbishop of Perth and Primate of Australia).

  12. Molly Pitcher says:

    In the daily Beast today is a piece about how Michael Cohen filed a complaint against former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman stating that “According to Berman’s book, Justice Department top brass tried to shield Trump, demanding that Berman’s team of prosecutors scrub any reference to him in public law enforcement documents. And the attorney general at the time, Bill Barr, even tried to unravel Cohen’s prosecution by shopping around an alternative legal “theory” that, in fact, Trump’s right-hand man hadn’t broken campaign finance laws.

    But all the details remained secret until Berman landed a book deal with Penguin Press and published Holding the Line in September.”

    Cohen is furious that the commission did not find fault with Berman’s behavior stating : “… failed miserably to uphold his ethical and legal obligation to report the occurrences. By failing to do so, Mr. Berman deprived me of valuable information that could have been used in my defense,”

  13. punaise says:

    (Barr/Durham quaff the single fault devil’s cut)
    by George Thorogood & The Constitution Destroyers  

    Scratch my back, baby
    Now by this time I’m plenty high
    You know when your sources a-getting dry
    The end is nigh
    Looked down at Barr I say to my tender
    I said look man, come down here, he got down there
    So what you want this time?
    I said look man, a-what time is it?
    He said the clock on the wall say theory o’crock
    Last call for vitriol
    So what you need?
    One bourbon, one scotch, one fear
    One bourbon, one scotch, one fear

  14. harpie says:

    12/7/18 TRUMP announces nomination of BARR to replace SESSIONS as AG
    2/14/19 BARR confirmed as AG [nearly party-line vote]
    5/13/19 BARR appoints DURHAM to lead probe into origins of FBI Russia election interference investigation
    9/5/19 TRUMP speaks with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte
    [approx] 9/21 – 9/28/19 BARR and DURHAM make unannounced trip to Italy
    9/30/19 ABC: Barr asked Trump for introductions to Italy, Australia in Russia probe review

    The attorney general was in Italy last week on an unannounced trip. […] But it’s not clear whether there’s any other example of the country’s lead law enforcement official traveling overseas to personally investigate an issue that the president believes could benefit him politically. […]

    10/24/19 NYT: DURHAM Investigation has “evolved to include a criminal investigation”
    [39 MONTHS]
    1/26/23 NYT: the October 2019 DURHAM investigation expansion into possible “criminal” matters was in regard to TRUMP

    Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump. The specifics of the tip and how they handled the investigation remain unclear, but Mr. Durham brought no charges over it.

  15. Savage Librarian says:

    “Billy B & Johnny D Drank Whiskey”

    “Billy B & Johnny D drank whiskey,”
    Their trip to Rome wasn’t risky,
    They were invested to be frisky,
    But they didn’t know we’d get this key.

    Barr weighed in publicly
    about the Durham inquiry,
    Unethical said Nora Dannehy
    who spurned their bogus conspiracy.

    Billy B & Johnny D flashed Georgie P,
    That’s how they flew first class to Italy,
    They hid finances that looked funny,
    Will Monaco help us follow the money?

    “Billy B & Johnny D drank whiskey,”
    Their trip to Rome wasn’t risky,
    They were invested to be frisky,
    But they didn’t know we’d get this key.

  16. Jenny says:

    Thank you Dr. Marcy. You are so talented at putting the puzzle pieces together. Also great title: Billy B and Johnny D. Drank Whiskey Before the Special Counsel Appointment

    • bmaz says:

      Hi Jenny. I have had a doctorate degree since the mid 80’s. So have most all people here. Address us all as “Dr.”

      And, no, I am not kidding. The “Dr.” thing was originally, I think, a joke. But you can call us all “Drs” now. Unless you are just trying to suck up. This is getting really tiring.

      • ducktree says:

        Same as you do… tiring.

        When I worked in the Cal State University LB Office of Faculty and Staff Relations, Staff members used an epigram for the PhD’s waddling around campus – Piled higher and deeper.

      • rip no longer says:

        So, when we address a “doctor” should we always use their last name? This is being debated in the medical doctor world.

        Since you appear to have a doctorate, are you to be addressed as “Doctor BMAZ”?

        I, also, have some initials to append (and prepend) to my handle. Should I insist that you and anyone else attach these?

        Since I’m on a rant that will probably get shut down by the PTB (for those like BMAZ who don’t like acronyms – Powers That Be) why do some commenters not need to follow the 8 unicode character limit (bmaz as an example.)

        Sorry to interject this very side issue into a very good discussion. But I feel that “bmaz” has already opened the can o’worms.

        • Jenny says:

          Good question.

          Hi bmaz or Dr. bmaz. I am surprised by your comment. Did I miss something? This is no suck up. I have used “Dr. Marcy” out of respect for a few years now thanking her for extensive and insightful work. I did so when Dr. Jill Biden’s title was questioned.

          Is it a problem? Is it incorrect to address her as Dr.? Confused. Could use some clarity by your comment.

          P.S. Not aware you had a doctorate degree and most all people here.

      • Jenny says:

        Hi bmaz or Dr. bmaz. I am surprised by your comment. Did I miss something? This is no suck up. I have used “Dr. Marcy” out of respect for a few years now thanking her for extensive and insightful work. I did so when Dr. Jill Biden’s title was questioned.

        Is it a problem? Is it incorrect to address her as Dr.? Confused. Could use some clarity by your comment.

        P.S. Not aware you had a doctorate degree and most all people here.

        • bmaz says:

          You did not know that lawyers have a doctoral degree? You did not know Jim White had one after all his posts explaining chemistry to you? You did not know Peter did after all his posts describing his educational background?

          I sure wasted a LOT of money and time in graduate school apparently.

          And it is all about Dr. Jill Biden? That strains all credulity. Especially since your first discernible comment here was in 2022. Don’t try to bullshit the people that have the evidence.

          • Jenny says:

            Thank you for the rude awakening.
            I never expected providing gratitude and a compliment for Dr. Marcy Wheeler’s work could be so unnerving.
            Perfect example of expect the unexpected unexpectedly.

            • bmaz says:

              Sure. Blithely shit on everyone else, little ass kisser. Rude awakening? Really?

              Do tell, since you have been here since June of last year (that is an entirety of eight months if you are not good at math). Tell us all about your “rude awakening”.

              And call me “Dr. bmaz” you ass kissing dipshit.

              Oh, I’m sorry, after closer inspection, you appear to have been concern trolling us since 2018.

              • Jenny says:

                Dr. bmaz the nasty abusive attacking tone is totally unnecessary. To set the record straight, I have been reading and responding to EW posts since 2018.

          • Critter7 says:

            Some of us who have doctoral degrees prefer NOT to be addressed as Dr., just call me by my name please. I guarantee that the academic award and title do not make us any smarter or better informed than many who lack them.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              Absolutely true, Critter7. I always encouraged my students to address me by my first name, partly for that reason and partly to emphasize that their own voices mattered as much or more than mine.

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Jenny, If you missed anything it was bmaz blowing up at me for the same infraction (i.e., addressing EW as “Dr.”). I do it because she is an academic, like me, and in public/media settings Dr. is the appropriate term of respect. In my fantasies, I’m just modeling its use for all the cable hosts I wish would would interview her.

          I have spent many hours in courtrooms and never heard a judge or lawyer address another lawyer as “Doctor,” Juris Doctorate notwithstanding, unless they have a separate form of the degree. I assume it’s to avoid confusion because that term is used when academic/medical experts give testimony; Marcy Wheeler would be “Doctor Wheeler” in that setting.

          While I too have a doctorate from the 1980s, I don’t feel snubbed or disrespected by anyone not knowing or not using it. It’s a thrill when someone *does* use it unexpectedly, especially in a doctor’s office, but otherwise…no big deal.

          • bmaz says:

            Then, when you do get so respected, it will matter. Unlike your, and Jenny’s, ass kissing bullshit. Remember, I have the evidence Dr. Ginevra.

            At least have the grace and honesty to admit you and “Jenny” are ass kissing sycophants, and saying nobody else here with multiple degrees matter.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              You have the evidence, bmaz. I’ve referenced my court experience in the past, when relevant. As for ass-kissing sycophancy, I only practice that when I anticipate it might produce some reward. Here, I expect nothing of the sort. I explained my motivation above, for anyone who actually cares what I say.

              • ducktree says:

                I work in a cauldron full of JDs in the largest legal firm in DTLA and the one I’m aware of who has a PhD in law insists that he be called “Joshua”. Maybe the heat and lack-a-water is getting to bmaz . . .

                • bmaz says:

                  And maybe you are full of shit. We have plenty of water here duck.

                  Are you spewing nonsense about people or corporate agriculture? Can you be more specific duck? Because I’d love to hear more from somebody in Long Beach.

                • earlofhuntingdon says:

                  Maybe the PhD thinks using his first name makes him more approachable, or he’s so confident he doesn’t need to wear his diplomas above his left front breast pocket. But if you think you’re working in a cauldron, perhaps it’s time to get out of the heat. Let’s move on, folks.

      • punaise says:

        I dunno, bmaz, Is this really one to duke it out on? Seems to me folks are just trying to be nice, and respectful, and you come down on them like a ton of bricks. Not looking to argue about it.

  17. Zinsky123 says:

    Between the NYT article about the Barr-Durham canard and the McGonigal arrest, things have gotten very expansive very quickly, haven’t they? I am anxiously awaiting Marcy’s further analysis of how this all fits together. I was having coffee with a friend the other day and he said something to the effect of “If you took Putin, Trump and Joe Biden out of the news the last seven years, would anything have happened (besides the pandemic)? I think it is a fair question….

  18. Doctor My Eyes says:

    I keep thinking of the NYT’s framing in their headline and subtext in the email they sent me. I’m completely serious when I say I remain in awe of their gaslighting skill. It is subtle and quite damaging to truth.

    Subject line: “How Barr’s quest to find flaws in the Russia inquiry unraveled”
    Intro line: “As attorney general, William Barr pressed the prosecutor John Durham to find flaws in the 2016 Trump-Russia investigation. That mission didn’t go well.”

    So much to unpack here. Don’t worry, I won’t cover it all. Just for a couple of aspects that keep echoing around in my head. The clever line “It didn’t go well” especially sticks in my craw. Didn’t go well or whom? Definitely not the American people, but the context suggests that it didn’t go well for Barr and Durham. I would suggest that their project was wildly successful, given that they were primarily on a mission to influence public opinion. Certainly the last thing they wanted to uncover was truth.

    Finally, the word “unraveled” is brilliant, standing in for a multitude of sins. They may as well have said the corruption didn’t work. What does unravel even mean? I don’t see any unraveling, just a series of fairly predictable examples of the limits of corruption while a modicum of a justice system remains in place.

    I could go on, but I’ll just stop there.

  19. Marinela says:

    If anything comes out from the Italian tip investigation, Trump would have to thank George Papadopoulos, then Billy and Jonny for that outcome.
    How ironic!

    How much we would know about this if Trump had won 2020 election?

  20. BobBobCon says:

    I’m going to lean Bmaz’s way in this instance and defend Savage for the most part. I think he’s done a lot of good with this article. I would have liked to have seen a better expose of the Times’s footsie playing with Barr, but that’s still a bridge too far for them.

    But to be clear, I think it’s also a signal of a lot of stuff going on below the surface at the Times, with the balance of power still on the side of Carolyn Ryan’s hacks. She’s awful, one of the worst top editors there in the past 50 years, and she’s still incredibly influential.

    But I don’t think her influence is complete, no matter how much AG Sulzberger wishes he could just let her make all of his decisions for him. Her people, like Peter Baker, are constantly embarassing the brand. People outside of her orbit, like Savage, Barstow and Craig, keep rescuing it.

    AG Sulzberger is an idiot, to be clear. An absolute cretin. He may well still exile Savage to Jets coverage when Marc Short calls to complain about an adverb. But for now, I’ll hold out some hope that the Politburo maneuvering at the Times still lets some good reporting escape.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      I agree. The Times appalls me almost every day, but this article hit a high mark for reporting and writing. Charlie Savage deserves praise, but so does Katie Benner for sticking on the DOJ beat. This one was not easy to nail down, but they did.

    • DoctorDoom says:

      BobBobCon, you are too generous in your characterization of AG Sulzberger. He’s worse than an idiot or cretin. He is actively supporting the worst actors in American politics. And I completely agree with your fears that he could banish Savage to some remote realm of journalism. Richard Sandomir, a superior journalist IMO, spent his early NYT career in sports and is now doing obituaries. His talent is obvious even without the benefit of working one of the prestige news desks.

  21. BROUX says:

    At this point, why wouldn’t AG Garland just simply suspend (or fire) Durham for cause (or just plain incompetence) and then ask the DOJ Inspector General to investigate the situation? Don’t give me the BS that one cannot interfere with the action of a prosecutor in DOJ, bla bla bla. In any other profession, someone would loose their job for this behavior.

    • Silly but True says:

      Mind you, OIG’s “reach” so-to-speak is only current employees, so it’s a _nearly_ pointless for OIG to investigate anything where key individuals are no longer with DoJ. That’s to say, the OIG should be engaged first.

      But then the next hurdle is if it deals with people easy to leave; they can just leave.

      So the most usefulness of the OIG is correcting institutional problems or if individual accountability is desired/needed, then completed while those people are subject to DoJ’s administration.

      Once gone, they needed support OIG, and if crime has been committed then US Att’y doesn’t need to wait for the OIG in any case.

      So likely nothing is to come or this general grievance with the process of the Durham investigation.

  22. Rugger_9 says:

    Almost completely OT, but it does point to the financing within the Trump Org stakeholders. Specifically, lays out the timeline for how 666 Fifth Avenue was financed, as well as the many ways Jared undercut the State Department. While not as thorough as it would be handled here, it’s still pretty complete and enraging. This was pointed to because SAC McGonigal was also apparently involved since he was looking at the finances of Trump Org.

  23. Rapier says:

    Two Roman Catholic boy fascists walk into a bar. Probably dim with lots of wood and leather, with the loudest sound being clinking glasses. It’s a type as old as fascism itself. Hoping things will be set right in the world by men like themselves. Men of impeccable propriety and rectitude. Averting their gaze but giving their help to the more base and crude forces below them who admittedly sometimes overreach. One can’t make an omelete, as they say.

    It’s a huge tribe actually, although few have the heft let us say, to achieve the apex of clout that Barr has. I suspect it’s painful that that punk Mick, Kavanaugh, got a spot on the Court but a little pain is good after all.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      It does make a difference. I think Savage Librarian nailed it above: It’s Fear. Probably a single-malt and doubtlessly Irish. Just for sipping…until sipping becomes simply too slow.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        So so sorry, punaise! Twas you who coined “One bourbon one scotch and one fear” above. While Savage Librarian also rhymed in with savage aptness on this scenario, I regret the misplacement.

  24. Bay State Librul says:

    Punaise at 6:42PM

    The gang here at Emptywheel could always endow an Eminent Scholar Chair — in the emerging field of
    valued added salutations.

  25. Savage Librarian says:

    What I have found attractive about the emptywheel website is not only the search for truth and attention to detail, but also the promotion of democratic values and a collegial environment. So, equity has value here. But, as I believe both bmaz and emptywheel have shown innumerable times, the road to fairness, impartiality and justice can be long and difficult.

    I’ve worked in academic institutions. But I don’t recall being required to address colleagues/coworkers by the letters associated with particular degrees. I do remember being on a first name basis, though. We see this kind of collegiality in TV news as well.

    It is true that when the “Dr. Jill Biden” topic surfaced in the news, Marcy made reference to Dr. emptywheel. And it seems natural and appropriate that students in a classroom setting would address their professors by their titles if that is the norm.

    But I have never had the sense that Marcy has ever insisted on a title or deemed it requisite to show respect. Nor has bmaz. Nor have other moderators. In fact, doing so comes across as tainted with a hint of authoritarianism.

    The whole issue to me has been solely about fairness. So, from my perspective, bmaz is simply asking that everyone be treated equally. I really don’t think that is too much to ask. After all, bmaz contributes an exceptional amount of work and value to this blog.

    And isn’t that really what we hope for and dream about a democracy? Doesn’t using titles outside of their appropriate settings lend to being thought of as elitists? That’s not really a concept we should be promoting, is it?

    We are a world of people who want to be seen and heard and respected. We are not students in a classroom or clients in a courtroom. Let’s just cut through the clutter and get back to being human beings who want to help each other.

    • Jenny says:

      “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.”
      Dalai Lama

    • Lurks123 says:

      May I point out that the emperor has no clothes.
      Dr bmaz sounds ridiculous.
      Clearly Jenny intended only respect. Fairness and equity? Surely it’s simpler than that. Assume good faith and good intentions on the part of the person who’s commenting, just like you would face to face, even if they don’t express themselves exactly as you would.
      Ew isn’t twitter FFS.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I’m not maligning Jenny in the least. But you surely are maligning someone, Lurks123. It is offensive. No need for that on the part of anyone. Bmaz has clearly taken offense, in a very prickly way, but he wouldn’t have done that if he hasn’t gone over this topic and his request multiple times in the past. So, first he was offended, then Ginevra was offended, then Jenny was offended, then you were offended, now I’m offended. I think each offender needs to follow a different path.

        • Jenny says:

          This is my evidence of experience. I can speak for myself. I feel I was attacked having written, “Dr. bmaz the nasty abusive attacking tone is totally unnecessary.”

          I was accused of: trying to suck up; bullshitting people; trolling EW since 2018; “saying nobody else with multiple degrees matter” and “shit on anybody here forever.” I was called a: little ass kisser; ass kissing dipshit; ass kissing bullshit; and ass kissing sycophant. To me, bully tactics. All this for thanking and complimenting Dr. Marcy Wheeler for her work.

          Whether you are a doctor, lawyer or Indian chief, I refuse to be verbally abused. Unacceptable behavior. I have been discriminated against, sexually harassed, sexual assaulted, bullied by a family member and now cyber bullied. All hurtful experiences.

          I had a visceral reaction to the toxic words written about me. Words have energy. I felt emotionally attacked by enraging words directed at me coming through the computer screen. Experiencing cyber bullying is harmful, hurtful, unpleasant and uncomfortable.

          I felt sad, nauseous and depressed all rolled into one. A distressing experience being cruelly attacked and blamed. Hurt people, hurt people. I now understand how others feel, especially, children who are constantly cyber bullied everyday.

          Having processed my emotions, I know the nastiness, outrage and viciousness words directed towards me is not about me. Bullies blame, belittle, bait and bash others to boost themselves up.

          I ask people who attack others, What hurts you so much that you have to hurt others to heal it?

          • bmaz says:

            You are still, days later, relentlessly prattling on about this nonsense? Find a more productive use of your time and everybody else’s here. This is not a navel gazing self help blog, give it a rest.

    • Eschscholzia says:

      I mostly agree with Savage Librarian, but make a distinction between credentialism and elitism, because I came up through a system of anti-credentialist elitism.

      I’m a scientist who moved from academia to an agency. In academic sciences in US and Canadian research universities, almost no one puts Dr. in front or Ph.D. behind their name. The conceit is that your research is so solid that it stands on its own, on the strength of your ideas and your data. Credentials don’t matter or strengthen the science: some credentialed people write worthless papers. [“Herr Professor Doktor Doktor” was grad student snark for a certain self-important professor with a European background who was obviously simply wrong on the fundamental question in his field.] The exception that proves the rule is “MD/PhD”, which is a whole different pathology on clinicians/practitioners versus researchers, where the dual credential means something.

      Now that I’m in government, credentials are taken more seriously, and my role as a scientist only gets accepted because of my credentials. Few people judge the strength of my science or my ideas. I actually have 2 sets of business cards: one with letters for agency upper managers, one without for scientists.

      I think of emptywheel in the former style: Marcy Wheeler’s writings are worth reading (& supporting) because of her smarts and her expertise, not because of credentials. BMAZ, Rayne, Ed Walker, Peterr, and so many contributors I can’t name them all are worth reading, and I learn from them, again, because of their smarts and expertise. I fully appreciate that all of that expertise comes from solid training, lots of experience, and paying attention to patterns in that experience. I’m pretty sure that I would find less of value in a “Doctor Wheel” blog.

    • tinao says:

      Just don’t anyone git pissy with me right now.

      Thanks SL

      yeaH, so I’m drinkin today after a 16 hour day and night
      jus wanna say
      this place is a singular voice of truth and reason.
      A lowly little nurse you’ll need some day
      has to say
      thanks all and one.
      An hey
      the christmas tree came down today!
      Don’t worry
      foundations remain
      a piece of totality.
      : – )
      3p to 7:30 a
      what a shift…

  26. earthworm says:

    OT, i know —
    i wish to add that possibly Francis’s prior life in the Argentina of the ‘Dirty War’ contributes to his ecclesiastical views and well developed sense of compassion.

  27. Bay State Librul says:

    The Durham Report:

    At a cost of $6.5 million — we have a dysfunctional, corrupt, and painful looking play on the gridiron of justice.
    As a result, we the people, have been denied, so far, the right of full disclosure and how the report advances the justice we deserve.
    At a minimum, I would like a Senate Judiciary Hearing, along with a firm release date by the AG.
    We got fucked by the Mueller Report, let’s not have a do over.

    • Rayne says:

      First, we did NOT get fucked by the Special Counsel’s Report. Barr did the fucking as did the OLC with its goddamned internal memo prohibiting indictment of a seated POTUS. The report did NOT clear Trump; I don’t know how you missed that after all the bloody time and effort expended on it here.

      Second, who is the “we” who “got fucked” — you and a rodent in your pocket? Do NOT presume to speak for others when you couldn’t be bothered to grasp the report didn’t exonerate Trump.

      • Norskieflamethrower says:

        Thank you for your comment, though it’s kinda hard on one of those who have been dazed and confused by the gaseous light filling the room from The NY Times.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a lighter note, are we in store for a Trash Talk this evening? I hear the odd football match is taking place.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        That would have been Nick Bosa getting winged by someone getting pushed out of bounds and drawing a penalty IIRC. However, the Niners were doomed when Purdy injured his throwing arm on a fumble that flew 15-20 yards and then multi-year veteran Josh Johnson played like the playoff rookie he was before he went out in the 3rd quarter with a concussion.

        So Brock had to come back in and not throw. Didn’t the Niners have an emergency QB or a designated third one ready (only allowed to play if 1 and 2 are out) like the rules used to call for? It also didn’t help that the defense kept extending drives for the Iggles and Johnson mishandled a snap at the end of the second into an eventual TD.

        Not good at all for the Niners.

        • bmaz says:

          “Emergency QBs” don’t exist anymore. Has to be a roster player. For the Niners, that would have been McCaffrey or Kyle Jacubsak.

          • Rugger_9 says:

            Given how multi-talented many of the Niners receivers and DBs are I would be very surprised if none of them had QB experience somewhere. Purdy was forced to be a statue since running was also out of the question. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch had ample opportunity to address this (I hear Derek Carr is available) over the last month when it probably was clear in Camp Niner that Jimmy G wasn’t going to be able to go. Johnson was pretty overwhelmed, as noted by three delay penalties that scotched at least a FG attempt after the wire punt. Between that, the undisciplined defense and the botched snap, the Niners went from still having a shot to game over in about 3 minutes.

            Given how Shanahan was filmed in screaming orbit around the linesman, one has to wonder how much the Iggles got away with on their D. They certainly gamed the system well starting with the 4th down ‘conversion’. I also note that N. Suh was the one who knocked out Johnson, and he’s been a problem child himself for discipline. I don’t think he was even flagged.

            Editorial note, it’s Kyle Juszczyk. I doubt anyone gets it right on the first try.

            Speaking of undisciplined D, that late hit by the Bengals LB gifted the FG to KC. It’s a problem around the league but some teams are worse than others and the Bengals are one of those.

            • Ginevra diBenci says:

              A lot of strange things occurred in that AFC game’s second half. An entire play we all saw that didn’t happen? That canceled sack of Mahomes? We’ll always wonder about that 55-yard FG that did not happen, at least not in my TV universe.

            • Molly Pitcher says:

              The Niner game was the football version of a Greek tragedy. And McCaffrey did make one very nice long pass to no one.

              It was a really fun last 10 games till this weekend.

              • bmaz says:

                It almost did look like a good pass, but no one was home! Likely why they just let Purdy hand off in pain; the game was over by then. McCaffrey as QB was not going to win it. Just glad they did not ask Purdy to do more than he could physically do.

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  We are anxiously awaiting the MRI report. I REALLY hope he doesn’t have to have Tommy John surgery. That is a 9 month to 12 month recuperation.

                • Molly Pitcher says:

                  Just got word, partially torn UCL. He might need surgery. They are seeking a second opinion.

                  As I said, a Greek tragedy. He does not deserve this.

                  • bmaz says:

                    Purdy was a pretty well known QB as a high school kid here. Went to Iowa State (think there may even have been an EW Trash Talk about him). Who knows how it would have played out yesterday, but wish he had the shot.

                    Also, too, “partially torn” is better than the alternative, no?

                    • Molly Pitcher says:

                      Yes, I expected you to have known about him. He would make anyone proud to be his parent.

                      As far as partial versus complete I don’t know. I am not that familiar with Tommy John surgery. I do know that sometimes it makes the treatment decision easier.

                      I just hope this doesn’t negatively impact his future prospects on the field and in the check book.

  29. Bay State Librul says:

    2nd request:
    The “we” I refer to is the taxpayers who paid the $6.5 Million for the Durham Investigation.
    My mistake… What I meant to say is that Barr fucked up the Mueller Report by misrepresenting it.
    My call for the Senate Hearing is to put Barr on the hot seat to explain his chicanery.
    I have never dissed the Mueller Report.

  30. harpie says:

    Oh, man…so many of the same names.

    Bill Barr’s Image Rehab Is Kaput Jan. 30, 2023

    […] But weakening the country’s institutions and safeguards for political benefit is how Mr. Barr did business in the nearly two years he served as the nation’s top law enforcement official under Mr. Trump. He has a long history of making the Justice Department an instrument of his ideology and politics; when he was attorney general in 1992 during the Bush administration, the Times columnist William Safire [see below] accused him of leading a “Criminal Cover-up Division” in refusing to appoint an independent counsel to investigate whether the Bush administration had knowingly provided aid to Saddam Hussein that was used to finance the military before Iraq invaded Kuwait. […]

    Essay; Justice Corrupts Justice WILLIAM SAFIRE Aug. 31, 1992

    U.S. Attorney General William Barr, in rejecting the House Judiciary Committee’s call for a prosecutor not beholden to the Bush Administration to investigate the crimes of Iraqgate, has taken personal charge of the cover-up. […]

    Mr. Barr and the chief of his Criminal Division, Robert Mueller, could face prosecution if it turns out that high Bush officials knew about Saddam Hussein’s perversion of our Agriculture export guarantees to finance his war machine, and delayed the inquiry into the Atlanta Lavoro bank scandal. […]

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