Archive for March, 2021

Caviar and Bananas

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2021 by playthell

Basquiat and Warhol: Master and Slave?

Ishmael Reed and the Big, Beautiful Art Market

In advance of the full performance we look forward to seeing this year, I make bold to review the video reading1 of Ishmael Reed’s new play, The Slave Who Loved Caviar. The production, beautifully narrated by Tennessee Reed, was produced remotely due to the pandemic. This in itself demonstrates a technical mastery and the prodigious talents of the actors, especially Rome Neal of Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe. The video whets our appetite for the live performance to come.

Pinning down, debating, categorizing or even fully comprehending the complex narratives of of this seasoned, fearless writer can challenge Reed’s most faithful long-term readers. His resources are endless. For example, a pedestrian critique of the Loop Garou Kid, a cowboy character who utilizes futuristic space travel2 as merely an absurdist conflation of heroic structure, is to restrict one’s gaze to the tiny pinhole of genre, and reveals the critic as a pinhead. Thus, Ishmael Reed himself appears in the play as a vampire who ensnares his victims with the aid of his evil assistant and comes to the attention of a fearless detective.

I was inducted into the critic’s role by the caustic Dave Hickey, who challenged me to bring my own voice as a contemporary artist into the art conversation. He also warned me that only an articulate and well-informed writer could hope to succeed in the field. Rather than telling the reader what to think about Reed’s marvelous new play, I will discuss my own lens into some cogent and very current questions he raises.

Teaching lower-division art history to college students throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, I faced a critical obstacle: the textbooks. The artists pictured therein did not match the faces in my classes. Work selected as culturally “good” or “representational” often simply wasn’t. By deft maneuvering and appropriating of instructor’s privileges, I brought our analysis to bear on the context of the texts; we looked at how the work got its visibility and, most importantly, its lasting value.

In his liminal essay “The Birth of the Big, Beautiful Art Market,” Dave Hickey writes about the way art dealers based their sales campaign on the hugely successful commodification of the American car. To sell the consumer a new car every year, you first have to make him want it. In order to create and drive this desire, Cadillac hired designers including Frank Hershey, a former WWI naval officer. Basing his design on the “Fork-Tailed Devil” P38 Fighter 3 so feared by the Nazis, Hershey created the striking tailfins that put the company first in car sales in America until 1955.

To sell art at “white-hot” prices, you must first convince your wealthy buyers of its value, and that must be based upon novelty and scarcity. In his book The Tradition of the New4, Harold Rosenberg pinpoints this driving factor to coincide with the early 20th century art market that began in New York City. Get the newest one, get the only one, make all your friends jealous, and show that you have the best eye for what’s happening in art!

This mindless, ostentatious, decadence has become so prevalent among the fashionable super-rich that Maurizio Cattelan’s banana, simply stuck to the wall with ten inches of grey duct tape, sold for 120,000 dollars at the 2019 Miami Basel. Someone ate the banana; critics and fellow artists drubbed Cattelan mercilessly; Arthur Goldstein, chief editor of Artnet, wrote a article titled “The Vultures Are Circling,” stating that young artists might “get in,” but they might not “get out alive.”

Ishmael Reed refers to that same taped banana piece in The Slave Who Loved Caviar. A careless reader might take his meaning to be a wholesale indictment of contemporary art, but it’s the vultures we need to see. Equally, the title of the play invokes the heated historic arguments among African Americans about effective resistance to slavery. According to Malcom X, speaking at Michigan State University, East Lansing, on January 23, 1963,5 the slaves working and living in the owner’s house became invested in their privilege.

They then identified with their white owners and the food, clothing and comforts they experienced, he said. In fact, they would be unable to survive on their own without it. He maintained that given an obviously hypothetical choice, they would actually fight against other slaves in defense of their owners. Malcolm was not making a simple point. He was indicting an entire system. But was he right about the people caught inside it? Weren’t they the ones with the agency for real resistance?  The historical record testifies to the truth of the latter.

Ishmael Reed invokes this familiar cultural discussion with characteristic scholarship and intellectual agility. To assume the artist/slave loves his caviar, his master and his system is to fall into a most ingeniously constructed trap. Resistance has two forms – from inside the system of oppression, or from the outside. The first is characterized by the loss of agency and authority that is imposed upon the individual. In the second case, the individual makes choices and maintains the dignity of selfhood, but loses the “caviar” or rewards of obedience.  As characterized by Ishmael in this play, it appears that the much-celebrated Lower East Side black art phenom Basquiat, who was patronized by Andy Warhol, the fabulously famous white artist, chose the caviar.

When confronted with this choice and its consequences, Reed chose a different path. Unable to find a publisher in the US for Going Too Far: Essays About America’s Nervous Breakdown, 2012, he sought a publisher in Canada. Reed has founded and cofounded several small presses, journals, and organizations, including the Before Columbus Foundation, Ishmael Reed Publishing Company, PEN Oakland, Quilt magazine, and Yardbird Publishing Company, shouldering the responsibilities of funding, publicity and more. African American artist Kehinde Wiley, who painted Barack Obama’s 2017 presidential portrait, is a highly recognized, and well-paid figure in contemporary art. He chose to locate an artist residency in Dakar, Senegal, avoiding the constraints of corporate funding and selection6.

Art historian-literalists who balk at Ishmael Reed’s characterization of Andy Warhol will be lost in a Platonic cave of their own making. By framing the art world through the neo-slave narrative, Reed tears off the veils of whiteness in which its canons are shrouded. Thus, he provides an opportunity for change from within the system, which arts professionals urgently need to recognize.

As a professor of art history, I used my agency and authority to provide curriculum that examined and confronted established concepts and assumptions. For instance, when I invited visiting artists into the classroom, I did not invite anyone white. Similarly, I had a 3-page handout of important artists, available for students upon request when they wrote research papers, that didn’t list any white artists. It is noteworthy that nobody ever commented about this. It gave the students freedom of choice, making them the authority and agents of their own education about art.

I conclude with a final word for my art colleagues, or any others who may remain concerned with Reed’s portrayal of Andy Warhol and distracted from the serious questions examined in this play. Dr. Patrick McGee, Professor of Race & Cultural Studies at LSU, Baton Rouge, gives the best explanation about both my teaching practices and the importance of The Slave Who Loved Caviar as acts of activism and education. In his critique of racial ideology, Ishmael Reed and the Ends of Race7, Dr. McGee says that because of “the historical contradictions that compose American society, …art [is] a symptom of history that can be made to reveal its historical truth only through a critical intervention that lays bare the context of the text.” Ishmael Reed has given us a masterful view of the truth. We will do well to heed it.

The Bard and the Veep
Oakland Homies Hangin Out
Susannah Israel.
Oakland, California


[1] The Slave Who Loved Caviar, video reading.

2 Severson, Aaron. “Fork-Tailed Devil: The P-38 Lightning and the Birth of Cadillac’s Famous Fins.”

3 Rosenberg, Harold. The Tradition of the New. Horizon Press: New York. 1959

4 Benjamin, Playthell G. “Is Manning’s Marable A Re-Invention?: On Myth, History and Special Pleading”.

Commentaries On The Times, Harlem NY

5 Black Rock Senegal. Kehinde Wiley.

6 McGee, Patrick, Phd. Ishmael Reed and the Ends of Race. Palgrave MacMillan, 1997




Dirty Donald Walks Again!

Posted in The Second Trump Senate Impeachment with tags , on March 1, 2021 by playthell

Portrait of a Malignant Narcissist

 Jamie Raskin Calls for Impeachment

 And Presents a Great Opening Argument

If you care about the fate of our constitutional democracy, you should pay close attention to the second Impeachment trial for Dirty Donald, the fascist minded criminal buffoon who tried to disrupt the well-established, constitutionally mandated, peaceful transfer of power. This transfer of power is the litmus test for a democracy. And Congressman Raskin, who was instructed in Constitutional law by the great Lawrence Tribe at Harvard and spent 30 years as a Professor of Constitutional Law, gave a brilliant analysis of the LIMITS of the speech that is protected under the First Amendment. And he explained why Dirty Donald’s incitement of a mob attack on Congress is not protected under the First Amendment, which is the heart of Don tha Con’s defense.

If a president who loses an election which is verified by the legally constituted state election boards, and verified by SIXTY COURTS OF LAW, attempts to block this transfer of power by inciting an armed mob to attack the US Capitol while Congress was in session, with the intention of disrupting this fundamental constitutional function by maiming or killing key members of Congress, in the hope that he will be able to declare marshal law amidst the ensuing chaos, this is treason.

Democrats make Airtight Case for Constitutionality

The Senate impeachment trial of Dirty Donald Treasonous Trump has begun, and the democratic managers from the House of Representatives who are presenting the case are brilliant in their opening arguments. There are many reasons to watch this trial, privileged among these is the opportunity to learn much about the constitutional history and laws of the United States, and the intellectual stimulation of listening to a great debate, especially when poignant examples of erudition and sophistry are dramatically on display.

As I write it is obvious that the Republican strategy, presented by a career Pennsylvania prosecutor, Bruce Castor, a clever bumpkin who was obviously caught off guard, will attempt to obfuscate the erudition of the Democrats with a pile of transparent bullshit…shameless sophistry! The question under discussion this morning is whether the Impeachment proceeding itself is unconstitutional, which is the argument of the Attorney’s for Don tha Con. The Democrats response to this claim was characterized in equal parts by erudition and eloquence of a very high order.

The opening argument was presented by Congressman Jamie Raskin, who was a Professor of Constitutional Law for 30 years before his election to Congress. His argument delved deeply into the history of the Impeachment powers defined in the Constitution. In an amazing display of learned analysis, he cited case after case, and examined numerous legal opinions on the impeachment powers by jurists and constitutional scholars across the ideological spectrum, dating back to the earliest days of our constitutional republic.. These arguments sound the death knell before Dirty Donald’s mouthpieces – smarmy characters who attempt to pervert the letter and spirit of the Constitution in defense of Treacherous Treasonous Trump for fool’s gold – ever says nary a word.

Congressman “Professor” Raskin was followed by two very able Congressmen who are excellent trial lawyers, and the case they presented was deadly! Citing legal precedent and the opining of distinguished legal scholars, they drove the final nails in the coffins of Trump’s advocates as if they were intellectual corpses.

I can envision no convincing comeback for these compelling arguments. And to the optimist who say, “well you never know, where there’s life there’s hope,” I say but for the pervasive moral rot and cowardice among Republican Senators – which is at the root of our present national tragedy – I would put Dirty Don tha Con’s chances of exoneration at less than the chances of a snowflake in a pizza oven!  After Congressman Neguse, a handsome brilliant young East African from Colorado, and a third Congressman whose arguments were no less erudite and compelling than his colleagues that preceded him, concluded their arguments, Congressman Raskin returned to close out. Then the Republican arguments began.




Bruce Cantor Fumbles the Ball

The American adversarial system of trial practice, in which contending sides offer competing narratives of the issue at hand before a jury of peers who will decide the issue in a public trial, has been a blessing and a curse.  It has proved effective in exonerating the innocent and convicting the guilty.  But it has also been used to convict the innocent and exonerate the guilty. Alas, which outcome one achieves is due to a variety of factors: the competence of legal counsel, the nature of evidence, the intelligence, competence and impartiality of the jury.

The nature of legal advocacy is such that it does not require the lawyer be completely convinced of their client’s innocence.  All accused have a right to legal representation under the US system of jurisprudence.  The accused has a right to plead innocent. The 5th Amendment protects them from being compelled to testify against themselves. And the duty of the advocate is to make her clients accuser prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. Alas, a competent lawyer can construct a counter-narrative that makes the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt difficult even in cases where the guilt of the accused seems obvious to the average person.

The Trump defense lawyers – who remind me of the Three Stooges – did a masterful job of that today.  They followed the dictates of the conventional legal wisdom: If the facts are on your side, argue the facts.  If the Law is on your side argue the law.  If neither is on your side, then impugn the character and motives of your adversary and engage in obfuscation designed to confuse the facts and the law. Leaving the jury unable to distinguish fact from fictions, the truth from a lie.

We saw a textbook example of this today.  To be sure, much of these shenanigans would not have been allowed in a courtroom, but this is an impeachment trial in the Senate, where almost anything goes. For in a courtroom information introduced as “evidence” in a trial must be relevant and material to the case under litigation.  Hence all of the footage from the Black Lives Matter demonstrations against police murders of unarmed black men, would not have been admissible because it is irrelevant and immaterial to this case.

The only way such information could even appear to be relevant in this proceeding is to view it devoid of context.   In the case of the invasion of the US Capitol by Dirty Donald’s red caped MAGA militants, armed with a variety of weapons, these suckers had been cultivated for weeks by torrent of lies fed to them by their President.  Despite the fact  Dirty Donald has been flagged for telling over 20,000 lies during his tenure in the Oval Office by professional fact checkers at the Washington Post and the Toronto Star, these untutored zealous Trumpanzees, unquestioning devotees of the Trumpist cult, continue to regard his every utterance as gospel truth!

However, the measure of their success in this exercise in mass deception is not the intellectual gravitas of their legal polemics, nor even if they make sense when subjected to basic critical analysis; it is their effectiveness in achieving the goals of the Trump defense.  And this cannot be considered apart from the audience at which their arguments are directed.

The Trump Defense team are not directing their arguments to the legal establishment, or the law professors, nor even their Senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle, for they have already been rounded rejected by legal luminaries from these communities on the left and the right, liberals and conservatives! The are zeroed in on two objectives: Providing a fig leaf that will give cover to Republican Senators who refuse to convict Dirty Donald, although they know he is guilty as sin!  And providing lawyerly double talk, lies in legalese that serve as apologia for Donnie’s dirty deeds, confirming the beliefs of the untutored mob of MAGA cap wearing morons that fill the ranks of the fact free Trumpanzees in the Trumpist cult.  By this measure, I believed they have succeeded spectacularly.

David Shoen: Legal Bullshit Artist


“One of the most salient features of our culture is that there is so much bullshit…What bullshit essentially misrepresents is neither the state of affairs to which it refers nor the beliefs of the speaker concerning that state of affairs. Those are what lies misrepresent, by virtue of being false. Since bullshit need not be false, it differs from lies in its misrepresentational intent. The bullshitter may not deceive us, or even intend to do so, either about the facts or about what he takes the facts to be. What he does necessarily attempt to deceive us about is his enterprise. His only indispensably distinctive characteristic is that in a certain way he misrepresents what he is up to.”

“On Bullshit,” Dr. Harry G. Franks, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton

While the House Democrats who are managing the impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate attempted to appeal to the better angels of our nature, Dirty Donald’s lawyers Bruce Castor and David Shoen shamelessly played to the cheap seats, and appeared to be attempting, once again, to incite the worst passions of the untutored mob of Trumpanzees; bamboozled boobs whose murderous invasion of the capitol is the raison d’etre for the impeachment.

While their true motives – malice, deception, avarice, ambition? – remains a mystery, the ineptitude of their arguments is beyond dispute. These guys were just not up to the job; they came across like the legal profession’s gang that can’t shoot straight. While the Democrat’s attack was brilliant and deadly, repeatedly hitting their targets with devastating accuracy, the shameless Republican flim flam men were like blind riflemen who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn. After Congressmen Jamie Raskin’s opening assault on Dirty Donnie and his barbarian hordes he ordered to sack the capitol, laying the Republican defenses to waste, Congressmen Joe Neguse and David Cicilline were like avenging angels who swooped in and wiped out the wounded with formidable legal arguments.

Castor, a small-town prosecutor who is probably a big deal in his neck of the woods but came across as a bumbling boob who substituted guile for intellectual argument and was more shyster than scholar. The jiveass joker also seemed to be suffering from a severe case of “the cutes.” A frog who thought he was a prince. When he was not attempting to intimidate the Senators and the TV audience looking on, by predicting more uprisings of clueless enraged Trumpanzees should the Trump trial proceed, Castor’s argument suggests that he thought he could win the Senators votes by flattering them, openly pandering to their vanities. It was an embarrassing performance that never addressed the question at hand: Is the trial of Treacherous Treasonous Trump unconstitutional?

Castor’s co-Counsel, David Schoen, is a quirky pugnacious little bald head mumser who came across like Elmer Fudd on crack. As I listened to his rapid fire presentation that seemed designed to confuse more than enlighten, I remembered what my Grandfather, Deacon George Benjamin Senior, said the day that I told him I wanted to become a lawyer. He looked up and said matter of factly:” Well, If you gonna be a good lawyer, you got to be a good liar.” No doubt it was shameless charlatans like these Deke had in mind, legal mercenaries who hide behind the Constitutional mandate that all accused must have due process which requires legal representation.

Hence they can go about their nefarious deeds cloaked in the robes of justice, wearing the white hats of good guys. They are sleight of hand artist, bunko artists whose burlesque on legal argument resembles a game of Three Card Monte. However, any Time Square hustler who has managed to survive in the Darwinian milieu of the New York streets, which like the jungle is red of tooth and claw, can play the game better.

Aside from incoherent arguments filled with irrelevant anecdotes and curious legal citations, Shoen murdered a poem in broad open daylight! They were so bad it was funny, the Mutt and Jeff of the legal profession. One Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, from the deep red state of Louisiana, was so appalled by their feckless performance he switched his vote in favor of the Constitutionality of the Trial, which was a vote in favor of pressing on.

Word on the wires is that Dirty Donnie Dimwit is freaking tha fuck out over the fight being waged by his defenders, literally screaming at the television. I almost wish the bubble head bullshit artist had his Twitter account back, so we could share the tweeting Twit’s hysteria and rejoice. Being denied that guilty pleasure, I anxiously await the comedians take on this scene.

Mutt and Jeff’s comic debacle offers them an embarrassment of riches in terms of fresh material for their acts. It is farce masquerading as tragedy, a sad show that lends credibility to the cynicism of a growing number of Americans who increasingly view the legal profession as a haven for lying soulless charlatans who will passionately argue that war is peace if the price is right.

Although there is no paucity of bi-partisan invective heaped upon the hapless lawyers dispatched on an impossible mission – cause Dirty Donald is guilty as sin – it fell to the grand legal savant Laurence Tribe, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, to provide a sober and candid assessment of the Trump team.

Having recently published a book on the impeachment process, Professor Tribe is quite familiar with the issues at hand. And no doubt comparing them to the magnificent performance of his former student Jamie Raskin, he succinctly summed up the performance of Castor and Shoen: ”They lied…and they SUCK!”



Joe Neguse Holding Forth

Colorado congressman Joe Neguse is made an air tight case that the insurrectionist were mobilized by Dirty Donald’s outrageous lies about a stolen presidential election, then he invited them to DC to do their dirty deeds.  Congressman Neguse told how Treasonous Trump assembled “an armed angry crowd on the Washington mall ready to be provoked, and he provoked them!” By “spreading the Big Lie.” He cited evidence that Dirty Donald was ecstatic watching the armed mob with murder on their mind storm the capitol. And how Donnie Dimwit was puzzled that others did not share his joy.

When they, the police, was being attacked, Don tha con said to the mobsters:” We love you, you are very special people….president Trump alone had the power to stop the mob but he didn’t.” Instead he showed how Dirty Donald “Encouraged it!” Then he left us with this parting thought, if we let this go unpunished, he will do it again!”  One thing is certain, anyone who is intelligent enough to get themselves elected to the US Senate, is certainly smart enough to see that the Democratic Managers who have presented the argument for treason, HAVE BRILLIANTLY MADE THEIR CASE, because they know that NONE of them could have done it better!

Their arguments were superb, flawless in its reasoning and unimpeachable it its evidence! Hence we can safely conclude, that those who fail to vote to convict this treasonous amoral criminal, are prepared to impose a fascist autocratic plutocrat over a democratically elected enlightened career public servant who is a master at the art of governing. The choice is crystal clear.

For Dirty Deranged Donald Treasonous Trump has defecated on our nation’s most cherished ideals: ad hoc attacks on the judiciary; constant attacks on freedom of the press; contempt for Congress; and inciting an armed crazed mob of Trumpanzees to assault the capitol, while the Congress was in the process of certifying the peaceful transfer of power based on the votes of more Americans than have EVER turned out to cast their vote for president!  As Congressman Neguse presented the case, there was no room for ambiguity: Popular Democracy or Fascist Plutocracy!


Bravissimo Madeline Dean!

Weaving a Compelling Narrative

Congresswoman Dean painted a devastating portrait of Dirty many blatant attempts to interfere in state election outcomes by personally pressuring state officials to change the election results.  She shows how he was so persistent in his efforts an election official in Georgia that if he continued to claim the election from him, he would inflame passions to the point where “Somebody is gonna get shot.  As a lawyer and a former Professor of writing, she is highly skilled in the art of constructing a compelling narrative.  And those skills were prominently on display in here presentation today, driving yet another nail in dirty Donald’s Coffin!


Stacy Plaskett On A Mission

Stacy Plaskett is a special species of statuesque, brainy, ebony beauty that is cut from the same cloth as Michelle Obama. Born in Brooklyn for parents who immigrated from the American Virgin Islands, in 1966, her mother was a court clerk and her father a cop. As one of the intellectually gifted students selected by “A Better Chance,” ABC, the same program that produced Deval Patrick, the first black governor of Massachusetts, she was provide the opportunity to attend – Cohate Rosemary Hall – an elite private high school.

It was a boarding school that took her out of the Brooklyn Projects into the rarified precincts of the American upper class. The education she received there prepared her for admission to Washington’s Georgetown University, where she earned a degree in History and Diplomacy, and from there to American University Law School, where she studied Constitutional Law under her fellow Democrat impeachment manager Jamie Raskin, who must be brimming with pride over his student’s performance in this trial.

As the Non-Voting Delegate from the Virgin Island, where she now lives in St, Croix, Ms. Plaskett has presented cogent fact driven arguments based on sound legal principle, which formed compelling narratives of Dirty Donald’s dastardly deeds. Her arguments have been distinguished by an abundance of erudition and eloquence forcefully and convincingly rendered.

I will have a more exhaustive analysis of Ms. Plaskett’s arguments, both in her presentation of evidence and her response to the question and answer session following the Trump defense team obscene exercise in sophistry, duplicity, obfuscation, and hypocrisy!



Congressman Eric Swalwell

Congressman Eric Swalwell, a former California prosecutor, was relentless in his systematic presentation of the evidence supporting the democratic narrative that Trump’s culpability for inciting the armed insurrectionist attack on the Congress. The noose is tightening not just around the neck of Dirty Donald, a crude deranged fascist thug, but the ENTIRE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!! It has been one of the more able presentations in a day filled with outstanding legal argument. BRAVO!



Congressman Ted Lieu as a Military Officer

These comments were made by Phil Scott, the Republican Governor of the largely white state of Vermont, as he denounced the invasion of the US capitol by a murderous untutored mob of Trumpanzees of February 6. It was cited by Congressman Ted Lieu, a brilliant Chinese American Democrat from California, a retired US Army Colonel and a former prosecutor, who is one of the House Impeachment managers presenting the case for convicting Dirty Donald in the Senate.

Although he has been called a “communist” by some Vermont residents, who are pissed off by his public health policies designed to fight the Covid19 Virus, Scott is one of a growing number of high ranking Republicans – including elected officials, and former White House civilian and military advisors to Don tha Con – who are speaking out and denouncing Trump’s central role in inciting the attempted “Insurrection.”

Congressman Lieu – who once sponsored a bill with Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey to restrain Ditzy Donald from initiating a nuclear war on an impulse, was cool as a cucumber as he presented a treasure trove of evidence regarding Treasonous Trump’s culpability in inciting the barbarian Trumpist hordes to commit armed sedition. Among those whose words we heard were five sitting Republican governors.

The evidence presented by Congressman Lieu was precise, well documented, compelling, and CONVINCING! It was just more fuel to a raging fire of truth that is steadily consuming Dirty Donald and the Neo-Fascist Trumpist Party, formerly known as the “Republican Party.”



Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas 

Using video tape as effectively as the great sportscaster Warner Wolf, author of the famous lines “lets go to the video tape,” Congressman Castro constructed an airtight narrative of events, showing step by step how Dirty Donald, the Big Apple bunko artist, inspired an armed mob to come to Washington, and incited them to invade the capitol.

His argument is irrefutable to the eyes and ears of ANY intelligent objective observer. If the Republicans vote against his impeachment, it is a confession that they prefer a corrupt, incompetent, ignorant, fascist plutocrat to a democratically elected President who s committed to democratic government with social justice.



Michael Van der Veen

Lawyerly Double Talk and Blatant Bullshit Wins the Day!

Michael Van der Veen, who delivered the closing argument for trump, aside from being a bumbling bore, is the portrait of a charlatan skilled in the techniques of obfuscation. He rambled on about “due process,” and what would be disallowed in the courtrooms in which he normally practices. But, ironically, the majority of his presentation would be disallowed in any regular court of law due to irrelevance and immateriality!  The false faced clown talked about EVERYTHING but the charges against Trump so skillfully argued by the Democrats on the House Managers team that prosecuted the case against Dirty Donald.

He rattled on ad nauseum about the violation of Trump’s First Amendment rights, an argument that has been widely discredited by legal scholars.  And he resorted to blaming the Black Lives Matter movement for normalizing mob violence, when he was unable to defend Trump’s actions, so graphically recounted in brilliant video tape presentations of Dirty Donald telling his followers over and over that the election has been “Stolen from them.” They showed how he whipped up a mob of fanatical true believers who descended on Washington to “stop the steal” on January 6, the day the Congress was certifying the victory of Joe Biden, and incited them to stormed the Capitol building.

He talked about anything and everything except the facts in the case against Trump for inciting an insurrection. As has been the strategy of the Trump defenders, Mr. Van der Veen was relatively brief. With the ability to distract attention to the issues in the case by roaming far and wide, introducing issues with no relevance to the case, and resting assured that virtually all the Republican Senators would vote to acquit Don tha Con, the Trump defense team was assured of victory. Their only mission therefore, was to provide cover for the Republicans who would vote to exonerate, and to supply legal skullduggery that can be seized by the reactionary right wing press to confirm the Trumpist cult in their beliefs.

Since Trump was later found not guilty by a vote of 57 to 43 in the US Senate, we must conclude that their strategy worked, although based on transparent lies. It was the most bi-partisan impeachment vote in US history, with 7 Republicans voting to convict. This may be a viewed as a victory for Dirty Donnie, but it is a grave defeat for American democracy, as one major political party has chosen to support an anti-democratic authoritarian with fascist views!

Let us hope the many legal challenges that Dirty Don tha Con will face in real courts of law will finally give this wannbe fascist dictator his just desserts. In the meantime, the Republican Party will have to contend with the Trumpist fanatics who have infested their party, many of whom now feel betrayed and conned by Don, as they and their comrades face a variety of criminal charges from their participation in the assault on the Capitol.

This alienation and hostility is bound to grow worse as the arrests and trials of hundreds continue. And all of the young charlatans like Senators Hawley, Cruz, and Rubio will agonize over the possibility of Trump running for President again, dashing their hopes for the Oval Office.


Watch Congressman Jamie Raskin’s Opening Argument

(1) Jamie Raskin makes opening arguments – YouTube

Watch Congressman Joe Neguse’s Opening Argument

(1) Rep. Joe Neguse delivers opening remarks at Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial – YouTube


Watch Bruce Castors Opening Defense of Dirty Donald

(1) Trump attorney Bruce Castor Jr. presents defense – YouTube

Watch David Schoen’s Opening Defense

(1) Trump Defense: Full opening statement by Donald Trump attorney, David Schoen – YouTube

Watch Congresswoman Madeline Dean Opening Statement

(1) WATCH: Rep. Dean on why the Senate should convict Trump | Second Trump impeachment trial – YouTube

Watch Ted Lieu’s Opening Statement

(1) WATCH: Rep. Lieu on why the Senate should convict Trump – YouTube

Watch Congresswoman Stacy Plaskett’s Compelling Argument

(1) WATCH: Del. Plaskett on why the Senate should convict Trump – YouTube

Watch Congressman Eric Swalwell

(1) WATCH: Rep. Eric Swalwell on why the Senate should convict Trump | Second Trump impeachment trial – YouTube


Watch Michael Van der Veen’s Closing Defense!

(1) WATCH: Trump impeachment defense lawyer Michael van der Veen delivers closing argument – YouTube


Playthell G, Benjamin
Harlem, New York

***Posted 3/1/21