Trump’s methods for avoiding accountability for his actions

Trump is not a clever person. But he does have a strong sense of cunning whenever anything involves his self-interest. This is evident in the way that he avoids leaving a paper trail that will enable authorities to pin crimes on him. One of the ways he does this is by avoiding putting things in writing. It is reported that does not use email and avoids as much as possible giving written instructions to his underlings, instead issuing verbal orders. This allows him to deny that he ever did so, leaving others to take the rap. He will likely eventually blame some poor sap for the recent revelations of top secret documents being sent to Mar-a-Lago.

In addition to all the investigations into presidential wrongdoings ,we should not forget the investigations into possible tax fraud involving his private businesses. One of the charges is that he inflates the values of his properties when using them as collateral to obtain loans but hugely reduces their value when filing his taxes. Forced to give a deposition recently during this investigation, Trump invoked the fifth amendment over 400 times in his efforts to avoid answering the questions posed to him by New York’s attorney general Letitia James.
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Trump needlessly alienates the allies he needs

Donald Trump is facing difficulties on many fronts, with many former allies and people who worked for him distancing themselves from him, though his hard core base seems to be intact, if possibly getting smaller. In such a situation, you would think that he would try to retain as many allies as possible.

But he is so thin-skinned that even the slightest perception of a criticism of him causes him to lash out. The latest target is Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the US Senate. It is McConnell who blocked many of the actions taken by Congress against Trump, such as the two impeachments. Trump should be grateful to him
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Parkland killer and the M’Naghten rule

In the penalty phase trial of the person who has pleaded guilty to carrying out the massacre of 17 people in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, in February 2018, the defense has argued that he should not be executed but instead serve life in prison without parole because “his brain was irretrievably broken, through no fault of his own,” by his childhood and even while in his mother’s womb because she was a drug and alcohol addict, and thus he should not be held responsible for his actions.

The prosecution meanwhile has argued that he deserves to die for the “goal-directed, planned, systematic murder – mass murder – of 14 students, an athletic director, a teacher and a coach”. Note the word ‘deserves’. This raises once again the strong retributive strain that runs through the US legal system, the backward looking view hat people should be punished harshly because of who they are and what they have done, not for any benefit the punishment might provide for society. The defense is arguing that the killer was not acting because of decisions made freely by a normally functioning brain but was following the compulsions of a brain that was ‘broken’. In other words, both prosecution and defense are using ideas of free will but the defense is arguing that in this special case, he did not have it.
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Who knew that Finns were like Americans?

Some of you may be familiar with the recent fuss in Finland about the behavior of their prime minister Sanna Marin. She became prime minister in 2019 at age 34, becoming the youngest ever chief executive of a country.. Recently a video was released on social media of her dancing at a private party and clearly having a good time.

Then questions were raised in parliament about the appropriateness of her behavior and some even suggested that she may have taken drugs other than alcohol.
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Why was the US presidential transition such a mess?

The US may possibly have the longest transition period between presidential administrations in the world between the election and the swearing in of the new president. Presidential elections are held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, which means that it falls between November 2nd and 8th, while the inauguration is held on January 20th of the following year, which gives a transition period of about two and a half months. That should be plenty to ensure a smooth transition and in general that is what happens.

The Trump-Biden transition was chaotic to say the least. This was mainly due to Trump spending much of that time denying that he had lost and fruitlessly plotting ways to stay in office, which meant that the normal pace of packing and storing had to be compressed into a frantic few days before the 20th. The revelations of the search warrant executed by the FBI on Mar-a-Lago shows how messy the transition was from the Trump to the Biden presidency.
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One-liner jokes

The Edinburgh festival fringe has people vote for the best one-liner jokes and the winning ones feature puns aplenty. Here are the top 10.

  1. I tried to steal spaghetti from the shop, but the female guard saw me and I couldn’t get pasta – Masai Graham (52%)
  2. Did you know, if you get pregnant in the Amazon, it’s next day delivery? – Mark Simmons (37%)
  3. My attempts to combine nitrous oxide and Oxo cubes made me a laughing stock – Olaf Falafel (36%)
  4. By my age, my parents had a house and a family, and to be fair to me, so do I, but it is the same house and the same family – Hannah Fairweather (35%)
  5. I hate funerals. I’m not a mourning person – Will Mars (34%)
  6. I spent the whole morning building a time machine, so that’s four hours of my life that I’m definitely getting back – Olaf Falafel (33%)
  7. I sent a food parcel to my first wife. FedEx – Richard Pulsford (29%)
  8. I used to live hand to mouth. Do you know what changed my life? Cutlery – Tim Vine (28%)
  9. Don’t knock threesomes. Having a threesome is like hiring an intern to do all the jobs you hate – Sophie Duker (27%)
  10. I can’t even be bothered to be apathetic these days – Will Duggan (25%)

The great Paul Robeson

Paul Robeson (1898-1976) was a giant of a man, not just physically but by virtue of his many talents as a professional athlete, lawyer, singer, actor, and political activist. By rights, he should be much better known than he is in the US. One should find his name on public buildings and monuments but his political activism, his steadfast support of socialism and the working class, his anti-imperialism, and his relentless denunciations of American racism made him a pariah to the ruling elites in the US who tried their best to derail his career and ruin his life and they partially succeeded.

In Howard Bryant’s excellent book The Heritage that deals with black athletes and politics that I reviewed here, he described Robeson’s testimony in 1956 to the House Un-American Activities Committee that hauled him up before Congress and tried to berate him. But he was defiant in his testimony.
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