Michael Flynn is an arrogant, lying jerk—no doubt about it—a criminal and a war-monger. It’s entirely believable that he was eager to do whatever it took to get his pot of loot from the Russians. And it’s likely he did exactly what he said he did—and pled guilty to.
And William Barr is doing what he did with Roger Stone—whatever it takes to block the prosecution of one of Donald Trump’s mafia buddies, and bolster the autocratic power of the commander, the Godfather himself.
But there’s also no doubt that the FBI and federal prosecutors do whatever it takes to get their indictments and guilty pleas, including making up the “predication,” fabricating evidence, gross overcharging, asset seizures, threats to family members, bribes and extortion, public shaming, and more.
The liberal outcry about Michael Flynn’s slipping-the-knot focuses on the Attorney General’s outrageous intervention, but fails to mention (and may not believe in or care about) the common, everyday bad actions and practices of the FBI, CIA, and other police forces.
A friend makes the same argument about the “Varsity Blues” cases: privileged parents cheating to get their kids into top colleges is despicable, and it’s the kind of thing lots of folks rightly hate about “elites.” But I don’t doubt that the FBI encouraged their star witness to lie to the parents, and that the prosecutors then withheld evidence of those lies from the defense, and that over-charging, deception, and threats were all in-play. They may still be hiding even more evidence that would support the parents’ entrapment defense. We’ll likely never know.
I’d like to see them all go down—Flynn and Stone, as well as the rich, cheating parents. But let’s not get into the position of cheering on the FBI or prosecutors—they are their own distinct and much more dangerous criminal enterprise.
William Barr is vile and villainous, but he’s not a fool. When asked how history might judge his actions regarding Flynn, Barr smiled like a sly fox and said, “History is written by the winners.” If undermining faith in “law enforcement” is the price of his misdeeds, so be it—that specific sabotage may actually grease the slide toward fully realized authoritarian control and autocratic rule. William Barr is going for the gold.
Please join me at the Illinois Humanities Award luncheon, and honor the work and lives of Sylvia Ewing and Eve Ewing. It’s free! Please RSVP and sit at my table.
Choose your leaders
with wisdom and forethought
To be led by a coward
is to be controlled
by all that coward feels
To be led by a fool
is to be led
by the opportunists
who control the fool
To be led by a thief
is to offer up
your most precious treasurers
to be stolen.
To be led by a liar
is to ask
to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant
is to sell yourself
and those you love
Parable of the Talents. Octavia Butler
To each according to their need…
Happy Birthday, Karl Marx!!
International Workers’ Day!
3.8 million of us filed for unemployment last week, and over 30 million in the past month—the contradictions of racial capitalism illuminated in full color and crystal clear terms.
The workers’ uprisings in May, 1886 and the fight for the 8-hour day included the Haymarket massacre here in Chicago.
The site of the rally and police riot was designated a Chicago landmark in 1992,and a sculpture was dedicated there in 2004. The Haymarket Martyrs’ Monument was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1997 at the defendants’ burial site in Forest Park.
All we want for May Day is a revolution!
Tales from the Barrio and Beyond is a new collection of short stories by my friend and colleague Irma Olmedo, published by Floricanto Press. These stories focus on the experiences of Puerto Ricans who came to Nueva York in the great migration of the1950s. Olmedo’s book is receiving critical acclaim, and gaining a wider audience with renewed interest in Latinx authors, and especially women writers.
In this collection of short stories, Irma Olmedo immerses her readers in the world of her childhood growing up in New York’s El Barrio… Tinged with nostalgia for her years surrounded by family, celebratory meals, and togetherness while facing economic challenges as other working-class Puerto Rican families in la gran urbe, Olmedo’s stories reclaim the humanity of displaced Puerto Rican families…through dialogues that are succinct yet truly human, exploding with a candidly felt, nurturing cariño. While the focus rests on her extended family, the stories reveal a larger social and historical moment in New York. Themes such as the mistranslations of migration through consumerism, the power of music and memory, the social alliances between Puerto Ricans and Italians, the limited access to resources, gender and sexual identities, and the diverse generational perspectives of identity and culture across time, all come together in these beautiful narratives of culture, family and communities. Olmedo’s unique talent in assuming the voices of her family members… Bravo to a new voice that humanizes Puerto Ricans in the diaspora at a time when the State brutally dismisses our lives as unworthy of recognition.
~~~Frances R. Aparicio, Professor Emerita, Northwestern University
Barrio tales is a warm-hearted collection of short stories on memory, love, and loss told with compassion, humor and wit. Moving from Puerto Rico to barrios across the US, each story is a gem that captures the sights, sounds, smells, spirit, and emotions of a community on the move from the island to the diaspora. Irma María Olmedo has a keen ear for dialogue and is an original and inventive storyteller. Anyone interested in the immigrant experience will love these stories.
~~~Dr. Lourdes Torres, Editor, Latino Studies, Vincent de Paul Professor, Department of Latin American and Latino Studies, DePaul University