Wednesday, November 25, 2020



I had approximately the same idea as Emptywheel, though I obviously can't make it sound that technical: Trump didn't do this right. Flynn made a plea deal in his two guilty pleas of 2017 and 2018, in which he basically acknowledged a decent number of crimes that he wasn't being charged with, mainly involving the hundreds of thousands of dollars he earned working as an undeclared agent of a foreign government while being the president-elect's national security adviser and they agreed not to prosecute him for them as long as he stuck to the terms of the agreement, which he promptly violated, in particular by lying to Judge Emmett Sullivan, which is yet another serious federal crime, and

He was therefore entirely liable to be prosecuted for those additional crimes from the moment he changed lawyers from his somewhat normal team to the plainly crazy wingnut Sydney Powell and asked to withdraw his guilty pleas. And when the Justice Department invented an entirely new procedure and asked Judge Sullivan to allow them to withdraw the single charge (lying to the FBI about his Kislyak phone calls) entirely (in which he turned them down), that didn't make him less liable. And now that Trump has evidently pardoned him, by Tweet, suggesting that it was actually somebody else—

—he clearly hasn't pardoned him for reneging on the plea deal or lying to the judge, since the agreement explicitly says that no legal action can do that, Sullivan can still go after him. And absolutely should. (Or the other school of thought is that Flynn can't refuse to testify in Trump's coming criminal trials if he's been pardoned, but I prefer to think he hasn't been pardoned—he'll be lying in either case, no doubt, and I'll be thankful for either one.)

It's also so obvious that Trump is protecting himself from impeachment that (a) the pardon is plainly as invalid as his self-pardon is going to be and (b) we can add to the criminal-court felony charges on both of them yet another count of obstruction of justice.

Tiny turkey in its dry-brine bath.


Over the past 20-odd years we've mostly trucked out to northern New Jersey, where the oldest of my sisters lives, for her Thanksgiving, a festival of two extended families, around 30 people, and great warmth—I last visited in early March, just before the proverbial shit was noticed on the proverbial fan, for a party devoted to a coincidence of birthdays, and a premonition of what was about to happen because as it happens there are a bunch of doctors and pharmacists in the group and they'd begun getting properly scared and banning hugging and handshakes; we touched elbows.

The main component of my attitude was that I'd eat out in Chinatown if I wanted to, and people telling me not to were being racists, in which I was proved spectacularly right: not only was the coronavirus not being spread in the Chinese immigrant community in New York (at the moment; later, it did a lot of damage, as it did to other minority communities with a lot of essential workers, including to people whose families we knew), but the virus was in fact flooding the city first from the Hasidic community of New Rochelle in Westchester County, and then from Italian tourists (who crowded the bar my son had just started working in at the exact same time, when he was as it happens attacked by an incredibly rare cold, a kid who is never sick, but he clearly didn't have Covid or we didn't catch it). And then we were under attack, and one of the smaller consequences was that the big Jersey Thanksgiving wasn't going to happen.

Another sister upstate, on the other side of the Catskills, thought we could have a smaller Thanksgiving there, and that was a pretty nice idea (sister no. 1 doesn't let me do any creative work, though I'm allowed to work as a sous-chef; sister no. 3 lets me do whatever I want, and there's a good chance that sister no. 2, who lives in Boston, would show up), but none of us could do it, as the Covid numbers kept getting worse and worse, and that plan fell aside too. It would just be the four of us, daughter in Brooklyn doing a week's quarantine and taking a test before we picked her up and brought her to Manhattan.

I managed to score a tiny turkey, under seven pounds, organic, from Dartagnan, which seemed like an incredibly great thing, and figured we'd be able to foist off a lot of leftovers on her (though her roommate is a vegetarian), and I was really pumped: we would nevertheless be able to do a true Thanksgiving, and I'd even have gourmet control for the first time since we used to stage Thanksgiving for a mob of American and American-friendly friends from the National University of Singapore many years ago.

And then she crapped out on us as well ("I'm throwing the turkey in the garbage!" I told her over the phone), The warnings were just too dire, the lines outside the testing centers too long and crazy, and I had to admit that she was right. But I'm still angry—not with her, I can say with Dr. and Mrs. Fauci (or more accurately Drs. Fauci, since she's a doctor too), "I'm proud of her for her decision"—but with the situation. New York isn't even in such bad shape! Our son works in a bar and isn't quarantining! We've sacrificed a lot! My life is horrible, at this point almost entirely defined by Twitter! I fucking needed this!

And there's all sorts of stress involved in nevertheless cooking this goddamned turkey, like my reverence for tradition confronting the absolute indifference of the Old Lady and the Boy. We always have a Minnesota weirdness, a ring of pureed rutabaga within which the Brussels sprouts are piled, which everybody hates, and a dish of creamed pearl onions which is frankly kind of nuts, and I don't mean in the sense of having any nuts in it, which might be more interesting. The Old Lady with her Cantonese roots can't understand how a celebratory meal can exist without any seafood whatever so I need to make the stuffing with oysters, and figure out some amusing dish featuring crab, because I'm damned if I'm making the 1950s shrimp cocktail she really wants. I will substitute mashed butternut squash (base of another semi-obligatory dish I'm not making) for the rutabagas. I was imagining crab Rangoon in little (Pepperidge Farm) pastry containers, but I think I'll go more honorably for a slighly Asianized crab balls. Everybody but me hates pumpkin pie, but the baby girl in Brooklyn is thinking of doing her own pear tart and I'll make one here and we can compare notes on Zoom. And we'll deal with the leftovers, since Covid isn't allowing us to share them with anybody

We'll do this thing, and it will be in some respects completely hollow, and nothing about it is going to make me happy, I'm not kidding, but maybe they'll like it, and the Zoom encounters will be OK, and maybe I'll be OK too. I hope all of you are OK, my Blogger family, and getting something from this situation. Joe Biden is going to be president!

No comments:

Post a Comment