Tuesday: Hili dialogue

December 20, 2022 • 6:45 am

‘Tis the Cruelest Day: a Tuesday, and in this case Tuesday, December 20, 2022: National Sangria Day, celebrating a refreshing summer drink that shouldn’t be spurned if it’s made with decent wine and isn’t too sweet (a light and not too fancy Rioja is good). Everything you need to know about sangria, including recipes made with white wine or cava, can be found here.

It’s also Dot Your I’s Day (though they use a capital I and an apostrophe), Games Day, and International Human Solidarity Day.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the December 20 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The Big Nooz is, of course, that the House Committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots recommended that ex-President Trump be criminally indicted. NPR has published a 154-page “summary” of the report, which you can find here.  I wasn’t arsed to read it immediately, but I suspect I’ll dip into it. From the NYT:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol accused former President Donald J. Trump on Monday of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress and one more federal crime as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

The action, the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution, is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.

The criminal referrals were a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation. The panel referred five other Trump allies — Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro — for potential prosecution for actions the committee said warranted Justice Department investigation. The charges would carry lengthy prison sentences if federal prosecutors chose to pursue them.

. . .The committee’s referrals do not carry legal weight or compel any action by the Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation into Jan. 6 and the actions of Mr. Trump and his allies leading up to the attack. But the referrals send a powerful signal that a bipartisan committee of Congress believes the former president committed crimes. Of 17 specific findings in the report, 15 center on Mr. Trump’s role in the plotting and the resulting chaos.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the referrals.

The referrals came as the lawmakers released an executive summary from their final report into the Capitol attack. The document, a narrative of Mr. Trump’s relentless drive to remain in power after he lost the 2020 election by seven million votes, identifies co-conspirators who aided Mr. Trump. But it singles out the former president as the primary cause of the mob violence.

“That evidence has led to an overriding and straightforward conclusion: the central cause of Jan. 6th was one man, former President Donald Trump, who many others followed,” the report states. “None of the events of Jan. 6th would have happened without him.”

I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?), but I’d be happy if they made it somehow impossible for Trump to run again.

*The Washington Post has an article about what the Committee’s referrals to the DOG really mean. A few tidbits from that piece:

No former U.S. president has ever been charged with a crime, and the Justice Department would undoubtedly want to believe it had an airtight case before charging Trump.

. . .Does a criminal referral hold more weight if it is issued by Congress?

Legally speaking, no. But Daniel Richman, a law professor at Columbia University, said the Justice Department would probably take a criminal referral from a congressional committee more seriously than it would referrals from elsewhere.

. . . . Criminal referrals increase public awareness that the committee believes the former president or members of his inner circle broke the law. As a result, the referrals could put more pressure on prosecutors to ultimately press charges, according to Richman [a law prof at Columbia University]. And, he said, they could serve to hold the Justice Department accountable if prosecutors on their own are not inclined to consider charges.

The referrals could also give Trump new ammunition for his frequent claims that the Justice Department’s investigations of him are politically motivated. Most members of the committee are Democrats; the two Republicans have been leading Trump critics. Trump therefore could use the referrals to bolster his claims that any Justice Department action against him is suspect.

*If Elon Musk were honest—and that’s a big “if”—his departure as head of Twitter is a fait accompli. Get a load of this article:

Elon Musk asked Twitter users Sunday if he should step down as head of the social media site. More than 17 million votes were cast and delivered a clear verdict: 57.5 percent said he should quit, in a Twitter “poll” that closed after 12 hours on Monday.

Mr. Musk had said he would abide by the results of the vote. After voting ended, there was no immediate response from Mr. Musk on Twitter.

If he follows through, Mr. Musk will be handing over the reins of the company that he bought for $44 billion in late October. The turbulent weeks since then have been marked by mass layoffs at the company, falling advertising sales, executive resignations and the suspensions of various high-profile user accounts for infractions of newly invented policy.

On Sunday, Twitter announced a policy to prevent users from sharing links and user names from other social platforms, like Instagram, Facebook and Mastodon, and then apparently curtailed the same policy.

. . . Mr. Musk’s latest actions with Twitter were “the last straw,” Paul Graham, a founder of the start-up accelerator Y Combinator, tweeted on Sunday. Mr. Graham had supported Mr. Musk’s takeover, but on Sunday he wrote: “I give up. You can find a link to my new Mastodon profile on my site.” His account was briefly suspended.

I liked Twitter the way it was: I didn’t follow anybody but could see interesting tweets sent to me by other people. I didn’t get a lot of hostile flak because I’m a small fish, and it was convenient. I don’t really care who’s in charge: I’m too old to worry about stuff like that, though it seems to be a social media firestorm. So it goes.

*In an article on Semafor by Ben Smith, Bari Weiss answers a bunch of questions about her new media empire on her renamed site, now called “Free Press.” Apparently it’s partly funded by Elon Musk, but when given access to Twitter files, she was quite critical, biting the hand that fed her without fear. It looks as if we’ll have very little more writing from Weiss as she builds her media empire. It’s an interesting piece. Here’s an excerpt.

“The risk for me is entirely clear,” she told me Friday, when I asked her why she’d decided to build a publication, rather than simply cashing in on her personal brand. “Am I going to be the anti-woke cancel culture girl and feed my audience that kind of political heroin every other day? I don’t want to be that. I want to build something that is bigger than me, that outlasts me, that forces me to question my own assumptions.Weiss, 38, spoke to me from her home-office in Los Angeles, in front of a bookshelf loaded with the works of Primo Levi, Nora Ephron, and the militant Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky, along with one shelf devoted to the works of Philip Roth and her friend Caitlin Flanagan. Another shelf was packed with French-language copies of Weiss’s own “How to Fight Anti-Semitism,” written after a murderous attack on her home synagogue in Pittsburgh in 2018.

These days, Weiss stands at the meeting point of many of the tides washing through American media. She’s a big personal brand in the era of influencers who’s now trying to build an institution. She’s a pariah in New York’s twitter-obsessed left-leaning media circles, and the toast of the town in liberal Los Angeles. She’s a professional crusader against antisemitism who is conflicted over whether Kanye West should be thrown off Twitter.

Weiss bills the Free Press, which evolved out of her personal Substack and now employs about a dozen staff as well as contributors, as a new home for honest, independent journalism. It has so far written on what Weiss sees as the ideological capture of medicinequestioned the use of COVID vaccines for kids, and hosted a round table on the Black-Jewish relationship. (They don’t capitalize “black,” which had been one of the demands of Times employees when Weiss was there.) Attorney General Bill Barr also turned to Free Press to denounce Donald Trump. Depending on the day, it could be seen as heterodox, or as a never-Trump conservative outlet.

Its success or failure will go a long way toward answering the question of what she’s leading: Is it a movement toward some kind of new center? Or is it merely reactionary, a noisy rebellion against the left that will migrate dutifully into the Republican Party?

*And, as they say at the end of NBC News each evening “There’s GOOD news tonight.” Reader Rory, who I guess is from Belgium, sent me this:

In Belgium this week a duck became trapped in an icy pond but was luckily rescued by the local fire fighters.
Video from the local news is here.
The text at the link is in Flemish Dutch and translates to
“In Oud-Heverlee a duck was frozen in the water of ‘t Zoet Water (the Fresh Water). Fortunately, the fire brigade was able to free the poor animal. If you see an animal frozen in the water, do not walk onto the ice yourself, but call the fire brigade.”
The fireman in the video reiterates the warning about the dangers of the ice for humans as well as other animals.
Thanks to Rory. Here’s a screenshot from the 44-second video, showing a nice man and a lucky mallard:


*Finally, Emilio Martinez, the goalie of the successful Argentinia World Cup team, made what the Brits call a “rude gesture”. (h/t Thomas)

Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez shocked fans watching the World Cup final with a lewd gesture with the Golden Glove award after celebrating a penalty save with a David Brent style dance.

After the game he was presented with the Golden Glove, a trophy handed out to the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets.

And he proceeded to hold it in front of his groin and make a rude gesture as he made his way back to join his team-mates.

Here’s the “rude” gesture. Oy gewalt!

Let’s review the final once again. I love the very slight hesitation of Messi during his penalty kick, giving him just enough time to see which way the goalkeeper would move.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili gives Szaron the ultimate insult. And I thought Hili liked Szaron!

Hili: I would like him more if he were a dog.
A: But you do like him.
Hili: You are confusing liking with tolerance
In Polish:
Hili: Lubiłabym go bardziej gdyby był psem.
Ja: Przecież go lubisz.
Hili: Mylisz sympatię z tolerancją.


From Nicole. This was always my problem, too, as I was born on Dec. 30 and always knew that one of my Christmas presents (yes, we exchanged them) was put aside for my birthday five days later:

From Bruce, a Dave Whamond cartoon:

From Jesus of the Day, a worthy goal:

From Ginger K.: a special Lego gift for Christmas:

The Tweet of God (note that He’s moved to Mastodon):

From Masih; the demonstrations continue:

From Jez. Just wait until that kitten discovers its tail. This is a good one:

An old tweet from Simon that I forgot to post:

From Barry, who agrees with me that this was unintentional. Yet people are calling for the puzzle maker to be fired!

From the Auschwitz Memorial: A girl, dead at 14 or 15.

Tweets from Professor Cobb. The first one is very beautiful:

Taken by a guy riding a bike in Buenos Aires when Argentina made its Cup-winning penalty kick:

This shows the skill of the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels:


31 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Sangria, as you note, can be a pleasant summer drink. Is the selection of a day to celebrate this in mid-December a function of slow seasonal uptake, or are they just prepping the southern hemisphere to get stocks in for Christmas and other solstice holidays?

  2. I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?), but I’d be happy if they made it somehow impossible for Trump to run again.

    I’m not taking that bet. On another forum, my 2023 predictions include “Tr*mp will not be indicted personally for any crime”.

    liked Twitter the way it was

    I’m following the whole saga with interest because it is hugely entertaining (well, not for any former Twitter employees who got fired and definitely not the ones who are being stiffed for their severence package), but nothing much has really changed on my feed. I don’t think the average user (i.e. nobodies like me) would even know it is all happening, if it weren’t for the news stories.

  3. In which occasion do you drink sangría? I once asked my Spanish partner because in 22 years of spending 2-3 weeks per year in Spain I have never seen a Spaniard drinking it; she answered it is drunk only by foreign tourists (guiris).

  4. Today’s Auschwitz Memorial is a classic Dutch school photograph of the period. I have one of my sister, with pigtails too, in exactly the same pose, in the same type of school furniture.
    All the Dutch children AM seem to look like people I went to school with around 1950.

  5. I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?) …

    It’s still way too early, and the crystal ball still too foggy, to put down any serious money on a potential sentence for Trump.

    That said, I will handle all the action anyone wants to lay down that Donald Trump will be indicted before the first contest of the 2024 presidential primary season — traditionally held (and as the GOP committed to holding once again) in Iowa, likely in February 2024, Matter of fact, for the right price, I’ll take a two-indictment parlay bet — that Trump will be facing at least two separate indictments by the time the Iowa caucuses roll around.

    Once indicted, Trump’s strategy will be (as it always has been in any legal proceeding) to delay, delay, delay. That’s the main reason it’s too early to wager on sentencing. After all, Trump is 76 years old, and if he succeeds in delaying his trial (and, if convicted, his sentencing) for as long he will endeavor to do so, there’s no guarantee (especially given his insalubrious diet and lack of exercise) that he’ll live long enough to serve any time in prison.

    1. “I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?), but I’d be happy if they made it somehow impossible for Trump to run again.”

      I suspect that Trump will spend no time in jail. Firstly the legal case has to be made properly, and prosecuted and any appeals dealt with, and secondly sending ex Presidents to jail is a dangerous precedent for modern times. How would you feel about:

      “I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?), but I’d be happy if they made it somehow impossible for Biden to run again.”

      The Powers That Be don’t like to expose themselves to legal action.

      1. Sure, “sending ex Presidents to jail is a dangerous precedent for modern times.” Allowing a lame-duck incumbent president blatantly to try to steal an election — by pressuring state officials to change the election results, by conspiring to send slates of fake electors to the Capitol for counting, and by pressuring the US Justice Department to lie that the election was tainted by fraud even after the DoJ officials had said no evidence of such fraud could be found — would set an even more dangerous precedent for this nation.

        So, too, would allowing a former president to steal presidential records, including national security records, and then to lie and attempt to cover up that theft, with impunity.

        And, contrary to your assertion, appeals from a final conviction would not have to be dealt with before Donald Trump would have to begin serving any sentence imposed. The Bail Reform Act of 1984 made bond pending appeal from a long sentence imposed for a serious felony conviction nearly impossible to obtain. See 18 USC section 1343(b).

      2. If the facts with respect to Biden in your hypothetical were the same or similar as the facts with respect to Trump are in the actual reality we inhabit, then I would have no problem with Biden being held unfit for re-election.

        Being scared to follow the due processes of law for even those of the highest stations because it might inspire unwarranted retaliation by people who have no compunction about constraining themselves to the due processes of law, is how we got to where we are right now. Quite frankly, it’s a bullshit excuse.

        1. It’s not so much private actors committing violence that is at issue here. They can be suppressed with whatever brutality the state needs for its survival. Rather, it’s the establishment by precedent that the peaceful transfer of power shall forever include the ritual investigation and recommendation for indictment of the previous occupant of the office whenever the politics changes. President Biden’s only hope of escaping a similar fate, whether justified or not, is for him to die in office or to have another Democrat elected after him, and then die before the GOP takes the White House again. But then the new Congress would investigate the previous guy out of spite that Biden had died before they got to him.

          This is why dictators make themselves President-for-Life. There is no way out but death or prison. In more genteel America, it would mean that every president would have to steal enough during his time in office to fund his legal fees while under vengeful investigation as a private citizen.

          1. Sorry for the lack of clarity, I was referring to politicians, not private actors.

            You’ve explained the argument with slightly different terms, but it’s the same argument that AC Harper made, the same argument I’ve heard for decades, and I still think it’s bogus for the reason I already gave.

            1. Well, we’ll just have to see what the special prosecutor decides to do, won’t we. Bogus arguments or good ones, he’s the guy on the spot.

              Partisans always argue (whether they actually believe it or not) that what the other guy does is done without compunction about constraining himself to the due processes of law, and what their guy has done doesn’t merit being put through an ordeal like that. Once you say, “If the facts with respect to [my guy] were similar to the facts about [your guy]”, I know I’m talking to a partisan…because they never will be similar in the partisan’s eyes. The “if . . .similar” construction gives it away. Since a Congressional committee can investigate pretty well anyone it wants, that is a pretty low bar to surmount in fact.

              The Dept. of Justice has behaved admirably in this so far as I can see by my view from a long way off through a glass darkly. Either way, I think they–I suppose the buck stops with Merrick Garland–will have made the right decision, to the extent that it matters what I think, which it doesn’t. When it comes down to a decision that one guy has to make, nearly all American officials, if they are that guy, show that they are aware of the weight of the Constitution they carry on their shoulders. Clutch time.

    2. In addition to the delays that Trump will create, my fear is that when he is indicted (I think this highly likely) that his trial may end up with a hung jury. If this should happen Trump will claim victory and more time will pass before a retrial if the DOJ wants one. By this time, there may be a Republican president, possibly Trump himself, meaning that there won’t be a second trial and Trump will escape justice once again.

      1. Are you saying that someone escapes justice if a jury who had a crack at him is not able to convict him? Isn’t that the very definition of justice: being brought before a jury of your peers who hears all the facts to answer for your actions? What other kind of justice is there (except divine, I suppose?) Or, since hung juries are not common even in highly polarized cases, is what you are really afraid of is that he might be acquitted?

        I’m sure you’ve read or seen Twelve Angry Men. While the play contains many elements judged by legal experts to be howler errors, a key moment comes when one of the angry hold-out jurors rages, “We’re letting him slip through our fingers here!” That’s what I’m hearing you say.

        If the jury was hung, the prosecuting authorities would have to weigh up the reasonable likelihood of securing a conviction before they attempted another trial. Maybe in political trials you could pass a law saying that a simple majority of jurors could determine the verdict….and a filibuster by the minority side preventing a vote could be overcome by 8 jurors out of 12.

        1. My comment about Trump escaping justice is my personal opinion. Unless you automatically agree with every decision made by a jury in history, you, too, have personal opinions in which you have disagreed with juries. Likewise, I felt O.J. Simpson escaped justice when he was acquitted as well as the injustices against black people in many southern trials. Apparently, in your mind, justice is nothing more than the mechanics of the judicial system. In my mind, justice is a matter of right and wrong. We must accept the workings and decisions of the justice system. However, this doesn’t mean we always have to like them or consider them just.

          1. You can say that in the abstract as a private individual, but when the Prime Minister of Canada responds publicly to a jury acquittal with “We can do better”…and then changes the law to tip future trials even further against the defence, those words are dangerous. Crowns can appeal jury acquittals, which gives them an incentive to keep persecuting a defendant until he runs out of money. A guy was convicted of manslaughter in Ontario just the other day on a new trial granted on appeal of a jury acquittal that certain people didn’t like.

            So yes, I do regard jury verdicts and any appeals allowed in law as the last word in whether justice was served. I do realize a major gab-fest industry grew up around the Simpson acquittal. When I was a young and easily outraged foreigner (I’m still a foreigner but no longer young and easily outraged) we enjoyed condemning acquittals in America by “all-white juries”. The very phrase contained everything that seemed wrong.

            Yet now I’m not so sure, even looking back on those cases and certainly looking at modern ones. If I, as a white person, was accused of a crime against a Black or Indigenous person, I damn well would want my lawyer to get me an all-white-adjacent jury. Fortunately this is easy in Canada, because the underclasses mostly ignore summonses to jury duty. Crowns don’t want them on juries either because they tend to be suspicious of police evidence especially when the defendant is also from the underclass. These folks usually get a better shake opting to have a judge alone, who in smaller cities is often on a first-name basis with them.

            But how about you? If you feel the jury “made a mistake”, what are you prepared to do about it other than walk around feeling it was unjust? How does that help anything?

            The state should do its worst. If Donald Trump faces a jury, then their decision is justice done. Everything else is partisan politics.

        2. If I’m guilty, I want a jury, but when I’m innocent, I’d rather have a seasoned judge.
          If Donald J Trump does not go to jail, while his minions are, that would be a failure of the US judicial system. And it would in high probability spell the end of US democracy at the next coup attempt, which is nearly certain if not nipped in the bud.
          I don’t understand how so many Americans don’t see that.

  6. Mr. Musk had said he would abide by the results of the vote. After voting ended, there was no immediate response from Mr. Musk on Twitter.

    Did anyone make sure to shout “No Do-Overs!” or check to see if Musk had his fingers crossed behind his back before he put up the poll?

    1. Does a statement in a tweet about future actions based on the results of a poll constitute any kind of binding contract? There certainly doesn’t seem to be any exchange of consideration…

    2. I think Elon Musk, whom I still admire, would do well to indeed delegate the running of Twitter to people who have better insight in social media. He’s making a fool of himself again.

  7. Musk will undoubtedly step down–at some point. He has other business that demand his time. Remember, though, that an executive search can take a year or more. He’s not going this week or even next week.

  8. The latest Twitter files on Michael Schellenberger’s Twitter (number seven of a series) make it quite clear that the FBI influenced Twitter (and we can assume other outlets) in regard to the Hunter Biden laptop before The New York Post even ran its story. We have seen from polls (“79% say ‘truthful’ coverage of Hunter Biden’s laptop would have changed 2020 election”) that a majority of people say that they would have voted differently if the story hadn’t been suppressed. What happened to the days when we’d object to something that was wrong because it was wrong, and not whether we considered it advantageous? Can you imagine the shrieks of outrage if that had been the “Jared Kushner laptop” story?

    1. … a majority of people say that they would have voted differently if the story hadn’t been suppressed.

      Important quibble: not that they personally would have voted differently, but that, in their judgement, enough people would have voted differently to change the outcome.

      I do agree with your point, though, that we are now learning about rampant political bias in Twitter moderation policies, including frequent consultation with the FBI, and that this matters. And likely similar was happening and still is in other big-tech companies such as Facebook and Google.

      I’ve argued here before that we need to treat big tech near-monopolies as “public utilities” and impose on them a legal duty to be politically neutral and transparent in their moderation policies, with an open and independent appeals process. The Twitter Files are reinforcing my opinion hugely.

  9. “It’s also Dot Your I’s Day (though they use a capital I and an apostrophe)…”

    In English, the plural forms of typographical symbols and individual letters take an apostrophe, something to keep in mind when remembering one’s p’s & q’s.

  10. Thank you for the film of Buenos Aries during the end of the World Cup! It was so moving! Brought back all the joy of the moment when I watched it.

  11. Taken by a guy riding a bike in Buenos Aires when Argentina made its Cup-winning penalty kick.

    There was a guy riding a bike in Buenos Aires when the winning penalty went in? Cool. People are on the streets now.

  12. >” . . .but I’d be happy if they made it somehow impossible for Trump to run again.”

    Who is “they”? From context, I take it you mean the justice system broadly construed.

    How would “they” do that, absent convicting him of a crime? Bill of attainder passed by Congress in its lame-duck session while Dems control both houses? Yes I know the Constitution prohibits it but hey, this is a special case justifying extraordinary measures. A common method used for other candidates has been to uncover or invent sexual scandals but this has already been tried in spectacularly unsuccessful fashion with Mr. Trump. That leaves trying to prove he’s too young or that he wasn’t born in the United States.

    It’s one thing for a country to kneecap an opposition political candidate by finding him guilty of an actual crime. But using the legal system to “somehow” prevent him from putting himself before the voters, or even fantasizing that the legal system could be used for that purpose, takes you to a dark place.

  13. “I’m betting that he won’t spend a day in jail (any takers?) …”
    History teaches us that several, if not most, successful coups were preceded by a failed one that was not substantially punished.
    If Trump does not get serious jail time, I strongly fear that will be the end of US democracy next time. I’m sure -well, I hope- Merrick Garland and Jack Smith are very aware of that.

  14. I’m not sure I see what others see in that puzzle, but I think that it was not intended as a Swastika. I didn’t even see it, it was my 12 year old who asked me if it was not the ‘nazi sign’. Only then I saw it, more or less, tending to less.
    Good puzzle makers like to make it nice and geometrical. The calls for the puzzle maker to be fired are beyond ridiculous.

  15. I have to look really hard to see the swastika in the puzzle.
    If I may be permitted by my Jewish friends here on WEIT, including our host, it seems that the swastika, like the n-word, must be seen in context and in the pretext of intentionality before one cries foul. After all, it is an ancient Indian symbol denoting wellness, and it is still used by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains as a sacred symbol. I have Indian neighbors who have small swastikas hanging on their front porch, for example. I realize that for many of us in the West, this holy symbol has been irreversibly perverted by the Nazis.

    1. Spend enough time traveling Asia, and you will eventually open the bedside drawer in your hotel room to find a book whose cover art consists only of a big swastika. Of course, rather than a copy of “Mein Kampf”, it is the “Sayings of Buddha”.

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