Tales of the Absurd in this Mad, Mad World

America has become a Country of the Absurd

In the United States, perhaps 50-70 million voters, including a vast majority of Republican voters and almost all Republican legislators and elected officials, are living in a fictional parallel universe ruled by Donald Trump.

Trump and his sycophantic supporters are earnestly embarked on a mission to enact state laws that will suppress the Democratic vote, particularly among African Americans and other minorities, and to amend state legislation in ways which will give Republican governors, legislatures, and other officials the tools they need to nullify or overturn the results of popular votes in future elections.

These developments represent an imminent threat to American democracy–imminent in the sense that they could thwart the people’s will as early as 2022, and could overthrow the true popular and electoral results in the 1924 presidential election.

Donald Trump, who led an attempted coup d’état following the November 2020 election, committed numerous election-related crimes after November 3, and through his four years in office committed numerous crimes involving obstruction of justice and other crimes for some of which he was impeached in 2019 and 2021, is allowed to militate openly in support of the delusional alternate universe and propaganda bubble which keeps him in the public eye, His public appearances are reported with excerpts on top television programs. His co-conspirators are interviewed and reported on as if they were legitimate political leaders who support democracy.

It as if some foreign country that is an enemy of democracy had launched a massive missile attack on the United States that unleashed a tasteless, odorless gas on the entire population, causing total amnesia regarding certain tenets of democracy and the rule of law.

One such bedrock principle of the rule of law is that crimes must be punished, criminals must be indicted and tried, and, when found guilty, sent to prison.

In the absurd country which  America has become, however, the feckless Democrats have become complicit in the Normalization of Impunity for high public officials who commit political crimes while in office.

If Trump gave us the Normalization of the Unthinkable and the Normalization of the Unforgivable, President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland have given us the Normalization of Impunity for political crimes and other felonies committed by high public officials.

The scene is reminiscent of the situation in Medellín, Coloumbia in the 1990’s when Pablo Escobar, the notorious head of the Medellín Drug Cartel, was allowed to roam freely in Medellín and even to undertake certain charitable activities to bolster his support among the population.

The situation in America is so absurd that one turns to one’s imagination to try to understand what is going on,  One uses one’s imagination to enquire into what life in Germany might have been like if Adolf Hitler had not committed suicide in April 1945 and, even after the surrender to the Allies on May 8, 1945, had been allowed to miltate for a resurgence of Nazism.  What might it have been like  if, and after a few years, Hitler had been allowed  to propagate a second  Big Lie, that Germany had not really lost World War II, but had only come under Allied Occupation as the result of a second “stab in the back” and the machinations of a massive worldwide Jewish Conspiracy.  What would it have been like if Hitler could have given interviews on the radio and in the press and held mass rallies in support of his resurgent Nazi party?

That, of course, would have been ABSURD!

What is going on–TODAY–in the United States is equally ABSURD!

America has become a Country of the Absurd, in which democracy is hanging by a thread.

The Moderator of the Absurd


Democracy and rule of law, or cancel culture: We must choose

The current massive pressure on Gov. Andrew Cuomo illustrates the dire situation in which our culture and our country find themselves.

We have a Constitution and state constitutions and laws that establish how public officials should be selected, and removed. Under the U.S. and state constitutions, they are to be selected by free elections, for a fixed term of years.  Those same constitutions and laws provide for how they may be removed, by impeachment or, in some states like California, by recall referendum.

Ours is not a parliamentary system, as in the United Kingdom, where a prime minister may be removed simply by losing a vote of confidence in, e.g., the House of Commons.  Many believe our system is superior because it guarantees greater stability in government.

There is another way an elected leader may be removed from office, and that is if he or she is convicted of a crime and is sentenced to prison.

The current campaign to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo to resign  may lead to his impeachment, but is not likely to lead to his conviction and imprisonment for a crime.

Instead, he is the latest object of a phenomenon in the United States, and some other places, which seeks to bypass legal and constitutional processes to achieve the immdiate objective of a frenzied mob, often made possible or strengthened through the internet and social media. Non-public and dark forces may be behind some of these campaigns.

In the United States, three different “mobs” have contributed to what is often termed “cancel culture”,  the abuse of power to achieve goals without due process and without following legally-established procedures for determining the truth of allegations, and dtermining appropriate and proportionate sanctions for crimes or infractions that may be found to have occurred.

Due process and the rule of law allow anyone accused of a crime the right to confront witnesses and put on his or her witnesses to help ascertain the truth of an allegation, the right of the accused to speak in his or her defense before a lawfully-constituted body, and to enjoy several other rights.

In criminal matters, perhaps the most important defendant right is the presumption of innocence, until such time as the defendant may be convicted of an alleged crime.

A second is the constitutional protection against prosecution under any <em>ex post facto</em> laws, that is, one may not be prosecuted for actions or relationship that were not illegal before passage of a subsequent law.

A third protection is provided for, in both civil snd criminal matters, through statutes of limitations.  In criminal matters, these statutes seek to protect defendants against claims or allegations that are too old for reliable witness testimony to be given.  Human memories are notoriously unreliable.  These statutes require allegations and charges to be brought before the court while memories of witnesses, both for and against the defendent, are still fresh and undistorted by the passage of time.

These defendant’s rights are all based on the fundamental premise that illegal conduct must be specifically defined, as well as the potential penalties to which a defendant may be condemned if found guilty.

Do not heed pronouncements such as one heard on TV this morning:  “I believe in due process, but Gov. Cuomo should resign, and should have already resigned some time ago.”

The rising crescendo of demands that Gov. Cuomo resign is directly related to the development of so-called “cancel culture” in the United States.

This “cancel culture” is a mob culture, which appears to be the product of a combination of mob cultures that have developed, usually in comjunction with mobilization efforts facilitated by social media and the internet.

There are three or four components of this mob-action cancel culture.

The first has been the “Me-Too Movement”, whereby men have been denounced and forced to resign on the basis of an accumulation of allegations of “sexual misconduct’.  In the process, the critical distinction between predatory sexual conduct–the coercion of a woman by a man to engage in sexual intercourse or other <strong>sexual conduct</strong> and sexually inappropriate conduct (measured by contemporary standards), such as touching or verbal conduct, has frequently been lost.

In particular, elements of what has become known as a sexually hostile workplace (civilly prohibited under Title IX of the Civil Rights Act) have become conflated with actions such as sexual coercion by a superior of a woman under a man’s authority.

There has also been a conflation of the penalties the mob seeks to impose.

The case of Senator Al Franken (D-Minnsota) is quite instructive on this point. Essentially, he was subjected to extreme pressures to resign by the “Me-Too” Movement, led by New York Senator Kirsten Gillebrand (Dem-NY), because he engaged in part of a skit both he and the alleged victim had performed before USO audiences on previous occasions. Before becoming a Senator, Franken was a comedian. He obviously was clowning around. Perhaps inappropriately, as the alleged victim was asleep.

Ceding to these pressures, and probably those on his family in particular, Sen. Al Franken resigned. As a result, the Democrats lost one of their best U.S. Senators, who had been caustic in his criticism of Donald Trump.

A second component of the mob culture has been the development of the anti-racist mob, which has demanded that statues be removed, university schools and buildings renamed, and anything they perceive as racist be immediately changed. The mib aspect is related to the demand for immediate action, outside of legal processes.

A third component of the “cancel culture” mob that has developed has been the development of the free speech censorship mob. This mob, whose origins lie in universities and colleges, gets excised over speech or books that they consider politically incorrect. Recent examples include the decision by the publishers of the Dr. Seuss books of publication of six books because they allegedly contained racist stereotypes, such as a drawing of a Chinese man with a horizontal brush stroke for the eyes. Amazon has just announced that it will not sell books that deal with reprogramming LGTBQ persons.

What it all amounts to is censorship.

Obviously, this is not the occasion to examine in greater detail the antiracist mob and the censorship mob.

Suffice it to say, we have a system of constitutions and laws. Officials are elected for fixed terms. They should not be hounded from office because of a crescendo of allegations which, unexamined in the proper legal setting and proceeding, in essence amounts to mob action.

Legal processes should be observed.

The decisions of voters should be respected.

Officials should not be hounded from office by an avalanche of allegations and mob demands for resignation.

Charges should be fully vetted by appropriate authorities.

If misconduct is found to have occrred, sanctions proportionate to the offense should be considered, In the case of Gov. Cuomo, impeachment, censure, and defeat at the ballot box would be appropriate remedies if he is guilty as charged.

The Moderator of the Absurd

Race as a critical qualification for translation of Amanda Gorman Inauguration poem

Race is not a scientific concept. But as black activists move from the goal of “equal opportunity” to the goal of “equal results”, “race” is increasingly taken into consideration in the most unexpected of places. Here, a highly qualified translator from English to Catalán (a regional language spoken in Spain), has been hired and then replaced–after he translated the poem!–because he was white and didn’t fit the racial profile for such a translator. This occurred, presumably, after pressures were brought to bear on the publisher.

Translator Victor Obiols told AFP on Wednesday that Univers had commissioned him last month to translate Gorman’s work into Catalan, a language spoken in Spain and Andorra. After he completed the job, the publishing house informed him he “was not the right person,” he said.

“They told me that I am not suitable to translate it,” Obiols told AFP. “They did not question my abilities, but they were looking for a different profile, which had to be a woman, young, activist and preferably Black.”


Miriam Berger, “White translator removed from Amanda Gorman poem, amid controversy in Europe,” Washington Post, March 11, 2021(01:00 p.m. EST).

Obiols, while admitting the subject was complicated and should not be treated “with frivolity”, observed in his own defense the following:

i(I)f I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, Black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.” I cannot translate a poet because she is a woman, young, Black, an American of the 21st century, neither can I translate Homer because I am not a Greek of the eighth century BC. Or could not have translated Shakespeare because I am not a 16th-century Englishman.”

Berger also reports in her article that,

Earlier this month, an author quit a job translating Gorman’s poem into Dutch following objections to their appointment by Dutch publisher Meulenhoff because they were not Black.

For a particularly caustic and insightful commentary on these developments, see

Deniz Yücel, “Nur für People of Color,” Die Welt, den 12. März 2021.

The Moderator of the Absurd

Trump appoints elephant to Supreme Court

During the reign of Roman Emperor Caligula (37-41 A.D.), according to myth and legend, the Emperor appointed his favorite horse, Incitatus, to be Consul and preside over the Senate. The Senate, at the time, was among other things a kind of a Supreme Court that could review criminal and other court decisions. Historians, however, cast doubt on the idea that Incitatus was ever actually appointed Consul.

But for President Donald Trump, these subtleties of historical fact were of little interest.

On September 22, 2020, it had become clear that Senate Republicans comprising a majority of the Senate would vote for President Trump’s nominee to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court, whoever that nominee might turn out to be.

As noted, according to legend, the Emperor Caligula appointed his favorite horse, Incitatus, to be Consul, and to lead the Roman Senate. Not to be outdone by Emperor Caligula, on Semptember 26, 2020, President Trump appointed an elephant to the Supreme Court of the United States. There is no provision in the Constitution prohibiting him from doing so.

Republican Senators defended the choice, pointing out that elephants are extraordinarily intelligent creatures. While Madame Dumbina, the new nominee, does not have judicial or legal experience, Republican Senadors defended her selection pointing out that she would bring broader experience to the Court, and that her appointment would help redress the gender imbalance on the Court.

Moreover, Madame Dumbina had long served as the leader of her herd of elephants, who were renowned throughout the world for their peaceful relations among themselves, and their progressive social policies in areas such as childcare and protection of the rights of the elderly.

While Madame Dumbina is not a lawyer or a member of the bar, neither of these qualifications is necessary to sit on the Supreme Court. President Trump declared at the nomination ceremony , on September 26, 2020, that “Some people are saying she can read, and has been studying previous Supreme Court decisions.”

Republican Senators defending the President’s choice stressed that Madame Dumbina, in various moot court trials, had voted with the other Justices, after seeing how the conservative majority was going to vote, by raising her trunk. In a close case where she could be the deciding vote, Republican Senators said that when she casts the deciding vote they expected that she would loudly trumpet the victory of the Republican majority on the Court.

Architects have already begun remodeling the Supreme Court’s main hall and the Justices’s chambers and restrooms in order to accomodate Madame Dumbina’s special needs.


ESPN announcer removed from UVA football game because of name

ESPN announcer removed from University of Virginia football game because of name

See Matthew Haagaug, “ESPN Pulls Announcer Robert Lee From Virginia Game Because of His Name,” New York Times, August 23, 2017.

ESPN has removed an announcer from its broadcast of the University of Virginia’s first football game next month because he has the same name as a Confederate general memorialized in statues that are being taken down across the country.

The network announced late Tuesday that the announcer, Robert Lee, a part-time employee who calls about a dozen college football and basketball games a year for ESPN, would no longer participate in the broadcast of the Sept. 2 game in Charlottesville, Va., which became the center of violent clashes this month during a white supremacist gathering.

White nationalists and neo-Nazis flooded into Charlottesville, marching through the University of Virginia campus with torches, to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of the Confederacy’s top general, Robert E. Lee.

After the violence in Charlottesville, which left one person dead, ESPN executives and Mr. Lee decided that for his safety it would be best to have him to work on a different game that Saturday, a network spokesman said.

Please note that the announcer’s name is Robert Lee, not “Robert E. Lee”.

In caving in to fears of violence generated by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, ESPN apparently did not consider the other alternatives of providing Robert Lee with adequate security, monitoring threats, if any, or the impact of their decision on extremists’ groups.

This seems like a win for the racist extremists, demonstrating the power they have in threatening violence, in this absurd world.


Police Reportedly Kill Man to Prevent His Suicide

“Our goal was to try to get in there and provide assistance to what we believed was a life-endangering situation,” Lopez said. “He was, from what we gathered, attempting suicide.”

San Jose police have apparently stopped a man from committing suicide by killing him.

The San Jose Mercury News reported as follows:

San Jose police shot and killed a 42-year-old man who police said was wielding a 10-inch knife in an apartment building in South San Jose on Sunday morning.

Police were responding to a 9:16 a.m. call from the man’s estranged wife, who reported that he had shot himself with a nail gun, said Sgt. Ronnie Lopez. After making numerous attempts for 30 to 45 minutes to talk to the man but getting no response at the door, officers forced their way into his apartment in the 5000 block of Wong Court.

They found the man holding a knife, with a nail gun nearby.

When asked whether the man was moving toward the officers and was a threat to their safety, Lopez described him as “armed and confrontational.” Three officers fired approximately six shots at the man, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

“Our goal was to try to get in there and provide assistance to what we believed was a life-endangering situation,” Lopez said. “He was, from what we gathered, attempting suicide.”

–Mike Swift and Sharon Noguchi, “San Jose police kill 42-year-old man wielding knife,” San Jose Mercury News, August 30, 2010 (print edition)

The victim’s estranged wife was not at the scene, and there was no allegation of domestic dispute or threat to her. Neighbors said the man was a butcher.

Whether the police were legally justified in putting six bullets into the potential suicide victim is under investigation. “We just have to meticulously go through this,” Lopez said.

–Contributed by Absurdo

e-mail: absurdo@absurdarama.com