Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More On Where’s My Roy Cohn And A Little On Citizen Cohn


‪Haven't seen the flick, but with their purple prose, "K" and "Me" make a caricature of Cohn.  Well, he was a caricature of himself, too.  I suggest you view or re-view James Woods' Cohn, to get a more three-dimensional look.  If McCarthy weren't his Prince, then Cohn might be just another pitbull litigator, depending on your view of aggressive lawyers.  For more perspective, see Woods as Danny Davis, in Indictment: The McMartin Trial.  Both stories are chilling.  Compare and contrast Cohn with Darrow, Rogers, Nizer, Belli, Balley, who had their vices.  Or maybe Cohn the political hit man is more interesting than Cohn the lawyer. ‬

‪I'm reminded of the history of labor relations.  For a long time workers with grievances were mugged by company goons.  Then unions got their own muscle, and companies had to listen.  Of course, that muscle inevitably came from gangsters, who used union pension funds to finance their projects or launder their money, like Las Vegas and Miami Beach.  But that's what it took to level the playing field for the worker.  Prosecutors have an outfit behind them.  Some lawyers have their own outfits.  Hey, it's the adversarial system!  Fun and games with justice.‬


‪I can’t go along with my prose as purple, but we could saw it off as mauve.‬

‪I’ll check out, try to, the James Woods flick, Citizen Cohn. And I’ll try to check out Indictment: The McMartin Trial. ‬

‪Good counterfactual point about what would Cohn have amounted to if he hadn’t worked for McCarthy. But he did and then he did what he did, so really there’s no need for supposin’.‬

‪The US yesteryear practice of law was pretty wild and wooly and the guys you list were larger than life and had their share of shenanigans. But except for Bailey, I’m unaware of any of the rest of them stealing from their clients and bullet proofing themselves so as to be immune from money judgments. I know Belli went broke while prosecuting a class action against Dow Corning after it did. But that’s not a comparable thing. ‬

‪And while Conrad Black is right to complain loudly and bitterly at the power US prosecutors have and how unethically they often wield it, what with gross overcharging and so on and having a near infinite list of laws and regulations to choose from, my impression is that civil litigation and criminal defense work in the US isn’t anything like what it was in the time of Darrow or Rogers. That Cohn and Bailey got disbarred is a sign of the changes, and those disbarments were some years ago. Cohn seems to me to outstrip all these guys in the way of wrong doing. He seems in a class by himself. And the doc didn’t do a a good job, as I argue, in making his evil vivid. ‬

‪Btw, we Canucks are pikers in the way of unlawful legal shenanigans. Our most prominent lawyers past and present are church mice compared to your guys. ‬


‪Hey, we just watched Citizen Cohn. It’s good. You’re so right that it gives a more rounded, “three dimensional,” picture of Cohn. I learned some things the doc never showed. It’s better than the doc in that. I think the doc is weak in any event as I’ve noted. But I make this point: in presenting a more rounded Cohn, the movie doesn’t veer in attitude from what the doc tries, not so well, to show—Cohn as unmitigatedly evil. In fact, the movie does what the doc doesn’t: give a vivid and dramatic version of his evil, however rounded its depiction of him is. So if the charge of purple (or in my case mauve) prose goes to K and I vilifying Cohn by over the top words in describing his rotten soullessness, well, the movie makes the case for those colors in language, purple, mauve, being apt.  ‬

Some Thoughts On Where’s My Roy Cohn


‪Just saw Where's My Roy Cohn and to cut to the chase, I gave it 4.80 out of 5.00 stars. Superbly researched, fascinating structure, skillful intermixing of interviews, various clips from his tv appearances (the inclusion of cage fight btw Cohn and Gore Vidal alone was worth the price of admission) and extrapolations from then to now, both in terms of politics, socio-cultural rot, and the wretched denouement from Cohn to the Degenerate current befouling the Presidency, our nation, and our culture, was well crafted and engaging.‬

‪But, this comes with several caveats:‬

‪1) One has to know who Roy Cohn was, what gave him his start, and why, over the decades, this miserable diseased excrescence was able to manipulate the levers of power, to truly understand the movie. This lops off a huge portion of the potential movie audience.‬

‪2) And, even if the answer to the above caveat is yes, one has to be willing to spend time watching a documentary about Roy Cohn, which was akin to taking a deep dive into a sh*t filled sewer, with rats, disease, and lethal pathogens engulfing you. Again, this lops off another huge slice of the potential movie audience.‬

‪3) Finally, if the answers to #1 and #2 are yes, then go see it but beware: Even going in fully braced and aware that one is exposing oneself to an Earth Bound Satan, one never really knows the after effects of prolonged exposure to such Majestic Satanic Manifestation. I will be checking my limbs, heart, and soul for any Ebola like after effects from my 90 minutes of congress with Roy Cohn and, to make matters even more lethal, at the end, with Donald Trump.‬

‪However, if you can meet the challenge of these 3 caveats, then go see this superb documentary.‬


‪K, thanks for your review. We saw the doc Monday night. We thought it was enjoyable and informative. But I’ve had a nagging feeling about it ever since. ‬

‪I’m not familiar with this documentarian. He has apparently done a doc on Studio 54. I think I may have seen it a few years ago but I’m not sure. I have no problem with any such doc as such but documenting Studio 54 suggests to me his attraction to high life, bright lights celebrity even if he’s critical of it.‬

‪ And that’s what’s nagging at me about Where’s My Roy Cohn. The doc, to my mind, except for the continual showing of Cohn’s evil, smirking face, told me about his rotted, soulless wrong doing rather than showing it to me. For example, he gets disbarred, a huge deal based on moral turpitude, for, among other things, breaching his fiduciary obligations to his clients in a massively corrupt way by stealing their money. But there’s no dramatizing how awful that is. Rather we get the grey bespectacled lawyer who prosecuted Cohn telling us about it. What about words from and showing us the actual victims?‬

‪Plus, in the guise of documenting Cohn’s destructiveness, we get a lot of his “bright lights, big city” celebrity life, him on his yacht, him in the company of the ostensibly great and famous, movers and shakers, him hob nobbing at celebrated, expensive, exclusive places, him as loyal to his friends, him constant extolled as a great, smart lawyer, him depicted as someone who railed against and fought against power and the establishment and so on and on with this kind of sub textual, or not even so sub textual, praising him, under the umbrella of documenting his sociopathic rottenness. ‬

‪Which is not to say, there’s any problem with a complicated, rounded portrayal of him in all his fullness. But in this doc, my nagging self tells me, there wasn’t enough nor powerful enough taking him down and there was too much, likely unintended, basking in his ostensible glow. ‬

‪Lastly, my nagging sense is that there was much too much made of his homosexuality. Again, it’s not that that shouldn’t have been documented in the portrayal of him, but the director went overboard with it such that he lost balance. It became a distraction from Cohn’s sheer exploitative, sociopathic evil, the fullness and sharpness of which finally got a little lost amidst the images of his stuffed animals, his loyalty to the Reagans and Trump and the kinds of seemingly glamorous things about him we’re so often shown and that I’ve noted. ‬

‪Any thoughts on this? ‬

Saturday, October 5, 2019

A Small Slice Of Reasoning On Trump v The Ds On Impeachment


L., I know you think the whole thing is bad performance art and a bore, lagging in interest behind pro rasslin.’ But still, I wonder if you have any thoughts on why Trump just recently made a purposeful point in what he asked China. 

My own inchoate sense is that he’s doing it for among a few reasons: 

one is that it’s a calculated confrontational, in-your-face posture in taking it to the Ds and raising the issues to a high pitch; 

that calculation rests on a rationale that what he did vis a vis Ukraine is within his prerogative and so, therefore, is what he recapitulated with his China ask, that, in a nutshell, the impeachment theory is watery. 

the rationale includes assuming that as a practical matter in a worst case in the House, he has the Senate—2/3ds needed to convict—quite well tucked away; 

and, too, he’s calculated that he wins politically by the Ds hanging themselves by proceeding and by overplaying their hand. 

My sense of his reasoning for the legitimacy of his actions is that no real case can be made for a quid pro quo in his dealings with Zelensky. 

That gone, the Ds have shifted their theory to it being impeachable for Trump to lever the power of his office to gain oppo information against his political opponents, namely Biden, no quid pro quo needed. 

Trump’s answer to that is he’s facilitating the investigation of high US corruption, namely the Bidens’, both of them, doings in Ukraine and China. And, in that, that Biden J happens to be his potential presidential opponent is coincidental and incidental to that facilitation. 

The pattern of those doings presumptively raises conflict of interest issues and raises the spectre of Biden J substantively tilting his actions to assist the enrichment of Biden H. 

That being so, Trump calculates he stands on firm ground in asking, leader to leader, for such assistance. Trump figures too, I think, he gets support from past leveraging by others in or seeking high office for oppo research from Russian and Ukraine without the umbrella of presumptive wrongdoing. He can persuasively ask, “Why is it wrong for a US president to lever US power, its conferral of aid and the like to get help from other countries that serves US interests. 

In the meantime, he’s killing an already weakening Biden, so many nails in his waiting coffin.

There’s more, no doubt, in Trump’s and his team’s calculating but this is what on the spot occurs to me. 


Yeah, I'm not following the details here because they seem just like the details of hundreds of similar brouhahas before -- feels too much like what used to be called a mug's game to get immersed in it. But I heard indirectly his China request and just shrugged it off as unsurprising -- a) because, as you say, it seemed simply a direct and mocking response to the Dems feverish excitement over Ukraine ("Watch, I'll now ask China to do the same"), b) because foreign-sourcing so-called oppo research is something all campaigns do, just not as overtly, and in fact was something the Clinton campaign did to him in 2016, and c) because other countries, not being stupid, don't really need an explicit bribe to investigate corruption. These aren't necessarily mutually consistent, but they fit with a Trump who is, as usual, just more open  about the sort of shenanigans that everyone's involved in, and that have frequently targeted himself. 


Well said.