Oh, fine. Begin the recitation of stupidity.

Here's some reassuring news for you! Even though the Justice Department managed not to find any criminal wrongdoing in the police shooting of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge last year, the DOJ is at least doing some very firm Law And Order to a 61-year-old activist lady who criminally laughed during the confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, because sometimes you just have to teach evildoers a lesson. Desiree Fairooz, an activist with Code Pink, was tried this week for "disorderly and disruptive conduct” intended to “impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct” of congressional proceedings, because on January 10, Fairooz did laugh with criminal intent when Sen. Richard Shelby, in the course of introducing Sessions, said the old racist Keebler Elf's history of "treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented." You are NOT allowed to laugh at that, at least not in a way that disrupts the hearing by forcing Capitol police to rush in and carry you off for laughing. Here's some video of the arrest by HuffPo reporter Ryan J. Reilly, although it lacks the crucial laughing incident:

HuffPo notes the arrest was performed by a Capitol Police officer who had been on the job for all of two weeks; it was the officer's first arrest of any kind, so you have to understand she may have been running on pure adrenaline in the high-pressure situation of confronting a crazed woman who suddenly guffawed -- and may well have laughed again had immediate action not been taken.

Fairooz, who has been protesting with Code Pink since at least the Bush Administration, said she had gone to Sessions's confirmation hearing to protest silently, and did not intend to disrupt the proceedings; she was seated in the back of the room and no one on the hearing floor appeared to hear her laugh. But the government is going after her as if she'd stood up and shouted. A separate charge of "parading, demonstrating or picketing" within the Capitol building was also filed, apparently because Fairooz held up her sign while being frog-marched out of the hearing room. Here's the hot courtroom action, sure to be included in a future episode of "Law And Order: Trumpcrimes":

Jason Covert, one of the assistant U.S. attorneys trying the case, asked Officer Coronado on Monday whether the laughter was “loud enough to draw your attention” or if she recalled “seeing other people turning around.” Coronado claimed she had seen other people turn around and later said Fairooz had been laughing “very loudly.”

We're having a hard time focusing on the possible volume of Fairooz's laughter, because our brain keeps getting stuck on the idea that Covert was one of multiple assistant U.S. attorneys on this vital case of rude laughter. But prosecutor Covert was in dead earnest of getting to the truth: Did Officer Coronado think it was funny that Sen. Shelby praised Sessions for having a record of "treating all Americans equally" Well did she?

“Is that funny?” Covert asked Officer Coronado of Shelby’s praise of Sessions. “Is that a joke to you?” Coronado did not think it was.

It sounds like an exciting trial! We're disappointed Covert didn't follow up that question a bit further by confronting Fairooz directly about her laughter: "What do you mean it's funny? Funny how? What's funny about it? I mean funny like Jeff Sessions is a clown, he amuses you? His civil rights record makes you laugh, he's here to fuckin' amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How was it funny? How the fuck is he funny, what the fuck is so funny about his record on voting rights?!" That woulda been a gas, you guys, breakin' her balls like that.

In closing arguments Tuesday, another DOJ lawyer, David Stier, insisted that regardless of anything else, Fairooz's laughter was a criminal offense. (As it happens, this is Stier's first jury trial, so this is a real baptism of ire for everyone involved.)

Stier said the case against the defendants was about them “making a scene” and intentionally taking steps to bring attention to themselves. He labeled them “professional protesters” and said Fairooz’s “loud bursts of laughter” disrupted Congress, even though the proceedings continued without interruption until Capitol Police forcibly removed her from the room.

He repeated Coronado's testimony that the laughter was loud enough to turn heads, and therefore criminally disruptive, adding that while Fairooz told police removing her that she was willing to be quiet, she was in fact a disruptive disruptor of the smooth workings of government, what with holding up her sign and all:

“Ms. Fairooz decided to not be quiet,” Stier told the jury. It wasn’t the Capitol Police, Stier told the jury, who moved her mouth or moved her lips or moved her diaphragm. Stier called the evidence against Fairooz and the other clients “absolutely overwhelming.”

Yes, kids. She persisted. In his closing argument, defense attorney Samuel Bogash insisted Fairooz's laughter was “totally spontaneous” and “unintentional.” He also claimed the laugh was “barely” audible on CSPAN's tape of the hearing:

Oh dear. We heard it all right, though we had to listen carefully. Throw the book at her -- and make sure it's something not funny at all, like a book of Ann Coulter's conservative satire.

“She’s here because she laughed,” Bogash said. “I can’t say it enough. She’s here because she laughed.”

No verdict yet, but we're waiting to hear whether Fairooz will be sentenced to a humor-desensitization program where she can learn to take srs bsns srsly.

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[HuffPo / HuffPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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