Nazi-so Proud Boys — In the wake of Kenosha

Nazi-so Proud Boys

In the wake of Kenosha

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 20th, 2021

Yesterday, in the wake of the Rittenhouse verdict, NPR reported, “In another channel, a member [of the Proud Boys] stated that political violence must continue. “The left wont stop until their bodied [sic] get stacked up like cord wood,” he wrote.

The good news is he won’t be posting that particular threat for another month now. The Proud Boys have a hard and fast (so to speak) rule: “[N]o heterosexual brother of the Fraternity shall masturbate more than one time in any calendar month.” He’s shot his wad and can go have a nice lie-down now.

A lot of people are worried that the fool judge in Kenosha whose biased antics led to this miscarriage of justice has in effect legitimized vigilante murder. Rittenhouse himself is a poster boy for why vigilantism is an incredibly stupid idea, Batman notwithstanding. He’s young, stupid, impetuous, and vicious. He deliberately took a weapon designed to murder into a protest that was none of his concern, looking for trouble, and he found it. Two people dead, one seriously injured—the only significant casualties in the “trouble” he supposedly was there to stop.

The judge disgraced himself, as did the police who let the heavily armed punk walk away after slaughtering two people. Back in the 60s and 70s, we called cops like that “pigs” and we had less egregious grounds to do so. Cops may have been vicious and overbearing in those days, but at least they didn’t get pet wannabee Nazis to go out and do their shooting for them. They were bastards, some of them, but they weren’t cowards. The Kenosha pork chops lived up to their billing the evening after the verdict: “A woman was taken into custody by police and fined $767.50 on Friday night after writing an anti-racist message in chalk on the steps of the courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin.” Ah, Kenosha in winter! Everything is so white! One of the cops took it personally, radioing in that the woman had called the cops cowards. Well, perhaps she had. Still not illegal.

And yes, “the left” (defined in this case as people who aren’t Nazis or members of the KKK) will be looking over their shoulders while at demonstrations, wondering when the next juvenile hero of the Reich will be aiming from under a sewer lid or from behind police vehicles,

Here’s how I fear it’s going to play out. The Proud Boys and other similar outfits will show up heavily armed at any and all protests, even ones petitioning for something like requesting a re-vote by the town council on closing the public library. You know—leftist shit like that. The bumblebees of the extreme right will brandish their weapons and shout threats, hoping to scare the protesters into running away. Most won’t, because they have self respect and respect for their Constitutional Rights. Some have the insight required to realize that armed kooks like these are more likely to fire on you if you’re running away. To them, it isn’t crowd control, it’s a hunt, and fleeing targets raise the predator instinct.

Tensions will rise. The Proud Boys need to show the world they mean business. Protesters will start to mock them. Some may even wear targets on their jackets.

Inevitably, someone will get shot. It may be deliberate, or it may be an accident. I would give even odds either way. Chaos will ensure. Depending on where it happens and the quality of the local police force, they will either move in and prevent more deaths, or make the situation even worse, like the Kenosha pigs did. Again, even odds.

Protests will be widespread after that. Anything up to and including a national strike, and violent attacks against headquarters of the various hate groups. Republicans, already deeply ensnared in Trump’s Nazi net, will support the hate groups with varying degrees of enthusiasm. It’s entirely possible that Paul Gosar will get his way and public officials will start being assassinated. And sorry, Paul, it won’t just be Democrats: by the time we’ve reached this stage, non-Nazis will have armed themselves.

The nature of the Proud Boys and their like will entice normally quite peaceful people to take up arms. There’s a lesson I was taught firmly as a schoolboy in London and which I believe to this day: The only good Nazi is a dead Nazi. If the Proud Boys want to instigate a war, they will be fighting the vast majority of the American people, and if the entire nest is wiped out, I’ll shed no tears.

But unfortunately, this war would be one with no borders, no lines, a nationwide street rumble with weapons of mass destruction. It would be a massive bloodletting, and there would be no real victory even if the far right were effectively wiped out, because the costs would exceed the benefit in every way imaginable. America still has emotional scars from the last civil war; this would be far worse.

So everyone, chill the fuck out. Proud Boys, back the fuck off. You can’t win this one, not by open violence against Americans exercising their rights.

Watch how this plays out. This is more along the lines of what I think, rather than what I fear. I’m sure that idiot judge is reading the papers now and hopefully gaining a realization of what he has wrought. As for Rittenhouse, it’s not going to go well for him, because being the mascot for insane right wing thugs doesn’t go well. Two moral and intellectual Titans of the House, Matt Gaetz and Paul Gosar, are going to literally arm-wrestle over which one will invite Rittenhouse to be an intern for him. Gaetz must be tired of little girls, and Gosar likes them crazy. Would you want to intern for either of those two?

Rittenhouse will probably end up on a slow, desperate downward spiral in life like George Zimmerman, the man who shot Trayvon Martin, wound up on. When last heard from after a long string of incidents bordering on scandals and showing increasingly sleazy behavior, he’s now desperately suing the Martin family, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg for, I don’t know, being mean to him or something. $365 million in all. Care to bet on his chances of winning? He doesn’t even have the same lawyer who got him to skate on the Martin shooting—that guy’s being charged with interfering in a child rape case. Stay classy, y’all!

We are going to have more vigilantism, simply because America has far too many nuts with guns. But it will be part of the fantastic background hum of school shooting, mass murders at concerts and movies, and the general wide slaughter of people that is the gun manufacturer’s gift to America.

No civil war. No race war. No gun battles in every city and town.

Provided enough people keep their head. Because there is one thing that is better than a dead Nazi, and that’s a live society.

Doug LaMalfa — What it’s like to have an embarrassing GOP drone

Doug LaMalfa

What it’s like to have an embarrassing GOP drone

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 17th, 2021

Back in December 2020, Doug LaMalfa, Republican Congressman from California’s first district, was the sole Republican to talk to the press after a frivolous and essentially idiotic lawsuit by Texas to overturn the election was dismissed out of hand by the Supreme Court.

In his interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the interview quickly turned weird.

“You got any proof that anything was done that was fraudulent in any election?” Cuomo asked.

“You know, I don’t have proof that men landed on the moon in 1969 because I wasn’t there,” LaMalfa replied.

“Really?” an incredulous Cuomo asked.

“Yeah,” LaMalfa shrugged.

“Do you believe the world is round?” Cuomo pressed.

“I think we’ve proven that,” said LaMalfa.

OK, at least he knows the world is round. That’s a start, I suppose. He makes his living growing rice in one of the most drought-stricken places in America, so you kind of have to expect that he’s going to be a little out of touch about stuff like moon landings or budgets or things like that.

In the same interview, he said he would not “’recognize Biden’s victory until he is formally sworn in on January 20th.’ LaMalfa’s comments seem to suggest the House GOP is planning on disrupting the ratification of the electoral college results on January 6, which is their final chance to contest the election before the inauguration.” Lo and behold, they did. I guess that qualifies as insurrection-light. Dougie is kind of a boutique revolutionary.

While LaMalfa doesn’t enjoy the notoriety of a Marjorie Taylor-Greene or a Paul Gosar, that in part is because he is from California’s First District. (Look it up. It’s the area on the map that’s covered with the cartographer’s sigil and a sign saying “Hyere bee dragons.” Before LaMalfa, the area was California’s 2nd district, and from 1987 to 2013 it was represented by Wally Herger. The region has a history of electing rural non-entities who fail to make any marks on the House.

After five terms, his committee membership is, to put it mildly, a bit thin: House Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry subcommittee Ranking Member, Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit subcommittees, House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Highways and Transit, Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials, Water Resources and Environment subcommittees

He’s the primary sponsor of three bills that were enacted, one of which was the renaming of a post office.

At that, he’s doing better than Herger, who didn’t even get his first committee chair until his seventh term. Herger voted with his party 94.4% of the time, which by GOP standards made him a screaming dissident. (Seriously—in party line votes he ranked 46th.)

On the listing of liberal/conservative votes, LaMalfa is in a flat tie with Paul Gosar (and now has more committee assignments than Gosar, provided he doesn’t threaten to shoot the President or something.) As a goosestepping GOP fascist, he is extraordinarily good at his job. In recent years, he voted for Trump Care, which would have stripped over 100,000 of his own constituents of medical coverage under Obamacare, and has voted loudly against every bill designed to allow the government to negotiate the prices on drugs they buy for Medicare. He has voted against raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, even though a majority of his working constituents would be making less than that had the State of California not already gone ahead and raised the minimum wage on its own. It would not have cost him a dime to support a federal law doing the same thing—it was just gratuitous cruelty on his part.

He toes the party line on all votes, often contradicting the wishes of his own constituents and sometimes even his own supporters.

His votes often come with a large helping of hypocrisy. He voted for Trump’s financial stimulus package in 2020 ($1.7 trillion) but against the subsequent aid packages put forth under Biden, even though America’s situation had worsened (a lot of Trump’s bill was allocated for employers to continue paying employees idled by the pandemic, but of course most of them just pocketed the money and screwed their workers over.) But he voted against the Biden stimulus package, $1.9 trillion, which would have funneled an estimated $4 billion into his district, supporting workers, families, and small businesses—including his own. (He’s been whining loudly about how the pandemic and subsequent shipping problems means he can’t sell his rice to China.)

On the infrastructure bill, he voted no because everyone knows the ungrateful peons in his district don’t need roads, schools, water works, sewers or family support of any kind.

On that last vote, taken last week, he had a characteristically strange take on it. KRCR, a Sinclair broadcast station that is one of the biggest in this district, interviewed John Garamendi, the Democrat representing the 3rd district, adjoining LaMalfa’s. Garamendi gave the station a list of the benefits and projects the infrastructure bill represented and what it would mean for Northern California.

So it made sense to get LaMalfa’s take on the just-passed legislation. This is what KRCR reported: “LaMalfa, speaking with KRCR’s Dylan Brown, responded that President Trump has not spoken to him about the matter.”

OK then. Never mind that LaMalfa is on the Infrastructure committee and might possibly know something about it—anything about it. But what’s this “..President Trump has not spoken to him about the matter.” crap? Trump has no role in this; he’s an ex-president almost certain to be in prison by the time the next presidential election rolls around. Is LaMalfa one of the loony and ignorant morons who thinks Trump is somehow still president? Is he expecting a Trump/JFK, Jr ticket in 2024? What’s the story here?

Meanwhile, LaMalfa voted twice to acquit Trump of impeachment charges. He voted to not censure Marjorie Taylor-Green, and just today, to not censure the evidently insane Paul Gosar. He does support censuring the 13 Republicans that supported the infrastructure bill, which kind of destroys his claim that it is unwise to censure frivolously.

With his lockstep support of fascist GOP policies, he is not representing his constituents. With his support of Trumpism and people like Taylor-Greene and Gosar, he isn’t even representing humanity.

Contempt — The fascist right can dish it out. Can they take it?


The fascist right can dish it out. Can they take it?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 12th 2021

[Steve] Bannon, 67, is charged with one contempt count involving his refusal to appear for a deposition and another involving his refusal to produce documents.” With that a federal grand jury today indicted Bannon with two felony counts. The Select Committee investigating the January 6th riots promptly announced that it would seek similar indictments against Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on similar charges.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law. Today’s charges reflect the department’s steadfast commitment to these principles.”

It couldn’t have come at a better time. The fascist right, including that organized crime cartel The Republican Party, have been further and further outside of the constraints of the law, and growing ever more egregious and assertive in their sneers at the law. People, including me, were wondering if the Democrats and the legal and judicial authorities of the land had the resolve and courage to stand up to these fascist scofflaws.

It came at a time when at least some of the more egregious rioters at the January 6th insurrection were getting some serious jail sentences, four years or more. Decent people in America were sickened and disgusted by a parade of stories of people who beat cops and threatened the lives of public officials who were being treated with kid gloves. It came as a time when a flag-wagging clown of a judge was openly rooting for the defendant, who was accused of murdering two unarmed protesters at a Black Lives Matter rally and injuring another. Another murder case, in which two white men waylaid and killed a black man for the crime of jogging on a public street (or at least, that’s the excuse they offered) had a defense attorney comfortable enough in his ignorant racism to complain in open court in front of the judge and jury about the “black pastors” allowed to sit with the family of the victims. That was too much even for that judge, who upbraided the attorney for his swinish remark.

Of course, death threats are proliferating. A Republican Congressman got death threats from some anonymous piece of shit for the ‘crime’ of voting for the infrastructure bill that passed Congress last week. Another guy, Kenneth Gasper, 64, was arrested Wednesday for a telephoned death threat against Rep. Andrew Garbarino, who also broke ranks with the party on that vote.

Both threatening calls came in the wake of Congressional Joke of the Month Marjorie Taylor-Greene, who slammed the 13 Republicans who voted for the infrastructure bill as traitors, and America’s Jabba the Hut gone rancid, Donald Trump, who whined long and loudly about a bill that he himself used to say he was going to present to Congress, He would do this every six months or so, grandly announcing it was “Infrastructure Week.” Of course nothing would happen because of Donald’s greatest strength as President—his utter incompetence and inability to lead.

It isn’t enough that Republicans have abandoned the values and beliefs they once held as Americans: they’ve abandoned the values and beliefs they once held as Republicans. According to Michael Moline at the Florida Phoenix, “The state of Florida would pay workers to quit their jobs by giving them unemployment benefits rather than submit to vaccine mandates under legislation filed for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ special session of the Legislature, due to convene next week.” Imagine: Republicans, paying people for refusing to work. Savor it.

If you need evidence of the hypocrisy and profound stupidity of Trump’s followers, there it is in a nutshell. They want to murder people for supporting something Trump was for just a year ago.

And there have been myriad incidents of people assaulting hapless employees for requesting people to wear masks per the law, or even for obeying federal rules regarding vaccines. One guy assaulted an American Airlines flight attendant so badly she needed surgery for facial damage. AA, to their credit, banned the guy from their planes for life, but he needs to be up on felony assault charges.

Heroes of the Heil Trump Brigade have been threatening and abusing school boards, voter registrars and volunteers, and regular employees.

If you threaten the life of anyone, it is a felony. If you make lesser threats against a public official, that is also a felony, and no, it isn’t free speech under the Constitution.

It’s time we went after Trump’s scofflaws. They need to be tracked down, reported, and arraigned.

Today’s move against Steve Bannon was a good start.


Gods and Governments — Religious and Secular mixed rule is always toxic

Gods and Governments

Religious and Secular mixed rule is always toxic

October 10th 2021

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

One sentiment you hear from religious fundamentalists in the United States is something along the lines of “God should be the government” It’s nothing new; religions have always sought to gain political and economic power and influence, and there are hundreds of examples throughout history where they have succeeded in doing that. These political cultures are broadly referred to as theocracies.

Usually in such a regime there is a religious hierarchy that interprets divine will (which is always most obliging to their wants and needs) and then passes edicts on to a secular authority who do the dirty work—mostly in the form of executing, banning, or enslaving.

Ancient Egypt is an example that is well known, as is China. The Byzantine Empire was an uneasy and often bloody power-sharing arrangement between the government of Rome and the Catholic Church. Most European countries had similar arrangements, leading to civil wars, pogroms, and the occasional genocide.

Edward the Second threw the Jews out of England, and those slow to leave learned to their regret that England was on an island.

King Henry VIII had 983 senior clerics killed as part of his drive to replace the Catholic Church with his own brand.

Elizabeth 1 killed thousands of Catholics in England, and in Ireland a million and a half Catholics died from cruel English policies based in large measure on the idea that idolaters should not be countenanced.

Adolph Hitler had Catholic support during his rise to power, but the relationship went sour and Hitler, too, sought to replace Catholicism with his own peculiar blend of Nordic mysticism, Christianity, and “racial science.”

The Test Acts codified prejudice against all non-Protestants in England. It’s still against the law in England for a Catholic to be Prime Minister, although since Tony Blair that law only gets lip service.

Pure theocracies in Europe are fairly rare: Münster and Zurich are the only well-known examples, and both rapidly turned into cults and collapsed.

Modern theocracies are mostly limited to the middle east these days: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and to an extent, Israel.

America was founded on the notion that keeping religious and secular power separate was the key to avoiding religious strife (nearly all the Founders had ancestors who, within the past 300 years, had been imprisoned or executed for religious reasons) and to a certain degree, that has been successful.

The first Christian-based religious strife in North America came when Protestants came to America seeking freedom of religion. No, not the Puritans—the French Huguenot, who settled in Florida, then a Spanish colony. The Spanish were unamused by the infestation of heretics, and proceeded to wipe the colony out.

While the founders wanted to end religious persecution (the Constitution explicitly bans Test Acts), the Protestant majority brought with them the attitudes and prejudices of the mother lands. Despite the noble intentions of the Constitution, many states actually had Test Acts in their laws, forbidding Catholics, Jews, or other unbelievers from holding office, or even owning property. I’m told that in six states, atheists legally cannot hold office to this day. Some communities mandated church attendance for all well into the 19th century.

Much of the genocide of native peoples was met with anything ranging from indifference to beaming approval by church authorities. “Godless heathen” very nearly became one word.

However, the anti-Catholic practices of England and other lands ironically made it harder to discriminate against Catholics in America because of the huge influx of refugees seeking freedom in America. By the twentieth century Catholicism was the biggest single Christian sect in America.

But it would be a mistake to think religious oppression—both oppressor and oppressed—ended there.

Catholics in Boston had to violently riot for the right to have their own schools—and were met by rioting Protestants who didn’t want to allow such a thing. Their Lord’s Prayer was the one true Lord’s Prayer, and people who didn’t accept that should not be allowed to teach their children.

But compared to Europe, America got off lightly (except for the aforementioned Godless Heathens, of course). Even as Churches in Europe lost direct control of secular governments—a long bloody process in itself—most European conflicts remained thinly disguised religious disputations.

The only way a society can be free is by holding religion at at least arm’s length from the centers of power. The Founders understood this all too well. They knew something about governments “run by God”–such governments are cruel, repressive, and deeply antipathetic to the notions of independent thought and individual freedom. One only need read the Bible, or the Talmud, or the Q’uran to see how deep this antipathy goes. How long can dissent last in a form of government where the Law says dissent should be punished by death? Well, you can find an answer for that with Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan.

All theocracies are viciously repressive. All require a steady stream of executions and terror to force compliance from the flock, formerly known as the electorate. Holy Books don’t discuss liberty, or freedom to disagree. They instead give lessons on disemboweling non-believers or forcing abortions on unfaithful women (Numbers 11, look it up). There has never been a theocracy that was multicultural, enlightened, or particularly literate. Ever. And it won’t start with the Christians Dominionists and Falangists of present day America.

The last thing anyone wants, or needs is ‘government under God.’ If someone could figure out a way to ask God, they would probably find he was pretty much against the idea himself. He has enough smiting to do as it is.

Crest of a Wave — Breaking a Fascist Surge

Crest of a Wave

Breaking a Fascist Surge

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 5th 2021

There’s a lot of hand-wringing among various commentators about the dangers of a right wing coup against the United States. And their concerns are well founded: MAGAts, the QAnon crazies, and the far right are a violent, vicious and determined group, back by fascist, power-seeking corporations who lie, cheat, steal and make their pathetic patsies Congressionals and Senators. Manchin and Sinema aren’t standing on principles; they are obeying orders from their big donors. They are a pair of corporate whores.

And they aren’t the worst. Trump thinks of himself as the next great Hitler, and is emulating the German dictators’ route to power. His followers, ignorant of history and lacking any moral compass, are his brownshirts, becoming more and more aggressive and violent, attacking school board meetings, confronting nurses and doctors who are just doing their jobs, The Lord Hawhaws at Faux News accuse anyone who opposes them of being illegal aliens, socialists, people who hate Christianity and of course hating the flag. One scumbag at Faux news tried to smear Tammy Duckworth of cheating by availing herself of benefits for disabled vets. All she lost was an arm and both legs, after all. It’s not like she had to grow bone spurs in service to her country.

They are vile, ignorant, vicious people. The worst of them are Nazis. The best of them are destructively stupid.

But more and more, I’m seeing signs that this wave of fascism sweeping across America is beginning to lose its force.

America’s Asshole Ex (former president AAX) is losing support. Big donors are backing away. The Arizona Audit, always a bad joke, became an embarrassment. It’s more and more likely that AAX will face felony charges as a result of his trying to bully Georgia State Raffensperger into arbitrarily changing the vote totals in AAX’s favor. Several suits for sex abuse are moving forward. On a daily basis, new lurid books come out, detailing the utter chaos and corruption of his misrule.

The vast tsunami of corruption and racketeering trials stemming from his decades of cheating, lying, defrauding and general malice are coalescing into a huge series of trials that will begin next year. It’s his fear of that accounting that mostly drives his big lie that he actually won the election and is still president. Only the power of the presidency can save him now. Otherwise he will die in prison.

His physical and mental health, already under scrutiny before the election, might play a factor in his movement. Personally, I won’t mind in the least if he drops dead—he’s a vile human being and will be no loss to anyone other than the fools who clung to him for power. But he’s not a good bet to even be alive in 2024, and the stress and strain of the ongoing trials and investigations will take a further toll.

The excesses of his movement are beginning to backfire in earnest. The three partisan hacks he jammed onto the Court have resulted in a widespread social revolt, with the Supreme Court’s respect at the lowest level in history—lower, even, than the partisan mess it made of Bush v. Gore back in 2000. Coney, a god-struck idiot, did herself no favors by whining about being considered a partisan hack while addressing the McConnell Foundation while its puppet master looked on, beaming approval of his little black-robed slave. Even the corporate media couldn’t put lipstick on that one. The justices have been out telling people they aren’t corporate Republican whores, a miscalculation that is utterly destroying the Court’s remaining gravitas.

The attacks on doctors, nurses, school boards and people just minding their own business and wearing masks are causing widespread revulsion and disgust. Expect to see a counter movement against these right wing bullies, and expect them to vanish quickly. They are bullies, and thus they are cowards.

The anti-vax movement is disappearing in the face of employer mandates. Most of them were just playing a little antisocial rebellion game, and between the indisputable explosion of Covid amongst the unvaccinated and the potential loss of a paycheck, the movement is collapsing. Some radio gasbag named Josh Bernstein caught Covid, and once he stopped pissing himself in fear, viciously attacked…Doctor Fauci. I can’t follow his logic; he seems mad that he caught a disease that was politically embarrassing, and hates Fauci for being right. I think. In any event, he wants to shoot Fauci because laws come from God or something. You try to figure it out. My brain hurts.

The Capitol insurrectionists are realizing just how deeply they’ve stepped in it. The guy who chucked a fire extinguisher at a cop pled guilty and burst into tears. Poor little snowflake might be punished for feloniously assaulting a police officer. And he’s a patriot, wears an American flag jacket and everything. Another “sovereign citizen” is doing a good job to showing just want kind of nuts AAX attracts to his movement. The judge can’t judge her because she’s a capital-letter Person, or something.

The Capitol rioters are, for the most part, crybabies and nuts. And the public is starting to realize that.

While a majority of Republicans still cling to the Big Lie that Trump secretly won the election, it’s beginning to fray around the edges. In part, because it is so transparently a lie, and in part because people are beginning to realize that what AAX wants is the complete and total destruction of the Constitutional Republic, and in its place, a one-party fascist state in which the party declares the winner of elections and therefore elections are just window dressing, as they were in the Soviet Union. Should AAX were regain power, elections would cease altogether in short order because of “the [name your distinct group of people] problem” and camps to “solve” those people would arise in short order.

In other words, people are starting to see the unpatriotism and moral, intellectual and ethical bankruptcy of the far right, and realizing that they don’t protect our rights any more than the corporate fascists (including AAX) do.

Just remember—at all levels, fight fascism, vote Democratic. The movement is self-destructing, but we still need to finish the job.

Americuh — Means exactly what you want it to mean


Means exactly what you want it to mean

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 18th 2021

Kristi Noem, the religious loop that is the more-or-less governor of South Dakota, opposes even allowing children to wear masks at school to prevent spread of COVID. She does, however, want to force them to pray. There isn’t a single documented case of prayer preventing, let alone curing COVID. But Noem figures that this is America, and so she can uphold the rights of the governed by making them perform useless genuflections as they sicken and die. Children in particular, because Jesus was an American.

Right wingers love Americuh. Ask them what they love about America, and if they don’t violently attack you for having the effrontery to even ask the question, will rhapsodize about god and the flag and Ronald Reagan. Some will mention Donald Trump, and at that point you might as well walk away, because nothing sane or non-sickening is going to follow.

There actually was a poll a few years back that asked “What do you love most about America?” Most of the answers seem to have come from people who have seen too many truck ads. “Sunsets” “Good dogs” (Good dogs?) “Fields of grain” “Endless highways.” Some seem to think America is a conglomeration of fast food joints: “hot dogs” “hamburgers” “barbeques.” Others tie their national identity to pro sports. “Football.” “Basketball” “Baseball” “Hockey.” Yeah, that last one is mostly Canadian, but these people see Canada as a suburb of Minnesota where the snow ploughs empty their loads in the winter. Music will provoke distinctly American responses: jazz, rock and roll, heavy metal, but usually not r&b, hip-hop or swing. Great literature gets mentioned: Batman, Spiderman, Captain America, at least before he turned Nazi and worse, African American. The Jury is still out on Superman, who arrived here without a green card, and Wee Hughie and Butcher don’t sound like they’re from around here, do they?

Basically, Americuh is just a symbol. A coalition of vacuous gases, an empty shibboleth upon which any meaning or emotion may be imposed. In other words, just like Jesus, the flag, or cat facial expressions. It just sits there looking pretty to the beholder because it is the projection of what the beholder deems to be pretty.

While this sort of goofy, mawkish type of pseudo-patriotism isn’t limited to the right, the right have used it for a sleight of hand that dates back in its present form to the McCarthy era, and in a darker form to the earliest days of the Republic.

You see, they have a little secret: they love America till the cows come home. (Cows are Americuh, too. Moo!) Love, love, love, just caint git enuff of thet Americuh!

But they hate the United States. It showed up in that poll I mentioned. All the stuff people loved about America, but you had to scroll down a long way, far down into the single digits, before you started seeing things like “Bill of Rights”; “The Constitution”; separation of church and state; voting; freedom of speech; freedom of the press; or rule of law. The stuff that made the United States unique to begin with, the things many other countries since 1789 have emulated. Some of them didn’t even get listed.

If you point this out to a right winger, most will indignantly deny it. In fairness, many will be sincere. Most sane conservatives respect and adhere to the Constitution and understand that it, not religions or corporations or good dogs, is the moral, legal, and foundational underpinning of the United States of America.

But to many right wingers, even though they can’t say so out loud, the Constitution is the enemy of what they stand for (that great nebulosity, Americuh). The Constitution is government. The Constitution is rule of law. The Constitution is civil rights for all. The Constitution recognizes obligations just as it recognizes rights. It is a profoundly liberal document.

It also represents the strong desire of the Founders to keep churches out of the government, and in return, governments out of the churches. Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, held his proudest accomplishment the separation of church and state in his Constitution for the State of Virginia. He, along with most of those who wrote the Constitution, understood the horrors of theocracies and theocrats, and resolved to never let it happen here. They didn’t want a country under god or any other imaginary religious symbol. They respected the rights of people to believe, but assigned no right to impose their beliefs on others. The Constitution, in language that exempts it from any amendment, forbids religious tests for any position of public trust.

To the far right and the MAGAts and that crowd, the United States is the enemy of all they hold near and dear. It doesn’t let them subjugate minorities or non-believers and justify their stances by turning the terms oppression and oppressed on their heads, inverting their meaning.

That explains how the people who want to tear down the democracy—the Trumpenproletariat, the Religious Freaks, and the neo-Nazis—can all do what they can to destroy the United States, but wave flags and bibles (Stars and Bars alongside Stars and Stripes, no less!), and simultaneously proclaim they are patriots because they “luv Americuh.” They love a largely mindless symbol and hate the reality.

It allows them to wave flags as they try to destroy the country.

Kristi Noem doesn’t want to “impose” social efforts to protect children (which the constitution strongly stands for) but she does want to impose her trashy little religion. She is the epitome of the far right, the lost Americans who threw away their social and historical background to live in a truck commercial.

Recalling Newsom — Trumpenproletariat have a(nother) bad day

Recalling Newsom

Trumpenproletariat have a(nother) bad day

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 16th 2021

I was hoping for a 57-43 result in Tuesday’s California recall election. I had little doubt Governor Newsom was going to survive the recall process, but I wanted to see him get a convincing win. He got 60% of the vote in the last gubernatorial election, and between some instances of bad judgment, a rocky economy, the pandemic, and the fires, I expected to see some ‘slippage’ in support. Newsom isn’t perfect, but he’s at least reasonably competent. So I figured 57% of Californian voters would consider him worth keeping.

It looks like he won it with over 63% of the vote! Turnout state wide was 42%, slightly higher than I expected, and that may have been part of it. But I suspect that a lot of voters who didn’t have strong opinions on Newsom one way or the other came out and voted because they absolutely despise Trump and Elder and all their violent, vicious, and arrogant followers. People are horrified and appalled at stories of people being attacked for wearing masks—even kids at school—and hospitals being sued for not trying to treat COVID with worm medicine. There’s a growing realization that a large number of followers of Trump are fascists at best, Nazis at worst, and deeply oppose democracy and freedom for anyone other than themselves. Elder had the crack-brained notion that Newsom could be blamed for the fires and didn’t seem to realize that most people understood that it was climate change that has made the fires so much worse—and that Elder was one of the strongest voices claiming climate change wasn’t real.

Obviously there are Republicans who don’t subscribe to the filthy and corrupt views of Trump and Elder. But they didn’t apparently didn’t bother to turn out to vote. Elder got 42% of the ‘replace’ vote, and the second two candidates, both conservative moderates, failed to get 9% apiece. And most of the rest of the field were absolute clowns, ranging from Jenner who managed to support a woman’s right to choose AND the Texas anti-abortion law, to the goofball with the bear for a running mate. Elder, a poisonous blend of Trump, Rush Limbaugh and Uncle Ruckus, was the candidate of choice of a large plurality of Republicans.

The GOP is a diseased and ethically broken party, antithetical to normal American values and standards, corrupt, cruel and convinced they deserve to rule us. Less than 20% of them found a way to vote for a normal candidate who wasn’t trying to destroy the United States and disenfranchise most Americans.

As the results rolled in, Newsom tweeted, “Californians voted ‘YES’ to, ‘Women’s rights. Immigrant rights. The minimum wage. The environment. Our future.’ Newsom added that voters ‘rejected cynicism and bigotry and chose hope and progress.’”

I think that’s a pretty fair assessment, and kudos to Newsom for realizing that Californians saw a bigger picture than the political future of Gavin Newsom. Trump and his filthy acolytes weighed heavily on the minds of voters. They looked at the partisan and corrupt hacks Trump had put on the court and wanted no part of it. (And no, Amy Coney, saying you aren’t a partisan hack at the McConnell center doesn’t mean you aren’t a partisan hack; it just means you can make such a ridiculous claim in such absurd surroundings with the total lack of self-awareness of the standard religious zealot.)

Californians looked at the utterly demented verging on murderous actions of various red-state governors and realized that Governor Larry Elder would be killing thousands of Californians with the same lunatic adherence to the gospel of Saint Donald.

People who lived among the chaparral fires of central and southern California got tired of being told it was their fault because they didn’t manage the forest properly. And those of us in the forested areas got tired of being told that proper management meant cutting the mature commercial stuff and leaving the doghair and understory.

The vote came against a backdrop of scandal and mobs at the gates. The fencing went back up around the capital against possible violence during Saturday’s J6 rally. Cases against the insurrectionists were delayed, not because of Republican foot-dragging, but because the amount of evidence against them continues to grow at a pace the lawyers can’t keep up with. Reports came out that a top American general, Mark Milley, told the Pentagon to clear it with him in the event that Trump would order a nuclear strike in the final days of his presidency. Think about that for a minute. Trump and the Republicans turned the military into a comedy by Stanley Kubrick.

Larry Elder showed that he was entirely a creature of Trump by posting on his website, declaring he had unearthed hundreds of case of malfeasance and fraud at the polling stations all across California. Most people, aware of the duplicitous and dishonest efforts of Republicans to overturn the results of the 2020 election, would have been doubtful anyway. But Elder couldn’t even be arsed waiting for the actual voting to occur: he posted all this the day before the election.

Elder doesn’t think his supporters are idiots. He knows they are.

Trump and the idiot trumpenproletariat that support him aren’t going away soon. In addition to religious nuts, there is no shortage of corrupt and partisan hacks, and bountiful flat-earthers and anti-science clowns to keep Trump going for some time to come.

But the recall election shows the actual political weakness of Trump’s fools’ parade, and the results deeply undermine their claims to be the heirs to the American dream.

Court Cowards Create Constitutional Crisis — A preview of American life under fascism

Court Cowards Create Constitutional Crisis

A preview of American life under fascism

September 2nd, 2021

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

They did the deed in the dead of night, of course. The Court refused to issue a stay on a state bill that was blatantly unconstitutional; so egregiously so that it wasn’t until 24 hours later that they issued a paper—NOT a ruling, saying that five of the nine justices decided not to issue the stay. It was cowardly, it was despicable, and it was exactly what we expected from the GOP’s decades-long struggle to pack the Court with anti-Constitutional fascists. The ones that McConnell herded onto the court were especially bad—a drunk, a child of a deeply corrupt family, and a god-struck loon.

The bill, a product of Texas’ demented and nearly criminal legislature, made it a felony to get an abortion after 6 weeks. Never mind that hundreds of similar bills, put up by obsessive religious nuts, have been struck down by court after court after court as being unconstitutional: this 5-4 joke of a Supreme Court decided to not do its job and let the bill stand. This is a court that has no interest at all in the law, precedent, or the Constitution. It is an outlaw, criminal court, interested only in securing power for the churches.

An even more insane element of the bill—and this could only happen in Texas, a state that is fucking nuts by design—is that it effectively deputizes every citizen to turn in any woman or doctor who tries to skirt this law in any way, with a $10,000 bounty!

Maybe those crazy Texans will arrest God: over two thirds of all abortions are spontaneous. He kills tens of millions of blobs every year. Be sure to call the state snitch line to report God and collect your $10,000.

The law that the Court pretended to ignore is insane and unfair and violates the rights of women, but that’s not the worst of it.

The worst is that the Court has reintroduced the policy of Nullification. Anyone who has taken American history knows the term (and it will probably vanish from American history books if the CRT crowd have their way and remove anything from history books that they don’t like). It was the belief, prior to the Civil War, that states had the right to nullify any federal law that they felt violated their state constitution, or they just found inconvenient, like the notion that Americans of African descent needn’t be slaves. The Civil War pretty much settled that dispute, but decades later it emerged from the fever swamps of the Koch right wing as “State’s Rights.” Ask a right winger if states’ rights isn’t just a painted over version of nullification, and if he even has the faintest clue what you’re talking about, he’ll turn himself inside-out trying to explain they have nothing in common. One is a relic of the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, where the states could tell the feds to butt out, and the second is a relic of the first constitution, the Articles of Confederation, where the states could tell the feds to butt out. See? Nothing at all alike!

The Articles of Confederation basically created a shell of a nation consisting of thirteen sovereign states. States were free to impose tariffs, have wildly differing laws, and there was no basic system of rights for the people nor powers for the government. Instead of one nation, it was thirteen little pisspot nations, just sitting there waiting to be gobbled up by the French, the English, or even the Spanish like popcorn.

The Constitution of 1787 repudiated that, declaring itself to be the Supreme Law over the states, and giving the federal judiciary the power to negate state laws that violated the Constitution. More stuff you won’t be hearing about if they get rid of the CRT stuff.

In effect, Nullification repeated the errors of the Articles. It took a Civil War to bury that particular vampire idea. And in more recent times, the power of the federal judiciary enjoyed the support of both parties and most of the citizenry. So they buried the idea under a bunch of pseudonyms, such as states’ rights, or community standards, and now, with an outlaw Supreme Court, the notion that the Court can just ignore any state law it doesn’t want to consider, no matter how egregiously unconstitutional that law may be on the very face of it.

This court is the result of fascists, led by Mitch McConnell and former president AAX, to stuff the court with fascists, in addition to the two clowns already there; Clarence Thomas, for years the least qualified judge to sit on the court, and John Roberts, a weak conservative who thinks the far right is just as respectful of the law as the rest of the country, despite all evidence to the contrary. Add the three disgraces forced on us by Mitch McConnell, the GOP, and the malevolent AAX, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Congress must act on this. Impeach the unqualified most recent appointees, all of who deliberately and maliciously lied to get their seat. Failing that, pack the court, 15 if need be, to negate the damage the fascists of the GOP have done.

And an aroused citizenry can do wonders to make the GOP back off. Fascists may be determined, but at heart they are sneaky little cowards. They might back down. For now.

In the meantime, point to Texas, and point to Afghanistan, and warn people that this is what we all can expect under religious authoritarian rule.

Spook Says Early Fall — Cat’s in the cradle and silver moon

Spook Says Early Fall

Cat’s in the cradle and silver moon

August 25th 2021

We have a cat named Spook. She’s ten years old and looks to be a medium-sized black cat until you pick her up. That’s when you realize she’s mostly fluff. There’s maybe four pounds of cat inside that black cloud. When she feels like it, she’s a very sweet-natured, affectionate little kitty.

That’s when she feels like it. Much of the time, she’s just plain nuts.

I got my first inkling of this when she was a year old, in late spring. I walked in the bedroom where she was curled up at the foot of the bed. She jumped to her feet, an expression of clear horror on her face, and scrambled under the bed.

I started at the hole in the air where she had been. “What the hell did I do to you, cat?” I grumbled. I didn’t think much of it. It was evening, and most of our cats sometimes get the “evening crazies” where they dash madly about the house and swat at no-see-ums. Kittens—which Spook still was at the time—are particularly susceptible to this. So I just shook my head and muttered “cats.” I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve done that.

Only evening crazies only last for 15 or 20 minutes and the cat calms down and curls up and goes to sleep. Spook stayed out of sight the rest of the evening. And the next day. And the day after that. When I did see her, she fled.

My wife reported the same behavior. And the first time we held the back door open for an indecisive other cat to come in or out, she would see an opportunity and dash past.

We didn’t worry about that too much. The yard is fenced, there are a dozen hidey-holes where a cat can escape any would-be predators, and she had survived basic training by the fierce and terrible Mac, our feisty old orange tom who didn’t take shit from any coyote or raccoon foolish enough to cross his path.

She would hide, and when we let one of the other animals in or out, she would make a mad dash. That would usually be the only time we would see her.

Even though she acted like were were hungry ogres who lived only to feast on cats, we knew she was around, even though she otherwise stayed invisible, and we usually didn’t know if she was in or out. I sometimes thought of her as Schrödinger’s Joke.

But there were times when none of the others were in transit, and we had no reason to open the back door. In which case, she would stand as far away as she could while maintaining line-of-sight eye contact, and wait for one of us to open the door for her. Except at first she wouldn’t work herself up to approaching while we were looking right at her, and we both would end up frustrated.

I finally figured it out, which was amazing when you consider that I am under the considerable handicap of being a human being, a balding monkey if you will. I had to Avert My Gaze. If she wanted out, I had to gaze longingly at the back fence while she worked up the courage to make a wild dash past me. If she wanted in, she would wait at the bottom of the steps while I memorized the features of our stove at the other end of the kitchen, until a puff of air near my shins told me she was in.

Then, one crisp October night, I was typing at my computer and heard a meep. I glanced down, and there was Spook! She reared up and put a paw up on my knee, gave me a direct look, and meeped again. I very slowly reached down, and she gently head-butted my hand. It was the first time I had been allowed to touch her since that night in April. I got up and she scrambled back, but I was only going to check her food. She had to be starving to dare approach me, I reasoned.

Nope. Food supply was fine. And I went to the door and averted my gaze, and she didn’t take me up on the offer. She just wanted to say hi.

After that, she was a normal cat, if a bit timid. She even let me pick her up to examine her. We had come to think of her as a peripheral cat, a semi-feral who came in only to eat. She was in remarkably good shape, considering. She even let me run a brush over her and put some flea stuff on her neck.

At least once a day she would come in just to say hi. She loved having her tail tugged and would strop back and forth, waving it invitingly.

Then, one spring morning, she stared at me in abject horror, and made an insane dash for it. She had just SEEN me eat breakfast, and I hardly ever eat cats right after a meal. Trying to lose weight, you know.

And just like that, we were back in frenzied paranoia mode.

Until six months later, when she reverted to affectionate little house kitty.

The pattern became clear. She would revert to Spooky Spook when the nighttime lows were reliably above freezing and the last of the snow had melted. She would become Warm and Fuzzy Spook when the frost was on the pumpkin. Her affection for us was measured in Fahrenheit.

Normally we’re deep in Schrödinger’s Joke mode this time of year. When it’s baseball season, you don’t see Spook, or if she has to be seen, she doesn’t like it. This past year we added an enclosed front porch with a cat-sized portal next to the screen door and a cat flap in the bedroom window facing onto the porch. It didn’t take her long to figure out the implications. Unbridled access, inside and out! We usually didn’t see much of her in the summer. Now we barely saw her at all. The one good look I got at her was last month, one morning when I went out on the porch to read the news. A neighbor came by on the streets with her corgis. Now, the corgis aren’t a particular threat. Or any threat. Neither could manage three miles an hour with a tailwind, they liked cats, and what’s more, they were on a leash. Just a pair of nice old dogs.

Nonetheless the simultaneous appearance of me and the dogs threw the two cats that happened to be in the front yard into wild panic. TK, our Korat, darted for the porch. She understands that humans mean safety. Spook, who knows better, dashed for the large lilac bush that is her summer home. Both were staring at the affably harmless dogs with deep loathing, fear and disgust as they ran.

They collided.

It was so quick it nearly didn’t happen at all. Showing uncharacteristic wisdom, I decided it didn’t happen. Cats know when you’re laughing at them, and they can be vindictive. The corgis and their owners were clearly enjoying the show. No head-strops for them. Not from those two particular cats.

So last night I was in bed, doing some reading before going to sleep. I felt a cat jump up on the bed behind me and absently reached back to scritch kitty ears. After decades of cat exposure, I can reach back without even looking and accurately scritch between the ears. The cats agree that it’s my most useful, indeed only useful talent.

I figured it was TK. She likes to be hand-fed kitty crunchy treats. Spoiled rotten. I petted along her back. Not TK. Korats have thick, short pelts, silver and grey. This felt more like cotton candy, only not sticky.

I rolled over and blinked in amazement. It was Spook, not only letting me touch her, but inviting me to pull her tail! I glanced at the thermometer. It might go below 50 that night, but only a little. Frost was not in the forecast.

She let me pet her, which served as a thinly-disguised opportunity to check her weight, her pelt, and check for any injuries or tender spots. She seemed fine. She jumped down and trotted off to the kitchen to see if we had done anything lately to justify our existence.

But it’s only August. Schrödinger’s Joke isn’t supposed to be Warm and Fuzzy for two more months!

It can only mean one thing: an early fall. Frost is rare in the California mountains in August, but not unheard of. Rain is also seldom seen. But something has persuaded Spook that I am preferable to the Lilac Bush.

So I am bracing for an early fall. I would prefer not to see frost for another six weeks because backyard garden, but early rains in this fiery and smoky year would be cause for deep ecstasy.

Spook probably knows. But that is cat knowledge, and us balding monkeys are not worthy.

Hope for rain.

Kabuling for Dollars — The end of the occupation

August 19th 2021

It’s hard not to feel horror at the events this week in Afghanistan. The awful scenes of panicking Afghanis clinging to the side of a C-19 as it took off and falling to their deaths would shake anyone up. Rachel Maddow was reduced to tears recounting the incredible tale of the efforts to get a translator (one of thousands) out of the country with his family. The only other time that happened was when the story broke of what the Trump administration was doing to refugee children.

But Afghanistan was always going to end this way. It didn’t matter if it was now, or 2020, or 2002. The end of the American occupation of Afghanistan was always going to be bloody and painful, because that’s how occupations almost always end. That’s why they are against international law.

And make no mistake—this was never “a war in Afghanistan” as people who should know better keep calling it. It was an occupation.

Remember how it began? Nine Eleven had just happened, and the Bush administration decided that Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind it. Osama was hiding in Afghanistan (and he probably was) with the connivance of the Taliban government (probably not the case). So the US sent troops into Afghanistan to find and arrest him.

Even I didn’t have any problem with that. ObL was an obvious suspect because of his role in the previous attack on the Twin Towers, and I hated and despised the Taliban, cruel, corrupt and often insane, like all authoritarian religious regimes. If they were hiding Osama, then fuck them. Go in, get him, and get out.

Only it became obvious within weeks that Osama was long gone, flown the coop to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, two countries the US didn’t invade searching for him. Instead, the US stayed in Afghanistan, setting up a puppet regime and pouring billions into the place. Supposedly the US was going to rebuild Afghanistan, new roads, new schools, new infrastructure, all the shit the government wasn’t doing in America. In reality, the money covered the costs of occupying the country, billions in bribes to the local warlords not to cause trouble, and maybe 5% which actually went to “rebuilding”. All told, some two trillion dollars got poured down a rat hole, nearly all of it wasted and in the pockets of people we didn’t want to help.

The US paid people to be their friends there, and that went about as well as paying people to be your friend usually goes. And Bush and Obama didn’t have a clue how to end it, especially since the neo-liberals who engineered the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq were ready to pounce, and declare any administration willing to pull out “soft on terrorism.”

The US occupied Iraq on the insanely stupid excuse that Saddam Hussein, mortal enemy to the Taliban and Iran, was secretly helping them. They managed to end that one by surrendering well in advance and letting the Iraqis choose their own government first. So the people didn’t have to overthrow a puppet regime.

Remember “Vietnamization”? Nixon figured, correctly, that if they let the Vietnamese people choose their government, there would be less unrest when the Americans left. Only the people in North Vietnam didn’t get to vote, and so they considered the Saigon government a puppet regime. Weeks later, it was gone, and Saigon was now Ho Chi Minh City.

In Iraq, they surrendered to the people they invaded Iraq to rid the country of first, and then left.

Trump actually tried to do something like this, releasing some five thousand political prisoners, including much of the new government in Kabul and a lot of warlords who didn’t toe the line, in hopes that there wouldn’t be a bloody dumping of the Vichy regime in Kabul when US troops were pulled out, originally slated for May 1st 2021. But the planned talks at Camp David never happened, and Biden had too much on his plate to take it up. So there remained a puppet regime in Kabul, which lasted nearly a week.

The Taliban moved fast, and swept into power. But a lot of people hate and fear them, and not just American puppets and lackeys. As mentioned, they are a theocracy, the most vicious and hateful form of government known to man, and women and anyone who don’t want strict adherence to Sharia Law (which would be most Muslims) have every reason to fear them. Expect Afghanistan to be a bloody mess for some time to come.

To Republicans who say this is Biden’s fault: Fuck you. Bush began the occupation, and Trump set things up so it would end as badly as possible. For the human sewage who are shouting they don’t want Biden dumping refugees on them from Afghanistan: double fuck you. Biden should offer to trade you and your family to the Taliban for every decent person and his family in Afghanistan who tried to help and now needs to get out. America is far better off with them and without you.

Still, the US is out of there, and the hemorrhaging of money has slowed. Maybe some of you will learn from this—occupations are a waste of time and money and usually end with many people getting hurt. The only way an occupation will work is through centuries of attrition (the Norman invasion of England) or genocide (the Americas by Europe). As foreign policy, they never work and usually backfire. Don’t do it.

I doubt it will work. The UK, the USSR and the US have both tried occupying Afghanistan and all left weaker and poorer for it. The USSR tried occupying eastern Europe. History is full of failed occupations, or ones that ended in mass murder and social destruction.

For people who think America had any friends in Afghanistan, don’t be an ass. Most of the flunkies were paid, and America is doing a marvelous job of screwing over the few who honestly liked the Americans now. Like the Fox News/GOP filth who are saying NIMBY to refugees from Afghanistan.

Stop trying to run other people’s countries. They don’t like you and your values for pretty much the same reason you don’t like theirs, and you’re no better than them. Stay inside your own borders, and work on making life better for your own people. That will attract better responses from other countries than all the occupations in the world.