Evil Arrives — The crisis point is here

Evil Arrives

The crisis point is here

January 19th 2020

Robert Harrington, an Ex-Pat living in London, wrote an absolutely searing column for the Palmer Report last night, “The Face of Evil.” https://www.palmerreport.com/analysis/the-new-face-of-evil/24527/ In it, he tells of how he came to realize that the Holocaust was far from a unique event, that roughly a third of humanity is evil, and that they have coalesced into the monster known as the Republican party under the malign rule of Trump.

The Holocaust, of course, is far from unique. Since the vow was made in the ashes of 1945 to Never Forget, there have been at least a half dozen genocides in which more than twelve million people died. Here in the states, such atrocities were largely brushed off. “Oh, it was the communists. Communists are evil.” It was Africa. It was Asia. They were brown. They were black. They were the wrong religion. Some Americans considered it to be the actions of lesser people with poisonous ideologies, saying so without irony and without realizing by the mere fact of the dismissal, they had placed themselves in groups of lesser people with poisonous ideologies. The belief the Holocaust was unique was just one of the comforting lies with with we cocoon ourselves.

Genocide is well within the range of human social behavior. Voltaire had us pegged two hundred and fifty years ago when he wrote, “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”

Which brings us to the role of religion. Religion informs nearly all holocausts (yes, including communism, which was a godless religion, but a religion nevertheless, in which adherents had to subscribe to a creed, no matter how absurd). In some instances, religion instigates the mass murder in the name of some deity or leader. Religion never worships gods; it worships power. The ability to kill at will is the ultimate power. God is for the peasants. God’s power is for the Church.

There was one thing about the Holocaust that made it stand out. It was strange and horrifying how the Germans went about it in a cruel and methodical manner, using the modern tools of western civilization. The face of the Holocaust wasn’t the screaming mercenary with the blood-dripping machete; it was the meek, mild accountant who carefully tabulated the number of shoes taken off the feet of dead Jewish children. All very modern, quite civilized, leaving the accountant to go home at night and be a good Christian with his wife and children. Perhaps he told the children he processed shoes for the Fatherland, leaving out mention of where the shoes came from. Perhaps he assured himself he didn’t know where the shoes came from, and told himself comforting lies about the long trains of human cattle, and all the missing neighbors. He was, after all, a Good German.

Without an evil leader able to lead an entire culture in to an abyss, he might just have been another accountant in a shoe factory, leading an essentially blameless life. Germany, sophisticated, devout, educated, and religious, needed only a charismatic monster to fall into the ultimate darkness.

Voltaire understood the mechanism for genocide: “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.”

Robert Harrington believes America is at the cusp of a Hitlerian nightmare. He’s right because America, self-assured, lacking introspection, historically illiterate, and ridden by racial and political fear, is a genocide waiting to happen. Harrington has identified the factor that will make the American abyss like the one Germany experienced nearly a century earlier—the rise of a monster.

Trump is vicious, vindictive, petty and above all, cruel. He is like Hitler, only Hitler at least was able to form relationships with other individuals and pets, something Trump seems incapable of. Trump appeals to the most base of people with a series of “am-i-right” political sketches disguised as a philosophy and the endless flagging of grievances, and there is no bottom to his pettiness and his willingness to destroy or hurt those who have crossed him in any way. Case in point: This past week, facing impeachment, he took time to utterly gut the school lunch program that Michelle Obama had made an effective instrument for improving kid’s lives and their ability to learn. Trump’s action will needlessly condemn millions of kids to hungry afternoons in school, trying to read and listen over the demands of their bodies. Why did he do such a horrible and pointless thing? It was Michelle’s birthday. He wanted to hurt her.

There seems to be no doubt in Harrington’s mind that Trump will trigger an American moral and ethical apocalypse. There’s no doubt in my mind that he stands to be the next Hitler, and that with unlimited power, he is capable of unlimited cruelty, and he has the mindless, hateful, evil following to attack and destroy lives in the tens of millions. He rides the wings of the next Holocaust.

The Senate will have their trial this coming week. The punditry agree that it will be a sham trial and Trump will be acquitted. Trump is openly demanding he be acquitted before he gives his State of the Union speech in early February, and craven and morally vacant senators are queueing up to oblige him.

It’s easy to imagine the crows of angry triumph he will shout to a shivering world. Will he speak of final solutions and a new order that will last a thousand years? Will he list the people who will pay bigly for impeaching him and testifying against him? It’s unlikely the remaining members of his administration will be able to contain the raw fury and hatred pent up in the man.

At that point, his power will be consolidated. A Senate acquittal will like be the moment in German history when the Enabling Act was passed, allowing Hitler to supercede and suspend all laws basically at will.

The Senators could save America if they weren’t moral and ethical vacuums, wedded to power and willing to appease monsters and scum in order to cling to it.

They can stand as human beings, do their job, and save America from a looming nightmare, or they can create a future in which the best hope they have is that history will quickly forget their names, so their children will not have to share their disgrace.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how they will vote. They are cowards and nihilists. Expect little.

Voltaire had the perfect epitaph for these sad remnants of humanity: “Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”

Suppose They Held a War… People aren’t rallying around Trump’s crap

Suppose They Held a War…

People aren’t rallying around Trump’s crap

January 12th, 2020

There was an op-art poster popular in the late 60s, at the height of the Vietnam conflict, which read, “Suppose they held a war and nobody came?” Even then, it was seen as a bit of whimsy, even amongst the “Oh-wow-that’s-heavy” crowd. Americans have a long and often sordid history of responding to calls to arm with vicious and irrepressible war fever. The dubious conflict that got tens of thousands of Americans killed and lead to that plaintive poster was a largely fictional incident in the Gulf of Tonkin in which a couple of Vietnamese war boats in Vietnamese waters approached to within 10 kilometers of the USS Maddox and the Maddox opened fire. In the exchange, one US aircraft was slightly damaged, as was the Maddox itself, which took a single bullet hole in an non-vital part. The Vietnamese saw four dead, six wounded, and three boats moderately to severely damaged. The Johnson administration lied about the incident, claiming the Vietnamese fired first, and the vaunted American press dutifully repeated that lie. Nor did the press explore the reasons for the tensions; Vietnam had a fair and open election in which Ho Chi Minh and the communists won, and the cold war hawks in LBJ’s cabinet couldn’t stand for that. It took thousands of deaths and vast sums of dollars wasted before a significant protest movement formed, only to be vilified by America’s “silent majority” as traitors, cowards and commies.

World War One was even more mystifying. The US had no interest, strategically or ethically, in the war, and by 1917 it was obvious that it was a bloody, inconclusive and hideously expensive pigs-wallow of a war. A large majority of Americans wanted to stay the hell out. But then the Zimmerman telegram emerged, with the self-same German foreign minister begging Mexico to start a war with America and making the unlikely promise that they would give Mexico back those territories lost in the 1848 US-Mexico war. That infuriated President Wilson, who had run—and won—on a campaign slogan of “Too proud to fight” just a few years earlier. This was followed soon after by a German decision to target neutral shipping in the Atlantic, and subsequently sank five American freighters. Wilson used this to whip the country into a war frenzy the like of which nobody had seen since the Civil War, made more incredible by the fact that America still had scant emotional involvement with the European conflict. (Americans get annoyed by attacks, real or imaginary, on their ships, except when they don’t—in 1942 German U-boats were sinking US freighters at a expense in lives lost and dollars squandered the equivalent of a 9/11 attack every two weeks, and still had to declare war first before America made a military reaction.) So it’s safe to say that Wilson used the incident to whip up the war frenzy.

He almost certainly knew that Germany was slowly losing that war. He was probably far more worried about the revolution in Russia, and the threat of communist uprisings in the west. Given the disgraceful nature of the Industrial Revolution and the deplorable conditions the working class suffered, it was a quite legitimate fear from his viewpoint.

In scant weeks, millions of Americans who were “too proud to fight” and glad they weren’t involved in that bloody, unending mess were screaming for German blood, talking about rounding up German-Americans and putting them in camps, and denouncing anyone who questioned all this as cowards and traitors. Just like that! Snap fingers. The government passed repressive laws to shut up the dissenters that were so draconian that the Supreme Court was forced to look up the Constitution and see what it had to say about this kind of stuff. Turns out the Constitution takes a dim view of punishing people for having doubts. But that was later. In the meantime people gleefully punished people for opinions they shared just scant weeks earlier.

So historically, it’s not hard to con Americans into a war, no matter how dubious, bloody, or unnecessary.

So when Trump had Suleimani assassinated and Iran responded by shelling some US bases in Iraq, I got a sinking feeling that Americans, with a whoop and a holler, were going to repeat the same tired bloody mistakes once again, and would probably enthrone the despicable Trump in the process.

Certainly Trump tried to rouse the American people to arms, giving reason after reason, each more dire than the last, for why it was necessary to ambush and murder this man. The latest iteration of that, just nine days later and the ninth different reason given, was that Suleimani was planning to attack “four embassies”. Each of Trump’s rationales has been knocked down for lack of evidence to patent absurdity (Suleimani was most certainly no friend to ISIS, and indeed was a lead ally in stymieing the terrorist organization.) The “four embassies” rationale died an ignominious death this morning when Trump’s Secretary-of-Defence-This-Week, Mark Esper, admitted on national television that he had no idea what Trump was talking about.

Faux News and all the other horse-manure factories of the far right tried to whip up war fever, and didn’t get much of anywhere. Oh, they got the Trumpkins riled up, but that was a given. They’ll do whatever their God-daddy leader wants.

But outside of the deplorables, nothing. Outside of that, the 60% of Americans who aren’t part of his cult know he lies: he lies when he has to, he lies when he doesn’t have to, he even lies when it would be to his advantage to either keep his mouth shut or tell the truth. They know he lies. They know he’s had it in for Iran for years, and especially since the hated Obama got that nuclear agreement with them. They know that in 2016, Trump had no idea who Suleimani was, and will be totally unsurprised to read in today’s Washington Post that in early 2017 he was asking his cabinet for ways to assassinate Suleimani, and his cabinet was ignoring such requests.

A majority of those polled yesterday believe that Trump was wagging the dog, using Iran to try and detract from his looming impeachment trial.

Trump’s advisors and enablers have to be looking at this and wondering what would happen if there was a real international incident that required an American military response, another Pearl Harbor or a 9/11. Would people follow Trump, or just conclude that he staged the event for his own purposes.

Yet another reason to get rid of him. When America does need a leader, all they’ll have is Trump, and he’s utter shit at that.

Horrible as the assassination and repercussions have been, it could have been far worse. At least Iran’s response was carefully crafted to avoid escalation, with the exception of the shooting down of that Boeing 737 passenger jet. I have little doubt it was an accident: Iran had little to gain from killing scores of their own citizens, plus 67 Canadians and 39 Ukrainians. And that’s on Trump, too; negligent as someone in the Iranian military was, it wouldn’t have happened were it not for the crisis Trump created.

Millions of people in Iran are outraged by the shooting down. Perhaps they remember when the US accidentally shot down an Iranian plane in the 80s, killing 232. As a result, the government is facing mass protests of a kind not seen since the days of the Ayatollah Khomeini.

Nobody likes the Iranian regime. They are religious nuts, vicious, and troublemakers. It would be delightful if this tragic incident caused their downfall, and a more secular, reasonable regime were to replace them.

But for now, it’s in the realm of wishful thinking. But if Trump tries to take credit for it (and he would) then tell him to buzz off.

Even with the threat of war fever manipulation, America is better off with a leader than a bullshit artist.

Holy Murder – Got Mit Uns

January 5th 2020

The Washington Post is reporting this morning that Trump did not notify leaders of Congress of the planned assassination of Qassam Suleimani as he is legally required to do, but he DID notify the Russians. Kinda shows who he’s really working for, doesn’t it?

If anyone tells you that Putin and his criminal gang are better suited to hear American military strategies ahead of Congress, explain to them that they are fools and traitors to their country and to get the hell out of your sight. Yes, I’ve seen Trumpkins make that very claim. They are shit Americans.

Mike Pence, God’s Designated Liar on Earth, tried explaining that Suleimani was behind 9/11, an utterly factless claim put out there in Pence’s dim-witted hopes that people would somehow take this to mean that Trump had just prevented another 9/11. It’s on about the same level as assassinating Boris Johnson and then claiming he was involved in the 1605 plot to blow up Parliament.

Trump himself tried claiming that he had preempted an plan for an imminent attack upon American interests, which was about as factually-based as anything else that flushes out of that man’s mouth.

Nearly every pundit in the country is bloviating on what kind of blow-back America can expect, and what Trump will do next with the disaster he has created. They are even, gawds help us, asking if it saves Trump from impeachment. Fox News and the Christian Right see Trump as a resolute and godly hero for employing the same tactics that Trump assassinated Suleimani for. Lindsey Graham huffed that you can’t impeach a president during war time, and right wingers are even pushing for a constitutional amendment saying just that.

A few quick points, Lindsey: Trump has already been impeached. It was in all those papers and news sources you don’t read. Second, we aren’t at war. Iraq, where the assassination took place, is a putative ally—or at least was, more on that in a moment—and despite the incessant saber-rattling from Bolton and Cheney and the rest of the trash militant right, Iran is not an enemy. At least, not as of this writing. And third, if you have anything at all resembling a brain in that skull of yours, do you really want a loophole in the constitution that encourages a president to start a war in order to avoid being brought up on criminal charges? Really? Is that all that’s left of your bullshit “suthun honor”?

This morning, the Iraq Parliament voted by a small majority to kick American troops out. If Trump reacts the way I expect and decides to blow off the Parliamentarian decree (after all, if he doesn’t pay attention to the US Congress, why would he care about anyone else’s?) then he’s probably just rekindled the Iraq war. And Donald may be too stupid to realize this, but America cannot win ground wars in Iraq and Iran. Hell, in the past twenty years, America hasn’t been able to win a ground war in Afghanistan, an economic basket case. It will just mean thousands of lives lost, and trillions of dollars squandered.

And Iran has renounced the nuclear deal in total today. I don’t want to hear a single American whine about that: the US arbitrarily broke the deal two years ago, part of Trump’s efforts to score points with the “let’s bomb them all” crowd, and the criminal fascist Netanyahu.

Oh, by the way, Donald. Remember ISIS? Those are the indisputably bad guys you claim to have defeated. Well, funny thing. The people who really brought ISIS to heel were the Kurds and the Iraqis. But now you’ve betrayed the Kurds, and you’ve pissed off the Iraqis to the point where they want your ass out of their country right now, and so ISIS can regrow, abetted by the propaganda coup that your foolish assassination of Suleimani has given them. And no, they still aren’t nice guys. But then, neither are you.

In fact, you’re a lot like Suleimani, except he was a lot smarter and less of a corrupt fraud. He was a vicious and crafty bastard, a master at asymmetrical warfare, and yes, Americans were his most frequent target. You may be wondering how such a bastard could develop a devoted following. Well, next time you hold one of your mini-Nuremberg rallies, look at the rabid faces goggling back at you with mindless devotion. Same types of assholes, only unlike you, with your manipulative nihilism, Suleimani actually stood for something (if awful) and didn’t have to pretend to be a leader.

His assholes are more dangerous than your assholes, and most of them are a lot smarter. You might want to keep that in mind.

It’s no wonder you reported to the Russians first ahead of your own nation. Putin must be beside himself with joy. For many years, since before you were born, Russia has wanted strong influence in the Persian and Babylonian regions. Reducing both countries to utter chaos is the easiest way to do that, since he understands that he cannot win a ground war or sustain an occupation in either land. (Unlike you, he learned from a failed occupation of Afghanistan). You’ve given him the chaos he wants to become the principal cohesive entity in that region. He doesn’t need troops and bases there to subdue the locals; he just wants control of the currency and the main industries, and you’ve given that to him.

And of course, the only country capable of preventing him from doing that is already in chaos, and largely at Putin’s hand. He managed to get a puppet regime that trashed the country’s intelligence and military, and divided and enraged the population. Place called America. He managed to get that most unlikely piece of shit you can imagine into the Oval Office.

That would be you, Donald.

And you’ve pretty much destroyed the intelligence agencies you now desperately need to gauge world reaction. What a fucking fool you are.

I can’t wait to see you convicted and thrown in prison. I hope you never see daylight again.

You’re Going to Die Now – Happy Holidays!

You’re Going to Die Now

Happy Holidays!

December 31st, 2019

We’ve been hoping, all sane people have been hoping, that America could avoid a major international crisis before Trump was driven from office. No American president in history has been less equipped, mentally, morally or cognitively, to deal with a crisis that could result in a general war.

Iraqis, perhaps backed by Iran, occupied the US embassy deep in the “green zone” in Baghdad. People who remember America’s pointless occupation of Iraq will remember the green zone. It was supposed to make the hundred million dollar embassy the US built in that captive city impregnable.

Well, not so much, as it turns out. As Trump golfed, the embassy was occupied by protesters.

Trump finally bestirred himself to tweet, “The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is, & has been for hours, SAFE! Many of our great Warfighters, together with the most lethal military equipment in the world, was immediately rushed to the site. Thank you to the President & Prime Minister of Iraq for their rapid response upon request….”

OK, that sounds almost sane. OK, the bit about “Warfighters” and other lethal stuff being immediately rushed to the site, the bluster of a weak leader caught with his pants down.

But then it got Trumpweird. He continued in the next tweet, “….Iran will be held fully responsible for lives lost, or damage incurred, at any of our facilities. They will pay a very BIG PRICE! This is not a Warning, it is a Threat. Happy New Year!”

Yup. Because there’s nothing weird about making an open threat and following it up with a holiday greeting. You see it all the time in Hollywood, “No, Mister Bond, I expect you to die. Happy Valentine’s Day.” “Yippie Kie Yay, motherfucker. Merry Christmas.” “Perhaps I’ll kill you tomorrow, Wesley. Happy Candlemas.”

It’s weird, but in fairness, Trump had a more important issue on his mind: the optics: “The Fake News said I played golf today, and I did NOT! I had meeting in various locations, while closely monitoring the U.S. Embassy situation in Iraq, which I am still doing. The Corrupt Lamestream Media knew this but, not surprisingly, failed to report or correct!” Well, the GOP wasted tens of millions of dollars and thousands of Congress hours trying to crucify Hillary over the non-scandal of whether she allowed Benghazi to happen. He knows how much trouble those noisy, sanctimonious, cowardly loudmouths on the right can create with such made up scandals. He should know: he was part of that deplorable crowd.

OK, the possibility of a general war in the middle east, once that could involve Russia is small potatoes next to the possibility that the pseudo-journalistic trash of the right wing media might turn on Trump and launch their endlessly dishonest propaganda.

So Trump doesn’t have a clue about how serious the situation in the middle east is right now, but rather whether it might drown out his constant whines about being impeached. That’s what makes him such a great leader.

Fortunately, not all of government is filled with vacuous and corrupt morons like Trump and Moscow Mitch. Chris Murphy, Democratic Senator from Connecticut, wrote a memorable series of tweets in response today that not only spells out how we got to this juncture (incredible incompetence from the Administration, and malign policies from Russia and Israel), but what it means, and why it could turn into a bloody fiasco that could cost many lives, not just of people living in that region but Americans as well. Rather than try to sum up what he wrote in a masterpiece of concise thinking, I’ll just repeat the texts here:

The attack on our embassy reminds us of all Trump’s Middle East disasters:

1/ Emboldened Iran starts attacking U.S. targets;
2/ Turkey invades Syria;
3/ Saudi Arabia gets away with murder;
4/ Israeli/Palestinian peace slips out of reach.

And that’s just the start…

4/ Thousands of Yemeni children continue to die in a U.S. fueled civil war;
5/ Iran restarts their nuclear program;
6/ Saudi Arabia and Qatar break relations, pushing Qatar to Iran
7/ Turkey buys weapons from Russia, breaking NATO’s back

8/ Brutal crackdown on political dissent in Egypt ramps up
9/ U.S. abandons Kurds to die in Syria, leaves our bases for Russia
10/ U.S. hold on aid to Lebanon weakens their army, empowers Hezbollah
11/ ISIS begins to regroup in Iraq, breaks out of prisons in Syria

The list keeps going, but the point is this:

The attacks on our embassy in Iraq (and Iraq’s unwillingness to defend us) is – on this last day of 2019 – a reminder of how catastrophic this year has been for U.S. interests in every corner of the Middle East.

The attack on our embassy in Baghdad is horrifying but predictable.
Trump has rendered America impotent in the Middle East. No one fears us, no one listens to us.
America has been reduced to huddling in safe rooms, hoping the bad guys will go away.
What a disgrace.

What a disgrace indeed. A lot of people think tomorrow is the dawn of a new decade (it’s not, but that’s for another time), and here we are, facing a massive international crisis with a deranged shitgibbon at the wheel.

He’s going to get us all killed, Happy New Year.

Boxing Days – People are hitting back at GOP rule

Boxing Days

People are hitting back at GOP rule

December 26th 2019

Back when the House was preparing to vote on impeachment (was it really only a week ago?) one online news feed had the header, “House prepares to vote on impeachment as Trump rages”. Had I seen that headline in a crystal ball back on November 2016, I would have called it very predictable, perhaps even inevitable.

The only surprise to me was how much of Trump’s shit people put up with before deciding something needed to be done about him. Americans in general have a strong streak of authoritarian personality; they really hate to challenge authority. Didn’t used to be that way, of course; Americans were defined for centuries by their willingness to thumb their noses at their leaders. It’s taken three generations of ceaseless propaganda from the right and corporations to blunt that particularly American trait.

The problem, of course, is that a populace unwilling to challenge social and political leadership soon finds itself rapidly losing ground. Factory owners, priests, and aristocrats have never had your interests and heart and never will. It amuses them that they’ve trained Americans to, at worst, ask politely for their rights, and of course, they offer vague assurances that amount to a polite refusal.

Trump has undermined the pseudo-legitimacy of America’s ruling class, and the cracks are beginning to appear everywhere. Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham were convinced they could openly make Trump’s trial an utter sham, and they are learning that even if they can pull that off, it will come at an immense political cost. The Democrats have realized that they only need four Republicans in order to control procedural votes to help ensure a fair trial (if not a fair verdict) and are pressing hard for those four. A trial with actual witnesses and testimony is going to do massive damage to McConnell’s dream of sweeping the entire thing under the rug. The public is actually watching closely, and the Republicans are every bit as much on trial as Trump himself will be.

A Christmas Day poll revealed that 55% of the public support having a Senate vote on ousting Trump, and only 40% oppose. The day the House impeached Trump, the public supported such a vote, but only by a 48-47 margin. Even in the red states, protecting Trump from his crimes has become a risky pastime for Republican representatives and Senators.

Trump spent Christmas attacking the homeless. At least, the homeless in Nancy Pelosi’s district. He doesn’t gave a shit about the homeless, of course, unless it’s to set up for-profit concentration camps for them. He just has the misguided notion that people will blame Pelosi for the problem. But that sure catches that Christmas spirit, doesn’t it. “Get that filthy Mary and Joseph out of here with their bastard kid!”

The trash Christian right is falling apart as Trump finds and breaks through their ethical basement. They’ve had to be “Good Germans” for the past three years, pretending the moral smoke from Trump’s policies toward immigrant children and the poor and working people is just wood smoke, nothing more. That Trump has begun comparing his trial to the crucifixion of Jesus is a wake-up call to a lot of them, along with increasing pressure from the majority of Christians who haven’t bought the authoritarian Kool-Aid. Their message is getting louder and clearer: “If you think this human garbage scow of the president is the next Jesus, you are an embarrassment to both Christianity and America. Knock it off.” And it’s working. A large and vocal anti-Trump contingent is appearing in America’s pulpits and Christian publications. The “Jesus loves you but you gotta pay me for it” crowd are battening down, preparing for a social storm.

Public anger is growing as Trump’s scheme to slash Social Security and Medicare and further demolish Obamacare continues. People are aware that McConnell and the GOP want the slashes to pay for the $1.5 trillion tax cut for the rich that Ryan and Trump inflicted on us. People are tired of doing without so these upholstered parasites can afford a third yacht or a couple more Congressmen.

Panic is settling in. CNN had a poll of its pundits, including such luminaries as SE Cupp, to discover that in their collective wisdom, CNN believes Americans would be better off re-electing Trump than electing a socialist like Bernie Sanders or a liberal mixed-economy capitalist such as Elizabeth Warren. Think about that for a minute: the corporate media voices at CNN think that we would be better off with a psychotic, criminal, vicious and possibly demented disaster of a president over an FDR sort who believes that the national wealth ought to be shared with the people who created that wealth.

Welcome to the world of corporate media. They have only your best interests at heart, assuming you are rich, greedy and want only a docile workforce and a captive consumer market.

The corporate leaders already have the puppets posing as liberals in the Democratic party, the Biden/Klobuchar/Buttigieg contingent dancing to that same tune. Better to have a corporate eunuch who will only pretend to oppose America’s ongoing rightward drift into corporate feudalism, than someone willing to put up any kind of a fight to prevent the development of outright fascism.

McConnell is still making noises about keeping the fix in for his corrupt leader, but his protestations are increasingly hollow. At this point, some Republicans are realizing that they aren’t toying with losing a few seats in the next election, something their election fixers assured them couldn’t happen, but are, in fact, toying with the possibility of a popular revolt.

Americans were happy to follow their leaders, but now they see where the leaders have been taking them—and they don’t like it.

The GOP proceeds at its own risk.

Solstice 2019 – Heikki Lunta

Heikki Lunta

Solstice 2019

December 21st, 2019

In places like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, snow dances fall under the category of “be careful what you ask for.” Like Buffalo or the Sierra or the Rockies, it’s a part of the country that can see major dumpage—snow measured by the meter rather than centimeters. Some years, the last thing in the world you want to do is encourage more of the stuff. Nonetheless, they have something called the “Heikki Lunta snowdance song” in Hancock, MI, a venerable tradition dating back to 1970 in which the locals beseech the snow gods for big snows in order to run the snowmobile races.

We got about 1.15 meters of snow (45”) back at Thanksgiving, so I’m just looking at those Michiganders beseeching their Finnish snowblower gods and I ask, “What in the hell are you THINKING?”

When I was a kid in Ottawa, the last thing anyone except us kids wanted was a big snow on Grey Cup weekend. (Canada has a Thanksgiving Day, but it’s at a more sensible time when crops are actually still being gathered and the whole country hasn’t iced up for the winter. You see, it usually dropped below zero about then and stayed there until late February, so any snow that fell was likely to still be there as stubborn patches of berm ice the following April.)

For adults, it was a nightmare season, shoveling and rock salt and “square tires” (the old style automobile tires used to freeze at night, including the flattened portion in direct contact with the sidewalk, resulting in a bump every revolution of the tires that persisted until the tires became warm enough to be malleable again.) They had snow chains back then, but it was usually easier to just use them to hang yourself than to put them on the wheels. There were engine blankets that prevented engines from freezing on really cold nights, but they carried their own risks. Bad enough that you had to get on your hands and knees on a minus twenty-five degree morning to shoo any cats out before starting the car, but you sometimes found yourself poking a skunk with your house broom—with predictable results. I know, because it happened to my Dad one winter. He smelled like the neighbor’s terrier, aka, “the world’s dumbest dog.” Dad’s just lucky Mom didn’t make him set out side that night in a tub of tomato juice. On the plus side, we didn’t have to smell the blood pudding that was his choice for breakfast for a few weeks after that. The skunk odor was an improvement.

Side streets, covered in white ice (very compacted snow) became favored locales for games of shinny, or pick-up hockey games.

Another more dangerous pastime involved grabbing the rear bumper of a bus leaving a stop and sliding along behind the bus for several blocks until it reached a heavily traveled street and the ice got patchy. It was a major bust if a cop saw you doing it. Not for you—for the cop. There wasn’t a cop alive who could catch a 10 year old boy on ice and snow. Most people put on weight in the winter. Not the police of Ottawa—we saw to it that they got lots of exercise and fresh air. Just doing our part to support our local police, ma’am.

Poor cops couldn’t even just shoot you in the back as you ran away. That would have caused talk. Hell, a lot of them didn’t even pack guns.

Ottawa wasn’t as far north as some places I’ve lived, and the longest night was about as long was either of America’s Portland’s. But it FELT more like the Solstice people think of when they think of polar bears eating Vikings and vice versa. You could go out on a dark, cold porch at 5pm, and watch snow dust sweeping across the white ice streets in taunting little eddies, look at the unforgiving and unwinking stars of a polar night, and feel your cheeks beginning to crinkle from the cold, and you knew, in your heart, that winter had finally arrived, and was going to dominate your life for the next three months or so.

It’s changing, of course. Temperatures of 10 and even 20 above are seen in March and sometimes February, the streets are normally free of ice and snow, which is a shame since many of the buses are now electric, eliminating the face-full of Diesel exhaust that was the price we paid for getting a free bus lift.

Still, that doesn’t mean the old style winters are gone. The polar vortex wobbles around more, and as a result, while most winters are warmer than they used to be, if the vortex settles over eastern Canada, then you could get a winter every bit as vicious as the ones we experienced as kids when our biggest concern was avoiding getting caught between a polar bear and his Viking.

For me, it’s the beginning of the countdown to meteorological spring. Officially, that’s March 1st. The calendar says March 21st, and my wood pile says April 22nd. In any case, it’s a turning point: the days have stopped getting shorter, and the weather will start getting warmer, slowly at first but with increasing confidence as the Earth rolls around the sun to the equinox, which is when Vikings balance eggs on the heads of polar bears. That is why there are no more Vikings.

In Australia, it’s the summer solstice, and a nightmare summer awaits. Fires are blazing along the east cost of the land, and extreme heat and winds turn them into infernos. The entire land mass set heat records on consecutive days this week, going from 40.3 on Tuesday to 40.9 on Wednesday to 41.9 yesterday. That’s the average high temperature, 107.5F, for an area larger than Europe. And the seasonal winds are building as the temperatures continue to climb.

Australia isn’t alone, just six months out of phase with the North American west coast, much of Brazil, Europe and much of Russia as the global warming change dubbed the pyrocene spreads like the fires in Australia.

But the seasons turn, and nothing humans do can change that, and respite will come. Hang in there, and be careful and courageous.

And don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.

Quid Nunc? – Trump has been impeached. Now what?

Quid Nunc?

Trump has been impeached. Now what?

December 19th 2019

Seeing Trump get impeached was enormously satisfying, wasn’t it? He is the most corrupt, dishonest, and vicious president in American history, and it’s time he got a little recognition for that. He was already upset that they gave the Time Cover of the year to a little girl he could beat up with one bone spur tied behind his back, even though with Kissinger, Stalin and Hitler former personages so awarded, Trump more than qualified.

Trump did celebrate, going to one of his little Nuremberg rallies and proclaiming that John Dingell, the late representative from Michigan, was watching all this from hell. Why? Because Dingell’s widow, Debbie, who filled his seat in the House, voted for impeachment. I imagine that went over well in Michigan, where he just made a really cheap attack on their most popular representatives.

Being a tacky and mean piece of shit isn’t, in itself, an impeachable offense. But it does make it harder to scrape up any sympathy for him. Many pundits have noted that in the many hours of debate the House and its committees staged over the past four weeks, not one Republican stood to defend Trump’s personal honor. They may be cowards, they may be cultists, they may be endlessly servile, but none of them had enough imagination to come up with that particular argument. Even the old line about Hitler (“At least he liked dogs”) doesn’t pertain; Trump doesn’t like dogs.

Trump forecast violence in the streets if he was impeached, and he was right, if you define doing the Macarena as being violent. He’s impeached, and nobody with an IQ above 90 or a bank balance below one million is upset about that.

Now it’s supposed to be going to the Senate, the the jury foreman, Mitch “Moscow” McConnell is also going to be the leading defense attorney. He’s already said, among other things, that witnesses would not be allowed to testify: Democratic witness because they would be damaging to his client, and administration witnesses because they would be damaging to his client. (No, not really: Trump simply doesn’t want anyone from the administration testifying. It’s right there in Article 2 of the impeachment.) McConnell vows to make a farce of the proceedings, because fuck America.

So there’s a very outside chance Pelosi won’t even send the Articles to the Senate. The result would be the same, except Trump wants exculpation and revenge, and this would eliminate any possibility of that. The impeachment would just be there, a deep shadow over his “perfect” presidency. It would drive him nuts.

Of course it would backfire, as the Republicans would just claim that the real reason the Dems didn’t send it to the Senate is because the case is so weak. Under new Republican rules of self incrimination, you cannot be convicted of a crime unless you specifically say that you committed that crime. For instance, if you come running out of a bank firing a gun behind you and carrying a sack full of money from said bank, you can’t be convicted unless you say, “I robbed a bank.” And if you’re the president, the police can’t even arrest you. The Republicans have come a long way from their campaign to eliminate reading Miranda rights.

So it will go to the Senate, and I’m hoping that demonstrators by the hundreds of thousands will go with it. Republicans need to know that if they try to protect their Putin puppet, the American public will revolt—not against the government, but against the Republican Party. A very important distinction, that: most Americans like their country. But they hate what the GOP is doing to that country.

In any case, the Republicans need to know that trying to whitewash or circumvent a Senate trial will carry a fatal political cost. And yes, just nominating Trump in the first place should have done that, but we live in an era where custard heads consider propaganda more important than journalism because it’s more interesting.

In the meantime, the House must continue its investigations into the various and multitudinous crimes the Trump cartel has committed. There are going to be more convictions and more sentencing of various Trump henchmen, including Guiliani, and cases for impeachment can be brought to bear against Barr, DeVoss, and Pompeo. Mike Pence is likely to face impeachment over his role in the Ukraine thing. And of course, there are quite literally hundreds of other charges that can be made against Trump, including several dozen just from the Mueller report.

As satisfying as yesterday’s votes were, the fight has just started. Trump must be legally harried and pursued until he he either quits or is driven from office. And the GOP must pay a horrible price for their efforts to circumvent justice and for their role in degrading America.

It’s only just begun. Democrats, don’t think you can stop here.

And Then There Were Two – On impeachment, Dems keep it simple, stupid

And Then There Were Two

On impeachment, Dems keep it simple, stupid

December 11th 2019

Abuse of Power. Obstruction of Justice. Two counts, both on their faces impeachable offenses. The formal text is available in hundreds of places (At random, here:  ) and is a short read, perhaps 2,000 words. It’s simple, clear, straightforward, and based on an absolute mountain of damning evidence.

The Democrats could have filed dozens of discrete charges against this most corrupt of all presidents, and in a court of law, have most of them stick. But this isn’t going to a court of law. It’s going to the House, where a vote along party lines is pretty much inevitable. Most of the Republicans will vote against it simply out of blind party loyalty. Some have an active hatred of a free and open United States, and want a fascistic dystopia in which they can maintain power and a life of ease forever. So yeah, party-line vote.

And it’s going to happen fast. Before the Christmas break, apparently. (If you had asked me last week, I would have said such votes would take place in the House in February or even March).

House debate begins tonight, and despite the best efforts of Jordan and Nunes and that lot, it will address those two simple and salient charges. Did Trump abuse the powers of his office for his own personal gain? There are hundreds of instances the Democrats can point to, and they need only make a convincing case for ONE of them. Most likely it will be the efforts to smear the Bidens through Ukraine. Just to clear things up, offering a bribe is just as criminal as accepting one, and offering a bribe through withholding monies mandated to be paid by law in order to secure a favor for a personal benefit is a clear case of bribery—and abuse of power. Just the clip of Mulvaney saying “deal with it” would make it an open-and-shut case in a court of law.

Obstruction of Justice is even easier. Trump publicly declared he would order his entire White House staff and dozens of people not even on his staff to ignore all Congressional subpoenas. Open and shut.

But it’s not a court of law; it’s Congress, one of the most lawless places there is. The intent here isn’t to appeal to the noble brows of solons preoccupied only with the sanctity of the Law. Most of ‘em ain’t got none of that.

Basically, it’s to point out the cowards, the corrupt, the criminals, and yes, the traitors. If America survives this and gets rid of Trump, then in the next election if your congressional voted in the face of all evidence to not support the charges, make sure your district is plastered with posters and leaflets pointing out that vote to people. Don’t be afraid to use colorful language; the Republican didn’t have a lapse in judgment, and it wasn’t just a difference of opinion on policy; he or she voted to trash America and all it stands for for the sake of a vicious and possibly deranged sociopath intent on dictatorship.

The vote might occur next week. It will pass. Then it’s on to the Republican-held Senate and Moscow Mitch. Moscow Mitch doesn’t like being called that, but he came by it dishonestly enough in his dealings with some of Putin’s henchmen, and his blind support of Trump.

There, it will take on something resembling a court trial, with the presiding figure being the Chief Justice, John Roberts. Whatever his personal opinions might be, Roberts is going to glance at the hundreds of cameras covering the proceedings, and the tens of millions of people who will be watching closely, and he will know that credibility—not only for himself, but for both the Senate and the Supreme Court—ride on the fairness and impartiality he brings to the proceedings.

That leaves the rest of the Republicans. Just about every pundit in the county is assuring us these guys will never vote to impeach a Republican president, and the track record of those senators, who cheerfully put party ahead of country, seems to support it.

But I’m going to go out on a branch here, and say that if the Democrats sell the notions that Trump abused his power and obstructed justice (and even by Democratic standards, it would take monumental amounts of ineptness to fail to manage that) then a lot of Republicans are going to be facing a deeply hostile electorate who will view them as scofflaws, betrayers, even criminals in their own right, obstructing justice to protect a criminal president.

There’s about 10 Republicans who will support Trump no matter what. There’s a few that might vote to convict. The remaining 35 or 40 may be up for grabs, and if the Democrats make no mistakes and keep it a simple thing, may feel that they must vote to convict, if only to save their own asses.

Things are moving fast now. Stay tuned.

Harris Drops Out – This might have been the best move she could make

Harris Drops Out

This might have been the best move she could make

December 3rd 2019

Kamela Harris announced unexpectedly that she was dropping her run for the White House today. Her message said, “I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life. My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”

That’s probably completely true, in and of itself. But then she tweeted something that caused me to scratch my chin and smile: “It has been the honor of my life to be your candidate. We will keep up the fight.” With any other candidate, that would be boilerplate farewell verbiage, on par with “spend more time with my family.” But Harris has other fights in her near future.

Trump, that pile of trash masquerading as a President, tweeted, “Too bad. We will miss you Kamala!” and went on to congratulate Tulsi Gabbard, his fellow Russian asset.

Kamala tweeted back, “Don’t worry, Mr. President. I’ll see you at your trial.”

Which confirmed what I already suspected.

Yes, the Harris campaign was in trouble, and it was inevitable that she would have to drop the run in the fairly near future. And it would be a good move in the long run, since this was pretty much a “groundwork” campaign, one that assumed she wouldn’t get the brass ring this time, but would build good will, name recognition and reputation for a future run—which she has accomplished.

But Kamala Harris isn’t just a candidate: she is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and a brilliant and accomplished prosecutor.

The House Intelligence Select Committee today released its report, “The Trump-Ukraine Impeachment Inquiry Report” which contains not only all the damning evidence presented in the hearings before the committee, but a few more, such as access to phone records (even cell phones, because Trump and his henchmen were too stupid to encrypt their conversations!) and an entire galaxy of connections and transactions that pretty much make any defense of Trump impossible.

The committee vote on whether to refer this damning report to the House floor, headlined in nearly every news outlet in the country and expected to be read by tens of millions of Americans, was voted to the floor by a 13-9 vote, strictly along party lines. The Republicans, cowards, crooks and traitors all, didn’t even want the report discussed in the House. Republicans have no moral or ethical basement, and hold America and its citizenry in infinite contempt. They will try to maintain a wall of nihilistic ideology for as long as humanly possible. The full House vote may well fall along party lines, and Rupert Murdoch’s filthy Goebbels machine will claim it means the impeachment stems only from Democratic malice, and not any wrongdoing on Trump’s part.

When it reaches the Senate, it will take on the elements of a criminal trial, with the Chief Justice overseeing the procedure. McConnell will do all in his power to short-circuit the process, but John Roberts isn’t about to let his reputation destroyed by the corrupt juggalo show that the Republicans will hope for.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will be presenting the case against Trump. Kamala Harris is on that committee.

The Democrats need a prosecutor who can, clearly and succinctly, convince a jury that no reasonable doubt exists. That most of the jurors in this case are members of that corrupt and criminal enterprise that used to be the Republican party means she has to be at the top of her game, her actions and activities utterly unimpeachable.

Now, she won’t turn the Republicans into honest and decent Americans. She will just convince the public, and make it impossible for the Senate cockroaches to function in the merciless glare of her case-building.

Harris is perfect for the position. We’ve already seen how good she is in that role. The Republicans would be right to fear her.

Except you can’t have a prosecutor who is trying a suspect and at the same time trying to take the suspect’s job. That’s a conflict of interest a mile wide, and one the Republicans would immediately use to try to undermine her legitimacy and thus debunk any and all evidence she presents against Trump.

By dropping out of the campaign, Harris has removed that vulnerability. The Republicans will whine that she’s a Democrat and that’s why she’s so mean to that nice Mister Trump, but that won’t fly.

In the meantime, over one hundred million Americans are going to be watching as she lays out the case against Trump. She will make the stonewalling and lies of Republicans untenable. She will shatter Trump and his criminal cabal.

That’s why she dropped out, right now. She is far more important to the country as a Senator than she could possibly be as a presidential candidate and thus compromised.

Do your job, Senator Harris, and win your case! Your country will remember it.

Time is Running Out – That is a good thing

Time is Running Out

That is a good thing

November 27th 2019

Time is running out for the GOP. It’s only 11½ months until the 2020 election, and even if they aren’t admitting it yet, Trump has been a catastrophe both for the party and the GOP. Polls show that a slim majority of voters now want Trump impeached and convicted and removed from office.

Trump is clearly hoping the Senate and the Supreme Court can save him from the avalanche of misdeeds and flat-out crimes he has committed, but both those organizations, even if they were favorably disposed toward Trump at one time, know that they can’t simply let him off the hook without their credibility and public support crashing. Some have figured out already that it isn’t just a case of allowing corruption to continue; it’s a case of sparking a possible revolt.

With no reasonable doubts remaining about Trump’s guilt of a wide galaxy of crimes, and overwhelming evidence of an entirely corrupt and criminal administration, and an even more corrupt and criminal shadow government populated by Mafia cast-offs and self-entitled silver-spoon kids, the public is angry, and if Trump is not convicted, they will erupt in fury.

There is no more room for an otherwise noble sentiment that all men are entitled to their day in court, and until the judge bangs his gavel, there must be presumption of possible evidence. Trump himself, through his braying and mindless taunts, removed any doubts about his own guilt, and the evidence—nay, PROOF—offered in the hearings and in recently released FOIA requests and legal rulings, is there for anyone to see.

Anyone at this point who claims Trump is a good man and a loyal American is at best a fool, and at worst a liar and a traitor. The GOP won’t be able to bluster and bluff their way out of this. As for the clowns who say, in all sincerity, that he is a ‘good Christian’, they are part of the same toxic branch of the faith that made Hitler possible.

Much has been made of the ‘hardness’ of the support Trump sees in the polls, He has the support of a seemingly unvarying 38-42% of voters, and even as the proof of his malfeasance and viciousness and dishonesty mount, the numbers hardly vary. Pundits like to compare it to Nixon’s support, which remained high—much higher than Trump’s, in fact—right up until the release of the smoking gun tape which showed beyond doubt that Nixon lied about and covered up the Watergate scandal.

We’re well past the point where in the Nixon narrative, Nixon’s support in Congress and among the general public collapsed. That was a different breed of Republicans; less corrupt, less cynical, less determined to destroy freedom in America. Republicanism in America hardened when right-wing conservatism morphed into fascism, aided and abetted by the propaganda machines of authoritarian plutocrats and supported by massive corporations who didn’t mind a little authoritarianism in the name of protecting profits.

We’re reached the point where in the Nixon saga, we’ve all learned about his deliberate efforts to sabotage the Paris peace talks and cause an unnecessary 15,000 more American deaths and over a million Vietnamese deaths, only to achieve “Peace with Honor” with the same terms that North Vietnam offered Lyndon Johnson six years earlier. If he were still alive, Nixon may have faced trial for treason, along with a host of war crimes. Trump is already at that point, which is why he is fighting so hard to maintain the dubious protection of his office. He knows what once impeached and convicted, he will die in prison.

The media go on about how intransigent the supporters of Trump are, and how they will ignore all proof, forgive all crimes, betray everyone in their blind support.

What the media forget is that these toy nazis are a minority—38-42% according to the polls, and if we reach the point where even the fools start to see the gravity of Trump’s criminal administration, it may drop to 23-25%. They aren’t America; they are a tumor growing within America.

The rest of America is also hardening, but in a different direction. This is the other side of America. This is the side that went from only 30% wanting to help Britain in 1940 to “the greatest generation” over the next five years. They embraced once-unpopular if not unheard-of causes such as civil rights, desegregation, space exploration, and a determination to fight for freedom. They have been fairly silent over the past four decades, stilled by assurances that corporate masters know best, all the important battles have been won and no longer need be fought, and increasing self-doubt.

Ask yourself: how did “liberal” become a dirty word? The fact is the Constitution enshrines liberal values, and many of the most glorious moments reflected a rise of liberalism. Even the Republican Party’s greatest moments came from liberal causes and leadership—winning the Civil War and abolishing slavery, and breaking up the trusts.

Most of America is liberal—and yes, that includes most self-described moderates and even some self-described conservatives (!) Need proof? Go see what the polls say about the individual policies of that “wild-eyed socialist” Bernie Sanders. They ALL poll at least 55% support, and some are over 70%–universal health care, tuition-free higher education, creating a national bank in the post office system, all of it.

Liberals don’t really like to fight. They don’t like describing their neighbors and countrymen as the enemy. The realize that bloodshed should always be the last option, and that force is always illiberal.

But fight they can. Fight they will. Ask Dixie. Ask Hitler.

They are realizing that Trump and his corrupt, criminal gang pose the same existential threat to America that the Confederacy and Hitler did. They are realizing that it’s either Trump and the GOP OR America, but not both. Anger and determination are stirring.

Resolved, they are unbeatable. And resolve is hardening on that side.