GOP Gun Bravado — Justifying piles of dead kids

GOP Gun Bravado

Justifying piles of dead kids

May 25th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Stephen King tweeted today, “The cable news washing machine is asking what motivated Salvador Ramos to kill all those children. The answer is simple: He did it because he could.”

King is in the unfortunate position of feeling some responsibility for school shootings. Back in 1977—yes, 45 years ago—he wrote a novel, “Rage” under the pseudonym of Richard Bachmann. School shootings were nearly unheard of back then, and King wrote it both as a horror story and as a cautionary tale. He’s not to blame for the horror that envelops our lives now, no more so than “All Quiet on the Western Front” was responsible for World War II.

But King is an expert on the dark side of human nature, and when he wrote “Rage,” he knew the potential was there. Unlike stories about vampires and other-dimensional westerns, this depended on just three elements: the rage that lies within many teens, the vulnerability of school children, and the American love affair with guns. King felt responsibility because at heart he’s a decent human being: but the school shootings we’ve seen would have happened whether he wrote “Rage” or not.

But there’s the thing: even if some child assassin stood up and declared, “Yes, I shot those kids because I was inspired by ‘Rage,’” King’s moral and ethical positions would still be better than that of nearly every elected Republican in the country.

Yes, King described a possible horror with considerable psychological and mental accuracy; there’s a reason he’s one of the best-selling authors of all time. He accurately portrays the human condition. But as school shootings became common, he acknowledged his role, and took “Rage” out of active sales. And he has been one of the strongest voices in the country for gun control.

Compare to the heartless, gutless, cowardly Republicans who lean on increasingly empty talking points to justify their inaction in the face of the ongoing slaughter of children. (Read that line again and ask if it’s even possible for a human to find a lower stance to take.) None of them will say, “It’s time to address the problem.” Most will try to pretend it isn’t a problem they can address, and prattle on about mental illness, or video games, or protecting us from government—yes, the same government they are a part off. Kids are getting shot to protect them from government officials who let them get shot because second amendment, which is there to protect the kids from feckless politicians like…um, them.

The reason it has taken so long to identify the dead is that AR-15 bullets, which turn humans into hamburger, left many of the bodies unrecognizable. They had to depend on DNA for a lot of the piles of guts on the classroom floor. Lots of closed-casket funerals coming up, thanks to the Republican Party.

As many have pointed out, other countries have people who are mentally ill, video games, and have oppressive governments. If you want to annoy one of those paranoid nuts who believe the constitution was written by people who wanted the government they created overthrown violently, just point out that the USSR, one of the most repressive regimes on Earth, fell to an unarmed populace with only a few dozen shots being fired. Meanwhile, we have idiots running around pretending they can protect us from the military, robbers, and apparently, ten-year-old children.

There’s no lower position a human can take. They would need to climb a very tall ladder just to reach the level of cowardly filth.

But they are cowards. The best way to change their minds is to make them open to the same risks they inflict on us.

Therefore, I call on the NRA to allow anyone who wants to to carry a loaded weapon into their convention Friday. Just like they can just about anywhere else in Texas. I don’t want to see more death, so I’ll be happy to keep my fingers crossed for them. I’m sure the NRA will welcome all thoughts and prayers, both in advance and in the event of any bloody aftermath.

Republican politicians, tell your guards and police escort to take a few weeks off. Go out like a normal person, and take the same risks that you want the rest of us to take. Is that too much to ask?

They let our children die because they are moral and ethical cowards. There is no inner humanity to reach within them. Abbott, Cruz and Trump made that clear already this week. Let Trump bloviate to the NRA with a room full of loaded guns and no Secret Service. Oh, they can have a security guard—he’s entitled to the same amount of protection school children can get. He can have fun explaining how he was the greatest president of all time because one of his first acts was to make it easier for the mentally ill to get guns, all the time sweating profusely whilst scanning the room, ready to duck behind his little wood rostrum In The Event Of. The amount of grotesque gun bravado espoused by this lot will vanish quickly.

I don’t want an assassination—that would only make things worse. But I do want him to feel the same fear every schoolkid is feeling tonight.

They are cowards, these gun heroes. Trump alone is a novel of cowardice in action.

Make them take the same risks the rest of us face, and watch them cave like Halloween pumpkins in January. Unlike King, who is courageous, they will crumble if they have to accept responsibility for their actions.

Facing Fascism — By their crazy ye shall know them

 

Facing Fascism

By their crazy ye shall know them

 

May 21st, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

 

More and more, we’re seeing a dangerous rise of the racist, neo-Nazi right, as witness the horrible shooting in Buffalo last week where one of the spawn of Fox News and the GOP massacred 10 people who were doing nothing more criminal than a bit of grocery shopping.

We’re also seeing a rise in the sheer lunacy of the people the far-right is putting up as their voices and leaders. It isn’t just Trump and the idiotic trolls that infest Congress; it’s people who say utterly insane things to disguise what they really are.

On the Christian fascist front, as god-floggers in dozens of states race to convert the United States into a 12th century theocracy, one of the great movers and shakers of this poisonous movement appeared before Congress, to explain, under oath, why abortion needs to be illegal. Since there’s no sane secular or religious reason to support this point of view, she had to wax inventive—under oath, no less.

She said, “Bodies [are] thrown in medical waste bins, and in places like Washington, D.C., burned to power the lights of the cities’ homes and streets.”

Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster proclaimed.“Let that image sink in with you for a moment,” she continued. “The next time you turn on the light, think of the incinerators, think of what we’re doing to ourselves so callously and so numbly.”

OK, I thought about that. If the street lights have a bluish glow, they are running on little boy fetuses. If it’s little girl fetuses being burned, the lights are pinkish.

And if it’s the brains of right-wing god-floggers, the lights are dark.

She proclaimed this amazing idiocy under oath. To the House Judiciary Committee. She gets paid $190,000 a year to justify the actions of the Christian fascists’ most hateful and paranoid anti-choice group. The group claims “We are the voice for millions, a nonpartisan force working to create lifelong connections between persons of all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs.” People of all white race, male, stupid and anti-women beliefs, of course. The rest of us can go hang. We’re burning fetuses to power streetlights, you see.

The Democrats should charge this nut with perjury and contempt of Congress. Granted, she’ll probably get off on a sanity clause plea.

Chip Roy of Texas, because of course Texas, wanted to know if it was OK to abort a baby as it was being born. This is a favorite lurid fantasy of the far right religious nuts; that a woman will go all the way to term and then decide on a whim to abort. That they believe that this can even happen, let alone is a common occurrence, just shows the utter moral and mental bankruptcy of this movement. After the second trimester, abortions only happen if there is something gone catastrophically wrong—the fetus is dead, or both are unlikely to survive birth. But these pseudo-religious whacks like to believe the very worst in others so they can tell themselves they are superior.

Republicans proved what utter hypocrites they are. Even as they pushed to make all abortions and even contraception illegal, they unanimously voted against a bill to increase the supply of baby formula in the face of a critical shortage created by criminal corporate malfeasance. The GOP motto is “every fetus is sacred—until birth. At that point, fuck it.”

Democrats in the House reintroduced a bill to increase government response to domestic terrorism. Last year, the same bill got a majority of GOP votes, and in fact was sponsored by three GOP members.

According to Raw Story: “Senate Republican Minority Whip John Thune of South Dakota immediately poured cold water on a just-passed House bill to help fight rising domestic terrorism, in the wake of his past weekend’s massacre of ten Black people in Buffalo by a self-avowed white nationalist and antisemite and a California church shooting deemed a ‘politically motivated hate incident’ by local law enforcement. The House bill passed with all Democrats and just one Republican voting for it. 203 Republicans voted against the legislation that would establish new offices across three federal agencies to help identify and combat domestic terrorism. Three of the Republicans who voted against the legislation are original co-sponsors of the bill, and many who voted for a very similar bill two years ago voted against this bill Wednesday. The final tally was 222-203. Conservative Tom Nichols, interviewed on the Joy Reid Show, said, ‘there is a nihilistic, fear-driven alliance here with a group of opportunists, and I want to get back to this issue of about Hungary, the really dangerous thing here is that some of these people believe very deeply in — in some of this stuff and yet others, and I would say people like [Tucker] Carlson and Matt Schlapp and some of the other people capering about in Budapest, don’t believe in any of this and don’t believe in anything of this other than the extension of their own personal power and wealth. And when you have this coalition of shallow, empty opportunists along with with a group of paranoids, basically, then you have a really dangerous movement because each side has to keep upping the ante to kind of justify why they are doing the things they are doing,’”

So the stance of the GOP is this: They don’t want to work against bad domestic terrorists because it may inconvenience some of the good domestic terrorists. If people are slaughtering Americans in the name of the Koran, or Karl Marx, or Xi, then it’s OK to prosecute them. But if they are home-grown cowards and murders, waving the cross and the flag and avidly watching Tucker Carlson for tips on how to annoy liberals by behaving like Nazis, well, that’s just political persecution, isn’t it? Republican mass murderers good, other mass murderers bad.

Tucker Carlson and CPAC are meeting in Hungary this week. Featured guest of honor was Viktor Mihály Orbán, the dictator of Hungary. Tucker and his crowd worship this five-and-dime tyrant, you see.

Orbán this week made it illegal to call him a dictator. No, really—he did. There’s a technical term for leaders who make it illegal to call them dictators. That term is “dictator.” Orbán pretty much personifies it.

Trump addressed this dumpster-fire remotely, joining a line-up that included Zsolt Bayer, who likes to refer to Jews as “stinking execrement.” Now, I realize Trump is the most trash president America has ever had, but “stinking execrement?” Well, this is the level of crazy Carlson and Fox News have brought us to. Remember, Donnie: if you march with Nazis, you are a Nazi.

OK, these people are crazy, and stupid, and about half of them are play acting for malevolent ends. But they are dangerous.

Nations routinely fall to fascism, both religious and secular. There really isn’t much difference, except religious dictatorships usually move quicker to open concentration camps to “protect us all” from non-believers, which is usually a majority of any given population.

But getting rid of these pests is nearly impossible. It usually requires great amounts of sacrifice, blood, death and misery, because they will never relinquish power voluntarily.

If this lot take over, expect to see your children sacrificing their lives to overthrow them. The only thing worse would be to see your children shooting people in the name of God in a vile new regime.

 

 

White Inferiors — Two individuals roil America

White Inferiors

Two individuals roil America

May 15th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Yesterday, a racist gunman, armed with an AR-15 and wearing militia gear, entered a Tops Friendly grocery story in Buffalo and shot up the place, killing 10 and injuring three others. The gunman had a camera strapped to his helmet and videoed the assault for two minutes until his social media outlet caught on and shut the recording down. Payton Gendron, 18, has been accused of the crimes. He supposedly posted a 109 page tract on social media, citing the “Great Replacement Theory” a paranoid white racist conspiracy theory, as the reason for attacking the mostly black victims at the grocery story. He supposedly drove 200 miles from Conklin, in central NY state, to commit this action, which suggests to me that he had some sort of history with this market. No matter how stupid a white racist you are, there are few places in the US where you have to drive 200 miles to find black people to kill.

It happened within 24 hours of the announcement that far-right Ruby Ridge icon Randy Weaver had died. Weaver had resisted arrest on illegal gun trafficking (Gendron had gotten his WMD legally) and federal marshals tried to serve a warrant, which resulted in a couple of gun fights, in which Weaver’s wife and son died, along with a federal marshal.

Weaver highlighted a serious issue that roils America to this day: cops of all kinds are far too likely to shoot and kill in situations where force isn’t even required. The movement that sprung up in support of Weaver did so originally for the exact same reasons why Colin Kaepernick took a knee and Black Lives Matter sprung up. If you think Randy Weaver was a martyr to excessive police force but Duane Wright, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner and hundreds of others were not, then you are a fucking racist. You’re a coward and a cheat. Go away.

Weaver had legitimate grounds for resisting, and his family certainly did not deserve to die. But Weaver was a fairly poisonous individual who believed, amongst other things, that Jews are imposters and white Protestants are the true descendants of Israel, that the Founders meant for the United States to be under a white Christian god, and that interracial marriages were a sin. Note that it neither a crime nor a provocation to police to hold such views. You may be a dirtbag with dirtbag views, but you are a constitutionally protected dirtbag.

But Weaver’s views make him a hero not only to skeptics of government overreach, but the whole Christian Identity movement, the Sagebrush Rebellion clowns, and the neo-Nazis. Ruby Ridge supposedly inspired Timothy McVeigh to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building a couple of years later.

The horror and revulsion of that act drove the militia neo-nazi types back under their rocks for some time. Their philosophy turned up in the diatribes and screeds of various mass killers over the years, but there were so many mass murderers acting on so many different behavioral syndromes that it just became another part of the gun lunacy in America.

But then Obama got elected and the racist right lost their collective minds (small change, I admit.) Paraphrasing Blazing Saddles, they screamed, “The new President’s a [clang!]” and came piling out to protect the White Race from being replaced by mud races.

Obama served two terms, during which time the haters multiplied and gained a major foothold in such ethically weak parts of the country such as Fox News and the Republican Party. The 2016 nominee for president was a vicious racist, Donald Trump, who among other things demanded the execution of the Central Park Five EVEN AFTER THEY WERE EXONERATED OF THE CRIME, and promoted the paranoid racist theory that Obama was born in Kenya.

Like most adherents to such a broken and twisted philosophy, Trump himself was a broken and twisted man and he promoted scum like himself to high positions, not just in party ranks but in the courts and among the allies he could find in the media.

It will come as a surprise to nobody that in the days prior to the Buffalo mass shooting, two of the more twisted creatures of the Nazi right, Tucker Carlson and Elise Stefanik, openly promoted the Great Replacement Theory. While this carry-over from Nazi Germany was aimed primarily at Jews, the American neo-Nazi right have included Muslims, Mexicans and other foreigners, gays, scientists, writers, historians, trade unionists and liberals. If that sounds familiar, it’s exactly the approach Hitler took in the twenties and thirties to consolidate power in Germany. Another term for Great Replacement Theory is Final Solution, the term Hitler used to describe his plan to rid the world of those he considered sub-human.

The results would be pretty much the same.

It’s horrifying that people like Trump, Carlson and Stefanik are making the same claims and offering the same solutions that Adolf Hitler did. Or that much of the Republican party, lacking any courage or resolve, meekly follow such creatures.

They must be stopped.

They will kill you if they seize power.

The Alito Case — No Constitutional or Biblical Basis

The Alito Case

No Constitutional or Biblical Basis

May 4th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Numbers 5:27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.”

That’s right, folks—the only time the Bible actually mentions forced miscarries —abortions, in other words—is in Numbers, where abortion can be forced upon a woman who is suspected of infidelity.

Most fundamentalist Christians would be astonished by that verse, which the Christian fascist movement deals with by claiming it doesn’t say what it clearly says. The belief that there is a religious basis for opposing abortion is a false one.

Abortion was well known in biblical times. Midwives kept a stock of herbs and other medicines that would induce a miscarry and/or kill the foetus. This passage from Numbers acknowledges that fact.

Non-biblical historical information from that part of the world in those days shows that not only did abortion exist, but infanticide was accepted amongst certain groups. It was common for female babies to be killed at birth, since females were considered an expensive and weak child. Israelites had an ‘out’ from the Rabbinate to avoid the grave crime of infanticide; Talmudic law stipulated that life in a human being began upon the child drawing its third breath. Prior to that, it wasn’t a human being.

You can go through the bible and find thousands of transgressions that can result in death, and/or that Jehovah finds abhorrent. Some of them are bloody silly. Eating lobster, for instance. If you’ve ever eaten shellfish you’re going to hell. Building a fire to heat your house on the Sabbath? Hell-bound. Wearing a cotton blend? You’re gonna burn, baby!

What the bible doesn’t mention as a crime? Abortion. We know it happened, along with acts that we would today consider infanticide. Nobody thought that was worth mentioning. Nope, not even Jesus.

There are times Jehovah even condoned it, urging troops of his tribe to invade neighboring villages and rip babies from the wombs of the women there and dash their heads against the rocks. (“The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” Hosea 13:16) That’s not the worst. There’s a site that details similar atrocities. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2009/08/the-bible-is-pro-child-killing/ It doesn’t have the bit about a bunch of kids making fun of a prophet of the lord for being bald, and the prophet asked an obliging god to deal with the kids, which he does by sending bears to tear them apart. (2 Kings 2:24)

So if anyone tells you god is against abortion, they don’t know what they are talking about.

That brings us to the leaked Alito decision that is causing the biggest shit storm this country has seen since the civil war. Alito and his fellow right wing Catholics knew they couldn’t use the Bible to justify banning abortion. Some of them might be erudite enough to know that the bible is utterly useless as a basis for that argument. But they knew they couldn’t use the Bible for another reason: the Constitution explicitly forbids basing government policy on biblical writ. If you ever read the 10 Commandments with a critical (legalistic) eye, you’ll notice that six of them are utterly unenforceable and blatantly unconstitutional.

And secular justification for banning abortion is pretty thin on the ground. While anti-abortion fanatics like to talk about tearing apart babies moments before birth (“partial-birth abortion”) it’s non-existent. Yes, the questions about ending a pregnancy get tougher and tougher the further into term you get, but the questions belong to the women and their physicians—not a pack of church clowns.

I will say right now that I’m not attacking Catholics—the majority of Catholics in America are as appalled by the abortion ban as you and me, and even the Vatican doesn’t support the efforts of Opus Dei to overthrow secular regimes. It’s nearly impossible to tell where the truth about Opus Dei begins and where it simply becomes just another conspiracy theory, but I’ll note that four of the five justices that support this decision have been linked to this movement, and whatever else it might be, it is openly dominionist, believing that god has primacy over American law.

But then, Alito and his Opus Dei fellows on the Court have little or no interest in the Law—either biblical or constitutional. This is meant as nothing more than a power grab by a small but extremist group of church members who want to wrest rights from the people.

So Alito has based his ruling on a fantastically dangerous basis: that people have no constitutional right to privacy because that right is not “enumerated” in the Bill of Rights. The man has apparently decided to just blow off the ninth amendment, which states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

Privacy is a pretty vital one, since without it, there is no possibility of a life without government surveillance, or to make any important personal decisions without government involvement. A lot of people have noted a long list of penumbral rights that will die along with abortion, such as contraception, choice of marriage partners, or even who you can live with.

This decision isn’t based on morality or the law. It is simply a power grab by a small group of Christian fascists, a coup against America.

Fight it forcefully but peacefully now, because that option won’t remain if these people consolidate their power grab.

Incidentally I based some of this on a page (link below) I found the other day when the story of the Alito case broke. It is a simple text file detailing similar data about the bible and abortion as this piece does. I posted a link to it on Twitter, and the post was rejected out of hand because the link, they claimed, “led to harmful content.” The content isn’t harmful—just controversial. But it makes for an interesting preview of how such information might be suppressed if these religious nuts take over. Oh, and I defied Twitter by posting the address with the word “dot” substituted for the period. As of yesterday it was still up. Here is the real link: https://reverbpress.com/religion/bible-supports-abortion/

We have a final battle for our rights and freedoms, and the existence of America as something much more than just another grubby, corrupt theocracy.

 

 

When A Party Hits An Iceberg — Back up and ram that sumbitch again!

When A Party Hits An Iceberg

Back up and ram that sumbitch again!

April 23rd, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

For the Republicans, this was a week they would probably love to forget. For the Trump crowd in particular, it was an unmitigated disaster.

It started when the Kansas City Star, one of Missouri’s biggest papers, blasted the disgusting Josh Hawley, who disgraced himself by promoting the blood libel against now-Justice Jackson and liberals in general with loud brays about being soft on child porn. Turns out that when Hawley was Attorney-General in his state, not only did the office do little to chase down child pornographers, but Hawley simply dropped cases when he left office to run for the Senate. The editorial concluded, “Loud. Attention-grabbing. Do-nothing. A lime green leisure suit on a hanger. We challenge Sen. Hawley to take a fresh look at the crimes against children committed in his own state, including allegations against elected officials in his own party, and actually do something to protect kids.” Ouch.

Steven Miller, strutting pink dome of the American fascist movement, publicly admitted on Lou Dobbs that they tried to get tens of millions of votes tossed as part of their campaign to overturn the election. Just another of those “operational control” boasts, I guess.

Then Trump blew up the Ohio primary by ignoring urgent pleas from party members in the state and endorsed the reptilian and unelectable JD Vance. Informed that Vance once referred to Trump as “America’s Hitler” Trump shrugged it off, saying everyone “said shit” about him. Could it be that Trump has finally grown a thicker hide? Or was he too far gone mentally to come up with anything?

Then, the Republican National Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to withdraw from its participation in the Commission on Presidential Debates. Granted, the way the parties conduct those debates has been pretty much a joke since 1960, but at least the Republicans were pretending to care about elections and accountability to the public. That’s drowned in a fascist tide of black and red ink, it seems. The only surprise is that they give up an opportunity to spew the endless hate and lies that they have substituted for public policy.

Florida’s Ron DeSantis, racing toward a sort of a Nazi Disneyland, banned 29 math books for containing “critical race theory”. People examining the books have absolutely no idea what the hell Florida’s five-and-dime Hitler is talking about. He then unilaterally rewrote the state’s congressional districts, awarding his party four seats and eliminating at least one black district. Having done that, he proclaimed Florida to be a “free state” because it’s illegal to admit that gays or transgenders exist any place a child might hear it. He made them unpersons, just like Hitler did with the Jews.

The other demented state governor, Greg Abbott, unilaterally decided to have Texas conduct “safety inspections” of trucks that bring produce and other Mexican goods into the state. The resulting line of trucks had to wait up to thirty hours to cross the border while perishable contents rotted. Hundreds of millions of dollars died so the guv could look like he was Doing Something. Abbott, before climbing down from the pose, declared he was just trying to stop drugs and illegal humans from entering the state. There’s no evidence the stops caught any.

The American Accountability Foundation was dragged out from the shadows by Jane Mayer,the author of the acclaimed 2016 book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. The AAF is dedicated to blocking all Biden nominees, and fuck what it does to the country. Meyer believes they are the source of the disgraceful “soft on child porn” claims brought to bear by trashier elements of the Senate GOP in the Jackson hearings.

Donald Trump on Easter Sunday wished a “Happy Easter” to everyone, including what he said were “radical left maniacs.” Jesus only died for right wing maniacs, it seems.

Another god-struck clown, one John Carlos, running for school board in Nevada, said, “I believe the Constitution. I believe in our — our — the way our founding fathers believed in this country: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It was bad enough that he thought the Constitution said that, but he continued, “That means that homosexuals cannot procreate. This goes against our Constitution and this goes against what parents want in the school district, and this is only one book out of thousands.” So apparently this nut thinks if you don’t have kids you are violating the Constitution, or the Declaration of Independence, at least. George III is gonna be so ticked if you don’t pump those kids out for god and the king!

No week of GOP embarrassment is complete without Lauren Boebert weighing in. She said, “comprehensive sex education” teaches that one “can choose your gender” and “abortion is a form of birth control.” Bit surprised she didn’t claim sex ed was child molestation. Perhaps she didn’t want to annoy her husband.

Memphis resident Peter McIndoe jokingly invented the Birds Aren’t Real conspiracy theory in January 2017. The notion is that all the birds died—wind mills, presumably—and were replaced by drones. In terms of sheer silliness, it’s right up there with the conspiracy theories that JFK Junior and Princess Di are all secretly alive, or that Trump is the Second Coming. It’s making inroads in the GOP, a report Tuesday said.

Then the really big pratfalls began.

US district judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, in Tampa ruled that public carriers could not mandate masks. The “judge,” a Trump appointee, heard no arguments and simply wrote the order. It strikes down any effort to ensure reasonable safety of passengers against any sort of communicable disease. The ruling, much like the “judge” herself, is utterly insane. She was deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association, but McConnell’s GOP whooped this 35 year old nut onto the bench for life on a party line vote.

Hima Kolanagireddy filed to run for Michigan’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday. Normally that wouldn’t be news outside of Michigan, but Hima, an Indian immigrant, has a unique theory as to how Trump had the election stolen from him. All Chinese look alike, it seems. She said, “I think all Chinese people look alike. So, how would you tell? If some Chow show up, you can be anybody and you can vote,” Um, “Chow”? I’m used to hateful GOP idiocy, but on this one I can’t even…

Michigan Republican Lana Theis accused a Democratic state Senate colleague of being a pedophile because she supports LGBTQ+ equality. It’s the usual vicious crap Republicans, fed their two minutes of hate by the American Accountability Foundation, have been spewing for several weeks. But she picked the wrong target in Sen. Mallory McMorrow, a diminutive representative more than willing to stand up for her rights and her personal integrity. In a fiery speech that rocketed around the net, she said, “I sat on it for a while wondering why me? Then I realized… I’m the biggest threat to your hollow, hateful scheme. Because you can’t claim that you’re targeting marginalized kids in the name of ‘parental rights’ if another parent is standing up and saying no. So, you dehumanize and marginalize ME. You say I’m one of THEM. You say she’s a groomer, she supports pedophilia, she wants children to believe they were responsible for slavery and to feel bad about themselves because they’re white. Here’s a little background on who I really am…I learned that SERVICE was far more important than performative nonsense like being seen in the same pew every Sunday or writing ‘Christian’ in your Twitter bio and using it as a shield to target and marginalize already-marginalized people.”

Ted Cruz, always willing to be inappropriate and weird, decided that what Disney cartoons really needed was a spot of the old Rule 34*. He said, “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that. Like, why do you have—it used to be, look, I’m a dad. You used to be able to put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, alright, something innocuous will happen.” He should have suggested Goofy and Pluto ‘go at it.’ At least they’re the same species. The GOP probably doesn’t approve of interspecies romance.

Trump decided to sue Hillary Clinton for fraud and racketeering in relation to the 2016 election. It’s hard to guess what he hoped to accomplish, but Hillary, no fool, will probably just grin and announce she’s fighting the suit. It makes all of her—and Trump’s—activities in the 2016 election open to discovery, including all the things Mueller couldn’t include in his report.

Tennessee GOP members kicked Trump’s endorsed candidates off the ballot as well. “Morgan Ortagus, Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck were voted off the primary ballot by the party’s executive committee, Tennessee Republican Chairman Scott Golden confirmed Tuesday. Republican officials last week confirmed official challenges had been filed against the three, which triggered a technical removal from the ballot per party bylaws,” the Tennessean reported.” Oops.

Abbott had another own goal when the NY Times revealed that he had been lavishly funding the non-partisan group Crime Stoppers, and suddenly their message got a whole lot more partisan. According to a New York Times report, “Crime Stoppers of Houston has been blasting out a different, more political message: Activist judges are letting ‘dangerous criminals’ out of jail to threaten the safety of law-abiding residents. On television, Twitter and videos, the traditionally nonpartisan nonprofit organization has been condemning more than a dozen elected judges — all Democrats, four of whom lost primaries last month — while praising the crime policies of Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a Republican.” It’s estimated that Abbott funneled $6.4 million to the group. A pity, really: they used to be a socially valuable outfit.

Well, that would be a pretty disgraceful week in politics, even for the GOP. But no, we’re just getting started.

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns released a book called This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future. In it, they claimed Kevin McCarthy and Mitch McConnell, the two top Republican leaders in Congress, privately told associates that they believed Donald Trump should be held responsible for the attack. “I’ve had it with this guy,” McCarthy told a group of Republicans in the immediate aftermath of the attack. McCarthy immediately and vociferously denied the claims.

But oops. There were tapes. Rachel Maddow, wearing a wide grin, played them on her show that night. We’ve long suspected that McCarthy was a liar and a fool who had lost control of the wingnuts in his caucus, but now we have proof. Typical of Republicans, rather than demand McCarthy resign in disgrace (a few did, but only a few) most are trying to ferret out who released the tapes. At first Liz Cheney was considered a prime suspect, but unlike most Republicans, when she says something, it tends to be the truth. She denied having, or releasing the tapes. Suspicion now rests on Rep. Elise Stefanik, who is rumored to be gunning for McCarthy’s job. She would be no improvement, but that’s neither here nor there. Trump and McCarthy put on a kiss-and-make-up show, but reports are Trump and McCarthy are both furious. Rick Wilson semi-joked that Stefanik might want to invest in a good food taster for the next few months.

Rioters at the 1/6 “peaceful demonstration” continued to drop like flies. According to Raw Story, “Two members of an accelerationist neo-Nazi terror network accused of plotting to attack the power grid in preparation for an assassination campaign have pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government’s prosecution…Paul James Kryscuk, a former porn actor who used the alias ‘Deacon’ while active in the neo-Nazi group BSN from 2017 through 2020, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to damage an energy facility on Feb. 10, with the possibility of receiving a reduction from a 15-year prison sentence in exchange for ‘substantial assistance’ in the government’s prosecution in the case.

Following Kryscuk’s plea, Marine Corps veteran Justin Wade Hermanson aka ‘Sandman’ entered a guilty plea for conspiracy to illegally manufacture, ship, transport and receive firearms on March 8. Like Kryscuk, Hermanson’s plea deal includes an agreement to cooperate with the government’s investigation and testify against his codefendants should they go to trial. Both men pleaded in the Eastern District of North Carolina, where the case is being tried.” A lot of defendants are trying to blame Trump for their misdeeds, claiming the ex-president goaded them into it. It isn’t helping them, but when Trump is eventually tried, they will be an embarrassing impediment to his claims that he wasn’t trying to start trouble. Twelve hundred right wing nuts can’t be wrong, right?

New York Attorney General Letitia James has referred contempt charges against Donald Trump with the Department of Justice. Your move, Merrick Garland.

Now, when people think to the sexual probity of the GOP, they don’t think of saving schools from critical race theory math perverts. They think of Giuliani in drag, or propositioning an underage girl while being filmed by a comedian. They think of Ted Cruz in his assless chaps. (Yes, and I’ve seen the picture. More bleach for my eyes, please.) Madison Cawthorn made headlines a few weeks ago by claiming the GOP leadership kept inviting him to cocaine-and-sex orgies. This week, images emerged of old Maddy, apparently at a wild party that greatly resembled those GOP church meetings, wearing women’s lingerie. While not politically important (Cawthorn’s career is deader than disco) it was a kind of a capstone to the pyramid of Republican hypocrisy and duplicity when it comes to safeguarding the public morality.

Finally, Marjorie Taylor Greene had to testify in a civil suit yesterday about her words and actions in relation to January 6th, facing a suit to have her barred from running again on 14th amendment grounds. It did not go well for her. She flat-out denied that she had called Nancy Pelosi a traitor, and when the lawyer asked for video #5 to be shown, she stammered, wait! Um…I meant she was a traitor because she wasn’t securing the southern border.

Her poor lawyer tried claiming that laws against insurrection applied to Civil War traitors only, and then in a truly bizarre twist, claimed executive privilege on Taylor-Greene’s behalf. Now, I’m not a lawyer, don’t even play one on TV, but I’m pretty sure that the only person who can claim executive privilege is the sitting US president. If you want to get a big grin out of Joe Biden, Marge, you could ask him to claim executive privilege on your behalf. Biden has a good sense of humor—he’ll enjoy hearing that one.

Wow—2,500 words, and I had to skip a few rounds from the GOP circular firing squad. Next time some bozo tries saying the two parties are the same, ask them when the last time was the Democrats had a week like this.

And then ask yourself why America hasn’t simply laughed the GOP out of existence.

Rule 34*: “If it exists, there’s a porn version of it on the web.”

Three Crises — Any one of which can kill you

Three Crises

Any one of which can kill you

April 16th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

There are three situations that are edging closer and closer to flash points that could create immense damage and in one instance, kill a sizable percentage of the human race.

The first is Putin and the Ukraine. The invasion and war has not gone well for Russia. Ukraine not only failed to fall in days to a Russian blitzkrieg, but the blitzkrieg itself flopped, something that was self evident the moment we saw that forty-file long convoy of tanks and other mechanized units along that two-lane highway. Poland and France didn’t fall because the Germans approached in single file. And at that, the Russians got off lightly; Ukraine could have turned it into a “highway of death.” As it stands, reports are that Russia has lost a full 10% of their overall military might in the seven weeks that they have tried to smash Ukraine.

Adding to Putin’s woes is the sinking of the Moskva, the flagship of the Russian navy. While the military impact is negligible (the Russian flotilla in the Black Sea was there to look intimidating, since there was little in the way of practical military applications to be brought to bear. Turns out you can’t sink a country) the morale damage was massive.

Additionally, and of far greater impact strategically and tactically, Putin’s declared aim of pushing back on perceived encroachment by NATO on Russian borders has backfired massively. Finland, historically a thorn in the side of the Russian bear, is expected to petition for membership in the pact in the next couple of weeks, and Sweden is likely to be not far behind. Putin has made it clear that nearby nations not servile to Russia that aren’t in NATO are targets.

So speculation that Putin may resort to nukes both as part of his campaign of terror against Ukraine and his efforts to intimidate the west is growing. There’s no doubt in my mind that Putin has the requisite viciousness. Is he that insane, though?

The west, including the US, must make it clear that nuclear strikes against Ukraine or anywhere else is a line that cannot be crossed without dire and immediate consequences. We’ve managed to avoid a nuclear holocaust partially through dumb luck (we’ve had some really scary close calls, and those are just the ones we know about) and partially through the doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction. Any country that launches nukes dies. Much, and perhaps all of the world dies with it. Putin must be reminded of this, and be aware that a first strike will result in global nuclear war on the grounds that all is lost anyway. The last thing the world needs or can tolerate is a dictator that gets away with a nuclear strike. Perhaps, once again, we can step back from the abyss. Putin must know that we aren’t bluffing because we can’t afford to bluff.

The second is the behavior of the fascist right in America. Have you ever heard the term, “blood libel?” It’s a hateful story that first grew in medieval Britain and has spread throughout much of the world over the centuries. The most common variant is that Jews capture and kill a young Christian boy at Easter in order to put his blood in matzo balls. Supposedly, if Jews do this each year, in a different land, they will get the Holy Land back. If you’re thinking about 1947 and the State of Israel and how that might have diffused the libel then you don’t know conspiracy theorists very well. They still believe Jews drink the blood of virgin Christian boys. Who needs a reason when you’ve got a hobby?

The thing about conspiracy theorists is that they are gullible and easy to manipulate. To them, the world is a dark and dangerous place, filled with looming, sneering villains who stop at nothing to augment their power. Giving them “secret knowledge” of such horrors both allays and augments their fear and credulity.

All you need to do is invent an unspeakable act by a minority or adversarial group and then promote the hell out of it.

Claims that the Clintons and various other liberals run child sex rings have been making the rounds since about 2015, which was about when Trump and Putin decided America needed Trump. Supposedly, the sex ring was run in the basement of a pizza parlor. Never mind that the pizza place in question didn’t have a basement—weren’t you paying attention when I asked if you knew what conspiracy theorists were like? One guy even went in there with a semi-automatic and shot up the place.

Republicans have been deliberately electing—there’s no other phrase for it—the most vicious and stupid trash they can find to public office. People too stupid and too gullible to know they are being played, or the worse variant, the ones who know the truth and are part of the plan. That’s why the Jackson nominating process was smeared with political porn about how she was “soft on child pornographers” and why some of the louder specimens of the trash-American GOP have been calling teachers and supporters of Ukraine “child abusers.” Blood libels are great for the libelers, since they can pretend to a position of “protecting the children” while simply sinking to about the same level as a child molester.

The third flash point rapidly approaching is the climate. The physical climate. True to the models, as it gets warmer on average, it is also becoming wilder and more unpredictable. Antarctica saw temperatures last month that went a full SEVENTY DEGREES above normal. Yes, that’s Fahrenheit, but still… This time of year the normal day time high in New York City is 63 degrees. In order to replicate what happened in Antarctica, it would have to reach 133. In Mid April. Let’s not even think about July or August.

We all remember the heat dome that hit the Pacific Northwest last summer, sending temperatures as high as 118 in British Columbia. That was only 40 degrees above normal.

In addition to all the myriad problems we’re expecting in the near future, heat domes seem to be a New Thing, and a potentially hideous one. Few cities in the world are prepared for temperatures in summer that are 40 degrees above the local norm. The death toll could be in the millions. Kim Stanley Robinson, in his recent novel “Ministry of the Future” had a three week heat wave strike India that was only 15 degrees above normal, and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Suddenly we have to consider possibilities like 145 in Los Angeles, 120 in London, 145 in Sydney. We aren’t prepared for it because we can’t prepare for it.

In the meantime, the oil plutocrats—many are the same people who underwrite the blood libel crowd and are profiteering off the Ukraine war—are doubling down on fighting any effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption. And yes, that includes the oil companies that run those expensive ads about how green and responsible they are. They’re corporations; they exist to lie to us for profit. They are what prop up the disgraceful anti-American whores in congress, and they have think tanks devoted to the nomenclature used by conspiracy theorists and Putin about how “woke” child molesters spread “fake news” and the press cannot be trusted.

They are authoritarians, and they are herding us towards the edge of some very large cliffs, thinking they can control the situations and profit from them at the same time.

But it’s all coming to a head, and no, they won’t be able to control it when it does.

Unfortunately, nobody will be able to.

The Sump Pump that is Trump — Garbage in, Sewage Out

The Sump Pump that is Trump

Garbage in, Sewage Out

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 30th 2022

In any other Democracy, and at nearly any other time in US history, Donald Trump would be in prison by now. In a place like China or Russia, he might well have been executed.

Trump’s career has been an amazing journal of privilege and contempt for people, a rapacious and degrading odyssey of greed, venality, and lawlessness. Historians will never understand how anyone as openly tawdry and corrupt as Donald Trump somehow became President. While the ensuing events have historical parallels, his ascent to office does not.

The open treason against the country that created this monster was pretty much inevitable, but the reaction of the country, like his ascent, defies reason and logic.

Yesterday, Trump came up with the most tone-deaf statement he’s uttered to date, In an interview on some right wing outfit that was widely spread on social media, Trump called for Putin to release dirt on the Biden family right now since now “he’s not exactly a fan of our country” during an interview with Real America’s Voice.

You read that right. He’s counting on what he hopes is Putin’s rage and malice toward America’s reaction over the Ukraine invasion to do his buddy Trump a solid and smear Hunter Biden and by extension, his family. Hey, people who aren’t “exactly a fan of our country” gotta stick together, right?

The GOP is dead silent on this, but I expect that from the cowardly and craven pack of goosesteppers who sold out America in favor of power under Trump. But the Democrats and the Justice Department and mostly just wringing their hands and dithering over how it would look if a former President had to be punished for the things he said and did.

We experienced this lack of resolve disguised as higher tone in 1974, when Gerald Ford decided it would look bad and demoralize the country if Nixon were held to account and tried in public. So he preemptively pardoned Nixon…which looked bad and demoralized the country. Justice never was perfect in America, but this high-sounding lack of resolve and determination has turned it into a corrupt joke, a system that favors the rich over the poor, the powerful over the powerless, white over black, and flag waver and bible pounders over people with self-respect and dignity.

So we look at the mountains of evidence and prima facie guilt surrounding Trump, and we wonder why he hasn’t been indicted yet, let alone tried and convicted. Siding with an adversarial leader in hopes of gaining political favors and attacking the President’s family would get him hanged in some countries.

The January 6th committee released the phone logs from the date in question, and there’s a mysterious 7 ½ hour gap in them. Part of it can be explained by the fact that Trump was riling up the goons and loons, promising the nutsis and natsis that he would lead them to shut down Congress and prevent certification of the vote. (He lied about leading them, of course). But what of the remaining five hours? We know that at least a dozen members of Congress spoke with him during that period. We know he called at least a half dozen. We know the contents of some of those calls. But they aren’t in the logs. Perhaps Trump used a burner phone. He claimed that he didn’t even know what a burner phone was, but John Bolton promptly said that he and Trump had discussed using burners in the weeks prior to the assault on the Capitol. The lies never stop, do they?

We’re seeing similar weakness regarding Clarence Thomas. Most Dems rub their knuckles and say, “Oh, he really should consider recusing himself in cases where his wife may be criminally complicit. But we don’t want to pressure him.” And a handful—AOC and Elizabeth Warren, for example, say he should resign or be impeached which is what is supposed to happen to judges that are openly corrupt.

If Trump gets away with it, if Clarence Thomas gets away with it, the US is done as a functioning country. It’s just an empty shell, nothing but flags and bibles and bigots, and will sink, slowly and painfully.

Still there is some hope. The select committee has been doing an admirable job of holding the right feet to the right fires. And the Justice Department, which had been so quiet people were openly wondering if the Department had been hopelessly compromised by the foul and venal previous administration, showed signs of movement today.

The Washington Post on Wednesday published a major new report on Attorney General Merrick Garland’s investigations. The paper reported, “The criminal investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol has expanded to examine the preparations for the rally that preceded the riot, as the Justice Department aims to determine the full extent of any conspiracy to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory, according to people familiar with the matter. In the past two months, a federal grand jury in Washington has issued subpoena requests to some officials in former president Donald Trump’s orbit who assisted in planning, funding and executing the Jan. 6 rally…”The development shows the degree to which the Justice Department investigation — which already involves more defendants than any other criminal prosecution in the nation’s history — has moved further beyond the storming of the Capitol to examine events preceding the attack,” the newspaper reported. “Grand jury subpoenas are a legal mechanism used by prosecutors to gather information for a criminal investigation, and a subpoena in and of itself doesn’t mean any particular recipient is under investigation or likely to face charges. But the subpoena demands issued in recent weeks do indicate that the aperture of the investigation has widened, after Attorney General Merrick Garland pledged in a speech this Jan. 5, the day before the first anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, to follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

OK, that’s what we want to hear. We don’t want mob justice, or political vendettas. But we do want justice. Real justice. Without it, you don’t have a Real country.

Still in the Fog — War continues to Russia’s detriment

Still in the Fog

War continues to Russia’s detriment

March 29th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

While the usual caveats about “the fog of war” still apply (nothing said by either side is true until proven) there are some things we can determine from the actual evidence.

Putin’s dream of a quick blitzkrieg takeover of Ukraine is in tatters. The battle lines haven’t moved in over three weeks now, and there are reports that Ukraine has actually recovered small amounts of ground back in a couple of areas. While actual numbers are not available, it’s clear that the Russians have paid a very heavy price in terms of both personnel and materiel, and the Ukrainians have suffered large civilian losses, mostly from the wanton shelling and bombing of civilian centers.

Russia has lost at least ten thousand soldiers, including six generals. There are unconfirmed reports of large defections and desertions, and one confirmed report of a Russian colonel who was fragged by his own troops, apparently by being run over by a tank. Not subtle, these Russians.

Peace negotiations are expected to open in Istanbul in a couple of days, and it’s widely believed that Putin is seeking a compartmentalization of Ukraine, as was done in the 50s in Korea, or the 60s in Vietnam. DMZs, in other words, with Russia holding a strip of land linking them with Crimea, which they already stole. There’s no reason to suppose that would work out any better than previous DMZs did, unless Putin is prepared to following in the footsteps of the Kim dynasty of North Korea and inflict such horror and deprivation on the people in his region that they remain too weak and cowed to put up any real resistance. Granted, as we learned with the Chechnyans, Putin is quite willing to engage in ongoing domestic terrorism against the populace.

Putin claims Russian bombing and shelling campaigns against Kyiv and other cities in the north will abate, although neither the Ukrainian government nor the west are inclined to believe that. Putin has already suffered an embarrassing set-back; he may not want to risk looking weak in the bargain.

Biden came out and said of Putin, “This guy has to go.” He later explained that he meant exactly what he said, but that it did not reflect a formal change in policy. The media is trying to describe that as a backing away from the original statement and twittering about how undiplomatic it all is, as if America didn’t invent the expression “regime change” back in the 90s. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the heart and soul of today’s GQP, suggested (and I’m not making this up) that America fly planes painted with Chinese markings into Russia and bomb them, in hopes of sparking a major war between the two major powers. Perhaps he’s hoping for lower land prices in both nations that he can exploit. And today—today!–he publicly asked Putin to drop whatever he was doing and dig up dirt on Hunter Biden. Aren’t you glad we got rid of that loon? One down, one to go.

Putin’s response? “It is time for us, for our people, to call on the people of the United States to change the regime in the U.S. early,” Russian TV host Evgeny Popov said, “And to again help our partner Trump to become president.” State TV being the bastion of independent journalism that it is, you know.

In the meantime, at least ten million civilians have been displaced in the Ukraine, with an estimated four to five million having fled the country altogether. The US has vowed to accept 100,000 refugees, and Canada has a three-year refugee status program with no limit on the number of refugees. The UK is offering £350/month to any household accepting refugees. While a welcome move, it’s unlikely to address the needs of more than about 10% of the refugees. Poland is taking the brunt of the exodus, and they are poorly equipped to handle it, and anti-Russian sentiment will only last so long as a buffer against Poland’s notoriously xenophobic culture.

And there’s also the possibility that the war will reduce one or both sides to pauperized failed states. Russia has been shown to be far weaker in terms of economy and morale than expected, and Ukraine is suffering bombardment the like of which Europe hasn’t seen since World War II. (American campaigns against Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq were far worse, of course, but the victims weren’t white, you know.)

One of the curious items is the reports that two negotiators in previous talks with Russia came down with symptoms consistent with novichok poisoning. The Guardian had a piece on this today, writing,

Guardian reporter based in Kyiv, Shaun Walker, brings us this analysis piece, asking: Why is Abramovich playing peacemaker after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich is not officially part of the Russian delegation, but has apparently played a major role behind the scenes, jetting between Moscow, Kyiv and Istanbul since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Further questions about what role Abramovich was playing, and why, were raised on Monday, when the Wall Street Journal and investigative outlet Bellingcat claimed Abramovich and a Ukrainian MP were among three people to fall ill with symptoms consistent with chemical poisoning, during a round of negotiations in Kyiv in early March.

A source confirmed to the Guardian that Abramovich had fallen ill after the meeting, and had lost his sight for several hours. He soon recovered and was able to take part in later rounds of negotiations.

Aside from the poisoning claims, the emergence of the publicity-shy oligarch at the heart of peace negotiations has also surprised many.”

The West has brought many sanctions to bear, many aimed at Russia’s plutocrats. Perhaps they are having an effect. Certainly Putin uses kompromat and extortion to control his billionaires (including, it’s rumored, Donald Trump) but that can only carry him so far in the face of ruin.

Biden is right: no matter what happens in Ukraine, this guy needs to go. He won’t stop with an eastern partition of Ukraine. You can take that to the bank.

Sloppy Slappy – And his nutball souse, Gin-soaked

Sloppy Slappy

And his nutball souse, Gin-soaked

March 24th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Back in the early nineties, in the wake of the Anita Hill testimony during the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, a fellow named Bartcop, host of a website then known as “Rush Limbaugh: Lying Nazi Whore” (eventually Bartcop.com) bestowed an ineradicable nickname on Thomas: “Slappy.” Bartcop, sadly, has since died, but I still use the nickname he bestowed gleefully.

Various right wingers have tried telling me that calling him “Slappy” is racist, somehow. One fellow even tried telling me that it was a veiled reference to vaudeville comedian Slappy White, an allegation that collapsed when it came about that the only thing remotely racist about this almost-forgotten comedian was his last name.

“Slappy” is demeaning and vulgar, but Slappy has that coming, now more so than ever. Bartcop used it to refer to the man’s predilection for pornography. He knew, as many of us did, that Slappy would always be a bad joke on the court, a result of the Republicans sneering effort at tokenism, replacing the brilliant Thurgood Marshall with the notion that one Negro is just as good as any other Negro. Just the fact that Slappy lacked the self-respect to balk at an open slap at African-Americans told us he was intellectually and emotionally unsuited to the position. The thinly veiled racist antics of the Senate committee, the same as what we are seeing now, included Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy. It was a disgraceful performance, one that the Senate has made a standard rather than a failure.

On January 19th, 2022, the Court ruled 8-1 that Trump must turn over emails and texts to the Select Committee for Investigation into the events of January 6th, when Trump supporters attempted a coup against the United States.

Slappy was the lone dissenting vote. By itself, that wasn’t too noteworthy. Slappy is often the lone dissenting vote in what might otherwise be ‘slam the door, Katie’ cases, based on his inimical opposition to rights, especially of minorities, and a deep misunderstanding of what the Constitution stands for. We just waved our hands and muttered “Slappy” in the same tone of voice we use when the neighbor’s dog craps in the yard.

Today more of the texts and emails Trump had to turn over despite Slappy’s opposition came to light, and it turns out that some of the most damning ones were between then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and…Slappy’s wife, Virginia “Ginny” Thomas. Let’s just call her “Gin Soaked.” I have no idea if she has a drinking problem, or drinks at all, but she sure behaves like someone with a serious emotional and mental impairment.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, The messages – 29 in all – reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: ‘Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.’”

Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be ‘the lead and the face’ of Trump’s legal team.”

Some of you may remember Sidney Powell. She is the “release the Kraken” conspiracy theorist who was in fact the litigious face of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election until her antics caught up to her and she was sanctioned for “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”

The emails, by themselves, are prima facie evidence that Gin-Soaked was complicit in efforts to overturn, negate, and otherwise rescind the election (‘rescind’ was the word Trump used in conversations with former ally Mo Brooks on numerous occasions). Gin-Soaked may end up being subpoenaed to explain some of what she wrote, and asked about how involved Slappy may have been in this. It’s even possible she could face criminal charges.

Were it not for his vote to hide the emails, which included hers, Slappy may have survived this disgrace as he has survived so many others. But his vote, a clear and self-evident conflict of interest, would have been a criminal act on any other court in the country. Only the Supreme Court is self-excused from the standards expected of every other judge in the country.

In a normal, non-corrupt government, a Supreme Court Justice embarrassed by such wanton and outlandish antics of a family member would resign. But Slappy is a sad little creature, bereft of self-respect and clinging desperately to his unearned power. He won’t resign.

And the Senate won’t impeach him. Far too many Republicans are too corrupt, too cowardly, too contemptuous of the American people. This week’s hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson showed the depraved ethical and moral depths Republicans have sunk to, between vicious racial attacks, ridiculous flouncing and performance art, and the unbridled efforts of Christian fascists to block people of impure faith, which would be about 85% of the country. They couldn’t impeach Trump, who belongs in prison. They won’t impeach Slappy.

No, the members of the Supreme Court are going to have to sit down with Slappy and pressure him to resign. Some of them—including some of the right wingers—are uneasily aware that their credibility is hanging by a thread, and if the Slappy scandal goes the way I think it will go, it may destroy the consensual basis that the Court needs to function. Only they can do it.

Clarence “Slappy” Thomas must go.

Smoke and Mirrors – The war in Ukraine

Smoke and Mirrors

The war in Ukraine

March 16th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

I’ve been fairly quiet the past few weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. One reason for that is “the fog of war”–I have no idea of what the actual situation is beyond the blatantly obvious that you can see for yourself just by tuning into any non-fascist news network. For me, that would be the BBC, the CBC, and the Guardian. The US commercial networks (and again, I am limiting myself to the non-fascist ones, which means I’m not wasting time watching Fox or Newsmax or OAN) are, in the confusion and uncertainty, substituting speculation and wishful thinking for actual factual reporting.

Non-factual reporting, no matter how well-intentioned and sincere, is only one step removed from propaganda, and when there is evident bias, then it IS propaganda.

Since none of us know what is going on in Putin’s head, or in the Kremlin at large, take reports that he is desperate, on the ropes, facing a possible coup, etc., with a large grain of salt. Some of it may prove to be true, but at this time consider it on the same level of defamation of the foe that we see in all wars.

Back when the Germans captured Paris, a video circulated showing Hitler doing an absurd little “dance of joy.” The video was fake, just an snippet of Hitler looped to make it appear he was dancing. The intent was to make him look absurd and petty, and while he in many ways was, it actually backfired in some ways in that it humanized him and made him look like he had a sense of humor, neither of which were particularly accurate.

The pictures of Putin at his absurdly long table also needs to be deprecated, even though the image is accurate. Pundits say it shows a dictator who is paranoid, estranged from everyone except a few sycophants, isolated, and out of touch. It may be true, but it’s also exactly what you might expect to hear of a adversarial leader in time of war. Nor does it prove weakness on Putin’s part: Russia has a long history of leaders, strong-arm dictators who were widely hated but who nonetheless held power for decades. Much as I would like to see Putin fall, I interpret the media analyses of his isolation and weakness as being wishful thinking. Kremlin watching has been a major US government pastime since 1920, but nearly every major development over that century has taken American strategists by surprise. Little has changed.

As to the military situation in Ukraine, some generalities can be made. It isn’t going well for the Russians, they have taken significant losses in personnel and materiel. All these are also standard wartime claims, made by both sides, but there is a wealth of evidence to support the three items mentioned. As for anything more specific, the military leaders on either side generally understand the tactical and strategic maps little more than the armchair generals watching CNN. There’s an old saying “All plans die at the start of battle,” and leaders on both sides are tearing their hair out trying to figure out the true situation on the ground. It’s almost always going to be chaotic.

Claims of losses are also good reason for skepticism. Both sides will inflate enemy losses and minimize own casualties. Remember Vietnam, when you might hears that half a dozen Marines were injured, one by a misfiring beer can opener, while killing 12,500 Viet Cong? And that was from a country that had a free press at the time.

Claims about morale should be weighed carefully. That the Ukrainians are courageous, determined, and largely united in defense of their homeland is almost a given. Anyone raised in post-war London knows nothing stiffens the backbone of the resident population than lobbing bombs at them. Claims of Russian morale are backed by the mass arrests for protest (including one case where a silent “protester” was arrested for waving A BLANK PROTEST sign. It’s also a fact that Putin has mandated 15 years in prison for calling his “special operation” a war. Claims about the state of morale in the Russian military are harder to evaluate. Few Russian soldiers are willing to grant ‘man in the street’ interviews, it seems. I think it’s safe to say they aren’t exuberant about the way this situation is developing, though.

Russians do seem to be targeting cities and the civilian population, a curious approach for a country that is simply trying to bring lost children back into the fold of Mother Russia, but it’s hard to get a sense of the true scale when the cable news is showing the same dozen over and over, either because they can’t or won’t show more. There’s little doubt that the maternity hospital in Mariupol was hit by a large rocket shell, and while the Russians deny it, Occam’s Razor says it was them, although intent is less clear. In the instance of the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where hundreds of civilians, half of them children, had sheltered, intent seems more obvious. The theater had the word “children” written in large letters in the grounds surrounding the theater, and even after reporting began of the atrocity, Russian air strikes continued. That’s why, over 24 hours later, we still have no idea of the death toll.

It is safe to say the Russian economy has taken massive damage. Their stock market has remained closed for over three weeks now, and the ruble is quite literally worth less than a square of American toilet paper. This won’t translate to a popular uprising—Russian history makes that fairly self-evident. Nor is a revolt by the oligarchs likely. Like Putin’s pet American oligarch, Trump, most are bound to Putin because he maintains control over their reputations, their families, and their ability to enjoy their wealth. If they couldn’t overthrow Putin when they had money, what are they going to do now?

Yes, Putin has bitten off more than he can chew, and yes, what he is doing is a crime against humanity. And it is costing Russia and the Russian people almost as dearly as it’s costing the Ukrainians.

But beyond that, it’s all smoke and mirror, wishful thinking, and propaganda. If you think you know how it ends, you are delusional.

But to quote a line I’m known for using, “Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.”