The Wave Breaks — But the sand persists

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 20th, 2022

zeppscommentaries.online

In a way, the election last week didn’t change a whole lot. The Democrats held the Senate and maybe will add a seat in two weeks, and while they lost the House, the number of seats lost by the party holding the White House was the second-least in over 70 years.

Very little changed, and yet it feels like everything has changed.

About 90% of political power is illusory, and that was the case with the out-of-office Donald Trump. Not only did he fail to avail himself of the standard political winds to get his party a large majority in both Houses, but he was actually a drag on the ticket, with many of his hand-picked candidates losing in races they ought to have handily won, and a lot of Qanon “the election was stolen” nuts getting rejected en masse.

And most of Trump’s political power collapsed like a soap bubble. Suddenly the Voice of Donald, which thundered in GOP ranks, provoking shivers and submissive urination, became a shrill whine which Republicans felt free to swat at in irritation, like a mosquito. Suddenly, Trump found himself being rejected and even dismissed by his former sycophants, and even publicly challenged.

The Congressional Republicans decided to pretend that the narrow three-or-four seat majority they had in the House amounted to a mighty 1932-style mandate, and immediately chorused that they would start fresh rounds of the indeterminable hearings that were usually investigations in search of a crime, the same tiresome nonsense they’ve inflicted on the country since Newt Gingrich started pointless but politically damaging congressional investigations of the Clintons. They were already losing what little potency they possessed before January 6th, 2021. The eight different Benghazi investigations, including 11 hours of testimony from Hillary Clinton hurt her so badly that she only got three million more votes than Donald.

But the January 6th Committee hearing showed the nation what honest, conscientious Congressional hearings were like. There was no shouting down of witnesses (despite the fact that most of the witnesses were Republicans and members of the Trump team), actual evidence was presented with strong documentation, video and written records. There was no grandstanding, no shouted promises to convict as soon as something came up that could result in actual charges. It showed the prior “investigations” to be the silly, pointless, futile clown shows that in the end, were all the GOP had to offer. Even the one investigation over the past almost 30 years that actually found wrong doing and resulted in charges was so petty, mean, and rankly hypocritical that the impeachment of Bill Clinton for getting a blow job actually resulted in an increase in his popularity. People might have honestly disapproved of Bill’s behavior, but they didn’t need the likes of Newt Gingrich and Henry Hyde lecturing them on what proper moral behavior might be.

So now we have the likes of Gym Jordan, Margie “Armpits” Taylor-Greene and Bobo Boebert to tell us that investigations of criminals by the Department of Justice and the FBI are bad, bad, bad. If Republican criminals aren’t safe, then by gawd, no criminal is safe!

They’re even talking about resurrecting Benghazi. After nearly two years of trying to defend, or at least excuse or even deny the events of January 6th, they want to tell us all that an armed mob attacking a US government facility resulting in the deaths of Americans is bad, and someone needs to pay. Think about that. Just brimming with moral authority there, aren’t we?

They want to impeach Joe Biden because Hunter something. Hunter is a sleaze and probably will end up getting tried at some point for some sort of malfeasance (high crimes that in Trump world are known as “Wednesday”) but the investigations will turn themselves inside out trying to show, with no evidence, that Joe orchestrated it all. They want to impeach Merrick Garland because he’s investigating Trump. They want to impeach Jack Smith for being named Special Counsel, apparently unaware of the fact that they cannot impeach a Special Counsel.

Having already lost the moderates and independents they hoped to corral in the election, they now face a slow, steady withdrawal of those supporting them – the so-called “mainstream Republicans” – the corporate types, the actual conservatives, and Republicans who don’t fancy clown shows, fascism, hate mongering or theocracies. There was a glaring example of that withdrawal from the bat-shit wing of the party by Murdoch’s New York Post, which noted Trump’s ill-advised declaration of candidacy for 2024 by putting on the bottom of their front page, “Florida Man makes announcement. Page 27”. Leading Republicans, including fascist slimes Ted Cruz and DeSantis, openly challenged the Trump announcement. Both have been fervent belly-crawlers for Trump, and if those two whipped dogs could work up the courage to disobey Trump then truly his star has dimmed.

Given the unbridled glee and enthusiasm of the bat-shit contingent, and the pulling back of the saner elements in the GOP, a civil war in the party, particularly in the House, seems likely. Pass the popcorn. I’m actually hoping the zanies will prevail, not just for their ability to do damage to themselves and their party, but because it may lead to some Republican congressionals leaving the party, becoming independents, putting control of the House back in Democratic hands. The Dems not only need to consider who the minority leader will be to replace Nancy Pelosi, but potentially who the Speaker will be.

We’re seeing a sea change. Americans got to see what Trump, Qanon and the various other extreme right factions had to offer—the hatred, the racism, the cruelty and the vicious imposition of religion—and don’t want it. This election, for all that it changed little, moved mountains.

The Wave Breaks — Purple Reign Ensues

The Wave Breaks

Purple Reign Ensues

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 13th 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

One of the Weasels described this past week’s election for MAGAts as “Owning the Libs turned into Own Goal.” There’s more than a bit of truth to that. Annoying liberals became a sort of a group pastime beginning with the rise of Rush Limbaugh, and people thought the best way to deal with liberals was to be as inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending as possible, and totally missed the fact that 30% of population is liberal, another 40% are moderates and 20% more are conservative-but-still-sane. So you had 10% of the population that was nuts and/or gleefully vile, and another 30% or so willing to at least tolerate them for the sake of the extra votes they pulled in.

So the lib owners very loudly did their thing, and with the help of billionaires and the propaganda networks they formed, even got some of their own elected. What they missed was that a large portion of the population took them at their word, and assumed they were inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending. Few people see these as virtues.

There were plenty of other reasons why the GOP failed to sweep to total power this election. Nobody likes the theocrats on the Court or that surge by the fundie crowd to turn America into a pseudo-Christian version of Iran. The Republicans who weren’t MAGAts pandered to the billionaire class, promising to cut taxes on the rich and paying for it by raising taxes on the middle class and by slashing or even eliminating Social Security and Medicare. It got them campaign donations, but it turned out nobody was willing to give up their pension or medical coverage so they could see more political ads on TV.

Trump, of course, was a big part of it. As long as he held power, Republicans were willing to disbelieve or turn a blind eye to the fact that he is a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag. Yes, the thinking went, he might be a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag, but by gawd, he’s OUR loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag (Yes, I get paid by the word, why do you ask?) and he can win elections for us. In point of fact, he’s never won an election for the GOP, but the illusion of success was adequate for some. So despite his pyramid of scandals and obvious incompetence, he was able to persuade primary voters to go for his picks to run in the mid-terms, and a motley collection of losers they were. You had the election deniers, some of whom promised not to accept the results of the election unless they won. One promised that if elected, his party would never lose another election again. Others ran on openly racist themes, decrying the non-existent “open border” or complaining about crime in the inner cities. (The crime rate is actually higher in rural areas, but they aren’t black there, you see). Some appealed to fear, flogging gays and transgendered (an average child is at far greater risk from his church’s pastor than he is from any drag queen) or drifting off into the land of utter lunacy (litter boxes in school restrooms to accommodate “furries”). One snake-oil “doctor” ran on a platform of mocking his opponent for having had a stroke. Perhaps Trump can sink that low, but most people can’t. The doctor lost, costing the GOP the Senate. Back to Trump in a minute.

The Dobbs decision striking down Roe v. Wade galvanized female and young voters. Both turned out in record numbers, and voted Democratic. We’re already hearing calls from disappointed MAGAts to raise the voting age to 21. (I can imagine a case based on that reaching the Supreme Court. Alito, who already bald-faced that there is no such thing as “unenumerated rights” will probably declare the Constitution has no opinion on voting age. If he can wave the 9th Amendment out of existence, why not do the same to the 26th?) I’m sure MAGAts are trying to figure out how to deter female voters the way they try to deter African-American voters. Joan Crow, anyone?

Finally, and the least recognized reason, is that the fact is that Biden and the Democrats did a hell of a good job over his first two years, and did so with absolutely no help from Republicans. Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a 1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, and limited gun and health care reform. He managed to cap insulin prices, and gave the government power to negotiate drug and medical equipment prices. He got the 1.9 trillion dollar COVID relief bill through, which kept millions of Americans afloat and off the streets while saving thousands of businesses. He got a bill passed to forgive student loans, an execrable scam that kept millions of American in economic slavery.

I said last week that Trump’s decision to run would depend on how the election went. If the Pubs swept, all his scandals and looming criminal cases and civil suits would go away, courtesy of a morally bankrupt Congress and a stacked Supreme Court, and he would run. If Dems kept the Senate (as they have) and even won the House (which they still might) he wouldn’t run. Even he has to know the midterm results weakened him badly. His chosen candidates nearly all lost. Republicans are daring to criticize him. I believe that for now, he won’t announce. Too much risk of sparking an intra-party revolt or even a civil war. He wouldn’t mind that, understand. But the prospect he might lose will scare him off.

But don’t rule him out. He still has a rabid following, and we’ve seen instances in the past where he should have been wiped out politically for his egregious excesses (the bus conversation with Bush the Least, mocking the disabled reporter, smearing gold-star families, and above all January 6th) only to see him crack the whip and Republicans went crawling back to him like abused junkyard dogs with no recourse but to obey the cruel master. They are a cowardly and revolting lot, and answer the question, “Could it happen here?” Yes, some people are that weak and dependent on the illusion of a strong leader. So yes, Trump may yet return.

In the meantime, if the GOP takes the House (and that is probably going to happen) then the first thing they will do is shut down any further Congressional investigations into Trump or the insurrection. They may even demand that the January 6th committee turn over all evidence gathered so they can destroy it. So my advice for the committee is Publish Everything. Do it in the last day of the existing Congress. Let the world see everything you’ve discovered. All of it. Spare nobody. Republicans, after all, won’t spare you.

Depending on how slim a majority the Republicans have, and how heated the battle for Speakership and committee chairs gets (and it may be a bloody affair) and above all, who wins those battles, the House may or may not launch endless revenge investigations and impeachment hearings against the Bidens and anyone else they don’t like. Expect to start hearing about Benghazi again, because Republicans will suddenly change their minds and decide that angry mobs attacking an American government facility resulting in the deaths of Americans is a bad thing again. And of course, they’ll block anything that might help the country because they don’t want Biden to look good.

But for now, we’ve managed to avoid waltzing off the edge of the cliff. MAGAts showed Americans who they were, and Americans told them to go to hell. They still don’t like fascists.

There is hope.

Let’s Go, Brandon! — Biden takes MAGA behind the woodshed

September 4th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

www.zeppscommentaries.online

The whole world knows that Biden called out the MAGAts—the Trump supporters who cling stubbornly to the lie that the election was stolen and Trump is the legitimate president. That all elections are rigged except of course for the ones Republicans win. (Ok, there was one case where a Republican won and charges of rigged election were brought up—by another Republican in the race who lost). He called out the violent clowns who terrorize poll workers and school boards, and who loudly proclaim that they and only they have rights, and liberals are just pedophile snowflakes.

MAGAts are disgusting anti-American people, and Biden was right to call them out.

While the reaction in the vast right wing media circus was predictable (scalded cats, meet outraged nuns who just found a porn magazine) it was somewhat muted and not as convincing as it might otherwise have been. After all, these are the people who thundered endlessly for years over such silly made-up crap such as Whitewater, the Arkansas assassinations, Vince Foster, tan suits, Grey Poupon mustard, Benghazi, “her emails” and, horror of horrors, Sandy Duncan taking home A classified file. They turned the once-reputable Kenneth Starr into a porn writer in an effort to get Bill Clinton on Monica. And of course they embraced all the fruitloop theories propounded by Alex Jones and the trash far right, about how liberals are “groomers” and want to ban Christianity and on and on and on.

Given how readily they slip into moral outrage on a moment’s notice, you might think the explosion that greeted Biden’s speech would have shook the world.

Granted, it is a holiday weekend, and that may have muted them a bit. It may be that they’ll wait until the survivors return from the last holiday of the summer before demanding Biden’s impeachment and/or execution, and claim that the 4% of the country that support him are commies and/or pedophiles (honestly, can any of these morons even SPELL “pedophile”? Or know what it is? OK, I spell it paedophile, but I was raised in England and Canada, and there is no cure.)

Or could it be that more and more Republicans are realizing that Donald Trump is a really stupid bet for 2024, or the future of the party?

Biden certainly knows that. He very carefully pointed out that most Republicans no longer support MAGA if they ever did, and that is a number that is dwindling rapidly. Even the true believers who are convinced the impeachments were hoaxes and that January 6th was a false-flag operation staged by AntiFa (and you have to be pretty stupid and/or mental to believe those things to begin with) are beginning to realize that the secret files that the FBI seized at Mar-A-Lago are clear and compelling evidence that major felonies were committed by Trump, up to and including treason. Trump himself has been increasingly shrill and desperate, his wild and often contradictory reactions less and less plausible, and the efforts of more and more Republicans to distance themselves from this vast, mushrooming nuclear scandal ever more apparent.

Even Doctor Oz, who is running one of the most tone-deaf campaigns in the country, has shown enough sense to try to back away from Trump, which he did at that pathetic rally in Philadelphia last night.

One of the most striking things about that rally came in the wee hours, when Trump took to his failing “Truth Social” to declare, “Thank you to everyone who attended the Rally last night. It was a two-hour speech, and the only disappointment was that they were screaming, ‘Please, please, go longer.’ They love our Country, and I love them!” It was such a pitch-perfect evocation of Groucho Marx’ Dictator that I was prompted to write, “Remember, Donald Trump shoots a perfect 18 on every round of golf, impregnates a thousand virgins a night, and won the War of 1812.” The leader is infallible, medals for everyone, yes.

Despite the billions spent by the autocratic aristocracy (one clown gave $1.6 billion to the Federalist Society to aid their never-ending search for corporate buffoons and religious nuts to put on the courts) and the millions of man-hours in the echoverse of right wing media, Trump’s support is diminishing, and the GOP is dwindling with him. I won’t be surprised along about late October to see more Republicans openly breaking ranks with Trump and essentially declaring themselves to be “Biden Republicans”—not vicious nuts who want to destroy democracy. Oh, they won’t call themselves that; that would be a death sentence. But they would be using that very demarcation to persuade voters that they are sane, respect rights, and don’t want to destroy the United States. It may even help, a bit.

Trump will still be twisting in the wind at that point. The Department of Justice won’t indict him on the grounds that it’s too close to an election that Trump isn’t even running for office in. It’s moments like these when I wonder if the colonists are really ready for self-rule, but then I look at the messy national suicide that is Britain, and I just hush mah mouf. I don’t think England is ready for self-rule, either. Someone call the Saxon suicide watch line.

Trump will continue to lose ground both legally and politically, and between him and the Dobbs decision, which unleashed the theocratic lunatics on America, the Democrats should do quite well in the November elections.

Trump, of course, will blame it on lack of resolve by his followers. That’s what failed megalomaniacs always do.

A Message from Trumpworld — At least they can count to twenty…

A Message from Trumpworld

At least they can count to twenty…

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

August 11th, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

A buddy of mine in the Weasels passed this list of twenty complaints about the general state of affairs along to me the other day. It was posted on the web by a fellow named P. Ritter. It strikes me as a fairly good example of the sort of stuff that is circulating amongst the information-deprived and increasingly cultish right.

Now, I don’t know this Ritter fellow, so I won’t speculate on his motives or level of knowledge. But most of the items bear examination, and a response. His text is in italics. Mine is in English.

It’s not a question of right and wrong anymore. There have been plenty of examples of wrong in recent history. I will list them so there’s no equivocating about it:

  1. Supreme Court Justices intimidated without law enforcement action. No public official should ever be intimidated or threatened. This includes death threats (such as the one judge who issued the Mar-A-Lago warrant has received), doxxing, or threats against family members. Peaceful protests, on the other hand, are legal and should be encouraged.
  1. Prosecution of innocent Americans for political gain and judges that become the prosecutors.Anyone formally accused of a crime is entitled to a presumption of innocence. It is why newspapers refer to “suspects” rather than “criminals” until the accused are found guilty. It is why anyone being investigated for a crime is entitled to legal representation, reasonable bail, warrants and searches based upon probable cause, and trial by jury. It does NOT include whipping up mobs that chant “Lock Her Up!” or demands that men cleared of guilty verdicts upon the presentation of new evidence be executed anyway, as happened with the Central Park Five.
  2. District Attornies [sic] who refuse to prosecute and release criminals back into the population. America still has over two million people in jail, the highest prison population outside of China. The problem isn’t that District Attorneys don’t want convictions. In too many cases, DA’s regard convictions as notches on their belts, ones that could lead to higher office or a judgeship. It’s a system that breeds cruelty and corruption. I suspect Ritter is referring to the DA DeSantis just fired for saying he would not enforce Florida’s cruel new anti-choice laws. DeSantis has that right, but I would sooner have prosecutors that won’t uphold unjust laws over politicians to avidly support such in an appeal to their base.
  3. Juries that decide criminal cases based upon political affiliation and not evidence. Juries are usually better than we deserve. It used to be the sort of corruption that we see in “To Kill a Mockingbird” was widespread and socially acceptable. Our track record has improved. Demanding verdicts from juries based on politics is every bit as bad as a corrupt jury.
  1. No cash bail! See point 2. Bail has been used as a fundraising system by towns and even some states, with the result that people who haven’t been convicted of any crime are thousands and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. Financing a judicial and police system through traffic violations corrupts. Letting police seize and KEEP property is a recipe for a banana republic.
  2. Judges who let criminals off despite their prior convictions. We tried “three strikes” for some 20 years, and it turned out to be a horrible mistake. You had people getting 20-to-life for a third conviction, which might include stealing a bicycle, or a piece of pizza. Yes, both extremes actually happened. In the other direction, you had juries or DA s not convicting because it was clear that they would be giving a petty thief a life sentence for an action that might normally be a fine, or probation.
  3. Criminals killing innocent people at random in our largest cities. And smaller cities. And towns. But you know where the highest murder rate is? Rural areas! By way of example, my county, with some 40,000 people, had one murder in the past five years. To match that rate, Los Angeles County would have to have 2,500 murders over the same period.
  4. Schools, districts, and teacher’s unions want children to learn everything but what they should.That one is so ridiculously vague I can’t even respond. Ritter should check with the local public school district to see what the actual curriculum is. It’s public record. It will not include “critical race theory” which is taught only at a handful of universities and on the graduate level. As for what IS taught, Ritter may or may not agree, but he’ll have to be a bit more specific about what he disapproves of.
  5. Politicians doing insider trading right in front of our eyes and getting away with it.Absolutely! And any politician convicted of insider trading should be banned from running for office again. There is a bill, H.R.2655 – Insider Trading Prohibition Act, that passed the House by a huge margin, 350-75. An earlier version was passed in 2021 410-13. It is currently languishing in the Senate, lacking votes to overcome a Republican filibuster.
  6. Congress is fixated on prosecuting Donald Trump than on doing anything positive for America.Donald Trump is credibly accused of attempting to stage a coup against the United States. The Select Committee issued invitations to Trump and members of his administration to testify under oath on a voluntary basis. Some acceded, others refused. But insurrection is an extremely grave charge to make against any public official, and must be investigated. Why isn’t Trump raising a defense above the level of personal attacks on the members of the committee? Why have so many members of his administration been material witnesses?
  7. Taxpayer money is wasted on useless programs designed to weaken the economy and nation.Again, too vague to be of any use. I would agree that the F-35, and tens of billions in tax subsidies to oil companies weaken the economy and the nation. For all I know, Ritter had those in mind. Or perhaps not. He’ll have to let us know.
  8. China is in charge along with Russia. I’m not sure what “in charge” means. Russia is failing to conquer the Ukraine, a country about the size of California but with a much smaller economy. China is much more powerful, but remains no match for the United States.
  9. Our borders are more like open sewer lines flowing into the country. That’s not a very nice thing to say about your neighbors. It’s worth noting that the crime rate amongst aliens, documented or not, is lower than it is amongst Americans.
  10. Homelessness is so rampant that cities are incapable of dealing with the problem. True. But homelessness isn’t a crime or even a moral issue. It represents a failing by society, one that needs to be addressed.
  11. Food shortages, supply chain issues, and our President thinks things are hunky-dory. I doubt Biden thinks these issues are “hunky-dory.” Food shortages mostly stem from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and climate disruption. Accordingly, they will get worse. Supply chain issues stem from capitalism’s inability to adapt to the pandemic.
  12. Inflation is at its highest since it has been recorded.Nonsense. It was half again as high in 1974 compared to June. And the inflation rate in July of this year – last month – was ZERO.
  13. The President shuts down oil production and begs for oil from our enemies. Biden has shut down no production. I wish he would. He did negotiate prices with Saudi Arabia, which I don’t like, because I loathe theocracies. But he didn’t engage in begging, and he even managed to avoid ridiculous photo-ops with the Saudi royals and a glowing orb.
  14. The President sells our national emergency reserve oil to our enemies.Utter nonsense. Cite an example. Show your work.
  15. The President makes money off of our enemies with impunity. Again, utter nonsense. Cite an example. Show your work.
  16. The President’s family is immune from prosecution despite numerous criminal acts. Donald Trump Junior might beg to disagree. Oh, he won’t agree that he performed “numerous criminal acts”, but certainly the prosecution, although he’ll pronounce it ‘persecution.’ There are rumors that Jared Kushner may have provided evidence to the FBI for their warrant at Mar-a-Lago. Just rumors, but if that is the case, then the Feds had to have a fair bit of dirt on him to goad him into flipping on dear old daddy-in-law.

This is Trumpworld in a nutshell. Unsupported allegations, vague claims, a total lack of self-awareness, hypocrisy, and above all, projection. Recognize it when you see it.

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.”

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.

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.”

Well, good morning judge…New faces for the Supreme Court

Well, good morning judge…

New faces for the Supreme Court

January 27th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Biden gets to nominate a Supreme Court justice, and he has already sworn that for the first time in 158 such nominations, his candidate will be both black and female.

The fascist right lost their collective minds over this, accusing Biden of affirmative action and exclusionary politics. But of the 158 nominations to the Court, exactly none were both black and female. Only two were black (the second a cynical exercise in tokenism by the Republicans) and only five were female (the last a sop to the lunatic religious right, also by the Republicans.) All the rest where white, and male. Talk about exclusionary politics!

Thirty-seven of those nominations failed, usually because they had something in their past, or were too egregiously unfit for office. The most recent one happened under Barack Obama, who nominated Merrick Garland. That was nine months before a presidential election, and Mitch McConnell blocked committee consideration of the nomination on the grounds that it was too close to the election. It didn’t stop him from shooing through, without hearings, religious token Amy Coney Barrett four years later and just 45 days before a presidential election. George W. Bush hit on the idea of nominating his own personal lawyer to the Court. Harriet Miers, her name was, and while she may well have been a not-bad justice, this was back before the GOP turned into a goosestepping death cult, and too many Republicans balked at the notion of a president’s personal lawyer with no visible qualifications on the Court.

The leading candidate at this point is Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. At age 51, she’s on the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, having been placed there a couple of years ago. Three Republicans broke ranks to vote for her: Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Murkowski is the only one of the three who isn’t a spineless goosestepper, and could be the 51st vote needed to confirm.

Jackson clerked for Stephen Breyer, the retiring Justice she may be replacing. She has double degrees from Harvard, and eight strong years as a district judge. She was (briefly) a hero to Republicans when she ruled in 2018 that the House Judiciary Committee couldn’t sue to compel Don McGahn to testify. That ruling was overturned, although the District Court was reconsidering it now in light of last week’s SC trouncing of Trump, 8-1. She does have a fairly high rate of reversals on appeal.

Another factor that should give progressives pause is that she served in an advisory capacity on the board of the religiously conservative Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Maryland. Among other things this now-defunct school believed was “Man is the special creation of God, made in His own image. He created them male and female as the crowning work of His creation. The gift of gender is thus part of the goodness of God’s creation…All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society…In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love…Marriage is the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” Wow. Sounds like the kind of zealotry you would expect to hear from Barrett.

The other front runner is Justice Leondra Kruger, who now serves on the California Supreme Court. She was only 37 when Governor Jerry Brown nominated her, and is still only 45 now. If selected, she would be the second youngest nominee for the court, behind only the still-juvenile Clarence Thomas.

She has also argued 12 cases before the Supreme Court itself, and graduated from Yale, where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal. She clerked for Justice John Paul Stevens, so she has quite a formidable record and strong familiarity with high court proceedings, both in California and DC. She was also a visiting assistant professor at the University of Chicago Law School. She also graduated with honors from Harvard University, where she was a reporter for the Harvard Crimson. So she has an amazing record.

Most of her judicial record is liberal-leaning but with careful adherence to precedent. At a time when we have justices willing to trash voir dire in order to support nutball ideas from the lunatic right and trash voting and civil rights, she would be a strong voice for applying the brakes to this mad dash to the bottom that the Trump-infested court is now on.

Of the two, Kruger seems the stronger choice. There may be others on Biden’s list of whom I’m not aware, but those two, Kruger and Jackson, are the ones most mooted about.

I hope Biden names Kruger. I think she would be a strong, stabilizing force on the court going forward.

Jan 6 No Trump — Bridging the year

Jan 6 No Trump

Bridging the year

January 7th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

I feel a lot better this January 7th compared to the same date last year. Back then, I was wondering if the United States had any sort of future, or was destined to fall into neo-Nazi fascism headed by one of the most vicious and corrupt swine ever to hold public office.

We’re a long way from out of the woods, of course, but at least it stopped snowing and the wolves seem to have buggered off. Yes, the Republican party is now a fully-formed death cult, and yes, Trump is still in the news a lot, but they aren’t quite as scary as they were the day they tried to destroy America. And America seems to be gaining a bit of a lease on life, at least until the mid-terms.

Biden and the Democrats seem to be finally taking the gloves off. Biden gave a barn burner of a speech on the anniversary, pounding Trump into the ground without ever mentioning him by name. How effective was the speech? Well, two days later, and Trump is still yowling like a cat shitting a porcupine. Fox “News” couldn’t even bear to discuss the speech, instead trying to pretend the assault on the Capitol was no big deal really, BLM and Antifa were worse, and why hasn’t Biden controlled inflation and COVID? The Lord Haw-Haws of that propaganda pit have their loyal viewers, of course, but it’s eroding as Trump’s Big Lie continues to shrink under the assault of facts and evidence.

Merrick Garland also gave a speech, detailing why the Justice Department investigations were flying under the radar, and reassuring people that the trials and convictions of the small fry at the riots was only the opening act. In the state of New York, at least two Trump whelps, Donny the Lesser and Ivanka the Skanka, have been subpoenaed, and there are reports that Melania the Melanoma has been selling off some of her wardrobe and other personal possessions to make ends meet.

Things aren’t going well for Trump loyalists, either. The Brownshirts have lost a really big civil case in the wake of the Unite the Right rally and are being sued out of existence. Devin Nunes, Trump’s biggest cow in Congress, suddenly quit in order to run Trump’s social media empire. If you’re asking, “what social media empire?”, my answer is “exactly.” The January 6th Commission has shown it isn’t screwing around, and is handing out subpoenas left and right, including Bannon, Meadows, Alexander (“Victory or Death!”), Ali with subpoenas expected for various members of Congress who might have to be forced to testify under oath, such as Gym Jordan (OH! Jimmy!), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Madison Cawthorn (N.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Louie Gohmert (Texas.). It occurs to me that just by tossing those eight out of the House and into prison would raise the average IQ of Congress by at least 10 points.

While Republicans are still working feverishly to try to turn the next American elections into a Soviet-style joke, they aren’t making the headway they were hoping for. Cyber Ninjas, the redoubtable firm in charge of the of-course-it’s-legitimate! Arizona recount, are facing $50,000 a day in fines for refusing to turn over records that are in the public domain regarding how the count was conducted. Given that the count not only confirmed the results, but actually gave Biden a couple of hundred votes he didn’t have before, you have to wonder how much gaming and cheating went in to achieving a result that was only slightly unfavorable to their cause. And how much of that was flat-out illegal. None of the dozens of other state audits seem to have gained much traction. Even notoriously corrupt Wisconsin seems to have given up on party-run recounts as a bad idea. In the meantime, Republican efforts at gerrymandering seem to have stalled out. In places like Texas, it’s because it was already so gerrymandered they could no longer maintain plausible deniability. And I suspect some Republicans, aware of the growing fragility of the Trump cult, are hedging their bets.

For all we hear about Trump “running out the clock” in hopes Republicans can take the House and make the January 6th commission go away, other legal proceedings that the House cannot interfere with are continuing apace. Garland already made that clear in his speech, and there are a swirl of well-informed reports that the State of New York is going to be dropping the hammer on Trump in the immediate future. Tax fraud, tax evasion, corrupt business practices, it’s a very long list. And remember, Trump’s most efficient henchmen are gone; Former CFO Weisselberg is fighting to keep his own ass out of jail, and former torpedo Michael Cohen is an active enemy gleefully providing evidence (many, MANY skeletons in THAT closet!) against Trump. Trump, in Cohen’s mind, tried to kill Cohen by sending him back to his cell in the height of the pandemic last year. He didn’t appreciate that.

A lot has been made of the poll showing that only 21% of Republican voters think Biden won legitimately. Granted, there are a lot of brainwashed fools and just plain fools in the GOP, but I suspect a lot of them are joining that chorus not from any personal belief, but because they know the cost of disloyalty to the party. “Don’t ever be the first to stop applauding.” The GOP have been a lot like Russia’s Communist Party for many years, and should the party destroy democracy and become, like the USSR, a one-party state, there would be a dear price for showing disloyalty. Nobody doubts the viciousness and cruelty of the GOP, but if they can’t seize power, support for them will erode like cotton candy under Niagara Falls. Conviction persists; fear cannot.

A lot of that will erode as the legal investigations dissect GOP efforts to stage a coup. Fox News might ignore the stories and whine about Hunter Biden, but the rest of America’s media will not ignore it—and even Fox will turn when they can no longer sustain their fear of Trump and start to fear the American people instead.

So on this anniversary, we’ve gained a lot of ground in defeating Trump and his swinish followers. Much remains to be done, and of course, any number of things could go wrong. Remember, we are saddled with a major party that WANTS things to go wrong.

We’re not home free, and won’t be for some time to come. But we’re at least moving in the right direction.

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

Contempt

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

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 12th 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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