SOTU 2023 — Biden—his time

SOTU 2023

Biden—his time

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

February 7th 2023

www.zeppscommentaries.online

I had been kind of ignoring the State of the Union address in recent years. They were pretty bland and formulaic under most presidents—yes, folks, the state of the union is strong and gawd bless the troops. And under Trump, as with most things under Trump, it was a grotesque travesty.

But I had a feeling I might want to watch this, and boy, am I glad I heeded that sense.

Biden staged a masterwork in challenging the GOP in the most conciliatory way possible. It was amazing to watch. He started out lavishing praise on the GOP for all the bipartisan legislation that got passed (some of which only had a handful of GOP votes and caused considerable discomfort amongst the Republicans, who really hate to be seen as cooperating with the Democrats in any way, shape or form.

Then he put the Republicans on the spot by making them sit on their hands while reciting facts that brought thunderous applause from Democrats and the vast majority of Americans watching: the twelve million new jobs, the lowest unemployment since 1969, the rise in working class pay, the explosion in domestic manufacturing jobs, the CHIPS act, the IRA, the COVID relief measures. Republicans had to show they oppose all those things.

Then he spoke about the deficit, which has been falling at record levels since he took office, and noted that a full quarter of the national debt had been racked up under “my predecessor.” While he hid it extremely well (I don’t want to play poker against Joe Biden) this last caused the MAGA caucus to lose their little minds and start screaming at him.

He didn’t try to shut them down, but then, why should he? HE wasn’t the one being embarrassed by them. Instead, he invited them to stop by the White House and he would give them the facts and figures.

He was able to goad the Coo-Coo Caucus a couple of more times, on abortion rights and gun control, and there were loud shouts of “order!” which is was interest to note came, not from Democrats (THEY weren’t embarrassed by these fools, either) but Republicans.

Biden, with surgical skill, went on to recite a number of issues where the majority of Republicans at least tacitly agree with him (debt ceiling, pay for school teachers, etc.) and and really worked the intraparty divisions that exist within the GOP. Biden put his thumb in the gap and twisted, mentioning securing the border and stopping fentanyl.

Watching Kevin McCarthy was a treat. Yes, I just said that. He isn’t a good poker player, and his growing discomfort over the antics of the MAGAts eventually turned into an open glare after the fifth or so outburst from the “Toilet Training is for Sissies” contingent.

So Biden managed the very neat trick of taking the role of “Together, we can make it work” and simultaneously opening the rift between the crazies and the rest of the country wider. And there was no duplicity involved, which is the amazing thing. He did it simply by saying what he had accomplished, what he wanted to accomplish, and why he wanted to do so, and watched as Voltaire’s prayer was answered. “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.” Biden defeated the zanies and zealots with the one weapon they cannot counter: sweet reason and even temperament.

It made for the most entertaining SOTU since the days of Clinton, and while the zanies aren’t going to shrivel up and blow away, Biden has done a tremendous job of defanging them by making the show their fangs in response to friendly overtures.

Listening to Huckabye now. She is a hero because her mom survived cancer, and Trump was the greatest leader in history, and Biden has surrendered to a Chinese balloon. She isn’t staging a great comeback. Trump was a great hero. OK, Huckster. Whatever. Not one word about policy or goals; just the usual pseudo-patriotic pablum mixed with the usual god-flogging. America is in danger and god hates us, waaaaugh!

So: all in all a satisfying evening.

One thing for sure: the people who caught the SOTU in order to hate-watch are going to find it a whole lot harder to dismiss Biden as senile or foolish. He’s neither, and he’s smarter than most of you.

Duck Soup — A canard in flight

Duck Soup

A canard in flight

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

February 5th, 2023

www.zeppscommentaries.online

On a number of occasions, I’ve compared the Presidency of Donald J. Trump to a Marx Brothers movie. I had one such in mind: Duck Soup. Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) becomes dictator of Freedonia, and declares war on another country, Sylvania in order to cover up the blunders and farce of his reign. (“Medals for everyone!”)

We were spared that in real life, due in part to Trump’s personal cowardice. There’s also the fact that there were only three countries he could credibly wag the dog with, and he was too busy sucking up to Putin and Un, and had too much money in China, so he had to be careful about pissing off Xi.

And besides, it was a Marx Brothers movie! Yes, Trump was grandiose and incompetent, a veritable Firefly, but the movie was meant to be a silly comedy, nothing more. Right?

In the past 24 hours, I’ve had cause to revisit that line of thinking. The reason was caused by a balloon.

Yes, that balloon. The Chinese craft that drifted over the Pacific well north of the Aleutians, and then rode the jet stream south through the length of British Columbia and into Montana. Once in American airspace, the American right all lost their collective minds, which average the brilliance of a really slow gas leak.

When I first heard about it, I just grinned and observed that if Xi really wanted to cause pandemonium in the US, he would announce that a small child had stowed away on board the craft. Back in 2009, a Colorado couple, Richard and Mayumi Heene, announced their six year old son had somehow stowed aboard a runaway helium balloon, sparking days of incredible media frenzy. The story was a fake—the kid was hidden in the attic of their home, and the Heenes got convicted on filing a fake police report and spent some brief time in jail and got fined $36,000. I hope they make a movie about it someday, maybe something like Duck Soup, and the kid gets a cut of the royalties. He’s an adult now, and I doubt the incident made his life easier.

The following day I wrote, “This story has more holes than George Santos’ autobiography. For one thing, unless this thing had on-board propulsion and steering, it went where the wind went, and the wind is notoriously indifferent to militarily significant locales. Second, they say the balloon couldn’t gather any information that Chinese surveillance satellites couldn’t already get. Which leads, they think, to the possibility that the Chinese have some kind of super new technology we don’t know about. And the Chinese, being absolute fools, would put this extraordinarily sensitive technology on board an object as easy to spot, track, and shoot down as a balloon. Has anyone entertained the possibility that the Chinese were telling the truth and it was, in fact, just a weather balloon?” Nobody seemed to find any merit in that argument. Maybe next week I’ll be exonerated.

Of course, most of the loudest howls that this was the security breach and casus belli of the year came from the Right, who managed to find time to divert their attention away from such pressing issues as litter boxes in school bathrooms, the sexuality of M&M candies, and the need to expunge history of all mention of non-standard people except happy and carefree slaves.

Donald Trump, in full Rufus T. Firefly mode, posted, and I quote, “SHOOT DOWN THE BALLOON!” Yes, all caps. His son, “The condom broke” Junior, and failed attempt to turn a warthog into a super model Marjorie Taylor-Greene, urged Trump supporters to go out in their back yards and open fire on the object, which was 66,000 feet up and not visible to the naked eye. The next day he had a change of heart and wrote, “”The Chinese would never have floated the Blimp (‘Balloon’) over the United States if I were President!!! Who sends a Billion Dollar blimp, with the most sophisticated equipment in the World, and large enough to hold ten cars or 3 large buses, into a complex pattern over the United States, without it quite possibly being manned, such as the ‘manned spacecraft?’ China should have been called to ask. If ‘no,’ shoot it down, if ‘yes,’ negotiate the greatest deal EVER!”

Well, that was actually sort of rational up until the last sentence. He must have remembered he still owes China money.

But then it turned out that three such aircraft overflew the US while Trump was President. The Pentagon announced that they just hadn’t told the Prez about them. They said they didn’t know about it until after the fact.

OK, I have questions.

Balloons, as a rule, don’t leave much evidence of their passing. No contrails, not even chemtrails. No sonic booms, since the speed of your average lighter than air craft only somewhat exceeds that of a constipated pug. No sky writing, no bombs dropped, none of that. Did the balloon call in to OANN to gleefully announce they had just owned the American libs?

So how do you notice a balloon drifted overhead several days later?

Second: they didn’t tell Trump? And they ADMIT they didn’t tell Trump? Isn’t this a bit like Firefly refusing to accept his foe’s surrender until he ran out of fruit to throw at him?

Normally, in a situation like this, willfully refusing to convey word to the president would border on treason. In this case, it may have just been common sense. Who knows how Trump may have actually reacted?

And of course, it may be that the previous three were, in fact, harmless weather balloons, and no motive for malign intent could be ascribed to them. But because Trump was president, the right wing media didn’t feel a need to stage yet another moral panic over them.

As you know, once off the coast, the USAF shot it down, and hopefully the payload will be recovered. They know exactly where it splashed, and the waters are reasonably shallow there, so there’s a decent chance of recovery. The Chinese are annoyed, but they probably would be no matter what intentions underlay the flight. The Pentagon is (belatedly) claiming the craft could maneuver under its own power, although the alleged flight path looks more like the jet stream pattern this past week than any sensible strategy.

Hopefully we’ll get answers. The right wing will be staging their latest moral panic by then and not paying attention, but the rest of us would like to know. Who knows? Maybe we can avoid war with Sylvania.

The Squeaker Speaker — The vote was close; the winner’s a rat

The Squeaker Speaker

The vote was close; the winner’s a rat

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 7th 2023

www.zeppscommentaries.online

You may not have heard about this, but there was a little bit of confusion surrounding what is normally the routine election for Speaker of the House. Oh, you say you have heard about it and for gods’ sake, Zepp, don’t natter on more about it? You say you’re sick to death about it?

Well, that’s understandable. Five days of eating popcorn and laughing can get a bit stale. By about half-way through, I was paying more attention to the weather myself. Granted, northern California has been having …interesting… weather. More interesting than Kevin McCarthy, at least.

Now, in defense of the weather, it doesn’t have McCarthy, Boebert, Taylor-Greene, Gaetz or Jordan falling from the sky, attractive as that mental image might be. And have I just invented a necessary new genre? Splatter/Political Commentary? Gym Jordan is sure the Founders had something like that in mind when they invented MAGA.

Kevin McCarthy is finally Speaker, and despite the general support he had in the caucus, he’s widely viewed as the Ted Cruz of the House; a dishonest and unnecessarily vicious snake, one whose malevolence is blunted by his utter nihilism and lack of any personal courage. Adam Schiff gave an interview a few days ago where he explained exactly what sort of creature McCarthy really is. Yes, Twitter is still a thing. For now.

We should do a ripoff of an English newspaper who, in the dying days of Liz Truss’ doomed Prime Ministry, put up a picture of her and a head of lettuce, and asked readers which they thought might last longer. The results for our present moment here in the States might look like this:

McCarthy gave away so much in his frantic efforts to gain a majority vote that any whim by any member of the House could force what in effect would be a vote of no-confidence. The first time Kevin breaks a promise to the insurrectionists (and maybe we would need a soap bubble for a shelf-life comparison on that one), or even if he simply refuses further blackmail (“do as I say or I’ll call a vote!”) we’re start seeing such votes. A few of those and you’ll see Democrats gleefully joining in just to further the chaos on the GOP side.

And while that’s an ugly prospect, a stable contingent of Republicans in the House is even uglier. “Stable” is a relative term here, folks. Republicans don’t have any policy or even philosophy per se: they want to investigate Hunter Biden in hopes of embarrassing the President (and they will have to subvert the DoJ to have anything they uncover bear fruit, unless they somehow come up with the sort of rock solid evidence the January 6th Commission did). They want to undermine investigative agencies and the IRS for much the same reason the Mafia would if they had the power. They firmly believe that if Republican criminals aren’t safe, then no criminal is safe, and they want to be safe. They don’t want to neuter the FBI or revenooers because they are a threat to us; they want to do it because they are a threat to them. They don’t mind America being saddled with over half a million cops, many of whom are ill-trained, sadistic, racist and stupid, but the thought of the IRS having 74,000 agents who might look at what Nepo Children are doing with their unearned income is utterly horrifying.

The GOP are out to destroy America. They’ve managed to persuade enough people that government is the enemy of America (and America as a country doesn’t exist without government) that they have some of these opportunistic traitors running the House. Some were involved in January 6th. Some deserve to spend the rest of their lives in prison. The rest are just your usual opportunist crooks and greedheads, of no value to society (America doesn’t exist without government, but it will do just fine without the people the GOP really represent.)

So if the Republicans remain chaotic and totally subsumed in their own petty strife, that’s actually doing the rest of us a favor.

Meanwhile, the population of America gets two more years to see, once and for all, what we’re really dealing with.

Glass Onion — “You know a place where nothing is real”

Glass Onion

You know a place where nothing is real”

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 28th 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Ben Shapiro didn’t like Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. He wrote on Twatter, “We only find out about the actual murder we’re supposed to investigate full one hour and 10 minutes into the film, as well as an entirely new backstory,” he complained.

Well, Benny, if you’re going to set yourself up as a film critic, you really ought to know something about the genre of film you are reviewing. This is what’s called a “murder mystery” or a “whodunnit.” Misdirection is one of the main elements in such films. The viewer is led in one direction, and if the filmmaker is honest (and in this instance they are extremely honest) then all the clues that would lead the viewer to the right deductions are there in plain sight.

But the main thing that upset Benny, protector of the privileged and sneerer at the non-privileged, was that the movie very clearly parodized, nay, MOCKED a titan of finance/industry/tech. One of the main characters is a billionaire who has an entire corporate empire, with dozens of inventions and new concepts to his credit, widely regarded as a great genius and, in his own estimation, a “disruptor,” someone who challenges and eventually supplants societal norms and the status quo.

While there are several dozen such creatures roaming the American landscape, there was little doubt in Shapiro’s mind that the movie targeted one particular tech scion: Elon Musk. I won’t argue that bit. Main showrunner Rian Johnson has said that he saw his billionaire, Miles Bron (Edward Norton), as an amalgamation of three different real-life characters. A partner of Bron’s was cheated of the fame and fortune of the Alpha network of companies, something we learn she played a greater role in creating than did Bron. One of the characters even says she got “social networked.” So: elements of Zuckerberg there. Bron also makes reckless and idiotic decisions, needlessly shafting the people he might need most as allies, and committing very public and conspicuous crimes secure in the belief that he is above social consequences. Donald Trump, anyone?

But most people spotted Elon Musk as the real-life exemplar of Miles Bron.

I thought about it. Rian Johnson and his crew probably began writing the script for this movie when Musk was still a public hero and inventor, supposedly, of the Tesla electric vehicle, genius behind Space X, and mastermind of such future wonders as the Boring tunnels and the Hyperloop. The first disturbing elements that caused people to question his personality and judgment, such as the flamethrower giveaway or the smearing of the rescuer of those children trapped in a Thai cave, had just come out.

But it took a lot more time for Musk to self-immolate, to the point where the larger segment of society realized he wasn’t a genius, wasn’t a leader, isn’t even particularly stable.

Indeed, I’m reading a book now, a well-done hi-tech spy thriller called “Portals” by Douglas E. Richards. Tech-aware and sophisticated, it holds Musk as an ongoing brilliant tech leader who has brought the world such marvels as humanoid AI Tesla robots and mind implants (and Musk is actually supposedly working on the latter, but has nothing to show for it but some 1,500 dead lab animals to date). For all Richards’ obvious savvy and political and tech awareness, his 2022 book still presents Musk as a tech wizard and leader. And, of course, that’s how Ben Shapiro sees Musk. He’s offended that anyone could even question it.

But in the movie’s denouement, Detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) says of Bron: “His dock doesn’t float. His wonder fuel is a disaster. His grasp of disruption theory is remedial at best. He didn’t design the puzzle boxes. He didn’t write the mystery. Et voilà! It all adds up. The key to this entire case! And it was staring me right in the face. Like everyone in the world, I assumed Miles Bron was a complicated genius. But why? Look into the clear center of this Glass Onion… Miles Bron is an idiot!”

In the face of the Twitter débacle, the face of Musk is revealed. He wasn’t self-made, but is the heir to an emerald mine. He didn’t invent Tesla—he bought it out. For Space X, he just hired the right people and threw money at them. He’s an entrepreneur, which in the minds of America’s Shapiros is akin to being a genius leader, but he is neither a genius nor a leader. His Boring company which supposedly could drill tunnels four times faster than anyone else also only drilled a tunnel one half the diameter, thus displacing the same amount of dirt in the same time. His underground freeway system for LA was ridiculous on the face of it. His Hyperloop, based on proof-of-concept projects from the 1840s, has gone nowhere. He has an evil reputation as a union buster and workforce abuser. He insisted, for no good reason, that people work in close quarters during the most deadly stage of the coronavirus pandemic. The freedom of speech he promised for Twitter turned out to be the usual libertarian/fascist bullshit, in which free speech is for the rich and powerful only. Fascists for Free Speech, I call it.

So yes, Bron could be any of dozens of such monsters of American capitalism, but he’s most clearly Elon Musk.

Shapiro no doubt was dismayed that the hangers-on, Bron’s friends “The Disruptors” each represented a segment of American capitalist society. Lionel Toussaint (Leslie Odom Jr) represented the commercial science segment, and was being pressured by Bron to sign off on an unproven and potentially hazardous new hydrogen-based energy substance called ‘Klear’. Clair Debella (Kathryn Hahn) was the political segment, a governor Bron gave a huge donation to in order to rush through a project for the first Klear power plant, Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson) was a past-her-prime supermodel using the fashion industry to promote Bron’s ‘coolness,’ and Duke Cody, (Dave Bautista) was a blogger who is an incel/right winger who promotes men’s rights. Jay and Cody help Bron fight ‘wokeness’ by being politically incorrect (Jay was in hot water for describing a cheap person as ‘Jewy’ (not to be confused with another right wing moron who recently described his Catholic self as ‘Jew-ish’) and Cody always carries a large, ornate pistol that he likes to fire off randomly. Both appeal to the MAGAt crowd, of course.

Cody is also a cuckold and gets slapped around by a domineering if diminuitive mother and, it’s hinted, lives with mummy. I’m wondering if his character was the main reason Shapiro got so offended.

Glass Onion, like another movie earlier this year called Don’t Look Up, offends all the right people. It offends the far right, and it offends the people who still cling to the belief that fantastically rich billionaires are somehow beneficial to society and that because they are rich, they must be of superior intelligence, wisdom and morals. Even as Musk, Trump, Bezos and all the rest of the ultra-rich crowd prove that if anything, the opposite is true.

Glass Onion is a wildly entertaining movie, a first-class Agatha Christie-style whodunnit, and above all, a searingly sharp-edged social satire that comes along at just the right time. You can see it for yourself on Netflix.

MYOB — Republicans have curious way of promoting freedom of information

MYOB

Republicans have curious way of promoting freedom of information

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 23rd, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Watching Donald tie himself in knots over the classified materials found at Mar-A-Lardo is funnier than hell if you overlook the elements of criminality, national betrayal and possible treason. Donald’s latest approach is that he declassified documents using the power of his mind. If Uri Geller could bend keys with his mind as easily as Donald bends the truth with his, um, mind, Uri would be a billionaire by now. It’s fascinating watching Donald and his little flock of D-list lawyers claim that the documents were declassified and thus Donald’s property but refusing to make the same claim in front of Judge Dearie, Trump’s choice to be “Special Master” that the idiot Aileen Cannon thought could protect Donald. Dearie already let it be known that if the documents weren’t classified, he was wasting his time, and if they were, Donald had already lost.

Donald also claims that it’s really nobody’s business why he took the documents or what they were. If they are unclassified he can say they’re none of our business, and if they’re classified he can’t discuss them with us because they’re classified. Paging Doc Daneeka!

With a massive fraud case brought by the state of New York looming and likely to utterly destroy the Trump financial empire, you might think that Donald and his sons would try to come up with something better than MYOB in their under-oath dealings with the state DA’s office. But no; they pled the fifth, Donald and Junior over 900 times between them. Keep in mind that this is a CIVIL suit, not a criminal one. (Although that’s likely pending). In a civil suit, unlike in a criminal trial, pleading the Fifth is considered evidentiary, in other words, something the jury can consider as an effort to hide culpability. They can go, “Aha, this bozo is hiding something!”

I’ll note that in Congressional investigations, Hillary Clinton didn’t plead the fifth once. All of those investigations, including the nine hours of testimony the Republican House put her through.

Needless to say, the large majority of Americans see this for the mendacious nonsense it is. You would think that other Republicans would look at this and back away. But no.

Hershel Walker, who bragged of his charitable giving, when faced with the utter lack of evidence that he did anything of the sort, took the Donald defense. It was nobody’s business, he declared, who he gave the money to or what it was for. Fortunately for Hershel, he’s just trying to backtrack on some campaign bullshit. Donald tried that defense at trial, and it cost him millions of dollars and he’s banned from charitable associations in New York. Seems he was stealing donations from kids with cancer. Whatta sweet guy!

One goof running for Congress in Ohio, a J.R. Majewski, had been boasting of flying many missions into Afghanistan, which would be commendable, except the AP looked into the claims and could find nothing in his military record to show such activities from Majewski, who apparently actually worked at a supply depot in Qatar, far from Afghanistan. Majewski, not content with 48 hours of ‘stolen valour’ stories in the media, came out and claimed his missions were classified and that’s why they aren’t on his record. Hmm. Well, doesn’t that mean he broke the law by discussing those missions in the first place? Or is he lying again?

I know, I know. It’s none of my business.

Republicans as a whole have decided that they are not going to participate in debates over the next five weeks before the election. Bad enough that moderators ask questions they don’t want to answer like “Who is the President of the United States?” or “Shouldn’t billionaires contribute more of what America gave them back?” or “Did the Moon landings really happen?” But their opponents might point to erroneous statements, false claims, investigations for fraud and criminal activity, and past criminal proceedings.

Why, they done rehabilitated themselves. Ain’t nobody’s business if they are criminals or con artists or raving far-right loons. They don’t have to explain themselves to a bunch of randos known as “the voters”!

Even Newt Gingrich, father of the modern puddle of vomit that is today’s GOP, is snarling that anyone who asks why the January 6th Committee wants to talk to him about his role in the coup “has a learning disability.” People with such disabilities shouldn’t be rude to their betters by asking awkward questions, right? Especially those reporters.

The House Republicans blocked a bill that would have revealed the sources of dark money flooding campaigns.

It’s nobody’s concern who’s buying up your country.

Mind Your Own Business.

Power Around the Dragon — Hollywood brings them out, doesn’t it?

Power Around the Dragon

Hollywood brings them out, doesn’t it?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 18th, 2022

zeppscommentaries.online

I could be writing about Trump’s possible (likely) treason, and the increasingly vicious tactics of his brownshirt followers. I could discuss Ukraine’s resurgence against the Russians. That would cheer most folk up. I could talk about the looming catastrophe in the UK, where they named as prime minister someone who physically and ideologically looks like the discards from Margaret Thatcher’s embalming. Hell, I could even talk about how the Dodgers might win 113 games this year, but how they had an unfair advantage because they play in the same division as the San Francisco Giants.

Instead, I’m going to talk about two sort-of competing television extravaganzas, and the flat-out weird response some of the viewers have had.

They’re both prequels, one to Game of Thrones (GoT) and the other to the Lord of the Rings (LotR). Both have massive budgets and a plethora of special effects. HBO’s House of the Dragon (HotD) features everyone’s favorite family of firebugs, the Targaryens. It stars Paddy Considine, Matt Smith, and Rhys Ifans. Amazon has Rings of Power (RoP), with a mostly British cast, and the story takes place over thousands of years long before LotR. For the TV series, thousands of years is compressed to several dozen years, meaning a few corners got cut.

Four episodes in, I think RoP is the better of the two, but that’s not saying much. Remember how GoT sagged and stumbled in the final two seasons? HotD seems to be following that sad legacy, only without the memorable characters still alive in the final years of GoT. So far, none of the characters (except Matt Smith, who should have stayed a Doctor) are particularly memorable, and even Smith sees the wheels come off his role in a painfully awkward and utterly unnecessary sex scene with the princess, his teenage cousin (Ew…) For some reason, this grim encounter makes the now-retired-virgin princess decide to rape the captain of the guard. I don’t see things looking up from there. The dialogue is strained and wooden, to the point where it reminded me less of GoT and more of Star Wars’ second trilogy. Honestly, they could add Jar-Jar Binks and it would be an improvement. RoP has better acting and dialogue, but feels horribly crowded, as if they were trying to compress the entire Harry Potter series into one 24 page comic book.

So as you might imagine, I’m not writing in the role of a fan-boy outraged by attacks on my precious.

While I enjoy the spectacle of the series, which is where most of the budget went instead of good writers, the spectacle of the fen is even wilder, but lower budget and much less enjoyable.

Fans are howling in outrage because of the shows’ casting choices. Some of the actors aren’t white, or of pure European culture, or woke. This includes Elves, Trolls, Dwarves, Harfoots (Harfeet?) who were the pre-production run of Hobbits before they found New Zealand and settled down, along with Lannisters, Targaryens, Crab people, and the Snakes.

I can almost see the objection when it comes to the Targaryens, who all sport Johnny and Edger Winters’ style platinum-blonde hair. Mind you, none of the actors have that hair color in real life; they all either dye or sport wigs. Yes, even Daenerys. That doesn’t bother the dumb mouth breathers; they don’t care about the hair color. It’s the color of the skin that has them biting rocks and screaming incoherently whilst flinging their shit through the bars.

Anyone who thinks members of a royal family are all the same color don’t know much about history, European history in particular. The only reason the royal families have full sets of DNA at all is because politics required outmarriages to foreign potentates, including North Africa, Egypt, Turkey, and other locales. At least one of Henry VIII’s wives had skin darker than that of Mohammad Ali. The powerful families in George RR Martin’s universe aren’t any better behaved than royals in real life, and you can bet there’s all sorts of dotted lines and the occasional virgin birth cluttering up the royal genealogy. And swans. Lots of swans. So it’s utterly unremarkable that there should be a certain amount of variety.

As for elves, hobbits, faeries, etc: Listen, you shambling idiots. They are IMAGINARY. They don’t really exist. They have physical characteristics, of course. Dwarves are short and built like brick shithouses. Elves have those ear thingees. Harfeet have big hairy feet. Faeries have wings. Cardassians have vulvae in the middle of their foreheads. But rarely, if ever, is skin color or accent mentioned. Which means the show runners have free latitude to pick the best actor, as opposed to the best white actor.

Racism is silly on the face of it, since there really is no such thing as human races. Tolkien lived in an era when it was believed races had certain defining characteristics (blacks were of inferior intelligence, Japanese industrious, whites dumb bastards who vote for people like Trump) and it may or may not have informed the characteristics of the races with which he populated Middle Earth. But those races weren’t human—they were all imaginary. Even more imaginary than the traits bigots of the time attributed to others. Japan has hundreds of fables about the lazy farmer, or an indolent son, or a layabout wife, to demolish the notion that all Japanese were hard-working and driven. Sometimes the lazy character was the hero in the story!

The other big objection is that Tolkien based Middle Earth on “European culture.” It’s even been suggested that Mordor was modeled on Nazi Germany.

OK, good point.

European culture is real, you know. Anyone who has traveled to Europe knows that the Norwegians and the Italians are identical. Same appearance, same language, same culture, same religion. You can’t tell one from the other. Likewise the Flemish and the Turks. Identical, right down to the shoelaces.

Obviously, European culture is as real as dwarves, orcs, dragons or intelligence in Trump world.

So my message to the crowd screaming about how “woke” the shows are is this: Grow up, you idiots. It’s fantasy, just as your views on race and culture are fantasy, only much less obnoxious and self-serving. Find something better to worry about, such as why nobody wants to sleep with you.

 

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.”

Riggin’ in the Friggin’ Solstice 2021 – Wisdom and Betrayal

Riggin’ in the Friggin’

Solstice 2021 – Wisdom and Betrayal

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 21st 2021

When it came to observing the Winter Solstice, the Nordic gods were first and foremost. Makes sense, given that they lived in the land of ice and snow, and the midnight sun and noon darkness. Observing the Solstice didn’t make them better behaved, mind you; even compared to the pantheons of Rome and Greece that came later, this was an exceptionally unruly bunch, with amazing sexual antics. Loki alone could add four more letters to the somewhat overworked acronym, LGBTQ.

Perhaps the best-known of all the legends of the Aesir is that of Baldur, son of Odin and Frigg. Baldur was what could be considered “the nice one,” for a given value of ‘nice.’ Like most Nordic gods, his hobbies included murder and mayhem. But he was politer about it. Certainly all the other gods loved him, save one, and all living creatures, again, save one. You can’t have a story like this without a little bit of the Joker and Kryptonite, right?

Baldur was associated with wisdom, knowledge, and light. As with most such deities, he was born on the Winter Solstice. He was the local version of Prometheus, and like most other light-bringers, he met a bad end. Getting born around Winter Solstice is something of a warning sign amongst gods.

For all his wisdom, and for all that he was loved and admired by pretty much everything, Baldur began dreaming of his death. He mentioned this to Frigga, who like most mums, decided to ensure safety for her son. Death is something of an option with gods, and so Frigga decided to ensure his immortality by making him invulnerable to everything. So she went to nearly very plant and creature on Earth and asked them to vow never to hurt her son.

Since Baldur was, as noted, loved and respected, everyone agreed to this. Obviously there were no Republican Senators in those days, showing how far we’ve fallen. It wasn’t until later that Frigg got around to realizing that she forgot to ask the mistletoe not to hurt Baldur. She shrugged it off, concluding that mistletoe was a harmless enough plant, good only for unwanted sexual advances at office parties. Mistletoe routinely kills mighty oaks, and could probably kill Yggdrasil, the Nordic tree of life, if given a crack at it. Perhaps Frigg lived above the treeline. She was certainly no arborist.

But she was something of a blabbermouth. She mentioned this omission to Loki, the one god who didn’t like Baldur. Sibling rivalry or something. Frigg’s sake, woman, what were you thinking?

Loki made a spear from mistletoe and convinced a blind old god, Hodr, to throw it at Baldur. Hodr didn’t have any reason to think this was an odd request; the gods had made a pastime of throwing spears, maces, cats and low-yield nukes at Baldur because his invulnerability tickled them pink. A twig’s as good as a Nord to a blind Hodr, right? So Hodr tossed the spear, it hit Baldur, and Baldur dropped down dead.

The pantheon petitioned the goddess of Hades, Hel-Half-Rotted, to release Baldur. Hel said she was fine with that so long as the gods got a unanimous vote on it. Which they did—almost. One Frost Giant refused. Given that the Frost Giants and Gods were mortal enemies it’s not real clear why they had a say in the matter, but in this instance the Giant was Loki in disguise, adding yet another letter to his personal LGBTQ designation.

So poor old Baldur went to Hel, and Loki ended up strapped by his own entrails to a table while a poisonous snake dripped venom into his eyes. But he got over it.

Light bringers come, and light bringers go, usually in horrible fashions. We have a streak in us that likes to tear down the thinkers and the optimists, and make some sort of ersatz “moral lesson” from them. Baldur seems the exception to that rule; there’s no homily that he deserved to die for any number of (usually) demented reasons. If there’s a lesson here at all, it’s that popularity and civility can’t protect you from the random vagaries of the universe or even a malignant plot with unlikely odds of working.

But here’s the thing; Baldur dies, as do light bringers, and are gone from this world. But the world keeps on turning. The next day following solstice, a ship stationed exactly at the Arctic circle might see a brief glint of sunlight to the south before seconds later, the sun sets again. The nights get shorter, and eventually, the days get warmer. The equinox—twelve hours of daylight—will inevitably come three months later. No matter how many light bringers die, the light returns, on its own, and in its own immutable pattern. It’s one of the few things in this world we can absolutely count on.

It is also the first day of winter, and even as the light slowly returns, the storms and the cold hold sway. The return of the light isn’t a solution. It is, instead, a promise.

It’s dark now. But Earth has made a promise to her children, one that even Loki can’t thwart.

Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.

Pearl Harbor — And other attacks on government facilities

Pearl Harbor

And other attacks on government facilities

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 11th, 2021

I wrote a piece the other day about the burning of the Christmas tree in front on the Fox News New York headquarters that was mildly sympathetic to Fox.  I pointed out that they could turn the arson into a positive by reaching out and helping the homeless man accused of setting the fire in the spirit of the holiday. OK, we both know that was never going to happen.  I like teasing fascists.

Instead, Fox went into breast-beating and garment-rending mode.  They gave it more air time than they did the Jan. 6th attack on the Capitol.  They praised themselves for having the courage to stand up to this assault on everything is good and decent and pure.

Then they tried comparing it to the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Inspired, perhaps, by the fact that the man accused of setting the blaze is Hawaiian.

If you have a sufficiently depraved mind, one capable of pulling up phrases that would make Satan blush and Trump avert his eyes awkwardly, then you can guess at what my attitude toward Fox News is now.

Pearl Harbor.  Christ…

OK, the arson did occur on December 7th. Going by that logic, if I sneak into one of their loos and drop a cherry bomb in the crapper, blowing it up, that would be comparable to the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima if I did it on 6th August? My mum was born on January 6th. If word gets out, will QAnon make her a saint?

If we want to mess with these people, we could dump a bunch of ladyfingers under Mar-A-Lago along with a picture of Amy Comey Barrett on November 5th. Just have some rando Englishman explain it to you. Make sure it’s a real Englishman and not just some Brit. You want the full piquancy of the arched-eyebrow condescension.

OK, moving on…

What? You wanted a dissertation on the morals and ethics of Fox News? Well, they don’t got none. Finito! Moving on. Delivered in the tone of an archaeology professor explaining for the fifth time why the story of Noah’s Ark isn’t in the syllabus.

We done with “My dog is plotting against me” type nuttiness. Now we’re going to Kesey’s ever-loving bull goose loony assortment. But which I mean, a version, perhaps THE version, of the 32 page Power Point memo the GOP were passing around on how to overthrow the government and destroy the United States. The official title of this document, dated January 5th 2021, wasElection Fraud, Foreign Interference & Options for 6 JAN” If you want to read it for yourself (and it’s actually about three typewritten pages long) then you can find it at Archive.org 

The talking points show the direction this is headed. “The Chinese systematically gained control over our election system constituting a national security emergency – The electronic voting machines were compromised and cannot be trusted to provide an accurate vote count – To restore confidence the “failsafe” of counting the paper ballots must be used to determine who won the election for President, Senators, Congressional Representatives – Hand counts reported by the media are not really hand counts and easily subverted.”

Got all that? The Chinese Communists (who are actually capitalists), headed by that noted Chinese Leader Hugo Chavez (who was at least a socialist, but still not a communist) subverted the election by using Chinese voting machines made in the well-known Chinese province of Canada.

It goes downhill from there.

Back in 1954, there was a book, How to Lie with Statistics by Darrell Huff. The title is pretty self-explanatory. Someone needs to write a similar book, “How to bullshit with charts.” The FF, FI & O tries strenuously to do just that. On slide 5, for example, there are charts purporting to show huge Trump leads in states he subsequently lost, alluding to a “pause” in the counting. There’s nothing to show where the charts came from, when they were tabulated, or what the “pause” was. But boy-howdy, they shore looks like real honest-to-gaw charts. A series of charts purporting to show “fixing the vote” follows, all with official looking and undescribed synoptic lines beneath to make it look like someone was using actual arithmetic. This is followed by “The Algorhythm” which is a more complicated chart designed to awe and impress Republican Congressmen smart enough to know what a chart is but not what it’s supposed to do. This is followed by “Where and How It’s Done” which would look right at home on a corkboard in a basement, with random paper clipping and scribbled notes connected by red yarn with a big box saying “Illuminati” in the middle. This is followed by a page, ironically advising, “One Tactic that is part of a larger Strategic Plan. Other tactics include riots, threats, censorship, looting, etc.” Eek! Scary! “Riots, Threats, Censorship, Looting, etc.,” you say? Oh, what’s a poor Republican to do! Summon the Proud Boys! They’ll protect us!

It then dips back into the tin-foil helmet zone. “China has leveraged financial, non-governmental and foreign allies including Venezuela to acquire INFLUENCE and CONTROL US Voting Infrastructure in at least 28 States. KEY Issue in 2020: Critical Infrastructure control utilized as part of ongoing globalist/socialist operation to subvert the will of United States Voters and install a China ally.”

Well, here you were, all fat, dumb and happy, and you had no idea your will had been subverted by Hugo Chavez. Pretty smart for a dead guy! You have to give him credit.

It rants about perfidious Venezuelans, Chinese and Canadians for a bit, noting that like all commies, they have for-profit corporations (eek!). Then it gets around to “Perpetrators” Those are: “•Local Zealots –illegal ballot harvesting, illegal voter roles, counterfeit mail-in and absentee ballots, and illegal adjudication changes •Electronic Voting machines that shift votes from one candidate to another either through an algorithm or adjudications •Foreign Actors that shift votes and/or add votes all across the country either through adjudications or outright database overwrites •In this election, all 3 demonstrably occurred, but not necessarily in a coordinated fashion.”

Good thing they weren’t in a coordinated fashion. If only those zealots knew how to speak Cantonese, or even Mandarin!

You get the drift. This may not be the exact copy of the one shown to Republican congressionals on the 5th of January, but I’ll bet that copy is essentially the same. And they were advised to hunker down and expect a serious effort to stop the electoral college vote.

Psst! Think we should teach them how to spell ‘algorithm’?

It’s easy to laugh, but remember this: Hitler’s Nazis were widely seen as ineffectual, too nasty to get elected, and really, really ridiculous.

This lot are the same. Laugh, but don’t dismiss the threat they pose. These are the same people.

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

Doug LaMalfa

What it’s like to have an embarrassing GOP drone

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 17th, 2021

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

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

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

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

“Really?” an incredulous Cuomo asked.

“Yeah,” LaMalfa shrugged.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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