Dog Days — Moral dilemmas for Republicans

Dog Days

Moral dilemmas for Republicans

June 22nd 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Summer’s here, and my time to take the dog for his morning walk has shifted to an earlier hour. Temperatures are no longer at or below freezing (yes, that happens here in May) and this being the mountains, by 9:30, even if it’s still only 65 out, the sun is just beating down. So an earlier summer walk time accommodates both his desire not to freeze, and my desire not to bake.

As we were walking up the lane toward the house, I spotted a neighbor loading construction scrap into a trailer. Nice fellow, about my age, clearly intelligent and articulate. Friendly without being nosy, which is a definite plus in a small town. I had noticed that he had a Gadsden flag on his porch, alongside the American flag, which suggested his politics had a rightward, possibly libertarian bent. Not too uncommon in these parts. I figure if he can tolerate my politics (I’m a senior member of a group whose informal motto is “We’ll tread where we please”, and I fly the Flying Spaghetti Monster flag, which I’m sure some people think is Antifa or BLM) then I can tolerate his.

We chatted for a bit, and I glanced at my watch and said, “I’m going to move on. Have some chores, and I don’t want to miss the meeting.”

“What meeting is that?”

“January 6th Committee. Raffensperger is supposed to testify today.”

He actually snorted. “I’m not paying any attention to that farce.”

Well, OK then. I smiled, said, “Some of the testimony is pretty compelling” and let it go at that. I wasn’t looking for a fight. We exchanged pleasantries and I went home to watch the strongest session yet.

I think that decent Republicans have two choices at this point: refuse to pay attention to the Select Committee, or admit that Trump not only acted criminally, but perhaps treasonously. There’s the mad dogs of the sort that threaten poll workers and email death threats to terminally ill relatives of elected officials who refused to do Trump’s bidding (the centerpiece of the testimony in that session) and eventually America is going to have to deal with those after Trump is finished, but I think their numbers are already dwindling. After just the first three sessions, the percentage of voters who believe Trump should face criminal charges for his actions jumped from 52% to 60%, a huge one-week jump in these polarized times.

I suspect my neighbor will only be able to ignore the findings of the committee for so long. It’s one thing to say that “only” twenty or thirty million people are watching the proceedings, but it doesn’t count the streamers, and those who watched the wrap-up coverage on the evening news. A lot of people who pay scant attention to, or deliberately try to ignore “politics” are going to experience exposure to the meetings through a kind of social osmosis.

It doesn’t work to howl that the committee is nearly all Democrats. Originally, the committee was meant to be 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans but McCarthy tried naming such attack dogs as Gym Jordan and Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs to the committee—howling, vicious demagogues who voted to overturn the election on January 6th. In effect, McCarthy was in the position of naming jurors in a bank robbery trial and thought it would be clever to name some people who drove the getaway car. When Pelosi rejected two of the candidates, McCarthy did something very childish and weird: he withdrew all the Republican nominations.

Even Trump admits that was an own-goal, saying, “Well, I think in retrospect, I think it would have been very smart to put [Republicans on the committee] and again, I wasn’t involved in it from a standpoint so I never looked at it too closely. But I think it would have been good if we had representation. …I think in retrospect [McCarthy should’ve put Republicans on] to just have a voice. The Republicans don’t have a voice. They don’t even have anything to say.”

Anyone who watched the Mueller hearings or Benghazi or Emails knows that the Republicans operate by shouting, interrupting, making ridiculous accusations, and engaging in personal smears. It’s soul-sickening to watch. But the committee that evolved, which included Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, had a group of sober, serious, diligent people.

For all the damning testimony, perhaps the most revelatory thing about the Committee is that it shows the American people what it’s like when the grown-ups are in charge. Witnesses aren’t shouted at, called names, interrupted or deliberately misconstrued. It’s a reminder that yes, democratic governance can work. Which undermines the heart of the fascist philosophy that democracy is weak, and only a strongman can save us.

And while the committee is mostly composed of Democrats, nearly all the witnesses called have been Republicans (with the exception of Lady Ruby). Many were even Trump supporters. Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers, who gave spellbinding testimony revealing the moral courage it took to stand up to Trump, said he not only had voted for Trump, but would again. And yes, I think that undermines the foundation of his moral stance. But it shows clearly that most of these witnesses were Trump people at one time, and he drove them away with his bullying, corruption, and viciousness.

This session was a very bright spot in some dark times. I only wish my neighbor had watched.

Committee’s Latrine — The Trump Dump

Committee’s Latrine

The Trump Dump

June 16th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Hours before today’s utterly damning third January 6th Select Committee hearing, Trump finally had his long-awaited nuclear meltdown. (OK, it was more like a cake collapsing in the oven, but still kind of fun to watch). He got on his ersatz network, Truth Social, to rage, “The Fake News Networks are perpetuating lies, falsehoods, and Russia, Russia, Russia type disinformation (same sick people, here we go again!) by allowing the low rated but nevertheless one sided and slanderous Unselect Committee hearings to go endlessly and aimlessly on (and on and on!). It is a one sided, highly partisan Witch Hunt, the likes of which has never been seen in Congress before. Therefore, I am hereby demanding EQUAL TIME to spell out the massive Voter Fraud & Dem Security Breach! I DEMAND EQUAL TIME!!!

I’m sure several tens of millions of people had the same thought. OK, let’s give him twelve hours in front of the committee, responding to questions under oath. Isaac III wrote, “With 6 hearings, 2 hours each, equal time would come out to 12 hours of that tub of orange lard sitting there, sweating it out and corroding the upholstery. Let him go for the record, 11 hours, set by one Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

“A couple hours of trumpy ranting, with maybe a commentator to prod/goad (Proof. Where’s the proof. Do you know what proof is?) him about election fraud might be must see TV.” – grunt

Both Presidents and former presidents have testified in front of Congressional committees According to the far-right American Liberty blog in an unsigned piece, “Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Gerald Ford all testified before Congress when they were in office. Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Harry Truman and Gerald Ford all testified before Congress after they left office – about scandals that happened while they were in office. Taft was called back to testify on 12 separate occasions before eight different congressional committees.” The link leads to some utterly hilarious reading in which the author is urging Lindsey Graham to investigate Russiagate and the attempted theft of the election by … Barack Obama. No, really. The irony is palpable.

So, yes, the committee could ask and even compel Trump to testify. Then put him under oath, and subject to the same rules of conduct the other witnesses all have to follow. He would have counsel of course, although the best he might be able to get might be Rudy and a case of gin. He would of course have the right to plead the Fifth (and Rudy would retort, “I’m not done with it yet!”). Even without Rudy, the Fifth is a popular item among Trumpkins. Don, Junior invoked it over FIVE HUNDRED times in one deposition lately. But even Trump has to know that doing so on live TV in front of tens of millions of people would look bad.

Of course Trump would probably just scream and rant and generally try to make an utter circus out of the proceedings, and that would leave the Committee in a bind. Arrest him for contempt? Gag him? There wouldn’t be any way to maintain decorum that wouldn’t be political poison. OK, save Trump for the actual trials. Judges don’t face the same political constraints. Judge Dredd can put Trump in the cooler for 48 to calm down and get away with it.

Ginni Thomas (another member of the Too Much Gin brigade) also wants to testify. It’s become more and more clear that her part was more than just cheerleading for team Trump, and that she was playing an active role in conspiring to interfere with the slates of electors in Arizona, and promoting Eastman’s paranoid and treasonous legal theories. The committee would not only want to know the extent of her activities (which may have crossed a line from politicking to conspiracy), but her husband’s knowledge of them. With Republicans in the Senate, Slappy Thomas would never be impeached, but the Court itself, already widely seen as a shadow kangaroo court for the religious right and corporations, might compel Thomas to resign just to try to preserve whatever gravitas it has left. So it’s definitely worth the while of the Committee to take Thomas up on her offer.

Finally: it feels very strange to credit Mike Pence with resolve and courage, but it appears that he showed both on January 6th in the face of overwhelming pressure to betray his country. His reasons may have been noble or base, but in the end he did the right thing, even with a mob braying literally to hang him. I’ll never respect the man’s philosophy or methods, but let it be said that when it really mattered, he really mattered.

The Long Con — Trump is just returning to form

The Long Con

Trump is just returning to form

June 15th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

“Not only was there the Big Lie, there was the Big Ripoff.”

Zoe Lofgren, Congressperson from California, may have understated it. She cited the quarter of a billion dollars that Trump raised that was meant to go to the “Official Election Defense Fund.” The money would be used, he said, to “ensure election integrity.” That, of course, was the Big Lie: that the election was stolen from Trump.

But there is just one little problem with the “Official Election Defense Fund”: it doesn’t exist. Papers for such an entity haven’t been filed anywhere, and there are no filings with the federal or any state tax agency.

A quarter of a billion dollars. If a million people donated, it would be $250 each. Even if you factored in the usual gullible and/or fascistic billionaires, Trump hornswoggled a hell of a lot of people for his fake cause.

It would be somewhat understandable if the money went to Trump’s legal fees, but the GOP is paying those—yes, including ones that have nothing to do with his membership in the GOP. Republicans have been pretty much reduced to humping daddy’s leg in hopes of getting a pat on the head.

So where did all that money go?

According to Ryan Bort over at Rolling Stone, “…Save America PAC. The PAC then made contributions to Mark Meadows’ charity, to a conservative organization employing former Trump staffers, to the Trump Hotel Collection, and to the company that organized the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol last Jan. 6.”

Hold up. “[T]he company that organized the rally that preceded the attack on the Capitol last Jan. 6.”?

Yup. Among other things, they shelled out $60,000 to have Kimberley Guilfoyle rant incoherently at the audience for all of two minutes. Nice work, eh? If you haven’t heard her speak, just imagine what might happen if you fed some meth to Donald Duck.

At least she didn’t incite the street Nazis of the GOP (the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, similar white trash) to attack the Capitol. They had already left to do that before the rally even began, it all having been carefully planned beginning before the election was even held. Guilfoyle was ranting at the same sorts of dupes that donated to the Official Election Defense Fund, mostly people who thought they were attending a peaceful pro-Trump rally. The real traitors had gone on ahead to try and overthrow the United States.

Trump has always been a huckster and a swindler. Trump charged $35,000 tuition for his “university” which had no accreditation, no actual physical existence, and a faculty that the Atlantic described as “a motley bunch if misfits.” Trump, in the late days of the 2016 campaign, wound up settling out of court against all the lawsuits filed for $15 million.

USA Today had a lengthy list of contractors and workers that Trump flat out swindled over the years.

Trump has a long and tawdry list of swindles and cons and flat out cheats, hundreds and thousands of them, destroying small businesses, cheating workers and tenants, and bilking billions of dollars. Perhaps most disgraceful of all was his theft of $100,000 from a charity for children’s cancer.

It’s an indictment of American culture—and its utter servility to the wealthy—that this man wasn’t sent to prison to rot decades ago.

So is anyone even remotely surprised that Trump’s motives for political office and his efforts to destroy the country were motivated by anything other than a desire to feather his own bloated nest further? Given his tawdry history, his entire political career is about the same as a dog coming back to lap up his own vomit.

We’ve had two public hearings by the January 6th Select Committee, and Americans, in the tens of millions, have tuned in, either directly on live television, or streaming, or video (the proceedings in full can be found on YouTube as they are public domain, and you can watch and/or download at will). The third one is tomorrow evening, prime time again. Democrats will fume, Republicans will bow and scrape to their master even as they condemn the enemies of Trump. The ability of Republicans to simultaneously strut and cringe is a wonder to behold.

Evidence will continue to mount. We’re probably going to learn of direct donations from the “Official Election Defense Fund” to the street Nazis. We may even learn which members of the Trump administration managed those payments on Trump’s behalf, and what, if any instructions to kill Nancy Pelosi and Mike Pence were discussed. It will be damning.

Trump’s personal history leaves me baffled as to why he has escaped justice all these years. His political career, unsurprisingly, has been even more vicious, corrupt, and self-serving.

I’m against the death penalty, so I won’t say Trump should face a sentence of hanging. But if, in light of all we know, he doesn’t die in prison, it’s an indictment of America and its ability to be a free and just country.

Revolution — Means “going in circles”

Revolution

Means “going in circles”

June 10th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

When it comes to stuff like treason, sedition, resistance, whatever you want to call it, there is an old saying: “It is unwise to shoot at the King—and miss.” The logic is simple enough to follow: if you’re going to overthrow the government, make damned sure you have a solid shot at pulling it off, because kings (and governments in general) tend to take a dim view of insurrectionists. A real dim view. A “hang, draw and quarter” sort of dim view. There have been any number of revolutions in human history, and they rarely end well for the would-be revolutionaries. Even when they WIN it often goes poorly—Mao, Hitler, Lenin and Pol Pot conducted vast, murderous purges of their own in the wake of seizing control of their respective countries. It seems that if you’ve betrayed your country once, you are seen as a bit of a risk of being a repeat offender.

For all the romanticism and (sometimes) idealism, being a revolutionary is a shit way to make a living.

For these and other reasons (including the approbation of neighbors) most revolutionaries are fairly circumspect about being, well, revolutionaries. Not only do they have to deal with an unamused government, but social circumstances that foster rebellion usually foster deep schisms amongst the insurrectionists, with the result that your deadliest and most treacherous enemy might not be the palace guard, but the guy at the next table who is making IEDs for the Cause. There’s also the fact that it’s rare for more than a third of the general population to support revolution, and usually it’s a far lower percentage than that. Most people have jobs, families, some stability, and don’t want to trade it in for party proctors and kangaroo courts that need a steady stream of imagined enemies to paper over the failures of the new regime.

So it’s kind of unusual for the terminally disaffected to run around yelling that they’re out to overthrow the government and they’ve got the flags and bibles and guns to do it with. T’aint healthy to be sayin’ that sort of shit.

Until 21st century America, that is. Between Faux News and Donald Trump, the country got a special kind of revolutionary, a short bus rider with a big mouth and a small brain. These guys tended to run around saying stuff like “overthrow the government!” and even more puzzling, the ones smart enough to keep their yaps shut suffered having such loud fools in their ranks.

I was puzzled when I heard over the past few days that the Department of Justice had filed indictments of seditious conspiracy against a dozen or so leaders of the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. It wasn’t because I thought these two groups were innocent of such activities: it’s just that in the entire history of the country after Benedict Arnold, no government had made that sort of charge stick outside of war time. Proving intent is nearly impossible in most cases. So it’s rare. It’s very rare.

The first two hours of the January Sixth Select Committee hearings last night showed what an overwhelming case the government had against the leaders of those two groups. Not only did the committee have a plethora of emails and videos (!) and testimony showing clear and evident intent to assault Congress, but they showed that, contrary to the fiction that they were so worked up by Trump’s speech that they just got overenthused, they didn’t even hear the speech—they had already started their march on Congress before Trump started whipping up the crowd. The weapons and militia gear and so on? Oh, just the sort of stuff tourists usually carry, right?

The attack on Congress was premeditated and carefully planned. Subsequent hearings ought to tell us who the insurrectionists liaised with in the Trump administration.

The DOJ is carrying out a deft divide-and-conquer approach to Trump’s insurrection. Go after the brown shirt crowd first: that’s where you’ll find the biggest mouths and the smallest brains. The committee showed just how solid a case they have last night. They produced solid evidence that Trump knew his claims of an election steal were, in the words of Bill Barr, “bullshit” and dropped hints of similar proof of efforts to overthrow the election at the state level, and a bombshell leak that at least four Republican congressmen begged Trump for a pre-emptive pardon in order to avoid criminal culpability.

There’s an old Flemish proverb: “We must hang together or we shall all hang separately.” A similar quote is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but Franklin, like most good political theorists, pinched most of his juicier quotes. The Mob has its code, and street gangs have “Snitches get stitches.” The committee, and the DOJ are kicking apart any possible unity amongst Trump’s minions—not just the SA thugs in the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, but the inept clowns that Trump brought in to run the government in his name.

Everyone will be watching the committee over the next two weeks, of course. If the next five broadcasts are as sensational as this first one, then this will be the biggest story of its type in American history.

What makes this different from Teapot Dome or the attempted Putsch against FDR or Watergate is that the leaders of this mob don’t have enough brains to shut up and slink back into the shadows. Trump doesn’t think his followers are fools; he knows they are fools. But the drawback is that they don’t do subtle. So Trump has to tell them to keep taking bullets for the cause. Which exposes him, of course.

But that will only take him so far, especially since he routinely betrays his followers. (Including January 6th, when he promised his crowd he would lead them to the steps of Congress, and then sneaked off back to the West Wing to watch events unfold on television). Congress, and presumably the DOJ, are exploiting these weaknesses.

The committee meetings should remain utterly fascinating. But the really entertaining show is going to be amongst Trump’s supporters and followers, especially the ones who have been criminally complicit and are now feel as exposed as a no-pants-in-class nightmare. They are going to turn on one another, and that should make for an entertaining, if very messy show.

Don’t bother popping corn for this: just hold the bag up in front of the TV with the news on, and watch it pop itself.

GOP Gun Bravado — Justifying piles of dead kids

GOP Gun Bravado

Justifying piles of dead kids

May 25th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facing Fascism — By their crazy ye shall know them

 

Facing Fascism

By their crazy ye shall know them

 

May 21st, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

When A Party Hits An Iceberg

Back up and ram that sumbitch again!

April 23rd, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then the really big pratfalls began.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three Crises — Any one of which can kill you

Three Crises

Any one of which can kill you

April 16th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unfortunately, nobody will be able to.

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

The Sump Pump that is Trump

Garbage in, Sewage Out

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 30th 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Massie Delusion — Witless Congressman promotes gun lobby’s biggest lie

Massie Delusion

Witless Congressman promotes gun lobby’s biggest lie

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

February 13th, 2022

Ignorant Republican Buffoon is nearly a triply redundant phrase when it comes to describing some members of Congress. Some are stupid. Some are vile. Far too many combine all traits and produce a loud braying that is dangerous to American democracy.

Thomas Massie, (Gun Nut-KY) is one of those. He attracted notice just before Xmas when he sent out a card featuring his family, including young children, brandishing weapons of mass destruction. Nothing says “Peace and Love for the Holidays” like a little girl with a Mac-10. I wonder how many of her classmates will die because there’s so many children with access to so much firepower. He also attributed this quote to Voltaire: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” While it’s not difficult to imagine Voltaire saying something like that, the quote was actually from a neo-Nazi pedophile, one Kevin Alfred Strom, who said it in terms of Jews secretly ruling the world. Interesting role model you got there, Tommy.

More recently, he made the outlandish claim that “Over 70% of Americans who died with COVID, died on Medicare.” I’ve got news for you, Tommy. Ninety-nine percent of all humans that ever lived breathed oxygen and are now dead. Better stop breathing oxygen, Tommy.

So Tommy has a well-worn record for being vile and ignorant.

But he managed to top himself over the week end, as part of his pose of willing, crawling subservience in the name of Donald J. Trump and gun nuts everywhere.

According to David Badash at the New Civil Rights Movement, “A U.S. Congressman is calling on Americans to own ‘sufficient’ weaponry to overthrow the government, suggesting they should do so “if 30 to 40 percent agree” the nation is living under ‘tyranny.’

“If 30 to 40 percent could agree that this was legitimate tyranny and it needed to be thrown off they need to have sufficient power without asking for extra permission – it should be right there and completely available to them in their living room in order to effect the change,” U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) said in a video (below) posted by Right Wing Watch.

It really scary how many gun nuts believe that nonsense. Oh, 30 to 40% of the general population would be enough to foment a revolution, but the United States is nowhere near that now. For all the romantic nonsense about colonists having guns to fight the British with, the fact is deaths by gunfire were well under 10,000 on all sides, with greater numbers coming from hypothermia, infection, and non-gun wounds. It will be of interest to anti-vaxxers to know that during that same 8.3 year period, over 130,000 colonists died of smallpox.

Gun nuts love to claim that the Second Amendment exists to empower the people to overthrow the government. They always quote the second part, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” but leave out “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…” That collection of gun industry whores and Russian spies that make up the NRA literally leave out that first part.

Other gun nuts claim that the militia exists to fight the government. This even has some backing from amongst the Founders, with James Madison arguing, “a standing army… would be opposed [by] a militia.” and “would be able to repel the danger” of a federal army.

In the end, they decided to make the militia a federal force, under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” Obviously the militia isn’t meant to overthrow the federal or state governments if the only entities that can finance them, equip them, appoint their officers and call them out are the same governments the gun nuts say the militia is there to overthrow!

Instead, the Founders decided to limit the federal force. Article I, Section 8, Clause 12:

[The Congress shall have Power . . . ] To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; . . . “

If there is a mechanism meant to overthrow the federal government, it is there. Just don’t provide new funding for the US military for more than two more years. I doubt that will popular amongst the strutters and cringers of the far right, who hate federal power but love federal military might. (Honestly, have any of them ever actually thought this through?)

That state militia even exist was a sop to the South, who wanted people to raise slave gangs to capture runaways and rebellionists without having to go to the trouble of deputizing them. They existed to capture or shoot slaves for reading or having unapproved churches, not overthrowing the government.

The civilian militia are even sillier. I can’t imagine any of them lasting 5 seconds against a platoon of Marines, or SEALS. Even with all those guns.

Tallyrand has been credited with the line, “Treason is mostly a matter of timing.” Fire on the government and have popular support and win, and you’re a hero. Rebel foolishly and without popular support, and you’re a bullet-riddled corpse in a gutter whose next-of-kin might disavow.

If violence does arise, it will be extremely bloody, and even if it’s just 5% of the population, it might destabilize the country enough that it collapses. Why do you think the NRA gets so much support from the Putin regime, and why is it financed by corporate fascists intent on seizing control of the country?

Massie is an idiot, and would remain so even if he read this. But people have the ability to keep the idiots in check. Now is a good time to start.

 

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