Cassidy Hutchinson — Blowing the fucking doors off the Beast

 

Cassidy Hutchinson

Blowing the fucking doors off the Beast

June 28th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

zeppscommentaries.online

When the announcement came, just 24 hours prior, that the January 6th Select Committee was going to have an unexpected public meeting today, it was safe to assume that they had found something big. While not as legally damning as some of the testimony in prior sessions, it was nonetheless riveting, and while a fair bit of it was he-said she-said and thus of little use at trial, I suspect a great deal of further evidence awaits in the wings.

Cassidy Hutchinson’s testimony was pretty amazing. It’s not often a President tries to force the Secret Service to allow heavily armed men into the area where he is giving a speech on the grounds of “They aren’t here to hurt me!”. Never heard of a president trying to grab the steering wheel of the presidential limo to override security mandates, or throwing his lunch against the wall of the White House.

I had always assumed that when Trump returned to the White House rather than leading his coalition of neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and dingbats to conquer Congress, it was just Trump being a coward and leaving others out hanging in the wind while he ran to safety.

It turns out, according to Hutchinson, that this was far from the case. Trump was furious, and having a complete tantrum when the Secret Service refused to allow him to take part in an armed assault on Congress. He screamed, he cursed, he threw his happy meal against the walls of the executive dining room (Hutchinson relates how she helped a hapless valet to clean the ketchup stains from the wall) and he even tried to throttle the Secret Service agent who was driving “the Beast”, i.e., the Presidential limo.

There’s an old Jim Croce song that comes to mind here: “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, you don’t spit in the wind, you don’t pull the mask of the old Lone Ranger and you don’t [paraphrasing a bit here] fuck with the Secret Service.” The idea of bloated, aged, out-of-shape Donald Trump trying to throttle a guy who could probably hog-tie him in ten seconds flat is both silly and horrifying.

Trump shouted, “I’m the fucking president! Take me up to the Capitol now!” But the driver had his orders. Protect the country, protect the President. It probably never occurred to his bosses that the decision was actually to protect the country from the President.

Trump was probably hoping to envision a triumphant meeting with Pence and the Congress, one similar to the one a triumphant Hitler had with von Hindenberg and the Reichstag in January 1933 where he wrested unearned power from a weakened and demoralized opposition. Or at least, some demented Riefenstahl version of that event that he probably held near and dear.

Gleichschaltung, or Nazification, would be sure to follow. Think I’m kidding? Trump for years kept a copy of Hitler’s “My New Order” in his bedside stand. He was (and probably still is) a great admirer of Hitler, and considered the collection of speeches a primer on how to go about amassing and sustaining power. America may never really know how close to a fall into the horrors of Nazism it came that day.

“Please make sure we don’t go up to the Capitol,” White House counsel Pat Cippollone had told Hutchinson on the morning of Jan. 6. “‘We’re going to get charged with every crime imaginable if we make that movement happen.'” That is why the Secret Service drove a kicking and screaming Trump to the West Wing rather than Congress. Cippollone probably did Trump a big favor. Had Trump waddled onto the House for in a dramatic recreation of Hitler and von Hindenburg, flanked by the Qanon shaman and all the rest of the crazies, he probably would have been hanged or shot by now.

One of the most striking moments came when Hutchinson related how a frantic and desperate Trump tried to get the Secret Service to permit people armed with AR-15s and other weaponry into the area immediately in front of where he gave his January 6th speech. “I don’t fucking care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me,” Trump said, according to Hutchinson. “Let my people in, they can march to the Capitol from here. Let the people in, take the mags away.”

They weren’t there to hurt Trump. But they were there to hurt someone. If they can prove Trump said that, it might be the single most self-incriminating thing he said that day.

I had been wondering why the Committee suddenly sprung Hutchinson on the public the way they did. Her testimony, lurid as it was, wasn’t anything that couldn’t have waiting until the Committee had its next scheduled session sometime around mid-July. Presented with little corroborating evidence, it wouldn’t rise to the level of admissibility, although I’m sure there is corroborating evidence, and lots of it.

There are seven primaries today, including in Wyoming, where Liz Cheney is widely expected to be primaried. There’s nothing Republicans hate more than politicians who put country ahead of party, so she’s probably toast. Several pundits suggested that the session was timed to influence the primaries, but that’s nonsense. The political fallout from the meetings takes several days to percolate out into broad public consciousness, and it’s unlikely that 10% of those voting today would have known about the events of today’s session when they voted.

I suspect that the real reason for the rush was that hundreds of Trump supporters wanted Hutchinson dead before she could testify. It may have been problematic keeping her alive for three or four weeks as scalded-cat outrage from Trump galvanized the People Who Aren’t Here to Hurt Trump to go out and do plenty of hurt to the target that Trump clearly feared.

Now that she has testified, most of Trump’s more rabid brownshirts might realize that the cost/benefit ratio of shooting this twenty-five year old woman would no longer work in their favor. That, and the public knows who she is now, and they can’t quite risk attacking a figure that public. She should be reasonably safe now. Besides, between gays, teachers, town councils and all the traditional enemies of Nazism, Trump’s brownshirts have many others to threaten and intimidate.

In the meanwhile, thank you, Cassidy Hutchinson. You truly have done your country a service, and hopefully there’s a Presidential Citizens Medal in your future.

Zealots — The battle is joined

Zealots

The battle is joined

June 25th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Nothing exposes the utter ethical and logical bankruptcy of zealotry than the two decisions the once-and-not-bright-future Supreme Court handed down this week.

First, they celebrated the ever-growing piles of dead children by ruling that states could not put any limitations on concealed-carry except, of course, for “sensitive areas” such as…the Supreme Court. They don’t want to have to take the same risks they want to impose on the rest of us.

Then two days later the Court struck down Roe vs. Wade, ruling that states had the right to put limitations on abortion, including making it illegal under any and all circumstances.

So in the space of just 48 hours, the Court ruled that the Court could not impose limitations on the second amendment, and then ruled that states could impose limitations on the ninth and fourteenth amendments.

The first ruling ensures greater numbers of dead people, including children. The second was done in the nebulous name of “saving children.” It’s the kind of inconsistency that lies at the heart of the zealot’s mindset.

Zealotry is hard to tell apart from insanity. Zealotry is an externalized morality and intellect, one aptly described by Voltaire who said, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Most (but far from all) zealots aren’t lacking sanity—they merely reject it.

Donald Trump isn’t a zealot. It’s perhaps an interesting paradox that nihilism is a good emotional defense against zealotry. If you believe in nothing, you are much less likely to believe absurdities, right? Of course, the drawback is that nihilists also commit atrocities, and unlike many zealots, do so with the full recognition of what their actions entail—they just don’t care. In fact they may even enjoy the suffering they cause.

Trump is a nihilist posing as a zealot. So today, he praised the court ruling on abortion as “God made the decision.” Of course, he then went on to take the credit from God, saying that the decision wouldn’t have been possible without his three disgraceful Supreme Court picks. Anyone who thinks God and Trump are interchangeable on any level has one shit God. They already had a shit President.

The zealots control the Court. They have a stranglehold on Congress. They threaten to take over the entire country in the next six months. It’s not something new in history: Zealots have taken over many countries in history, and the result, without exception, is misery, deprivation, and slaughter. All the worst “revolutionary governments” in history were controlled and largely were composed of zealots; revolutionary France, Nazi Germany, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Kampuchea, Lenin’s Russia, Pinochet’s Chile, Iran’s Islamic Republic, Cromwell’s England…the list is endless.

Usually countries so afflicted need decades to recover. Some, such as the Congo or Cambodia, never do fully recover.

When zealots take over, personal and legal freedoms cease to exist. The same people who like to claim rights are God-given don’t hesitate to ensure they are God-taken, and as always, God is an obliging doormat who shares all of a zealot’s most cherished beliefs.

The Court decisions this week show how close to the maw of authoritarian zealotry America has already come. Clarence Thomas, disgraced justice on that same court, publicly stated in his decision that the court now needs to “revisit” rulings upholding the right to contraception and same-sex marriages. No word on how the esteemed judge feels about mixed-race marriages or laws against slavery.

States run by zealots are rushing to put laws into effect that make it criminal to give or receive abortions, to travel to other states for abortions, or to even advocate for the right to an abortion. Some are trying to outlaw “morning after” pills, along with contraception. A couple of states are trying to fig leaf their assault on the rights and freedoms of women by promising to expand state assistance to mothers and their young children, but in the few cases where any details are available, the measures are ridiculously inadequate, showing their mitigation measures to be nothing more than a half-hearted swipe at the pretense that they are “caring about the children.”

The hearings by the January 6th Select Committee, and the reception they are getting, show that there are still many people in America who value justice and freedom and rationality.

I think we’re going to need every single one of those types of people. This isn’t just an assault on rights and freedoms; it’s the opening shot in a war that can only be prevented by enough people facing the zealots down and saying, “Enough.”

Zealots won’t back off. They won’t settle for a half loaf. They’ll take it all, and laugh at your suffering.

Resist as hard as you can now, or you will be fighting for “life, liberty and freedom” later—and it won’t be cheap.

But don’t despair. We’re not dead yet. Voltaire also said, “‎Life is a shipwreck, but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.”

Sing as you resist.

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.

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.

Facing Fascism — By their crazy ye shall know them

 

Facing Fascism

By their crazy ye shall know them

 

May 21st, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

White Inferiors — Two individuals roil America

White Inferiors

Two individuals roil America

May 15th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The results would be pretty much the same.

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

They must be stopped.

They will kill you if they seize power.

The Alito Case — No Constitutional or Biblical Basis

The Alito Case

No Constitutional or Biblical Basis

May 4th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

 

Other Truckers — Expect tactic deployed in Ottawa to spread

Other Truckers

Expect tactic deployed in Ottawa to spread

February 8th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

By now, people who thought Ottawa was an indigenous tribe in Kansas know of the Canadian capital. Ottawa in February is a bleak, gray place, buried in snow and still beset by temperatures well below freezing. It’s the second coldest national capital on Earth next only to Ulan Bator, Mongolia. Yes, it’s even colder than Moscow.

The place comes to life in the Spring, which is usually on a Tuesday. The world-famous tulips erupt, the forests are eye-searingly green, and the tourists arrive. Winter returns in November and the place goes back to a monotonal study in gray: gray skies, gray buildings, gray streets, gray slush. Even the residents get a bit gray as the tans wear off. Only night relieves the grayness.

So Ottawa doesn’t make the news very much, and even in the rest of Canada people don’t know much about the place outside of Parliament Hill. It has two seasons, really: Life is Wonderful, and Oh, God, Please Kill Me Now.

How is it I know so much about the place? It’s the city of my birth, and I spent a fair bit of my childhood there. Wonderful people, but not exactly the wildest place to grow up in.

The truckers rally/protest changed all that. It is, at its heart, an astroturf movement. Fully 90% of all licensed eighteen-wheel operators in Canada are fully vaccinated and can cross the border freely. And it’s a pretty safe bet that even amongst the unvaccinated drivers, only a small minority are willing to sign on to a movement that enrages most Canadians, paralyzes cities, and features such non-Canadian flags as the American rebel flag, Trump flags, and even swastikas. Nearly all the known funding underwriting this movement is coming from American sources. Most of the cheerleading of politicians are among the scummier Americans, such as Donald Trump, and some of the scummier American politicians who renounced their Canadian citizenships in hopes that people wouldn’t notice they can’t be president, such as Ted Cruz. Compare with actual Canadian politicians, where rabid dissent come in the form of “Well, they might have a point. Let’s listen to what they have to say.”

Canada has right wing extremists, but nothing like the neo-Nazi madness that has beset America for the past six years or so. Fascists haven’t been able to flood the population with propaganda the way they have in America. Canada has no equivalent to Faux News, or fascist propaganda pits such as the Heritage Society or the Federalist Society.

But it does have social media, which has been a boon for the extremists. They figured that out right away—even back in the 80s, when “on line” meant local privately owned networks called “BBSes” or Bulletin Board Systems, right wing extremists flooded the nets with neo-Nazi, KKK and Christian fascist propaganda. They began with a presence far out-sized to their actual numbers, and they do to this day. Coupled with financial and communication support from America’s fascist billionaires, they were able to transform a small and powerless fringe group into a force that has paralyzed several cities and as of today, the busiest single border crossing spot in North America, the bridge that connects Windsor with Detroit.

It’s an effective tactic. Ordering a fleet of 18-wheelers to disperse isn’t going to work if the drivers of the trucks don’t want to disperse. All they have to do is set their air brakes, and moving said truck will be nearly impossible.

But what little popularity the movement had is evaporating fast. Residents felt besieged by the endless sounding of air horns and fireworks, and a court finally did uphold an injunction against that tactic in Ottawa yesterday. A significant incident late last week is getting a lot of attention: two males ignited fire starter blocks in the lobby of a 400 unit apartment building near the wood panelling of the lobby, and then used duct tape to make the lobby doors impossible to open from the inside. If the parties responsible were associated with the truckers in any way, the events just slopped over from raucous demonstration and major annoyance into the realm of outright terrorism. Fortunately, the arson attempt failed, and nobody was hurt.

Ottawa authorities have already blocked fuel from entering the truck zone, leaving the truckers to deal with Ottawa’s marvelous February climate once the tanks run dry. I would advocate that the RCMP and other authorities go through the ranks of the trucks, demanding passports and/or licenses from the drivers, with the promise that they will get them back at the city limits, and if they try the same thing a second time, the papers would be confiscated. It probably wouldn’t hurt to let the citizenry of Ottawa to parade peacefully amongst the trucks, chanting, blowing whistles, and beating drums. After all, if the truckers don’t want people to get any sleep, then there’s no reason they should be able to enjoy a nice nap while they freeze.

Because Canadians did get vaccinated in large numbers (83% as opposed to America’s 61%) several provinces are already planning to drop mask and access provisions over the next couple of months, and barring any more surprises from this disease, can do so safely. But border crossings will still be problematic, particular since the Canadians aren’t the only ones who demand proof of vaccination at the border.

This tactic will spread rapidly to America, where the outcomes are much more likely to turn bloody.

If Canadians find a solution that doesn’t get people hurt and opens up the roads again, not only will it be good for Canadians, but it may save many lives in America.

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