The Wave Breaks — But the sand persists

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 20th, 2022

zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Last Election? — Or jumping off place?

Last Election?

Or jumping off place?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 5th 2023

zeppscommentaries.online

Trump has been teasing his cult that he will announce if he’s running for President in 2024 or not on November 14th. That happens to be the day he has to comply with the January 6th Committee’s subpoena to appear, but I don’t think that is it. For one thing, the committee gave him an extra week.

No, the main thinking is that it’s his time after the mid-term elections. His entire strategy for the next two years rests on whether the GOP win the House and Senate or not.

If the Democrats keep the House, he might want to rile up his base whether he complies or not. Being morally bereft, they’ll be fine with it either way. He’ll be pushing the ‘stolen election’ narrative and hoping to foment a revolution.

What happens if the Republicans take Congress?

He might see that happen. Fivethirtyeight.com is one of the few outfits not interested in blowing smoke up the asses of one side or the other, but even then, a lot of the polls they use have become increasingly suspect, partly from political influence, and partly from an out-of-date methodology (many voters, particularly younger ones, don’t even HAVE landlines, and because of the huge numbers of spam and scam calls we all get, anyone with caller ID tends to not answer calls from unfamiliar numbers). And this year, pollsters are ignoring the elephant in the room, and not asking about abortion.

And because “common sense” says that incumbent presidents lose seats in the midterm election, and the supposition that inflation hurts the party in power, so pollsters are uncritically saying it looks like a Republican election, with gains in the House and Senate. Add the factors of gerrymandering, voter suppression, and voter intimidation that the GOP is engaging in, and a Republican win seems likely. Certainly Donald must think so. But then, he didn’t expect to lose power in 2021, either.

If the Republicans do take the House and Senate, he will certainly announce that he’s running for President.

He can quit worrying about his legal problems. First thing the House will do is shut down the Congressional investigation. And they will launch endless “investigations” of the Department of Justice that should completely hogtie Merrick Garland. State cases will face increasingly hostile courts as suborned judges blindly rule in favor of Trump, going to any ludicrous length they can to protect him. We’ve already seen quite a bit of that. Sammy, Slappy, and the Three Trump Stooges will be Trump’s refuge from then on.

The House will revert to the kangaroo court hearings that were the mainstay of the GOP House Rule going back to the Newt Gingrich years, only this group are even crazier and nastier.

MAGA followers, emboldened, will intimidate and harass all dissenting opinion. I wouldn’t rule out pogroms and a Kristallnacht or two. Targets will be blacks, Hispanics, anyone suspected of “sexual deviancy,” Moslems (including Sikhs, Amish, and anyone who “looks like an Arab”), and Jews “who don’t support Israel.”

Then Donald can run without any impediment from the law or popular sentiment.

Nor will he have to worry about losing the election. If the GOP control the methods of counting the votes and determining who will be permitted to vote, it won’t matter if the voters hate Donald or not. He will get elected, just the same way Stalin and Xi and other autocrats got elected. Republicans know they can’t win an honest election; they make sure they can’t lose a dishonest one.

The GOP have promised to do away with Social Security and Medicare, and will go after workers’ rights, civil rights, environmental protections, and anything that might annoy or inconvenience a major corporation.

Voters will be too busy fighting to survive to care about fighting the government, and will be hit with a wave of propaganda about how the new misery that makes up their lives is a result of the failed “great experiment” that imposed liberalism and godlessness on the citizenry. They just won’t mention that that experiment began in 1789.

Personally, I fully expect to end up in the camps if the Republicans win this time. I’m a blasphemer, you see, a liberal, an intellectual, and a socialist. Why, with a record like that I don’t even have to be guilty of any crime, but no worries: courts in the land of Trump will be happy to secure convictions for the greater good of the party.

Think I’m exaggerating? Boy, I sure would like to think so. But I’ve read history, you see. I know how this sort of thing goes, and I don’t for an instant believe Americans are immune. There’s a reason the French and the Germans are watching events here with a mixture of horror and disgust. They’ve been down that road. They know all about having a Strong Leader to Make the Country Great Again in the Name of God. The leader won’t be strong; he’ll be brittle and cruel. The country won’t be great again; you’ll just get propaganda telling you it will become great only when enemies both inside and out have been eliminated, and they are the reason there is no food or services. And as usual, God will be silent, but every vicious opportunistic jackass in the country will be willing to speak up on his behalf—and amazingly, it turns out God hates anyone who so much as doubts Trump.

Can’t happen here? Folks, it very nearly has. We’re only one step away. And we might take that step Tuesday.

Big Liars tell Big Lies — Refuting a string of whoppers

Big Liars tell Big Lies

Refuting a string of whoppers

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 25th 2022

zeppscommentaries.online

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

(Goebbels) 

The OSS psychological profile of Hitler described his use of the big lie:

His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.

Even though he hasn’t officially declared for President, Trump released an unabashed campaign ad the other day. It’s worth noting that I was shown the ad by an indignant Trump supporter who showed that Facebook declared that the ad had “sensitive content” and “may show violent or graphic content.” and had to be clicked in order to view. Facebook has absurd censorship policies, and they were just as stupid here: the ad is not violent or graphic.

While like all things Trump, it was long-winded (almost four minutes) and self-serving, compared to his multi-hour harangues of the sort that dictators seem to delight in, it did put his top twenty (actually, only nineteen here) lies and mistruths in one easy-to-discuss spot. So lets discuss it.

We are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation.”

People have been saying that about the United States dating back to the 18th century. Trump is hoping that his followers will think this is a new development that only started in 2021. Yes, the country is in trouble, but he and his cult following are the biggest single threat now.

We are a nation that has the highest inflation in over 40 years.”

Yup, and it’s a world-wide phenomenon. Indeed, the US has the lowest inflation rate of nearly all developed nations. Some, like Germany, are nearly double the rate afflicting the US. No Republican has offered a solution to this, while Biden has worked to release oil reserves and undercut corporate gouging on oil prices.

The stock market just finished the worst first-half of the year in more than five decades.”

Carefully phased, since the second half of 2019 saw a far bigger decline. Incidentally, despite being generally bearish this year, the Dow is STILL above the peak it reached under Trump.

We are a nation that has the highest energy costs in its history.”

True, but that’s the fault of Putin, the Saudis, and oil companies. The big three had net profits of over $110 billion in the second quarter, nearly double what they made in the same quarter the year before.

We are no longer energy independent or energy dominant, which we were just two short years ago.”

On fossil fuels, the US is energy-even so far as imports and exports go. On alternate energy sources, we enjoy a clear surplus. The only thing we are dependent on is the charity and good faith of multinational oil companies, which means we are trying to live on a soap bubble.

We are a nation that is begging Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for oil.”

Saudi Arabia cut production in a bald-faced attempt to manipulate the American election. They want corporate fascists running America, because they know that they will work hard to keep Americans dependent on oil, the world’s biggest suicide pact. Biden did sound out an agreement with Venezuela, but you can’t have your cake and eat it: either Biden should be looking to lower oil prices, or shut the fuck up.

We are a nation that surrendered in Afghanistan leaving behind dead soldiers, American citizens, and $85 billion of the finest military equipment in the world.”

Trump unilaterally issued a treaty that would have pulled all US troops out within a month. The Pentagon, utterly appalled, managed to get it reworked to the bug-out date was moved to March 2021. That was still far too soon, with predicable results. Trump certainly could predict them; he created them by ordering the release of 10,000 Taliban members the US had in prison in Afghanistan the week before he announced the unilateral pull-out.

We are a nation that allowed Russia to devastate a country, Ukraine, killing hundreds of thousands of people and it will only get worse.”

I invite anyone to explain how Trump would have stood up to Putin on anything. I wonder how much confidential military information on Ukraine were in those stolen documents that Trump left office with, and how many of them got passed along to his buddy Putin.

We are a nation that has weaponized its law enforcement against the opposing political party like never before”

Well, law enforcement is supposed to catch law breakers. Deal with it Donald. But you can scare your supporters by pointing out that if Republican criminals aren’t safe, than no criminal is safe.

We are a nation that no longer has a free and fair press. Fake news is about all you get.”

See Goebbels quote above.

We are a nation where free speech is not allowed…”

Well, I suppose he did have to pay in advance for that ad. It’s pretty bloody silly to tell an audience of millions that your voice is being repressed.

We are a nation where crime is rampant like never before…”

The crime rate did go up between 2019 and 2020, the latest year we have statistics for. It’s still 40% below the crime rate in 1990, which in turn was far below that of 1975. By the way, who was President in 2020?

We are a nation where the economy is collapsing…”

No, Trump. Your criminal business empire is collapsing. Capitalism may implode, but Republicans will be one of the main reasons for that, allowing an unprecedented concentration of wealth that exceeds the Gilded Age of the 1920s, or the decade leading up to the French revolution.

We are a nation where more people died of COVID in 2021 than in 2020…”

New virus variants—Delta and Omicron—were responsible for that. The death rate has been sharply declining (about 250/day now compared to up to 4,000/day early in 2021) but here’s an interesting stat: the majority of those dying from COVID are registered Republicans, who only make up 29% of the population.

.”We are a nation where that is allowing Iran to build a massive nuclear weapon and China to use the trillions and trillions of dollars it has taken from the United States to build a military to rival our own…”

There’s no evidence that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, although thanks to Trump unilaterally ending the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, there’s no mechanism to prevent them now beyond their own distaste for such weapons, which are considered fatwa—an affront to Allah. And while China has a formidable military, the “Trillions and Trillions of dollars” weren’t taken from the US: the corporations gave that money to China for cheap labor and lax health and safety standards. Trump himself has added billions to the Chinese treasury, including much of the rubbish he sells to his gullible followers at his endless rallies.

We are a nation that over the past two years is no longer respected or listened to all around the world…”

Does that one even need a response? I’ll just note that Trump was not invited to the Queen’s funeral. Biden was. Trump was hurt. He wanted to sit on the Queen’s coffin so everyone would be looking at him.

We are a nation that is hostile to liberty and freedom and faith…”

Americans are hostile to the notion that only a small portion of the population is entitled to liberty, freedom and religious choice. Those rights are for EVERYONE, not just white Republicans.

We are a nation whose economy is floundering and stores are not stocked and whose deliveries are not coming and whose educational system is ranked at the bottom of everyone else…”

The US educational system is in trouble, under unceasing attacks from fascists and zealots on the far right. The LAST thing Trump and his people want is an educated populace.

We are a nation that in many ways has become a joke.”

No, Trump. You are the joke. A very bad joke.

We are Americans and Americans kneel to god and god alone.”

My only response to that is “Fuck you and whatever trash religion you pretend to observe.” Free Americans kneel to nobody against their will. The Constitution’s main promise is that no church can avail itself of state power to further its ends.

1932 vs 2022 — The ‘last chance’ election

1932 vs 2022

The ‘last chance’ election

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 20th, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Back in the 1930s a lot of industrialists, not just in Germany but among most of the western democracies, gave aid and support to the National Socialist German Workers’ Party of Germany. The Nazis. Part of it was fear of communism. They had seen a successful revolution in Russia, and the popularity of communist and less extreme socialist parties was on the rise as the world was in the grip of a seemingly unending depression. Capitalism had suffered an economic collapse, and capitalists are like housecats: they consider themselves wholly independent and self-reliant and are totally oblivious to their complete need for the system that supports them.

In America, it was Franklin D. Roosevelt and the First One Hundred Days that prevented complete and utter economic collapse. Few people know that the day FDR took office, one third of American states were accepting script in lieu of American currency. Despite that, as the nation slowly and painfully backed away from the precipice, capitalists tried an abortive coup against FDR just months into his first term.

They felt that the solutions offered by Hitler were more likely to save them, and possibly the nation, than those offered by FDR. Then, like now, they had a disgraced General to be the face of the revolution: Smedley Butler then, and Michael Flynn now. Many of the same families that fed money and resources into the coup attempt then—the Bush family, the Morgans, the Scaifes, the DuPonts—now support MAGA.

They knew the odds of overthrowing the US government were slim, but they had promoted the Nazi Party. The reasoning then was the same as the reasoning their 21st century correlates have now: they knew they were supporting an erratic megalomaniac and risked totally destabilizing the country and throwing an already divided and desperate population into a nightmare age, but they believed that they could control the monster, stop some of his excesses, and ensure that he didn’t destroy his entire country, taking them down with him. They were wrong then. There is little reason to hope they won’t be wrong now.

As was the case then, they played up economic desperation, trumped-up fears of “others”, and vast amounts of propaganda to bend popular sentiment.

The problem is that had Trump or Hitler been working in a political vacuum, hated and reviled by the vast majority of the population, then they would have been able to control them, although that’s little guarantee that the results would have been much better. Capitalists by nature are fascist, and fascists are cruel, incompetent, and corrupt. Always. Without exception.

After four years of the most inept, dishonest and vicious administration, perhaps in all of US history, Trump was still able to attract over 74 million votes. His party is riddled with Trump acolytes, some of whom are certifiable lunatics. Which is why you have states declaring foetuses to be people, or banning the mention of the existence of transsexuals, or declaring openly that they will challenge any election they don’t win, but not any they do win. At least two Congressional candidates—one of whom is an incumbent—have the unanimous opposition of their own families, who are begging the public to reject their own flesh and blood on the grounds that they are destructive and dangerous maniacs. Both are MAGA Republicans, of course. Ron DeSantis has taken up shipping people and stranding them, only a step removed from sending them to camps. House Minority Leader McCarthy has said he will cut aid to Ukraine, and Republicans are promising to force defaults on the debt unless Democrats agree to the same draconian economic policies that bombed the British economy and got Liz Truss tossed from office after just 45 days.

Remember, America doesn’t have a Parliamentary democracy. There are no votes of no-confidence, no easy mechanism to remove the stupid and the dangerous. We’re pretty much stuck with them. And America’s one brake on congressional and state misgovernance, the courts, have been badly suborned by the Republicans. Most judges are honest, but that’s not true of the Supreme Court, which is now run by fascists and religious nuts.

Comparisons between MAGA and the Nazis, between Germany in 1932 and America right now, are not hyperbole. In both cases, you have powerful moneyed interests working hard to appeal to the disaffected with vicious propaganda and promises to make the country great, spearheaded by a vicious charlatan who openly flaunts his personal viciousness and ethical, moral bankruptcy.

If Republicans take over the House, it’s all over. Abortion will be banned nationwide. Gays and transgenders are next on the chopping block, followed by Muslims, immigrants, Hispanics and other minorities. More books will burn. More workers rights will vanish, along with consumer protections. Major oil companies will decide what is best for us to know about the burning of fossil fuels. And your vote will be utterly pointless because the Republicans will control how those votes are counted.

In three weeks, we’ll know if the US has a future or not, and if we have a future or not. Remember Germany in 1932, and try to turn back now. There won’t be any other chances.

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

September 4th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

www.zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy of the State — What to do about Trump if the legal system fails?

Enemy of the State

What to do about Trump if the legal system fails?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

August 23rd, 2022

Ever since the FBI served a subpoena on Trump at his residence at Mar-A-Lago, things have just looked worse and worse for the disgraced former president. The New York Times reported yesterday that the FBI secured more than 300 documents that were classified ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’, totaling some 600 pages. Trump had no business having them in the first place, and it has now come to light, according to the Times, that “the 15 boxes Mr. Trump turned over to the archives in January, nearly a year after he left office, included documents from the C.I.A., the National Security Agency and the F.B.I. spanning a variety of topics of national security interest.” The Times goes on to say that Trump went through the boxes himself in “late 2021” which means he had to know what the contents were. Even if he wasn’t bright enough to understand the nuances of what he was stealing, he could clearly see the security designations on each one.

Trump’s guilt is evident. His latest filing admits he knowingly took the documents. He lied about having the documents. When he finally turned some over in January, he lied again and said he didn’t have any more. He admits that he went through them personally. I can’t help but marvel at the aching silence of Republicans who screamed for years about Sandy Berger, who took secure documents home but with no malign intent and was tried and punished, or Hillary Clinton, who had some emails on an unsecured server. Neither was 1% as serious as what Trump did.

It doesn’t help that Trump is making veiled threats both on his ridiculous Twitter knock-off, and on Faux News. He said, “People are so angry at what is taking place. Whatever we can do to help— because the temperature has to be brought down in the country. If it isn’t, terrible things are going to happen.”

Trump’s support is eroding quickly, so it may be an increasingly empty threat. Even the must rabid cult followers have to realize that if Trump is, in fact, a traitor, supporting him could damage reputations. As if being a MAGAt doesn’t.

Nice country youse got here. It would be a shame if SOMETHING should happen to it.

Given Trump’s level of literacy and intellectual laziness, I think we can dismiss the explanation offered by some Trump apologists that he took the documents (illegally) in order to do research for his memoirs. The man would be held back in the third grade, for Pete’s sake! He is no writer; one of his most vocal critics is the fellow who actually wrote “The Art of the Deal.”

Trump loved the trappings of office, and it’s been suggested that he wanted mementos of his time in power. But Trump loves the gaudy, the crass. He wouldn’t steal dry double-spaced documents; he would steal the White House cutlery, White House statuary, pictures of himself with world leaders.

It’s also been suggested that he took the documents in hopes of selling them to foreign powers. Certainly there is a market there; China, possibly, and almost certainly Russia. Trump may well have GIVEN Putin national secrets as a quid pro quo for the Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

But I think Michael Powell, former Trump personal lawyer and torpedo, a man who has spent decades immersed in the absolute depravity, dishonesty and cruelty of Trumpworld, has the right idea. He thinks Trump is planning to extort America. It’s his ‘get out of jail free’ card.

That makes sense. Beyond all the “stolen election” bluster, Trump had to know he lost, and that the Republicans had lost the House, as well. He still had the Senate, but as the January 6th primary drew near, his advisors had to know there was a chance that Democrats might win both special elections in Georgia (which they did) and at that point, he would be open to Congressional investigations. After his failed coup attempt, he probably took some chances, stealing documents that could cripple America.

The FBI taking those boxes hasn’t ended that threat: we don’t know they got everything he stole, or how much he scanned and put in a safe spot on the internet for release In The Event Of.

He suspects (with good cause) that he might be able to threaten the legal system into dropping the matter. Should the voters give Republicans control of the House, any pretense of serving national interest will vanish overnight and the January 6th Committee disbanded and its members, along with the DOJ, at the mercy of some of the scummiest creatures in America in a parade of endless showcase ‘investigation.’ Republican have already openly made that threat.

Capitalism, which Trump epitomizes, and a degraded form of Christianity have corrupted the judicial system just enough that Trump could get convictions overturned there. Do you really think THIS Supreme Court would uphold convictions for Insurrection or even Treason?

The remaining question is how badly Trump has corrupted the intelligence services. We know the Secret Service is corrupt. There is strong evidence that the Homeland Security Inspector-General is corrupt. But is it corrupt enough?

Well, Trump might be betting his life on that. If the CIA is still true to its mission, and believes that Trump is willfully extorting or profiting from national secrets, then they might just respond in the time-honored fashion of spy agencies, and engage in some black ops against Trump. I doubt the Secret Service would want to face that particular threat. And the MAGA crowd, no matter how loyal to Trump, wouldn’t have a chance.

Obviously, the far better recourse is to have Trump stand trial, fair and open and scrupulously honest, and if convicted, go to jail. That beats the hell out of seeing a former President assassinated by the government, which no matter what the circumstances, is a horrible route for America to take. But Trump isn’t in the habit of offering reasonable options, so this has to be on someone’s mind at DHS headquarters.

Hopefully, Trump will consider that—and take his chances with an honest trial without threats against the country.

Will that happen? Well, this IS Trump.

Prepare for the worse.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier…Donald Trump — Disgraced Ex-President facing charges of espionage

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier…Donald Trump

Disgraced President facing charges of espionage

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

August 12th 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Property to be seized

“All physical documents and records constituting evidence, contraband, fruits of crime, or other items illegally possessed in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 793, 2071, or 1519, including the following:
a. Any physical documents with classification markings, along with any containers/boxes (including any other contents) in which such documents are located, as well as any other containers/boxes that are collectively stored or found together with the aforementioned documents and containers/boxes;
b. Information, including communications in any form, regarding the retrieval, storage, or transmission of national defense information or classified material ;
c. Any government and/or Presidential Records created between January 20, 2017, and January 20, 2021; or
d. Any evidence of the knowing alteration, destruction, or concealment of any government and/or Presidential Records, or of any documents with classification markings.”

The search warrant that was served on Donald Trump includes cites of the United States Code that could result in prison sentences of 3, 10, and 20 years on each count by which Trump ends up convicted. And each seemingly has evidence supporting multiple counts.

First, a quick glance at the codes Trump apparently has violated. I included links to the actual text so people can see for themselves. 793 alone runs several pages. It’s the one Trump needs to worry the most about: it’s not an accusation of actual espionage, but rather a basis for which a criminal charge of espionage might be made. In essence it says, “this is what the guy had, and it’s clear he had no legitimate reason to have it and it could be given or sold to people to use against us.” By itself it’s a grave charge, and if convicted, Trump would be banned from ever holding any office or position of public trust ever again. Assuming, of course, he lived long enough to get out of jail. Maybe he can hope President Boebert will pardon him.

Let’s start with the statutes cited as the basis for the warrant. 18 U.S.C. §§ 793 begins, Whoever, for the purpose of obtaining information respecting the national defense with intent or reason to believe that the information is to be used to the injury of the United States, or to the advantage of any foreign nation…Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

Then there’s 18 U.S.C. §§ 2071.

(a) Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b) Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Finally, there’s 18 U.S.C. §§ 1519

Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

It crossed my mind from time to time starting in mid 2020 when it was becoming clear that Trump wasn’t going to win the election that he might try to grab sensitive secrets through his office and use them to blackmail the United States or simply help his buddy Putin. While I had an accurate view of his viciousness and moral depravity, I once again overestimated his intelligence. He kept this stuff at his Mar-a-Lago compound in a safe that one agent described as “being the type of safe you find in hotel rooms that are pieces of junk good only for preventing the maid from stealing your laptop.” The man is fantastically arrogant and profoundly stupid. I’ve said before that Trump’s incompetence is his best feature, in that it will save us all from Trump, and here we are.

There are reasonably credible reports that at least some of the top secret material he had stashed was nuclear. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to give away nuclear secrets. There apparently is other material relating to top secret process procedures the US uses in dealing with adversarial nations.

If this is all true, then Trump will end up on trial for espionage.

And his followers are already up in arms. One bozo tried to attack an FBI office in Cincinnati with a nailgun. The judge who signed the search warrant has been getting death threats and antisemitic smears. Fox News linked him to Jeffrey Epstein, which would have been a legitimate story (if irrelevant) but then, being Fox, fabricated a picture of the Judge hanging out with Epstein. Fox News is utter trash, the lowest form of propaganda. There’s talk amongst the dupes of civil war.

So my suggestion to these people is mellow your shit out and see what happens. Donald fucked around. Now we all get to find out. In the meantime, remember that Donald Trump is a really stupid hill to die on. Don’t do it. Serve your country by exercising a little patience and common sense.

The Fall Approaches — Wild, hot July presages

The Fall Approaches

Wild, hot July presages

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

July 24th, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Well, it’s been a week.

The Jan 6 committee wrapped up what turned to only be the first round of public hearings, showing beyond any possible doubt that not only did Trump fail to act to end the riot (he inspired) to protect Congress and his own Vice President, but that he did fail to act as a matter of cold calculation. Combined with the rest of the evidence the committee presented over the past three weeks, there’s little room for doubt that he planned to ignore the results of the vote, claim he won anyway, and stage a coup in order to stay in power. In most countries, a leader behaving in such a manner would have been hanged by now. Trump is lucky in that the United States is somewhat less barbaric, despite his own best efforts to coarsen the country. He won’t get hanged, but I won’t complain if he dies in prison.

Trump’s die-hard contingent, along with Rupert Murdoch’s fascists-for-hire squad, are still trying to pretend the hearings are just a partisan kangaroo court.

Oddly enough, it was originally going to be eight Democrats and seven Republicans, but McCarthy hit on the cute idea of putting members who may have participated in the attempted overthrow onto the committee. Pelosi rejected the two worst candidates, and McCarthy, in one of the most self-destructive snit fits in the history of Congress, withdrew all Republican candidates, leaving the Democrats to select the committee themselves. They did include two Republicans, both deeply conservative. And of course, most of the witnesses were Republican, including more than a few Trump loyalists. Anyone claiming the hearings were partisan didn’t watch the hearings, and is just depending on what the fascist media, Fox, OAN and Newsmax, are ‘interpreting’ for them.

We had gotten used to an endless parade of farcical “investigations” by Congress during the Clinton and Obama years (Whitewater, Monica, emails, Benghazi, and a bunch of other idiotic conspiracy theories) and so the public was stunned by how well Congress could do when the grownups were in charge. The hearings were sober, deliberate, methodical, relying heavily on sworn testimony and actual evidence, and have proved utterly devastating. Two Murdoch organs, the Wall Street Journal and the NY Post, threw Trump under the bus. They didn’t grow any ethics; they just realized Trump was now hopelessly damaged goods. They’ll probably start promoting Tucker Carlson as their new fascist proxy and hope he doesn’t implode as well.

Manchin of West Virginia ended 18 months of bad-faith “negotiation” with his supposedly fellow Democrats by shutting down proposals to deal with the climate crisis on the same day it hit 104 in London. A vast heat wave gripped the rest of the country as fires exploded across the west and throughout the boreal forests to the north. It’s going to get worse. Much worse.

Manchin and Trump are poster boys for why a sensible electorate should never vote for corrupt plutocrats: wealth doesn’t translate to good moral character and social responsibility. Usually it’s quite the opposite. Both men are vicious, greedy, stupid, and selfish. What makes any voter think they’re going to look out for the interests of said voter?

Boris Johnson’s sad primacy came to a shuddering halt, but don’t worry. It’s too late to save England from Brexit, and the Tories will just replace their version of Trump with someone a bit less cartoonishly evil. Not less evil, mind you. Just a bit less blatantly idiotic about it. Their version of Ron DeSantis, perhaps. It’s England; many toes will have to be stubbed before they stop blundering about in the dark.

There’s a new phrase in the political lexicon: “Hawlin’ Ass” It means to run away from the consequences of actions you deliberately caused. Josh Hawley always was an imbecile. Now he’s just a joke. Neil Gaiman once wrote, “It is unwise to summon that which you cannot dismiss.” It’s one thing to call up a mob, quite another to control one.

It’s heartening how many state Attorneys-General and D.A.s and judges are planning to simply defy the Cobb ruling and protect a woman’s right of access to abortion. The only thing crueler and more vicious than a religious zealot are the toadying politicians who try to cater to them. Frantic Christian fascists in Texas are already trying to make it illegal to leave the state in order to get an abortion. East Germany much? Having already tossed out the Ninth Amendment, the Supine Court will have to now toss the 14th Amendment. By the time those clowns are done, all that will be left is the second half of the Second Amendment.

At that point, all the mindless flag-wavers who love America and hate the United States will learn the hard way that America is just another patch of land, and it was the United States, and its constitution, that made the place special.

I think if the Republicans seize control of Congress, legitimately or not, next November, the United States is finished. Republicans want an autocratic theocracy, and there has never been one in history that didn’t rapidly turn corrupt, incompetent, and murderous. When you are the Authority, answerable only to gods, then you are an Authority with no accountability to anyone, and you can do what you bloody well please and hire shamans to explain how it’s all god’s will. It won’t end well. It never does.

There’s already talk of secession amongst blue states in the event that the GOP complete their coup. Gavin Newsom has taken up referring to our state as “Free California” as opposed to Florida, which is now a fascist shithole.

Don’t expect things to calm down. August might bring about a bit of a respite, but this fall is going to be a monster of a time. Back in April of 1945, the London Times wrote that “Events seem to be occurring with exceptional rapidity.”

This fall is going to be another one of those times.

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.

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