The Supine Court Strikes — What is this silly ‘law’ stuff, anyway?

The Supine Court Strikes

What is this silly ‘law’ stuff, anyway?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 26th, 2024

The Heritage Foundation, or as I like to call them, the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues, represents a broken and twisted philosophy, a sick combination of fascism and Christian reconstructionalism. So it’s no surprise that their hirelings are also broken and twisted creatures.

Take the six “justices” that the Foundation lied, cheated and stole in order to infiltrate the Supreme Court. That suborned court is presently pretending to “deliberate” over whether a President or former president has absolute legal immunity for any actions taken while holding office.

They spent this week, after weeks of absurd delay, quibbling with lawyers over whether a president could be held accountable for “official acts” versus personal misdeeds. It’s a distinction without a difference; if it is an illegal act, then by definition it is not an official act. Presidents are required to “faithfully execute the laws of the United States.” Their own constitutional job description deems illegal acts to be outside the duties and responsibilities of the office. Were he not so hopelessly corrupt, even the befuddled and pampered pet of billionaires, Clarence Thomas, would be able to discern that. (Slappy made one real contribution to the proceedings, wanting to know if the appointment of Jack Smith as special prosecutor was legal. It didn’t have anything to do with this case, and I’m sure his wife, Gin Soaked, put him up to it. I doubt he has the wit to think of it for himself.)

The court will doubtlessly remand this case to the lower courts, who already made their decision loud and clear. Stripped of the legal niceties, they perceived the claim of absolute right of presidents to be a huge load of utter rubbish and about as unAmerican as it gets. But remanding it means the court gets to pretend to ‘consider’ it again no sooner than October, and can wait until five months after the election to decide if Trump can be held liable for his many crimes or not.

Yes, the true purpose of all this is to delay the various trials of Donald Trump until after the election. If the Heritage Foundation can only steal this coming election the way they stole the last five of six elections that produced a Republican president, then they can grandly declare the Republican President has the divine right of kings and end this democracy nonsense once and for all. But they can’t do that right now. After all, that would be giving BIDEN unlimited power and he might use it to order the Supreme Court (well, two thirds of it) taken out and shot, or Trump assassinated. (Assassinating Trump is pretty much redundant at this point; he’s well topped himself with his ongoing antics and clear lack of power in the court and on his silly vanity social media.)

Trump cannot possibly win a fair election. The primaries show that a full third of Republican voters want anyone other than Trump. He has only 30% support from independents and that’s plummeting in the face of Trump’s weakness and culpability on display in the ongoing trial. But the Heritage Foundation, with the backing of most of America’s 850 billionaires, is working hard to keep Republicans in control of government, or, failing that, to at least have enough votes in the gerrymandered House and corn-and-sagebrush-weighted Senate to keep a second Biden term paralyzed and ineffectual. (Most people still don’t understand how fantastic the accomplishments of the first Biden term—the roaring economy, the explosion of manufacturing jobs, the rise of unions and wages—were, despite the unending efforts of Republicans to subvert and deny such accomplishments.)

Thanks to the power of propaganda, people still blame Democrats for the economy (always better under Democratic administrations), the debt (90% of which came from Republican policies and misadventures) and the border (a non-crisis that is exacerbated by Republican refusal to consider legislation that they themselves introduced to try and codify American policy toward refugees.)

Never mind Trump’s lies and bullshit. The far more dangerous ones are the ones promoted endlessly on the propaganda outlets like Faux News and church pulpits.

How effective is it? The Republicans have taken out the old Reagan chestnut “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” and are running on it, despite the obvious and clear evidence that virtually everyone, including the people asking that question, are in fact better off now than they were four years ago when hundreds of thousands were dying of COVID, unemployment was more than double what it is now, and the president was a psychotic liar.

Stolen elections? They’ll have you think it’s Democrats. But if you look at people indicted and convicted of election or voter fraud, nearly all of them are Republicans. Which party has administration officials facing trial for falsifying election certifications?

Even as Trump disintegrates, expect a blizzard of lies and hate from the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues. To them, the brass ring is nearly in grasp. They only need one final election to seal the deal, and erect the Christian Fascist state they dream of, where workers are powerless and frightened, consumers are captive and utterly at the mercy of merchants, minorities of all kinds dehumanized and cut off from society, and questioning any of this is not only treason, but sacrilege.

They almost have America. They can taste it.

And once they have it, they don’t plan to share it with you.

America won’t be yours.

The Arizona Ruling — Religious fascists cower before the shit storm they have created.

Bryan Zepp Jamieson
April 10th 2024

The Guardian tried to cover Trump’s ever-shifting stance on abortion rights again today, and wound up trying to pretend this was a coherent response:
Asked if Arizona’s ruling went too far, Trump replied: “Yeah, they did. That will be straightened out. As you know, it’s all about state’s rights. It will be straightened out. I’m sure the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that it will be taken care of, I think, very quickly.”
The Guardian managed to miss that the ruling that caused this week’s shitstorm was an exact example of what happens when the laws regarding abortion are left to “state’s rights.” Arizona’s supreme court absurdly upheld a law passed by the territorial legislature in 1864, back before Arizona was even a state, that outlawed all abortion other than to save the life of the mother. Other states are considering even disallowing that one life-saving restriction as part of their holy crusade.
But it gets worse. Trump has frequently brayed that he made the overturning of Roe vs. Wade possible. The Guardian failed to mention that.
The Guardian utterly ignored a video Trump made LESS THAN TWO DAYS EARLIER in which he said, “They [Democrats] support abortion up to and even beyond the ninth month. The concept of having an abortion in the later months, and even execution after birth. And that’s exactly what it is. The baby is born, the baby is executed after birth is unacceptable, and almost everyone agrees with that.”
That would be disgraceful coming from a drunken misogynistic wife-beater in a sleazy bar pissed on cheap whiskey. It would even be disgusting coming from an even lower life form, an evangelist drunk on Jesus. This is coming from a thieving, lying sewer rat of a man who wants to be President again.
How much do you have to hate women to even believe that they would cheerfully terminate their pregnancies in the ninth month? Or even the third month? As for women getting abortions “after the baby is born” that’s a lie on the level of “Jews drink the blood of Christian babies.” It’s a disgrace, and no person saying such a thing can lay any claim to decency. Trump certainly cannot. Trump is trash. This proves it.
It misrepresents what Roe vs. Wade stipulated. There’s a reason—and it’s not medical—why people speak of “trimesters” in pregnancies. No sudden change occurs at the end of 90 days, or 120 days. It’s just that Roe vs. Wade laid out restrictions states could impose on the fundamental right to an abortion: In the first trimester, governments could place no restrictions on women’s ability to choose to abort pregnancies other than imposing minimal medical safeguards, such as requiring abortions to be performed by licensed physicians [per Wikipedia, cited]. In the second trimester, increasing risks to the mother’s health gave states a compelling interest that allowed them to enact medical regulations on abortion procedures so long as they were reasonable and “narrowly tailored” to protecting mothers’ health [per Wikipedia, cited]. And finally, in the final trimester, “From the beginning of the third trimester on—the point at which a fetus became viable under the medical technology available in the early 1970s—the Court ruled that a state’s interest in protecting prenatal life became so compelling that it could legally prohibit all abortions except where necessary to protect the mother’s life or health [per Wikipedia, cited].
Do I even have to say that no state has ever allowed the killing of an infant under any circumstances? Women-hating drunks might believe it. Religiously insane zealots might believe it. And Donald J. Trump may believe it. But it is not true.
Even as many Republicans are suddenly realizing that they went too far in trying to appease the zealots and alienated a huge majority of voters, a lot of them who were fulsomely “pro-life” last year are suddenly “pro-choice” or “let the states decide.” The first is hypocritical. The second is disingenuous as well as hypocritical.
At the time Roe vs. Wade was delivered, only five states had it generally legal (and doctors were free to refuse for any or no reason). In 13 states it was legal in cases of risk to woman’s health, rape or incest, or likely damaged fetus. In 31 states it was legal in cases of risk to woman’s life. And in Pennsylvania it was illegal under all circumstances, a draconian and murderous stance that several states are now avidly pursuing.
A lot of Republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it too. They were “pro-life” before, but now they either want states like Arizona or Pennsylvania or Alabama to decide what rights, if any, you can have, or they have pretended to cave entirely and say Arizona went too far. Trump, of course, stands for both sides of that giant back-step.
Republicans are not to be trusted. Zealots are definitely not to be trusted. (Their own bible approves of abortion when infidelity is suspected). And Trump was never trustworthy to begin with.

GOP is Trumped — Disintegration is snowballing

GOP is Trumped

Disintegration is snowballing

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 24th, 2024

There’s a “train-crash” fascination to the on-going destruction of the Republican party. The other day the House caved on the latest appropriations $1.1T bill, and Armpits Maggie promptly filed a motion to vacate, the GOP rule that allows the party to dump their own speaker at any time and for any reason. Should the vote occur, then religious nutbag Mike Johnson and his “head-of-lettuce” tenure will go the way of Kevin McCarthy. And of course, even with a unanimous party-line vote, the GOP doesn’t have enough seats to refill the position. Two hundred and eighteen votes are required from the full House, and they only have 217 seats. That will drop to 216 in April.

That’s assuming the vote is even held. However, there is a procedure called “motion to table” which allows the House to decide if a motion should reach the floor for a vote in the first place. Yes, it’s repetitive and redundant, which makes it perfect for fans of repetitive redundancy.

Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL), who likes Mike Johnson about as much as he likes toe fungus, has an idea. A handful of Dems could vote for the motion to table, along with the large majority of Republicans, and that only needs a majority of the quorum, so at most 216 votes to pass. Mind you, they won’t be voting FOR Mike Johnson. They would simply be voting not to vote at all.

But Mike Johnson would have to make a deal. First on the agenda would be for Republicans to step aside and permit the $95b aid package to Ukraine to go through. Second would be to permit a full floor vote on the border bill that Trump scuttled a couple of weeks ago. And if it were up to me, I would add a third stipulation: shut down the Biden impeachment inquiry. Lev Parnas blew the inquiry, already a bad joke, sky-high. Johnson might actually see that as a favor, since it’s reached the point where the only people being damaged by it are Republicans. But it would mean that the House would actually have to do real work, like voting on legislation and formulating plans to move the country forward. So maybe it would not be such a gain for the GOP, unless of course they decide they need to distract from Trump rather than serve him.

Trump himself is disintegrating rapidly. His latest stunt was to boast that he had the cash to cover the real estate fraud judgment against him while at the same time insisting that he doesn’t have the assets or the ability to have the judgment underwritten. We’ll find out tomorrow how that is going to turn out. It’s not impossible that Trump could face criminal counts of fraud and perjury from this going forward.

The latest was the merger between Truth Social and Digital World Acquisition Corporation. The media are loudly braying that this merger would give Trump an on-paper valuation of three billion dollars, but in reality it will do nothing of the sort. Truth Social is a toy social network, with active membership around 850,000 and dropping. DWAC is pure smoke and mirrors, selling only memes, with their entire valuation based on the number of mouse clicks they get. Does that sound like something worth three billion dollars to you?

But Trump can’t cash out his shares for six months after the deal goes into affect. And lenders aren’t going to look at the initial IPO price and assume Trump has three billion in stock; they’re going to look six months ahead, to when Trump would have to repay their loan with interest, and see if the stock has retained even 1/6th of its value.

And it won’t. Neither company has anything tangible to offer, and I predict the IPO will be one of the most disastrous in market history—and it won’t recover. Why should it? It could lose 80% in its first day of trading, and I wouldn’t care to bet it even had penny stock status by mid October.

The latest with Trump is that his handlers are trying to keep him out of the public eye as his mental and intellectual deterioration continues to snowball. Instead, they’re releasing videos of speeches and rallies he held in 2020 and even 2016, and hoping the media won’t notice. Even American corporate media would have to take note of that, especially since the speeches would be referring to “Crooked Hillary” or talking about getting out of Afghanistan.

Further, handling Trump, even in his dotage, is a challenge. Compos Mentis or not, he’ll want to babble to live cameras about how smart he is and how everyone loves him and will vote for him to kick that wicked President “Gangly” Lincoln out of office once and for all. So he’ll be appearing on OANN and Newsmax, and posting all-caps messages on Truth Social, and Democrats will be gleefully recording and using all of them. Trump has already come out in favor of slashing Social Security and Medicare, and wants a nation-wide 15 week abortion ban, which is political suicide.

Trump wrapped up the delegates needed for this summer’s convention, making him the nominee. (Biden did the same, only much more quietly and in a more orderly fashion, and didn’t threaten to kick anyone who didn’t support him out of the party, because Biden has a functioning brain.)

But between his legal and medical problems, I’m only offering one in four odds that by election day, Trump will still be the candidate of the GOP. The party itself, to all intents and purposes, may have ceased to exist by then.

If three Republicans in the House quit or change their designation and leave the caucus, Hakeem Jeffries might well be Speaker and Democrats may control the House before they have to certify the election results, and there’s now a very good chance that may happen as the lunatic right, led by Trump, cause sane conservatives to desert the party in drove.

Say what you will, but it’s not going to be boring. Or routine. Or normal. Or even particularly sane.

Goodbye, Super Tuesday — Who Could Hang a Game on You?

Goodbye, Super Tuesday

Who Could Hang a Game on You?

(apologies to Mick Jagger)

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 7th 2024

The most pointless primary season since primaries began has ground to an effective end, and oh, my gosh, can you believe this? Biden and Trump will be their respective party’s nominees! Whoa! Did you see that coming?

Well, of course you did. You’re not an idiot.

Cable channels devoted hours to covering this non-story, with on-air journalists declaring solemnly that with the polls closed just two minutes earlier, the results were “too close to call.” It was a bit like watching Walter Cronkite narrate a Popeye cartoon and pretend feverishly that Bluto was by far the leading candidate in the race, but it wasn’t over yet! It was pretty sad. Speaking of cartoons, I switched off MSNBC and watched cartoons instead. Even Steve Kornacki couldn’t wring any drama out of the vote count. The only upsets were in DC and Vermont, where Trump managed to lose to Haley. Which showed that in two corners of the country, the majority of Republicans still hold three-digit IQs.

They were glaring exceptions. Most of the polling showed that the former political party known as the Republicans have been fully subsumed by the Nutzis and Nazis. In North Carolina, Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson was selected to run for governor of the state. He’s a holocaust denier, a 9/11 truther, quotes Hitler, and wants to strip gays and other gendered people of all rights. And like most of what’s left of his party, he believes humanity begins at conception and ends at birth. He’s a raving nut, not to put too fine a point on it. In Alabama, they chose “justice” Sarah Stewart on Tuesday as their nominee to lead the state Supreme Court. She was one of the judges who ruled that frozen embryos were persons. In California, Steve Garvey, who played first base for the Dodgers for many years up until about forty years ago, came in second in the Senate primary in the state’s free-for-all vote where the top two vote getters are the nominees, even if they are both from the same party—as often happens in a state where the GOP is moribund. Garvey came in second, partly from name recognition (he was a good ball player) and party because Adam Schiff and other Democrats actually PROMOTED Garvey’s campaign, reasoning that he would be easier to beat in the General than Katie Porter or Barbara Lee would be. While he only beat Garvey by a percentage point, it’s important to note that nearly all of the 34% who voted for someone else are Democrats, and probably as much as a third of Garvey’s vote came from Democrats as well. This was probably a kind of a high-water mark for the GOP, since Garvey at least is sane and not a full-blown fascist. By GOP standards, that makes him a fairly respectable candidate.

So now the real fight begins, and despite the on-going dissolution of Donald Trump, it is a serious fight, with the fate of the country at risk.

Trump, in and of himself, is a fading risk. He clearly is suffering from dementia. He only occasionally remembers who the president is, and one of the times he got it right, he wound up endorsing him instead of himself.

But there are a lot of bad actors about, and they are very willing to lie, cheat, steal and commit any fraudulent acts possible to win. The Heritage Foundation (i.e., The National Association of Zealots and Ideologues) openly flaunts its “Project 2025” which starts by eliminating civil service laws to protect Americans from the spoils system, and allows Trump to fire and replace all federal employees with his own loyalists. An Ayn Rand nightmare, it would eliminate the Departments of Commerce and Education, nearly all environmental laws, and “deploy the military for domestic law enforcement and directing the DOJ to pursue Trump adversaries.” A fascist coup, in other words.

They also promote in full the demands of the vile anti-American zealots that call themselves “Christian Nationalists,” eliminating rights to abortion or contraception, the right to be gay or other-gendered, and eliminating separation of church and state, eliminating rights for all but a small percentage of Christians.

They are spending billions through their vast propaganda network, backed by the pack of Australian Nazis who run Fox News.

Bad actors abound. The Republicans, at Trump’s behest, deliberately scrapped the immigration bill that they themselves wrote, in order to try to keep “the border crisis” a campaign issue. Fox and other minutes are having five-minutes-of-hate sessions every half hour to keep the haters and bigots stirred up.

The House Republicans have nearly all co-sponsored HR 431, which declares that personhood begins at conception and thus abortion and birth control are murder.

Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia plan to slash oil production, hoping to drive up prices which the public, at the behest of the extreme right, will blame Biden for. They already have senile stooges like Trump and Chuck Grassley declaring that Biden “slashed oil production” and so prices will rise. The fact is US domestic oil production is the highest it has been in history. Meanwhile, does anybody believe Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russian want Trump because “he will stand tall for America.” Or do they just want a moronic and treasonous dupe? Which makes more sense to you? Viktor Orbán has become a major figure in GOP circles, and I’m sure he does it because he just loves America, right?

But Republicans are liars. Remember that. What ever it is, they will lie about it. Immigrants have lower crime rates, less gun violence, and add a net $40 billion to the economy. The liars on Fox News say otherwise, of course.

It’s going to get ugly, and fast. They already busted a string of websites yesterday purporting to be local news outlets that were actually run by Russia to interfere in election coverage. That happened yesterday. Google “Florida Observer” for details.

Remember: Republicans lie, and a vote for Trump is a vote for Treason.

The David Fallacy — Why (some) zealots support Trump

The David Fallacy

Why (some) zealots support Trump

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 16th, 2024

They held the Iowa caucuses yesterday, and I don’t regard the results as being of any particular importance, given how unrepresentative they are of the country as a whole. (Mike Huckabee won in 2008, Rick Santorum won in 2012, and Ted Cruz in 2016.) The only reason Trump won in 2020 was that he ran unopposed, about the only way he can actually win an election.

He essentially ran unopposed this time, since the only other significant candidates were a pair of “me-too” clingers who ran as Trump-lite: Ron DeSantis and Nicki Haley. Those two dead-enders managed to get 40% of the Republican vote, which shows just how weak Trump really is.

Haley’s birth-name was Nimarata Nikki Randhawa, and MSNBC actually showed one voter opining that it wouldn’t be right for a “Hin-doo” to be president. Despite that, Haley was mad because MSNBC was “dividing us by race” for simply pointing out that country white evangelicals aren’t going to strongly support Haley because of her skin color. Haley, MSNBC didn’t create those bigoted clowns. And trust me, they weren’t watching Joy Reid anyway. She’s not one of the ‘good ones’ in their books.

DeSantis was already a bad joke, between his elevator clown boots and picking a fight with a cartoon mouse and losing. He wasn’t as big on god-flogging as Trump, so wasn’t seen as sufficiently godly.

So Trump fetched up with 51% of the vote. I was expecting him to get 60% or more, between the high number of fools in the GOP and the weak field arrayed against him. So even if the ratings-driving media is trying to hype his chances, the results show his fundamental weakness.

MSNBC devoted five full hours to this non-story, and I managed to miss most of it so I could play Solitaire and watch an animated movie. (I would point out that while I didn’t do so good playing Solitaire, the movie, Maboroshi, on Netflix, was pretty damned good).

But I did catch one gem that made MSNBC’s entire wasted night worth a glance. Barely able to contain their laughter, Joy and Rachel Maddow explained “The King David Hypothesis.”

King David lived around 1,000 BCE, and yes, there is evidence that he actually did exist, although outside of notoriously unreliable holy writ, little is known about him.

But the religious accounts are satisfyingly florid. A simple shepherd, he killed the giant Goliath with a slingshot, and got noticed by the reigning king, Saul. Saul took him in to the palace, but then expelled him when he decided David was plotting to kill him and steal his throne. But before then, Saul has made David rich for killing the giant, and among other marriages, David marries Saul’s younger daughter, Michael. The dowery is 100 Philistinian heads, although accounts differ as to whether that was cranial-type heads or the other kind, foreskins. Either way, it made a lot of Philistines very unhappy. He’s also got about eight other wives and unknown numbers of concubines of varying gender, something that’s always fun to point out to bigoted morons who want America to observe “biblical marriage” only.

Jehovah gets annoyed at Saul for failing to commit genocide (the Amalekites, look it up) and sends the angel Samuel to name David king. After various intrigues and production of a family lineage that makes it apt as well as physically likely that he was the father of the Abrahamic religions, he becomes King, and is sufficiently murderous and Machiavellian enough to keep even Jehovah happy. Between the smiting and the slutting, David made Trump look restrained and faithful.

All right, so intellectually, morally, and romantically, David was a hot mess. (For his wives and concubines, “consent” was not an option.) But he’s “beloved by God” and the father of the true religions, all 15,000 of them that we know about. What to do, what to do? Zealots hate ethical quandaries.

Thus was born the King David Hypothesis. God chose David because he was flawed, and the fact that he was flawed showed that God could make David have a good heart and be a great king despite all the murdering and raping and conniving. Because of God, David was great because God made him so and his flaws just showed how good God was at his job.

Thus and so, the reasoning goes, even though Trump is flawed (the polite way of saying “a hot mess”), God has chosen him to be Der Leader to show that God can take even the vilest spittoon of a person and make him great. So even though Trump is about as Christian as a rabid pig, Christians are duty bound to support him because God wants him to be great.

Ah, the religious mind! The wonder of it all!

Meanwhile, the portion of America that isn’t religiously insane continue to watch Trump slide. He went on to claim this was his third, and greatest win in Iowa (neither statement was true), and his main lawyers in the trials about tax fraud and defamation of E. Jean Carroll, Joe Tacopina and his two partners, Chad Seigel and Matthew DeOreo, up and quit the same day of the caucuses, showing his continued inability to keep lawyers for any length of time. Even lawyers have standards, even if the standard is only “Fuck you, pay me.”

Meanwhile, Trump continues his mastery of the religiously gullible. The morning after his win in the caucuses, he posted “President Trump: Suspend my campaign?” The grift is if he doesn’t get a million donations, he’ll drop out of the race.

Fortunately, the religiously insane are actually a small part of the population. Even amongst the GOP ultra-committed who turned out in -30F wind chills to caucus, he only managed half the vote against a nothing field.

So don’t let these nuts alarm you. He’s going down.


Low-Rent Gods and Men — Does Trump reveal God’s Purpose?

Low-Rent Gods and Men

Does Trump reveal God’s Purpose?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 27th 2023


A survey conducted by Denison University political scientist Paul Djupe found around 30 percent of Americans believe Trump “was anointed by God to become president.” Thirty percent.

Now, I don’t know anything about the methodology of this poll. Frankly, I doubt the number is anywhere near that high. Ten percent, tops. Trump’s support among the religious is pretty much limited to evangelicals, and they only make up 25% of the population. And the same Economist article that cited that number also reported, “In a Pew poll in 2021, more than a third of white evangelicals said the government should stop enforcing the separation of church and state.” Outside of that group, the notion that scrapping separation of church and state and making Trump some sort of god/emporer drops through the basement. I doubt very much 10% of Catholics buy into that, much less mainstream Protestants, non-Christian and unaffiliated/secular.

Still, there’s a lot of Americans who do believe that nonsense. One of the stranger ones is the notion that there are seven “mountains” to a godly life: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. Daemons controlled those, but Trump has already climbed and taken over entertainment, business, media, government and family. This group thinks he’s taken over religion, as well. That would leave education to surmount.

OK, let’s take a pause while you get your breath back. Those of you still laughing, imagine being in bed with Marjorie Taylor-Greene. Yes, that’s a cruel thing to do to you, but if you don’t stop laughing you might hurt yourself.

There’s a saying popular amongst us secular sorts: “Science asks questions that demand an answer. Religion provides answers that demand no questions.” Obviously, that’s a simplification. There are many people of faith who do ask questions, including of their own beliefs. And some scientists are as hidebound and rigid in their intellectual structure as any 16th century preacher. But the fact remains that the true first commandment in many branches of religion is “Thou shalt not question.” Obviously, this is a fertile demographic for opportunists and demagogues.

Let’s see about those mountains that Trump is supposedly climbing. I’ll start out by noting that you’re far more likely to find a sea slug at the peak of Everest, just so you aren’t burdened by any suspense about the following.

Entertainment: Trump was a B-list celebrity with a reality TV show. The highest Neilson rating it ever got was 7.0. It never was anywhere near the most popular show in its timeslot.

Media: Trump had Faux News, and now, having cost them $787 million in costs from lying on his behalf, he doesn’t even have that. He has Truth Social, which is pretty pathetic, and lunatic-fringe outfits like Newsmax and OANN, both of which face massive defamation suits of their own.

Business: Until Elon Musk came along, Trump had lost more money than any individual in the history of America. He took over three casinos and they all went bust within a few years. Casinos are licenses to mint money! He’s been found guilty of tax fraud and is awaiting sentencing. He settled a vast class action suit for fraud for Trump University days before he took office. He is banned from running charities after he was found to have stolen from a children’s cancer charity he ran. Business attracts thieves, con artists and other filth, and it certainly attracted Trump. But he never was any good at it.

Entertainment: Well, his venality and endless personal scandals kept cartoonists and humorists busy for decades, so I suppose there’s that. And he attracts eyeballs, although the leading reasons are “What’s that idiot done now?” and “Oh, fuck, NO!”

Family: he’s had three wives and at least a dozen mistresses. He was banging Stormy Daniels while Melania was carrying his youngest son. His niece, Mary Trump, openly despises him. He buried one of his exes in an unmarked grave on one of his golf courses, and its rumored that her coffin contains incriminating evidence Trump wanted to go away forever.

Government: Yes, he was a one term president. He won despite losing the popular vote, and never has won a popular vote. The economy contracted during his term, the worst since Hoover, and the deficit exploded. He turned the Supreme Court into a sad joke. And because of the cowardice of mainstream Republicans, that party is now home to traitors, religious nuts, violent extremists, and the most ignorant fools America can scrape up.

Religion: Well, define “religion.” If love of money, power and self-aggrandizement is a religion, then Trump qualifies. Claiming to have god on his side doesn’t count. Nearly every dictator and tyrant in the history of this sad world has claimed to have god on his side. Fundamentalists cannot question and cannot learn. They are fodder and feeding ground for monsters. In stressful times, they are enough to put a Hitler or a Cromwell in power.

That leaves Education. Again, the term is subjective. When the evangelicals talk about that particular mountain, they have something entirely different from what most people think of when you mention education. Math and science are not a part of that particular equation. For that matter, the word ‘equation’ isn’t, either. Learning biblical writ, obeying and never questioning are considered virtues, and a child who questions is a child who must be beaten. So Trump may surmount Education, although, like Religion, it might be in a form none of us would recognize as such.

If ten percent of the population swallow the nonsense of Trump being “the Will of God,” that’s disturbing and a sad reflection on humanity in general. Thirty percent would be catastrophic, a certain sign that a culture has fully decompensated and slid into madness. Mass jailing and mass executions will follow, along with widespread misery. So that’s why I don’t buy that poll. America is having problems, but it isn’t in hospice.

But never forget that this type of religious fervor is toxic, and an infection in even the healthiest of societies.

“Shall have engaged in insurrection…” — Colorado Supreme Court stunner

Shall have engaged in insurrection…”

Colorado Supreme Court stunner

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 19th 2023

Today’s ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court (Anderson vs. Griswald) set the US political scene upside down and inside out. The four-three decision ruled that Trump had engaged in insurrection against the United States of America and therefore was ineligible to hold office, and thus should be excluded from the Colorado primary ballot. It’s worth noting that the three justices who dissented did NOT dispute that Trump had engaged in insurrection, but that it wasn’t grounds to exclude him from the ballot. The decision was made by a court where, while all seven were appointed by Democratic leges, was infamous for originalist and conservative rulings, especially in regards to the Second Amendment, which could best be described as being in the Church of Yosemite Sam.

The dissent was based on whether a state elections board had the right to determine the participants in a federal election. This decision will get to the Supreme Court very quickly, I should think, and I imagine some, if not most of the justices are slapping their foreheads and wondering why they had to deal with this hot potato at a time when the legitimacy of the Court is teetering in the public eye. Given that valid arguments in this case can be made for both sides (Trump supporters are pointing out that Trump hasn’t been convicted, or even indicted for insurrection). But Trump is a clear and present danger to the country, and there is solid evidence that he did participate in insurrection, and that he gave aid and comfort to enemies of the United States.

So, lacking clear direction or meaningful precedent to base stare decisis upon, the Court essentially may use political calculation. Despite the reputation of the Court these days, that doesn’t mean their decision is a slam dunk. Yes, Trump appointed three of them, and two of the others are, respectively, a bought-out hack with the manners and morals of a Sudanese border guard, and a religious whack finding his cherished beliefs under worldwide attack for his authorship of the ruling undoing Roe V Wade.

But still not that easily determined. The justices are going to be uneasily aware of the fact that Trump has tried to overthrow an election, and that the propaganda net that made Trump possible is unraveling quickly, often because of court decisions. Trump is becoming a political liability.

They aren’t as insulated as they like to pretend, and have to be aware of Trump’s stated intentions should he become President again. He has made it clear that he will eviscerate the power of the courts, exactly in the same way that Netanyahu did with the Israel Supreme Court, now just an empty and token shell. Even Clarence Thomas has to realize that if the Court no longer has any clout, his sugar daddies aren’t going to be arsed supporting him in the style to which he has become accustomed. The Court has little incentive to support a man who will destroy it.

It’s a microcosm of the entire issue of what a state, including a free and democratic state, can do to protect itself against wannabe tyrants and demagogues. Freedom of speech is both the greatest strength of a free country and its greatest weakness. What do do about someone who runs for office advocating the downfall of the existing state?

There’s a case in recent history of someone running for the highest elected office in the land, a man who not only was indicted for trying to overthrow the state, but convicted and imprisoned for it. Once out of prison, he was free to run again, take office, and destroy the state.

That man was Adolf Hitler, architect of the Beer Hall Putsch and eventually, chancellor of Germany which became a nightmare of lawlessness and slaughter before self-destructing after just a dozen bloody years.

Under present German law, Hitler would be disqualified from holding office.

The Court will be in a position where they need to not only try to reestablish their legitimacy, but avoid their own destruction, since a Trump regime would at best regard courts as puppet apparatus for subjugation of anyone Trump found annoying.

The mere fact of the Colorado court decision does put yet another large dent in Trump’s political power, and it is certain that other states will now be encouraged to make similar moves.

Of course some of the red states will try to make a similar exclusion of Biden, claiming that he’s being impeached and he sold sex-slave children in pizza boxes to Lemurians and try to exclude Biden.

Yes, it’s a mess. It may be the court will rule that yes, Trump was in violation of the 14th amendment, but that it’s not the place of individual states to act on a federal crime. And then rule that only federal courts could rule, and proceed to uphold the Colorado case without it turning into a complete circus.

But this is all just guesswork. The only prediction I’ll stand behind is that the Court will act as quickly as possible on this one.

Dominion Over Us — By your nose you be known

Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 28th 2023

Mike Johnson is our new speaker, 51, a Dominionist, a MAGAt, and an insurrectionist supporter. In short, nobody who should be within a thousand miles of American power.
I wasn’t going to waste an essay on him for the simple reason that just about every person in this country who loves the Constitution is loudly warning everyone just what a danger this person is to our rights and freedoms.
But then I came across this quote from Johnson: “This is not about the people themselves. I am a Bible-believing Christian. Someone asked me today in the media, they said, ‘… People are curious. What does Mike Johnson think about any issue under the sun?’ I said, well, go pick up a Bible off your shelf and read it – that’s my worldview. That’s what I believe and so I make no apologies for it.”
Well, OK, then. Game on.
Citing weird biblical beliefs is nothing new, of course. Nor is citing the hypocrisy of most bible pounders. The very first episode of West Wing had President Bartlett give a wonderful example of this when pressed to embrace biblical values for America by a pushy fundie.
But it’s always worth selecting a few choice things the bible mandates people believe that aren’t exactly congruent with 21st century American values. So here’s a list of things that Mike Johnson apparently professes to believe.
A man can force his wife to get an abortion if he believes she has been unfaithful. Numbers 5:11-31.
It’s even worse if a man is unfaithful to his wife: If a man cheateth on his wife, or vice versa, both the man and the woman must die. Leviticus 20:10. Helluva note: the poor wife gets smote, too. Or is it “the other woman.” Who dies? Melania or Stormy? I wonder if Johnson wants to form a wife-smiting committee or just make it part of Health and Human Resources.
Churches can eliminate those handicap parking spots. People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God. Leviticus 21:17-18. I’m sure that one mega-church pastor who has been whinging about handicap access can help Congress on that one. Have a law where if the tip of the nose fails to protrude more than 1.5 inches from the back of the nostrils, ain’t no praying allowed for that freak of nature! God is pleased by lordly beaks. I think Johnson may be in trouble himself over that one.
Another one that Johnson might find awkward is Leviticus 19:27: Don’t cut your hair nor shave.
The bible says If you find out a city worships a different god, destroy the city and kill all of its inhabitants, even the animals. Deuteronomy 13:12-16. OK, I can see killing all the cats, especially the black ones. Christianity has a long and storied history of killing cats, tossing them off towers and whatnot. That makes perfect sense. But the dogs, too?
Pagan cities don’t do well when it’s the Israelites smiting them. The bible suggests ripping infants from their mothers’ wombs and dashing their brains out against rocks. Hosea 13-16. Even though it calls fetuses “infants,” the anti-abortion crowd don’t like to cite that one. I think we can guess what Johnson thinks Israel should do to Gaza. And their little dogs, too!
The blob squad like to run around claiming that ‘libruls’ want to abort babies after they’re born.
Anyone who actually believes that has to be a little bit psychotic, but Johnson may have to make that a new law, it seems. “If in spite of this you still do not listen to me but continue to be hostile toward me, 28 then in my anger I will be hostile toward you, and I myself will punish you for your sins seven times over. 29 You will eat the flesh of your sons and the flesh of your daughters.” Leviticus 26:27-30. That one should produce some interesting debate in Congress. Do you have to eat ALL your sons and daughters, or just one per transgression? And is there a cut-off age where you don’t have to eat them, but simply be stoned to death instead? Do kids with flat noses count?
Women should be generally submissive and should be quiet, never teach or hold any authority over men. They should just be silent. 1 Timothy 2:12. OK, I’m looking at Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Lauren Boebert, and I’m thinking Johnson could make good use of this. I wonder if his first act will be to remove all female members of Congress and the Vice President?
While the bible does demand that all non-believers be put to death, there is a loophole. If you are lucky enough to have hemorrhoids and rats, get them bronzed and send them on in as an offering. Or as the bible says, “Five gold tumors and five gold rats, according to the number of the Philistine rulers, because the same plague has struck both you and your rulers. Make models of the tumors and of the rats that are destroying the country, and give glory to Israel’s god. Perhaps he will lift his hand from you and your gods and your land.” 1 Samuel 6:4-5. I wonder if those are tax deductible. Mike? You’re the God Squad guy. Whaddaya say?
The NRA isn’t going to be happy with Mike’s godlaw. According to Exodus 22, you can only use lethal force to defend your home at night. Now, how can you have a happy and stable society if paranoid whacks with weapons of war can’t blast away at any stray noise they hear outside their front door at 11am? Crime never sleeps, you know!
So: this is the zealot creature who is now two bullets from the Oval Office.
Sleep tight.



Meltdown — Making our brains run in slime


Making our brains run in slime

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 24th 2023

Some cheeky sort named “Anotherdumblib” posted this on Truth Social today: “First the Kraken, then the Cheeseball, and now Tell Us Ellis. $5,000 fine, five years probation, gotta write a letter of apology, and some community service. Fani Willis has to be pretty happy right now.” That should push Donnie’s diastolic into the triple digits.

He hasn’t been doing well lately. The other day, he confused Turkey and Hungary. Granted, he’s getting on, and the nurse probably forgot to give him his Ensure before he went on stage and started babbling. He KNOWS Turkey is in Argentina and Hungary is a Canadian province. He was just feeling peckish, is all.

But his mind is still ticking like one of those boxes where you turn the crank and a clown pops out. He was, according to himself, the first to ever notice that the abbreviation for the United States and the pronoun “us” were spelled exactly the same! Ha! Top THAT, Neil Degrasse-Tyson!

That Jenna Ellis became the third of Trump’s lawyers to cop a plea in the Georgia election tampering case and, like Powell and Cheseboro, got slaps on the wrist, bodes very poorly for our Donnie. Those three, among them, pretty much know where ALL the bodies are buried.

I doubt Trump is going to be the Republican candidate next year. In fact, I’m not sure that party will even HAVE a candidate. Or rather, several versions of the party, all calling themselves “The REAL Republican Party” will have candidates. I mean, look at the House. These are the same pack of clowns who have to figure out who their presidential candidate should be—and the main guy is now very clearly going down in flames. One of the candidates—probably a pro-Israel holocaust-denying civil libertarian who wants Jesus to run the country and birth control outlawed—might win pluralities in some place like Oklahoma or Idaho, but essentially, Biden will run unopposed. Not that I think Biden hasn’t earned a second term, but one-party rule is a bad thing, even if it’s the party with the grown-ups.

The Republicans who aren’t convulsing in the House are planning another unwatched shouty match. NBC, who really should know better, will be carrying it. I don’t plan to watch, but the expressions on Rachel Maddow’s face afterward should be entertaining as hell. Imagine the look on King Charles’ face if you walked up to him and offered to slip a live trout down his pants. Yeah. That expression. Rachel is sane and intelligent. Sane and intelligent people shouldn’t have to deal with Republican candidates. In fairness, the king of England shouldn’t have to deal with people like me, who suggest accosting the royal personage with fish.

The debate is going to be streamed exclusively by Rumble, a place that brags that it is home to people too disgusting and bent for any of the other streaming services. Lots of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, and conspiracy theories. One of the sponsors of the debate is an outfit called “The Republican Jewish Coalition” which apparently is fine with a venue that is holocaust-denying (except for the ones who are pro-holocaust) and Hitler-praising. Yeah, that seems like an apt site for the GOP to engage in Jewish outreach.

Between Russia’s inept invasion of Ukraine, and the vicious attack by Hamas on Israel followed by the even more vicious Netanyahu retaliation, the world is teetering on the brink of a possible global war. But Vivek Ramaswamy thinks this is a good time for the US to pull out of NATO, and maybe the UN, as well. Because, like the GOP in the late 1930s, this iteration also believes the best way to deal with those foreign dictators they admire so much (they make the trains run on thyme, you know, very aromatic) is to embrace isolationism. Vivek isn’t the only Republican who feels that way, of course. Most of the ones getting their strings pulled by the rapidly-dwindling Trump profess the same nonsense.

Putin is continuing his not-so-subtle sabre-rattling, and is now threatening to pull out of the 1963 test ban treaty. But Donnie and his crowd still worship Putin. He makes the trains run in rhyme, you know, very poetic.

Meanwhile, there’s this: Dr Christopher Wolf, at Oregon State University (OSU) in the US and a lead author of the report, [told the Guardian]: “Without actions that address the root problem of humanity taking more from Earth than it can safely give, we’re on our way to the potential collapse of natural and socioeconomic systems and a world with unbearable heat and shortages of food and freshwater.

“By 2100, as many as 3 billion to 6 billion people may find themselves outside Earth’s livable regions, meaning they will be encountering severe heat, limited food availability and elevated mortality rates.”

We won’t need to wait until 2100. Our current “Super El Nino” is building, and this winter should see weather that will displace millions of people and kill thousands. Meanwhile, south of the equator, this summer should be a real horror show. About the only thing in Australia not at risk of burning is Ayer’s Rock (now called Uluru, but since Australians voted last week to not give Aboriginals full citizenship, perhaps they’ll show the same grace and charm of our Republicans and change the name back to the British appellation.)

Grim times, yes. You a gotta laugh, right? It’s that, or walk into a jet intake.

Hm. I wonder if we can convince Donnie to wear a longer tie when he’s around Trump Farce One. Or would that suggestion just get me a visit from the Secret Service?

History Warns Us — But what do we hear?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson
September 30th, 2023

In 2017 there was a pitch-black dark comedy called The Death of Stalin. A scalpel-sharp political satire, it pasquinaded the utter madness and viciousness that accompanies the decline of all authoritarian governments. It was the age of Stalin at its ultimate. The metronome in the background was the sound of people who were guilty of being accused of anything or nothing being dragged into interrogation cells and shot. At the higher levels of power, the arena of government management, both legal and extralegal, played out like a kindergarten recess where all the children are armed with AR-15s and grenades. With people like Steve Buscemi and Michael Palin it’s side-splittingly funny from the comfort of your living room and if you don’t think too hard about the reality of what you are watching. You can stream a free and legal version of the film at Tubi.
Anyone with even an ordinary understanding of history is going to feel a bit of disquiet while watching the movie. You see, while it’s clearly a parody, it isn’t an exaggeration. While the end of the Stalin era was marked by spasmodic and insane viciousness, the entire era of Stalin was one of persecution, genocide, blind obedience to mad authority, wholesale wasting of lives, and willful blindness by the millions who witnessed all this and said nothing.
But it’s not unique to Stalinism. Quite the opposite. It is a set-in-stone feature of all authoritarian regimes. All of them. No exceptions. All authoritarian structures have the cruelty and insanity that was so evident during the reign of Stalin. It doesn’t matter if they are theocracies, absolute monarchies, fascist or dictatorship, or political or social movements that keep leadership unaccountable to the followers and citizenry. They all become corrupt, brutal, insensate, and intolerant of any dissent of any kind. No exceptions.
The reason is that the coin of such realms is money and power. Nothing else. And those drawn to serve in such regimes are the very worst people for such positions. They are people who value money and power and nothing else. The power struggles are inevitable, and rapidly become no-holds-barred destructive frenzies on incurring court favor and amassing an ever-greater unassailable authority.
Quite often such regimes are “A riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” as Winston Churchill famously described the machinations of the Kremlin during the Stalin era. The only times we get a look at their inner workings are during their ascendancy, and when they collapse. Hitler ran for office in the 1920s and wrote a book in prison that made no effort to hide his plans for genocide and war. That Nazism devolved into utter lunacy in short order came as no real surprise to historians, who have an endless parade of tyrants and movements and churches they could compare the Nazi regime to. A good correlation to Death of Stalin would be Downfall (Der Untergang) 2004 film by Oliver Hirschbiegel. Source of thousands of “Hitler Finds Out” memes, the movie detailed the final days of the Nazi regime. Again, available to watch for free on Tubi. Not intended as a comedy, but eerily similar, because the pathology of the social phenomenon is essentially identical.
Stalin, while in his role of “Lenin’s left foot” wrote in Marxism and the National Question this summation: “A nation is a historically constituted, stable community of people, formed on the basis of a common language, territory, economic life, and psychological make-up manifested in a common culture.” You don’t have to squint very hard to see the bones of “Ein Volk. Ein Reich. Ein Fuhrer” behind that thought. The {collective, state, church} above all, accountable only to itself.
Authoritarians usually make no real secret of what they are or what their plans are for you. But they wrap the malice in conspiracy theories and claims that you are the victim of enemies, real and imagined, inside or outside your nation. Most Americans are familiar with the hatred Republicans spit at single moms for daring to ask for help raising their kids, and blandly ignore the trillions stolen by the plutocratic class.
Accountability is the key element. It always has been. Freedom and social progress began only when leaders and prelates and governments had to become accountable for their actions. In the west, it began in 1215, when the King was forced to adopt the Magna Carta, making him responsive to the nobility. It culminated in 1789 with the Constitution, which set out to make the government the design of the people, and very deliberately worked to keep religious entities and the aristocracy out of power. It had mixed results, but it enabled Americans to largely avoid the madness and brutality of autocracy for 200 years. It was an ongoing process, of course. In the beginning, less than 10% of the population actually had rights.
It leaves Americans unprepared for the rise of an authoritarian movement, and even with a half-century of warning signs, most don’t recognize the GOP, hagridden with fascists, plutocrats, dominionists and libertarians, for the extreme danger that it is. Many believe that they lie for you, cheat for you, steal for you, kill for you, to protect your freedoms. It isn’t even intentional dishonesty on their part, usually. It’s willful blindness, denialism carried to an extreme. There are people who earnestly believe Donald Trump is being crucified for us. Most supporters blandly ignore the embrace of racism, deliberate cruelty, and outright Nazism, and parrot the propaganda about how the GOP is conservative, patriotic, and beholden to God.
When you watch the destructive nihilism of Republicans trashing the economy deliberately in a vain effort to pass cruel and draconian laws, or seeking to imprison women for the crime of not wanting to be pregnant, or staging the farcical and inane kangaroo court like the “Biden Impeachment hearings” remember Hitler and Stalin and many others, who made it crystal clear what they were, and what they would become if they seized power. The GOP want to be the Fourth Reich, the new Soviet State.
Denialism stretches to insane lengths. I began by discussing Russia in the throes of the death of Stalin. I’ll return there, only not as seen through the lens of a satire, but from a very grim reality, one described by a master eyewitness of that era, Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn. The acclaimed novelist was, like millions of other Soviet citizenry, incarcerated in Stalin’s vast Gulag prison system (the book itself is part one of “The Gulag Archipelago”). He was there doing a ten-year stretch for “Anti-Soviet Agitation.” The so-called ASA laws allowed the state to imprison anyone for pretty much anything, or nothing at all. One of his cellmates was a peasant, learning to write. He had been taught to sign his name, and, proud of this new accomplishment, signed it wherever he could put pen to paper. One of the papers he used was the daily Pravda, and he signed his name across a picture of Stalin that happened to be there. His party block captain noticed. Ten years, ASA.
Solzhenitsyn was in prison with thousands of others that day in 1953 when news of Stalin’s death was broadcast. These were people whose lives had been destroyed, usually unfairly and often capriciously, and all knew people who had been ground to death under the wheels of the Soviet state. Many had seen the unbelievable carnage that ensued when Stalin attempted to stop the German army behind walls of bloody splintered bones that had been the pride of the Soviet Union. Millions more perished because of the mad agricultural polices of Lysenkoism.
You might think the prisoners all erupted in joy over the death of the man who had ruined their lives and murdered so many of their family and friends. But no! They wept! They wailed! They mourned the loss of this despot as if their own fathers had died (and in many cases, Stalin had caused the deaths of their own fathers!). There was an orgy of unfeigned and unstaged grief, totally genuine. Stalin was the state. He was the father figure. He was the kindly ruler who sometimes had to do hard things for the sake of his people. His victims wept, not for themselves and their loved ones, but for their loss of Stalin.
In the GOP, we find history has repeated itself. These people are showing us what they are, and anyone with any knowledge of history knows what they will do. Without restraint, and without limits, seeing cruelty as strength and freedom as a threat to their authority. Their coin is the frightfulness of madness, the inexorability of blind authority. They want to crush you. They will crush you, and they will work hard to persuade you to praise them as they do so.
Watch the Republicans, and see them for the horrible danger they are.

* * *

The Libertarian Party, and its fascist leaders, are one of the main reasons madness has taken over the Republican party and threatens to destroy all of us. Thom Hartmann, the renowned columnist, has a pair of deeply insightful pieces on the rise of this evil empire.

How Libertarianism is a poison that’s crept into America


As Republicans begin phony ‘impeachment hearings’ Democrats are ignoring real crimes



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