Zealotry Aborted — Kansas shows America not ready for religious fascism

Zealotry Aborted

Kansas shows America not ready for religious fascism

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

August 5th 2022

The only thing about the Kansas vote to reaffirm the state Supreme Court upholding the right to abortion that surprised me was the amount it won by: 59-41. I figured it would pass, but I wasn’t expecting the blowout margin.

Poll after poll has shown that the usurpation of the Constitution by the zealots on the federal Supreme Court is wildly unpopular, and free states are hustling to encode abortion rights if needed, and vowing to provide such rights to enslaved women in the zealot states. That’s why Kansas wasn’t a surprise so far as the result went. Abortion, and separation of church and state, cross partisan lines. It’s one thing to say that Kansas is one of the reddest states in the union; but not all Republicans march in lockstep with the preachers and demagogues that dominate that beleaguered party. And independents in particular will break ranks when it comes to maintaining rights and freedoms.

Kansas all but invented the term “prairie populism.” Often deeply religious, and conservative, but also strong-willed and independent. They may like and respect their Sunday preacher just fine, but they aren’t about to let him dictate how they should vote, or what rights the church can take away that the Constitution promises.

Kansas is one of the most heavily propagandized states in America, with all radio and much television devoted to reactionary Protestant broadcasting, or the endless lies and undermining of freedom that stems from hate radio. I figured that there were maybe 5% of the voters there brainwashed enough to cut off their own noses to “own the libs.” Well, it’s happened before. Look at the obviously incompetent, unfit, and inept trolls in Congress who got there despite having nothing—nothing at all—to offer other than snark and clownish defiance.

I’m happy to see that I was wrong, by about 7% of Kansas’ population. I figured abortion rights would win, but I was expecting a 52-48 margin. That it went the way it did is cause for considerable optimism.

One phenomenon that may have underlay the result was the open, gleeful, and acquisitive viciousness and cruelty that the zealots and the fascists of the GOP displayed. A few days after the Supreme Court (Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Comey Barrett) decided to kick the rights of hundreds of millions of people under the nearest Bible, a nightmare scenario emerged, of a ten year old rape victim who had to travel to a neighboring state for an abortion. Any reasonable or rational people would look at that situation and consider making the new law less strident, more humane. There is no situation in which any government, no matter how god-burdened, should force a ten-year-old to give birth to her rapist’s baby.

The Washington Times is one of the shabbier exercises in propaganda journalism given birth by a different set of Zealots, the Moonies, although they dumped the rag a few years back, but it’s still a rag. That exercise in dysfunctional journalism cast doubt on the story, writing, “If there was a 10-year-old girl out there who had been impregnated, certainly there’d be a criminal investigation into her rape.

“But Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said this week that there was “not a whisper” of evidence to back up the story. ‘The bottom line is it is a crime if you’re a mandated reporter to fail to report. It’s also the fact that in Ohio the rape of a 10-year-old means life in prison,’Mr. Yost said on Fox News.” Yost either had no idea what he was talking about and didn’t bother to fact check first, or he was flat-out lying. The rape and rapist had been reported, and he is awaiting trial. But that didn’t stop zealots from sending death threats meant for the girl for the crime of getting raped and being a political embarrassment to them.

And then there’s the lies. Several “justices” on the Supreme Court lied, blatantly and with malice, declaring before the Senate and while under oath that Roe Vs. Wade was “established law” and they would respect stare decisis, which is the legal notion that precedent should determine legal decision making in a case involving similar facts. They lied, and got appointed under fraudulent circumstances.

All the anti-abortion crowd who said they just wanted to limit abortion, and didn’t want to interfere with contraception or a woman’s right to private medical counsel immediately started passing pre-written laws contradicting those stances. Some states are even trying to make it illegal to go to another state for an abortion, or even protest against the law.

Religious zealots believe that they have to be cruel in god’s name either because a) god is cruel, or b) god is kind, but wants to test his followers by making them be cruel. Zealots also believe that it’s ok to lie to “unbelievers” (everyone else) in the name of god. The zealots and corrupt toadies on the Supreme Court have unleashed this miasma of humanity loose on the land, and hideous stories of repression, cruelty, and oppression are emerging every where.

It’s how theocracies—all theocracies—work. The starry-eyed idiots who declare that life would be perfect if we put [god, allah, jesus] in charge miss an important fact: god isn’t running the show. It never has. It doesn’t exist. What a theocracy is is a group of politicians who find god to be the perfect figleaf for their own corruption and viciousness. God is the trump card that ends debate. You end up with The Church running the country, and it’s accountable only to an imaginary doormat that says whatever it is The Church wants it to say and says so on its behalf. It’s the ultimate scam, the Saudi Arabia, the 14th century Europe, and Cromwell’s England. The lowest misery of history, repeated over and over.

Kansas voters may or may not have figured that out. But a significant number of them realize that these people, these zealots, are not to be trusted, and allowed to run loose, will destroy America and everyone in her.

The naked face of religious and fascist zealotry has been exposed. People who wanted to believe are turning away.

“Not flag or fail” — No time to lose hope

Not flag or fail”

No time to lose hope

July 4th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

I wasn’t going to fly the US flag today. Even said so several times in posts around the web. But George Takei changed my mind. He wrote on Twitter,

 

@GeorgeTakei

·If you have trouble celebrating July 4th, I can sympathize. For years, we did so within internment camp barbed wire fencing, guns pointed in at us. We honored the promise of America even as it was broken to us every day. But still, we kept faith. And a brighter day finally came.

I wrote in response, “I wasn’t going to fly the flag today. But you just changed my mind. Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.”

Takei, of course, is the author of the autobiographical graphic novel, ‘They Called Us Enemy’ (They Called Us Enemy by George Takei Co-written with Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott and illustrated by Harmony Becker. Top Shelf Productions 2019, 204 pages) which recounts the arrest and internment of his family in 1942 for the crime of looking Japanese in public. They spent the better part of four years in American internment camps including the most desolate and remote corner of California, perhaps two hours drive from where I live.

Takei’s father had left Japan decades before at the age of 12. Nobody else in his family had so much as set foot in Japan, and none felt any loyalty to Emperor Hirohito. But westerners were fearful, cowardly and paranoid, driven by transitory panic. Governor Earl Warren summed up social attitudes when he said, “We have no reports of spying, or sabotage, or fifth column activities by Japanese Americans, and that is ominous, because the Japanese are inscrutable.”

It’s the sort of thinking you associate with zealots and extremists, and Warren normally was neither—quite the opposite, in fact. But the moral and social panics that afflict societies on a regular basis cause reasonable people to utter madness.

As I read Takei’s story, I was struck by the dignity and patriotism of the internees. They only resisted against one demand by the government, that they sign a loyalty oath and a pledge to serve if called upon. The reason for the resistance was NOT that they were unwilling to serve their country (and the vast majority of internees were native-born Americans or naturalized citizens) but the insulting demand that they renounce Emperor Hirohito.

Takei explained it in this passage: “Takei, then adolescent and judgmental, responded to a remark the elder Takei made that ‘…of all the forms of government that we have, American democracy is still the best.’ with ‘Daddy, how can you say that? After all you went through, losing everything you and mama worked for?’ His father replied, ‘Roosevelt pulled us out of the Depression and he did great things. But he was also a fallible human being, and he made a disastrous mistake that affected us calamitously. But despite all that, our democracy is still the best in the world because it is a people’s democracy.’”

Every December, I write a piece dealing in some way with the winter solstice. The theme, always, is that of hope. My tag line on those essays is “Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.” If I am to be true to that promise, then I have to have hope myself, now more than ever. I owe it to George Takei. I owe it to my readers. I owe it to myself. And I owe it to what America stands for.

Yes, there are bigots and fools and religious zealots in positions of power, and they are demonstrating the deep and abiding threat to freedom and sanity that they always have. The GOP, fascist billionaires and corrupt churches egg on a moral and social panic to their own selfish and vicious ends. Many are the same sort of people who build internment camps and worse. Many are good people made temporarily insane by the transitory gusts of rage and fear, like Earl Warren was during the war. (Warren went on to codify many of the same rights the zealots of the Supreme Court are trying to take away now).

So the flag is out front this morning. It’s not a typical Fourth of July morning: it’s cool, and raining, and probably won’t get very warm today. Usually it’s hot and sunny. But then, it wasn’t going to be a typical Independence Day anyway. Storm clouds aren’t always meteorological.

We will defeat the zealots and the fascists and the haters, and drive them back under their rocks. Our own panic and fear will evolve into resolve, and we will fight the monsters of the right and take back what is ours by Constitutional right. They will not prevail. They have Trump; we have Takei. We will win.

Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.

 

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.

Revolution — Means “going in circles”

Revolution

Means “going in circles”

June 10th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP Gun Bravado — Justifying piles of dead kids

GOP Gun Bravado

Justifying piles of dead kids

May 25th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

White Inferiors — Two individuals roil America

White Inferiors

Two individuals roil America

May 15th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The results would be pretty much the same.

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

They must be stopped.

They will kill you if they seize power.

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

The Sump Pump that is Trump

Garbage in, Sewage Out

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

March 30th 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Still in the Fog — War continues to Russia’s detriment

Still in the Fog

War continues to Russia’s detriment

March 29th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

While the usual caveats about “the fog of war” still apply (nothing said by either side is true until proven) there are some things we can determine from the actual evidence.

Putin’s dream of a quick blitzkrieg takeover of Ukraine is in tatters. The battle lines haven’t moved in over three weeks now, and there are reports that Ukraine has actually recovered small amounts of ground back in a couple of areas. While actual numbers are not available, it’s clear that the Russians have paid a very heavy price in terms of both personnel and materiel, and the Ukrainians have suffered large civilian losses, mostly from the wanton shelling and bombing of civilian centers.

Russia has lost at least ten thousand soldiers, including six generals. There are unconfirmed reports of large defections and desertions, and one confirmed report of a Russian colonel who was fragged by his own troops, apparently by being run over by a tank. Not subtle, these Russians.

Peace negotiations are expected to open in Istanbul in a couple of days, and it’s widely believed that Putin is seeking a compartmentalization of Ukraine, as was done in the 50s in Korea, or the 60s in Vietnam. DMZs, in other words, with Russia holding a strip of land linking them with Crimea, which they already stole. There’s no reason to suppose that would work out any better than previous DMZs did, unless Putin is prepared to following in the footsteps of the Kim dynasty of North Korea and inflict such horror and deprivation on the people in his region that they remain too weak and cowed to put up any real resistance. Granted, as we learned with the Chechnyans, Putin is quite willing to engage in ongoing domestic terrorism against the populace.

Putin claims Russian bombing and shelling campaigns against Kyiv and other cities in the north will abate, although neither the Ukrainian government nor the west are inclined to believe that. Putin has already suffered an embarrassing set-back; he may not want to risk looking weak in the bargain.

Biden came out and said of Putin, “This guy has to go.” He later explained that he meant exactly what he said, but that it did not reflect a formal change in policy. The media is trying to describe that as a backing away from the original statement and twittering about how undiplomatic it all is, as if America didn’t invent the expression “regime change” back in the 90s. Meanwhile, Donald Trump, the heart and soul of today’s GQP, suggested (and I’m not making this up) that America fly planes painted with Chinese markings into Russia and bomb them, in hopes of sparking a major war between the two major powers. Perhaps he’s hoping for lower land prices in both nations that he can exploit. And today—today!–he publicly asked Putin to drop whatever he was doing and dig up dirt on Hunter Biden. Aren’t you glad we got rid of that loon? One down, one to go.

Putin’s response? “It is time for us, for our people, to call on the people of the United States to change the regime in the U.S. early,” Russian TV host Evgeny Popov said, “And to again help our partner Trump to become president.” State TV being the bastion of independent journalism that it is, you know.

In the meantime, at least ten million civilians have been displaced in the Ukraine, with an estimated four to five million having fled the country altogether. The US has vowed to accept 100,000 refugees, and Canada has a three-year refugee status program with no limit on the number of refugees. The UK is offering £350/month to any household accepting refugees. While a welcome move, it’s unlikely to address the needs of more than about 10% of the refugees. Poland is taking the brunt of the exodus, and they are poorly equipped to handle it, and anti-Russian sentiment will only last so long as a buffer against Poland’s notoriously xenophobic culture.

And there’s also the possibility that the war will reduce one or both sides to pauperized failed states. Russia has been shown to be far weaker in terms of economy and morale than expected, and Ukraine is suffering bombardment the like of which Europe hasn’t seen since World War II. (American campaigns against Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq were far worse, of course, but the victims weren’t white, you know.)

One of the curious items is the reports that two negotiators in previous talks with Russia came down with symptoms consistent with novichok poisoning. The Guardian had a piece on this today, writing,

Guardian reporter based in Kyiv, Shaun Walker, brings us this analysis piece, asking: Why is Abramovich playing peacemaker after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine?

Sanctioned billionaire Roman Abramovich is not officially part of the Russian delegation, but has apparently played a major role behind the scenes, jetting between Moscow, Kyiv and Istanbul since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Further questions about what role Abramovich was playing, and why, were raised on Monday, when the Wall Street Journal and investigative outlet Bellingcat claimed Abramovich and a Ukrainian MP were among three people to fall ill with symptoms consistent with chemical poisoning, during a round of negotiations in Kyiv in early March.

A source confirmed to the Guardian that Abramovich had fallen ill after the meeting, and had lost his sight for several hours. He soon recovered and was able to take part in later rounds of negotiations.

Aside from the poisoning claims, the emergence of the publicity-shy oligarch at the heart of peace negotiations has also surprised many.”

The West has brought many sanctions to bear, many aimed at Russia’s plutocrats. Perhaps they are having an effect. Certainly Putin uses kompromat and extortion to control his billionaires (including, it’s rumored, Donald Trump) but that can only carry him so far in the face of ruin.

Biden is right: no matter what happens in Ukraine, this guy needs to go. He won’t stop with an eastern partition of Ukraine. You can take that to the bank.

Sloppy Slappy – And his nutball souse, Gin-soaked

Sloppy Slappy

And his nutball souse, Gin-soaked

March 24th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

Back in the early nineties, in the wake of the Anita Hill testimony during the confirmation hearings for Clarence Thomas, a fellow named Bartcop, host of a website then known as “Rush Limbaugh: Lying Nazi Whore” (eventually Bartcop.com) bestowed an ineradicable nickname on Thomas: “Slappy.” Bartcop, sadly, has since died, but I still use the nickname he bestowed gleefully.

Various right wingers have tried telling me that calling him “Slappy” is racist, somehow. One fellow even tried telling me that it was a veiled reference to vaudeville comedian Slappy White, an allegation that collapsed when it came about that the only thing remotely racist about this almost-forgotten comedian was his last name.

“Slappy” is demeaning and vulgar, but Slappy has that coming, now more so than ever. Bartcop used it to refer to the man’s predilection for pornography. He knew, as many of us did, that Slappy would always be a bad joke on the court, a result of the Republicans sneering effort at tokenism, replacing the brilliant Thurgood Marshall with the notion that one Negro is just as good as any other Negro. Just the fact that Slappy lacked the self-respect to balk at an open slap at African-Americans told us he was intellectually and emotionally unsuited to the position. The thinly veiled racist antics of the Senate committee, the same as what we are seeing now, included Joe Biden and Ted Kennedy. It was a disgraceful performance, one that the Senate has made a standard rather than a failure.

On January 19th, 2022, the Court ruled 8-1 that Trump must turn over emails and texts to the Select Committee for Investigation into the events of January 6th, when Trump supporters attempted a coup against the United States.

Slappy was the lone dissenting vote. By itself, that wasn’t too noteworthy. Slappy is often the lone dissenting vote in what might otherwise be ‘slam the door, Katie’ cases, based on his inimical opposition to rights, especially of minorities, and a deep misunderstanding of what the Constitution stands for. We just waved our hands and muttered “Slappy” in the same tone of voice we use when the neighbor’s dog craps in the yard.

Today more of the texts and emails Trump had to turn over despite Slappy’s opposition came to light, and it turns out that some of the most damning ones were between then-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and…Slappy’s wife, Virginia “Ginny” Thomas. Let’s just call her “Gin Soaked.” I have no idea if she has a drinking problem, or drinks at all, but she sure behaves like someone with a serious emotional and mental impairment.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, The messages – 29 in all – reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: ‘Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.’”

Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be ‘the lead and the face’ of Trump’s legal team.”

Some of you may remember Sidney Powell. She is the “release the Kraken” conspiracy theorist who was in fact the litigious face of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election until her antics caught up to her and she was sanctioned for “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process.”

The emails, by themselves, are prima facie evidence that Gin-Soaked was complicit in efforts to overturn, negate, and otherwise rescind the election (‘rescind’ was the word Trump used in conversations with former ally Mo Brooks on numerous occasions). Gin-Soaked may end up being subpoenaed to explain some of what she wrote, and asked about how involved Slappy may have been in this. It’s even possible she could face criminal charges.

Were it not for his vote to hide the emails, which included hers, Slappy may have survived this disgrace as he has survived so many others. But his vote, a clear and self-evident conflict of interest, would have been a criminal act on any other court in the country. Only the Supreme Court is self-excused from the standards expected of every other judge in the country.

In a normal, non-corrupt government, a Supreme Court Justice embarrassed by such wanton and outlandish antics of a family member would resign. But Slappy is a sad little creature, bereft of self-respect and clinging desperately to his unearned power. He won’t resign.

And the Senate won’t impeach him. Far too many Republicans are too corrupt, too cowardly, too contemptuous of the American people. This week’s hearings for the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson showed the depraved ethical and moral depths Republicans have sunk to, between vicious racial attacks, ridiculous flouncing and performance art, and the unbridled efforts of Christian fascists to block people of impure faith, which would be about 85% of the country. They couldn’t impeach Trump, who belongs in prison. They won’t impeach Slappy.

No, the members of the Supreme Court are going to have to sit down with Slappy and pressure him to resign. Some of them—including some of the right wingers—are uneasily aware that their credibility is hanging by a thread, and if the Slappy scandal goes the way I think it will go, it may destroy the consensual basis that the Court needs to function. Only they can do it.

Clarence “Slappy” Thomas must go.

Smoke and Mirrors – The war in Ukraine

Smoke and Mirrors

The war in Ukraine

March 16th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

I’ve been fairly quiet the past few weeks since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. One reason for that is “the fog of war”–I have no idea of what the actual situation is beyond the blatantly obvious that you can see for yourself just by tuning into any non-fascist news network. For me, that would be the BBC, the CBC, and the Guardian. The US commercial networks (and again, I am limiting myself to the non-fascist ones, which means I’m not wasting time watching Fox or Newsmax or OAN) are, in the confusion and uncertainty, substituting speculation and wishful thinking for actual factual reporting.

Non-factual reporting, no matter how well-intentioned and sincere, is only one step removed from propaganda, and when there is evident bias, then it IS propaganda.

Since none of us know what is going on in Putin’s head, or in the Kremlin at large, take reports that he is desperate, on the ropes, facing a possible coup, etc., with a large grain of salt. Some of it may prove to be true, but at this time consider it on the same level of defamation of the foe that we see in all wars.

Back when the Germans captured Paris, a video circulated showing Hitler doing an absurd little “dance of joy.” The video was fake, just an snippet of Hitler looped to make it appear he was dancing. The intent was to make him look absurd and petty, and while he in many ways was, it actually backfired in some ways in that it humanized him and made him look like he had a sense of humor, neither of which were particularly accurate.

The pictures of Putin at his absurdly long table also needs to be deprecated, even though the image is accurate. Pundits say it shows a dictator who is paranoid, estranged from everyone except a few sycophants, isolated, and out of touch. It may be true, but it’s also exactly what you might expect to hear of a adversarial leader in time of war. Nor does it prove weakness on Putin’s part: Russia has a long history of leaders, strong-arm dictators who were widely hated but who nonetheless held power for decades. Much as I would like to see Putin fall, I interpret the media analyses of his isolation and weakness as being wishful thinking. Kremlin watching has been a major US government pastime since 1920, but nearly every major development over that century has taken American strategists by surprise. Little has changed.

As to the military situation in Ukraine, some generalities can be made. It isn’t going well for the Russians, they have taken significant losses in personnel and materiel. All these are also standard wartime claims, made by both sides, but there is a wealth of evidence to support the three items mentioned. As for anything more specific, the military leaders on either side generally understand the tactical and strategic maps little more than the armchair generals watching CNN. There’s an old saying “All plans die at the start of battle,” and leaders on both sides are tearing their hair out trying to figure out the true situation on the ground. It’s almost always going to be chaotic.

Claims of losses are also good reason for skepticism. Both sides will inflate enemy losses and minimize own casualties. Remember Vietnam, when you might hears that half a dozen Marines were injured, one by a misfiring beer can opener, while killing 12,500 Viet Cong? And that was from a country that had a free press at the time.

Claims about morale should be weighed carefully. That the Ukrainians are courageous, determined, and largely united in defense of their homeland is almost a given. Anyone raised in post-war London knows nothing stiffens the backbone of the resident population than lobbing bombs at them. Claims of Russian morale are backed by the mass arrests for protest (including one case where a silent “protester” was arrested for waving A BLANK PROTEST sign. It’s also a fact that Putin has mandated 15 years in prison for calling his “special operation” a war. Claims about the state of morale in the Russian military are harder to evaluate. Few Russian soldiers are willing to grant ‘man in the street’ interviews, it seems. I think it’s safe to say they aren’t exuberant about the way this situation is developing, though.

Russians do seem to be targeting cities and the civilian population, a curious approach for a country that is simply trying to bring lost children back into the fold of Mother Russia, but it’s hard to get a sense of the true scale when the cable news is showing the same dozen over and over, either because they can’t or won’t show more. There’s little doubt that the maternity hospital in Mariupol was hit by a large rocket shell, and while the Russians deny it, Occam’s Razor says it was them, although intent is less clear. In the instance of the Mariupol Drama Theatre, where hundreds of civilians, half of them children, had sheltered, intent seems more obvious. The theater had the word “children” written in large letters in the grounds surrounding the theater, and even after reporting began of the atrocity, Russian air strikes continued. That’s why, over 24 hours later, we still have no idea of the death toll.

It is safe to say the Russian economy has taken massive damage. Their stock market has remained closed for over three weeks now, and the ruble is quite literally worth less than a square of American toilet paper. This won’t translate to a popular uprising—Russian history makes that fairly self-evident. Nor is a revolt by the oligarchs likely. Like Putin’s pet American oligarch, Trump, most are bound to Putin because he maintains control over their reputations, their families, and their ability to enjoy their wealth. If they couldn’t overthrow Putin when they had money, what are they going to do now?

Yes, Putin has bitten off more than he can chew, and yes, what he is doing is a crime against humanity. And it is costing Russia and the Russian people almost as dearly as it’s costing the Ukrainians.

But beyond that, it’s all smoke and mirror, wishful thinking, and propaganda. If you think you know how it ends, you are delusional.

But to quote a line I’m known for using, “Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.”

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