The Wave Breaks — But the sand persists

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 20th, 2022

zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Wave Breaks — Purple Reign Ensues

The Wave Breaks

Purple Reign Ensues

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 13th 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

One of the Weasels described this past week’s election for MAGAts as “Owning the Libs turned into Own Goal.” There’s more than a bit of truth to that. Annoying liberals became a sort of a group pastime beginning with the rise of Rush Limbaugh, and people thought the best way to deal with liberals was to be as inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending as possible, and totally missed the fact that 30% of population is liberal, another 40% are moderates and 20% more are conservative-but-still-sane. So you had 10% of the population that was nuts and/or gleefully vile, and another 30% or so willing to at least tolerate them for the sake of the extra votes they pulled in.

So the lib owners very loudly did their thing, and with the help of billionaires and the propaganda networks they formed, even got some of their own elected. What they missed was that a large portion of the population took them at their word, and assumed they were inane, infantile, obnoxious, ignorant and condescending. Few people see these as virtues.

There were plenty of other reasons why the GOP failed to sweep to total power this election. Nobody likes the theocrats on the Court or that surge by the fundie crowd to turn America into a pseudo-Christian version of Iran. The Republicans who weren’t MAGAts pandered to the billionaire class, promising to cut taxes on the rich and paying for it by raising taxes on the middle class and by slashing or even eliminating Social Security and Medicare. It got them campaign donations, but it turned out nobody was willing to give up their pension or medical coverage so they could see more political ads on TV.

Trump, of course, was a big part of it. As long as he held power, Republicans were willing to disbelieve or turn a blind eye to the fact that he is a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag. Yes, the thinking went, he might be a loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag, but by gawd, he’s OUR loathsome, greedy, self-centered, boorish and destructive dirtbag (Yes, I get paid by the word, why do you ask?) and he can win elections for us. In point of fact, he’s never won an election for the GOP, but the illusion of success was adequate for some. So despite his pyramid of scandals and obvious incompetence, he was able to persuade primary voters to go for his picks to run in the mid-terms, and a motley collection of losers they were. You had the election deniers, some of whom promised not to accept the results of the election unless they won. One promised that if elected, his party would never lose another election again. Others ran on openly racist themes, decrying the non-existent “open border” or complaining about crime in the inner cities. (The crime rate is actually higher in rural areas, but they aren’t black there, you see). Some appealed to fear, flogging gays and transgendered (an average child is at far greater risk from his church’s pastor than he is from any drag queen) or drifting off into the land of utter lunacy (litter boxes in school restrooms to accommodate “furries”). One snake-oil “doctor” ran on a platform of mocking his opponent for having had a stroke. Perhaps Trump can sink that low, but most people can’t. The doctor lost, costing the GOP the Senate. Back to Trump in a minute.

The Dobbs decision striking down Roe v. Wade galvanized female and young voters. Both turned out in record numbers, and voted Democratic. We’re already hearing calls from disappointed MAGAts to raise the voting age to 21. (I can imagine a case based on that reaching the Supreme Court. Alito, who already bald-faced that there is no such thing as “unenumerated rights” will probably declare the Constitution has no opinion on voting age. If he can wave the 9th Amendment out of existence, why not do the same to the 26th?) I’m sure MAGAts are trying to figure out how to deter female voters the way they try to deter African-American voters. Joan Crow, anyone?

Finally, and the least recognized reason, is that the fact is that Biden and the Democrats did a hell of a good job over his first two years, and did so with absolutely no help from Republicans. Democrats passed the Inflation Reduction Act, a 1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, and limited gun and health care reform. He managed to cap insulin prices, and gave the government power to negotiate drug and medical equipment prices. He got the 1.9 trillion dollar COVID relief bill through, which kept millions of Americans afloat and off the streets while saving thousands of businesses. He got a bill passed to forgive student loans, an execrable scam that kept millions of American in economic slavery.

I said last week that Trump’s decision to run would depend on how the election went. If the Pubs swept, all his scandals and looming criminal cases and civil suits would go away, courtesy of a morally bankrupt Congress and a stacked Supreme Court, and he would run. If Dems kept the Senate (as they have) and even won the House (which they still might) he wouldn’t run. Even he has to know the midterm results weakened him badly. His chosen candidates nearly all lost. Republicans are daring to criticize him. I believe that for now, he won’t announce. Too much risk of sparking an intra-party revolt or even a civil war. He wouldn’t mind that, understand. But the prospect he might lose will scare him off.

But don’t rule him out. He still has a rabid following, and we’ve seen instances in the past where he should have been wiped out politically for his egregious excesses (the bus conversation with Bush the Least, mocking the disabled reporter, smearing gold-star families, and above all January 6th) only to see him crack the whip and Republicans went crawling back to him like abused junkyard dogs with no recourse but to obey the cruel master. They are a cowardly and revolting lot, and answer the question, “Could it happen here?” Yes, some people are that weak and dependent on the illusion of a strong leader. So yes, Trump may yet return.

In the meantime, if the GOP takes the House (and that is probably going to happen) then the first thing they will do is shut down any further Congressional investigations into Trump or the insurrection. They may even demand that the January 6th committee turn over all evidence gathered so they can destroy it. So my advice for the committee is Publish Everything. Do it in the last day of the existing Congress. Let the world see everything you’ve discovered. All of it. Spare nobody. Republicans, after all, won’t spare you.

Depending on how slim a majority the Republicans have, and how heated the battle for Speakership and committee chairs gets (and it may be a bloody affair) and above all, who wins those battles, the House may or may not launch endless revenge investigations and impeachment hearings against the Bidens and anyone else they don’t like. Expect to start hearing about Benghazi again, because Republicans will suddenly change their minds and decide that angry mobs attacking an American government facility resulting in the deaths of Americans is a bad thing again. And of course, they’ll block anything that might help the country because they don’t want Biden to look good.

But for now, we’ve managed to avoid waltzing off the edge of the cliff. MAGAts showed Americans who they were, and Americans told them to go to hell. They still don’t like fascists.

There is hope.

Last Election? — Or jumping off place?

Last Election?

Or jumping off place?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

November 5th 2023

zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

What happens if the Republicans take Congress?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MYOB — Republicans have curious way of promoting freedom of information

MYOB

Republicans have curious way of promoting freedom of information

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 23rd, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Watching Donald tie himself in knots over the classified materials found at Mar-A-Lardo is funnier than hell if you overlook the elements of criminality, national betrayal and possible treason. Donald’s latest approach is that he declassified documents using the power of his mind. If Uri Geller could bend keys with his mind as easily as Donald bends the truth with his, um, mind, Uri would be a billionaire by now. It’s fascinating watching Donald and his little flock of D-list lawyers claim that the documents were declassified and thus Donald’s property but refusing to make the same claim in front of Judge Dearie, Trump’s choice to be “Special Master” that the idiot Aileen Cannon thought could protect Donald. Dearie already let it be known that if the documents weren’t classified, he was wasting his time, and if they were, Donald had already lost.

Donald also claims that it’s really nobody’s business why he took the documents or what they were. If they are unclassified he can say they’re none of our business, and if they’re classified he can’t discuss them with us because they’re classified. Paging Doc Daneeka!

With a massive fraud case brought by the state of New York looming and likely to utterly destroy the Trump financial empire, you might think that Donald and his sons would try to come up with something better than MYOB in their under-oath dealings with the state DA’s office. But no; they pled the fifth, Donald and Junior over 900 times between them. Keep in mind that this is a CIVIL suit, not a criminal one. (Although that’s likely pending). In a civil suit, unlike in a criminal trial, pleading the Fifth is considered evidentiary, in other words, something the jury can consider as an effort to hide culpability. They can go, “Aha, this bozo is hiding something!”

I’ll note that in Congressional investigations, Hillary Clinton didn’t plead the fifth once. All of those investigations, including the nine hours of testimony the Republican House put her through.

Needless to say, the large majority of Americans see this for the mendacious nonsense it is. You would think that other Republicans would look at this and back away. But no.

Hershel Walker, who bragged of his charitable giving, when faced with the utter lack of evidence that he did anything of the sort, took the Donald defense. It was nobody’s business, he declared, who he gave the money to or what it was for. Fortunately for Hershel, he’s just trying to backtrack on some campaign bullshit. Donald tried that defense at trial, and it cost him millions of dollars and he’s banned from charitable associations in New York. Seems he was stealing donations from kids with cancer. Whatta sweet guy!

One goof running for Congress in Ohio, a J.R. Majewski, had been boasting of flying many missions into Afghanistan, which would be commendable, except the AP looked into the claims and could find nothing in his military record to show such activities from Majewski, who apparently actually worked at a supply depot in Qatar, far from Afghanistan. Majewski, not content with 48 hours of ‘stolen valour’ stories in the media, came out and claimed his missions were classified and that’s why they aren’t on his record. Hmm. Well, doesn’t that mean he broke the law by discussing those missions in the first place? Or is he lying again?

I know, I know. It’s none of my business.

Republicans as a whole have decided that they are not going to participate in debates over the next five weeks before the election. Bad enough that moderators ask questions they don’t want to answer like “Who is the President of the United States?” or “Shouldn’t billionaires contribute more of what America gave them back?” or “Did the Moon landings really happen?” But their opponents might point to erroneous statements, false claims, investigations for fraud and criminal activity, and past criminal proceedings.

Why, they done rehabilitated themselves. Ain’t nobody’s business if they are criminals or con artists or raving far-right loons. They don’t have to explain themselves to a bunch of randos known as “the voters”!

Even Newt Gingrich, father of the modern puddle of vomit that is today’s GOP, is snarling that anyone who asks why the January 6th Committee wants to talk to him about his role in the coup “has a learning disability.” People with such disabilities shouldn’t be rude to their betters by asking awkward questions, right? Especially those reporters.

The House Republicans blocked a bill that would have revealed the sources of dark money flooding campaigns.

It’s nobody’s concern who’s buying up your country.

Mind Your Own Business.

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

September 4th, 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

www.zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy of the State

What to do about Trump if the legal system fails?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

August 23rd, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will that happen? Well, this IS Trump.

Prepare for the worse.

The Fall Approaches — Wild, hot July presages

The Fall Approaches

Wild, hot July presages

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

July 24th, 2022

www.zeppscommentaries.online

Well, it’s been a week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cassidy Hutchinson — Blowing the fucking doors off the Beast

 

Cassidy Hutchinson

Blowing the fucking doors off the Beast

June 28th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

zeppscommentaries.online

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dog Days — Moral dilemmas for Republicans

Dog Days

Moral dilemmas for Republicans

June 22nd 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

“What meeting is that?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Committee’s Latrine — The Trump Dump

Committee’s Latrine

The Trump Dump

June 16th 2022

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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