Biden Our Time — Good Trumps Evil

Biden Our Time

Good Trumps Evil

January 21st 2021

At 9:01am PST yesterday I posted a one-word post on Facebook.

The post said, “WHEW!”

It might be the only all-caps post I’ll ever make, since I regard people who post in all-caps to be total idiots. I am quite capable of attaining truly sublime levels of idiocy without artificial aids from my caps-lock key, thank you very much.

We all expected things to turn weird and disgusting between the election and inauguration day, and of course things did. And yes, there were a lot of grim things. COVID continued to explode, with the death toll now well over 400,000, and the Trump regime bungled the vaccine rollout. Trump gleefully sabotaged Open Skies and other treaties, giving a gleeful Vladimir Putin an entire basket of tactical Easter eggs. They had an insurrectionist attack on the Capitol and comprised, for the most part, of meth heads trying to play soldier and absolutely lunatic conspiracy theory freaks. Even more troubling, we discovered that much of the Republican party would rather destroy the United States than share power with those of the wrong race, or the wrong religion, or who were simply guilty of not being rich.

If one good thing came of the Trump regime, it was that he forced America to look in the mirror, and learn that it’s really no better than any other country, and can no longer pretend to be a shining beacon of reason and ethics. Not that it ever really could, but the facade had been torn away.

I don’t envy Joe Biden. He took office yesterday facing a national crisis every bit as great as the one Franklin Roosevelt faced in March of 1933. FDR only had to face the First Great Depression. Biden is facing the Second Great Depression, along with the pandemic, the worst since 1919, and an opposition that is anything but loyal; a large chunk of the GOP leadership are seditionists at best, traitors at worst.

I’m sure I’ll oppose Biden on some items, sometimes vehemently. But unlike his predecessor, I won’t be questioning his loyalty, his courage, or his good intentions. That’s a huge improvement right there. Trump is filth. Biden is not.

I’m having grim fun watching the GOP writhe and twist. The militias have come face to face with the fact that no coup can succeed without popular support. Power comes, not from the barrel of a gun, but the will of the people. It’s something the fairy-tale stories about overthrowing evil kings and the like often miss; no regime happens in a vacuum. You need, at the very least, the support of one third of the population, and at least another third willing to not take up arms against you. When 3/4s of the population are openly disgusted with you and want to throw you in jail (or under a guillotine) then your cause is lost. Most people hate the so-called militias, with their open embrace of Nazism and white superiority. Theirs is the philosophy of war, of death camps, of genocides. A large majority of Americans are better than that, and won’t fall to that level except under the circumstances that led to the French Revolution, the Soviet revolution, the Putsch and rise of Hitler, or the final disintegration of the USSR. We aren’t there yet, and with any luck, we won’t be.

The QAnon conspiracy nuts have to come to grips with the fact that Trump isn’t going to be a God-Emperor here to save us from the utterly imaginary depredations of the Clintons, Obama, or the lizard people. Quite a few of them hit a wall of reality beginning on the sixth of January and crashed and burned with the sight of Biden taking the oath of office. Q himself apparently stopped posting shortly after the election. Many will just find a new form of insanity to embrace, but quite a few are wailing that they were misled and lied to, and that their new religion failed them. I imagine Christianity must have faced a similar setback when Jesus’ prediction that many of those living would see his return failed to come to pass. In other words, don’t expect QAnon to just go away. The ability to rationalize is deep amongst the deluded and the insane.

The the ‘sane’ part of the GOP, the ‘good Germans’ are popping up all over the place. “Oh, I never supported Trump.” “I just went along because I was afraid.” “I was just following orders.” Suddenly, they want to talk about unity, negotiation, and compromise. There may even be some who are acting in good faith, but it’s a sure bet that most are just trying to salvage what they can for the ruins of their party, and are probing Biden and the Democratic Party for any signs of weakness. A favorite seems to be “Well, 74 million people voted for Trump and you can’t ignore them.” The reality is 81 million people voted for Biden, and unlike Trump won’t be out to viciously take revenge on the Trump voters. Biden isn’t going to refuse aid to red states, and he isn’t going to address the pandemic only in states that voted for him. He isn’t Trump. He isn’t a monster.

To the Trump voters I say, “Biden is here to govern, not rule. He isn’t going to make you second-class citizens because of how you voted. He isn’t going to turn America into a Soviet wasteland, no matter what the high-paid liars on the right wing media say. He is going to make changes, and you may not like all of them, but if you have any honesty, any decency, you’ll reserve judgment and see what the changes mean in your lives, your work, your schools, your health care and your country. You don’t own America, but America exists to serve you, and Biden seems to be totally aware of that.

“We tried your way, and it was a catastrophe. Trump was the worst president in our history. Expect better with Biden.”

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Six Days — Countdown to the end of the Trump era

Six Days

Countdown to the end of the Trump era

January 14th 2021

Even without the attempted coup at the Capitol last week, everyone would be on tenterhooks right now. While the threat of any significant violence strikes me as overblown—Gravy Seals and Meal Team Sucks against 20,000 police, National Guard and the Army—there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that Donald Trump is engaged in what psychiatrists refer to as decompensation. That’s the utter breakdown of a world created by a neurotic and/or psychotic person in the face of implacable reality. Trump is learning, at the end, that he is not widely loved and admired, and his efforts to dominate and bully people is at an end. Not only that, but next week the last of his power vanishes, and he must account for his crimes. He has suffered humiliation after humiliation, from losing the election by a huge margin (and finally having to admit it, if only to himself) to his second impeachment, and the horror of most of the nation at his effort to violently overthrow the election.

Decompensation is a psychological crisis. It results in severe depression, psychotic rage, and a blind lashing out at enemies, real and imagined. It often results in suicide, violence, and/or unbridled acting out, often on the same level as the tantrum of a two-year old.

Case in point: Mike Pence was the most servile lickspittle of all of Trump’s administration. When Pence had to admit that he couldn’t carry out an impossible demand of somehow overturning the Electoral College vote, Trump sent the baying mob to hang Mike Pence. His own vice-president.

The danger signs are so clear and immediate that Congress and the armed forces have (hopefully) taken steps to neutralize some of the destruction a US President is normally capable of. At this hour, it’s not clear that the military will accept orders from their commander-in-chief. In an extraordinary communiqué, the Joint Chiefs of Staff announced they would not participate in any efforts by Trump to reverse the results of the election or prevent President-Elect Joe Biden from taking office.

Hopefully, that addresses another very real fear—that Trump might ignite a major war with Iran or perhaps China as an excuse to declare Martial Law and use that to try to maintain his role as President. Or provoke a domestic crisis (such as the attack on the Capitol) to the same end.

I’ve said for many years that Trump’s best features are his cowardice and his incompetence. He’s great at bullying people, but hopeless at managing them. He demands loyalty but offers none in return.

An amazing example of that trait is happening with the hapless Rudy Giuliani. After offering the barely-qualified Giuliani $20,000 an hour to represent him in court cases, he left it out that being dissatisfied with Rudy’s ability to win any court cases where there was no supporting evidence or even rationale, he wasn’t going to pay Rudy. This the same day he asked Giuliani to lead his legal team in his second impeachment trial in the Senate. (Honestly, I can’t believe I’m writing this stuff. My keyboard wants to crawl under my desk in shame. But it’s all real.)

Trump seems incapable of formulating a business plan, let alone a coherent policy for running a huge nation, and it’s no surprise to anyone familiar with his actual record as a businessman that he would be an utter and inept failure as a president. He doesn’t have the mental wherewithal or the emotional flexibility to deal with crises, even those that are self-generated. His utter inability to address the marches during the spring and summer, or the pandemic, are absolutely true to type. He never had to deal with the huge messes he created throughout his tawdry life from lack of discipline or intelligence, leaving those to an army of Michael Cohens, but as president he created messes too big and too immediate for anyone to brush away.

Having finally realized that he went too far in sending that mob to the Capitol, he gave a scathing denunciation of the violence and damage the mob caused. Trump has made a living out of pissing on people and telling them it’s holy water, but I doubt this particular mob is going to be too pleased, especially since hundreds of them are going to go to jail, branded as traitors, and the thousands more who did nothing worse than protest will be tarred with the same brush. I semi-joked the other day that Q was going to have to explain to his circus of freaks and psychotics that Donald Trump had sold out and joined the deep state conspiracy to destroy Donald Trump.

I’m cautiously optimistic that when President Joe Biden enters the Oval Office (possibly to find a large mound of Donald’s shit on the Resolute desk), it will be without major incident, and only a few inchoate demonstrations on the fringes of the military perimeter and around a few state Capitols.

As for Trump, he may be arrested the same day or at least detained on what we in California call a 5150; restrained because he presents a danger to himself and others. The Southern District of New York supposedly has a fire hose of criminal charges awaiting Trump. And that’s just the beginning.

That’s why Trump has been so desperate and so frightened that he’s willing to destroy the country to remain in office: he faces ruin and prison the minute he stops being President. I have no sympathy: it’s all self-inflicted, and he did immense damage to many people on the way.

If it weren’t for the knee-jerk servility Americans have toward any self-proclaimed successful capitalist, Trump would have never been anything other than a bad joke, in and out of prison on various scams and petty thefts. I doubt people in general will learn from his example, although the lesson is immediate: wealth does not equate to wisdom, honesty, or decency. It never has, and it never will.

In the end, Trump, by becoming President, showed the world what he really was.

And we’ll be paying for that for many years.

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Keeping it Lit — Fighting the darkness

Keeping it Lit

Fighting the darkness

January 9th 2021

It was January 6th, and just about the time strange things began happening on Capitol Hill, I turned to my wife and said it was about time to take down the Solstice Tree. The tree itself isn’t anything fancy: a 4’ artificial pine with white LEDs, supplemented by a strip of USB string lights that can flicker, flash, cycle through seven colors and all that neat stuff. We usually take it down about the 5th or so, when we are coming out of what I think of as our Solstice trough. The sunsets already started getting later back around December 15th, and the sunrises started becoming earlier about the 4th of January. It’s all up hill from here. There were also two family birthdays on the 5th and 6th, and that felt like the closure of the holiday season.

My wife looked at the images of the bizarre people trying to overthrow the government and said slowly, “I think I would like to keep the tree up until the 21st this year.”

I didn’t need to ask what she meant. I had already told some people that I wouldn’t consider 2020 to be really over until Inauguration Day, and screw what the calendar thought.

So the tree is still next to my desk, and still lit, and it will stay that way until Joe Biden says, “So help me God” and the nightmare of Trump is officially over. It’s the symbol of hope during a very dark and scary time.

The nation is scrambling, somewhat belatedly, to contain the damage Trump has done. Pelosi and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have sat down and discussed what to do if Trump orders a military action, whether against Iran, China, or Los Angeles, or in the event he wants to launch some nukes. That means the US military is effectively paralyzed for the next 11 days, but that seems a small price to pay if it prevents the most egregious land war yet, or worse, a nuclear conflagration. While that represents a possible exploit for bad actors like Putin or Xi, that it is only eleven days should give them pause. There’s also the fact that Mike Pence is already acting president in all but name (it was he, and not Trump, who finally authorized the National Guard to go into Washington DC and quell the insurrection) and I suspect the Pentagon has quietly agreed to take orders from him, and not the madman in the White House.

Trump’s flathead followers are horrified to learn that they are not the spearhead of a vast national upwelling intent on elevating Trump to dictator for life. The events sparked national outrage on a level not seen since the Civil War. It’s one thing to protest; to invade Congress, kill people, smash property and loot desks, and desecrate national icons crossed a bloody red line. The sight of Confederate flags—the rags of traitors and slavers—being waved in the Rotunda sickened and disgusted most Americans. One group tried, without success, to replace the US flag atop the building with a “Trump 2020” flag.

Trump, who egged them on, promising to march with them to the Capitol, immediately fled, and the next day gave a speech condemning the rioters and looters and calling for them to be punished severely. In other words, he did what he always does to people whose loyalty he demands; he whipped around and fucked them sideways with a chainsaw.

The flatheads lost their little minds, and did what reactionary extremists always do when they realize they’ve lost; they started eating their own entrails to stay alive. I watched people argue simultaneously that Donald Trump was a cowardly cuck (true) and that the video was deep faked (false). One managed to argue that Trump had joined the deep state conspiracy to destroy…Donald Trump. The most cowardly ones tried to claim that Trump supporters were actually Antifa, staging a false flag operation. When I encounter one of those (which I have quite a few times in the past few days) I just tell them to show a little courage and Own. Their. Shit.

Republicans in Congress tried saying nobody could possibly have seen this coming, even though some of the assailants had T-shirts and flags that read, “Civil War II: January 6th, 2021”. No, it wasn’t entirely unexpected. Only the craven behavior of the Capitol Police was unexpected.

Trump rightly gets blamed for the slow response by federal forces—he deliberately refused to let them go in and rescue the Congressional hostages for the simple reason that they were being held as HIS hostages, and he had a demand to make of them. But the images of Capitol police opening doors for the rioters and taking selfies with them mean that it will be many years before the Capitol Police are trusted and respected by anyone. They suffer from the same problem many police forces and the Air Force have: they have been infiltrated by right wing extremists, neo-Nazis, religious freaks and brownshirt bullies, and if America is to survive, this trash must be purged. There’s a reason for the BLM movement, and the same reason is why the neo-Nazis hate BLM so much.

Nobody knows what will happen over the next 11 days, but remember, sanity is on the horizon, and people now recognize Trump and his vicious followers for the danger they are.

Keep the tree lit.

Don’t lose hope. Never lose hope.

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January 6th 2021 — The Coup-Coo Brigade Strike

January 6th 2021

The Coup-Coo Brigade Strike

Various people today have declared that today’s assault on the Capitol of the United States was a date that would “live in infamy”.

My mum wouldn’t have been too thrilled to hear that. If she were alive, this would be her 102nd birthday. She wouldn’t have been chuffed at having her special day listed along with December 7th or September 11th.

She wouldn’t have been too surprised if she were around to hear how the story came about. From the 80s up until her death a few years ago she took the measure of Donald Trump and considered him an utterly vile man, amoral, rude, and vulgar. Since my own view of Trump was about the same, I used to watch the members of my family who liked Trump squirm uncomfortably should anyone mention his name within her earshot. Her profound deafness in her final years was no protective wall; like many people in her position, she had a knack for hearing key words in a conversation. Discussing Bridge, or British terms for flatulence, could provoke an outburst.

She was old. She wasn’t stupid. Trump was trash, and she knew it.

Today’s events, and Trump’s role in them, wouldn’t have surprised her. It didn’t surprise me. It’s a wonder it surprised anyone, really. Trump had been saying right along that he didn’t accept the results of the election, and would encourage his inane clown posse to fight on his behalf. Indeed, the reason Congress was vulnerable to such an attack stemmed from the notion that Congress could somehow overcome the will of the states (not to mention the people) by disrupting the normally ritualistic tabulation of the electoral college votes. Stooges and seditionists in Congress planned to object and drag out the proceedings in a forlorn hope that somehow they could get Congress to abandon the vote.

While this was going on, Trump stood in the speech and told his tin-foil hat brigade to march on Congress and that he would march with them. They began marching, and Trump promptly scurried off to the Führerbunker formerly known as the White House.

In a weird way, he may have actually done the nation a favor. On several levels, really.

First the events of today unleashed a tidal wave of anger and rage against Trump and the “Stop the Steal” movement. Suddenly it stopped being one of those loony things the crowd that believe the Queen is a lizard or that Hillary ran a pedophile operation in the basement of a pizza shop, and became a genuine insurrection against the country. Even people who like Trump were taken aback by today’s events. “Support the President.” Doesn’t matter how trashy or crazy the president is, and Trump is part of a rather long list of Presidents who didn’t belong in office. But supporting the president no matter what is a thing—until that president tries to overthrow the government of the US. You have to go back to antebellum days to find one of those. “Support the President”? Well, OK. “Destroy the Country?” Not so much.

Trump is finished. There are rumors that the Cabinet is considering 25th amendment removal of Trump before he does yet more damage. Congress may take up an unprecedented move to impeach, and if they do, it’s likely that Trump will be convicted. A wave of resignations in his administration has already begun. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have all suspended his account.

His supporters that don’t feel they can abandon him are going to ridiculous lengths to rationalize the events of today. One Trumper I spoke to this morning denied any knowledge of the assault on the Capitol, and when I told him to switch on his TV, airily replied “Why? There’s nothing I can do about it.” Several Trumpers, including the idiot A-G of Texas, proffered the theory that all the thousands of protesters waving Trump, Confederate and even Nazi flags were actually all Antifa in disguise, a false flag operation.

I’m listening to the debate in resumed hearings tonight, and it’s clear that support for Trump has effectively collapsed. I suspect that holds true in much of the country. I’m watching the Senate vote on debate on objections to the electoral vote count, and this morning 11 senators were expected to sustain the objection, but I think there’s only five “ayes” now.

Even Qanon crazy Loeffler switched sides. (The final vote was 93-6).

Another thing that may benefit the country in the long run is that the insurrection today was a cold shot of reality. Americans believed it could not happen here. I was raised in England, two big civil wars, endless religious strife, and war after war after war, not only with the other nations in the British Isles, but with much of Europe. Insurrections, regicides, riots—all part of the glorious tapestry that is England. England regards itself as a great nation, fully cognizant of the fact that it has unrest and violence as part of its legacy. I was born in Canada, one of the most genuinely peaceful and stable nations on Earth—one with a long and not entirely vanished history of violence against First Nations people. The Riel rebellion, the FLQ crisis, and even major riots over hockey games. Canadians KNOW they aren’t “better than this.” It’s part of history.

America is better at regrowing its spiritual hymen better than any other nation on Earth, aside from the French who consider whoring an alternate virginity. For a generation, at least, Americans will be cognizant of the danger presented by extreme and even insane political movements.

If this beast rises its head again, perhaps they won’t have politicians coddling them, cowardly presidents leading from behind, or police taking selfies with the nuts because the nuts wave Confederate flags.

Perhaps American will learn to recognize, and adjust for their own humanity.

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The Smoking Gun — Trump spends an hour lying, wheedling and threatening—on tape.

The Smoking Gun

Trump spends an hour lying, wheedling and threatening—on tape.

January 3rd, 2021

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger must have felt as surreal as a Dali painting listening to Donald Trump telling him he needed to rustle up 11,780 votes so he could reverse the results of the vote in Georgia. I suspect that Trump has made quite a few similar calls to officials in at least six other states, in a grim effort to steal the 2020 election. But this time, the Secretary—or someone in his office—recorded the call, a high fidelity sound quality that left absolutely no doubt about who said what. A full hour of it.

The phone call wasn’t just unethical—it was illegal, a state and federal felony that by itself could get Trump twenty years in jail.

People old enough to remember old [Expletive Deleted] remember that the tapes were redacted and the sound quality was poor enough that there was honest debate over who said what, and the only “smoking gun” was that the tapes showed he lied about being involved in the cover up of the Watergate hotel. It was years before we learned that Nixon knew of the break-in before it happened, or the full extent of the cover up. Had the full story been known, perhaps Gerald Ford might have refused to pardon Nixon, or been impeached for doing so. As it was, it did immense damage to the spirit of the nation, which had prided itself that no politician was above the law.

Even worse, it taught Republicans that not only does crime pay, but that so long as they have a weak and corrupt guy in the White House, they are above and beyond the law. The latest spate of get-out-of-jail free pardons by Trump are just the latest round of abuses by strutting and grinning fascists in the GOP. This may be the worst; they include four individuals whose burned and charred corpses ought to hanging from a bridge across the Euphrates. They are blatant efforts to obstruct justice; the pardons try to keep the people who made up the most corrupt administration in American history out of prison—including Trump himself.

The weirdest part of the extremely strange call was Trump’s demand that Raffensperger “find” 11,780 votes, baldly explaining that the specific number of “found votes” would make him the winner of Georgia by one vote. That violates 52 U.S. Code § 20511. Just for the record, here is that provision in federal law:

A person, including an election official, who in any election for Federal office

(1) knowingly and willfully intimidates, threatens, or coerces, or attempts to intimidate, threaten, or coerce, any person for—

(A) registering to vote, or voting, or attempting to register or vote;

(B) urging or aiding any person to register to vote, to vote, or to attempt to register or vote; or

(C) exercising any right under this chapter; or

(2) knowingly and willfully deprives, defrauds, or attempts to deprive or defraud the residents of a State of a fair and impartially conducted election process, by—

(A) the procurement or submission of voter registration applications that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held; or

(B) the procurement, casting, or tabulation of ballots that are known by the person to be materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent under the laws of the State in which the election is held,

shall be fined in accordance with title 18 (which fines shall be paid into the general fund of the Treasury, miscellaneous receipts (pursuant to section 3302 of title 31), notwithstanding any other law), or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.

The tape reveals a prima facie violation of that law. It also violates state law. And we can be pretty certain that Trump made similar calls to the Secretaries of States in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, desperately leaning on people to keep him in office and out of prison.

With only seventeen days left in his term, there simply isn’t time to impeach and convict him, even if the weak, criminal, strutting treasonous cowards that make up much of the GOP were willing to do so. But after the election, his actions yesterday can be added to the pile of criminal prosecutions he will face, no matter how many criminals he pardons. (If you accept a pardon, you are acknowledging that you did, in fact, commit criminal acts.)

Biden has promised he will not pardon Trump. It’s possible that Trump may resign the morning of the 21st so Pence can be a half-day President with the sole purpose of pardoning Trump, but Pence’s problem is there is nobody to pardon him, and he will face charges of obstruction of justice at the very least. A first-year law student could win a case of corrupt intent—normally nearly impossible to prove—in this particular case.

Republicans have no courage or self-respect. Let’s hope, for the sake of the country, that the rest of America does, and ends this corrupt cabal once and for all.

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