The Debt Ceiling — Republicans hate black males, but love blackmail

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 29th 2023

Imagine that you are the owner of a small business. Tax time is approaching, and you’ve spent much of the previous month conferring with your tax accountant agency, ensuring that they have all the proper documentation and a full assessment of all credits and liabilities. Your main preparer has told you will will owe a certain amount on your income, but that comes as no surprise. Just part of the cost of doing business.

But then, a week before the tax deadline, your preparer comes to you with an offer he thinks you can’t refuse. He’ll send in the documents and a check, but only if you fire 10% of your employees, raise prices for your customers, and buy lower quality raw materials for your product. And he wants you to hire only people who attend his church. Or he’ll withhold the tax documents, leaving you to face a load of penalties, a possible audit, and damage to your credit.

Under the law, that is extortion. It’s a felony. The accountant would face many years in prison for pulling such a stunt. He’s abusing your legal obligations for his own gain.

The Republicans in the House are pulling that type of stunt right now. It’s not the first time they’ve used a constitutionally dubious provision in the law to threaten to ruin the credit of the United States. They’ve been doing it, always during Democratic administrations, going back to when it was the brainstorm of the vicious and feckless Newt Gingrich during the Clinton administration. He was the first to hit on the idea of blackmail as official legislative policy. (He and the Republicans tried a similar stunt with the budget, and that blew up massively in their own faces when the country discovered that holding the budget hostage included shutting down Social Security checks, national parks, post offices and many other beloved government functions. Newt, beaten badly on that and facing personal scandal, backed down.

But the Republicans knew a good blackmail ploy when they saw it. Simply threaten to withhold mandated action and demand things that could never ever pass legislatively, such as cutting veterans’ benefits or food stamps or school funding, and leave the Democratic administration to take the blame for it since it would be his signature on a non-bill no member of Congress could be held responsible for.

In 2011, the Democrats called their bluff, and the early stages of a fiscal avalanche that is default began. It cost the country an estimated $2.4 trillion (yes, trillion, with a “tr” – 2,400 billion) and provoked a mild but long-lasting recession.

Republicans can’t govern. Even when they had a Speaker who wasn’t a beholden wimp, and a reasonable majority, they couldn’t get a budget passed, but had to punt the ball down the field, in the form of a “continuing resolution” which basically rubber-stamped the previous years’ budget onto the next one. Between the inflexibility and inflation, it amounted to a slow strangulation of the economy. But, knowing the majority of voters hated what they wanted to see done, they didn’t dare put it out there in black and white, but instead, simply tried to blackmail the country.

They’re at it again, and between the civil war that exists between the zealots and the banksters, and the tiny amount of votes they have in the House (5) they can’t even really say what it is they want. The poison-pill laden extension McCarthy managed to get through by just two votes took a meat-cleaver approach: The plan would cut a wide swath of government spending to last year’s levels, a decrease of about 9%. From that point, growth would be capped at 1% annually over the next 10 years. More of that slow strangulation Republicans so love, and nobody’s fingerprints on the pain. One of the few specifics was to cut the $80 billion or so left from funds to battle COVID, although the Administration has already earmarked that money, reallocating it to veterans’ health care and medical research. It would eliminate Biden’s $400 billion student debt relief, a program Republicans hate because it is popular and prevents the cost of education from making a life-long fiscal slave of the student. It cuts increases to the IRS because the IRS is inconvenient to plutocrats, who resent having to give 1% of their income to the country that wet-nursed them. It would repeal incentives for electric vehicles and sustainable energy because that might annoy the fossil-fuel companies that pay for those Republicans. And they would mandate work for people on Medicare or food stamps because employers would welcome would-be workers who are destitute, desperate, and with no options. It’s the capitalist dream, you know.

None of these poll well, but the Republicans don’t really care about cutting the deficit. (If they did, they would repeal the Trump tax cuts and the huge incentives paid to oil companies, and reduce funding for military allocations, but they won’t.) They just want to threaten the country to weaken Biden, and hope that whether he accepts the blackmail or he doesn’t that he, and not the Republicans, will be blamed for the ensuing fallout.

It’s tawdry, it’s cynical, and it’s a betrayal of the country. It’s the entire Republican package, rolled up into one sleazy political gambit that less than 1/100th of one percent of the country would benefit from.

Ask Biden to stand firm on his demand for a “clean” debt-ceiling raise. Allow no blackmail from these vicious sleazeballs.

Tucker vs The Weasels –Then, as now, he neither knew or cared if he was telling the truth

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 25th, 2023

I have been thoroughly enjoying reading about the firing of Tucker Carlson, and the widespread consternation on the far right over the slap down of their little tin god. I doubt he’s gone from the public eye; he’s fucked up several previous jobs with MSNBC and CNN and bounced back. If Fox had a yellow-dog clause forbidding him from working broadcast for a rival for a set amount of time, he’ll either enter politics or try to set himself up as a religious leader. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the last of that dirt bag.

But for me, it isn’t just the weary disgust I have for the vicious paid liars at Fox and the loony-toon shouty-boys on the web or lurking in the corners on Newsmax or OANN. My hatred and disgust for Carlson is personal.

As regular readers know, I’m a member of a group known as the Lying Socialist Weasels. This group was established by a group of Usenet liberals some 30 years ago. There was a Usenet user, a Reagan supporter named Brett Kottman. He was in the habit of screaming that any critic of Reagan, no matter how mild, was a “lying socialist weasel!”

So we formed a club. The Weasels included some of the leading voices in online liberalism at the time: Howie Klein, Bartcop, Milt Shook, Milt Brewster, Glen Yeadon, Isaac Peterson, Jim Kennemur and, well, me. I wasn’t a founder: I was the first of the second-generation Weasels, invited in by Jim. Several of us are Weasels to this very day. Usenet has dwindled to a wasteland of Nazis and child molesters, and the Weasels all drifted away. But not from one another. We’ve added many wonderful people since then, and at least four of the originals are still alive, active and involved with the group both online and in email.

One of our most prominent members was a fellow named Steve Kangas. Steve had a website, Liberalism Resurgent, which stood out as one of the most literate, informed, and conscientiously factual websites around. Some of the Weasels were bigger names and more influential, but we all looked to Steve when we needed to fact check ourselves or simply learn more on nearly any given topic.

On February 8, 1999 Steve died under the most mysterious of circumstances. His body was supposedly found in a restroom on the 39th floor of a Pittsburgh skyscraper owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, billionaire and funding father of what we were already referring to as the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. It was only feet away from Scaife’s office. His body was allegedly found at two AM that morning, long after the tower had closed for the night.

It was announced that Steve had shot himself at 2am in that restroom, 2,000 miles from his Nevada home and in the headquarters of a man who had every reason to hate and fear the careful factuality of Liberalism Resurgent. In direct contravention of Pennsylvania law, there was no autopsy. There was a rumor that Steve had somehow managed to kill himself by shooting himself twice in the back of the head. The following day, a man later associated with Scaife turned up at Kangas’ parents home and removed the hard drives from Steve’s computer.

Enter Tucker Carlson, then a silver-spoon nobody writing for VRWC flagship magazine The Weekly Standard, jumped in. He began a campaign of defamation against Kangas, claiming, among other things, that Kangas was heavily armed (Kangas was a champion of gun control) and that he carried on his person that night a copy of Mein Kampf (unlikely under pretty much any circumstance.) Both claims are still on Steve’s Wikipedia page, with no corroboration, of course.

A couple of former Usenet Nazis celebrate Steve’s death every February. These are people who love Trump and can’t bring themselves to spell “Jew” with a capital ‘J.’ They weren’t celebrating Steve carrying Mein Kampf. Even for them, that was a bridge too far. Didn’t stop old Tucker, though.

He also argued that Steve was intrinsically suicidal, self-loathing and with absolutely horrible self-image. Uncharacteristically, he actually offered a factoid to support this claim. He reported that on Usenet, Steve often referred to himself as a “weasel.”

Yes, Steve was a Weasel. A Lying Socialist Weasel. He was quite proud of that, and respected us as much as he respected himself.

Had Tucker spent five minutes reading the posts of people Steve communicated with, he would have learned that amongst Usenet liberals, “Weasel” was the exact opposite of disparaging. But he wasn’t there to report: as he does to this very day, he was there to hate-monger, divide, and smear. He was a disgusting parody of a reporter then, just as he is to this day.

He’s one of the big reasons why America is the septic mess it is today. There’s a number of reasons why even Kangarupe Murdoch finally decided he was too vicious, too out-of-control. Some say it was his role in promoting, knowingly, the lies leading the the disastrous defamation suits against Fox. Some say it was sexual harassment and creating a toxic workplace. Reports of a possible defamation suit from Ray Epps that the January 6th participant was supposedly an undercover agent for the FBI, a theory that Carlson has been promoting. One of the more arresting theories is that Murdoch broke off his short-lived engagement when he realized the woman was extremely religious, and Tucker just happened to pick right then to start trying to lead his audience in prayer. Who knows? Maybe Kangarupe realized that Zealots are extremely dangerous allies. Well, it’s a nice idea, right?

Tucker is gone, for now, but his stench lingers over the body politic.

But for us Lying Socialist Weasels, its a good time to lift one to Steve, and say, “This one’s for you, Mister Kangas.”

The Settlement — How Fax Fux Fox

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 19th 2023

My kneejerk reaction to the news yesterday that Fox and Dominion had settled their defamation suit for $787.5 million was disgust. “Take the money and run,” I muttered to myself.

But then I told my knee to shut up and started thinking. First; the settlement is monumental, just huge. Has there ever been a settlement in a suit this big in history? There are class-action settlements that were far bigger, ranging from Enron ($7.2 billion) up to the 1998 Big Tobacco settlement of $206 billion.) But those were class-action suits, with plaintiffs in the hundreds (Enron) to the millions (Big Tobacco. This was one small company with 200 employees and annual revenues around $17 million a year. The biggest personal injury settlement I could find was for $60 million (a gas station manager injured by a train derailment). But even there, there was a permanent, crippling injury that would require lifetime care. A small company taking on a media giant usually, if it were very, very lucky, results in the media giant saying, “Here’s five million, kid. Now go away.”

So make no mistake: three quarters of a billion dollars is a titanic settlement, and shows just how hopeless Fox’s defense was just on the face of it.

Fox made one of the most witless efforts of putting a good face on it that I’ve ever heard of. Their official statement following the settlement read, “We are pleased to have reached a settlement of our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects Fox’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.”

Journalists reading it on air burst in to open laughter. “Highest journalistic standards?” Fox News? Oh, that ship has sailed, hit an iceberg, hit it ten more times, and then sunk without a trace!

The fact that Fox didn’t have to agree to tell their viewers they had deliberately and knowingly lied to them about the election all along bothered a lot of people, who surmise (correctly) that Fox will simply not even tell their viewers about the settlement or the circumstances that caused it to be so huge. And while there is no cult so corrupt, so ridiculous, and so compromised that it can’t keep and maintain its cadre of True Believers, Fox will experience attrition, for a variety of reasons.

The thing is, all that stuff from the discovery process is out there. The admission that the election theft claims were fabricated; the admission that they lied about the election in order to maintain ratings, the admission of open contempt for Donald Trump and his followers. They are claims made against Fox; they are admissions right out of Fox’s official representatives in the discovery process. There’s no unringing that bell.

It was a hideous (read ‘wonderful’) mistake on the part of Fox. As Robert Harrington over at The Palmer Report noted, “Fox made a huge mistake by not settling early. Had they come forward with the $787.5 million in the early days of the suit, they could have avoided all of the revelations of lies they told. Internal squabbling and nuggets like Tucker Carlson’s ‘passionate hatred’ for Donald Trump came to light as a direct result of the summary judgement. Had Fox News settled early none of those revelations would be general knowledge. According to Dominion lawyer Stephen Shackleford, there were no further shocking revelations to be told, no bombshells yet undetonated. In short, Fox screwed themselves with their own myopia.”

Some other right wing media outfits, hoping to supplant or even replace Fox, are telling their followers that Fox lied, but they won’t lie. (Obviously this doesn’t include OANN or Newsmax, who are facing their own lawsuits for lying about the election.)

You know that loudmouth in the bar, or the obnoxious uncle at the family gatherings who is always rabbiting on about how Trump is the “real” president? They are going to be talking to people who have indisputable evidence that Fox and the rest lied. Trump supporters have already all but vanished from social media outside of fringe areas like Truth Social and Twitter. There’s going to be a strong element of attrition as these people are finally facing reality.

The True Believers will become ever more insular and more cut off from mainstream society. But they will have muted themselves, reduced to agreeing with one another that everything is one vast conspiracy.

There’s a reason flat-Earth theories never gained any credence. There is just too much evidence. The “stolen election” cult will find themselves in a similar position. I suspect that, as with flat-Earthers, eventually a majority of “followers” will be con artists looking for easy marks amongst their indisputably stupid new-found brethren, and trolls who profess such a belief just to be annoying and aggravating.

Meanwhile, an avalanche of reality awaits. Dominion has suits pending against former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell—and now have the resources to press a full legal suit, even if the individuals named won’t be able to pay more than pocket change. Dominion might ‘settle’ for the admission of malicious falsehoods that they didn’t get from Fox.

And Fox itself faces an even bigger defamation next year from Smartmatic, which has their own huge discovery process going on now, and access to all of the discovery performed by Dominion. $2.7 billion. Fox won’t get away with a mere $750m on that one. They will have to settle, not just for a huge number, but for public admissions of wrong-doing. They may even have to shop Trump, who first launched the conspiracy theory that they “flipped” votes in Georgia and Wisconsin (Smartmatic had no machines in either state, or any contested state for that matter).

By then, Trump may be on trial for the Georgia vote tampering and quite possibly for his role in taking classified materials and then lying about it. His approval ratings, already in the twenties, may plummet to single digits by then, removing the one cudgel Fox and the rest might have to try and threaten and bluster their way out of it.

The settlement isn’t a death blow for Trump and Fox, but it has weakened them and left them open for the actions that will be a death blow.

And the rest of the “advocacy journalism” crowd just got an important lesson in accountability. Lie maliciously, get sued, get sued big time.

The McCurtain Cunts — Petty authority out of control, called to account

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 18th, 2023


The word “cunt” is one of the most radioactive in the United States. Even George Carlin shied away from it.

But in the UK and portions of Canada, where I was raised, it has another meaning. Oh, it is still a ugly term for vagina, but the far more pervasive usage is to describe a weak, nasty, contemptible and generally pathetic and/or despicable person. For example: Boris Johnson is a cunt. So is King Charles. Outside of World War 2, Winston Churchill was an immense cunt. Every member of the Trump family covering four generations are cunts. Yes, under this definition, women can be cunts, too. Margaret Thatcher was a cunt. So was that 30 day wonder last year at 10 Downing—wossname the Tory cunt. (Yeah, I’m going to make you look that one up.) Here in the States, Armpit Maggie and Bobo are cunts. With Elon Musk it has to be in all caps and with a blue verified tick.

While I don’t avoid the word, I kinda save it for special occasions, special people. Besides, all the words you couldn’t say on TV ten years ago are all over the place in this era of Trump. If you say ‘shite’ a nun might look at you and try to correct your pronunciation. Cunt is about the only word left with any shock value. (Cussing is a human universal custom; new words will come along. Don’t worry.)

This all brings us to one of the more obscure corners of Oklahoma, McCurtain County. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry. There are probably people in the Oklahoma state government who hadn’t heard of it before last week. It’s about 30,000 people, 70% of which are white and 9% are black. Agriculture and forestry are the main industries, along with a tourist trade exploiting the legacy of the Choctaw nation now that it has been safely destroyed. It went for Trump by 67 points in 2016. If the county doesn’t already have a motto, I suggest a line from Gene McDaniels’ ‘Compared To What’: “Poor Dumb Rednecks, Rollin’ Along.”

What McCurtain County DOES have, though, is something lamentably missing in much of the rest of the country: an independent, engaged local journalism. Most of that element of democracy has been bought up by plutocrats and corporations, which is a leading reason why the country as a whole is so fucked up.

McCurtain Gazette-News is an actual on-paper newspaper. It doesn’t have a website. The owner and publisher is one local guy, Bruce Willingham, and the leading reporter is his son, Chris Willingham.

Over the past several years, the two have run some 30 articles detailing corruption in the county sheriff’s department. Like most cops who get held to account (still far too seldom an occurrence) this lot were unamused. They didn’t like the Willinghams and their snitchy little paper, not one bit.

It came to Chris Willingham’s notice that the Sheriff, along with the County Board of Supes, were having informal “off the record” meetings in which official business was being discussed. That contravenes Oklahoma state law on open meetings concerning official proceedings. So he set out to show this was going on. He left a voice activated recorder in the room he believed the meetings were taking place.

He did catch the usual suspects (Sheriff Kevin Clardy, District 2 Commissioner Mark Jennings, Investigator Alicia Manning, and Jail Administrator Larry Hendrix, hereafter referred to as “a pack of cunts”) having a meeting. But they weren’t discussing official business. At least, I hope to christfuck it wasn’t considered official business. Judging from the scalded-cat reactions of various officials in OK all the way up to the governor, it was something they knew was wrong, and we’ll save whether they believed it was wrong for another time. “Oklahoma Crude” refers to more than just oil.

The pack of cunts were discussing the Willinghams and their newspaper. The elder Willingham had just filed a defamation suit against the four, and they were not happy about it.

Alicia Manning, who investigates crimes, is heard suggesting that she needed to take some packages to a shipping center near the newspaper’s office. Without context it seems an innocent enough remark. In context, though, where they are discussing killing the Willinghams and disposing of their bodies, it’s pretty clearly a terrorist threat. Cunt Commish Mark Jennings just happened to know of “two big deep holes” that might be of use. Sheriff Kevin (Big Cunt) Clardy just happened to mention he had an excavator should a need for holes in a different locale arise. Jennings, apparently realizing what was needed in order to fill these holes, hypothetical or otherwise, said, “I’ve known two or three hit men, they’re very quiet guys…” Probably less messy than what dear sweet Alicia had in mind for her local shipping center.

Moving on from the fascist fantasies of assassinating the local journalists, they turned to another, more racist theme. I should mention at this point that nearly all fascists and by definition, all racists are cunts. You have to be a cunt to feel the way these people do, and to feel the way they do, you have to be a cunt. It’s a closed circle of cuntishness.

Jennings, the cunt with the holes, lamented the fact that they couldn’t just take “[the Willinghams] down to Mud Creek and hang them up with damned rope. But you can’t do that anymore. They’ve got more rights than we’ve got.” It’s safe to assume the “they” in the latter sentence isn’t referring to the Willinghams. In a motif often heard amongst the trashier elements of the far right, it’s often believed that African Americans have more rights then poor, meek, timid little white people. Why, they have a right not to be lynched! Can you imagine? White people don’t have a right not to be lynched! Why, any Ken or Barbie poking their pink noses outside are liable to find a sheriff and some commissioners waiting outside with ropes, ticking packages, and maybe an excavator or two. I tell you, it’s just so unjust! Cunts everywhere are crying over that injustice.

Even worse on the cunt scale of “put-upon-ness” was the fact that the recording was done without their consent, and thus was a far greater crime than plotting murder and terrorist bombings. Cause, you know, snitches get stitches. Can’t trust those reporters to allow cunts to go about their business unmolested.

Now, as horrible as this story is, there is a bright side. All four have been suspended and will probably lose their jobs. All are likely to face criminal charges, state level for certain, and in the case of the implied threats to bomb or lynch, federal charges as well. The cunts can whine about how unfair it all is, but the fact is they blew themselves up, and good riddence.

Most of the people in McCurtain County, I’m happy to say, seem shocked and appalled.

Many county governments are corrupt, some viciously so. Petty authority attracts cunts. Local journalism used to keep them in check, but most of the US doesn’t have anyone like the Willinghams, and so the cunts get away with it.

First thing to control the cunts: fight for strong, independent and engaged local journalism. We won’t survive without it.


Happy Slappy gets Sloppy — Thomas is the face of the GOP’s moral bankruptcy

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 16th 2023

There was plenty of ‘silly season’ news this week. For instance, we had videos of enraged rednecks standing in their backyards and shooting cases of beer with AR-15s after Budweiser had an online video featuring transgender advocate Dylan Mulvaney. No, they weren’t promoting drag queens or litter boxes in school bathrooms. It was to promote the NCAA basketball tournament. But the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues have devoted many, many “minutes of hate” against transgenders, so their brownshirt followers promptly lost what little in the way of minds they had and started shooting beers, and not in a good way.

Normally the GOP views such antics with a self-satisfied smirk. But then one of them noticed that the maker of Bud Lite, Anheuser-Busch, was a major GOP contributor, and the morons were violating the prime directive of the GOP, which is “You don’t piss on the money.” Suddenly they realized how idiotic the whole thing was. It was so idiotic that descendant of stable geniuses, Donald Trump the Lesser, suddenly noticed it was idiotic. This resulted in another civil battle between the two branches of the GOP: those who felt hate should be pure, and those that feel love of money should be pure.

Maggie Armpits weighed in on climate change. Rather than trying to describe it, let me just quote her: “If you believe that today’s ‘climate change’ is caused by too much carbon, you have been fooled,” she wrote. “We live on a spinning planet that rotates around a much bigger sun along with other planets and heavenly bodies rotating around the sun that all create gravitational pull on one another while our galaxy rotates and travels through the universe. Considering all of that, yes our climate will change, and it’s totally normal!”

OK then. That sorts that. Maggie should ask for letters of apology from Michael Mann, Al Gore, and Daniel Swain for all that fear mongering. It was all just gravitational pull.

When last seen, Maggie was complaining about ‘marijuana zombies’ in New York City. Apparently it’s quite a problem. Perhaps one of them bit her. That would explain a few things.

On a more serious note, the widening corruption of Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence “Slappy” Thomas continued to spread like a sinkhole in a septic tank. Today’s revelation (and they are coming on a daily basis now) is that he reported up to $750,000 in income from an outfit called “Ginger, Ltd., Partnership” that was owned by himself and his toxic wife, Ginni. The operative word there is “was.” Ginger, Ltd., Partnership was dissolved in 2006, so Thomas was reporting income from a company that doesn’t exist.

Well, it sorta doesn’t exist. It was replaced by another company, Ginger Holdings, LLC. But Slappy and Ginni don’t run it. It’s run by one Joanne Elliot, who is Ginni’s sister. But even though they have no formal association with this company, they’re still receiving considerable amounts of money from it for who-knows-what.

And what does Ginger Holdings, LLC do? Well, that’s one of life’s little mysteries then, isn’t it? Whatever it is, it pays well. I need to get me one of those Ginger Holdings LLC for myself. Then I can feed the cats the fancy cat food instead of the usual slop. As far as I can tell, you don’t have to do jack shit, just watch the money roll in. My kind of job!

In any other developed nation, a judge with the kind of malfeasance Slappy is displaying would have been in prison by now. In less developed countries, the mob might have got him.

But Slappy is vital for keeping the fascist contingent in control of the court. He’s one of six conservative justices, but one of them, Roberts, has shown that he puts law before ideology sometimes, and that makes him totally unfit for purpose. So if Slappy is impeached, that leaves the Court at the mercy of Joe Biden and a Democratic Senate, which means they might nominate an actual jurist with an interest in the law, rather than what the Federalist Society and the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues want. And worse, that uppity public might not vote Republican in ‘24, meaning it could be six years before they get to continue eviscerating the Courts.

So the GOP aren’t going to impeach Thomas, and he sure isn’t going to retire. He thinks it’s his god-given duty to screw over the public in the name of owning the libs.

Well, you can’t really expect a healthy emotional outlook on life and society from a man who willingly turned himself into a lawn jockey, can you?

We may get a better look at the one group that could force Slappy off the bench, the rest of the Court, this coming week. They will be ruling on whether to maintain the stay on mifepristone that that religious nut Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas imposed on the country. I expect Roberts to side with the three liberal justices, since the ruling is so blatantly and egregiously unconstitutional. I think there’s a decent chance Brett Kavanaugh might also jump the leads. He’s basically the swing vote on this. Gorsuch could go either way. Amy Coney Barrett is another religious nut and feels a divine need to impose her psychosis on the rest of us. Alito, of course, is the author of Cobb and depends on 16th century witchfinders for his legal lodestar.

Normally it would be a slam-dunk for the religious loons. But I think that Kavanaugh and Gorsuch might bolt simply to cut Slappy loose. He’ll probably head up the ban-the-pill contingent, and the size of that contingent will speak volumes about Slappy’s clout within the Court.

As Rachel Maddow says, “watch this space.”

Cornered Rats — At their most vicious and dangerous

Cornered Rats

At their most vicious and dangerous

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 9th 2023

Despite, but largely because of a mounting tide of anger and disgust, the GOP have been doubling down on their most corrupt and unpopular items.

This past week Tennessee took the headlines by expelling two members, both of whom were black, for the ‘crime’ of protesting gun violence. A third member, who was white and thus incapable of committing a crime, was not expelled. This is the same ‘legislative body’ that previously tolerated the presence of pedophiles, rapists, and one member who was caught urinating on the seats of other members. That must be the ‘proper decorum’ that black representatives can’t uphold. In the past month, a member suggested that capital punishment include lynching. Lynching not as a capital crime, but as a state-sanctioned form of punishment.

Slappy Thomas was busted for covering up twenty years of lavish gifts and trips from a billionaire, aptly named Crow, who happens to be a Hitler admirer. Slappy’s defence was they was just good friends, and they had been doing this for years. Turned out Slappy’s cozened junkets were first noticed some twenty years ago, and he dealt with the potential scandal then by simply ceasing to file the legally-required reports. The liberal media had more important things to report on, like Obama wearing a tan suit and putting Dijon mustard on his hot dogs.

“Just good friends.” Because Hitler admirers always like to pal around with Negroes who are married to white women, right? Slappy is exactly what Hitler had in mind when he talked about the Master Race, you know.

The Trump indictment showed his waning influence and the growing realization on the far right that maybe they don’t speak for most Americans. Armpit Maggie turned up at the New York City demonstration, expecting to be the new leader for a sea of people outraged at the crucifixion of Trump. What she got was the usual small collection of nuts and weirdos, a motley collection dwarfed by large numbers of chanting, whistle-blowing counter-demonstrators. She retreated, in obvious confusion, within minutes.

The anti-freedom zealots had another wish granted by Trump when a religiously insane judge, one Matthew Kacsmaryk, ruled that mifepristone, a pill used in over half of all abortions in the US for decades, be taken off the shelved because when the FDA approved it over twenty years earlier, they didn’t factor in a right wing lunacy that women would be destroyed by the resulting grief and guilt of aborting that poor little baby. The blob squad simultaneously believe that most women will abort the day before the baby is due just on a whim, and never look back.

It’s the sort of demented thinking that demonstrates why religious zealots should never be allowed within a thousand miles of anything approaching actual authority over the lives of others.

The hate campaign against the LGBTQ community and, for gawd knows what reason, drag queens continues unabated. There are calls not only to cut them off from medical coverage and school activities, but to outlaw them altogether. Let’s see, I bet if we asked Thomas’ buddy Crow about that, he would be quick to mention the Enabling Acts, or the Nuremberg polices. But that was different: they were after Jews and Commies then, not fags and Mexicans. Totally different. Why, when the camps are made, they’ll use new and improved Zyclon C. Nothing at all like the Nazis. What’s more, they have God’s approval for all this. They’ll prove it by stamping “Got Mit Uns” on all their rifles and army belt buckles. Just fags and Mexicans. Not real people. Oh, and liberals Muslims Unionists the disabled Socialists pot smokers and Joos. But no real people.

The Republicans who have realized that their policies are unpopular (or, if you prefer, almost universally hated and despised) are dealing with it by removing those pesky voters from the equation. The GOP have been fighting for years to gut the Voting Rights Act (and finally succeeded) and gerrymander (see Wisconsin and Pennsylvania for details. And Florida. And Michigan. And Missouri…and on and on.) They are dealing with state referendums to protect abortion and other rights by making it difficult to impossible to get such referendums on the ballot.

In Wisconsin, a heavily contested election for the Supreme Count resulted in a big win for the candidate not underwritten by the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues. Janet Protasiewicz beat Dan Kelly by a whopping ten points. However, in an obscure state legislative race, the Republican won by 1.7% of the vote, giving the heavily gerrymandered body a supermajority. Republicans promptly vowed to impeach and remove Protasiewicz from office, presumably on the day she takes office, because you can’t have women running around aborting left and right and then killing themselves because of the shame. Tain’t Christian or something.

Right now, similar moves by authoritarians in France and Israel have resulted in weeks-long mass demonstrations and threats to topple the regimes. I can only hope the same thing would happen in Wisconsin if the state lege tried this particular stunt.

If it did, it might help prevent a similar convulsion nationwide. Americans won’t give up their freedoms and rights to zealots and ideologues without a fight.

The reason we’re seeing such blatant and horrific extremism is the Republicans know this is their last chance. If they can’t steal the country now, they may have to wait another 100 years for such an opportunity to come along.

They are desperate. They are cornered. They are at their most dangerous.

A Good Day — Rule of Law sustained

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 4th 2023

The Trump indictments got all the press, but the really big news today was the vote for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court. There, an American moderate liberal defeated an individual heavily funded by a clandestine coalition of right wing groups that I’ve come to think of as the National Association of Zealots and Ideologues. Janet Protasiewicz is projected to handily defeat Dan Kelly, a right winger with ties to election deniers, anti-vaxxers, and who is on record advocating an end to all abortions.

Nearly all of Protasiewicz’s funding came from residents and the state Democratic party. Kelly’s money, some $30 million, came from groups and individuals outside of Wisconsin, with only $200,000 coming from in-state.

The election gave control of the Supreme Court back to non-fascists. You don’t need to tell me it’s utterly insane that supreme court judges are elected in contests in which powerful political interests control the funding (and far too often, the outcome) of elections. It is utterly insane. Not that the Senate is that big an improvement.

But for now, at least, Wisconsin residents are no longer at the mercy of dishonest fundamentalist hacks pretending to be judges. That puts them ahead of the country as a whole.

The list of indictments made for strangely easy reading. The same charge was repeated 34 times: Donald J. TRUMP, Defendant. THE GRAND JURY OF THE COUNTY OF NEW YORK, by this indictment, accuses the defendant of the crime of FALSIFYING BUSINESS RECORDS IN THE FIRST DEGREE, in violation of Penal Law §175.10, committed as follows: The defendant, in the County of New York and elsewhere, on or about February 14, 2017, with intent to defraud and intent to commit another crime and aid and conceal the commission thereof, made and caused a false entry in the business records of an enterprise, to wit, an invoice from Michael Cohen dated February 14, 2017, marked as a record of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust, and kept and maintained by the Trump Organization.

In each of the subsequent 33 charges, only the dates and check recipients/numbers changed. Each was a felony under New York State law. It wasn’t the actions Trump committed that were illegal. It isn’t illegal to bang a porn star if she is a consenting adult. It’s not illegal to try to hide that you did. It isn’t even illegal to buy her silence. Where Trump fucked up was in the accounting; he gave false information on where the money came from, who it went to, what it paid for, and how it was disbursed. As Dick Nixon could tell you, it wasn’t the crime (and in this case it wasn’t even a crime); it’s the coverup. And Al Capone could tell you that if they can’t prove you killed dozens of people and committed many other violent crimes, they can always get you on the bookkeeping.

In the case of Trump, it’s the facts behind the indictments that could leave him hanging out to dry.

Frankly, despite the bluster from Trump and his minions, I expect that he’ll eventually work some kind of plea bargain on this. It’s a white collar series of crimes, and incredible as it may sound, he’s a first time offender. It’s entirely possible he could get a suspended sentence and several years probation. It wouldn’t be too extraordinary in this situation. America may be one of the most savage nations on Earth when it comes to punishing people who steal bicycles or shoplift, but they’ve always had a warm fuzzy spot in their flinty little hearts for people who use pens to steal millions. The old saying has it, “Steal a loaf of bread, go to jail. Steal a million dollars, go to the Senate.”

He already has taken major political damage. His supporters swarmed New York City by the dozens, outnumbered by anti-Trump demonstrators, police, and reporters. Marjorie-Taylor Greene tried to seize the Trump banner, no doubt visualizing herself in Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People (what a mental image. Ohmigawd, woman, cover up! Bad enough that we have to see your PITS!). She lasted all of ten minutes before a hooting and whistling crowd, before retreating to her SUV and scurrying off in disgrace.

Trump and his wastrel sons made threats against the Judge and his daughter, and continued attacks against DA Bragg and his family. Trump, at least, could end up in jail on contempt charges if he keeps that shit up.

More important, the vote tampering cases in Georgia and the federal case surrounding January 6th present a far greater threat to Trump. He may settle this first case so he can help fight in the two bigger ones coming.

But settling will damage him beyond repair politically. Outside of his own small circle and the dead-enders on Truth Social, there had been mostly a silence, simultaneously awkward and thoughtful, from the far right.

They are finally realizing that neither reality nor history are on their side. The Great Crumble of the GOP may have begun.


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