Dominion Over Us — By your nose you be known

Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 28th 2023

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



Meltdown — Making our brains run in slime


Making our brains run in slime

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 24th 2023

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the End of the Long Dash — The time will be past

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 13th, 2023

“At the beginning of the long dash the time will be exactly…”

For the vast majority of Canadians alive or dead (a few of this group were born before Canada became a country) the daily signal at 1pm Ottawa (ET) from CBC notifying listeners of the exact time was a small but significant part of our lives. Known officially as the National Research Council official time signal, the Dominion Observatory where the signal originated was less than a mile east of me. My Dad used to joke that meant the time signal was actually a couple of seconds fast, local time. I used to go by it about once a week when I rode the bus downtown.

It was a small part of my life. When I moved to the States, I have no conscious memory of missing it. Perhaps I was bedazzled by the fact there were THREE nearby radio stations that played nothing but top 40 twenty-four hours a day (14 hours when you subtract ads), or that in LA, they had NINE television stations, all different and all in English.

But many years later, the internet arrived, and I learned I could stream the CBC. Decades made life in my old home town seem pretty alien in a lot of ways. My years in southern California didn’t prepare me for a radio announcer cheerfully telling his listeners, “It’s a beautiful sunny day with a forecast high of twenty below, so come on down and enjoy the show!” Usually I would just catch the news, especially since news on American radio had all but vanished, replaced by shouty fascists and bible bangers.

But along about 1994 or so, I discovered Stuart McLean and the Vinyl Cafe. A variety hour, it featured original music and featured major Canadian artists, and a series of monologues by McLean about “Dave and Morley” a fictional Toronto family whose touching and often hilarious exploits made for some twenty or thirty minutes of pure radio magic.

The only American equivalent was Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” but where Keillor’s show was affectedly and somewhat stereotypically rural (not that Ottawa lacked for Norwegian Bachelor Farmers or the Fargo accents) Vinyl Cafe was contemporaneous. It was unaffectedly genuine. A strange line like “At night, there are rabbits” could be spellbinding in McLean’s voice. Sadly, he died in 2017.

Being an early riser, I started tuning in on the Halifax CBC stream, which was four hours ahead. The noon show was at 8am, Pacific Time. I discovered that what followed Vinyl Cafe was another good hour—sometimes “Madly Off In All Directions” and sometimes some really good jazz. But there was something after that…

At 2pm, Haligonian time, 10 am my time, I heard “At the beginning of the long dash the time will be exactly 1pm, Eastern Standard (or Daylight) Time.”

The first time I heard it, I just grinned from ear to ear as memories came flooding back. So simple, such a small thing, and yet such a significant daily milestone. They were still doing it, I marvelled.

The only way I can explain it is if on the morning commute to work you’ve driven for years, you pass a fast food joint with some big, ugly, colorful statue of a clown or a grotesque kid or something like that. You may never eat there, or even want to eat there. But then, one morning, you drive by, and you see the statue has been torn down. Even though it was stupid and ugly, you find you miss the goddam thing. And of course, if it had any sort of milestone status in your life, you used to meet with friends in high school there, or it happens to be the exact halfway mark on the commute home from work…well.

The time tone played a vital role in people’s everyday lives from 1939 up until the end of the century, when technology made it obsolete. I certainly don’t need to stream CBC to know the time: my computer checks in daily to make sure it’s accurate, and my little weather station next to me has a link to the atomic clock in Colorado.

It got me thinking (and not for the first time) about the role the CBC plays in Canadian life, and the outsize role it plays in demarcating the difference between Canadian and US life. Both countries have very similar cultures (most foreigners can’t tell a Canadian apart from an American), and both have daunting social, cultural and political divides. Canada has the French/English thing, East vs. West, rural vs. urban, highly regionalized economic structures, and an even larger element proportionally of indigenous and immigrant populations.

So why isn’t it the howling mess the US is today? At least one American figured it out. A lot of people think Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine” is an anti-gun movie. It isn’t. Moore, then an NRA member himself, went to Toronto and was surprised to learn that gun ownership in Canada is, if anything, higher than in the United States. And while violent crime is much lower, places like Toronto have similar levels of property crime. Yet in Toronto, people didn’t shy away from others that were ‘different’ in some way (and over 100 languages are spoken in Toronto!) or even lock their doors at night. Robin Williams once famously observed that being Canadian was like living in a really nice apartment over a meth lab.

The difference, Moore realized (and he was right) was that the news in Canada, principally through the CBC, was sedate, factual, and non-exploitative. Unlike almost all media in America, the news doesn’t jack up people’s fears and send them careening from one moral panic to the next in hopes of attracting viewers, and thus ratings.

The CBC, like the BBC in the UK, is a private not-for-profit corporation that is subsidized through tax dollars. It isn’t “owned by the government” or any part of it. The government has little or no say in how the funding is used. And since the CBC doesn’t have to worry about ratings, it doesn’t amp up the fear and controversy angles, scaring the piss out of their viewers.

US television used to be like that. The government mandated no ads during the half-hour news broadcasts in the evenings, making them free of the ratings chase. Further, there was the Fairness Doctrine, which stipulated if they opined, they had to provide equal space for responsible opposing viewpoints. It worked beautifully, but the corporations and their puppets in the Republican Party smashed all that.

It can be summed up very simply: when the news is put on a for-profit basis, it stops being journalism. When it’s put on a ideological for-profit basis, then it is nothing but propaganda. Do you really think the shouty boys on Faux have your best interests at heart? That they’re doing all that for you?

America has the Public Broadcast System and National Public Radio, but the corporate propagandists have eviscerated them, claiming they are “government funded” and thus not to be trusted, Almost all their financial support comes from private donations, and unfortunately, the same corporate entities that fuel America’s ongoing panic make up the majority of those donations. Yes, they play a hypocritical shell game with our information.

In addition to beefing up NPR and PBS, America badly needs a not-for-profit online news system, a clearing house for news and information, one accountable only to the legal rules and constraints it is founded on. Funding will come from tax dollars, and Congress would have no say whatever in how those funds were allocated for what stories. Look at Congress: do you really want those clowns controlling what you know and know about? They can’t govern themselves, and half of them want to rule you. No, thank you!

It could even have a daily time signal. A small thing, unimportant, perhaps even obsolete. But it’s the little things like that that bind Canadians together. As it did for nearly every Canadian born between about 1849 and 2017, who heard, “At the beginning of the long dash the time will be exactly…”

The Hamas Attack — How? Why Now? How Now?

The Hamas Attack

How? Why Now? How Now?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 10th, 2023

The scenes out of Israel and the occupied area of Gaza are horrific beyond belief. Hamas cold-bloodedly slaughtered hundreds of people who were doing nothing more than enjoying an outdoor concert on a lovely day. They’ve abducted hundreds of innocent people, and killed hundreds more. Some people are calling it “Israel’s 9/11” and that’s not off the mark. It was a despicable, cowardly sneak attack and it will result in the deaths of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people before it’s all over.

Israel’s response is every bit as vicious and inhumane. Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant moved to cut off all food, medicine, water and fuel to the Gaza Ghetto (let’s call it what it is; it’s just a bigger version of the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II) which, if sustained for more than a few days, will result in mass deaths. In the meantime, Israel is engaging in “targeted strikes.” This term means dropping huge explosives pretty much at random on urban areas, including schools, hospitals and other centers, killing large numbers of people indiscriminately, and calling the slain “fighters” or better still “terrorists.” If a child is so thoroughly blown apart you can’t even tell what gender it was, you can decide for yourself whether to tell a compliant press if the remains were a terrorist or a fighter. Israel excels at prettying up slaughter; they learned it from the Americans.

There is also the frightening possibility of it becoming a wider war. Hezbollah is acting up along Israel’s northern border, and Iran and possibly Russia are almost certainly planning at least some involvement. The US, while still partially paralyzed by the GOP, is sending planes to Israel to help target strike more terrorist fighters because that’s the main talent of the US.

That something like this would happen eventually was a given. Israel has turned Gaza into an open air prison, a ghetto, no different from the scenes in Poland in World War II. You can’t hold populations like that forever. Despite that authoritarians fondly imagine, people aren’t willing to give up, lie down and die so they won’t be inconvenient. Bomb them? Ask any Londoner about how well bombing works. They surrendered straightaway to that Hitler fellow, didn’t they? Only bloodthirsty bastards talk about “targeted strikes” in urban areas and only dumb bastards believe them.

It’s a pity the UN or the Hague don’t have any real teeth. The leaders both of Hamas and Israel should be arrested, tried as war criminals and for crimes against humanity, and locked up for life—preferably sharing cells together.

There are no heroes in this: only victims. If you cheer for either side in this there’s something deeply wrong with you as a human being.

How did it happen the way it did, and why now? Part of it, of course was that it was the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, and the day in question was a holiday, Sukkot, which is kind of a Jewish Thanksgiving. It’s normally a festive, happy day.

I’m sure that the collapse of the House of Representatives though GOP insanity emboldened Hamas. It was a given that the US would come in on Israel’s side, but only the House can add funding and provide emergency requisitions beyond that already budgeted. And the House cannot formally meet because it doesn’t have a Speaker.

The Republicans, of course, reacted despicably. They tried blaming Biden for the sneak attack. The theory was Biden gave Iran $150 billion so they could fund Hamas. This was based on the agreement the US reached a couple of years ago where in exchange for hostages, the US would unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets (not $150 billion, and it was money that already belonged to Iran, not that Republicans bother to make their lies consistent or even sane) – and that money hasn’t been released yet. And some of the nuttier specimens on the far right are yammering about thousands of Hamas terrorists on the Mexican border because…well, Mexicans, Palestinians, who the hell can tell the difference anyway? They’re brown, they’re scary, and they don’t talk English. What else do you need to know?

With Republicans, when they shout accusations, it’s almost always based on something they themselves did, or suspect they might have done. And in the case of the Hamas attack, that might be a doozy.

Thom Hartmann tweeted Saturday: “Hamas apparently knew how to get around Israel’s Iron Dome defenses. They probably learned this from Iran. Iran almost certainly got the information from Russia. And who gave it to Russia? Sure looks like it was Donald Trump, at the request of Putin.”

Hartmann’s piece ( ) contains damning evidence to back up his theory.

It comes just days after the story broke that Trump shared some of America’s deepest nuclear sub secrets with some Australian billionaire who enticed Trump to divulge this information so he could go to his government and perhaps persuade them to buy more American submarines. It’s no secret that Trump was far too cozy with Putin, and a blabbermouth.

One thing Hartmann didn’t mention: along about 2018, Israel let it be known they would no longer be sharing sensitive information with the American government unless there was some immediate urgency because they no longer trusted the President to keep such information secure.

It’s entirely possible that Trump’s mouth and ego made the Hamas sneak attack possible. Hartmann reports that his tweet caused thousand of right wingers to lose their minds in fear and rage.

But it rings true. I believe it. Trump is stupid, megalomaniacal, reckless and disdainful of the US. Putin is calculating, manipulative, and knew that praise and business opportunity promises could cajole Trump into reckless actions. Russia supports Iran, something the right likes to ignore. And Iran supports Hamas. Not the Palestinians—Iran doesn’t give a shit about them. But anything that can hurt Israel is OK by them. I think Hartmann nailed it.

If it comes out in the wash like this, then throw Trump in that same cell with the leaders of Hamas and Israel. They all deserve one another, and the rest of us deserve none of them.

While, let’s all just hope the fighting ends soon, and relief can come to the region. The people there don’t deserve this; just their leaders.

Who Will Drive the Clown Car? — Kev’s self-destruction was pretty awesome

Who Will Drive the Clown Car?

Kev’s self-destruction was pretty awesome

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 4th, 2023

In the wake of the breakthrough on the budget impasse just last Saturday, I entertained the thought that the agreement might have created enough goodwill between then-Speaker McCarthy and the Democratic caucus that they might save him from the inevitable motion to vacate. The Dems were considering telling McCarthy, “Just negotiate with us openly and in good faith, and work to avoid the next budget crisis in mid-November, and we’ll provide enough votes to negate the MAGA caucus.”

In a sane era, that would have been a pretty good bet.

But Kevin McCarthy is almost fantastically stupid. Instead of building bridges, he went on “Meet the Press” (a former news show that now seems to serve only as a way for right wingers to take enough rope to hang themselves) and blamed the Democrats for the impasse leading to the budget crisis. It was, as so many things McCarthy says, deeply dishonest, and any support Dems may have had to save him from his own lunatic fringe evaporated. A politician who doesn’t keep his word is of little value in the House, and McCarthy had burned his last bridge. Furious Dems openly called him a snake who couldn’t be trusted, and they were right.

They voted unanimously for the motion to vacate, grinning and remembering the line from “The Art of War”: When your foe is making a mistake, let him.

So Matt Gaetz and his scummy crew joined with the Democrats and voted Kevin out of office, the first time in American history that a Speaker had been fired. (A lot of Speakers, always Republican, end up quitting rather than answering for major personal scandals up to and including child sexual abuse. The only recent exception to that was Paul Ryan, who realized what a confederacy of dunces his party had become and quit in disgust.)

With nobody driving the clown car that is the House, Patrick McHenry (R-NC) became a straw speaker, with the title “Speaker Pro Tempore” which loosely translates to “Christ, can we find anyone stupid enough to take this impossible job?” Patty immediately proved that he is, in fact, like so many Republicans these days, a massive cunt. With the House grippled in crisis, his first order was to tell Nancy Pelosi (who didn’t vote on the motion to vacate because she was attending Diane Feinstein’s funeral) that she had “to vacate her Capitol Hill offices by tomorrow.” The missive, which Patty didn’t have the guts to sign, continued, “Please vacate the space tomorrow, the room will be re-keyed.” It was petty, it was vicious, and it proves that, as I said, McHenry is a cunt.

That’s probably about as close to any constructive activity we’re going to see from the GOP’s self-decapitated caucus.

There are rumors that enough mainstream Republicans are so fed up with the MAGA caucus that they may move to expel Matt Gaetz from their caucus. They probably could team up with Democrats and expel him from the House, but it wouldn’t really solve the problem.

The GOP are hagridden with nasty anti-American nuts, and getting rid of the most visible dirtbag won’t solve the problem.

There are now three leading candidates for the Speaker of the House. Jim Jordan, one of the most loathsome creatures in the House, a vicious and loud bully with a dark cloud over him of a history of at best turning a blind eye to sexual abuse in the phys-ed department of the college he ran. Steve Scalise is also running, and has described himself as “David Duke without the baggage.” That’s a bit like self-describing as “Charlie Manson without the notoriety.” Even if it didn’t suggest unspeakable vileness about Scalise’s attitudes towards African-Americans (Duke was a KKK Grand Wizard), it’s not a link most people would welcome. Scalise’s main redeeming feature is that somebody shot him.

The third possible candidate is none other than Donald J. Trump. Several Republicans are promoting him. The supporters are, as you might expect, utterly servile and cringing, as befits lackeys of the Trumpster. Even as he was disgracing himself in court, shouting that he had a right to a jury trial that his lawyers had waived on his behalf, and threatening officers of the court, his sad little supporters agreed he was “America’s finest president” and deserved to be Speaker. Just two bullets and he would be back in the White House, right?

But the Republicans have a little problem there: Rule 26. It’s a Republican rule (which means a rule they can ignore unless someone notices) that states that anyone with indictments and facing more than two years in jail cannot serve as Speaker. Ooops. Republicans really are masters at passing rules that are meant to limit everyone else that end up with them clotheslining themselves. It’s a talent.

Meanwhile, the House opened today and immediately adjourned, because…the Speaker wasn’t there. Until the Republicans figure out something they (and perhaps enough Democrats) can agree on, the House is paralyzed.

But no worries: I’m sure Kevin will find a way to blame Pelosi for that.

Breaking Logjams — A week of pleasant surprises


Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 2nd, 2023

A few weeks back, I posited that if just six Republicans could stand on principle and break with the party, the looming budget crisis could be averted. Given the grim lockstep cowardice the GOP had shown up until then, I figured six would be the best I could hope for, and that retribution from the rest would be so severe their own option would be to leave the party and become independents.
I’m happy to say I was wrong.
Six Republicans didn’t break ranks: a hundred and twenty six did. It may be quite a while before we learn the exact behind-the-scenes machinations that led to this (especially since the MAGAt crowd are still a clear and present danger to all who oppose them and want specific targets to punish) but a majority of House Republicans realized there is safety in numbers, and absolutely flattened the leverage the “Freedom Caucus” was holding over them, the House, and the country.
How pervasive was the defection? I was amazed to learn that my own congressman, a lunar-landing-denying dingbat from the heart of our infamous demented neighbor, Shasta County, was one of the defectors. That was not on my dance card. That wouldn’t have been on a Bernie Sanders masturbatory fantasy!
For those just getting back from a weekend recreation and are just now catching up on the news, the continuing resolution is for 45 days (until November 15th, meaning before the Thanksgiving break and with the pressure of the holiday season looming). It is, however, a “clean” resolution. No spending cuts, in particular none of the draconian cuts to child care, law enforcement, and the IRS that the demented Trumpenfascists of the MAGA crowd wanted. Funding for Ukraine was excluded, but both Houses vow to take it up separately, and since the measure will enjoy majority support in both Houses and in both parties, I doubt Zelenskii is losing any sleep over that.
With 126 defectors, even Kevin McCarthy felt brave. He was one of the defectors. I wonder if he had to resist the impulse to blow a raspberry at Matt Gaetz as he voted. Given the Republican level of decorum in the House, it wouldn’t have been out of place.
Gaetz is swearing he will move to kick McCarthy out of the Speakership, even though anyone with the simple ability to count to 218 realizes that putting someone he likes in as Speaker is mathematically impossible. In fact, he may not even be able to kick McCarthy out: there are rumors flying that he and the Democratic Party members are confabulating, discussing scenarios where a large chunk of Democrats may actually vote to defeat the motion to vacate and let McCarthy keep his job. Part of that, of course, will mean taking a more centrist position, but between the 126 Republicans who have clearly signaled that they have had enough of the vicious and destructive MAGAts, and a number of Democrats would would sooner have to deal with a sane opposition party, McCarthy might get to keep his job.
One especially tasty rumor making the rounds is that the quid pro quo for Democratic support might include votes to expel some or even all of the Freedom Caucus. This Trump Rump group includes some of the most unsavory and unpatriotic members of Congress, including Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Scott Perry, and Paul Gosar. The best of the 45 or so members are merely repulsive. The worst are traitors. About a dozen of them asked for pardons from then-President Trump in the wake of the January 6th insurrection, a prima facie admission of guilt and more than adequate grounds for expulsion.
Expelling just a few of these people would, in the short term, break the back of the GOP, but by destroying the power of the MAGA caucus, also put them on the road to recovery. And yes, that’s a good thing: any democracy needs at least two opposing parties that are willing to negotiate with one another. It’s a fundamental element the fascists in the MAGA crowd overlooked in their lust for power.
If the Dems want to, they can get GOP support and start moving the budget negotiations forward. Or they can let them shoot themselves in the foot one more time before the next elections, and ride a populist wave to majorities in both Houses and the White House. The GOP have never won one of these extortionist showdowns, and in the last two, got clobbered. Seems the senile old man in the basement somehow outwits the entire Trump brain trust, every time.
This vote also shows that Trump’s power is rapidly crumbling. Last weeks’ court finding of massive fraud and the resultant suspension of his business license in New York state did extreme damage to his finances, and the expected avalanche of plea bargains in Georgia and Washington have begun. Trump is going down, and there’s nobody in the party to take his place. DeSantis? Gaetz? Taylor-Greene? Don’t make me laugh.
It’s a ray of hope. America may escape the worst crisis it has faced since the Civil War.
In other news, the death of California’s celebrated Senator, Dianne Feinstein (RIP, Di), put Governor Newsom in a difficult position. He had three estimable candidates to choose from, all of whom were planning to run for Senate next year. Barbara Lee, Adam Schiff, and Katie Porter. Further, he had vowed to put a black woman in the Senate In The Event Of. That would have been Lee, my own preference.
But Newsom surprised pretty near everyone and chose a different black woman, EMILY’s List President Laphonza Butler. Butler, a fundraising giant in the Democratic party and a labor leader, is a moderately-left Democrat who falls about half-way between Feinstein and Lee politically. She’s also LGBTQ, which Newsom probably considered as his repudiation of the hate-filled far right of the GOP.
Butler was named with no preconditions, which means she is free to run as the incumbent next year, or not. She’s a close ally of Kamala Harris, and is likely to boost Harris’ chances going forward.
The Senate remains fairly stable. It passed the CR by a 91-8 vote the other day, showing solidarity against the fascist right. This is a good thing.
As for the next few weeks in the House, well, pass the popcorn. It probably won’t be constructive, or polite, but it will be massively entertaining.


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