Guilty x 34 — It’s official—Trump is a felon

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 30th 2024

As soon as I heard that the jury in the Trump trial had reached a verdict, I glanced at the clock and realized that a) the jury had found the case to be a slam dunk and b) the use of the singular in the word “verdict” suggested strongly that the result was unanimous on all counts.
And in fact, that’s exactly how it turned out: guilty on all 34 counts.
They may be relatively low-level felonies, and on first offense jail time is rare. But Judge Merchan is going to be considering the demeanor and behavior of the multiple felon during the trial, the number of felonies committed, and whether he showed any remorse or contrition. Merchan is also going to reflect on the attacks on his family and court officials and gauge the viciousness of the convict, and he may even consider the sad spectacle of Republican congressionals lining up outside the court in a blatant effort to intimidate.
I don’t think judicial leniency is in the works.
Sentencing is several weeks away, and of course Trump is going to appeal. So we won’t be seeing him in an orange jumpsuit any time soon.
Trump’s sycophants are already churning out disinformation. I saw a claim that Trump had not been allowed to know what he was charged with until the trial is over. Obviously that would be a massive constitutional no-no, but I remember reading the charges, in detail, on the day Trump was arraigned many months ago. Perhaps Fox News forgot to mention it and so Trump didn’t know. He just showed up at court to cool off and catch forty winks, right?
One of the reporters covering the story noted that when the jury filed in to render its verdict, not one of them looked at Donald Trump. And I remembered the scene from “To Kill a Mockingbird” when Atticus tells Jeb that a jury that has found a defendant guilty they don’t meet his eye. Of course, that trial was a miscarriage of justice. This one wasn’t. The jurors can stand tall and look everyone in the eye.
I think this is a seminal moment for the country. Not only does it show that nobody is above the law, but it is a body blow to the fascist movement that has been backing Trump. They can claim the trial was rigged, and surely will, but the testimony and proceeding are all there in the public record. I carefully kept a copy of Judge Merchan’s jury instructions, which are an apotheosis of judicial fairness and acumen. In my estimation, Merchan is more of a judge than Roberts, Scalia, Kavanaugh, Thomas, Gorsuch and Coney-Barrett, combined.
But there is this: Donald John Trump is a felon. He is a criminal. That is engraved in stone. And while many of his supporters won’t care about that, any more than brownshirts cared that Hitler was a jailbird convicted of insurrection. If anything, their support for Trump will get tighter, because trash always clumps under pressure.
But many of his followers, the ones who suffer from lack of information rather than lack of ethics or values, are inevitably going to hear of today’s verdict, and say, “Hold up. He’s a criminal?”
Trump’s odds of winning in November were already very slim. They are nonexistent now, and I’m quite sure the GOP is debating the destruction of an inevitable civil war amongst the right wing against the certainty of an electoral bloodbath if this felon is the candidate.
I’ll close with this: Truth Social learned a verdict had been reached, and as divorced from reality as the inmates in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, quickly celebrated with this:



Deliberations — A hanging in the balance

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 27th 2024

I suspect that I’ll be writing a second piece later this week, should the Trump trial for falsification of business records jury return before next weekend. That would probably good news for anyone who believes Trump is guilty of the charges and should be convicted of some, if not all of them. A quick jury return would mean the jury found the case for the state to be a slam dunk and at that point all Judge Juan Marchan has to do is decide how many years Trump should get sentenced to. Given the behavior of Trump and his slimy cohorts during the trial, I doubt judicial leniency is in the cards. If convicted on all counts, it’s unlikely Trump would live long enough to serve out his sentence.

While Trump and his minions may disagree, that’s the best possible outcome for the nation and society in general. Yes, I know some of his fans have been making terrorist threats, but if we can’t stand up to those types of coward and bullies, then perhaps America isn’t worth the trouble.

Second best result—and least likely, in my opinion—is outright acquittal on all charges. I know it’s hard to imagine that the state didn’t have a strong enough case to convince the jurors on some of the charges, but then my perspective – and yours – is that of an outsider who depends on what is in the media. The jurors are remanded to a very specific set of criteria (which Merchan will be reiterating, spelling that out for them tomorrow) and they may decide that whatever they may think of Trump’s behavior and ethics, the actual charges weren’t backed by evidence.

The most likely outcome is that Trump may be found guilty on some or most of the charges. This would indicate a jury that takes its duties and responsibilities seriously, and is taking the time to carefully weigh each charge and determine if it rose to the level of actual legal culpability. So if it’s June the third and we’re still waiting on the jury, don’t panic. It may just mean they are all doing their job in good faith, and even if on some of the charges there’s a hung jury, that may mean one or more of the jurors legitimately thought the state didn’t rise above the required level of reasonable doubt.

If we get to the tenth of June and there’s still no verdict, then the nightmare scenario comes into play. At that point it’s possible that the jury reports back to Merchan that it is unable to get a unanimous verdict on all charges. If it further comes to light that the vote on nearly all the charges was 10 or 11 to convict, then it would be clear that Trump and his crowd managed to get a ringer empaneled who planned to vote to acquit on all charges no matter what.

That would be a devastating blow to the nation’s self-image of being a nation of laws. It might even do more damage than Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon. Trump’s known crimes, and his flagrant abuse of the pardon power are far worse than we saw in 1974, but in that half century, standards have slipped, especially amongst Republicans. They enjoy the privilege of lowered expectations. They get away with this shit in large measure because they’re no better than they ought to have been.

But while Trump may dismay but never disappoint, the jury is a different story. We expect better from them, and if Trump has managed to corrupt them, then it’s another victory for the immoral and unethical trash.

Exactly how the nation would react to that outcome would be pretty much determinative.

I would love to say that this wouldn’t happen, but I can’t. Not honestly. Trump’s corruption is very far-reaching, and while the large majority of his followers are disaffected and ineffectual clowns, there are some very powerful interests devoted to the rise of a fascist state who see Trump as their perfect agent.

Americans are notoriously slow to react to that sort of threat. Usually they don’t really react until it morphs into an actual attack, whether it be Fort Sumter, Pearl Harbor or 9/11. And in this instance, the attacker may well have possession of the very instruments Americans would need to respond; the government, the military, and the directed will of the population.

A verdict widely seen as honestly arrived at will do much to defray such a eventuality.

Eric Trump (“Butthead”) whined that nobody has sacrificed more for this country than his family. The usual self-pitying, self-aggrandizing crap you expect from the Trumps. But he picked Memorial Day weekend to do that.

Anyone who is inclined to prayers or thinking good thoughts, give those who died a “thank you.” And honor them by fighting tyranny.

Executing the Opposition — Not just a pretty idea

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 19th 2024

Last night, Donald Trump stood in front of the National Rifle Association and discussed the execution of President Joe Biden. He didn’t call for Biden’s assassination, mind you; there’s enough neurons firing in that diseased mess he calls a brain to understand that would immediately finish him and he would have been arrested by now, the following morning. But he talked about it. He just kinda wanted people to leave with the concept of a dead President Biden in the back of their minds.

And he did it in front of a desperate group of gun nuts who are still struggling to survive the scandal of their ties to Putin, a group most likely to have a deranged individual with the motive, means, and inclination to kill any politician with whom Trump disparages. If said individual approves of Trump at this stage, then he’s already a half dozen stations down the crazytown train route.

Discussing execution of one’s opponent is unheard of. Doing it in front of an angry and alienated group of gun nuts is flat out obscene.

It wasn’t the only Trump moment yesterday that should have ended his campaign in the eyes of any sane person. While delivering his standard mash of lies and smears, he suddenly stopped mid speech and for about forty-five seconds, just gazed around himself, seemingly unaware of where he was or what he was doing. It resembled the fugue state that gripped Mitch McConnell a few times before he announced his retirement.

His handlers claimed that his teleprompter had seized up. It was a curious admission from a campaign—hell, from an entire party—that likes to pretend that Democrats are all utterly dependent on teleprompters in order to give a coherent speech. Donald, it seems, relies on a teleprompter just to give an incoherent speech. The wonder of it all. (The whole “Dems need cue cards” thing didn’t start with Trump; they were making the same claim about Obama and both Clintons. Bill Clinton famously gave an SOTU address during the first few minutes of which his teleprompter crapped out. He calmly went ahead and gave an hour and fifteen minute speech chock-full of facts and figures, winging it the whole way. Even his speechwriter didn’t know anything was amiss. The fact is Democrats are more intelligent than Republicans, almost without exception.)

Trump and some of the lower Republicans have been claiming that when Biden gave his fiery SOTU speech in March that so thoroughly destroyed the cultivated GOP myth that Biden was a senescent and feeble drooler, he did so jacked up on something (“probably cocaine” because cocaine is so good for the concentration). Trump lacks the wit or imagination to come up with a replacement fable, and so challenged Biden to take a drug test prior to each of the two debates. I think he was honestly astonished when Biden cheerfully agreed to the stipulation, but only if Trump also took a drug test. He wasn’t supposed to react that way, dammit! Trump, like most flailing con artists, is beginning to believe his own lies.

Trump also had his whipped dogs in the Republican House leadership come out and perform a little monkey dance for him at his trial. The men all dressed like Trump in a stunning display of servility, and the women might have as well except their asses weren’t big enough to carry it off. While it served as a good reminder of just how pathetic that contingent really are, it served a more sinister purpose: while the saddest possible examples of the offices they hold, they do, in fact, hold the most powerful offices in the country, and the whole reason for this sad spectacle was to display Power—corrupt, vicious power—in a ploy to intimidate the jurors and court officials, including the judge. Trump’s dogs dutifully disobeyed the gag order to smear the judge’s daughter. Trump is filth. They are filth. It may be the low point in American governance.

Speaking of the judge, did you know he was a Democratic donor? I’m sure you do, because since the story broke two days ago, Republicans have been screaming it to the skies.

And what was this donation that proves the judge can’t possibly not be biased? He donated $35 dollars to a liberal organization that usually supports Democrats called Act Blue. It happened in 2020 during the campaign, before anyone considered that Trump would do anything including insurrection and treason to try to stay in office. Unlike certain members of the Supreme Court, Judge Juan Merchan had no inkling he might end up overseeing the trial in a case in which he might be ruling on something his donation addressed. It was improper for a judge to do that, of course, but given the tiny amount, the fact that it wasn’t directly to a candidate or a political party, meant that it was a transgression, and not a punishable offense. A judicial ethics board criticized Merchan for it, he apologized and promised not to do it again. Normally, that would be the end of it.

I wonder if they’ll get Slappy Thomas to come out and lecture Merchan on judicial ethics. They could have him dress up in a blue suit and red tie and join the other doggies parading in front of the trial tomorrow. Maybe they could get Alito, in matching dress, to proclaim that no responsible judge ever allows personal political or religious views to interfere with a proper legal decision. Yeah, that’ll own the libs.

I’ve been saying for some time that Trump will be lucky if he makes it to the convention in July as a viable candidate, and if he does, it means the end of the GOP. At the rate he’s going, he could give Biden 400 electoral votes.

I haven’t seen anything this week to change my mind on that. Trump is falling apart, and taking the GOP with him.

And part of him knows it. That’s why he was making a veiled suggestion to America’s biggest collection of gun nuts.

Facebook Caprice — Meta is ever-more capricious, sneaky and unfair—or is it just incompetence?

Facebook Caprice

Meta is ever-more capricious, sneaky and unfair—or is it just incompetence?

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 18th 2024

It started out simply enough. My Linux system was over ten years old and beginning to gasp and wheeze a bit. My Windows system was newer and more powerful, and I thought, well, I’ll make that my new Linux system and get a new Windows machine. Which is what I did.

I’ve done this sort of thing a lot of times during the nearly forty years that I’ve had computers, and can avoid most of the pitfalls. My work and personal hard drives are all kept carefully off line while I juggle new installs and getting software passwords and codes updated. Windows, of course, is far more complex since you have to reinstall commercial software and you better have the access codes for that or you risk paying again for a program that was barely worth it in the first place.

In an operation this complex, you’re bound to miss a spot or two. Not too long ago—three months, perhaps—I had changed my Facebook password. I had been worried that I might have made myself vulnerable to my account getting hacked—unfounded, I’m happy to say—but the PW was due to be changed anyway.

My password minding app didn’t know about the change. I’m guessing I was in a hurry, and when it asked if I wanted to update, I told it “later” and then forgot. My browser also tracks my PWs, and it did notice. Since I could still log on without any problem, I forgot about it.

Both my old browser, and the password for my browser sync file, were on the old system. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy. What was the password? Chinese city, more than 10,000 population, but was it in Cantonese or Mandarin? Tch. What did I have for breakfast? Um, erm, food?

Well, no worries. I have double verification code set up, so all I had to do was hit “change password” and my cellphone would get a six-digit code which I would enter, and then go ahead and create a new password (I hear “password” is a good one).

Got the code, went back to the page and entered it. Facebook came up with a “This function is not available at this time.”

Eh. Facebook. Whaddyagonna do?

Well, I still had other computer tweaking to do. And other chores.

I tried a few hours later, and got the same message. “Come on, Facebook,” I thought, “Get your act together.”

So the next morning I tried again. This time the results were jarring. It told me that I was on a restricted status, followed by a list of policy violations that may or may not apply to me (and most of them didn’t apply at all) and therefore the function of changing my password was not available to me.

To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement. They had a little box giving me 500 characters to respond, so I sent a message asking what this was about, and noting that it had been over a year since I had any kind of run-in with Facebook proctors. (That was incorrect, as it turns out; the last such thing was well over TWO years ago, in March 2022.)

From experience, I wasn’t going to hold my breath waiting for a reply. So I fired up my old Linux machine and retrieved my hopefully-still-active password along with a few other odds and ends I had missed on the first go around.

I retrieved my password and fired up the ‘new’ machine. Entered password, got a “we don’t recognize this device” message and a promise to send a six-digit checksum code to my cell. Heart sinking, I checked the phone, entered the code. It mulled it over for about ten seconds, and then let me in.

No remonstrations from Facebook, and I could post at will.

Now, I’ve had my share of run-ins with Facebook proctors, and been in Facebook jail on three-day stints three times. The third one outraged me enough that I left Facebook for a while. At the time, I emailed friends the following, with present day annotations in square brackets:

As of March 2nd , [2022] I’m no longer maintaining an active account on Facebook. Their censorship has been irrational to begin with, and now it is flat-out capricious.

A few months ago, someone asked jokingly if it was legal to shoot Republicans in California. I replied that you had to get a license, which was expensive, and there was a ton of paperwork involved. Three days in Facebook jail for hate speech. [Apparently it’s hate speech to discourage shooting Republicans in California. Who da guessed?]

The last one was when a friend posted a link from Weatherwest (a blog I habituate) that gave a rather dire forecast for the rest of February, promising intensifying drought. Riffing off Shakespeare, I wrote, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the meteorologists.” Unlike the first suspension, which I was able to successfully appeal, there was no appeal. Facebook cited COVID [disinformation] as the reason. [No, I don’t get that at all. And yes, apparently, that’s hate speech, too. I don’t know if Shakespeare got banned. After all, he made mention of the weather, too.]

I discovered yesterday that I had been suspended again for hate speech. No reason was given. I thought at first it was perhaps because I remarked that for the Russian people, the best thing that could happen would be if Putin was deposed or assassinated, but that particular post was still up, so I have no idea why I was banned. [In Facebook jail on a three-day, not actually banned.]

In any event, I’m out of there. Yes, Facebook has the right to control who posts what, but when it becomes illogical and even capricious, it’s a bad business model and not a forum I want to waste time in.

A couple of weeks later, I reconsidered. There were a couple of pages where I do volunteer work, posting events and news and ferrying information between their Facebook pages and their websites. It didn’t seem fair to short them because I wasn’t getting on with the powers-that-be at Facebook.

I resumed posting. Facebook had said that unspecified limitations and restrictions would be applied to my account, and I figured that meant they would keep me on a short leash to see if I behaved. (I maintain that I hadn’t actually misbehaved, not by any sane metric.)

In fact, the opposite seemed to be the case. Not only were there not any restrictions or limitations that I could discern, but they seemed content to back off and leave me alone. I only had one minor incident, about six months ago. At the height of the “Barbieheimer” fad, a user in a private group I moderate posted a picture of a bare-chested Putin atop a bright pink horse with a servile Trump holding the reins. It was blurred “for content some might find objectionable.” I got a thing from Facebook saying that as moderator I had a responsibility to ensure that my users didn’t violate Facebook policy. I wondered in the group if it was Trump, the pink horse, or Putin’s nips that triggered some proctor. The next time I logged in, the picture was un-blurred.

And that’s been it. So I can’t explain this week’s problem.

It’s possible that my initial suspicion, that the problems could be laid to Facebook’s incompetence, was all that was going on. Incompetence, by its nature, resembles capriciousness.

But there’s one thing that leaves me wondering if it wasn’t something more deliberate. As mentioned, I used the “forgot your password” function twice, and then had to affirm my new machine with them once I retrieved my old password. I happened to look at my email queue that day I returned, and noticed that in all three instances, the code given was identical.

It doesn’t work that way. Most outfits give you a certain time to respond, and if you don’t make it, you have to reapply for a new code. And it’s always different each time. Always. It’s a security thing: the code is a back door for anyone spying on an unsecured connection.

Except In my case with FB. Am I being paranoid, or was that code assigned to me, one that says something like, “This guy’s a troublemaker, don’t cooperate.”

It’s the passive-aggressive quality that I don’t understand. Our last contrétemps was in March 2022, and I never did find out what they were annoyed about. And everything seemed normal. Until this week. Then suddenly Facebook “remembered” that long-ago incident, and levied a strange hidden punishment on me and so I’m not allowed to change my password. Maybe?

Remember, it DID let me change my password about three months ago.

Does this seem paranoid, or have others had this experience?

Facebook’s no help: I haven’t gotten a human response from them on anything in three years. Maybe not talking to me is part of their punishment, I don’t know.

But if I do suddenly vanish, don’t assume the worst. I may have broken one of Facebook’s unguessable interpretations of their own rules and received an invisible and unexplained penalty. Or I forgot my password (in Mandarin, of course).

The people who run Meta, and various other major corporations, want to run America. That’s why most of them support the GOP.

Figure that if they do get total control, this incident is a pretty good example of the ‘justice’ you might expect.

Hell, bizarre as it is, it’s probably the best you can hope for.

Going to the Dogs — The party of mutt sluts

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 5th 2024

The saga of
Kristi Noem and her dead puppy keeps staying in the news. It isn’t
because gleeful Democrats are hyping the story. It’s because Noem
herself won’t back down, and just keeps digging herself into an
ever-deeper hole. First she tried implying that she didn’t know
the story survived the first draft and shouldn’t have been in the
book. The classic Scooby-Doo “If it weren’t for you meddling
kids” defense. That blew up when it came out that she did the
audiobook herself—including the happy tale of the demise of
Cricket. The initial “farmers have to made hard choices” excuse
died stillborn when she wrote, “I really hated that dog.”

she’s pointing to Biden’s German shepherd, Champion, who
reportedly bit a dozen or so Secret Service agents. She’s saying
that Biden should have shot the dog. She didn’t say if Biden
should have dispatched Champion live from the oval office, or in
front of a joint session of Congress (it really could have been an
excellent opportunity for Biden to turn to the Republican side and
say, “If the Supreme Courts says I have absolute immunity, you lot
are next.”). Maybe Biden could have discussed responsible pet
ownership while in the backdrop behind him, a couple of vengeful
secret service agents stuffed a yelping Champion into a running wood
chipper. It would have given Biden true Sarah Palin cred, you know?

Noem, Republican to her empty core, refuses to back down, still
hoping she can turn it into a campaign where she is the innocent
victim of “woke” libs. Maybe she could have took a flamethrower
to a couple of live kittens just to show she can’t be bullied by
lunatic leftist pansies and commies.

even Donald Trump, yes, Donald Fucking Trump, wondered aloud what was
wrong with her. It takes real talent to make him feign being
appalled. This is the guy who ripped off a children’s cancer
charity, right? His standards are...flexible.

be sure, his reaction is performance art. He’s probably watching
to see if she survives the political storm, and even though she
didn’t get invited to Donald’s meat parade of Veep picks for
billionaires, she’s probably still on his list. He doesn’t care
how vile she is. In fact, he prefers vile. He just wants to know
how mindlessly loyal she would be. His last Veep toad was such a
disappointment, you know.

fans, while shrinking, are even more vehement. They adore it when he
behaves like a pig. That’ll show those libs! They push for worse
and worse behavior from GOP candidates, since viciousness, cruelty,
rudeness and pure arrogant stupidity are seen as virtues among those
deplorables. After all, those are what Trump expects from his
closest minions. Michael Cohen wasn’t his main lawyer for twenty
years because Cohen was a nice guy. He was as dirty and nasty as any
mafia torpedo. His autobiography could have just as easily been
titled “...But Take the Cannoli.”

Republicans keep vilifying refugees, immigrants, Muslims,
African-Americans, and now students. Never mind that America’s
Nazi population have all gravitated to the GOP; Republicans are
attacking all critics of Netanyahu as being “anti-Semitic” even
though most of them value Israel for the demented Bible-based
Revelation belief that the state of Israel must exist in order for
the Rapture to occur. Jews are just God bait in their eyes.
Netanyahu isn’t their friend, but he is chum. Trump praises people
who are Nazis as “very fine people” and attacks critics of Israel
and in his base, at least, gets away with it.

support Trump, of course.

Trump supporters don't understand is that supporting him doesn't
automatically make them safe in his New World Order. History suggests
the opposite, in fact. Strongman leaders know their truest believers
are gullible, feckless, erratic, easy to manipulate, and unreliable.
After all, they already betrayed their country once. So unless Trump
supporters can find a way fast to make themselves useful to the new
Fuhrer, he's just going to throw them away like used condoms. Read
recent history: the early years of Lenin, Hitler, and Mao. They
quickly filled the camps with their truest believers, and executed
many more. Look up “Night of the Long Knives.”

corporate execs who back Trump doubtlessly think they can control him
once he takes office. But Trump sees them as a useful prop. He
isn’t going to reciprocate their loyalty, and once his mass
deportations and tariffs create a Great Depression, he’ll blame
them bitterly for the chaos and deprivation his policies have caused.
If the Supreme Court has anointed him King at that point, expect him
to start hanging CEOs publicly.

yes, and Republican office-holders can feel free to resume shooting
puppies in this Brave New World. It’s not like they’ll be good
for anything else under Glorious Leader. They will be justice of
Champions. And not playing proper Cricket to do so.

After I wrote this but prior to publishing it, I came across this,
from Sophia Cai, national politics reporter for Axios:

says he loves Kristi Noem despite puppy killing controversy, per
Mar-a-Lago audio obtained by Axios," she reported Sunday.

“In the audio, Trump at a private luncheon commented on each of the following lawmakers, giving some insight into his thinking,” according to her published report.

The article reveals that Trump’s response to Noem was that the GOP governor is, “Somebody that I love. She’s been with me, a supporter of mine and I’ve been a supporter of hers for a long time.”

See? Told you his outrage was fake.


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