MAGA: Amnesty – It’s Not a Border or an Immigration Problem.

More than two million people tried to cross the US-Mexoco border in 2022, according to officials. They want to make this sound like a large number. It would be a large number, if these people were migrants and expected to go back and forth across the border each year.

These people are not migrants though, no matter how many talking heads call them migrants. They don’t want to be here, they were forced to come here out of fear of where they were.

They are not immigrants beyond the fact that they want American protection from persecution (as foolish as that belief may be) and so want to become American citizens, with all the baggage that comes with being brown-skinned people in the original home of White Supremacy.

These people are refugees. That’s how you get two million people crossing a border into another country in a year. They are not invaders, drug runners or any other kind of criminal. They are poor, desperate people and we are using them as pawns in our political battles. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

texasstandard.org

Americans are outraged about the influx of refugees at the Southern border; at least, that is what Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP would like you to believe. They are betting on you being willing to torture poor refugee families in the name of your own security. That is the bet they are making in 2022. Will you do it? Will you go down to the border and use a cattle prod on these poor people in order to drive them back to their countries of origin, or will you be happy to allow the Texas and Mexican governments do your dirty work for you?

What needs to be done is to fix our amnesty rules, fix the injustices in Venezuela and Brazil and half a dozen other countries South of our border here in the United States. Injustices that we helped to create with decades of money to banana republics that we helped to create in the first place. South America is the way it is now largely because we made it that way, because it suited our corporations commodity-extracting needs. Now that these refugees from our policies show up on our door, we need to torture them some more? I think we’ve seen enough depravity now.

Featured image: https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-IMMIGRATION/MEXICO/mopankddwva/

Maddow on Pat Buchanan & Racism

Buchanan is a paleoconservative, he is a white nationalist, he is an artist of white racial grievance as a driver of white working class votes and white middle class votes, honestly; and he has been calling for revolutionary white nationalist politics on the right consistently and in the same way without evolving at all himself from the sixties until now, through his most recent books.

The far right has figured that out. His books are required reading in the pro-Trump right wing paramilitary groups, some of which are facing sedition charges now; but he’s the most consistent, lyrical Republican racist of the mid-twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first and that will be important for us understanding what happened to the right and to the Republican party in this century.

I think it helps to look at it from a broad historical perspective and just to realize that these impulses and these arguments and these ideas of racial grievance and racial reorganization, and racial oppression, they don’t go away and they don’t change very much. They get articulated with more or less flowery language over time but, when you build the Nixon-Agnew administration on the idea that the civil rights movement is a bunch of communists and it’s American patriotism to oppose communists and therefore to oppose civil rights; and that’s why anyone who calls you a racist is really a commie…

When that’s the politics of the sixties and seventies and there is no corrective for it, you just evolve through it. When the Reagan politics around race and welfare queens and this idea again of exploiting racial grievance, but with a smile, persists through those times. When the deep racial radicalism on the right is sort of kept alive, is continually stoked, those guys are continually fomenting what they foment and they fall in and out of favor depending on what the media environment and the electoral environment can tolerate.

Rachel Maddow
spotifyEzra Klein – What Rachel Maddow Has Been Thinking About Offscreen – Oct 14, 2022

What she is driving at there is the thing that put me off on Pat Buchanan from the very beginning:

The problem that I had with Pat Buchanan was always that the thing he was talking about wasn’t the thing he was talking about. What I expressed to Dan Carlin as bad actor or bad faith in relation to his interview of Pat Buchanan in episode 71 of his Common Sense podcast. Buchanan would never come right out and say that brown-skinned people were keeping white people from achieving their white nirvana, but it was behind every single thing he thought and said and it bled through in every thought that he tried to express. He always was a bad liar. Not nearly the confidence man that Caudito Trump is. Trump, who took the racist subtext behind politics in the US and made it the text again. Pat Buchanan helped make a Trump presidency inevitable.

This racial thinking comes out in his belief that Slavic countries belong to Russia, for example.

The title of that article? That is the framing that Pat Buchanan would use when talking about the war in Ukraine. Talking about it as if all Slavs must be under the same government. Racial framing. Just in case you think that Rachel Maddow is making all that shit up. She knows him, which is more than I can say about him.

Midterm Trumpism

Trump says its about Trump so lets make it about Trump.

We are about to be in election season here in the United States. The midterm elections, so named because they come in the middle of a presidential term, are about to be held. The primary elections, which most citizens have gleefully missed out on, have occurred over the last eight months and the candidates for every house seat in the US House and one-third of the seats in the Senate have been selected. Now we go to the general election and pick which one of the candidates will be the one to represent us in the various elected bodies and offices across the country.

Here in Texas every major state office is also up for election. The Democrats are doing quite well given Texas history. Democrats haven’t been this close to holding a statewide public office since Ann Richards left the governor’s mansion (I really miss her) Republicans have to be sweating bullets right now, but they sure do try to pretend that they aren’t.

The various political pundits who are talking about the midterm elections would like you to believe that this election is about inflation or the economy or abortion. They say this quite openly on programs that promote the horserace narrative of election:

The Takeaway – Do Debates Help Candidates in Midterm Elections? – October 11, 2022

(I would be happy for there to be normalcy enough that debating between sane parties could be conducted. We aren’t in those kinds of times now.)

But the elections aren’t about any of those things. I wouldn’t mind if the elections were about abortion, that is a winning issue for Democrats. I do mind that Republicans try to make this election about immigration or about the economy because they don’t present the truth when they promote these troubling issues. The immigration issue is actually an amnesty issue and they won’t fix that (Biden and the Democrats might) The economy issue isn’t anything that Biden can fix and the Republican candidates can’t fix it, either. They might try to fix it though, and that scares me more than the inflation does.

However, the midterm election isn’t about any of those normal-type things. The elections are about the failed presidency of Donald Trump and his desire to see the certified results of the 2020 election reversed. All across the country there are candidates running for office that were handpicked by Trump to either overturn the 2020 election or at least rig the 2024 election in his favor. They are running in every state all across the country.

Don’t believe me? The January 6th committee hearings continued today:

PBS NewsHour – Jan. 6 Committee hearings – Day 9 – Oct. 13, 2022

Make no mistake here, we are in a battle for the future of our country; and if we want our country to be based on principles of a representative democracy then we have to get out and vote against anyone that Trump has endorsed and that proposes that there was anything wrong with the certified results of the 2020 election. There is no room for equivocation on this issue. If the candidate will not state on the record that Donald Trump lost the 2020 election and that the election was not marked by huge amounts of fraud, then that candidate can not be trusted with the authority of any office within the United States.

Remember what happened two years ago. Remember being trapped in your house because the President of the United States allowed the coronavirus to run rampant across the country and even encouraged its spread by deluding his followers about how bad it was. Remember that more than eighty-one million of us voted specifically to remove Donald Trump from office so that we could finally turn the corner on the pandemic. Remember how Donald Trump encouraged a mob to attack the capitol and attempt to overthrow the government that we had voted into power. Remember that he hand picked this group of candidates to run for him in 2022.

Remember all of this and vote to confirm that, painful as the present is, this is better than what we had two years ago. Better than it has been since at least 2007. Vote to put an end to Trumpism so that we don’t have to physically act to put an end to the Trumpists who will take power if we don’t consciously vote against them now. Vote like your country depends on it because it probably does and probably will for the rest of our natural lives.

A Bubbling Stew of Batshit Crazy

That is what Charlie Sykes deemed Trump’s response to the entirety of the January 6th committee findings and subpoena. You Trumpists remember Charlie Sykes right? He was one of you before you went batshit crazy with your now dethroned and soon to be indicted God-Emperor.

THE BULWARK PODCAST – Denver Riggleman: Why I Wrote It by CHARLIE SYKES – OCTOBER 14, 2022

Continuing to paraphrase Charlie Sykes, we can’t afford to wait for the sweet meteor of death (SMOD) or for the Orange bastard to choke on his last Big Mac. We need him to face justice, and it needs to be soon. The sooner the better. The only way this happens successfully is if we stick with the Democrats and hold their feet to the fire on the subjects that we think are important. Secure the democracy first, prosecute the criminals second, worry about the economy and abortion access after that. It’s important to keep your dumpster fires in the proper extinguishing order. The one that can destroy our way of government has to be extinguished first.

Postscript

It seems that the vast majority of Americans that bothered to vote in the midterms felt the same way I did. Trump was handed defeats across the nation, wining almost none of the races that he put his weight behind outside of the nutjob state of Texas that I am forced to call home. Did Texas stay red because Trump didn’t directly endorse Greg Abbott, or did it stay red in spite of that oversight? Who knows.

Texas is a Tossup

Marist is out with a new poll today. They put this headline on the news:

Abbott Edges O’Rourke in Texas Governor’s Race

In any other state, at any other time, this poll would have deemed the race a toss-up. The spread between candidates is less than the undecideds in the race and that is the definition of a toss-up. The sad part of this poll is that there are such low numbers of undecideds and/or that there isn’t a double-digit lead for the Democrats in all races.

The Republican governor of Texas, our governor, has wasted a billion dollars pretending that there is an invasion from Mexico for the better part of a decade now. There is no invasion from Mexico. There are economic upheavals all over the world and the US remains a beacon of hope, and, the Southern border is where everyone thinks they should go to get in. I remain mystified why you wouldn’t go to Canada instead and just stroll across the border there. Avoid the crowds, go to Canada. That is, if you aren’t just walking North until you hit the United States. If you are, you have my sympathies.

The explanation for why this ineffective milksop of a man, Greg Abbott, is popular in Texas is easy to understand. Republicans have been brainwashed for forty years now and their insanity has reached the new low of declaring everyone that opposes them a child molester. Remember Pizzagate? That sort of shit still goes on all over the Republican sphere. Accusing people of being groomers. Targeting trans children and their caregivers. How do you reason with people like that? How do you take them seriously?

Marist is well respected, but who commissioned this particular poll and who released it? Those factors play into what we are shown as news. I’ve been floored by the amount of news in this election cycle that insists on treating these midterms as normal or acting as if there is no downside in projecting Republican strength at this juncture in time.

There is no Republican strength. This needs to be stated bluntly. Republicans are actively at war with themselves, even in Texas. They can’t see a way forward from the trap they’ve made for themselves other than to hold on tight to Trumpism, which is a losing bet to make for everyone concerned.

The news media should be making this very, very clear, but they don’t do it. They don’t do it out of fear of Republican reprisals or they don’t do it out of fear of violent reactions from the Republican base. Maybe it is misunderstanding what objective reporting means. In any case, they are doing us all a disservice. The Republican party is not a serious opponent in the here and now. They are an active threat to the American experiment and should be treated as such until their criminal leaders are brought to justice (yes, I’m looking at you Ken Paxton) This fact needs to be made explicitly clear to the American people so that they can adjust their expectations accordingly.

Reddit

Postscript

Greg Abbott won by about 10 points. Pandering and grandstanding still works well in Texas. The most unfortunate result was the Texas AG office being retained by the indicted Ken Paxton. He’s going to be doing the AG’s business from prison, I guess.

The Cruelty is the Point

If you are an ambitious Republican, the way to win a primary, the way to win office, is to be seen being ritualistically cruel in some way to one of these communities that conservatives are fixated on and to have that covered by FOX News who will then rave about what a true conservative you are.

This act of public cruelty is something that draws lines of community around one group of people and excludes another group of people in a way that really forms a relationship between a leader and the people he’s seeking to represent.

This is something primal in human nature. You think back to adolescence when there’s a kid who, he’s a little nerdy or he gets left out of the group and gets made fun of, and there are other kids who will pick on that kid just to show they are one of the other kids, one of the cool kids, one of the group.

This is something that’s in human nature that Trump elevated to a level of political virtue or a political principle.

Adam Serwer (wnycstudios.org/takeaway)

Why is Postmaster Louis DeJoy Still a Thing?

Why is Louis DeJoy still Postmaster General? He appears to have conspired with Donald Trump in his attempt to scuttle the 2020 election by destroying mail sorting machines in the middle of a pandemic that had us all relying on the Post Office in a way we hadn’t seen in generations.

Now he’s cutting services and closing Post Offices again, and I don’t understand why he’s still in his job and not up on charges of conspiracy, treason, money laundering, whatever. If he was a friend of Trump, appointed by Trump, he’s dirty. Why does he still have a job that isn’t picking up trash by the roadside in an orange jumpsuit?

I’d really like an answer to this question.

Sent to the White House

The Postal Service had been set to purchase as many as 165,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, of which 10 percent would have been electric under the original procurement plan. Now it will acquire 50,000 trucks from Oshkosh, half of which will be EVs. It will also buy another 34,500 commercially available vehicles, with sufficient electric models to make 4 in 10 trucks in its delivery fleet zero-emission vehicles.

The announcement comes after 16 states, the District of Columbia, and four of the nation’s top environmental groups sued the mail agency in the spring to prevent the original purchase plan, or compel it to buy more electric trucks. Activists at a minimum want the Postal Service’s fleet to consist of at least 75 percent EVs, though the agency’s Office of Inspector General found that 95 percent of delivery routes are suitable for electrification.

washingtonpost.com

That is still not enough of a concession on your part Mr. DeJoy. You are yet another unindicted co-conspirator in the coup attempt. I will not forget the fact that I was forced to go out and vote in person in November of 2020 because you slowed the mails down to the point where I couldn’t be sure a mail-in ballot would be received and counted. You forced me to risk my life in order to do my basic duty as a citizen of the United States. I will never forget you or your crimes.

MAGA: Trump Can’t Fix This

The mindless stupidity of his supporters is what I find most depressing. Mindless stupidity that takes McCarthy’s statements at face value. How would you prove any of his claims? Why would today be any different no matter who the President was?

I can tell you the answer; it wouldn’t be better, it would be worse. Why? Because Trump didn’t even have a plan to roll out vaccinations. Trump has no knowledge of economics. No knowledge of science. He has nothing beyond bluster and charisma to draw on.

What might have made things better is if more people had voted Democratic down ballot in 2020 and put a solid Democratic majority in the Senate. That would have at least made a difference.

As it is now, in 2022, we are still bargaining with traitors in the form of Joe Manchin and the entire Republican caucus; a traitor because he holds the country hostage for his own personal benefits. He’s not a Democrat, he’s a Trumpist sympathizer. He’s a benefactor of 40 years of Reaganism. He’s wealthy from the dirtiest of power sources and wants to continue to profit from them. His backers in West Virginia are marginal Trumpists themselves and still solidly lovers of Reagan. They still think their god is going to save them. They still think their god wants them to have lots of money so they can get into heaven and they are planning to herald his second coming, soon. They are the stupid people, just like the people who still support Trump.

Oh, sure. Joe Manchin’s changed his tune now because he can see the writing on the wall. Anyone who’s paying attention can. This murderous world-wide heatwave is impossible to ignore unless you are a complete idiot. Now he wants to get onboard. Now he wants to be a Democrat like his President is. It may be too late though. It should be too late for him to change sides and be accepted as one of us, one of the people who aren’t blinded by greed and politics.

Trump can’t fix this. Republicans are incapable of fixing this. They have denied science for so long that they can’t even tell the difference between rain and being pissed on by their own political leaders. The economy is improving from Trump’s unprecedented failure at stopping a pandemic and two-time impeached catastrophic failure as a President. The Democrats are demonstrating the criminal nature of Trumpismo and the current Republican party with facts, live testimony under oath and recorded video footage and the leader of the party in the House is telling us “who are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?”

Republicans have made the the 2022 Midterms all about Trump and his wounded pride at being solidly trounced in the 2020 Presidential election. He has forced the Republicans to make this election about him, and so you have McCarthy talking about how Trump could make the country better as if Trump isn’t the reason the country is suffering right now, and we all know it. Whether we want to admit it to ourselves or not, we know this is what Trump created as President. This thing we are living through right now.

Look in the mirror. Stare into your own eyes and admit this truth to yourself. Then go out and fix the problem that your votes created in 2016 and 2020.

The only solution to the crisis we are in now is to vote more Democrats into office, nationally. More Democrats and solid independents into office locally. Republicans will be compromised for a generation now; that is what the blind jingoism of FOX and it’s zombie Reaganisim over the last two score of years have gotten us. A functionally one-party political system incapable of governing without super majorities.

The California model can’t spread fast enough, in my estimation. We have to fix the primary systems across this country so that only smart, popular people with sane ideas can ever rise to the top of the political system. Only then can we be safe from the stupid people who threaten to burn us all to death with their off-gassing.

Because only Donald Trump loves America enough to give you a pony.

facebook/Stonekettle

Privilege

There is a growing sentiment that I’ve heard voiced more and more often since the January 6th hearings started:

facebook/Stonekettle

This recent outrage is just more of the same in my mind. It’s the same kind of thing that he’s done and said since the day he took over his father’s businesses and proceeded to run them into the ground while simultaneously pretending to the possession of obscene levels of wealth. This has gone on far longer than he’s been in the public eye and been the darling of Christianists everywhere.

He’s always pretended to be above the law and said things out loud that most people would understand are an open admission of guilt. Several people have pointed this kind of behavior out to me over the last couple of weeks, as if I haven’t been pointing it out to most of them for more than six years. He’s guilty whether he admits it or not. What he’s doing is a con, a scam, a fraud. It’s clearly sedition and we just need to see him convicted in order to keep him out of office in the future.

Let me put it this way. If a prosecutor will bring charges against Donald Trump. If a prosecutor brought charges in front of a court and if that court convicted him. After prosecuting and convicting him, if that court sentenced him to death by firing squad. Finally, if Donald Trump takes several bullets to the chest in front of a firing squad for his transparently obvious crimes of sedition, only then might I be willing to admit that a wealthy person could be held to account in the United States.

Donald Trump doesn’t need an insanity plea and he’d never stoop to being represented that way in court. He doesn’t have to worry about pleas or legal strategies because he’s convinced everyone of importance that he is wealthy and comes from old, established American wealth and power. Fine, christian wealth. Wealthy people in the United States need not worry about jail time, especially prominent, wealthy, christian white men.

The United States was created by the wealthy for the wealthy. It was created out of the dreams of the average person, the dreams that they too might one day be wealthy. Their dreams, their blood, their sweat and their tears. But this country isn’t for average people, no matter how many of them die for it. This country serves the one percent, the upper echelons of wealth. The truth of this is evident all around us if we only look.

The founders were all landed gentry. Men of wealth and property. The most prominent name on the Declaration of Independence was a smuggler (along with Sam Adams) engaged in evading the taxes levied on them by the British parliament. The founders made grand promises of equality and liberty for everyone; but really, who cares about other people’s liberty anyway? I got mine, get yours.

When I was at my most cynical on this subject, many years ago, I observed that the United States had finally reached economic racial equality because O.J. Simpson managed to get away with killing a white woman and her boyfriend in cold blood. A wealthy black man was finally equal to a wealthy white one when it came to law and justice. It’s just unfortunate for him that he spent all his wealth evading justice on a murder charge and so ended up jailed as a poor black man a few years later.

One day even independently wealthy women will be as bullet proof as wealthy men currently are. On that day Martha Stewart will be able to not only engage in insider trading but almost cut the heads off former lovers and get away with it scot-free. Martha Stewart is no Donald Trump. He can send violent mobs to the Capitol of the United States with the goal of catching and killing his own Vice President, and he can walk around bragging about it for years afterward.

It’s nice to be privileged like that, I imagine. It probably tends to make you even less connected to the real world around you than the average American is. Tends to make you more than a little nuts. But, hey, that’s okay. He has money. He’s a nice guy once you get to know him and he’ll make it worth your while to be nice to him. He’ll get away with sedition, most likely.

NPR: All Things Considered – Proud Boys leader and 4 top members are charged with seditious conspiracy for Jan. 6 – June 6, 2022

While it is true that you can be barred from public office for being convicted of sedition, that charge almost never sticks, as the podcast embedded above goes into. Imagine being the prosecutor that fails to keep Donald Trump from running for office again; or keeps Donald Trump from running again, and becomes the target of every gun-carrying wingnut in the United States. Even less of a winning scenario than the charge of sedition being successful against one of Donald Trump’s lovely, lovely henchmen. Which is still a longshot.

There is also the fact that we’ve never prosecuted a President before in 240 years of US history:

In the 240 years since America’s founding, no former president has been indicted for criminal conduct. This isn’t because they were angels—far from it. And it isn’t because post-term indictment is not legally allowed. Instead, it is because Americans don’t like the idea of criminalizing politics. Both parties and the public see the prospect of post-term immunity as a guarantee that the country’s politics will remain civil and that power will transition peacefully from one party to the other. That is what drove President Gerald Ford to pardon Richard Nixon. And it’s one reason why the Office of the Independent Counsel decided not to indict former President Bill Clinton.

The presidency of Donald J. Trump has upended those calculations, and the resistance to post-term investigation may now come at too great a cost. When he leaves office, whether in January or four years later, the next administration or one of the states can and should investigate citizen Donald Trump—a former president whose legal status will be no different from that of any other American. The risk of politicization of such an investigation is far outweighed by the danger posed by failing to uphold our nation’s values. To protect future presidents from retributive investigations once they leave office, however, any investigation should be limited to Trump’s conduct before and after his presidency, not his behavior while he was president. If the findings of such an investigation justify it, prosecutors should indict the former president for violations of criminal law.

theatlantic.com

Until the time that all happens, the indictment, prosecution and sentencing of Donald Trump (the wealthy, white, christian, former President) I’m going to stick to the more doable task of keeping the House Democratic, making the Senate democratic and securing the election system against all future Trumpists. Because I think it’s important to maintain realistic goals.

facebook and facebook.

Postscript

Republicans have upped the ante:

Lindsey Graham, Hawley, Greene, Trump, and Republicans et al, [are] threatening Americans with violence if they don’t get their way. That’s not hyperbole, those are their own words.

And in point of fact, threatening violence over your political/religious beliefs with the intent to intimidate a population and/or to overthrow a government is the very definition of terrorism.

We’ve dropped missiles on terrorist leaders in the Middle East for a lot less than what Graham said yesterday.

facebook.com/Stonekettle

They’re daring our government to do the job they’ve sworn to do, knowing that the government never enforces laws against the wealthy unless forced to. They are counting on us not to force our government into action. To not be able to force our government into action.

If we don’t call their bluff then there is no point in doing anything after that. If all they have to do is threaten violence, then they’ll just be that much more encouraged to threaten and then do violence the next time, and the next time and then the time after that. All of these elected officials who threaten violence should be immediately arrested for fomenting a riot. We’ve seen that their followers are violent, will riot at any sign of encouragement, and they are encouraging them to be violent again. Their calling for violence again is all the proof we need to bring them and Donald Trump himself up on charges.

Why hasn’t this been done already? Wealthy people own this country.

facebook

The Unlamented Death of Reaganism

Last night the first public hearing of the 1/6 House Select Committee was live across most of the internet and cable entertainment services in the United States. They’ve been working quietly in the background since that day, the day we almost lost our republic to insurrectionists at the instigation of then President Donald Trump.

Quietly investigating the events that lead directly to the second impeachment of Donald Trump in an attempt to uncover exactly how we got to the point where the supporters of the President could attack the Legislature of the United States while screaming for the death of the Vice President because of his required role in certifying the Presidency of Joe Biden.

The election had been held. The votes had been counted, the lawsuits dismissed, the lies about the election exposed. There was nothing left to do but rubberstamp the certified results in the traditional manner before handing the administration of the United States government over to the next President. An event that has occurred more than 40 times since the creation of this country back in 1776.

But not this time. No, this time the President wasn’t going to allow his own defeat to be recorded. Not that he wasn’t defeated, that had already been determined democratically and judicially. He wasn’t going to allow the defeat to be recorded officially so as to turn defeat into… what? It couldn’t be victory because there wouldn’t be a United States after he retained power in defiance of the rules and of the votes of 81,282,916 people. So what did he hope to achieve beyond the destruction of the norms that had governed the lives of Americans since March 4, 1797 when the first president of the United States voluntarily surrendered the office?

It is ironical that these events mark the logical end of Reaganism. Reaganism that was re-invented into neo-liberalism and then rebranded into compassionate conservatism and finally zombified in the form of the prosperity gospel and Trumpismo. Reaganism kept animated by the dedicated effort of Roger Ailes’ FOX news and political activists determined to see Reagan’s grand compromise with Evangelicals and their joint takeover of the Republican party brought to its ultimate… victory?

Trump rode into office mouthing phrases utilized by Reagan. He promoted the ideals of Reagan, whether or not he lived up to those ideals of wealth and morality. He delivered on his and Reagan’s promises to the Evangelicals who backed both of them, creating a Supreme Court that was pre-rigged to overturn Roe v. Wade, the cornerstone of hatred that modern Evangelical America was founded on.

With FOX news and Rush Limbaugh smoothing over every excess of Trump’s criminal reign for four years. With the apologetics of Christianists well versed in twisting ancient texts to suit modern agendas. Through two impeachments. With the transparent puppeteering of Trump by Vladimir Putin ignored. With Trump’s love affair with Putin’s strongman tactics. It all came to the only end that could possibly have been in store for it given his complete inability to have a private thought unexpressed. What end? The near-destruction of the United States as we have all known it, before he was finally forced out of office.

…Of course the Republicans who profited from Trump’s reign refused to acknowledge the damage that had been done. Of course FOX news doesn’t admit that there was anything wrong with the Presidency of Donald Trump and instead spends every single moment of its air time deriding the performance of the sitting President.

That would be Joe Biden, for those who are still in denial out there. Joe Biden, the second coming of Barack Obama.

Make no mistake, this is what Republicans hate most about Joe Biden. That he represents the triumph of a black man who successfully ran the country for eight years, and was the only President since LBJ to reverse the decline of the fortunes of the American people. Reverse the decline through a single act of legislation that he guided through a nearly comatose Senate.

So FOX news talks endlessly about the flagging economy that none of their vaunted heroes have ever been able to fix, let alone understand; leaving out the part where Joe Biden orchestrated the ending of the COVID pandemic, the cause of the economic woes, through the rollout of vaccines that Donald Trump couldn’t get delivered and that his supporters still won’t take.

FOX news talks about the ignoble ending of the Afghanistan war, blaming it on Joe Biden when it was their golden boy, Donald Trump, who set us on the course to be kicked out of Afghanistan by the Taliban that we had defeated twenty years earlier. If there is a stain on America then they put it there by first electing the guy who restarted American imperialism, Ronald Reagan, and then continued to agitate for a more expansive American agenda for more than forty years in the face of changing climates, vanishing resources and more militant opposition in those places that we took our resources from.

FOX and the American conservatism that it gives voice to have pushed us all to the edge of destruction. No matter how you slice and dice the evidence this is the only conclusion that can be drawn, which is why they have all decided that the evidence is the problem and must therefore be ignored.

If FOX and American conservatism are to be believed, then the 1/6 investigation is a witch hunt that has found actual witches. For the first time in history. They won’t talk about the Committee’s findings, only that the Committee shouldn’t exist and that the Republicans who sacrificed their careers to see the investigation carried out should be drummed out of office. The findings are real though, despite the denials. The facts speak for themselves; which is a good thing, considering the climate.

Fox News’ choice to NOT cover the January 6th Committee hearings is the first ethical decision they’ve ever demonstrated.

Given that they’re seditious coconspirators, it would be a conflict of interest.

facebook/Stonekettle

Who has cable anymore? A show of hands? Exactly. FOX news may be the most popular news channel on American cable systems, but almost no one watches cable news anymore. Most of us get our news from (shudder) the internet. What FOX is, what MSNBC and CNN are, are dinosaurs. They are the vestiges of a once powerful opinion manufacturing machine that has largely gone to dust.

They long for the good old days when they could change history with their influence. Now they are transparently what they always have been, political reflection machines that serve only to ramp up the beliefs of the minority of the population who still watch them.

PBS News HourFull January 6th Hearings (Playlist)C-SPAN (YouTube Playlist)

I watched the hearings on YouTube like most people did. It’s true that the feed was NBC’s, and even older dinosaur than MSNBC, but what I saw is what anyone who watched saw, the opening salvo of a months-long series of hearings that will lay out the coup attempt by Trump and his co-conspirators, facts that those of us who pay attention to politics already know the gist of.

What FOX will be doing is trying to hold the attention of their viewers, not just for hours or days but for months, desperate to distract their viewers from the truth airing everywhere outside the conservosphere. MSNBC will simply be embroidering on the facts revealed in the hearings. CNN will reduce the facts to easily digestible chunks so that even the unwilling will have to concede to their existence. Which of these jobs would you rather have?

The results of all of this redundantly expensive noise will be determined outside of the reach of any one political entity; which is the way it should be. The one true thing that Vice President Mike Pence will probably ever say in his lifetime, a thought repeated in the 1/6 evidence on that first night of public hearings, bears repeating here:

There is no idea more unAmerican than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.

twitter/Mike Pence

…and by extrapolation, what the will of the population is should not be the decision of one man or even one political entity but should be readily established by the voices of the people themselves, directly. Eighty million people voted for Joe Biden, therefore Joe Biden should be President not Donald Trump.

Donald Trump still can’t accept this fact almost two years later and is still trying to enact a coup to have himself re-instated as President, as if that is even a thing that can be done. FOX is happy to beat the drum in support of Donald Trump; thereby signing its own death warrant, which is the punishment for treason.

Sedition. Treason. Easy words to say, hard accusations to prove.

He doesn’t mean talking in front of the committee when he asks for equal time. There is an open invitation for him to come to the committee and testify out there right now. The Chair of the committee extended this invitation from the beginning of the investigation. All Donald Trump has to do to be allowed to speak is comply with the requirements of the law. First he has to submit documentation for review, and he doesn’t have documentation on anything. Then he’d have to show up and not lie about established facts, a thing he doesn’t know how to do.

As his fan club has protested for years, requiring him to testify under oath is entrapment; except I don’t think they understand what this objection means. What they are saying is that he is not sane. If he was sane he could and world stop lying about established facts. His supporters know this when they say the word entrapment. If he was sane he would be able to stop himself from lying. He can’t, and so he isn’t.

Trump’s lying in front of the panel is exactly what is needed right now. Having him appear and face judgement would be the best for everyone concerned. If he could be made to appear and accept responsibility and our judgement. That is the crucial point of this juncture in time. Can he and his followers be made to accept responsibility for their actions and our judgement of them?

If we could compel him to appear he would do one of two things. He would transparently lie just as he always has and then dare us to act against him, the former President, in full view of his supporters. His supporters who will then probably start another insurrection. At least it would be in the open then.

Either he would lie or he would do the thing that all his betters do. He would plead the fifth just as he has done in past depositions (otherwise known as the “I can’t recall” defense) and that would leave us right where we are now. The place we don’t want to be. But we would still have the evidence of his evasion under questioning. This is why he blusters for equal time but will not avail himself of the opportunity to sit before the committee.

He doesn’t want to sit before the committee, he wants to run the committee. He wants a committee of his own. This potentiality is not as farfetched as most people might think. He could have his own committee if Republicans take the House and appoint him Speaker after the midterms. Anyone can be made Speaker of the House, although traditionally only sitting members have been appointed to this job. Think about that for a few minutes. Speaker Donald Trump. Have a puke bucket handy before you do.

I prefer not to think of the bastard at all. This was an easy thing to do before half the nation became members of his personality cult. All of this behavior around him is not what sanity looks like. It’s not just him, it’s his followers and others too. It started before him and it will continue after him. It may be the death of the human race if we don’t find a way to defeat it.

Climate change denial. Gun violence. Antivax. Trumpismo. All of these groups have the same thing in common, denial of the facts in evidence. Denial of the facts despite the rising levels of certainty stacked against this denial. Now either we figure out a way around this blockade so that the things needing doing get done, or we all die. We all die through climate disaster or nuclear holocaust or maybe even both simultaneously.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

You say you know he knows? That his lies are conscious? That all of this crap we’ve been through for six years was his idea of of a money making scheme? It’s possible, maybe even probable. We can’t say what he knows, despite what most people think. We can say what the facts are, and we can say that he was informed. We can’t say that he knows or that anyone similarly afflicted with this kind of dysphoria (?) knows. What we can say is that it is common and that a significant portion of the population can be influenced by others who have it. That people who are afflicted should not be trusted in positions of authority for the very reasons being laid out before us by the January 6th Committee today.

He was informed of the known facts and refused to accept them. Call it megalomania, call it willful ignorance. Call it Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Call it whatever you like but it still means he’s not sane and cannot be trusted to do anything of importance at any time after this. He needs keepers not access to the nuclear codes. He and his followers.

This is about much more than his freedom or our need to see Donald Trump punished. This is about all of our futures. I’ll happily call him nuts and fit him and his lunatic followers into straightjackets if that would get us past this crisis that we’ve been stuck on and in for most of my life. I doubt that will address the problem though.

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the era of big government is over

Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union Address

Two years into his first term as President, Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Reaganism and the birth of his version of neoliberalism. His time in office saw the destruction of the public sphere that started under Reagan continue unabated through his two terms and through the two terms of George W. Bush, along with a heightened reliance on military strength as our way of demonstrating our will to the world’s people and governments.

The deregulation of industry. The abandonment of the poor and infirm. The triumph of greed. All of these trends have continued unabated since the day that Ronald Reagan won the White House and imposed his vision of America on us and the rest of the world. They have continued and now brought us to this crisis point in our civilization.

The environment is changing before our very eyes. The seas rise, the land sinks. Crops die in the field from intemperate weather and wars break out across the globe as the populations of the various nations realize that their governments do not care if they starve to death or not. Their caring may not even be the problem since there may not be enough food to feed everyone in the very near future. Is this the end? Only we can decide that.

Make no mistake though, Reagan is as much a product of the corporation’s desire to avoid paying for the impending climate disaster that they helped to create as he was a creation of the Christianists of the Religious Right who wanted to inflict their religion on the rest of us; and all of them are to blame for creating the environment that people like Donald Trump thrive in. They made his kind of lawless greed possible. They are to blame for all of this.

History will record that FOX died the same death as the Reagan Republicanism it was founded to promote. It was never more than an organ of that political movement and so will not survive its ultimate demise. A death that has been a long time coming but that we are watching play out around us right now.

What will replace Reagan Republicanism will be determined by those people who act on the politics of this moment whether they follow the news or not; and the truth of Trump’s crimes are there for anyone with the eyes to see them. All they have to do is open their eyes and look. So is the inflation brought on by a reigniting economy. So is the lingering pandemic. So is the war in Ukraine. So is the climate crisis that possibly has a hand in bringing all of these things to a head at the same time. What one thing will voters take to the polls in November to decide the next course this country will head on? Will it be just one thing?

We are barreling towards the November midterm election as I type this. Donald Trump and the Democrats who are trying to prosecute him want the election to be about Trump. The environmentalists want it to be about climate. The talking heads on FOX news want it to be about the economy. No one wants to think about the pandemic or the war, but they are out there influencing opinions anyway.

If you are blind enough to believe that Republicans ne Conservatives have answers for anything that the future might bring after everything we’ve been through over the last four if not forty years, then you’ll vote for Republicans and get violent when your side loses again. The rest of us will stick with the only sane group out there, moderate Democrats. How long can the center hold though? Hopefully long enough to see the next political philosophy rise, one that isn’t yet another zombified version of Reagan Republicanism.

Featured image of Ronald Reagan and Roger Ailes found here: highlandscurrent.org

Postscript

As I sit here watching the eighth Committee hearing on the January 6th, 2021 insurrection, I think to myself “I’d happily vote for Liz Cheney or Adam Kinzinger.” Unfortunately none of the Republicans who represent Texas are any more sane than their traitorous President is. Not either of the Texas Senators. Not the Governor, Lt. Governor or Attorney General. All of them are either traitors along with their President, or they are as insane as the former President. I look forward to the inquest where we determine which one of those facts are true.

Reaganism is dead, despite the best efforts of FOX News and Republicans who think they know who Reagan was and what he stood for. Reagan himself would decry their actions on January 6th, 2021, even though the perpetrators thought that they were acting to preserve Reagan’s shining city on a hill when they attacked the Capitol.

The people who talk about all the good that Donald Trump did as President, even as they detail his criminal acts in the White House, must be referring to the one legislative act that he succeeded at getting passed; tax cuts for the wealthy that mirrored Reagan’s signature achievement. Or maybe they refer to Donald Trump declaring foreign enemies in China and the Middle East, just like Reagan did with the USSR. Or perhaps it’s the fact that Donald Trump let a pandemic run rampant through the population just like Ronald Reagan did with the AIDs pandemic. No matter how you slice it, Donald Trump was a mirror image of Ronald Reagan even if that image was seen through a mirror, darkly.

We are well and truly rid of Reagan worship now. Let it be known forevermore as Trumpismo and let it all die with Trump’s last treasonous act, whether we have seen that last act already or if that final act of treason is still yet to come.

Texas, Bloody Texas

Greg Abbott has blood on his hands; and not only Greg Abbott, but every voting Republican in Texas has blood on their hands today. Eighteen children and three adults are dead in Uvalde (Texas Standard) and these additional victims can be added to the numberless other people killed as a result of the Texas Republican party’s reckless actions last summer. Numberless dead because there is no way to keep track of all the people killed as a result of constitutional carry.

These results were predicted when Governor Abbott signed the law:

House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. The signing was reported by the Texas Legislature’s official website, which tracks the progress of legislation. Abbott’s office has announced a ceremonial signing of the bill and other gun-related legislation at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Abbott’s signature seals a win to conservative activists who have long sought the measure without success. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republicans who were initially noncommittal about the bill were under immense political pressure this session from conservatives and gun rights advocates, who have long lobbied the Texas Legislature for permitless carry but historically struggled to win support.

texastribune.org

Anyone can carry a gun in public anywhere in Texas for any reason and no one can stop them. Even the perpetrator of this latest mass shooting in Uvalde had every right to carry his weapons, right up to the point where he shot his first victim. Anyone who tried to stop him would have been violating his rights.

There’s no vetting whatsoever. None at all.

Mike Taylor, Texas Standard

Everyone who backed the constitutional carry law is guilty of murder now. All of you have blood on your hands. Governor Abbott might as well have gone to that school and shot those children himself for all the difference it makes. All the thoughts and prayers are wasted. Your god is vengeance, and these dead children are his vengeance on your stupidity.

It’s time we left the death cult that is the belief that more guns will solve a problem. More guns are the problem. We need there to be fewer guns and those guns in the hands of people who are trained, licensed and insured against accidents. Until that happens there will only be more senseless death at a rapidly increasing rate. I will be keeping my children as close to me as I can until these cruel Republican bastards are removed from office.


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The 2022 NRA Annual Convention will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center May 27-29 in Houston, Texas. Among those people confirmed to be attending the convention are: Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Dan Crenshaw. All of these people should be up on charges right now as accomplices to murder. Actual children, not the imaginary children that they run around saying they want to protect every day, but actual children lay dead in Uvalde because of their actions, and they are going to have a convention before the bodies of their latest victims are even in their graves.

There should be mass protests in Houston. Access to the convention center should be blocked by chains of people handcuffed together. This murder of innocents has gone 0n long enough. Action is what is required now, and not the hateful action of the people who buy their murder tools. We Texans must stand up and put things right. The time is now.


There is a tendency in media these days to stampede to the location of the latest atrocity and then blanket cover the minutest detail of everything about the subject; as if there is any story deep enough to bear the scrutiny of the entire world twenty-four hours a day or that the bereaved parents and families in a small town in Texas will welcome your invasion of their backwater community in this time of tragedy.

Where was the interest when the interest could have made a difference? When the independent school district appointed the security chief that kept parents and officers out of the school building for an hour while the shooter continued to rampage?

Arredondo believed that the shooter had barricaded himself and that the children were not under an active threat.

nbcnews.com

That would have been the crucial moment when something might have been done that would have changed the outcome on that fateful day. There is no point in asking these suffering people about their opinions of State politicians right now. No point in torturing them with what if questions. You are just adding insult to injury.

Those are questions for the rest of us to ask ourselves and find our own answers:

On the Media – Again and Again and Again and Again (and Again) – May 25, 2022

There are several good answers to many questions we might ask ourselves in that episode of On The Media. Will we ever tackle those tough conversations?


A citizen of Uvalde has come forward to speak on the subject of what we need to do next:

C-SPANMatthew McConaughey Complete Remarks at White House Press Briefing – Jun 7, 2022

We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns

Matthew McConaughey

I refuse to accept that there is nothing we can do about this subject. I know what I think should be done to stop mass killings and maybe even impact the even greater number of individual gun deaths across the nation. I’m going to vote to do something different:

This is on you [Governor Abbott] until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will be continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.

Beto O’Rourke

To the Republican politicians who lashed out at Beto for his interruption of that news conference, and to their self-satisfied base of voters who see nothing wrong with the way the the death toll is mounting, I only have this to say; your time is coming to an end. There will come a day when the people you have abused and mislead will wake up and realize that they have the power to fix their own government and that they don’t need guns to do it. All they have to do is stand up and act as one. Act as one indivisible unit. That day will come. I hope I live long enough to see it.


These are the kinds of school programs that need to be spread throughout school systems so that these disaffected teens can find the help they need instead of burning out and lashing out:

NPR: Short Wave – Can The Next School Shooting Be Prevented With Compassion? – June 16, 2022

The boy in that story, Mishka? That boy was another version of me, another version of so many children who are overlooked by education systems too overloaded to have time to avoid injustices like multiple injuries inflicted on a child that just happens to be the target of physically aggressive bullying. If you want to stop these children growing up into violent adults (if they are lucky enough to grow up at all) you have to intervene when the problem starts, not after it explodes in blood and violence.

As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation

The Supreme Court has decided that they like more shootings in public places. They want the rest of the United States to be more like Texas, overturning a century of legal precedents when it comes to the carrying of firearms:

Since 1911, the state of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self defense and to require a license. More than a century later, the United States supreme court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens.

Joe Biden

Now you can’t stop mass shooters from massacring, you can only respond after they open fire with volleys of your own. You can’t stop them because there are no laws that stop people from carrying weapons into places where weapons don’t belong.

Make no mistake here. Unless we both limit the access to guns; train, license and insure gunowners, as well as start caring for the abused and mistreated among us, we are going to see an increase in gun violence. In every town, in every city and basically anywhere a disagreement occurs and one of the parties has access to guns and violent tendencies at the same time. This is inevitable and has been inevitable from the very beginning. We are trying to deny human nature when we act like everyone is reasonable and rational and can be trusted to not blow up the world if we give them access to the power to do so. This is simply not the case.