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.

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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.

Ukraine. A Russian Civil War?

if the Russian leadership does not want to sit at the table with us for the sake of peace, perhaps it will sit at the table with you. Do Russians want war? I would very much like to answer this question, but the answer depends on you, the citizens of the Russian Federation.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – Feb. 23, 2022

I’ve never been a fan of a foreign leader before. I have a fanboy crush on Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Who doesn’t these days?) I think I have to reveal my crush right up front in this article because I’m not thinking clearly right now. Or maybe I’m finaally thinking clearly for the first time in years. Who knows? What I know is that I love Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Despite all the odds, he stood up to Vladimir Putin’s aggression and has defined courage for the world in the current European crisis:

I need ammunition, not a ride

cnn.com

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…and inspired the citizens of the world to come together in support of his country. I love the guy. If I was 20 right now I’d get on a plane and fly to Ukraine to fight beside him in defense of him and his people and their homes. His is a profile in courage.

Stonekettle asked the collective consciousness of Twitter back on February 19th:

twitter/Stonekettle

That is the essential question here; should we support Ukraine or not? We being the United States in this question means that there is no easy answer. Each individual can make that choice for themselves, certainly. However, this isn’t a question that can be answered with a single word, positive or negative when it comes to the participation of outside groups in what amounts to a regional power struggle.

Modern warfare is evil incarnate and this makes it hard to justify any action that isn’t self defensive in nature. Is it in our own defense to save Ukraine from Russian aggression? That is a difficult question to answer with anything other than a regretful no or a twenty page essay explaining why it should be yes but can’t be.

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What follows will probably a twenty page essay. We’ll start with a grammar lesson. It is Ukraine not the Ukraine. It is a country, not just a place, no matter what Vladimir Putin says. You don’t go around saying “we’re going to the Texas” unless you’re going visit the battleship museum. It’s Texas or Ukraine. It is the name of a country or a state.

The United States of America is a union of states or nations. That’s why it was historically referred to as a union or The Union. The United States was never supposed to be the name of the country. They argued about the name for a long time, just like they argued about what to call the office of the president until just giving up and referring to him as the President (a practice that has spread widely) they gave up on giving the collection of states or nations another name, and just used the kludge of a name that was on the Constitution itself.

It’s quite possible that this was a signal of the imperial aspirations of the founders. They knew that there was a lot more land out there to conquer to their west, not to mention to the North and the South, before they ever needed to worry about the phrase of America in the name on the founding document.

Both the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the European Union (EU) were styled after the founding ideals of the United States; principally, the enrichment of the powerful inside those unions, clothed in the garb of caring for the general welfare of the masses of its residents. Neither of those Unions bothered with popular direct elections for representatives for those bodies. The powerful within the United States have come to regret including those provisions in their documents.

Providence, Rhode Island is a city, county, state and nation all at the same time. Let that understanding sink in for a minute. All fifty states are nations tied together within a federal structure, yet retaining independent laws and governing structures. The only interests of the various states that were ceded to the federal government were the issues of interstate trade and the relationships with foreign governments. Everything else was and in a general sense still is an internal issue to be settled within the state itself. This arrangement has the advantage of hiding from view most of the politics that matter for governing inside the United States.

You don’t get a view of local politics unless you dig for it; ask any resident of any decent sized town whether they care more about their local infrastructure or their federal government’s policies. Anyone with an understanding of just how precarious our system is will know that the politics that really matters is local politics. It determines the priorities of all the levels above it that can interfere with its operation.

When that power structure is reversed the result is almost certainly catastrophic. Case in point; the recurring lack of preparation or understanding on the part of the whole state of Texas has led to individual suffering on an unprecedented level all across the state. Power outages, healthcare unavailability, etcetera. The city has to be able to act to protect itself or it becomes the victim of charlatans and demagogues. Governor Greg Abbott submitted as exhibition A for the court’s perusal.

All governmental requirements radiate out from the needs of individuals that go unmet; whether those requirements are more doctors or more police officers. More housing or more jails. Federal mandates almost always miss their targets because federal mandates almost never take the needs of the suffering into consideration. That level of granularity is almost beyond grasping from the distance of the White House whether the White House is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or 1010 Colorado Street.

The problem of Ukraine being frequently referred to as the Ukraine is easily understood. I’ve done this too, refer to it as a place by putting “the” in front of it. This was a forgivable act when Ukraine and Ukrainians were inside the USSR or just a key part of the Russian empire. The Soviet Union was largely a face-saving measure designed to mask the hands of Vladimir Lenin and then Joseph Stalin controlling the daily lives of millions of Russian people directly. That was their desire. The leader of the Soviet Union couldn’t call himself a Czar and get away with it. After all, the whole revolution had been fought to get rid of the Czar, hadn’t it?

So Joseph Stalin took a different title after he arranged his ascension to power, but he held pretty much the same power as the Czar; and life went on in the USSR under different management, the lot of the common people possibly worse than it had been under the Czar but nobody being willing to say anything about it. Ukrainians no different than Poles, no different than Czechs no different than Kazakhs, Tajiks or Tatars. All suffering equally under the yoke of the new leadership.

Ukraine was a country though. The primordial Marxist state that Lenin and his Bolshevik’s created out of the ruins of the former Russian Empire engineered a compromise to maintain control of those lands. Granted them all a measure of cultural autonomy within the bounds of the Soviet Union’s authoritarian political control. Stalin gave the Crimea to Ukraine. That’s how Crimea came to be part of Ukraine (Crimean war, anybody? 1856 too far back in history?) Then Stalin died and not too long after he died his empire crumbled as empires tend to do without the leaders that created them.

reddit

Throughline – Ukraine’s Dangerous Independence – March 10, 2022

What the Bolsheviks and Lenin did really for the first time, they created a separate state, a separate institutions and a separate territory for Russia, which became known as the Russian Federation. Separating, at least symbolically, for the first time Russia proper from what used to be the Russian empire. Before that, there was no such separation.

Serhii Plokhii

Russia was a creation of the Bolsheviks, not Ukraine. What is the true Russian state? That’s a good question. A better question is, can there be a true Russian state and why does it have to be just one state?

As a typically educated person in the middle of the American West I was shocked and outraged while watching all the maps I had spent so much time trying to learn and understand change overnight. So many more countries to try to keep track of. Gone were the days when the Northern half of the Eurasian continent was engulfed in a sea of red with a yellow hammer and sickle on it. What was most puzzling to me, as an outsider, was the breakup of what I had thought of as traditionally Russian countries. How could there be three Russian governments?

That is what also seems to puzzle Vladimir Putin. He has done his best to preserve as much of the historical Russian empire under some semblance of Moscow control since he took control of Russia in the 1990’s. Crushing rebellions here, subverting elections there, the kinds of things that a leader with imperial aspirations engages in.

It seems like we’ve been on tenterhooks over the subject of Ukraine forever here in the United States. I know I’ve written several articles on the subject dating back to the release of Dan Carlin’s Common Sense podcast #270 Poking the Bear in 2014. When Putin-backed insurgents shot down a civilian airliner over Ukraine later that year, I was done listening to anyone who was sympathetic to Putin’s empire re-building effort. It was Obama’s reaction to Putin’s aggression in Ukraine in 2014 (too strong or too weak? it’s hard to say) that put us on the course to where we are now in history.

It was obvious to me then, just as it remains obvious to me now, that if the United States is a free country then its citizens can and should go where they like and agitate for change that some governments may or may not approve of. Even take up arms against governments against the sincerely expressed wishes of the United States government. If we are free, then we are free to do these things, too.

It is virtually impossible to discern the difference between a non-government organization (NGO) working for democracy and economic reform for its own unique purposes, and NGO’s that have been infiltrated by the CIA or any other nation’s intelligence service. If the intelligence services are doing their jobs properly, ALL OF THEM have been infiltrated by all of the intelligence services, and the various NGO’s should take this fact into account when they go about doing the business they are doing.

However, there remains a difference between acting in accordance with your government’s wishes, and acting on the orders of your government’s officers (where Buchanan’s predictions fail) Putin has had NGO’s working in the United States for every bit as long as any American NGO has been working in Ukraine, and it never started American’s thinking that Russia was trying to control its citizenry. We let Russia Today (RT) run unfettered promotions of Donald Trump for a year and never even thought to ask why RT loved Donald Trump so much.

The results of the NGO’s and the US government’s combined campaigns in Ukraine, stamping out corruption, un-rigging the electoral process, were that Viktor Yanukovych lost the Ukrainian Presidential elections that were called in 2014 after he acted against the expressed wishes of the Ukrainian people. In a huff, Vlad the Corrupter invaded and annexed Crimea, his preferred summer vacation spot. Queue the outrage from everyone who thought that Ukraine was Russian all along. Add to it the fearful outrage of people who will do anything to avoid a confrontation with Vladimir Putin on the international stage. Queue my exodus from Dan Carlin’s listening circle due to his clueless insistence that Pat Buchanan was some kind of a reputable psychic, as if that phrase isn’t an oxymoron in and of itself.

Vlad the Corrupter then sits and waits for the resulting storm to calm, rigging foreign elections and screwing up other governments all the while in hope of being allowed to do what he is doing right now. The invasion has taken longer to happen than I expected, that is the only surprising thing about it.

The Russian interference in the the 2016 election that put Donald Trump into the White House was one of the responses to the sanctions that President Obama imposed in 2014 after Putin annexed Crimea. We know this because Trump promised to get the sanctions lifted and then had to backtrack on the promise when it became public (the idiot never could figure out how not to say the quiet parts out loud) Fast forward to 2018 and Donald Trump’s attempt to blackmail Ukraine into playing dirty tricks in the 2020 elections lead to his first impeachment.

thebulwark.com

Ukraine just can’t seem to leave the front page. I’m sure they’d like to. Fast forward again to 2022. Putin continues his aborted invasion from 2014. He was always going to do this just like the United States was always going to invade Iraq under a Republican president. It was always the plan. Invading Ukraine was what he planned when his puppet (Paul Manafort’s buddy, Viktor Yanukovych. You remember Paul Manafort, right? Trump’s campaign chairman?) lost his election.

It is a sad historical truth that Ukraine was stupid to have ever given up it’s nukes. The preservation of Ukraine’s independence that all concerned parties signed onto (including Vlad himself) in exchange for Ukraine giving up the nukes stored inside of its national borders was just the initial move in an undeclared war. If Ukraine still had nuclear weapons we would not be seeing this invasion live on screens today. Is it really any wonder why Iran wants nuclear weapons? It should be obvious by now. If you have the ability to destroy life as we know it at your fingertips, people take you seriously. Weird how that works, isn’t it?

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Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons in 1994, Zelensky said, in return for a security guarantee signed by the U.S., the U.K., and Russia. What happened to those guarantees? Ukraine had been told that the doors to NATO membership remained open, but Ukraine had never been invited inside. Because the Ukrainians are not members of NATO, they know they cannot count on allied forces to come to their support. And as for those “lessons of history” that Baerbock and other German politicians have referred to in recent days, Zelensky wondered aloud whether they had been learned: “I just want to make sure you and I read the same books.” And then, in defiance of everything that everybody else had said, he used the word appeasement, to describe not Munich in 1938, but Munich in 2022.

Anne Applebaum – theatlantic.com (gift subscription for the blog author still greatly desired)

At the end of the day, it’s going to be the Ukrainians and their bravery and their dedication to this very old idea, the idea of sovereignty, the idea of freedom. It will be their dedication to that that determines what happens.

Anne Applebaum – Rachel Maddow – Feb. 21, 2022

The fog of war has descended now. Nobody can have all the facts any longer and yet facts still remain facts and facts are generally indisputable.

Here’s a fact; Putin is behaving like a new Hitler. Hitler’s bullshit excuse for claiming the Sudetenland and starting World War Two is exactly the same language that Vladimir Putin used to claim his right to invade and occupy Ukraine. There is no other conclusion that can be made when looking at that speech made by Vlad the Corrupter. He is Hitler, and he is bent on a reconquest of historically Russian possessions with majority Russian speakers.

That is what it looks like from the UK, it’s what it looks like from France and Germany and from the Balkan states that are right now very, very thankful that they joined NATO. Putin being a twenty-first century Hitler is what it looks like when you see any Ukrainian being interviewed; whether they are in the UK worried about relatives or in Kyiv worried about what’s going to happen next. If they are being interviewed on the BBC, maybe the BBC has an agenda, maybe they don’t, but they are interviewing ordinary, regular people; people who probably would be sitting at home watching TV at that precise moment and would prefer to not be interviewed by anybody except that a lot of shit is happening right now. Shit that has forced two million Ukrainians to leave their homes in fear.

(h/t to Stuart Surridge)

Ukraine was recognized as an independent state by Russia more than 30 years ago. The Charter of Paris, signed in November 1990 by the United States, Russia and 30 European countries, established essential principles for a post-Cold War era based on international law and global norms. Subsequently, Russia, the United States and Great Britain guaranteed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine in 1995 in the Budapest Memorandum.

Moscow has no more legal basis to insist on any portion of the territory of Ukraine than Germany has the right to demand the return of Alsace and Lorraine from France. If the West accepts such Russian claims, it will not only undermine the sovereignty of all countries but also invite other nations to seek territory through military force.

nbcnews.com

I would prefer that there was never another war but that has no bearing on whether Putin is an aggressor or that Volodymyr Zelenskyy was heroic when he chose to stay with his people and fight to the bitter end. If the US had supported a real leader during our fiasco in Afghanistan the Taliban would not be in power there now. Volodymyr Zelenskyy is a real leader.

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Ukraine has been an independent state for thirty years. It’s President will likely give his life for his country as will many thousands of it’s men, women and children. It is time and long past time to start treating it the way we do every other country; and with Ukraine, Belarus and Russia now being separate governments today, separate governments and distinctly unique peoples, it is long past time to admit that there is no longer a Russian empire. There are just the three countries who were once the core of the empire, two of which are lead by the same cruel little spider, Vlad the Corrupter in Moscow.

All of this is aside from the fact that we, the United States government, cannot be allowed to be seen as starting a war in Europe, which is what it will look like if we were to interfere in Ukraine directly now or in the near future. What is going on in Europe is a Russian or Eastern Slavic Civil War, no different than all the other uprisings that Vlad the Corrupter has put down in the former Soviet Republics. He saw all of them as the unwanted intervention of the United States and its allies and accomplices in strictly Russian affairs. Up to this point, he has been allowed to do what he wants with these places.

spotifyCommon Sense 323 – Gas Up the Cold War – March 1, 2022

I don’t like any of this in terms of how it worked out because I don’t want a more militarized Europe, I don’t want another cold war, I don’t want the massive defense spending, I don’t want everything that this is going to entail; but I’m not the one that invaded Ukraine. Sometimes it’s not up to us what we want.

Dan Carlin

If you grew up during the Cold War you can understand why most people don’t want to return to those years, and resuming hostilities with Russia because of Vlad the Corrupter’s actions feels a lot like the cold war is starting back up again. However, this isn’t a return to the cold war if we can keep Ukraine independent and opposed to Russian control.

…And we want to avoid a return to the cold war almost as much as we want to avoid a nuclear Armageddon. That outcome would be a setback for world peace and our need for mutual cooperation on limiting climate change. The world-wide antagonism that comes with a return to a cold war footing that might as well be read as the end of life as we know it on this planet, much the same as an all-out nuclear war will spell the end of life.

It isn’t a nuclear exchange that I fear. We are already in WW3 as far as I can tell and it may well end in a nuclear exchange for all that any of us can tell. What I fear is capitulation to Russia on the one hand and the resulting rise of authoritarianism around the world that would follow; as opposed to the standard American military response that will end in a nuclear exchange at some point.

On the other end of the spectrum from Dan Carlin’s handwringing about potentially starting a nuclear war we have this:

We must not only stop what’s happening in Ukraine, we must stop it before it happens here. 

Stonekettle

We cannot go into Ukraine and fight Russians directly. That is the conflict that every nationalist everywhere has been primed to fight to the death over. Being in the war should not equate to “running the war.” We must avoid that impression at all costs if we want any chance of victory for democracy and Ukraine. This has to be, first and foremost, Ukraine’s war against Russian aggression. Against Putin’s aggression, his denial of their own separate personhood as a nation. As individuals who don’t want to bow down to his criminal organization.

The United States needs to figure out how to assist Ukraine and the wider European theater of operation without making the conflict all about us. It ain’t about us. It’s about Ukrainians not wanting to belong to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. IF WE RUN THIS WAR we will lose this war. There is nothing that Russians want more than to make the United States suffer after all the suffering they’ve been through, suffering they’ve been told is at our hands for more than seventy years now.

We can not be the center. Ukraine has to be the center. More to come.


I get most of my news from NPR:

spotifyNPR – State of Ukraine

Even though I don’t link any of their podcasts in this article. Most of what they broadcast is transitory. The feeds mount up and the information becomes stale and the attempt to narrativize the information becomes unwieldy very quickly.

Abbott’s Child Abuse

Abbott and his Trumpist cronies know no depths to which they will not descend:

As District Attorney of the most populous county in Texas, I oppose attempts by Gov. Abbott and Attorney General Paxton to designate life-saving care for transgender children as ‘child abuse.’ As a member of the LGBTQ community myself, I am particularly sensitive to the invidious nature of this order—it turns family members against each other at the expense of their children. It is a remnant of a hateful past that I had hoped our society had matured beyond. I will not prosecute any parent, any facility, or anyone else for providing medically appropriate care to transgender children. I will continue to enforce the Constitution and the state’s criminal laws to assure the greatest degree of freedom and order that we can achieve.

click2houston.com

I’ve gotten a couple of notifications now from people who make some sort of “Oh yeah? Well take this!” comment, and then they block me so I can’t see it. It’s cool, I do that too sometimes. Usually I make the abandoned reply a warning sign for like-minded people who think they know what the argument is about. There is little point in saying anything to the person that you will block because they won’t see it anyway.

Most people have no clue what the argument is about, just like this public debacle that is Abbott’s targeting of transgendered children. These children exist and the evangelical base that supports Abbott and Trump (Trumpists) would like to pretend there is a wave of medical and parental malpractice that must be countered by governmental action.

This is as much a figment of their overactive imaginations as any number of other things that I might mention here; but that is just another conversation I don’t want to have. It is sufficient for me to say that it is evil for Abbott to use these children as pawns in his reelection campaign. They are already suffering enough. They don’t need to be used this way by politically motivated religious zealots on a crusade.

Shame on all of you for doing this.

reddit

Parents of a trans child who reached out to Attorney General Ken Paxton over dinner are now under investigation for child abuse. from texas

Jesus Freak

There is no compromise with those who would murder us for their own profit. 

stonekettle

This was what was going on over on Conservative Reddit on January 6th, 2022. One year after Trump’s failed attempt at a Coup d’état. The coup participants are still engaged in whataboutism. As the poster of the image in r/MarchAgainstNazis pointed out, this is typical behavior for Trumpists who still think they are the real conservatives in the United States right now.

A number of people who want to preserve the label Conservative from it’s ultimate demise in today’s America objected to the representation that the image featured sentiments that represents conservative belief. There were other labels offered up as options that were more appropriate. Fascist was one of them.

I rather like fascist as a label for Trumpists, but it is a little overly general. Try defining fascist, it’s a lot harder than you think it will be. Are they fascists? Probably. It’s a pretty safe bet to say they are fascists, but if you are going to take the time to critique the behavior it’s better to have more than just a label to slap on it so that you can shout it at them.

I prefer the label that I created for them. They are the MAGA or the Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans, thereby using their own language against them. Half the time I use the initialism I get likes from MAGA’s just because I used MAGA in a sentence. That is how blind most online resistance is.

The MAGA’s are the greatest threat that world civilization currently faces. They are the greatest threat because they are anti-science, anti-climate change and antivaxx and the list goes on and on. They are the greatest threat because they want to go back to fighting Muslims and the Chinese and whichever other ethnic group out there that they just can’t stomach instead of admitting that the problem with America is Americans. At least Americans that still support Caudito Trump.

I have taken to referring to the MAGA in generally more recognizable terms these days. I call them White Nationalists, like the Nazis were and still are or Christianists, the people who think that christian is a thing and that thing should be the thing everyone else values, namely capitalism and greed with a soupçon of nativism and isolationism. The prosperity gospel on steroids that is running rampant through what remains of the Religious Right.

The people who marched on the Capitol a year ago today chanting “Hang Mike Pence,” built a scaffold to hang him on, and then proceeded to force their way into the building, beating cops all the way to their final destination, were supporting Christianism and White Nationalism whether they knew this fact or not. I would further hazard the guess that most of the people who stormed the capitol also self-identify as Evangelical Christians. Most of the people who supported Trump and still support him are Evangelicals. They are Christianists of a more specific type.

There were several replies to the sub-thread I started that objected to the Christianist label. They wanted to split the hair infinitely. They wanted to be Christian instead of just whatever sect of Christianity that they participate in, but christian isn’t a thing that I’ve ever been able to define because there are people who want to be called Christian that disagree with each other about every single thing that Jesus said and every single thing mentioned in their holy book as defining what a christian is or would be.

So there aren’t Christians, there are just christians, a loose conglomeration of peoples that avow Christianity while not following it’s teachings. One can be a Jesus Freak and not be a christian; however you can’t be a Jesus Freak and be a Christianist. The two are incompatible. Christianism requires a militancy that Jesus would never have tolerated. Jesus was a lover not a fighter.

Thomas Jefferson was the original Jesus Freak. He took the time to excise everything from his personal bible that wasn’t a thing that Jesus could have said or done and not been miraculous. That is the definition of a freak, a fanboy, a geek for Jesus.

I was also a Jesus Freak in my youth. I loved everything Jesus. The whole god thing was an inscrutable mystery to me, but I loved me some Jesus. When I started drafting I spent a lot of time listening to the soundtrack of Jesus Christ Superstar:

spotify

I listened to it so many times that my mentor essentially forbade me from listening to it again. That is how I define Jesus Freak. However, decades of being immersed in the slowly evolving milieu that became modern Christianity drove me further and further away from my admiration for Jesus, just as discovering what Star Trek fandom was turning into ruined my appreciation of everything but the original series, stuck like a fly in the amber of the 1960’s.

Jesus Christ Superstar is a lot like Classic Trek in that you can’t change what it says in the original recording. You can only make a Next Generation Superstar and that won’t be the classic version no matter how loud you yell about how good it is. The militarism will prove that you don’t understand what the classic version was all about. I can still enjoy those original cast recordings. I’m listening to them as I write this.

As the decades continued to advance I lost my freakishness. I couldn’t stomach innocuous songs like Jesus is just Alright anymore. He wasn’t alright. Not if you just sing the song and don’t pay attention to the philosophy behind the name. I finally admitted to the break with the religion of my youth back in 2010. I never understood the need for gods anyway. Jesus’ teachings were worthy beliefs to follow, but not if I had to put myself next to people who happily spat on the poor and disabled and pretend that I wasn’t revolted by their callow natures.

Today, I look at these people who use their religion as an excuse to interfere in secular government and I can’t help but recall Jesus’ parable on paying taxes. If you want to resort to militancy in your goals for government, you can do it without your crutch of religion. If you instead use your religion as an excuse to beat your neighbor that you disagree with, then you aren’t a Christian. You might want to go back to studying your scripture.

And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Matthew 22:20-21

Approval Ratings

The various media outlets who obsess with metrics have been tearing down President Biden for months now. His metrics are bad, they keep saying. His approval ratings are down. The horror of it all!

To my mind, this is a classic case of mistaking metrics for meaning, mistaking the forest for the trees. Joe Biden is still more popular than Donald Trump was at any point in his Presidency, as this graphic reveals:

projects.fivethirtyeight.com

He’s still more popular than Trump has ever been or ever will be. Yes, that is damning with faint praise. Biden isn’t Clinton or Obama, true. However we aren’t going to get Bill or Hillary Clinton or Barack or Michelle Obama to replace Joe Biden. We aren’t going to get any one of the dozen Democratic opponents that competed with Joe Biden during the primary other than his Vice President, Kamala Harris. That is who we voted for, and that is who we are stuck with, for better or worse.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be up for re-election in three years. The political opposition that has been kept alive since Donald Trump’s trouncing in November of 2020 is still solidly Trumpist in nature. They are denying the reality of the 2020 election and the reality of the continuing pandemic, as well as continuing to deny the existence of climate change.

In the midterm elections next year these pitifully deluded people will stand in opposition to everything that Joe Biden has done, hoping against hope that they can convince the disenchanted to vote for them instead of confirming the course the nation was set on when we elected Joe Biden in 2020. They are doing everything they can to manufacture a political upset in that election. They are rigging the vote in every state that they control and planning on keep people who want to vote Democratic from voting. They are using the system against us, just as they have always done.

I’ve disowned two siblings over the fiasco that is playing out now. I’ve disowned them because we don’t have a choice anymore when it comes to avenues of escape from the pandemic prison we find ourselves in today. Distancing and masking are all we can look forward to until we can convince or restrict the movement of vaccine hold-outs. Those are our choices. Whistling past the graveyard hoping not to catch the virus was never an option, no matter how many morons think that this is an effective way to deal with a pandemic.

I would have preferred different candidates than the two we had to choose from in November. Given the alternative the choice was clear. Given the alternative the choice is still clear. Science first. Reality first. Democracy first. The rest of it follows on from those clear facts.

What Would Bunk Do?

He was known as Bunk to friends and family and he carried that nickname all his life. He earned that name fair and square at a very early age by retorting “that’s a load of bunk ” after being told something that he thought was bullshit. Bullshit was the kind of word he would reserve for private reflections on the bunk he encountered, but he knew bullshit when he smelled it all the same. You don’t have to be offensive in your rejection of other’s ideas. It was enough to simply dispute them, and he did that with emphasis.

He was a science man through and through. If you could prove a thing through trial and error, then that thing was a true thing and he stuck with it. His family grew to accept his judgements after awhile. What he said proved to be the thing that needed doing so often that most of them rarely bothered to disagree with him publicly. Sometimes when they encountered problems in their own lives and he wasn’t there to ask, they would even quietly ask themselves “What Would Bunk Do?”

He grew set in his ways, like most of us do as we get older, certain of many things that could not be proven. More and more of them as time went on. Not all experts are wise, and not all wise men are experts. The doctors that advised his last cancer treatment were of the first variety, and neither he nor they thought to look for men of the second variety to double-check their diagnosis. Blind faith in the practitioners of science can kill you just as surely as blind faith in anything else will.

The moral of this story is to always ask for a second opinion if not a third opinion and a forth one if necessary. Do not ask to find an opinion you agree with. Ask to find one that you disagree with, and then figure out why the disagreement exists. New technology can be a weapon when wielded by the wrong hands. Make sure you understand how it works, or at least that the experts you rely on understand it.

Bunk died in 1997 and so was spared from the insanity that has plagued this country he loved so much since that time. Still, I have little doubt that he would have declared today’s COVID vaccine hesitation a load of bunk given the situation we are in today. The science denial has gotten too obvious on its face. Its adherents too strident in their denial. The costs to the country and to the world are too high to not concede that vaccination is the way out of this mess.

I got my COVID booster shot today. I got my first dose as soon as the vaccine was available:

I had my doubts about mRNA vaccines at first. I had even more doubts that a vaccine created by Donald Trump’s (lack of an) administration could possibly create anything that worked.

Planet Money – Moonshot in the arm – November 5, 2021

It wasn’t until Dr. Fauci accepted the vaccine that I knew it was probably safe and that I could accept it for myself. I got second and third and forth opinions, too. Then I got my vaccination and tried to pretend that the world would go back to normal.

Unfortunately the Trumpists whose God-Emperor had decreed that the vaccines be made won’t allow themselves to be vaccinated because he also said the pandemic was a hoax and that the virus was no different than influenza or a cold. This is demonstrably untrue.

That all kinds of other treatments work against this hoax virus better than vaccines do. Why you need a treatment for a hoax is beyond me, but that hasn’t stopped dozens if not hundreds of people from poisoning themselves with the fake treatments that these con artists that work for and off of Trump are selling.

Six months have gone by since I got my first shot, which makes me eligible to get my booster shot.

Short Wave – How Long Does COVID Immunity Last Anyway? – September 21, 2021

This is the way immunology works. Some people get break-through infections after being vaccinated. This is what the percentage means when they say that a vaccine is XX% effective. the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were 90% effective against the SARS2 virus that was circulating a year ago. They are both going to be less effective against the mutations that are currently circulating.

Why? Because the unvaccinated give the virus a chance to bypass the protection a vaccine offers by carrying their mutations near the vaccinated and thereby giving the virus a chance to test itself against the vaccine. Each new infection of a vaccinated person brings us one step closer to a new virus that can bypass the therapies completely, and then we will be back to square one again. Locked in our houses and hoping that something will happen that will release us from this hell that science denial has brought on us.

I’m beginning to doubt that we deserve to be saved from our own stupidity. But I got my booster anyway because there is still a chance that we might beat this thing. If we grow up. If we accept that science is real. If we ensure that the virus can’t spread by making everyone on the planet get their vaccinations.

Don’t tell me you are afraid of needles because you can’t be more afraid of them than I am (see the vaccination article) Don’t tell me that you don’t believe in vaccines or that this is all political bullshit. Science is real and people are really dying. Bunk would say “get your shots” in spite of the fact that some other sciences in today’s world would give him reason to question their veracity. Vaccinations are proven technology and they work if you get them. So get them so we can put this pandemic behind us. Please?

And someone wrote new words to an old hymn, and crowds sang it for the weeks it took to end the rotten regime. “Bring out your dead, there is no need for shame. Show every face and let us hear each name. Better to know, how many we have lost…than lie and say that no such deaths have cost…”

elizabethmoon.com
Addendum

The pandemic has cost more than 793,000 American lives to date and we can’t afford to allow the unvaccinated to continue to help this illness spread and mutate. The vaccine has been cleared for almost all ages, all health conditions and is by far safer than risking the effects of the disease.  The Winter holidays are happening as I write this. Prove that you love your family by ensuring their best possible chances of health and prosperity in the new year by being vaccinated and making sure your family is vaccinated.

Tell that uncle or aunt, grandmother, grandfather or even young nieces nephews and cousins. Tell them to get vaccinated or they are not welcome at family gatherings. I’ve listened to dozens of podcasts and read dozens of news stories about how to thread the conflicts of this time we find ourselves in. I don’t understand why opening the conversation with the truth is a bad thing. “Get vaccinated or don’t come to my home. Get vaccinated or I won’t go to your home.” This strikes me as a completely reasonable position to take, especially if you know that there are going to be people who could die from airborne diseases at the family gathering. State the rule clearly and right up front. Claiming any excuse to not be vaccinated is just a load of bunk.

Biden vs. Reagan

For the past thirty years, every single time we’ve had a new President, that first year of the new president, the president’s party lost both the Virginia governor and the New Jersey governor. Every single time.

Except this time Democrats didn’t lose New Jersey. In a rational world this would not be a cause for Democratic panic. Quite the contrary.

Democrats have beat the odds. They’ve done better than everybody’s done going back to the great communicator, Ronald Reagan, who’s the last president who pulled this off.

The last time a president managed to only lose one of those governorships in the first year he was in office, it was the great communicator himself Ronald Reagan.

Biden has done something that no other President has been able to do since Reagan. You would think this would be cause for celebration in the Democratic party.

Rachel Maddow – November 3, 2021

In the meantime, this is what has happened to the party of Reagan:

youtubeRachel Maddow: November 3rd
dallasnews.com

Scores of QAnon believers gathered Tuesday afternoon in downtown Dallas in the hopes that John F. Kennedy Jr. would appear, heralding the reinstatement of Donald Trump as president.

dallasnews.com