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.

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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.

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:

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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

Still Bullshit

Moscow Mitch thinks we don’t need to investigate the January sixth riot:

All Things Considered – House Passes Bill To Investigate Capitol Riot, But Its Fate In Senate Is Unclear – Updated May 19, 2021

This really doesn’t merit a lot of thought. I’m just going to cut and paste what I said here after the first impeachment started against Donald Trump:

I don’t know what the hurry is. Why do we have to have this all done by the end of the year? now? Why not investigate side by side with the police efforts to uncover the depths of crime involved in the attempted coup? Let’s be sure to get every single gory detail on the record for the Republican party to wear to the end of its days.

Republicans were happy to pretend nothing was worth worrying about for two five years while Trump stole the nation blind and Moscow Mitch shoehorned every judicial nominee he stole from Barack Obama through an otherwise catatonic Senate. Republicans were happy to talk about #Benghazi for three years. What’s the rush? I say we keep the impeachment hearings January 6th inquest going until November 3rd, 2020 November 8, 2022. I suggest they hold hearings on election day, even. Draw it out. Reveal the crimes of all of Trump’s yes-men as well as all of his 40 years of financial and real estate crimes. and his instigations to riot in the streets of Washington D.C. after telling black people they couldn’t riot in the same city streets six months earlier.

Paint it all in glorious technicolor detail, for all the world to see. The damage has been done already, anyway. No one will trust the United States again. Not for a generation. I have now given Moscow Mitch’s dismissal of the bill all the thought that it deserves.

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NBC NEWS – Ryan: ‘This is a slap in the face’ to U.S. police – May 19, 2021

One hundred and seventy-five Republicans voted against the January 6th investigation bill. Those seditionists (to use Stonekettle’s term for them) should never have been allowed to sit in congress. Anyone that wasn’t willing to state in advance that the election that put them there was a valid election should not have been seated. This action was permitted by the rules of the House and the Senate and should have been enforced:

If the election that put you here is in question then you shouldn’t be in a body that represents the people. Plain and simple. Congress chose to go this route instead, seating representatives that declared their intentions to muck up the works as much as possible. Now we have seditionists in Congress. I don’t see how this scenario is better than the outrage that would have been engendered when the 175 seditionists were not seated in the first place. This may be complex political maneuvering, but I don’t see how the Democratic strategy is going to win the next election for them.

…which is the only point that matters on this subject. Making sure the Republicans never see power again on the national level. They have made themselves the enemy of democracy. They should be declared a terrorist organization if they don’t change their tune.

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Battlefield Casualties?

facebook/Stonekettle

What kills me is that Ethan Nordean (court website) is surprised this was how it turned out. Did he honestly think that attacking Congress and trying to stop the government from doing the thing it has a clear mandate to do was going to be something that government would just forget? Did he think that attempting a coup was a thing he wouldn’t be punished for?

This idiocy has happened time and time again through history. People talk themselves into believing that they will be better under a different government; and then even when they succeed in destroying the previous government, they are appalled to discover that governing takes blood and treasure to carry out, even in the best of times. The failed revolutions are far more numerous than the successful ones, and the people in power never forgive and forget. Not if they want to stay in power.

It’s almost like these Trumpists, anarchists and conservatives have never heard of the Whiskey Rebellion. You know the one. That rebellion where the subjects of the first US tax thought they could just do a repeat on the revolution and George Washington had to personally explain that they were going to have to die if they didn’t give up this cause they had declared war on the US over? Made them all swear oaths to the Union and locked a few of the leaders up for their trouble? Yeah, we’ve done this a few times now, historically. You’d think they’d learn eventually. Apparently not.

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Second Impeachment

To Senators Cruz and Cornyn

You were in the capitol that day. You know what the mob did. You know who sent that mob to the capitol, looking for your blood and the blood of your fellow legislators as well as the blood of the Vice President who loyally served him for four years. The guilty person I’m referencing is Donald Trump. In 2016 he said he wouldn’t accept a vote outcome that showed that he lost, even though he planned on losing. That is the poor excuse for a human being that Donald Trump has always been. He reiterated this unwillingness to accept defeat before the 2020 election was held, after the election results were known, and still refuses to allow anyone to call him the former president within his earshot.

He lost, yet he refuses to admit the truth of this to anyone, including himself. He is an active threat to all of us individually and to you personally as a locus of power inside the American government, power that can oppose his will and the will of the mob that he controls even to this day. He and they will come for you eventually. Sooner or later there will come a time when he and they draw a line that you won’t cross, and then you will be eliminated in your turn just as every person that refuses to back his play has been betrayed over the decades that he has been in business, let alone in power as the president. This is an unavoidable course once you start down the road to dictatorship, the kind of country that Donald Trump and his supporters want to remake the United States into.

There is only one way for you to avoid this fate, avoid it for all of our sakes. You must convict Donald Trump for the many, many crimes he has committed over the last four years as well as for the ones he committed since last November when he lost his chance to be president again. Convict him and then bar him from ever holding public office again. Only then will we be free from the fear and hatred that Donald Trump wields as a weapon. We may still have to fight the White Nationalists that his behavior and your blindness in supporting him have empowered over the last four years, but at least they will not have Trump to lead them anymore.

If you don’t convict him for his crimes and bar him from ever serving in public office again, you will have loosed the hounds of war as surely as if you released them yourself. The White Nationalists will be empowered, and Trump will lead them to take control of the United States government again, just as they are taking over the state governments under the colors of the Republican party right now, while you blindly continue to pretend that it isn’t happening.

Hell is coming, Senator. On February 5th of last year, when you didn’t convict Donald Trump at his first impeachment trial, you set us up to lose half a million lives to the coronavirus under his leadership. All that blood is on your hands. The death toll will be even higher if you fail to uphold the law this time. Millions will die as the country tears itself apart from within, killed by your willingness put party over country and not remove the threat that resides within your own political party. Killed by the enemies from within the country that back this cancerous growth in your party.

May the blood of your evil deeds ever lie heavily upon you for that vote last February and for the actions that your partisan blinders keep you from taking now. Hell is coming for us all, unless you act to convict this cancer named Donald Trump and bar him from ever holding office again. If you fail us, I pray that hell will find you and yours sooner than it finds me and mine. Hell may spare me and mine if I am clever enough to avoid the scythe that death wields, but it will certainly not spare you.

Convict Donald Trump and bar him from ever holding public office again. That is the right choice, and no one knows these facts better than you do. Back the prosecutions that are mounted against him and his supporters for the crimes that they have committed. Dedicate yourself once again to the country that you took an oath to preserve, and perhaps you will be spared like Scrooge on that fateful night when he saw the error of his ways. No one knows the future. The known acts of President Trump warrant his conviction and his demonstrated willingness to subvert the rule of law requires you to bar him from ever holding office again. These things we do know. They now require you to act.

A letter I sent to our Texas Senators

Here is a video of the first day of the House managers arguments as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 10, 2021

On January 6, President Trump left everyone in this Capitol for dead.

Joaquin Castro (Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook)

Second day of the House managers arguments as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 11, 2021

The defenses arguments and questions as recorded on C-Span:

C-Span – U.S. Senate Impeachment Trial – Feb 12, 2021

The lunacy of the defenses arguments is only outdone by the lunacy of the votes of the 43 Republicans that effectively shut down the bid to legislatively convict Donald John Trump for crimes he had been demonstrated to have committed by the House managers, and after that to have legislatively castrated any future Trumpist moves to make the United States a monarchy run by Trumpists in the future by barring him from holding future office, on their own stated basis of insisting, in contravention of their own oaths of office, that they still didn’t believe they had the right to sit in judgement of a president who had left office, a question that had been settled in day one of the trial, left me once again bereft of hope and vision for any meaningful future for this country.

Those of the forty-three Senators that openly stated that the question of the rightness of trial was their reason for why they voted to acquit, should be censured and removed from office for their violations of their oaths to the constitution. It can’t be more simply stated than that. If they cannot be bound to their own decisions of less than a week prior, then they have no moral backbone on which they can base future judgements. They should be replaced as soon as possible with people who can stand by their own decisions, and the decisions of their own legislative bodies. Yes. I am looking at you Ted Cruz and at you John Cornyn. You have disgraced your office, your state, and yourselves. You cannot justifiably presume to represent any Texas citizen in good standing, no matter what justifications you offer for your actions.

The Bulwark Podcast – David Priess on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Impeachment – February 17th, 2021

Those were your people once, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Cornyn. The talking heads on the podcast and their audience of tens of thousands of subscribers. Now they are your opponents.

Postscript

When the Democrats took over the House again in 2019, I posted this status on Facebook:

I’m wallowing in schadenfreude. Every stormtrumper on the planet is realizing that Speaker Pelosi is two impeachments away from being President Pelosi. The indigestion they must be having right now. Priceless.

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The comments that followed were more than slightly contentious. I was wrong on the substance, that I’ll admit. Who would’ve thunk it though, eh? Two impeachments. Two. Two impeachments and the Republican party let him keep the office until the very end anyway. Just out of spite.

Republicans have no soul. They sold their souls for power. I hope it was worth it.

Spreading the California Model

The news pundits and the Republicans are tripping all over themselves trying to tell us how they, the Republicans, will take back the U.S. House and Senate in 2022. This is the historical perspective as well as the wishful thinking of the party that is out of power. Historically the president’s party loses seats in the legislature in midterm elections.

Historical trends break in times of crisis; and this is one of the greatest moments of crisis that the United States has ever been through. The pandemic that never seems to end. The failed coup d’état. The slow trickle of damning evidence that emerges about the failed coup from the January 6th investigative committee.

What I am interested in is seeing the government act on the best ideas; and the only way to get the best ideas to rise to the top of the structure and get acted upon is to engage the wisdom of the crowd. Notice that I say best ideas and not correct ideas? Correct is subjective. Best is, or can be, objectively defined. This should not be a right/left issue or a conservative/liberal issue. This is an issue of good governance and only a fool or an authoritarian would want to make sure that the country continues to have bad governance through the enactment of bad ideas. This is why the jungle/blanket primary is the first thing we need to see established, nationally. It will take away the power that enables Trump because his ideas are demonstrably very bad and very unpopular.

Time changes everything. Wait a couple of beats and see what happens next. I think we need to start working on supporting our local Democratic candidates right now. Pushing back on this same old normalization narrative that the Trumpists have spun out repeatedly since the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape emerged (I have never understood why “Mexicans are rapists” didn’t make a dent, and that was the first speech he gave) It is the leadership that is truly reprehensible here, not the rank and file average self-identifying Republican. They can’t bring themselves to vote for Democrats, and they can’t find any other choices to make.

I’ve been saying this for years. We have to start pushing the California model across the 49 other states in the union:

  • Jungle primaries – Republicans frequently don’t even get into the general election in California anymore because their ideas simply aren’t popular with the majority of the citizenry. Jungle primaries opens the process up, prequalifying only the top two vote getters for the general election. We have to be bold. We have to be certain that we will be the choice of the majority of the voting populace.
  • Redistricting commissions – Completely remove politics from the drawing of districts. X number of people in a congruous geographical area represented equally across the board, that number needing to be smaller than 1 million people. With unbiased redistricting that can be demonstrated as fair, the person who actually gets out and finds out what their constituents want, and fairly represents that desire, will win.

I would also add automatic voter registration to the list (I’m not sure if California has this yet or not) so that the population knows it can vote because just doing normal business with the government registers them to participate in the process. Again, we need to be bold and have faith that the citizenry will reward us for doing the things that need to be done to make sure that they have a voice and that they will be counted. Exactly the opposite of what the Republicans are peddling right now.

In Texas we have to start with the people who can vote, but don’t. They don’t vote because they don’t believe anything can change. They outnumber the Republicans two to one. Two to one. We have to convince them to vote for us on the promise that we will make these changes.

If we don’t do this, then the war of attrition will continue until the United States ceases to exist through its own inability to act. Separate camps fighting over the reducing spoils until we are no more than the American Balkans that we deserve to be. Choose.

facebook & Defusing Trumpismo

Postscript

I’m just going to start dribbling out the pieces of the Politics 101 article that is never going to gel into a single article. Maybe it can be marshalled into a page, or maybe I should lend my efforts to Indivisible. Food for thought.

This post was published because I ran across another set of comments (these from 2018) that were in the same vein, and I was in the process of adding them to this article when I thought to ask “what other articles are out there that have these phrases in them?” I found two. This one was essentially complete, so I just hit publish on it. It was a year old already anyway.

Featured image: screencap from Khan Academy – Open primaries, closed primaries, and blanket primaries

Coup D’Etat

the Republican party has become a machine for propagandists and televangelists and public liars to do the bidding of robber barons and racists. The people caught up in that mindset aren’t interested in evidence — they will deny any evidence that conflicts with what they want to believe.

And that means that the day that Trump leaves the White House, they will react badly. There will be threats of violence, there will be incidents — but whatever happens, the harder truth will be that the removal of Trump will not be a cure.

Trump was the symptom. The real disease is the Republican party and what it has become.

facebook/david.gerrold

Just like the time he twisted the arm of the Ukrainian government. Just like all the times it has been demonstrated that he pressures people to alter the truth so that he can be seen as a winner. Over and over and over again since he started trying to gain the office of President of the United States, not to mention the entire time he has been in business, Donald Trump has been shown to be more than happy to bully people into telling lies on his behalf.

This recording is no different than the dozens if not hundreds of other pieces of evidence of Trump’s strong-arm tactics to make the machinery of the government serve his personal interests and not the interests of the people of the United States. (full audio and transcript of the phone call)

Washington Post – Audio: Trump berates Ga. secretary of state, urges him to ‘find’ votes – January 3, 2021

facebook.com/Stonekettle

Coup d’etat. That is what this recording is evidence of. An attempted coup by the sitting President of the United States. The word we are looking for here is not coup, however, but traitor. Donald Trump is a traitor to this country and should be treated as such. He should have been treated as a traitor the moment that he attempted to make money off of running for office in 2016. Instead the Republicans of this country have fallen all over themselves to protect him and their perceived power through him. Those who side with him should all be called out as traitors as well. The evidence is undeniable now (has been undeniable to me for more than four years) To deny the evidence now, is treason. 

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On Saturday, the third of January, we learned that President Trump had pressured the Secretary of the State of Georgia to commit a felony and manufacture votes for him so that he would be declared the winner in that state.

When that failed he moved on to his next hair-brained scheme:

Trump reportedly planned to replace then-acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen with Jeffrey Clark, a lawyer at the Justice Department, in an effort to apply pressure to Georgia politicians to overturn the results of the race there. Rosen had refused to back Trump’s disputed claims that voter fraud had cost him the election, drawing the president’s ire. 

thehill.com

On Sunday the fourth of January, the 117th Congress was seated without much fanfare, including the 154 representatives and an even dozen Senators who had sworn to sabotage the November election results and force the country to accept a second term for the leader of their party, Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter that they made sounds that seemed like a reasonable argument about voter fraud, because they could not produce any evidence of voter fraud when required to produce it in a court of law. They had no evidence, but they would continue with their charade until the bitter end.

On Tuesday the fifth of January, the runoffs for both Georgia senate seats were submitted to the polls and the resulting vote count sometime early Wednesday the sixth produced a result that handed both races to the Democrats, wresting control of the Senate from Mitch McConnell and his Republicans for the first time since 2007.

This was how the sixth of January, 2021, was prefaced. What happened that day will be reported by dozens of reliable news outlets and recorded by countless historians as the day that the United States was almost subjected to a coup by a sitting president. Almost, in that his plans to have the Capitol building torched and the 117th Congressed disrupted and dispersed by his mob of angry supporters failed to produce the results that he clearly desired and had agitated for since the Presidential election had been called for Joe Biden.

(having access to the Rachel Maddow Show, January 7, 2021 would be great. The show that I watched on the edge of my seat the day I wrote most of this. Too bad that MSNBC doesn’t allow the average American to access their archives for this kind of important historical content. What were the television news media saying the day after the insurrection? That can’t be verified. –ed.)

The Maryland Governor was prevented from sending SWAT teams to retake the Capitol for several hours. Why was this? Remember the Reichstag fire? We got lucky. That’s what happened on the sixth.

As long as Trump was riding high, conservative media were often happy to excuse the violence, too. But with Trump on his way out, seemingly cut loose by Republican elites and his own staff, would his one-time media allies excuse the insurrectionary mob that trashed the Capitol in the president’s name?

theguardian.com

I’m thinking that the pro-Trump states should be put under military rule just like the seditious states were kept out of civil society after they were reclaimed after the Civil War. They can gain re-entry into the good graces of the federal government in Washington after they admit that they are racists and xenophobes and that they will seek mental help en masse. I mean, we just witnessed an attempted coup yesterday. An attempted coup by White Nationalists. Who can say what else is in the works by these same insurrectionists over the coming two weeks?

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PBS – Congress reconvenes to count electoral votes after pro-Trump mob breaches U.S. Capitol – Jan 6, 2021

Watching that video feed was perhaps one of the most traumatic events of my life. I really had no idea if there would be a United States from one minute to the next. As Congress reconvened I was struck by the comments by Republican lawmakers who just a year previously had stood solidly behind the very same man who went on to send his mob to kill them all in his bid to keep the Office of the President in his hands. Kelly Loeffler has a soul. Who’d have thunk it? Mitt Romney has the biggest applause line so far. Alternate reality?

The coup attempt failed. The mob was driven out of the Capitol. The vote was certified and Joe Biden was finally ceremonially confirmed as the next President of the United States.

That feeling when you realize you’re being thrown out of government housing and you only have a week to pack.

Stonekettle

Good, fuckwad. It will be less awkward at the inauguration with you not being there. He’s just changing government housing, if we’re lucky. His new digs will have clothing that is the color of that crap he puts on his skin. Again, if we’re lucky

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I observed that no one including Hillary Clinton should attend the inauguration of Donald Trump, exactly four years previous to this point in time:

It is fitting that everyone except Donald Trump attend the inauguration of his replacement in the office that he so spectacularly failed to execute for four years.

Postscript

Title changed, date changed to the date of the actual coup attempt. This piece will remain. I am expanding it with more stuff written during the time period that I haven’t published elsewhere on the blog.

I essentially stopped writing anything of a political nature on the blog following the events of January 6th, 2021. It was too much. I couldn’t separate myself from the events, my former political leanings getting in the way of my being able to even process the gravity of the events that came to a head that day.

Fresh Air – The Possible End Of American Democracy As We Know It – December 9, 2021

HuffPost senior justice reporter Ryan J. Reilly says “sedition hunters” have used videos, social media posts and facial recognition software to identify individuals who participated in the storming of the Capitol on Jan. 6. He talks with Terry Gross about the FBI investigation, and the trials of the accused.

Fresh Air – The Sprawling Capitol Riot Investigation – December 23, 2021

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Barton Gellman says the Republican party is increasingly unwilling to accept defeat and, in fact, is “prepared to win by sacrificing the essential elements of democracy.” His new Atlantic article is ‘Trump’s Next Coup Has Already Begun.’

Some of these people will be going to jail.

#MAGA: Land Doesn’t Vote. People Do.

In private groups – where you’re not invited – we share our bewilderment of your descent into madness. We all have stories about how we’ve cut ties with you, our family and former friends, because we don’t want your hatred poisoning our social media streams. We can’t stand to listen to you vomiting the lies of your cult, day after day. You used to be different. We liked you. But now that we know what was inside your heart all along, we’ve decided you don’t deserve to know about our lives.

Red State Rustler (on Facebook)

I love every stinking word of that article. I love and agree with every single letter, space and punctuation. Tell him I sent you, if you click the link and read the whole thing. Since this is one of my #MAGA articles, I’m betting you, dear reader, won’t do that.

Joe Biden won the election. I realize this is news to you because your cult leader and his approved media sources won’t tell you that Donald Trump lost the election for U.S. President, but that is the truth as verified by the recent votes of the electoral college. It really shouldn’t matter that the electoral college votes one way or the other, but in the United States we have some pretty weird ideas about what it means to win an election.

Seven million (give or take) seven million more people voted for Joe Biden. Seven million more people voted for Joe Biden than voted for Donald Trump. When seven million more people vote for Joe Biden, he wins the election. That is just basic math, and it is also the way that the electoral college was supposed to work:

It was supposed to work that way originally, and it could well work that way again unless we get rid of it entirely. Seven million more people voted for Joe Biden, and still the currently sitting (lame duck) President and his supporters think that they have the umph to make him president for a second term. I don’t think they understand the basic math that is at play here. I have some visual aids for this article, because the Misguided Appallingly Gullible Americans apparently can’t understand what 7 million more votes for Joe Biden actually represents.

tenor.co
mentalfloss.com
engaging-data.com

There are more of us than there are of you. Seven million more of us. Do you get the picture now? We are rapidly approaching the New Year as I sit here typing this. The 117th Congress will be sworn in and seated on January 3rd. The votes of the electoral college will be counted on January 6th. Barring antics by Republicans that slip through the net and attempt to sabotage the the electoral vote count, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president on January 20th.

The trumpists can either learn how to live with the fact that they and their cult-leader lost the election, or they can overthrow the legitimately elected government with trickery on January 6th or with insurrection sometime before January 20th. In either case, they will have chosen to end what has been seen as normal for the United States since 1789:

Elections Have Consequences

There is a reason why I end this post the way I do:

The reason? The 117th Congress will be gaveled into session on January 3rd. Part of its reconstituting as the 117th Congress will be the presentation and acceptance of credentials for each and every member of the House and Senate. The Senate rules are on wikipedia. The House rules are a little harder to find. Here is a snippet of one of them:

5.1 Following opening prayer and before the election of the Speaker at the opening of a new Congress, the Clerk of the preceding Congress takes the following organizational steps: announces the receipt of credentials; causes the roll to be called alphabetically by states to establish a quorum; announces the establishment of a quorum; announces vacancies in the House occurring since national elections.

govinfo.gov (will open a PDF document)

The thing that needs to happen is that any Senator or Representative that questions the validity of the vote should have their credentials from their state rejected until their states can verify that they did indeed win their seats. Recounts, voter checks, whatever it takes. However long that process takes. They cannot be seated until their questions about voter fraud are answered to their satisfaction and the satisfaction of their constituents.

…or these very same Senators and Congressmen can shut up about the results of the presidential race and retract all their statements undermining the validity of the vote.

Both the House and the Senate have the right to determine who they will accept as members of their governing bodies, and seating someone who thinks the whole process is a farce undermines their work. So those people should simply not be seated until their reservations about the system are answered or revealed to be false. Plain and simple.

This is a necessary step. If we allow anyone to be seated who intends to torpedo the certification of the Presidential election, we will have signed up for a second term for Caudito Trump. This is hardball we are playing here. This is for all the marbles. Either the Republicans agree that there is one reality and one set of facts that governs that reality, or we might as well just start shooting at each other right now.

…Because if they are allowed to continue this charade, the shooting will start eventually. We might as well make it at a time and place of our choosing. I say January 3rd, 2021. Agree not to torpedo Biden’s electoral college victory with fraudulent antics, or renounce your seat in the 117th Congress. Pick one.

This is why elections have consequences. Republicans went to the polls and voted for down-ballot Republicans and either left off their vote for president or shifted their vote to Joe Biden. That is why Caudito Trump lost. He lost because his own Republican base will not support him. But the brown-nosing Senators and Congresspeople who won can’t be seen to be betraying the leader of their party. They are trying to play both sides off against the middle. Trying to continue the game that they’ve played since before I was born, or at least since Tricky Dick Nixon.

This is why Republicans cannot be allowed to get away with being soft on what reality is. Either the count is the count, or it isn’t the count. There is no two ways about this subject. If the count for Biden is rife with fraud, then so is the results of their elections, and we can’t be letting them muddy the waters with their false accusations. This is where we must make our stand. It is either here, or on some bloody battlefield in the near future.

The stakes could not be higher or more plain. This is for the win. For the power. The Republicans know this. The Democrats also need to not be harboring delusions about what the Republican’s next play will be. Do you really doubt that Mitch McConnell isn’t planning this coup right now? He says he isn’t, finally admitting Caudito Trump lost the election:

Our country has, officially, a president-elect and a vice-president elect,” McConnell said in a speech on the Senate floor. “I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden. The president-elect is no stranger to the Senate. He’s devoted himself to public service for many years.

Mitch McConnell

Does anyone believe him? More importantly, why would we believe him? He’s lied repeatedly every single time he’s opened his mouth since the day he stepped on the Senate floor. He has failed to do his job for more than a decade, and yet Kentucky continues to send his useless ass to the Senate as if he can be relied upon to do anything productive for the United States.

You Republicans who thought that this was a Trumpismo problem? Wrong again. It is a you problem. You are the problem. Elections have consequences.

nytimes.com
Bulwark – Kim Wehle on the GOP’s Assault on Voting Rights – Dec. 14, 2020

Postscript

They did not take the threat of traitors in their midst seriously. There were no objections based on credential arguments offered, that I heard. All of the members of the 117th Congress who showed up for work on January 3rd were seated. Most of us know now what that lack of awareness cost us on January 6th, 2021. None of us know what the future holds, unfortunately. There are traitors in their midst, and there was a traitor in the White House until January 20th, 2021 when the new president took over.

This is the Wiki article that details the procedure I’m talking about:

Both houses of the United States Congress have refused to seat new members based on Article I, Section 5 of the United States Constitution which states that:

“Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualifications of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties as each House may provide.”

This had been interpreted that members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate could refuse to recognize the election or appointment of a new representative or senator for any reason, often political heterodoxy or criminal record.

wikipedia.org

Yes, I see where the SCOTUS says they can’t do that anymore. Make the Republicans take it to the court they packed in their favor then. Make the court rule that the seditionists must be seated even though they have no intention of doing their jobs. Let them stand together in their suicide pact.

Featured image added January 14, 2021. Reuters.

Rudy’s Crimes?

What are Rudy Giuliani’s past crimes? No seriously, this is an important question. In order for Trump’s behavior to be defensible, to be considered normal, then you must’ve experienced something in your past that reminds you of Trump’s behavior, and that behavior was accepted at the time.

So I really do want to know, what has Rudy done or seen that was accepted previously, behavior that makes Donald Trump’s outrageous actions in the office of the President seem normal to him?

…I’m pretty sure that what Rudy thinks he’s doing is defending New York in the form of one of it’s more prominent figures, defending his city from attacks originating from the rest of the country, but what he is actually doing is running intercept for someone that is looking more and more unhinged by the day.

The most telling thing that contradicts Rudy’s perception is the fact that the New York Times feels the need to point out the facts of Trump’s nefarious business dealings. I would love to see charges filed against Trump and all his children in state court in relation to the crimes they committed as private citizens. Should be interesting to watch when that happens.

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Postscript

I don’t know what Rudy Giuliani did that was criminal before 2020, but I do know he committed crimes in 2020:

youtube.com/MSNBC

That entire episode of The Rachell Maddow Show should be archived in the library of Congress. It is most likely going to be that important to history being the clearest breakdown of the plans that lead to the January 6th, 2021 insurrection that I’ve heard yet. I was speechless for several minutes after listening to the podcast.

Those charges in State courts are about to be filed, I hope. Fingers crossed.