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Quittin’s Hard

Yesterday, the noose around Donald Trumps’ organization got a little tighter. I doubt that this will be cause for pause from Republicans continuing to genuflect to Donald Trump.

It baffles the minds of the political observers- why would they do that, given that Trump is a proven loser?

The answer is rather simple. It’s math. They don’t have a chance to win without his sycophantic, wild-eyed supporters. Those people will absolutely not show up for Republicans if Donald is repudiated in any significant way.

Many are sounding the klaxon that Republicans can still win in their current configuration. They cite all of the restrictive voting measures passed by a number of Republican controlled states. Personally, I’m panicking a little that the Biden administration is going to founder and lose its goodwill among voters once the memory of their stimulus check fades and the masks have come off. Because it sure looks like nothing will get passed by the divided Senate without the elimination of the filibuster. What’s to be done? Nothing, I guess, for the time being. I try not to panic too much, because the Republicans are planning to field some of the most charmless fucks ever to seek office in 2024. I’m talking about lilywhite jokers like Ron DeSantis, Tommy Cotton, and Rick Scott. But 2022 is important too. As we all know, the voters tend to turn against whoever occupies the Oval Office in the midterms. The best defense against this is a highly successful administration and I do worry we won’t rack up enough Ws to work against the historical tides. Voters have a short memory and are forever asking, “But what have you done for me lately?”

It’s all cause for concern. The possible future we face if the pendulum swings too hard is a Republican controlled government who will not hesitate to eliminate the filibuster themselves. Then again, actual philosophical conservatives might balk and it’s back to the norm of gridlock. After all, their goal is to strangle and stymie government regardless of whether it does good things or not.

But they will never get anywhere fast if they don’t bring the MAGA billy boys to the dance. It’s probably half of their support. And should Republicans forsake them and their clown prince of a leader, they lose.

Escape

Hurrah! We are free of Donald Trump and his minions.

I mean, Trumpism will live on in some mutated form, no doubt about that. And there are some congressional members who may have established themselves riding on the coattails of Trump, but I think their days are numbered. What we know is that Trumpism is ultimately a political failure because its leader was soundly defeated at the ballot box, turning in such a terrible performance in the last four years that he caused a deep south state to end the public careers of its Trump loving GOP senators.

Trump’s thumb-twiddling in the White House is a mixed blessing. He was too lazy to enact his own policies, preferring instead to claw and tear at everything his successful and popular predecessor ushered in. He also allowed the coronavirus to ravage America. And he nearly caused an insurrection with irresponsible rhetoric. Nonetheless, his idleness and general lack of interest in his job was to our benefit. Thankfully he didn’t do anything monumentally stupid like start a hot war with Iran which could have ended in the nuclear fashion.

So now we have come to the part of the game where suddenly, one of the congressional parties develops a set of principles that they’d utterly abandoned while their party was in power. That’s right, the GOP has found its old hobbyhorse Deficit Hawk, and his sidekick, Unity . The fuck your feelings crew is now begging for us not to fuck their feelings, and I’m not terribly inclined to join them and I certainly don’t think Democrats should pay this twaddle any mind- not after the way Mitch McConnell brought the legislature to a grinding halt at a time when Americans needed them quite possibly more than they had ever needed them. He better go along to get along, because the filibuster can be sidestepped much in the same manner that McConnell employed to get Trump and the corporate establishment their judges. Obstruction simply will not do, and I fear that’s the only tool he has in his toolbox. The country needs a makeover, now.

All this aside, the country seems brighter already, on a surer footing than we have been in years. That’s not enough, as we are still at the bottom a ravine figuratively speaking and all we know is there’s help coming. By all appearances the Biden administration is the right fit for the tasks ahead; it’s now up to them to show the public that they can do good things with their taxes. If they whip the coronavirus in short order, they can ride that shit straight through 2024. It truly is the issue of a lifetime.

If I could just go out for tacos without worrying I’m gonna die or kill someone else, that would be great. The bar’s kinda low for me.

Weird History

That was a hell of a week, wasn’t it?

Not content with Congressional attempts to monkeyfuck the vote, thousands of Trump’s unofficial “militia” overran the Capitol grounds, climbed the walls, broke into the building, shit and pissed on things, stole property and posed for selfies in MOC offices. Lawmakers hid in the chambers with gas masks, waiting for the mob to be dispersed. Only a few pistols and barricaded doorways stood between them and the rioters. It was truly a close call.

Now, Trump himself has done more than anyone to bring the events of January 6th to fruition, but even he is now saying that his goon squad shouldn’t have defiled the Capitol. His Doltishness clearly did not know who he was winding up with his incendiary rhetoric. Apparently it’s taken 74 years for Trump to discover that lit matches can burn you.

Nonetheless, I am thankful that it was mostly just a bunch of hooligans on a wilding spree rather than actual revolutionaries ready to establish a new government. Because some of these motherfuckers were out for scalps. One was seen carrying zip ties and a gallows was erected. And I hear they’re gearing up for more direct action, this time with guns. I am hoping that our law enforcement and military will be ready to defend the seat of government from these crazies, even if those self-same soldiers and officers are sympathetic to their cause.

Now I don’t want to give succor or legitimacy to this crew of madcaps, but this is the most threatened our government has been since 1860. The BLM protests over police brutality don’t even hold a candle. This here is a rightist “revolution”, and the roots for it are a little deeper than there ever were for leftist insurrection activity. We’ve been working up this crowd for decades with irresponsible news outlets, talk radio, and permissive social media. It’s got to stop.

The Republican party has some thinking to do. Many of its members hitched themselves to Trump’s star and now lives have been lost for following and encouraging him in his quest to usurp power. What happened is unacceptable in the extreme. As I write, Democrats are huddling to impeach Trump a second time, this time on a count of insurrection. It’s very late, but perhaps it must be done to make a statement. Will he be lucky twice? That’s up to Republicans-and they’d better do the soul searching required to make sure that a thing like President Trump never, ever gets to pretend to the highest office in the land again. Now that his reign is ending, it should be an easy choice. But there’s still lots of Trumpists in Congress without shame, so I am not holding my breath for justice to be done, even as the evidence gathered over the past four years cannot be ignored.

Out Of Trump Cards

Well, we are still stuck in the longest Election Period Day ever. That’s right, over a month has passed since the official day, and Donald Trump is still insisting that he won while flailing in every legal direction possible to validate his wacky claims. I myself am bored to tears listening to his puling on Twitter. It won’t be much longer until he exits the national stage for good, thankfully. However, it’s unfortunate that while we will be done with him as President, the toxic effect he has had on our country’s national discourse could linger for years, perhaps decades. All the blather about Democrats causing divisiveness sounds awfully quaint after one term of Trump.

We just got done watching the Supreme Court swat down a multi-state complaint started by Texas about supposed voting irregularities in the swing states that Trump was unable to hold onto in 2020. I’m sure Trump thought that he fashioned the SCOTUS in his image with his three justices, but he was wrong. The trouble he’s having is that he doesn’t really understand conservatism. At bottom, conservatives revere above all the ideal of decentralized control, making a fetish of radical self-governance. And it follows that “state’s rights” (notwithstanding how racist the concept is) is an important doctrine to advance these ideas. Small wonder then that this kind of push for some states to meddle in the affairs of others would be found repugnant to their bedrock conservative principles, regardless of who was bringing a suit of this nature.

For once, federalism has saved the day.

It’s hard to say where Trump’s going to go next to get relief. In his head, this Texas suit was “the big one”, because it was a super fast avenue to getting his complaints to the supremes as quickly as possible. We still have to grit our teeth and hope the Electoral College will do its duty and sit the president who officially got the most EVs. What a system it is where we have these unelected people in control of so much, huh? As I understand it, an upset of this nature is as unlikely as this giant suit had in helping Trump stay in office, especially since it’s going to be hard to come by 38 faithless electors selecting the guy who lost the popular vote by nearly 8 million. This gambit’s never worked before, but it’s an ineluctable fact that Trumpism has poisoned this election process at every critical juncture. Every process is a nail-shredding experience as we have to watch the steps be stress-tested in real time.

I’ve tried to sit back and relax with the proverbial popcorn but we’re all fooling ourselves a little if we aren’t internally fretting to some degree about what could happen from now until January 20th. We’ve shook through some intense moments and survived, and we’re past the safe harbor point so there will be no more attempts at recounting or any decertifying actions spurred on by his wildly incompetent legal team. Trump’s options lessen and lessen as time grinds by. The best days of an attempt at a coup are behind him. I’m confident but cautious that the trend will continue to favor American democracy over the conceits of a petty, tiny-minded, power-drunk rich fool.

UPDATE: The estimable Steve at No More Mister Nice Blog outlines the next challenge to the will of the people. It doesn’t involve Trump, but it’s no less than a congressional rebellion if it comes to pass.

Between Hope And Annihilation

It’s the morning after the election, and I am sad to take note of how many people voted for our unstable, mercurial, homicidal incumbent. It’s clear that we on the left have not come fully to grips with who we are as a nation.

As the land lays right now (8am), we don’t have a clear winner yet. Mail-ins favor Biden, and we already have a Trump campaign a) declaring victory. and b) announcing it’s going to go to the mat to stop votes from being counted. The latter activity seems to me to be a good sign that the Trump machine is worried about the result. But hope has been hard to come by these last twelve hours; we were all heavily invested in a “blue wave” that broke well before it could drown Trump and anyone he trucked with in these last four years. It never materialized. Our Senate is going to be lost to the GOP again and that should tell us something (EDIT 11/5: this observation was faulty and premature).

It’s time to start understanding that we are not a righteous or a particularly smart nation. But is it our fault we are always so wrong about it? Or have we been so psychologically tormented by Trumpist control of the nation that we will latch on to just about anything that claims it can end it? I am not sure. But this is the year that we should disabuse ourselves of the notion that good will always triumph over evil. Evil always has even odds. I’m reminded of Hunter S. Thompson’s somber coda in Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas which goes a little like this:

There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. . . .

And that, I think, was the handle—that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting—on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.

Those of us who read know how it all turned out; the American dream was too elusive for capture. That was true in 1971 and I suspect not much has changed. Lucy, ever the little white supremacist, has always had the football and ever it shall be. They had acid, we have Twitter. We believe in each other’s inherent power but I’m afraid that’s not always the stuff that moves a mountain.

I hope everything turns out the way we need it to. But we should gird ourselves for a bitter conclusion because our fellow countrymen, women and otherwise clearly do not know up from down. If we win, let’s not forget too easily that we came close to being blown out yet again. If we lose, let’s nonetheless remember that optimism is not the elemental force we thought it was. We shall always continue to vote for what is correct and proper, but we must leave a little room and prepare for annihilation. It’s the only fair thing we can do for ourselves in this cussed nation. This is a fight, and you always stand a chance of getting hit with a punch you weren’t expecting.

Not Even Trying To Hide It

Here at the seminary, we try not to pass up opportunities to mark certain notable events. I’m a little hungover, but my brain nevertheless got stuck on this exchange between Mark Meadows and Jake Tapper:

MEADOWS: “We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas — “

TAPPER: “Why not get control of the pandemic? 

MEADOWS: “Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu.”

TAPPER: “But why not make efforts to contain it? 

MEADOWS: “Well we are making efforts to contain it.”

TAPPER: “By running all over the country and not wearing a mask? That’s what vice president is doing.”

MEADOWS: “Let me just say this. What we need to do is make sure that we have the proper mitigation factors, whether it’s therapies or vaccines or treatments, to make sure that people don’t die from this. But to suggest that we are going to actually quarantine all of America –“

TAPPER: “No one’s saying that.”

You read that right. That’s the Trump chief of staff officially signaling an end to any efforts on the part of the administration to control the pandemic. They’ve simply given up. Not that they tried in the first place, mind you. But Americans should be terrified as fuck about the prospects of a second Trump term. Trump himself is now on record saying no one will be talking about COVID anymore should he best Biden on the 3rd. Rather, the president is much more concerned with claiming to have saved Christmas greetings instead.

I can’t believe some of you motherfuckers are gonna vote for four more years of this lying, do-nothing bullshit artist. If cases and deaths are spiking, which they are, we could be staring down the barrel at a situation where we will have nearly all been infected, with deaths in the millions before someone coughs up a working vaccine. How is our already overtaxed healthcare system going to treat all these new cases if that’s all we’re preparing to do? We’re going to be fucked. And it’s all because Trump has no work ethic, no sense of responsibility, and no curiosity about solving real problems suffered by real people. It’s an insane possible future.

November 3rd cannot, for America’s sake, go the wrong way. It’s a real choice we face between healing and mass death.

Vote Joe Biden.

Please.

For you, your kids, my kids, somone else’s kids, your momma and your poppa. Get out there and pick someone possessed with a sense of duty to Americans.

On Hating Mike Love

You could say I am a pretty big Beach Boys fan.

I came to the group late in my mid twenties, having learned that my faves The Beatles were jealous about the musical powers of Brian Wilson. I thought that was odd, because to me up until then they had always been little more than a novelty act.

As many of you know, that is not the case. Listening to Pet Sounds for the first time changed my life a little. It’s definitely on my list of musical epiphanies. The arrangements and the harmonies were almost magical to me.

Time’s not been kind to the boys. Brian Wilson’s cheese fell off his cracker in the seventies, and the Beach Boys became that novelty act I suspected them of being.

That second part is Mike Love’s fault. That guy’s a fucking dick, milking his old act for every buck he can get. He has worked hard over the years to disenfranchise his troubled cousin Brian because he was not stable enough for touring. I don’t completely fault him for that; I went to see Wilson on the Pet Sounds 50th anniversary tour, and he was a sad sight, ruining all the special work he created with what I’d kindly call a lackluster performance.

Still, I have always resented Love for his viciousness towards Brian and his shameless carrying-on without the genius that brought the Boys to stardom.

And now he’s become a Trumpster. Who saw that coming? Selling his legacy out to help that imbecilic boob of a non-president is not surprising I suppose; he’s never been much possessed of scruples. But I’m sad and angry about it all. The whole lot of them should hang it up and no one should give any of them another dime.

Fuck Mike Love. Real hard.

How did the boomer generation go from acid and free love to this? Was it rehab and gonorrhea? I’ll never understand it.

COVID Island Baby

I figure if anything needs a commemorative post, it’s the news that Donald Trump caught himself the ‘rona. I’ll keep this brief.

After months of denying, scoffing, flouting scientist’s recommendations, and cavalier behavior at superspreader events, he has finally, I think, gotten exactly what he deserves.

I don’t feel bad at all that he is sick. Why should I? Did he spend even a minute mourning the 208,000 people who died while he did nothing?

No.

It is what it is. Fuck him in the eye.

I’m supposed to take the high road as a compassionate liberal. I’m supposed to be better. But Trump, who has foisted so much pain on this country in nearly four years, is a creature beyond sympathy-at least my sympathy. And if that’s tasteless, so the fuck be it.

I tell you what though, we may all need to get right with JHVH quick, because it would appear that it might have been Amy Coney Barrett’s introduction as SCOTUS nominee that caused the outbreak in the Rose Garden. You see, the nominee had COVID not too long ago, and recovered-but there’s speculation that she might still have been “shedding the virus”.

It is nonetheless conceivable that He received Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s eternal soul, and emptied a bowl of wrath upon the heads of those who could not wait to erase and replace her.

Trump’s in a high risk category for dying from COVID, but he will get the best care in the world and I figure he will survive by dint of that. But one thing is most likely; if he does live, he will remain un-chastened by his ordeal, returning to us just as annoying and useless and dangerous as before. This is not a person possessed with any sort of self awareness at all that we are talking about.

I expect Biden will tread through these next two weeks or so with class and poise along a path to eventual victory, which makes him a better person than me, and that is why he is a politician and I am whatever the hell I am.

Enjoy this little ditty on me. Because there’s no more fucks being produced at my fuck factory.

The Worst Debate That This Planet Has Ever Known

Despite an anxiety condition, I decided to put the debate on.

That was the wrong move. I was up all night with palpitations.

I expressed the thought that Trump was going to turn it into a circus to a friend, but I never thought it would get as out of hand as it did.

Ever hear of the Gish Gallop?

That’s what Trump did for the 50 minutes of the debate that I could stand. He launched fusillades of filibustering untruths and they came so fast and so furious that it would take Joe Biden days to refute all of it.

Chirs Wallace lost control of the debate completely. Each candidate could have two minutes to respond to an issue he brought up. But Donald Trump steamrolled right over that rule. He wouldn’t give anyone, including Wallace, a chance to speak.

I don’t know what’s worse; a terrible moderator or a terrible debater. But both of those were on display last night.

Regarding Joe; he was a little nervous at the start, offering a shaky answer as to why Coney-Barrett was the wrong choice for the Court. He could have elucidated the hypocrisy of the Republicans for creating the rule that no president should seat a nominee in an election year. Instead, he offered two reasons: Obamacare and Roe. OK.

And that was the end of the sanity.

It devolved rather quickly into a crosstalking, grating miasma. And Wallace let it all happen. Biden couldn’t get a word in edgewise; at one point he asked the president to shut up because of his incessant babbling.

I hear there were other moments but I called time of death of the debate at 9:50pm. Forty more minutes of that shit was a bridge too far for me.

I imagine there will be calls for moderators to mute microphones to obviate whatever it was that happened last night. I also think Joe Biden has standing to decline debating Trump again. There’s clearly nothing we can learn when these two men get in a room together. Frankly, I am surprised Joe didn’t swear, leave the stage or pop Trump for denigrating the lives of his boys.

Trumpers will be thrilled at the outcome of the debate; to them, he must have “dominated” since he threw everything but the kitchen sink. The more reasonable among us will disagree because he showed a serious lack of self control unbound by rules and custom. It’s alright for a debate to get a little contentious, that’s expected. But one was reminded here of the proverbial pigeon who walks around shitting on the chessboard claiming victory. We’re reminded of what a piss poor president he truly is; a man not confident at all to state his positions calmly. A man with no command of facts or depth. Insults instead of insight.

In 2016, we deserved Donald Trump for one reason or another. This is 21st century America and it turns out that it’s a suckier place to live than one might have thought. But I would like to think some of us have learned a little over the course of these godforsaken years since then.

One thing is clear: the fact that this election is going to be anything less than a runaway for Joe Biden is cause for lots of fucking worry.

The Song Is (Almost) Over

I’m probably going to get this one wrong, but I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that it’s almost time to write the coda to the Trump fiasco.

Of course, Maggie Haberman, Trump’s bete noire at The Gray Lady is placing the notes, measure by measure.

She’s a proponent of the notion that Trump is applying chaos principles he used in business to the governance of the nation. All of you no-neck dumbfucks out there who thought it’d be a great idea if a businessman took over the operation should be forced to wear sandwich boards saying “HELP, I NEED CIVICS LESSONS”. But anyway, I demur from Haberman’s thesis. If you ask me, it’s more like this:

It’s going to take a lot for me to admit that our clown prince has any methods or any theories at all-not even chaos. For me, you can boil everything he does down to one thing, which is, will I be liked for what I am dong? All decisions stem from this peculiar, immediate, pathological need. So it looks a lot like a chaos strategy because none of it makes any sense if you aren’t thinking about Trump’s deep seated developmental disorder.

In any case, Maggie’s compiled a nice list of Jenga pieces that have been pulled. There’s been a LOT this week. Trump’s imposing tariffs on imported metals. It seems that one of Donald’s endgames is to build more than one wall. Whether we realize it or not we are going to spiral into a sort of soft fascism by believing that we can sustain our way of living without any outside help. Sound familiar? Yep. North Korea. Their existence is totally predicated upon a similar stubborn self reliance, and it’s plainly obvious how Orange Caligula’s ideas are analogous. America First. Make America Great. Combine this hypernationalism with the cult of personality that 35% of the country believes in, you have a recipe for a country on permanent alert and lockdown, full of people who are armed, fearful and angry. We’ve been working at this since 2001 but now the process is speeding like a bullet train. But anyway, prices are going to go up as a result of punitive tariffs, and the stock market is going to get the jitters too-especially if the Fed raises rates.

Then there’s the disappearing of Hope Hicks, Trump’s whisperer. Hicks allegedly told a few “white lies” to investigators and might have put herself in legal jeopardy. Without Hicks, Trump is reduced to watching “Fox And Friends” to get the positive feedback he desperately needs. And John Kelly is wringing out the nepotism, patronage, and corruption in the White House by pulling all the ridiculous interim security clearances that Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and many of the staffers have enjoyed in order to view sensitive information. Kelly may be a tool, but he’s a professional tool. And the misadministration seems allergic to professionalism, perhaps because Trump needs to feel like he’s the smartest man in the room. But it’s going to be awfully quiet at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, because his national security advisor is also jumping ship.

Because Trump cannot be ever said to be firmly “on the reservation”, it’s not news that he isn’t. He’s got the ammosexuals in straitjacket fits by seeming to want to take people’s guns without due process, and for once, correctly calling out the cowardice of legislators when it comes to bucking the NRA. But, as my perspicacious friend always says, he’s all hat and no cattle. Haberman notes this typical backtracking. For all his talk, Trump’s kind of a little bitch when it comes to an actual fight. He steadfastly refuses to plant a flag anywhere, because that might require commitment and sustained attention, two things which he is short on.

Every day is another bombshell, and the salvos are starting to hit behind the lines.

A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

 

 

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