Don’t ask why I read this Appendix

After a long sermon, in Appendix II, about the importance of recognizing that all morality flows from biblical sources, the now defunct 1776 Commission offers Appendix III: Created Equal or Identity Politics? a solid John Birch Society analysis of what makes these despicable freaks demanding equality so goddamned repulsive and deserving of our scorn:

In recent times, however, a new creed has arisen challenging the original one enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. This new creed, loosely defined as identity politics, has three key features.

First, the creed of identity politics defines and divides Americans in terms of collective social identities. According to this new creed, our racial and sexual identities are more important than our common status as individuals equally endowed with fundamental rights.


Second, the creed of identity politics ranks these different racial and social groups in terms of privilege and power, with disproportionate moral worth allotted to each. It divides Americans into two groups: oppressors and victims. The more a group is considered oppressed, the more its members have a moral claim upon the rest of society. As for their supposed oppressors, they must atone and even be punished in perpetuity for their sins and those of their ancestors.

Third, the creed of identity politics teaches that America itself is to blame for oppression. America’s
“electric cord” is not the creed of liberty and equality that connects citizens today to each other and to every generation of Americans past, present, and future. Rather, America’s “electric cord” is a heritage of oppression that the majority racial group inflicts upon minority groups, and identity politics is about assigning and absolving guilt for that oppression.

According to this new creed, Americans are not a people defined by their dedication to human equality, but a people defined by their perpetuation of racial and sexual oppression

You can, of course, put it much more simply and without the fancy, pejorative “ideological” label (or without hammering the word “creed” over and over, telltale tic, that). If it is self-evident that we are all created equal, if the Constitution has been amended to ensure the rights of citizenship to all former slaves and their issue, then equality among citizens is a goal as American as apple pie and belief in Jesus Christ Himself. It follows that people who are not treated equally even now are entitled to equality under law. So sorry if it makes you pompous oppressor fucks feel perpetually angry and guilty!

Again, this hits me personally, from a lifetime of experience with people who insisted they loved me and claimed the right to angrily define me as they saw fit. If you have the good fortune to stand calmly beside their deathbed you might hear a last minute admission that they were wrong to call you a vicious, unfair, irrationally hurtful fuck. You may hear, as I did from my father, that the long war had not been your fault but their’s, though they uncompromisingly blamed you for all of it.

The 1776 Report was a long exercise in identity politics, from the lofty perspective of the noble knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Pelf

The principles of equality and consent mean that all are equal before the law. No one is above the law, and no one is privileged to ignore the law, just as no one is outside the law in terms of its protection.

from The 1776 Report

I glanced over former president Trump’s last minute, first and final 1776 Report, by the now-defunct Presidential Advisory 1776 Commission. The Advisory 1776 Commission, which had so much to teach us, has gone the way of Trump’s short-lived Presidential Voter Integrity Commission, alas. The report has all the earmarks of a hastily produced term paper by a know-it-all junior high school genius, submitted seconds before the teacher’s tyrannical deadline for failing the course. The timing was also perfect, released as it was on Martin Luther King Day. I looked at it so you don’t have to, but here is some of the essence.

First, as to proofreading and Freudian slips:

The advantages of union are detailed in the first fourteen papers of The Federalist (a series of essays written to urge the Constitution’s adoption), and boil down to preventing and deterring foreign adventurism in North America, avoiding conflicts between threats, achieving economies of scale, and best utilizing the diverse resources of the continent.

avoiding conflicts between threats, ya’ll.

Most importantly, I learned a great new word, “pelf” [1], a word that describes the bulk, perhaps the entirety, of the former president’s undisclosed very, very huge fortune. Stephen Miller (or somebody doing an uncanny imitation of the hateful little puke) left no stone unturned in digging up inspirational, high-minded quotes for why we must have patriotic education that instills pride, instead of lingering on painful aspects of our common history, things that divide us and make us weak and unfree. Here’s the “pelf” quote, from FDR:

The Nazi juggernaut quickly conquered much of Europe. The rule of the Axis Powers “is not a government based upon the consent of the governed,”said President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. “It is not a union of ordinary, self-respecting men and women to protect themselves and their freedom and their dignity from oppression. It is an unholy alliance of power and pelf to dominate and enslave the human race.”

In straightening out the misconceptions, apparently harbored by millions of us, about our values and history, the report enumerates our most important constitutional rights. Miller cites the three most important, freedom of religion, number one, obviously, something else, and this, possibly most important of all:

Finally, the right to keep and bear arms is required by the fundamental natural right to life: no man may justly be denied the means of his own defense. The political significance of this right is hardly less important. An armed people is a people capable of defending their liberty no less than their lives and is the last, desperate check against the worst tyranny.

Laying out our most important challenges:

At the same time, it is important to note that by design there is room in the Constitution for significant change and reform. Indeed, great reforms—like abolition [2], women’s suffrage, anti-Communism, the Civil Rights Movement [3], and the Pro-Life Movement—have often come forward that improve our dedication to the principles of the Declaration of Independence under the Constitution.

We’ll leave aside whether anti-Communism or the Pro-Life Movement are reforms, great or otherwise (were we once Communist before we wised up and reformed our great nation?) but let’s go right on to the fundamental, foundational false belief of that challenge to democracy, up there with Communism and Fascism — Progressivism. Progressives operate by a false theory of “group rights,” an idea, we learn, actually, factually, historically, undeniably, based directly on slavery advocate John C. Calhoun’s cray-cray “principled” defense of slavery, as you shall learn:

Progressives believed there were only group rights that are constantly redefined and change with the times. Indeed, society has the power and obligation not only to define and grant new rights, but also to take old rights away as the country develops.

Based on this false understanding of rights, the Progressives designed a new system of government. Instead of securing fundamental rights grounded in nature, government—operating under a new theory of the “living” Constitution—should constantly evolve to secure evolving rights.

Here is where the false (not mistaken, incorrect, or controversial, mind you– FALSE) Progressive idea of “group rights,” ironically embraced by many descendants of former slaves, comes from. This is a hilarious irony so few appreciate as we continue to snarl at each other instead of working together to make America great again:

And yet over the course of the first half of the 19th century, a growing number of Americans increasingly denied the truth at the heart of the founding. Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina famously rejected the Declaration’s principle of equality as “the most dangerous of all political error” and a “self-evident lie.” He never doubted that the founders meant what they said.

To this rejection, Calhoun added a new theory in which rights inhere not in every individual by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God” but in groups or races according to historical evolution. This new theory was developed to protect slavery—Calhoun claimed it was a “positive good”—and specifically to prevent lawful majorities from stopping the spread of slavery into federal territories where it did not yet exist.

Miller (I assume this bigoted, limited, blowhard, Trump’s “Minister of Hate”, wrote and had the first and final edits on the Commission’s educational, inspirational text) gives us the prescription going forward for how we must educate our youth:

States and school districts should reject any curriculum that promotes one-sided partisan opinions, activist propaganda, or factional ideologies that demean America’s heritage, dishonor our heroes, or deny our principles. Any time teachers or administrators promote political agendas in the classroom, they abuse their platform and dishonor every family who trusts them with their children’s education and moral development.

Miller’s solution is a SCHOLARSHIP OF FREEDOM, the antithesis of what is taught at American universities (with few exceptions):

Universities in the United States are often today hotbeds of anti-Americanism, libel, and censorship that combine to generate in students and in the broader culture at the very least disdain and at worst outright hatred for this country. [4]

Of course, the most important thing is REVERENCE FOR THE LAW (the report was clearly already at the printer when the President’s Advisory Committee watched the president and his son whip up an angry lawless mob, urging them to give strength to patriots trying to overturn an election he insisted was stolen)

The principles of equality and consent mean that all are equal before the law. No one is above the law, and no one is privileged to ignore the law, just as no one is outside the law in terms of its protection.

In his Lyceum Address, a young Abraham Lincoln warned of two results of a growing disregard for the rule of law. The first is mob rule: “whenever the vicious portion of [our] population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision stores, throw printing-presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with impunity, depend upon it, this government cannot last.”


But Lincoln also warned of those of great ambition who thirst for distinction and, although “he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set
boldly to the task of pulling down.”


Whether of the Left or of the Right, both mob rule and tyrannical rule violate the rule of law because both are rule by the base passions rather than the better angels of our nature. Both equally threaten our constitutional order.

Then the loyal, shameless Miller picks up his trowel

When crimes go unpunished or when good men do nothing, the lawless in spirit will become lawless in practice, leading to violence and demagoguery.

Patriotic education must have at its center a respect for the rule of law, including the Declaration and the Constitution, so that we have what John Adams called “a government of laws, and not of men.”

As for “SLAVERY”, no worries, we weren’t doing anything everyone else wasn’t doing, PLUS:

Thomas Jefferson also held slaves, and yet included in his original draft of the Declaration a strong condemnation of slavery, which was removed at the insistence of certain slaveholding delegates. Inscribed in marble at his memorial in Washington, D.C. is Jefferson’s foreboding reference to the injustice of slavery: “I tremble for my country when I reflect that
God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.”


James Madison saw to it at the Constitutional Convention that, even when the Constitution
compromised with slavery, it never used the word “slave” to do so. No mere semantics, he insisted that it was “wrong to admit in the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”

Which is why, the historical reason, boys and girls, we have THE n-word today. Forget about those other thousands of words you can look up that start with N — you know the word we’re talking about. Don’t say it, and everything will be cool. Unity and healing, y’all.

By the way, typical of “group rights” group-think, President Biden (got to wish him luck) immediately disbanded the 1776 Commission by executive order.

[1]

pelf/pelf/nounARCHAIC

  1. money, especially when gained in a dishonest or dishonorable way.”damnation dog thee and thy wretched pelf!”

[2] on American slavery and abolition:

The most common charge levelled [sic] against the founders, and hence against our country itself, is that they were hypocrites who didn’t believe in their stated principles, and therefore the country they built rests on a lie. This charge is untrue, and has done enormous damage, especially in recent years, with a devastating effect on our civic unity and social fabric. 

Many Americans labor under the illusion that slavery was somehow a uniquely American evil. It is essential to insist at the outset that the institution be seen in a much broader perspective. It is very hard for people brought up in the comforts of modern America, in a time in which the idea that all human beings have inviolable rights and inherent dignity is almost taken for granted, to imagine the cruelties and enormities that were endemic in earlier times. But the unfortunate fact is that the institution of slavery has been more the rule than the exception throughout human history.

…The foundation of our Republic planted the seeds of the death of slavery in America. The Declaration’s
unqualified proclamation of human equality flatly contradicted the existence of human bondage and, along
with the Constitution’s compromises understood in light of that proposition, set the stage for abolition.
Indeed, the movement to abolish slavery that first began in the United States led the way in bringing about the end of legal slavery.

This conflict was resolved, but at a cost of more than 600,000 lives. Constitutional amendments were passed to abolish slavery, grant equal protection under the law, and guarantee the right to vote regardless of race. Yet the damage done by the denial of core American principles and by the attempted substitution of a theory of group rights in their place proved widespread and long-lasting. These, indeed, are the direct ancestors of some of the destructive theories that today divide our people and tear at the fabric of our country. 

[3] The, like, totally unfair tyranny of “Civil Rights”

The Civil Rights Movement was almost immediately turned to programs that ran counter to the lofty ideals of the founders. The ideas that drove this change had been growing in America for decades, and they distorted many areas of policy in the half century that followed. Among the distortions was the abandonment of nondiscrimination and equal opportunity in favor of “group rights” not unlike those advanced by Calhoun and his followers. The justification for reversing the promise of color-blind civil rights was that past discrimination requires present effort, or affirmative action in the form of preferential treatment, to overcome long-accrued inequalities. Those forms of preferential treatment built up in our system over time, first in administrative rulings, then executive orders, later in congressionally passed law, and finally were sanctified by the Supreme Court. 

[4] This includes restoring patriotic education that teaches the truth about America. That doesn’t mean ignoring the faults in our past, but rather viewing our history clearly and wholly, with reverence and love. We must also prioritize personal responsibility and fulfilling the duties we have toward one another as citizens. Above all, we must stand up to the petty tyrants in every sphere who demand that we speak only of America’s sins while denying her greatness. At home, in school, at the workplace, and in the world, it is the people—and only the people—who have the power to stand up for America and defend our way of life.

It’s Morning in America

As Roger Stone, Paul Manafort and their famous client Ronald Reagan used to say while campaigning against Jimmy Carter, only with a real feeling of optimism this time for most of us. Any president with ordinary human emotions is preferable to one filled only with grievance and grandiosity, and a childish railing against how unfairly life has treated him, even while insisting he’s the greatest man ever. A president with ordinary human feelings is especially needed during our multi-pronged national emergency.

Michelle Goldberg, NY Times opinion columnist, mentioned the obvious in a chat with Ari Melber the other day. If Trump had been impeached and removed from office a year ago, the first time it was done, countless American lives would have been saved.

Invoking the Defense Production Act (as Biden plans to do, starting today) would have provided all Americans with personal protective gear, can now likely be invoked to increase production of the vaccine and so on. If Trump had just worn a fucking mask instead of weaponizing reasonable medical advice during a deadly pandemic, and told the 75,000,000 who’d go on to vote for him to put masks on for all of our sakes, it would have made a huge difference, many thousands of lives would have been saved.

Imagine: if there had been a fair trial at Trump’s first impeachment, and Senators had voted based on the sworn testimony of the witnesses and the weight of the evidence (witnesses and evidence both were banned from the “trial” by impartial jury foreman Mitch McConnell, who vowed from the start to work closely with Trump’s defense team to dismiss the political stunt ASAP), Trump would have been removed at the very dawn of the pandemic. Mike Pence, although shameless and spineless, would have been empowered (by his wife Karen) to oversee a reasonable reaction to the wild spread of an incurable, sometimes deadly disease. Countless Americans, dead of COVID-19, would still be alive today.

It is no consolation to the families who lost loved ones that poster boy for deranged indifference DOnald Trump is going out in a shit storm (of his own creation, of course).  There is a report that Secret Service said Trump left a large turd unflushed in one of the presidential toilet bowls when he vacated the White House for the last time early today. If true, not surprising in the least, it is in Trump’s nature to constantly double down, it’s literally all he knows how to do. Leaving a last bit of his DNA at the crime scene is something he couldn’t help but do.

There is a deeply troubling, self-obsessed personality type — they are never wrong, they are never satisfied, they crave more and more, can never sit back and enjoy their achievements in peace. This personality set-up compels rage-driven men like Roy Cohn, proud dirty trickster Roger Stone, Donald and Don Jr., to keep fighting, keep aggressively and senselessly upping the ante, indignantly defending their corruption, the pugnacious, in-your-face transgression of all rules and laws, until everything goes operatically wrong at the very end and they lose everything.

Think of Cohn at the end, disbarred, under criminal indictment, a promiscuous, self-hating homophobic gay man dying alone of AIDS he insisted was cancer. Think of the once wildly successful conquerer, Mr. Hitler, raving in his bunker, sending starving young German boys out to the barricades with rifles to fight the Red Army, the Americans, the allies pouring into Berlin from every direction, ranting that Germany betrayed him and deserves to get destroyed.    

I’m looking forward to seeing the come-uppance of some of the callous criminals who profited during the Trump regime. Their many crimes must not be left on a page turned in the name of moving on. I find it impossible to imagine that there will not be a long moment of national reckoning for many of these creatures (though it looks like Louis DeJoy is likely to skate for his smugly defended attempts to restrict mail-in voting to steal the election for his friend).

It was a nice touch that Trump pardoned Bannon at the very last minute.   Perfect, really, pardoning the guy who ripped off Trump’s own most loyal suckers to make himself richer, Trump has done no less.   Sloppy Steve crawled back into Trump’s good, gullible graces just in time for a pardon, after ingratiating himself by being a violent insurrection consultant during the execution of the Capitol siege.

Now Bannon, and any of the other pardon recipients, can be forced to testify about certain things, under oath, with no ability to invoke a 5th Amendment right to remain silent, since, after their pardon, they can’t incriminate himself as to what they were pardoned for– which they are also deemed guilty of, according to Glenn Kirschner and a hundred year-old Supreme Court precedent).

A better world starts today, and not a moment too soon!    

I loved the wry ending of Heather Cox Richardson’s post tonight, which begins with the well-documented illegal help provided to the Trump campaign from Vladimir Putin, and how Trump’s presidency was one long dance away from the obvious fact, verified by Democrats and Republicans alike, that Trump openly (and secretly) welcomed Putin’s help and kissed up to the Russian strongman for his entire presidency. Here’s how Heather ends her excellent summary of the Trump regime:

Joining Romney in calling for new sanctions against Russia were a range of senators from both parties.

The act is called the “Holding Russia Accountable for Malign Activities Act.”

Why Martin Luther King, Jr. had to die

It’s worth remembering, the day after most of the nation recalled, and many celebrated, the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., that although his courageous advocacy led to changes in the laws of this great nation, his moral message did not touch many.

Yesterday, on Martin Luther King Day, Trump’s administration, in one of its final official acts (outside of executing a record-shattering number of federal prisoners), put out a 41 page book report called The 1776 Report. Written as a refutation to the “liberal” narrative (see the NY Times 1619 Project, for example) that we long tolerated a brutal and dehumanizing form of race-based slavery and have a lot of racial healing to do in this deeply racist nation, the 1776 Report purportedly refutes the idea that there is any institutional racism in this great and idealistic nation. Written in the incomparable prose of angry anti-immigration troll Stephen Miller, it has already been characterized by historians as of a piece with the rest of the deep thinking young fascist’s pronouncements and policies, informed by his masters’ uninformed views of history, race and genetics.

I’m not interested, at the moment, in how debunkable this provocatively released (had to be on MLK Day, y’all) report is, how many historians have already come forward to attack it as the amateur ahistorical attempt to rewrite history that it is. I am thinking about the difference between truth-telling and endlessly repeating lies in the service of what is blandly called “ideology”.

The word ideology gives a veneer of respectability to otherwise disprovable, often ridiculous “theories” that underly “ideology”, ideas that are not actually worthy of serious discussion (“Trickle down economics,” “Birtherism” “child-blood-drinking pedophile elites running the opposition to Trump” etc.) appear serious. “White Supremacy” is an ideology, as is “fascism” as is “Movement Conservatism” as is belief in “the Unitary Executive”. All serve a view of the world, based on protecting certain minority interests, always at the expense of the interests of vast populations. Each “ideology” extolls one group while vilifying and marginalizing a much larger group.

Martin Luther King pushed for social change using nonviolent mass protest based on Gandhi’s satyagraha [1] “holding firmly to truth” or “truth force”. The principle is based in ahimsa, non-harm, which requires a person to hold firm in her quest for justice, to be direct in expressing opposition to injustice, but not to use violence, in fact, to be willing to suffer injury yourself, to bring about the desired change. Satyagraha works, when it does, by awakening the sleeping conscience of society to oppose immoral harms it tolerates.

King and his colleagues brought white racist willingness to inflict every brutality on Americans who sought to simply have the same rights as everyone else to TV screens across the world. When masses saw vicious dogs loosed on peaceful protesters, bloody beatings, high pressure firehoses used to push terrified protesters against walls and shop windows, millions were sickened. Moral pressure increased to change some of the worst of the in-your-face unfairness of “Separate but Equal”. Legislation was eventually passed, after the assassination of JFK who came fully aboard the anti-racism train late in his presidency, protecting Voting Rights, fair housing rights and other rights long denied the descendants of former slaves.

JFK had a tricky relationship with MLK, and initially kept his distance from him, in part because J. Edgar Hoover, unprincipled anti-Communist crusader and longtime FBI director, wrote a secret memo to the Attorney General (JFK’s brother) alleging that MLK was a communist sympathizer. The allegations were false — the ‘information’ it was based on was laughably thin, one adviser of King’s had once been a member of the party, but had renounced his membership years earlier (leaving aside Americans’ right to membership in any political party we choose) — but Hoover stood by the truthfulness of the memo smearing King as “red” and refused to divulge sources, citing top secrecy that even the president and Attorney General were not cleared to have access to [2]. The more things change…

King came to see that racism, poverty and militarism were inseparable parts of the same implacable monster of injustice. Integrating public accommodations across the country was a small step forward that didn’t address the underlying causes of great human misery in the wealthiest country in history. The reason we have racism in America is closely related to the reasons we have massive wealth inequality and widespread poverty in the land of abundance. It doesn’t take a communist sympathizer to grasp this. Militarism, using overwhelming deadly force to “pacify” and to “solve problems”, is the irresistible force that allows injustice to persist, as the military leeches hundreds of billions of dollars needed to mount a serious program to alleviate poverty. The problem is not “white” vs. “black”, the problem is a society that allows vast inequality and massive poverty, supported by “ideology” (like a belief in white superiority) and deploys overwhelming deadly violence against those who express any problem with the arrangement.

A year to the day from King’s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam speech in NYC, coincidentally we are told, a lone gunman silenced King’s voice with a gunshot to the throat (actually, the sniper’s bullet hit him in the cheek [3]). Listening to King’s Vietnam speech you hear simple truth spoken, truth which has been confirmed by history, truth even more undeniably true when seen against our wars in Iraq, Panama, Afghanistan, death by drone, all the proxy wars, like the brutal, current American-backed Saudi war in Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.

The plain truth of the speech, and our government’s perpetuation of the same brutality over and over since VIetnam, makes King sound like a prophet. The speech also marked King as a dangerous “trouble maker”. Major media (the NY Times and Washington Post among them, of course) attacked him as straying from his lane, destroying his credibility, his legacy. He was marginalized after that speech, monetary support for his cause withered as a result of the widespread media criticism, yet he persisted. He was organizing a biracial Poor People’s Campaign when he was murdered by yer proverbial lone gunman.

Here is some of what he said in the speech that marked him as a man worthy of silencing. See if you can find fault in it. I can’t, particularly in light of the countless equally “controversial” uses of overwhelming American military force, often on the shakiest of grounds, since.

At this point, I should make it clear that while I have tried in these last few minutes to give a voice to the voiceless in Vietnam and to understand the arguments of those who are called “enemy,” I am as deeply concerned about our own troops there as anything else, for it occurs to me that what we are submitting them to in Vietnam is not simply the brutalizing process that goes on in any war where armies face each other and seek to destroy. We are adding cynicism to the process of death, for they must know after the short period there that none of the things we claim to be fighting for are really involved. Before long, they must know that their government has sent them into a struggle among Vietnamese, and the more sophisticated surely realize that we are on the side of the wealthy and the secure, while we create a hell for the poor.

Somehow this madness must cease. We must stop now. I speak as a child of God and brother to the suffering poor of Vietnam. I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted. I speak for the poor of America, who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam. I speak as a citizen of the world, for the world as it stands aghast at the path we have taken. I speak as one who loves America, to the leaders of our own nation: The great initiative in this war is ours; the initiative to stop it must be ours.

This is the message of the great Buddhist leaders of Vietnam. Recently one of them wrote these words, and I quote: “Each day the war goes on, the hatred increases in the heart of the Vietnamese and in the hearts of those of humanitarian instinct. The Americans are forcing even their friends into becoming their enemies. It is curious that the Americans, who calculate so carefully on the possibilities of military victory, do not realize that in the process they are incurring deep psychological and political defeat. The image of America will never again be the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but the image of violence and militarism,” unquote.

If we continue, there will be no doubt in my mind and in the mind of the world that we have no honorable intentions in Vietnam. If we do not stop our war against the people of Vietnam immediately, the world will be left with no other alternative than to see this as some horrible, clumsy and deadly game we have decided to play.

The world now demands a maturity of America that we may not be able to achieve. It demands that we admit that we have been wrong from the beginning of our adventure in Vietnam, that we have been detrimental to the life of the Vietnamese people. The situation is one in which we must be ready to turn sharply from our present ways.

In order to atone for our sins and errors in Vietnam, we should take the initiative in bringing a halt to this tragic war and set a date that we will remove all foreign troops from Vietnam in accordance with the 1954 Geneva Agreement.

Part of our ongoing — part of our ongoing commitment might well express itself in an offer to grant asylum to any Vietnamese who fears for his life under the new regime, which included the Liberation Front. Then we must make what reparations we can for the damage we have done. We must provide the medical aid that is badly needed, making it available in this country, if necessary.

Meanwhile — meanwhile, we in the churches and synagogues have a continuing task: While we urge our government to disengage itself from a disgraceful commitment, we must continue to raise our voices and our lives if our nation persists in its perverse ways in Vietnam. We must be prepared to match actions with words by seeking out every creative method of protest possible.

These are the times for real choices and not false ones. We are at the moment when our lives must be placed on the line if our nation is to survive its own folly. Every man of humane convictions must decide on the protest that best suits his convictions, but we must all protest.

the rest of the speech is here

[1]

Satyagraha, or holding firmly to truth, or truth force, is a particular form of nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. Someone who practices satyagraha is a satyagrahi. The term satyagraha was coined and developed by Mahatma Gandhi. Wikipedia

[2]

This was discussed at length in the excellent Kennedy and King, the President, the Pastor and the Battle of Civil Rights, by Steven Levingston. The book is a fascinating, detailed, suspenseful account of the dramatic push and pull during that struggle for human rights. I highly recommend it, particularly in the audiobook version, which is read by a very talented reader.

[3]

The bullet entered through King’s right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder.

source

The RADICAL Left storms Capitol to hang Pence

The GOP, after failing to overturn certified election results, is now the party of healing and calming things down, blaming angry Democrats for once again stirring the shit pot by dwelling on an unfortunate invasion of the Capitol nobody saw coming. The title above comes from the equally compelling initial response of official Republicans — that the mob in Trump merch that laid siege to the Capitol was actually, probably, a bunch of radical Antifa and Black Lives Matter terrorists (in white face, presumably) looking to make innocent Trump supporters look bad. You had Trump loyalist Matt Gaetz, from the floor of Congress, indignantly stating this self-evident truth:

I know Matt would appreciate the rugged, masculine frame I put his fighting words in. Matt, I must add, seems to be a total douchebag, although very entitled and coming by it honestly. One can’t help but applaud the sophistication of his defiant “I Know You Are But What am I?”. Far more violence by the LEFT than by his people, you dig, not just a little, but worse by a mile, by far more than a mile.

And, although all FBI threat assessments in recent years (and, notably, there was no threat assessment issued prior to the Trump rage riot of January 6) and leading up to a locked down inauguration, support the opposite of this claim, there is no other reason to doubt Mr. Gaetz’s veracity. As Alan Dershowitz dementedly pointed out defending Trump in his first impeachment “trial”: if he truly believed he wasn’t lying, or if he lied for what he truly believed were the best interests of the country, then he wasn’t lying.

Also, of course, since Reagan ended the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 [1], there is no penalty in American politics for telling massive, easily disprovable lies, which can now be broadcast to the nation with no consequences for the untruthful (you can always later retract any reports based on lies, reported in error, that could make you liable for a crime). As the president knows very well, unless you lie under oath, and they have the balls to indict you, and they can prove you had the intent to commit perjury (rather than simply, say, a ratlike survival instinct), there is no harm and no foul for public lying. They let you do it, when you’re a star.

Virtually all kills in political street confrontations in the USA have been racked up by white male killers from the extreme right, lately Trump’s army — but, it may be equally true that this is false, no? It is considered gauche and provocative to call attention to the sickening fact that angry, armed white men railing in the name of some kind of liberty have killed virtually everybody who was killed by domestic terrorists in the U.S., whether you call these goon squads “right wing militias”, “patriotic white supremacists”, “lynch mobs”, “gunmen” or aspiring “death squads”.

But, of course, that kind of opinion is in the eye of the beholder, really. No facts can be cited, since no records of such violence are kept, or even reported in our newspapers or on TV. When you have an armed mob of angry white men descending on the statehouse in Michigan, pursuant to an angry presidential tweet urging them to rise up and fight the tyranny of a Democrat [sic] governor who is stealing their right to infect whoever the hell they want, and members of said armed mob are later arrested for a conspiracy to kidnap, try and execute the governor, you can say this:

The purpose of these kind of idiotic statements is to nullify any reasonable reliance on inconvenient fact, to destroy critical thinking and make everything subject to “skepticism”. The DOJ at the time of the arrest of these terrorists in Michigan was run by supreme Trump loyalist Bill Barr (a disappointment to the boss when he arbitrarily would not cross certain legal lines for fear of prosecution by a future DOJ). The current FBI director was appointed by Trump, after one who wouldn’t play ball was fired for not dropping an investigation into Trump’s friend, who later pled guilty to a felony and had to be pardoned. These Trump appointees, Barr and FBI director Christopher Wray, had evidence that armed thugs in Michigan had been actively planning the kidnapping, “trial” and public execution of a sitting U.S. governor. The FBI arrested these men, they have been charged with serious crimes and will stand trial in an actual court.

Of course, we’ll have to see if this is a problem. Kraken-releasing Flynn attorney Sidney Powell may have an argument that it’s no problem at all. “Sidney said to me, before Rudy fired her, and many times since — and I’m not paying that Italian shyster for the shit legal service he claims to have provided me and is now trying to gouge me for — Sidney said ‘this is maybe no problem at all, sir’. They all call me ‘sir’, I don’t know why, I tell them to call me Fuckface like my closest friends do, but, you know, I have the best people, the best people…”

We’ll have to see if there’s a problem.

Meanwhile, it is quite possible, according to the Sedition Caucus that attempted to overturn certified election results in several states, that, just days before Trump leaves office, dangerous and insane RADICAL DEMOCRAT hoards finally went mad and set off to lynch the Vice President, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and others. We’ll have to see if this is true. We’ll have to see if there’s maybe a problem. You never know until you see, and sometimes, when you see, you still don’t know. We’ll have to see, you know?

earlier incarnation of “Trump”

[1] Heather Cox Richardson:

The roots of modern right-wing extremism lie in the post-World War II reaction to FDR’s New Deal and the Republican embrace of it under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Opponents of an active government insisted that it undermined American liberty by redistributing tax dollars from hardworking white men to those eager for a handout—usually Black men, in their telling. Modern government, they insisted, was bringing socialism to America. They set out to combat it, trying to slash the government back to the form it took in the 1920s.

Their job got easier after 1987, when the Fairness Doctrine ended. That Federal Communications Commission policy had required public media channels to base their stories on fact and to present both sides of a question. When it was gone, talk radio took off, hosted by radio jocks like Rush Limbaugh who contrasted their ideal country with what they saw as the socialism around them: a world in which hardworking white men who took care of their wives and children were hemmed in by government that was taxing them to give benefits to lazy people of color and “Feminazis.” These “Liberals” were undermining the country and the family, aided and abetted by lawmakers building a big government that sucked tax dollars.

source

Both-sidesism

One of the most popular justification techniques, and defenses, of bad behavior is the claim that anyone on the other side of the argument would do exactly the same thing. If I punched you in the face during a heated argument it is only because I had the courage to do what you wished you could have done, if you weren’t a pussy like Mike Pence (president’s words, yo) [1]. You see how beautifully that works? Both sides truly want violence when they are enraged, it’s human nature, so if one side uses it, who on the other side can blame them without being a liar and a hypocrite since you yourself would have used violence, if you weren’t like Mike Pence?

After an angry pro-Trump mob chanting “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!” (speak of the devil) broke into the Capitol building and sacked it last week we actually heard members of one side, arguing against holding the main instigator of the riot responsible, comparing the violent response to the president’s incendiary lie about a stolen election to the angry nationwide protests over police killing of unarmed black people, like the recent senseless murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and others since) which were met with justifiable government force and mass arrests (14,000 and counting).

That strained “both sides do the same thing” comparison is absurd, even just in light of the respective actual violence of the two groups. Members of both crowds broke windows, sometimes — true, but the comparison pretty much ends there. In fairness, only one side overran police barricades, assaulted and seriously injured officers (killing one, in another videotaped case beating downed police officers with the poles of American flags while chanting “USA! USA!!”) and smashed up the interior of a public building, violently disrupting the lawful business of the people working there. There are also reports of the MAGA crowd repeatedly calling Capitol Police Officers doing their duty “niggers.” They said the fucking n-word!!!

Also notable in comparing these, eh, “protests” is the five or six hour lag in restoring order during the Capitol riot, while lawmakers were forced to hide from a violent mob, in closed rooms, huddled close together with defiant, mouth-breathing “anti-maskers” [2] and the immediate mobilization of overwhelming police force during the Black Lives protests. In the case of the largely peaceful protests over the unjustifiable police killings of unarmed citizens, the use of government force, batons, horseback maneuvers, tear gas (or ‘non-irritating’ pepper spray, as Barr ridiculously insisted), mass arrests, was often pre-emptive. Think of that phalanx of federal law enforcement, in riot gear, standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial as the Black Lives Matter protesters went by. Think of the instant mass arrests for curfew violations, five minutes after curfew was called. Then think of the president, watching his violent mob live on TV for hours, not taking frantic calls from besieged lawmakers (even from his vice president the pussy), doing nothing whatsoever to stop it [3]. And rioters, strolling unmolested after the curfew in DC was called.

Think back into the dark past, five or six months ago, when Mr. Barr and “Mr.” Trump sent federal anti-riot forces in to break up mostly peaceful protests in what they later deemed “Anarchist jurisdictions”. Federal law enforcement spokespoodles (like the recently departed Chad Wolf –no time like during a national emergency to finally step down) claimed they were enforcing the law against dangerous “violent anarchist” mobs when they deployed anti-riot squads to battle crowds that threatened federal property. These federal anti-riot troops were sent in, usually over the objections of local “anarchist” authorities, pursuant to Mr. Trump’s July 3, 2020 Executive Order on protecting monuments (and federal property) [4] which states, in section 6:

Sec. 6.  Protection of National Garden and Statues Commissioned Pursuant to this Order.  The Attorney General shall apply section 3 of Executive Order 13933 of June 26, 2020 (Protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues and Combating Recent Criminal Violence), with respect to violations of Federal law regarding the National Garden and all statues commissioned pursuant to this order.

source

Ah, pursuant to section 3 of Executive Order 13933. Of course. You can google that shit, I don’t need to read (or smell) it at the moment. I remember reading some of it at the time, great fun.

Just one more example of this maddening “both sidesism,” because my anger just won’t resolve into peaceful acceptance at this still perilous moment for us all. If there is a pandemic, let’s say, and my side decides to weaponize health and safety precautions because we think it somehow helps our party maintain political dominance — well, wouldn’t you have done the same if your side had thought of it first? We cleverly become the party of freedom, because we hate all forms of tyranny and lockdown. Your party is the party of tyranny, because you hate freedom and love stupid lockdowns. You close businesses people love, we open businesses people love. You doomsayers are just jealous because we thought of this winning strategy first! YOU WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME THING WE DID! And, making you even more despicable, you’re too dishonest to admit it.

Sekhnet has been on-line for hours and making phone calls around the clock trying to get an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19. She’s having a devil of a time, the websites are all overwhelmed, no appointments available until after June, places giving the shots yesterday are out of vaccine today. We hear that the release of the vaccines has been “botched.” So judgmental. Who botched it? Don’t look at us, cuck!!! It’s the fault of corrupt local authorities, private industry, nothing to do with the federal government that was robbed so openly by tens of millions of traitors!

There is a real cost to convincing citizens that the government is the enemy. The extremism of the president’s party (it’s his party, and he’ll cry if he wants to) is the culmination of a more than sixty year reaction to an “activist” Supreme Court unanimously ruling that racial segregation was not “separate but equal”– that, in fact, segregation imposed an unconstitutional badge of inferiority on American citizens based on their complexion.

The original multi-millionaire racists who organized to fight against the Court’s tyranny, men like Charles Koch’s dad, Fred, and his colleagues in the John Birch Society, framed their jihad for liberty as anti-Communism. Any program initiated to help citizens, or society at large, was part of a massive Communist anti-American conspiracy. Within a decade they’d frame the fight more directly as against “big government”, insisting that private initiative is the best way to deal with any and all problems. Reagan famously quipped about the “scariest nine words” in the English language “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” Newt Gingrich and presidential medal of freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh and their fellow travelers carried the fight to shrink government so that it could be drowned in a bathtub forward.

Currently that battle, whose shock troops are white supremacists, has been against plainly observable fact, truth itself. Mask wearing during a pandemic is not a sign of social responsibility, not an act of love for our neighbors, it is a sign you hate the president! If you had the election stolen from you, you would also run amok and threaten with death anyone who tried to justify the steal!!

Who is the great enemy of the modern day Republican party? Antifa, which is short for anti-fascist. To be anti-fascist is to be unAmerican in Trump’s America (let’s dig up that antifa murderer Dwight Eisenhower!). We should form a committee in Congress, once Republicans regain control, to investigate and hold public hearings on the unAmerican activities of these opponents of fascism. I nominate Josh Hawley and Lyin’ Ted Cruz to head it, even though they are, technically, senators. They would do no less to us!

[1]

Donald Trump has chosen to spend the waning days of his presidency alternating between feeble efforts to cancel the election and subjecting his vice-president to a series of torments. The New York Times has new details about the latter, which includes Trump making a final demand that Pence attempt an absurd, illegal maneuver to overturn the election results. “You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Trump said, according to two sources, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”

The sheer stupidity on display in this exchange is worth contemplating. Trump was insisting on a theory that had emerged from far-right fever swamps, according to which the vice-president can unilaterally decertify the electoral votes of any state and for any reason he chooses. The theory implies that the Constitution contains a loophole that gives vice-presidents the ability to negate any election result, but that no previous vice-president has bothered to use this tool.

Trump was further supposing that Pence would submit himself to the humiliation of being smacked down by the Republican-controlled Supreme Court. And he believed, most bizarrely of all, that his best way of winning Pence over to this scheme was to call him a “pussy.”

This is Mike Pence. The extremely religious conservative, who won’t be alone in a room with a woman who isn’t his wife and who was mortified by Trump being caught on tape using the word “pussy.” Try telling him Jesus wants him to do it! It probably won’t work, but the pussy line is definitely not going to work.

source

[2]

After the riot, and the confirmed infection of at least three Democratic lawmakers locked down for hours with people refusing to put on the masks they were offered, the Democratic-controlled House leapt into action, immediately passing a strict rule that mandates mask-wearing in the Capitol during the deadly pandemic. Fines imposed under this new rule will be taken directly from the paychecks of those who violate the rule. In this case, I can confidently state that Republicans, in the majority, would have done no less.

Not for nothing, “anti-maskers” turned a terrifying siege by the militant wing of their party into a super-spreader event, as any responsible citizen in their right mind would have done. Clearly.

[3] Donald Trump, Jr. is, undeniably, a moron and a blowhard, though during the riot he helped incite, he showed himself to be smarter than his genius dad:

Around the same time, Trump Jr. headed to the airport for a shuttle flight home to New York. As he waited in an airport lounge to board the plane, the president’s namesake son saw that the rally­goers they had all urged to fight were doing just that, breaching police barricades and laying siege to the Capitol.

An aide called Trump Jr. and suggested he immediately issue a statement urging the rioters to stop. At 2:17 p.m., Trump Jr. hit send on a tweet as he boarded the plane: “This is wrong and not who we are,” he wrote. “Be peaceful and use your 1st Amendment rights, but don’t start acting like the other side. We have a country to save and this doesn’t help anyone.”

But the president himself was busy enjoying the spectacle. Trump watched with interest, buoyed to see that his supporters were fighting so hard on his behalf, one close adviser said.

source

but don’t start acting like the other side

lame, yes, but the best he had. At least the little piece of shit stayed on-brand with his sprayed diarrhea, in the course of covering his ass by immediately calling for restraint. When he told the mob they’d have a good time going after traitors, immediately before the riot his dad couldn’t take his eyes off of on TV (“and I’ll be there with you!”), he meant that metaphorically, under the license granted to all great poets and visionaries.

[4] which explains, in the immortal prose of Stephen Miller:

These statues are silent teachers in solid form of stone and metal.  They preserve the memory of our American story and stir in us a spirit of responsibility for the chapters yet unwritten.  These works of art call forth gratitude for the accomplishments and sacrifices of our exceptional fellow citizens who, despite their flaws, placed their virtues, their talents, and their lives in the service of our Nation.  These monuments express our noblest ideals:  respect for our ancestors, love of freedom, and striving for a more perfect union.  They are works of beauty, created as enduring tributes.  In preserving them, we show reverence for our past, we dignify our present, and we inspire those who are to come.  To build a monument is to ratify our shared national project.

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Like the eternal blessed memory of those great men who led the forces of rebellion against the United States, who took up arms to kill their brothers, in the name of States’ Rights to have chattel slavery, if they so choose.

14th Amendment, Phooey!

After the Civil War Congress amended the Constitution to abolish slavery (13th), extend equal protection of the laws to all citizens (14th) and ensure that male former slaves and previously freed black men could vote (15th). Each of these Amendments had a loophole or two that could be quickly exploited by the enemies of equality under law.

The thirteenth left open a loophole that allows the involuntary servitude of convicts, which has come in very handy for American business (and is indispensable to the State of California in fighting increasingly severe wildfires). The fourteenth was almost immediately judicially nullified, for use by individuals, for close to a century, (though corporate “persons” made excellent use of it all along) and states were allowed to apply equal protection and due process of law as they saw fit, under “States Rights”. As for the Fifteenth, well, states that didn’t want “black” voting were very creative in coming up with ways of legally quelling it, when they weren’t simply terrorizing potential voters by letting people lynch them.

There is this third section of the 14th Amendment, the amendment intended to extend the protected rights of federal citizenship (specifically the Bill of Rights) to the citizens of all states and has, since 1963, been used countless times to vindicate the rights of those unconstitutionally screwed by state and local governments nationwide. Section three was included because men who had engaged in violent insurrection against the United States were coming back into Congress, and fighting to be heard in lawmaking. We didn’t want blood-smeared traitors, who had recently endorsed the butchering of our army, sitting in the national legislature, making speeches for the slaveholders who’d so recently been robbed of so much of their wealth after losing the war.

Section three of the Fourteenth Amendment is a historical footnote today, a legal oddity that spells out no procedure, but is intriguing nonetheless in light of the continued endorsement of violent insurrection (“this is a moment for unity and healing” [1] “let insurrectionist bygones by bygones, the president learned his lesson” [2] “don’t divide us further, libtard cucks!” [3]) by many members of the Republican party. Like the ones who voted yesterday against Congress officially asking Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove an increasingly desperate, out-of-control president whose predictably wild criminality, including calls seeking to rig the vote count and to violent insurrection inside the Capitol by extremist militias, has soared as uncontrollably as the rampaging pandemic he bears not a whit of responsibility for. If a few breaks had gone differently (for instance if hero Capitol cop Eugene Goodman had not led rioters away from an unsecured door of the Senate chamber) there would likely have been a hostage situation in the Capitol. I wonder how Republican unifiers would have spun Mike Pence swinging from a gibbet [4].

Well, as always, you be the judge. Here’s that pertinent part of the 14th Amendment, see if it applies to anyone you can think of.

Section 3:

No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability. 

[1]

The federal government has had no response whatsoever to Trump’s attempted putsch the other day. Silence from the federal government — no statement from any federal authority. So, you know, we can all move on, because Mr. Trump is quietly heading to Alamo, Texas, to run his perfectly appropriate insurrection from there, as the FBI suddenly gets busy tracking rightwing militia (domestic terrorist) plans for the coming week. Too bad about Pence, though. Let’s have unity and healing, y’all!

[2]

No reason to make people feel bad, we’ve heard apologies from some who were arrested after storming Congress chanting “Hang Mike Pence”. They admit they made a mistake. They regret their actions, or at least they say they do after they’re arrested, some of them. Very fine people, on all sides, on all sides!

[3]

After all, as our raging president continues to claim, this election was stolen from him by the traitorous radical Left, who are intent on dictatorship after mobilizing the Blacks, the Mexicans, Muslims, the Chinese, Iran, the Mass Media, Mass Transit, transsexuals, homosexuals, homophiles, homophones, atheists, secular humanists, Communists, Leninists, Socialists, Liberals, Maoists, Trotskyites, disloyal Republicans, Jews, Puerto Ricans, Samoans, and the cannibal pedophile elites who run Hollywood and the Democrat [sic] party. They know who they fucking are!

[4]

How is it that Congress has not passed rules for mask wearing in the House and Senate? Several members of Congress were infected with COVID during the lockdown when Congress was under siege by an armed right-wing mob. They were infected by Republican colleagues who refused to wear masks. Representative Pramila Jayapal, who was infected by these proud “anti-maskers”, reported that they mocked the attempts of others to give them masks. How, even now, that is there no rule in place? Trumpist contrarianism, yo. Time for unity and healing, bitches.

How to Never Heal

Pro tip: NEVER, EVER, ADMIT YOU WERE WRONG!

In a world where we all make mistakes, sometimes very hurtful ones, I’m glad to have a disposition that allows me to forgive people. That may sound funny coming from a man who felt he had to cast many old friends adrift over the years, but it’s true. All I need to be able to forgive is a sincere expression of regret when somebody I care about hurts me, their understanding of why I was upset and an assurance they will try hard not to act that way again. Reconciliation can’t happen without truth. If I won’t even acknowledge that I acted badly toward you, when you spell out exactly why you were hurt by my actions, repeated actions in many cases, what hope can you have about the comfort of our friendship going forward? Think about it.

How not to heal: refuse to hear what the other person is concerned with, no matter what, focus on your own counter-grievance, press it over and over. When they complain, tell them they are whining snowflakes, oversensitive, passive aggressive pussies. “I elbowed you in the Adam’s Apple for the fifth time this week — BY ACCIDENT, ASSHOLE, as I already fucking told you!” is an explanation that attempts to bully you into accepting your powerless in the relationship. “I’m not wrong, YOU ARE,” is an asshole’s first response most of the time.

People who are not comfortable apologizing will often “double down” in the sickening gambler’s phrase we all learned during Mr. Trump’s regime. Apology, admittedly, requires a moment of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes, recognizing that you too would feel hurt, followed by an act of humility — contritely asking forgiveness — that makes you vulnerable. Ironically, it takes a certain amount of strength and self-confidence to apologize, even when you know you’ve hurt someone.

Insecure people have a very hard time admitting they are ever wrong, especially when the result of their actions is set in front of them. By reflex they feel attacked, become defensive, counterattack. It is the only play of someone too insecure to acknowledge the possibility of being mistaken. We are living through a prime public example of what I am thinking about in interpersonal terms and it has us at the brink of being angry enough to actually begin murdering one another.

In the case of the many Republican politicians continuing to support the president (many by their silence) in his endlessly repeated lying claims of massive electoral fraud (he made the same claim when he narrowly “won” in 2016, millions of dead people voted then too), they are sticking to their stories [1].

That their story may make little or no sense, less important than having a story. As more and more terrible facts emerge, like sickening details of the violent riot incited by their leader, seen by everyone, the stupid cover-stories about the sudden need for unity, or Antifa, or Trump learning the first lesson of his life, become more and more ridiculous. They simply can’t stop now, not after their tireless, valiant campaign has finally brought us to to bring about this sickening, anti-democratic zero-sum political moment. Now even a violent riot by insurrectionists planned and fomented by the president can be … a… a teachable moment? — a step forward on the road together? They need a story. Any story is better than no story, wait, here we go.

To hold Trump accountable for planning and inciting a riot, inviting an angry mob to D.C. on January 6th to STOP THE STEAL!, sending the stirred up mob down to the Capitol while he instructed federal law enforcement to stand down, in hopes of seeing Mike Pence (so disappointing!!) swinging from the gallows and the heads of his other enemies on pikes (“Hi Nancy, hi Chuck!! Hi, Shifty Schiff! who’s laughing now?”), would– eh, DIVIDE THE COUNTRY! That’s it — yeah, Democrat traitors, look who’s trying to divide the country now, shameless partisan hypocrite zealots!! We’re trying to heal here, you libtard commie fucktards, and you’re… so… goddamn mean and hypocritical — and vindictive! Admit you’d do the exactly the same thing if you had the election stolen from you, or even claimed repeatedly and falsely that it was stolen from you!

As I watch this heart-sickening theater, personal feelings are being vigorously stirred. Two friends from childhood did exactly this move in recent years. One simply by refusing to admit that his reflex to make me angry had anything to do with him, the other by telling me he had no idea why I was upset with him, repeatedly asking for an explanation for why I was so hurt and then attacking me for explaining it in such a brutal way. In short, two smart people incapable of great insight into themselves, unable to behave any better than they did and angry at being unfairly expected to. Each now has the consolation of knowing that I was finally the cruelly self-righteous, heartlessly unforgiving asshole who put an end to a long, beautiful friendship. I don’t begrudge them, it’s all they’ve got.

I was telling a friend recently that I’d truly have no problem forgiving either of them, if they would only own up to what they’d done, and kept doing, that was so hurtful to me, promised to try to do better. If the first guy had a breakthrough in psychoanalysis and called to tell me he realized that he was actually, unconsciously, often trying to provoke me to rage and was sorry about it, I’d be playing guitar with him the next day. The second guy is a slightly harder case, because although he initially thanked me for my mildness in stating my grievance without accusation the first couple of times, he remained specifically unapologetic (he claimed to have no understanding of why, exactly, I’d been so upset) and non-responsive, repeatedly telling me I still hadn’t made myself clear, pushing me for clarification, and then blaming me for clarifying things, which was very hurtful and made him feel terrible! A more complicated kind of asshole than the first guy, still, I’d be glad to forgive him, if he contacted me with even a soupçon of insight into how his actions, and his constant doubling down, had finally aggravated me beyond endurance.

Politics is personal, its roots go back into our formative childhoods. Social scientists have run tests to determine the basic personality types of the typical liberal and the typical conservative. Here’s a test. Take these traits and assign them to one side of the political spectrum or the other: obedience, loyalty, harsh punishment, self-sufficiency, individualism. If you said “liberal” you pass the test. How about these: fairness, reconciliation, mutual help, community. If you picked “conservative”– how right you are!

We embrace the worldview that comports with our upbringing, or sometimes rebel against it hard, like Stephen Miller (whose family, survivors of Hitler, is anti-fascist). If dad taught you that the Bible said “spare the rod, spoil the child” and took every opportunity to not spare the rod, well, you are more likely to have a certain view of the righteousness of harsh punishment and retribution. If mom instilled a conviction that food should be shared equally by everyone at the table, that no-one should ever go hungry, or get less than somebody else, there’s a different fundamental lesson about what is truly important in life.

I knew the families of these two guys I grew up with quite well. The home life of the first was an endless exercise in restraining and repressing very understandable anger. The mother, a woman of great charm and intelligence, is a compulsive (though often harmless) liar and something of a manipulator. The father, an equally charming person, was treated like a rebellious child in their home, and acted chastened much of the time. This daily humiliation was disguised as a deep love that nobody could deny. The second kid was raised by an openly autocratic father and a narcissistic mother who worshipped his uncompromising dad without question. My friends had little chance to learn any life lessons at home but what they did. Both of these boys, as men, endured rough marriages that ended in ugly divorces.

You can understand these unfortunate backstories and, still, it doesn’t sit right (my home life was as bad or worse in many ways), in a world where we can work to gain more insight and change things about our lives that torment us the most.

I am prone to anger, and it is my daily work to get better at not succumbing to it, work I consciously do. One thing I’ve learned is that when you cannot solve an interpersonal problem with someone, it is crucial to simply walk away. That applies in the moment you are getting mad as well as longterm, of your decision to stay in an aggravating arrangement with little emotional counterbalance. To conclude that proneness to anger is simply my nature, and there is nothing I can do about it, would be an abdication of any moral responsibility or agency on my part. What they used to call a “cop out” in the sixties — it’s not me, man, it’s undeniable, immutable genetic-social necessity!

To return to my personal examples of the problem of making peace with people who have lost the ability to see things from your point of view: the first guy will endlessly deny his anger and his unconscious provocations, make it everybody else’s problem that they are so angry all the time — a stance that is, frankly, infuriating. The second guy will do pretty much the same, actually, though in a much more sophisticated way. They will both be right, eternally. And so be it.

It is beyond our powers to change any of that, least of all in someone else, particularly a person who sincerely believes we can really not do anything differently, or better, than we’ve always done. It reminds us of the role our native dispositions play in our outlook, I guess, and whether you’ve had the luck to have at least one parent love you unconditionally.

Back to “politics”, the sword hanging over all of our heads. As the US nears 375,000 dead of the pandemic, it’s clear that the president, who has snapped that he has no responsibility for it, doesn’t care. He cares about overturning a rigged election he has produced zero proof was in any way improper. He clearly DOESN’T CARE IF YOU DIE and he’s not going to address taking reasonable steps to prevent the wild spread of COVID-19, in fact, he’ll weaponize disease prevention itself and insist on super-spreader events like that mask-free tour de force of domestic terrorism he hosted last week then inflicted on the Capitol.

The plain fact that the leader of the wealthiest nation in the world, whose infection and death rates are 5X higher, by population (4% of world population, 20% of infections) than anywhere else, clearly doesn’t care about stopping the spread of this deadly plague, by itself, should be a compelling argument for removing him under the 25th Amendment. It’s depraved, if not outright insane.

Oops, there I go again, angrily dividing this poor, ravaged country!

Back to the promise of the title: How to Never Heal. Focus on a grievance and being the victim. Nurture those painful feelings, no matter what.

In the case of aggrieved Trump followers, let’s take one major strand of their belief system — that the unreasonable, pushy demands of America’s coloreds endlessly claiming racism in America are a crock of crap. Here’s what you do, Trumpie, hit back with history. FACT: the ones who were slaves, the black ones, were freed more than 150 years ago. Fucking get over it! You people are fucking animals, look at you! That’s why we had a phalanx of National Guardsmen in full anti-riot gear guarding the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as you passed by in your protest march — because you are insane, violent savages who will never be satisfied no matter how many rights we give you and you would have attacked even the sacred statue of Abraham Lincoln, the best friend you ever had until LBJ, if given the chance. Nothing will be enough for you, until we are your slaves. Now get out of our way so we can go hang Mike Fucking Pence.

There you go, it is as easy as that. If you are determined to be right, even with a grievous self-inflicted wound, even if it means being a moronic, self-deluding puppet screaming against your own best interests, it is very simple to do. Take the three easy steps again: focus on a grievance, nurture it, justify it, no matter what; repeat as necessary. You can thank me later.

On the other hand, if you want to heal, for some reason, there are a few necessary steps. You have to be honest. You need to honestly discuss the things in the past that have led to the harmful situation we find ourselves in now. You have to acknowledge terrible things that happened (beyond a nonchalant “we uh tortured some folks”, if you know what I mean) and commit to fixing them. You have to listen carefully, be open to all proposals for improving things, if you want to have real reconciliation. If you want to correct injustice you have to first look at it fairly, listen to the voices of those who are being hurt by it, remove from the conversation those who are intent on perpetuating unjust practices.

If you want to be right, of course, just blame the pitiful losers for wanting to be victims when YOU ARE ACTUALLY THEIR VICTIM! You know what I’m saying?

USA! USA!!!!

[1]

The New York Times, channeling The Onion (America’s Finest News Source), reported on its front page earlier today (they removed the headline in the last hour, during updates, so I paraphrase:) Supreme Court Declines to Fast-track Trump Election Case. I was too slow to click on it while it was up, and it can’t be easily found (searching “Supreme Court” on the buggy NYT phone app doesn’t do it) but, seriously– WHAT THE FUCK? What fucking Trump election case?

“My only regret is that it is all so terribly true!”

The Birth of A Nation [1] was a breakthrough silent motion picture, the longest ever made at the time — over three hours long, an innovative twelve-reel epic considered by many a kind of masterpiece, certainly a landmark of filmmaking. It was the first motion picture ever shown inside the White House [2], where President Woodrow Wilson, the only American president born in the Confederacy, screened it for his guests. Afterwards he wrote the gushing review above (though probably without the colorful borders).

Birth of A Nation is a history of the Civil War that portrays the chaos and suffering in the war-ravaged South during Reconstruction, after the bloody Civil War it was forced to fight against Northern aggression. According to this electrifying (and mythically fabricated) history, after the war the poor south was being terrorized by savage blacks, lording it over their former masters, raping white women. A heroic group of modern-day knights arose to free the oppressed South and defend white southern womanhood. These chivalrous knights were the Ku Klux Klan, who arrive dramatically by horseback to save the day, and not a moment too soon!

Wilson is remembered, in many history books, as a Progressive and a visionary idealist who laid the groundwork for the United Nations. Every Black person I’ve ever talked to about Woodrow Wilson recites Wilson’s Klan bona fides. A straight up racist who re-segregated the federal government and engaged in other racist mischief while in office, (not to mention the odd bits of antisemitism while president of Princeton). It makes sense that he loved the history written with lightning by D.W. Griffith, though, or course, goddamn it, it was all so terribly true!

Speaking of history written with lightning, staunch racists and the terrible truth, you recall this emerging story, the recent siege of the Capitol where anti-democratic insurgents sure enough erected a gallows outside the Capitol and, we learned the other day, a group prowled the halls looking for the disloyal Mike Pence and calling for his immediate lynching (Karen Pence is the one they should have been looking to disable if they had a problem with anything Mike does or doesn’t do).

One thing the mass media pundits are still pondering, as a thorough investigation into the riot is called for, is “what went wrong?” For some reason Congress was overrun by a white supremacist mob called for and urged into action by the president and for hours no federal back-up arrived in force to stop it, even as police were brutally attacked and several were hospitalized. A total puzzler. I guess we’ll just have to wait for authorities to figure that head-scratcher out.

You’ll recall that unlike the overwhelming anti-riot force that was immediately used to disperse peaceful protesters so that Mr. Trump could pose with a Bible, these pro-Trump revelers were allowed to break into the under-guarded Capitol and wild through the halls of the People’s House for hours before Trump-controlled federal authorities allowed the National Guard to show up, the safety of our elected government finally protected and order restored. Very, very few arrests were made, the huge mob that had ransacked the Capitol was allowed to leave unmolested, though rioters attacked police (injuring a dozen including one who died of his injuries) vandalized the place and at least one defecated in a public area of the Capitol (get his DNA and make him clean it up). The president, who watched the mayhem live on TV, reportedly with satisfaction, finally addressed them.

President Trump on Wednesday urged his supporters who laid siege to the Capitol to “go home in peace,” hours after they first forced their way into the building. 

In a one-minute taped video released on social media, Trump urged his supporters to disperse. But he reiterated his false claims that his election defeat was “fraudulent,” which was the basis for the protest in the first place.

“You have to go home now. We have to have peace,” Trump said. “We have to have law and order. We have to respect our great people in law and order. We don’t want anybody hurt.”

“This was a fraudulent election, but we can’t play into the hands of these people,” he continued. “We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special. You’ve seen what happens. You see the way others are treated that are so bad and so evil. I know how you feel. But go home and go home in peace.”

source

Trump’s lawyers (the few remaining non-rabid ones) and family members finally convinced him, as details of the riot came into focus, that the storyline didn’t look very good for Mr. Trump, added up to a likely impeachment and later indictment for incitement to riot and a sustained call for an insurrection to overturn election results that made him feel bad. The facts don’t look good for POTUS, the blood of several Americans who died in the riot, including at least one police officer attacked by the mob, appear to be on the Insurrectionist-in-Chief’s stubby hands. Somebody wrote a short statement for Trump to read, deploring the deplorable actions taken at his urging. He grudgingly read it in a recorded message, sincerely expressing his outrage at the outrage.

Trump had for weeks urged the angry crowd to show up in D.C. (to rally, packed close together, maskless and shouting, during a wildly surging pandemic) on January 6th, the day the certified votes were officially tallied at the Capitol. Trump promised these enthusiastic young extremists it would be “wild”. He was as good as his word, this time.

Listen to this excellent 2:46 evocation of what preceded the Trumpist riot:

It is the first section of a Thursday report by National Public Radio’s brilliant Audie Cornish. The full episode of the broadcast is here. Here is a link to the transcription by NPR. [3]

He hosted a mass rally the night before where at least two pardoned felons rallied the crowd. Mike “Lock Her UP!” Flynn exhorted the crowd “those of you that don’t have the moral fiber in your body, get some tonight because tomorrow we the people are going to be here, and we want you to know that we will not stand for a lie!” (Hilarious, really, coming from a convicted liar, the first Trump official fired by the Liar-in-Chief, for lying to Pence). The night after the rally these amped up uber-“patriots” clashed with D.C. police. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser immediately called for National Guard troops to prevent a likely riot the following day.

Mr. Trump had his interim-acting minions take no action on the D.C. mayor’s request for National Guard troops to help prevent the inevitable, what he planned and very much wanted to happen. Politics is very personal for the president and Mayor Bowser had done horrible things to him, including painting a giant “BLACK LIVES MATTER” over Trump’s footsteps with Bill Barr and the Bible, so he repaid her, that nasty, low-IQ black female. The president himself whipped up the crowd the next day, telling them: “we will never give up. We will never concede. It doesn’t happen. You don’t concede when there’s theft involved“.

As the riot raged, with Capitol police under attack (those officers who were not welcoming to the rioters, anyway) terrified Congress members hid and made calls for help. One call was to the governor of Maryland who immediately mobilized the Maryland National Guard. The governor’s request for federal permission to deploy the troops was refused for a couple of hours as the wild rumpus continued.

People died. The images of the brutal rampage are sickening to most Americans. After the crowd erected a gallows outside the Capitol, before they stormed and sacked the People’s House, that should have been the start of anti-riot intervention. Peaceful crowds that Trump hates and vilifies have been routinely assaulted, violently and with impunity, gassed and beaten by federal anti-riot troops that have been rushed in even over the protests of state and local authorities. An investigation will show that Trump ordered, and his acting lackeys obediently ensured, that federal law enforcement stand down, right after POTUS activated the Proud, Bugaloo, PooPoo and Incel Boys, took them off stand by.

Trump didn’t want to make the statement criticizing the by now wildly unpopular riot, but he did. The words were particularly ridiculous coming from the man who provoked the violence and lawlessness and took affirmative steps to make sure the mayhem lasted for hours:

“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness, and mayhem,” Trump said, adding, “To those who broke the law: You will pay.”

source

Both of Trump’s statements, of course, are lies. Most of what he says is a lie, and beyond that, he doesn’t care one way or the other what he says, he’s a “transactional” guy– he says whatever he needs to for the sake of the deal.

He does not love the mob who worships him, he loves nobody, least of all himself.

He is not outraged by violence, lawlessness or mayhem, he incites those things, pardons people who do exactly those things, like the American mercenaries who shot up Nisour Square in Baghdad killing and wounding whoever was unfortunate enough to be on the receiving end of their sprayed bullets [4]. The only people who pay any legal price in Trumpworld are losers, like the mentally ill murderer Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row; he is going to get to watch her die at his command on Tuesday when he wields his power of life and death again.

Mr. Trump and his enablers are writing history with lightning. The rest of us, for the moment, can only regret that it is all so terribly true.

[1] Wikipedia:

In spite of its divisiveness, The Birth of a Nation was a huge commercial success and profoundly influenced both the film industry and American culture. The film has been acknowledged as an inspiration for the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan, which took place only a few months after its release. 

[2] Wikipedia:

Birth of a Nation was the first movie shown in the White House, in the East Room, on February 18, 1915.[51] (An earlier movie, the Italian Cabiria (1914), was shown on the lawn.) It was attended by President Woodrow Wilson, members of his family, and members of his Cabinet.[52]

[3] Here’s a taste:

CORNISH: Also speaking that night was a former aide to the president, George Papadopoulos, who Trump also pardoned for lying to the FBI.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS: We can’t forget, though, what Ulysses S. Grant said, there are but two parties right now – traitors and patriots.

(CHEERING)

Of course, Grant was referring to the traitors who had actually taken up arms against the United States in the bloodiest war in our history. The traitors whose flag of rebellion some in Trump’s crowd carried into the Capitol, along with actual Trump flags, which they waved while breaking through police lines, rhythmically grunting a two syllable chant with the exact cadence of the familiar “Seig Heil!” chant of yesteryear. Reason and knowledge of the past are not characteristics of Mr. Trump and his followers.

[4]

The massacred Iraqi civilians, whose unrepentant murderers Trump pardoned and had released from prison, included this nine year-old boy, Ali Kinani:

source

Impeach Trump, even if he’s belatedly removed under the 25th Amendment

There have been numerous calls (here’s another I read after posting this) by many smart people in recent days to immediately impeach, convict and remove the dangerous Mr. Trump. These came before he organized and orchestrated yesterday’s White Pride attack on the Capitol to prevent the final certification of his loss in the recent election.

There are countless compelling reasons to impeach him, I could write five or six articles of impeachment off the top of my head. Removing him from power via the 25th Amendment (unlikely as it would require moral courage from Mr. Pence’s wife) will minimize the additional harm he can do in his remaining days, prevent him from nuking Iran or committing some other desperate, supremely destructive insane last minute act, but impeachment should commence tomorrow, be wrapped up Monday or Tuesday, even if he is sidelined as incompetent to serve under the 25th. Impeachment and removal is the proper cure for someone like Mr. Trump, as it was from early in his reign, Nancy Pelosi’s brilliant, iron-willed political calculus notwithstanding.

Impeachment and removal will disqualify him from future political runs, mark him as an infamous American, our most notorious former president. He will become the first and only president impeached twice, the only one to be impeached and removed from office. This is only fair, since he is the only American president to persistently and energetically try to topple democracy, spending delusional months denying the results of a duly certified election and instilling an unshakable belief in his millions of fans that American elections are as fake as the fake, lying news — as “reality” TV — and that laws they hate need not be obeyed.

His forcible removal from office, after being decisively voted out, would be the repudiation of Trumpism that our nation desperately needs if any kind of reconciliation and healing is to begin. Trumpism, as we have learned, is open unapologetic racism and sexism, proud, unaccountable denial –of uncontrolled mass death from a pandemic, of science and demonstrable fact, selective enforcement of Law and Order, protection of corruption, the normalization of constant lying, unquestioning loyalty, a right to ugly presidential revenge for every perceived act of disloyalty and an absolute entitlement to uncompromising, righteous rage.

I’d like to see each of those 120 obstructionist traitors in the House who tried to obstruct yesterday’s legally required pro forma process (and signed on to the Texas AG’s idiotic Supreme Court filing that was his audition for a presidential pardon) stand up and vote not to impeach the president for leading a conspiracy to insurrection against his own government. The NY Times could run their photos the next day, like they did for the ones who stood up to contest the results of an election they knew to have been free and fair but that did not choose their unhinged leader.

The single article of impeachment for his attempted coup will pass the House in an hour, send it over to the Senate for the trial — make it just like the previous Trump impeachment “trial” only quicker, since this case is open and shut. No witnesses necessary, no documents, no evidence, outside of the specifically spelled out article of impeachment (I’d add a second article, mentioning the long course of Trump’s constant lifelong obstruction of justice, referencing the examples Mueller found and a dozen random more recent instances including the recording of his illegal solicitation of the Georgia Secretary of State to do him a favor.

I’d do this to correct the historical record on Trump, fatally distorted by the infamous Bill Barr, and make it clear to future generations that even the Unitary Executive and his cronies cannot be eternally unaccountable for high crimes he can pardon them all for.

Trial in the Senate, an up or down vote (unblockable by Mitch) after an hour of presenting the case. Let’s see Ted Cruz solemnly raise his hand and pose for his eternal moment of fame photo voting “nay” to impeachment. Josh Hawley, staunchly raising his fist to insurrections and voting “nay” — “say ‘cheese’, Josh! — you slimy motherfucker.” Tommy Fucking Tuberville, a defiant “nay” immortalized for the ages. (These three, at minimum, need to be expelled from the Senate by their colleagues for aiding and abetting electoral fraud and sedition, conspiracy to overthrow the elected government).

You might get a couple more fellow travelers who still believe in the Trump revolution, voting to acquit America’s most often exonerated, unfairly attacked president, hardcore unprincipled fanatics, but likely less than a dozen. At this point you have to believe Miss Lindsey and the Grim Reaper would be forced to vote in the affirmative to convict their former boss and best friend. “Abuse of power” is one thing, can be spun as a “political” judgment call, organizing a riot and invading Congress in a mad attempt to overturn an election… well… guilty 94-6. Bye-bye, Donnie — and best of luck to ya!

I don’t know anything about this photo above (it could be complete propaganda, taken on any day, perhaps outside a museum, with a solemnly worded plaque on the platform describing the barbarity of execution by hanging), but the image evokes an illegal second Trump term quite well. About that, there can be no doubt after yesterday.