More proof of the already conclusively proved

The New York Times released this, eh, surprising news yesterday:

WASHINGTON — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia authorized extensive efforts to hurt the candidacy of Joseph R. Biden Jr. during the election last year, including by mounting covert operations to influence people close to President Donald J. Trump, according to a declassified intelligence report released on Tuesday…

The reports, compiled by career officials, amounted to a repudiation of Mr. Trump, his allies and some of his top administration officials. They reaffirmed the intelligence agencies’ conclusions about Russia’s interference in 2016 on behalf of Mr. Trump and said that the Kremlin favored his re-election. And they categorically dismissed allegations of foreign-fed voter fraud, cast doubt on Republican accusations of Chinese intervention on behalf of Democrats and undermined claims that Mr. Trump and his allies had spread about the Biden family’s work in Ukraine.

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The line we often hear, about shady things done by powerful people, is that it’s not the crime itself, it’s the cover-up that gets you. Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller wasn’t appointed because of well-founded suspicions that the Trump campaign had had strategic help from and over a hundred contacts with Putin’s agents during the lead-up to the 2016 election — he was appointed when Trump fired Jim Comey for not dropping the investigation into Trump’s former National Security Director Mike “Lock Her up” Flynn. Flynn had been reluctantly fired by Trump for lying about his own contacts with Russia, then Trump attempted to squash the investigation and gloated by immediately celebrating Comey’s firing with a bunch of Russians in the Oval Office. It all looked so openly corrupt that Robert Mueller had to be appointed.

Mueller, of course, wound up having to write an entire second volume on Trump’s repeated attempts to interfere with his investigation, cover up his attempts to cover up widespread contacts with Trump’s benefactor Vladimir Putin, instruct his people to stay strong and say nothing, his obstruction of justice. Mueller was forced to do this because Trump’s people lied to him over and over, people like Paul Manafort who Trump later pardoned for not “singing” like a “rat”. Mueller’s short summary of the Obstruction of Justice volume would have made an excellent article of impeachment, but Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic braintrust did not have the stomach for that fight, banking instead on American outrage about Trump’s attempt to shake down the new president of a country few had ever heard of.

One star of the new revelations about Putin’s attempts to sow discord and secure another four years as American president for his pliable friend is slippery Russian intel officer/spy Konstantin Kilimnik:

The report also named Konstantin V. Kilimnik, a former colleague of Mr. Trump’s onetime campaign manager Paul Manafort, as a Russian influence agent. Mr. Kilimnik took steps throughout the 2020 election cycle to hurt Mr. Biden and his candidacy, the report said, helping pushed a false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, was responsible for interfering in American politics.

During the 2016 campaign, Mr. Manafort shared inside information about the presidential race with Mr. Kilimnik and the Russian and Ukrainian oligarchs whom he served, according to a bipartisan report last year by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“Kilimnik was back at it again, along with others like Derkach,” Mr. Schiff said. “And they had other conduits for their laundered misinformation, including people like Rudy Giuliani.”

Neither Mr. Giuliani nor his representatives returned a request for comment.

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You know, this guy:

Kilimnik was mentioned hundreds of times in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee report about massive Russian interference in the 2016 election that came out in five volumes, the last of them well after Mueller’s discarded work was done. The Republican led committee documented meetings and constant communications between then Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort (Roger Stone’s former partner in political dirty tricks) and Kilimnik, the man the FBI is now seeking for Obstruction of Justice and Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice. They documented how Manafort had shared detailed polling data with Kilimnik, information that might have come into play when Trump’s surgically precise Electoral College victory was engineered. Though he lost he popular vote, he won every district he needed to win for his 78,000 vote Electoral College mandate.

The Republican led committee got much more detailed information on Trump’s collusion/coordination/close work with Russia than Mueller was able to find. And, because Americans are not sophisticated consumers of information, the Republicans on the committee publicly distanced themselves from their own findings, repeating the mantra that it was all a big nothing fabricated by vicious partisans who hated Trump, no matter how much so called evidence of this collusion they themselves had turned up.

Can anyone really be surprised about this “news” that Putin wanted his guy reelected in 2020? During the 2020 campaign Trump and Barr constantly echoed the incendiary and baseless Putin talking point about mail in voting fraud. Evidence? “It’s common sense,” snorted Barr on national TV, more than once. Draw a straight line from that lie about massive potential fraud by those who voted against Trump, through Trump’s constant carping about a rigged election, to his open attempts to sabotage the US mail system by having his megadonor dismantle hundreds of urban high speed mail sorting machines, remove mailboxes and slow down mail delivery by other shenanigans, through literally hundreds of baseless lawsuits to prevent voting or contest electoral losses, to the well-funded months’ long Stop the Steal publicity blitz, to the riot organized and launched to prevent the certification of the election results, to the screaming about the cancellation of Dr. Seuss and the snarling threats of “scorched earth” in the Senate — and… well, Putin’s laughing, anyway.

Maybe he’s right, comrades. This nation may be too fucking stupid and weak to remain a democracy.

The often subtle nature of abuse

If you get punched in the face, although the puncher can claim it was an accident, you know without a doubt that you’ve been punched in the face. The same goes for a beating with a belt, or a stick. The damage done by physical beatings is something I can only imagine, not having experienced them more than a couple of times over my long life. The abuse I’m more familiar with is the emotional variety. This kind of expression of rage can be very subtle, and practitioners of this form of abuse are often very good at justifying themselves, making their mercilessness appear to be entirely your fault.

In recent years we have learned the word “gaslighting” — from a 1939 film in which a husband convinces his wife she’s going crazy by, among other things, turning down the gas light in their home over the course of time and pretending the light is the same as it ever was. It is a smooth variation on reframing, a technique by which whatever you’re upset about is recast from another perspective that makes you unreasonable. You say you’re upset about this, well, actually, THIS is why you’re really upset and that makes you a dishonest, confused idiot simply lashing out irrationally because you’re a jerk.

The damage done is the nagging feeling of self-doubt it creates about your right to your feelings, which can be crippling. You honestly don’t even see you are being abused until very far into the game, if ever. It is easy, many times, to doubt your own lying eyes and ears, when the pressure is kept constant by someone intent on keeping you off balance at any cost.

Many people don’t ever fully recover from this kind of abuse, tending to blame themselves throughout their lives for pain they didn’t cause and mistreatment they did little or nothing to deserve. Lately, during this lockdown I’ve had too much time to brood as I work through an interesting book about evil, which concludes that evil consists, in its essence, of a damaging lie told without contrition. Being less and less able to go for my customary long walks due to the arthritis in my left knee, I keep coming back to my own inability to see bad things for what they are sometimes. Sekhnet tried to reassure me by chalking it up to my good character, my desire to see the best in people, to extend the benefit of the doubt, my attempt to first cause no harm, but it doesn’t feel like a satisfying explanation to me.

There is a masochistic aspect to my unwillingness to let go of people who have shown themselves to be, at best, callous about other people’s feelings and determined to be right at all costs. I keep coming up short when I consider why I didn’t finally cut a very neurotic old friend loose once he, face fully a’twitch, blamed me for deliberately trying to destroy his hellish marriage. Or why I kept trying to explain myself to a very smart old friend who continued to plead ignorance to what exactly he’d done by expressing rage at my anger, precisely how this had hurt me so much, no matter how clearly I explained it to him. It’s this second guy I feel like throwing against the wall a bit now, though our long friendship was shit-canned months back. Though both were adamant in their denial of my right to feel the way I did, or their role in the escalating tension between us, the first guy is already in hell, to a more obvious extent than the second, who remained smugly superior throughout.

I saw a concise little presentation on gaslighting the other day (see below) and as I watched I saw each of this very smart old friend’s responses, set out one after the other. A textbook case of bullying by trying to make me doubt even my own ability to express myself clearly. The point was not whether or not I’d made myself clear (I had) the point was, no matter what I said or wrote, he had a ready reply that dismissed or ignored it outright and he kept falling back on his inability to understand, asking me to please, if I’d be willing, explain it to him again, a little clearer this time. In the end, in telling me how cruelly I’d hurt him (by eventually making clear what a desperate, irredeemable asshole he was?), he insisted none of the thousands of words I’d written him gave him any “clue” why I had felt it necessary, in the end, to be so hurtful to him. Now, because I had been so patient with this guy, acting in good faith with someone who was hellbent on being right, no matter what the facts, I am left with a desire to simply hurt the perennial bully.

The ten examples of gaslighting from the video below are a good starting point, I suppose, for a tart little final fuck you, since he employed every one of these lines over the months I took him at his word that he honestly wanted to repair our friendship. I should be able to get over this anger I am still feeling, but since I am not able to, inflicting a little last bit of hurt may be the best I can do to finish processing it. Let’s run through the list as I mentally prepare my fuck you to this unfunny clown:

“What did I do to you?” This is a good one, my mother used to use this one all the time. I have an image of her, sitting next to me at the kitchen table when I was a kid, screaming in a weird cadence (which makes me think she may have been shaking me to this rhythm) “what… did… anyone… ever… do… to …. you… to make you… so… fucking angry?!”

“Everyone around you isn’t the problem, the problem is you.” In the case of someone who lies at your expense, the problem isn’t that they lied, the problem is that you are such a self-righteous and judgmental prick. This is a newly familiar one to me, and a very hard one to swallow.

“I’m sorry you feel that way.” This is a great one, sometimes expressed in the conditional “if-pology” form “if you felt bad, if I hurt you, I’m sorry.” Neatly dismissive of your right to feel the way you do, leaving open the possibility that nothing bad happened, and beautifully evasive of any role in causing the feelings you are conditionally apologizing for the other person having, if they actually even had such feelings. A classic.

“I don’t remember saying that, I think you made that up.”

“It’s your anxiety that made me do it.” A variation on the theme that you deserve what you get, because it’s all you’re fault, none of it mine, and if you have a problem, you caused it, because you are the asshole, not me!

“You need help.”

“It’s your fault.”

“You’re too emotional” (sorry if you feel that way, asshole)

“It’s not a big deal.”

“Why are you so defensive all the time? You keep attacking me.” This is the last refuge of a gaslighting bully, to make themselves the victim of you. It is this last one, more than another other single reason, that makes me feel like delivering one hard, unequivocal punch to this smart, eternally argumentative fellow’s smug, combative face. I’m not proud of this feeling, but I understand it. There is a certain value, I have to think, to providing this motherfucker with the unambiguous clue he pretended not to have.

Centrist Democrat

What is “centrist” or “moderate” about a Democrat who believes Americans should not be guaranteed a living wage for full-time work? Every news outlet I’ve seen refers to conservative Democrat Joe Manchin (Trump won his state by 40 points in 2020, so there’s that) as moderate or centrist. According to Mr. Manchin $440 a week is more than fair pay for an unskilled worker, and, as you’ll hear reported everywhere, it is the position of a moderate centrist.

“Times that $400 by 50 weeks (we’ll give her two weeks vacation, unpaid) and that’s a nice, let’s see… $22,000. NOT BAD for someone without a high school diploma! A nice raise from her current $14,500! I’d like that kind of 30% raise myself!! And, yes, I know you can look on google and find out the median American income last year was around $34,000, but that’s factoring in all those folks making $14,500, so you can kind of throw out those numbers.”

What could be more moderate than that? Particularly when the left wing of your party keeps pointing out that adjusted for the cost of living, the federal minimum wage, (which hasn’t been raised since 2009, when it was increased by 70 cents an hour [1]) should be raised to an outrageous $24 an hour. So, radicals want $24. The president wants $15. The GOP presumably wants to keep it at $7.25. So a moderate centrist proposes a compromise of $11. You see?

I can understand FOX news calling Manchin a “centrist” and a “moderate” or a “voice of reason” since he’s basically a Republican in most things — but the NY Times, Washington Post, NPR, CNN, MSNBC? What the fuck? Call the thing what it is.

He’s from West Virginia, an impoverished state that voted for Trump by a 40% margin, even after his disastrous first term, a state that recently had a Ku Klux Klansman as one of its senators. He may be independent, he may be a maverick, he may be as politically shrewd as Mitch McConnell, it may be perfectly understandable that he is enjoying his sudden, outsized power and the way everybody is bowing down to him, but one thing he isn’t is a centrist or a moderate. Words fucking matter.

[1]

Check out this handy chart of the federal minimum wage (established under FDR in 1938) at the Department of Labor and see how it changed over the decades.

$15/hr federal minimum wage — truly a modest proposal

You can almost do the math in your head. $7.25 an hour times forty hours: $290 a week. $15 an hour times 40: $600. Raising the federal minimum wage to a modest living wage, we are told by Trump’s party (and at least two selected Democrats) would somehow be calamitous.

The Senate parliamentarian advised Democrats yesterday that raising the federal minimum wage by reconciliation (which requires 51 votes) as part of their $1.9 trillion pandemic relief/stimulus program is a violation of the Senate’s arcane rules [1]. There was no such ruling, of course, when Trump’s GOP, in a 51-49 vote, gave a similar sum to our richest families, partnerships and corporations in tax give backs in December, 2017. If there was, nobody mentioned it, it derailed nothing.

In the richest country in the world, our lowest paid workers are currently free to work full-time and live in poverty. How is paying workers a modest living wage controversial?

If the real concern is bankrupting small businesses that will be unable to make payroll, there are ways to subsidize those businesses to keep them solvent and profitable. Government support to help small businesses who would be burdened by paying a living wage to their workers would be similar to, and benefit many millions more than, the massive subsidies our government already gives to highly profitable fossil fuel conglomerates and other corporate beneficiaries of taxpayer generosity. But concern for small business is not the real concern here, folks.

It’s a hard to understand the rationale of those who don’t want America’s poorest working people to be able to afford clothing, shelter, healthy food and health care. I don’t understand it as anything more than an expression of disdain by the born-comfortable for anybody who was not prudent enough to be born into reasonable financial circumstances. The children of the poor in America have steeper odds of ever escaping poverty than poor kids in most other wealthy nations, plus they and their parents are routinely vilified as lazy freeloaders who refuse to do the impossible– “pull themselves up by their bootstraps”.

How does the existence of millions of full-time workers who struggle to support themselves and their children, even if they work two 40 hour jobs a week, help anyone? How did slavery help the masses of American workers? Yet, there would be a long, bloody fight to the death to preserve the Peculiar Institution. This fight over a living wage seems to be part of that same struggle, a vicious and well-funded fight to benefit a small group of highly privileged individuals.

The parliamentarian’s ruling yesterday took the most conservative Democrat in the Senate, West Virgina’s Joe Manchin, off the hook, for the moment. His vote is needed to pass any law or confirm any nominee in the divided Senate, even 51-50. Manchin seems to be enjoying his new status as a kingmaker. He announced the other day that he opposes the $15 dollar minimum wage, advocating for a compromise $11 an hour federal minimum wage. Only 4 dollars difference, only $160 a week. Why bitch about $640 a month? Show some class! Let’s show our bipartisan spirit and compromise, y’all. Where I come from, $11 is a lot of money!

Where you’re going, Joe, $11 won’t even buy you a blowjob from one of Satan’s lowliest.

I didn’t forget about Joe Manchin’s fellow conservative Democratic kingmaker, Arizona’s senior senator (in office since 2109), Kyrsten Sinema [2], I just can’t think of anything the staunch defender of the filibuster might try to buy for $11. Maybe a Big Mac, super-sized fries, a giant Coke and a nice dessert from a good bakery.

In other news:

Lynch mob victim and former Senator Al Franken cracked “I like Ted Cruz more than anybody in the Senate does– and I HATE Ted Cruz.” Here’s Ted, doing thirty seconds of standup for his peeps:

[1]

The Senate parliamentarian ruled that a plan to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025 does not fit the complicated rules that govern budget bills in the Senate. House Democrats included the measure in a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that is expected to be the first major legislative act for President Biden.

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[2]

from: Kyrsten Sinema’s Self-Defeating, Nonsensical Defense of the Filibuster: The Arizona senator is almost single-handedly keeping Democrats from wielding their majority power—and the party may well lose that power as a result.

This year, all around the country, Republican state lawmakers are pushing an alarming array of bills that are designed to make it harder to vote. They’re targeting absentee voting, early voting, voting by mail, and virtually every other means to cast a ballot. Though their stated justification is the illusory threat of voter fraud, the goal is to reduce turnout in ways that suppress Democratic votes. In short, it’s a cynical move against basic tenets of American democracy.

Democrats have an answer to this challenge. For the past two years, they’ve put forward H.R. 1, a sweeping bill to reform American elections. It would enact automatic voter registration nationwide, expand early voting and vote-by-mail, and more. And it doesn’t stand a chance of passage, as long as the Senate filibuster remains intact.

The case against the filibuster has been made ad nauseam lately—including in these pages, by me and others. But there’s a reason the argument has become unavoidable: The filibuster is the most decisive force in American governance and policymaking today. It decides—by virtue of requiring 60 votes to pass most legislation, rather than simply a 51-vote majority—the outcome of countless policy debates before they can even begin.

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Current Events Collage

A selection of screen shots and three one-minute videos, provided particularly for those who believe this week’s riot in the Capitol could never have been predicted, or that the president is suddenly being uncharacteristically unreasonable and dangerous (though not dangerous enough to remove from office via the 25th Amendment, according to Karen Pence and her ilk [1]).

And screw the unfair and unconstitutional Twitter and Facebook bans, there are still plenty of extreme right social media platforms for the president to seek attention on:

371,084 dead of COVID-19 (and counting, fast)

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It’s all fake news, folks.

[1]

I parenthetically mention Karen Pence again because the Vice President’s wife is the real force behind the president’s loyal poodle, Mike Pence, a man suddenly vilified by Trumpists. Trump and his followers were cruelly disappointed that Pence refused to break the law and declare all the Biden votes fraudulent (he had no power to do that anyway) and a lynch mob roaming the Capitol chanted that Pence needed to be hanged as a traitor. I disagree on all counts, and even if I did agree, Karen Pence, who wears the pence in the family, is the one the crowd really wanted.

The proper punishment for Pence is to release him into a roomful of angry gay teenagers who would be allowed to kick him as many times, and as hard as, they wanted. Once he was unconscious he’d be immediately swept from the room and given state-of-the-art medical care, to ensure no permanent damage, as best as possible. All the gay teenaged kickers would be given unlimited immunity from prosecution for any and all damage resulting from, or related to, their savage kicking of Pence, signed by President Trump and initialed by Karen Pence herself. Done and done.

Oh, yeah…

Yesterday we broke this record with over 4,000 dead. USA! USA!!! Stop the Steal! Blue Lives Matter! Lock Her UP! (picture of her below) [1]

Oh, wait, breaking news, don’t lock her up — it deplores the deplorable behavior of those “deplorables” (though many were angry blacks in white face and the election was stolen from him by unAmericans):

Although, in fairness, it must be conceded, Mr. Trump’s myrmidons did not allow the National Guard to show up until the Capitol was overrun and Mr. Trump’s point was well-made.

In reading the prepared statement Mr. Trump proves beyond any doubt that he did sincerely regret the unsuccessful riot, particularly the death of a Blue Lives Matter officer who was killed by having his head smashed from behind with a fire extinguisher. And, of course, Trump would be saying this even if the real threat of criminal culpability for the deaths caused by the riot he/it unleashed was not hanging over his beautifully made-up head. Maybe he’s/its realized he/it can’t actually shoot somebody in the face without consequences (thank God for the federal death penalty though, nobody can stop him/it from legally killing those folks). We’re never to old to learn!

Meanwhile, wear your mask, stay at least 6 feet from others and be watchful, and healthy, my friends. Your lives matter.

Typical anti-liberty Anarchist Tyranny! (but still good advice)

[1]

My sincere apologies to all women and girls for this offensive little “joke”. Sekhnet hates when I do this kind of thing. It is meant only to be specifically hurtful to a famously misogynistic MACHO MAN (who dances clumsily to the gay anthem as he incites insurrection) in the same way I always refer to fucking White Supremacists as “niggers,”, and Nazis as, of course, (being one myself, no need for quotes) fucking Jews. Gratuitous, I know, but when hurling a sincere insult one should be mindful of what hurts the recipient the most. To say “Trump is a girl” is gratuitously offensive to all girls, I know, but I’m just trying to get the cowardly little douchebag to take a swing at me. To all girls I say “You go, girl!”

Bad Acid Trip

This feels like a bad acid trip we are all on, when even familiar, harmless things turn monstrous and it seems perfectly clear that the ever-worsening horror will never end. The good news is that scary hallucinations wear off as the drug gone bad is metabolized. The bad news is that some of these despicable monsters out of a bad acid trip that we are seeing today are quite real.

The ultimate proof that a person is a monstrous piece of shit is his reflex to ignore the pain of those around him. He goes on about his self-centered business like nothing is wrong, coveting, bragging, lying, getting revenge, stinking, while others suffer, their pleading voices unheard by him. During an emergency, the monster turd continues blowing his foul, self-serving breath while all around people are anxious, terrified, hungry, literally dying. True it’s only been about 350,000 dead in our country so far, a number not much more than 1% of us, but still, not a number to sneeze at, particularly if you have the power to do something about it, unless, of course, you are a fly covered mound of excrement.

We don’t like too much hyperbole, or raw expressions of anger, but simply stating what is going on is enough make it feel like we are all on a bad acid trip that we are all struggling to make sense of, somehow. The COVID-19 pandemic is proving very difficult to manage, even in places where angry, reality-denying, lockstep following morons are not in charge. It is prolifically deadly, refrigerator trucks for corpses are once again parked outside overflowing hospitals in many places in our nation. We set new records for death and infection every day, yesterday we set the record for COVID-19 hospitalizations. The only way to control the spread of a massively infectious disease is if everyone looks out for everyone else. That is not our way here anymore.

The stupidest, vainest and most sadistic man ever to be our leader knows what to do. Attack the disease as a hoax, a deliberate Chinese attempt to help his political rival somehow, attack the precautions all medical experts everywhere urge us all to take, downplay its severity (though you are on tape before you began downplaying it expressing great and reasonable concern about it being airborne, how infectious and deadly it is) pretend to have defeated the disease as infection numbers once again peak (“Mission Accomplished!”), declare to the nation that it’s not your responsibility, blame Democrat [sic] governors and mayors– make them fight over PPE and declare them leaders of “anarchist jurisdictions”, make them take you to court to get their federal funds — refuse to wear a mask, create millions of proud “Anti-maskers”, encourage them to rise up against Democrat [sic] tyranny, hold indoor maskless rallies where crowds chant with you, sending moist plumes of breath into each other’s lungs, infect countless lackeys around you at super-spreader events, come down with the disease yourself, have a million dollars of instant tax-payer funded emergency medical care, recover and declare that COVID is no big deal, you just have to be a winner and dominate the disease.

Then somehow you lose the election, oddly enough, by only a few million votes (and a narrow 74 electors in the rigged Electoral College). No problem. The election, as you predicted and complained about many times (as in 2016) was rigged, fake, stolen, corrupt, a scam, a flimflam, dead people voting, completely fraudulent. The incidence of voter fraud is less than one thousandth of one percent, less than one ten-thousandth of a percent (0.000001%) — all of your court cases alleging electoral fraud and unfairness were tossed out of court for lack of evidence, or often, even a coherent legal theory. On the other hand, before the 2020 election, the great State of Georgia, under current heroes of the rule of law Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Brad Raffensberger (both vocal Trump supporters), disenfranchised another 198,000 likely Democratic voters. Even after that heroic voter purge, and yanking out mailboxes during a pandemic, and calling mail-in voting a massive fraud, and your base (al q’eada in Arabic) turned out in droves to vote in person, you still lost Georgia by 11,779 votes. No problemo. “I need you to do me a favor, though, Bradsky.” But Raffensberger is stubborn, refusing to play ball, secretly betraying you as you speak. You innocently tell the disloyal Georgia A.G. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.Figure that one out, linguists.

As my sister, a teacher in Florida, is about to be dragged back into a classroom (her doctor’s note be damned) to spend seven hours a day in a closed-window air-conditioned classroom with her low-income four year-olds, with no PPE and certainly no mask mandate in that Freedom State, as many thousands of Americans are not homeless today only because there are still moratoriums on sheriffs and marshals forcibly removing them from their homes, as California hospitals are turning away patients likely too sick to recover, due to overwhelming numbers of new patients, we are talking about whether this narcissistic patient zero has every right to pursue every wildly insane scheme to remain in power after losing the election by a wide margin.

Mitch McConnell, who singlehandedly blocked a vote on cruelly delayed $2,000 relief checks that would likely have passed with bipartisan support, only waited a month or so to congratulate the president-elect, after weeks of drawling in his farting basso profundo that the president has every legal right to do everything in his power to see that he won the election fair and square and that it his absolute prerpgative to insist the presidency was stolen from him.

The Sedition Caucus (Trump calls those Republican traitors who didn’t join in his attempt to overthrow democracy the Surrender Caucus) is set to contest certified votes in every state Trump lost, during a session of Congress that, every year but now, has been a mere formality, announcing the certifications in each state to make the president-elect’s victory official. In the background there will be an anti-democracy rally raging outside the Capitol, a show of violent force called for by our sitting piece of shit president over and over. The Proud Boys and their shameful ilk have been standing by, in spite of being gassed by police recently, are gathering for tomorrow’s hoped for riot.

We’re not able to be focused on fighting this virus that’s killing so many of us, because another, even more incurable, virus is killing us — the urge of angry, hopeless people to band together and implacably hate others united behind an infallible leader above mere reason, fact or so called “truth”. Faithful fascism erases ordinary reality, replaces it with a mass fantasy of glory and triumph.

The “transactional” “autocratic” “oligarchic” “kleptocratic” “malignantly narcissistic” “totally exonerated” American president calls over an over for a massive anti-democracy protest in our nation’s capital to STOP THE STEAL. The increasingly desperate, lawless American president violates federal (pardon me, sir) and state law by calling a state official (18 times it turns out, persistence is the key to arm twisting and persuasion both) to put the arm on him to find 11,780 votes, “one more than we won by”, as lawyers all over this ravaged nation discuss the exact subsections of the laws he has broken, and his defenders use what they have at hand, whining about the treacherous sneaks who leaked the disloyal tape of him violating the law, explaining that the hour-long tape is being taken out of context, he was only suggesting, cajoling, making a deal, negotiating in a hardball manner, as New York City Real Estate titans often do. When you’re a NYC Real Estate titan they let you do it. And so, out of personal loyalty to him we will band together to overthrow democracy for his sake, not let the certification of votes take place as the Constitution requires. You know, because of the tens of millions of un-investigated allegations of fraud out there, the ones the president has been spouting many times everyday, the ones we’ve been spreading at the president’s behest.

If, with all this foulness going on, the people of the great state of Georgia (those whose votes haven’t been successfully suppressed) elect Trump puppet and multi-millionaire scarecrow Kelley Loeffler and mega-Trumper, expert on outsourcing jobs, David Perdue, and Mitch the Grim Reaper keeps control of blocking all legislation and executive appointments — well, release the fucking Kraken, this shithole really deserves the biblical cataclysm that will follow. Nazis simply don’t care how many have to die to realize their dream of a perfect Nazi world. In the end, historically, tyrants and their foot soldiers lose, but as to us and our times, good luck to us all and God Bless these United Shayyysssh.

Stating the Obvious, year-end edition

I am not alone in wishing good riddance to this fucking deadly year. Not that flipping the calendar page will do anything, really, but it’s nice to symbolically turn the page on 2020, which NY Times op-ed writer Michelle Cottle generously called a “soul crushing hellscape of a dumpster fire.” It has been that. Let’s look at just a few things we learned.

If you have an even one vote majority in the Senate, you get to decide what business gets in front of the Senate, what the People will get an up or down vote on, what democracy is.

Black guy picks a replacement for a suddenly deceased giant of the right on the Supreme Court? No hearing, no advice nor consent, forget it, let the People decide in the next election. President impeached by the House, the law requires a trial in Senate? No worries, we openly vow to work closely with the president’s defense team, allow no witnesses or evidence, acquit him ASAP and put the blame back where it belongs: on enraged haters, traitors, communists, black terrorists. COVID-19 puts burdens on the wealthiest corporations in the country (many making record windfall profits during the pandemic) while poor people who work for these outfits (“essential workers”) sicken and die? A liability shield for all corporate entities who may have inadvertently killed people by forcing them to work in unsafe conditions during a highly infectious, deadly pandemic. It’s only fair, and a totally reasonable pre-condition for any government aid to tens of millions of immiserated Americans.

Record Wildfires and Killer Storms, a small price to pay for continued prosperity.

A pandemic is first and foremost a political event.

Public safety precautions urged by medical experts may safely be mocked as partisan bullshit, a hoax, a nasty stunt fueled by irrational anger. Mayors and governors seeking to enforce mask mandates, social distancing? Sue these tyrants in court, exhort unhinged supporters to take up guns, rise up against tyranny!! No political price need ever be paid, in fact, the base (‘al qaeda’ in Arabic) loves it!

Check out this dead Republican’s official website, updated when he died of COVID-19. Do you think this staunch supporter of the president wore a mask, ever?

Alternative facts are just as good as so-called real facts.

When a police officer kills an unarmed person, live on video, particularly if that dead person is “colored”, the officer is entitled to the presumption of innocence, “qualified immunity” [1] from prosecution and a vigorous public defense by the media team at the police union.

And you can go down the whole disgustingly detailed list. How did we get to this hideous and embarrassing point in our experiment in democracy? My short answer: consumerism, materialism, greed, stupidity, the coercive power of advertising, extolling the unlimited virtues of unlimited individual competition between Rugged Individuals who duke it out for supremacy.

The value of the American Dream, and the life of every dreamer, can be expressed in a number, which follows a dollar sign. During this pandemic the 650 American billionaires increased their wealth by almost a trillion dollars. A trillion is a thousand billions, a million millions, like so: $1,000,000,000,000. Thousands of American lives could be saved, and many of the dead would still be alive, by the targeted infusion of that kind of money (a historic windfall to our 650 wealthiest, during a pandemic) into the fight against this terrible disease, to keep people from homelessness, hunger, terror and despair.

We’ve been successfully sold the idea that Bezos, Zuckerberg, Gates, Musk and Koch deserve every penny of their more than $100,000,000,000 fortunes, and every blessed dollar of their tens of billions in plague-related profits. To tax any of that money, even a windfall made during a pandemic, for use on the public good, even in a vast public health emergency, is coercive, socialistic, yea, communistic, totalitarian. So we seem to believe here in the USA, the land where Rugged Individualism has been marketed so successfully by influential actors like The Great Communicator.

MacKenzie Scott, former wife of world’s greediest man Jeff Fucking Bezos, has so far taken about 10% of her estimated $59,000,000,000 fortune and given the money directly to causes that need help, like pandemic relief and anti-racist groups. She gave six billion dollars to organizations she believes in, asking them only to use it where it was needed most.

Contrast that with usual billionaire strings-attached philanthropist micromanagers like Gates and Zuckerberg (Bezos, Musk and Koch don’t seem to believe in philanthropy) who, considering themselves among history’s greatest geniuses, create foundations that bear their names and fund specific solutions they believe in, like proposing to solve inequality of education and its role in intergenerational poverty with private “charter schools” (that don’t work — certainly not to help fix our long-besieged public education system).

Heather Cox Richardson wrote a short version of how we got here, an essay that arrived in my inbox around 5 a.m. Our pay-to-play political cesspool today is directly traceable to the rage and determination of a group of very wealthy white men following Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision when the “activist” Supreme Court unanimously declared segregation unconstitutional. You can trace their privilege-protecting, anti-majoritarian determination to take back the unquestioned power they never lost in the Civil War to the years right after American schools were ordered to be de-segregated “with all deliberate speed.”

Racism plays an outsized role in our nation’s woes — though, like the “n-word” itself, it must never be uttered aloud.

Think of it, without racism you have a tiny group of super rich, politically insulated heirs of great fortunes (think the old slaveholding class in Dixie and their counterparts in the North) versus the overwhelming human force of the great masses of the poor and disenfranchised. If poor whites and poor blacks ever united in a voting block based on their mutual interests, ever marched by the millions demanding action towards justice — you’d have to hire literally an army of lone gunmen to shoot all of their leaders in the head. Remove racism from the mix and you’d have sudden, massive change, or a bloodbath of our greatest, and most valuable, citizens. The world would not be safe for those born, booted and spurred, to ride the backs of the rest of us.

Of course, not every one of the 74,000,000 who voted to give Donald Trump a second chance to make America great again is a racist. On the other hand, we all understand that every eligible racist in the country voted for Donald. Anger at racism? It brings me back to personal experiences with old friends and reminds me of how personal the political always is.

The guy I asked to please stop provoking me would not even acknowledge doing it, he’d never provoked me, he kept insisting. At the same time, the last time we talked, he couldn’t rest until, reminding me three times in 15 minutes that though it was unfair to accuse me of disrespecting him, based on the actual events of the day and my constant communication with him about delays, that he still felt disrespected by my lateness. The third time he brought this up was the charm. I finally exploded, listing several very specific reasons I had no respect for him. Set and match.

It’s this way with racism. You keep bringing it up, I’ll keep telling you it’s not a problem. We are never going to talk about it in any meaningful way, nor acknowledge its prevalence in our culture. When you get mad, well, it just proves I was right all along about you fucking people.

A guy complained that he had no idea how much he’d hurt me because I’d been so calm, reasonable and nonjudgmental when I told him I was hurt. Somebody who is really hurt cries out, he pointed out, it’s only natural. How could I really blame him for not knowing how upset he’d made me when I didn’t cry out? It was unfair of me to expect him to know how hurtful and aggravating his actions were without a little screaming to give him a clue. So, to allow him to understand why I was hurt, and how much, I cried out. When I did, he was devastated that I could be such a merciless fuck.

This is how it works with racism too. You can be philosophical in the face of the pain of it, but that’s only a way of coping. Your restraint can be cited, by those who don’t believe in racism, as a demonstration that you’re pretty much cool with the way things are, that we all enjoy freedom here, and basic equality under the law.

Everything seems fine, until another unarmed black man, not resisting his handcuffing by police (as a suspect in a very minor, non-violent crime), is slowly murdered on video, by an officer kneeling on his neck for long, agonizing minutes, while the officer’s colleagues assist in the killing — during a pandemic. A high school girl films the entire thing on her cellphone. There is no question about the hideous sequence of events, the lynching, exactly how long it takes the begging man to lose consciousness, how long they wait to call for medical help.

Now you take to the streets by the millions, finally bringing many thousands of “white” people with you, everywhere. Racism doesn’t seem so abstract now, does it, you reality denying motherfuckers? Of course, now you are a visible, united threat and people who deny that racism exists start getting defensive, even shrill. Who is really making the problem here?

Anyway, a happy, healthy 2021 to you all. It’s hard to imagine it can be as bad as 2020, though guys like Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham will do their best to hold the line, keep hope alive for al q’aeda, the base. The feelings of those left out, the large majority shoved aside, hurt, in need, bereft by the preventable deaths of loved ones — well, as Mitch and Lindsey and their ilk are used to believing, they simply don’t have the votes to do anything about it, do they?

A majority of one vote or not, we’re going to have a much better 2021 than the surreal, stinking shit-show of 2020. Take that to the bank, stay alert and be of good cheer.

[1]

Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate “clearly established” law. Both 42 U.S.C. § 1983—a statute originally passed to assist the government in combating Ku Klux Klan violence in the South after the Civil War—and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics (1971) allow individuals to sue government officials for money damages when they violate their constitutional rights. Section 1983 applies to state officials, while Bivens applies to federal officials. Because damages are often the only available remedy after a constitutional violation has occurred, suits for damages can be a crucial means of vindicating constitutional rights. When government officials are sued, qualified immunity functions as an affirmative defense they can raise, barring damages even if they committed unlawful acts.

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Federal death row inmate Lisa Montgomery might be allowed to die a natural death

Talk about a random twist of fate staying the executioner’s ax — Lisa Montgomery, the first female slated for execution by federal authorities since, correct me if I’m wrong, Roy Cohn orchestrated the electrocution of Ethel Rosenberg in 1953 (though, see [1]) may get to live the rest of her tormented life in prison. She will not be executed as Trump originally planned, days before Biden’s inauguration, because her lawyers came down with COVID-19 and could not appear to make arguments to extend her stay of execution. A simple twist of fate may save her miserable life of solitary confinement in prison.

A judge has delayed the execution of Lisa Montgomery, the only woman on federal death row. Montgomery suffers from mental illness caused by a life of abuse, and her lawyers are asking for clemency. She was convicted for the gruesome 2004 murder of a pregnant woman. Her execution this month was delayed after her lawyers got COVID-19; a D.C. district judge ruled Thursday the Justice Department can’t move ahead with a January 12 execution because the stay order will still be in place. Advocates hope Montgomery’s life will be spared by Joe Biden, who has vowed to abolish the federal death penalty.

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Trump and his shameless enabler Bill Barr have executed more federal prisoners in the last few months than have been killed by the federal government in the last fifty years. The last lame duck president to carry out an execution was former executioner Grover Cleveland, in January 1889 [2]. Trump clearly loves the power to order the death of black men, as he pardons unrepentant war criminals, private (Blackwater) and military (disgraced, sadistic SEAL Eddie Gallagher) and corrupt colleagues. Trump and uber-Catholic Bill Barr were determined to kill a woman too, the only female federal death row inmate, come hell or high water.

The woman in question committed a gristly murder in 2004. She is administered a daily cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs. Never mind any of the details, Trump was determined to execute this crazy lady — whether by lethal injection, electric chair, firing squad, hanging, poison gas or any other means necessary (Barr actually changed the department’s guidelines for state executions to include those other ways of killing, in case certain mandated deadly chemicals were not available for lethal injection).

One can only hope for, and agitate for, justice to be applied to these wicked men. Justice is the only remedy for wickedness, though the interests of justice are disregarded with sickening regularity when it comes to wealthy, powerful, white men.

[1]

The Rosenbergs were the only two American civilians to be executed for espionage-related activity during the Cold War.[48] Ethel was the last female convict to be electrocuted in the state of New York and also the first of the only two women executed by the Federal government in the 20th century, the other one being Bonnie Brown, also executed in 1953.

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[2]

The number was updated to five, after the article quoted below came out, four are already dead, see THIS:

The Department of Justice has scheduled three federal executions during the administration’s lame-duck period: Orlando Hall on November 19, Lisa Montgomery on December 8, and Brandon Bernard on December 10. The last time the U.S. government carried out an execution between a presidential election and the inauguration of the new president for a federal crime was nearly 132 years ago, on January 25, 1889, when the outgoing administration of Grover Cleveland executed Richard Smith, a Choctaw Indian, for a murder on tribal land in Arkansas.

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Motherfucker publicly sodomizes stinking skeleton of his long-dead orangutan mother

One should not be too opinionated these days. These are very angry and stressful times. We all know that Mr. Trump is an unusual kind of president, the kind of person who seems to behave irrationally as he instinctively serves the powerful forces that have served him all of his life. He’s not as stupid as he seems, perhaps, just a malignant narcissist. A spoiled two-year old who never experienced real affection and so is incapable of feeling it, by the looks of it. Each of us have our opinions of this greatest and most brilliant, handsome and well-endowed president in American history.

I really should keep my foul-mouthed opinions to myself. We all need to be more understanding. After all, the president’s story is like the story of many of us here in our nation of immigrants. Trump’s mother started life as what is often called White Trash, dirt poor from a benighted part of Scotland. She was transformed into a glamorous queen by marriage to a very wealthy second generation German-American man.

Mary Anne McLeod Trump [1] may or may not have been a loving woman, the odds are she was challenged to be a nurturing mother to her brood of five, little Donald being number four. He was apparently a handful, disrespectful to her, unruly, constantly acting out, impossible to manage. One can’t blame a mother for having a hard time with such a child, I never held my mother’s difficulties raising someone like me against her. That’s not really true, of course, but it sounds generous — I held it against her for years. As an adult of advanced years I finally learned not to hold my mother’s human limitations against her. Donald and his mother, perhaps not so much. Not to judge, God forbid!

But what exactly brings forth this sickeningly opinionated title I’ve put on top of this post? Well, after a delay of just a little more than half a year, during a terrifying, out of control pandemic, Mitch McConnell allowed a watered down version of bipartisan bill to relieve some of the suffering of the majority of Americans to become a bipartisan law to help many of the eight million Americans who have fallen into official poverty during this Act of God pandemic, and giving aid to millions more who are hungry and in imminent danger of homelessness. Democrats and Republicans agreed to the $900,000,000,000 COVID-19 relief bill right before Christmas. That was part of a $2.3 trillion Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. It was approved and passed on to the president on Christmas Eve, because, you know, no point waiting until the very last minute.

Then my man Fuckface refused to sign it as he headed to Florida for golfing and plotting a self-coup. Happy Christmas, traitors! If Trump doesn’t sign it within ten days (and this Congress ends on January 3) he’s run out the clock with a “pocket veto” and forced the third U.S. government shutdown in three tries (he didn’t get a chance to shut it down in 2017, but he did in 2018 and 2019 [2] ). Here’s Heather Cox Richardson, to explain:

Trump’s supporters are urging him to “pocket veto” the Consolidated Appropriations Act, taking advantage of a weird option at the end of a congressional session. Normally, a president has ten days, not including Sunday, to review and sign a bill. During a congressional session, if the president doesn’t sign a bill within ten days, it becomes a law. But if the congressional session ends within ten days, the bill does not become a law. This is known as a pocket veto. The 116th Congress—this one—officially ends at noon on January 3. If Trump got the bill on December 24, and all indications are that he did, the ten-day window ends on January 4. So, he could, in fact, run out the clock in such a way that Congress could not override his veto.

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Now we assume Mary Anne MacLeod Trump was Trump’s mother, he looks a hell of a lot like her, including his hairdo.

Comedian Bill Maher famously offered to pay a few million to Trump’s favorite charity if Donald could prove his mother was not an orangutan. Nothing in nature is that color, besides an orangutan, said Maher. His offer was a parody of Trump’s famous public challenge to Barack Obama to pull his pants down, bend over and show America everything about his high school and college grades, his SAT and LSAT scores, his “long form” birth certificate and all the rest, daring him to disprove Trump’s many lies about him.

The famously thin-skinned Trump saw no humor in Maher’s disrespectful and disgusting parody [3] and had lawyers sue Maher for “breach of contract” (since as a public figure he could not win a slander or libel suit over parody, as the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, 485 U.S. 46 (1988) — see FN 2) when Trump produced HIS birth certificate — proving his mother was homo sapiens, SO THERE! — and Maher didn’t pay up on his joke offer.

The case cost Maher/HBO a pile of cash, no doubt, they had to respond to Trump’s baseless lawsuit or lose by default, but Trump’s lawyers did their job, the enraged threat became real, even if they wound up quietly withdrawing the pathetic claim after it had its effect in showing Trump takes no shit from anybody about anything, including the ugly statement that his mother who was completely a human being, was some kind of smelly great ape. He’d do the same thing, dozens of times, after losing the election he claims was stolen from him, almost two months ago.

So, fast forward a decade or so, to the day after Christmas of an historically hellish year, Donald Trump orders the exhumation of the skeleton of his dear mother, has her brought to Mar-a-Largo, and begins furiously violating her. “You did this to me, you fucking heartless bitch!” he sobs over and over, violently taking the pile of bones from behind, as is every motherfucker’s prerogative. There’s no such thing as “consent” or “rape” when you own the thing you are having sex with — the same goes for the dead, they lose their legal right to complain, even of necrophilia.

As for the millions now in real danger of continued hunger, increased terror and winter homelessness the week after Christmas, (and never forget, Trump made wishing each other “Merry Christmas” legal again in the United States after years of illegal rule by sick and dangerous Democrat miscegenist pedophile cannibals) — well, shit happens. Merry Christmas, Sir, they say to him now, the people in his bunker.

All he really wants at the moment is a little privacy, to keep hammering at the skeleton of his sainted, once-human mother.

[1]

Mary Anne Trump was a Scottish-American philanthropist known for being the mother of Donald Trump and the wife of real-estate developer Fred Trump. Born in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, she emigrated to the United States in 1930 and became a naturalized citizen in March 1942. Wikipedia

[2]

There have only been a handful of full federal government shutdowns, most lasting only a short time. Most of these were hardline leverage by the Opposition party. Trump has shut his own government down when it refuses to do things like fund THE WALL. Trump holds the all-time, unlikely to be broken record for longest temper tantrum-driven shutdown, 35 days. Here is the chart:

ShutdownDaysAgencies
affected
Employees
furloughed
Cost to
government
PresidentRefs
19801FTC only1,600$700,000Carter[29][30]
19811241,000$80–90 millionReagan[31]
19841 (approx. 4 hrs.)500,000$65 million[31]
19861 (approx. 4 hrs.)all500,000$62.2 million[31]
19903all2,800$2.57 millionH.W. Bush[32]
Nov 19955some800,000$400 millionClinton[10][33]
1995–199621some284,000
201316all800,000$2.1 billionObama[34][35]
Jan 20183all692,900Trump[36]
2018–1935some380,000$5 billion[37][38]
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[3]

Which, it must be said, did not begin to compare, in sheer disgustingness with Larry Flynnt’s truly revolting parody of a risqué Campari ad, asking Jerry Falwell about his “first time”. The parody ad was even disgusting to me, which is saying a lot. Let me see if I can find it online for you, judge for yourself (lest ye be judged):

read about Falwell’s lawsuit and the famous Supreme Court ruling, HERE