NOW…IT’S OVER

Aquarian Weekly
7/12/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

NOW…IT’S OVER
Madam Shoo-In Avoids Prison & Will Coast to the White House

The last, best hope to keep Hillary Rodham Clinton from the presidency left the FBI building this week, as its director, James Comey finished a nearly fifteen minute harangue rebuking every facet of the former secretary of state’s comportment in the excruciatingly drawn out “email scandal”, stopping just short of the pay-off; indictment. As stated in this space for over a year now, indictment was the only thing that could keep Madam Shoo-in from her destiny, which is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And even that was a pipedream; as it is always possible to juggle court battles while stumping for a Democrat these days.

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The “Broom Handle” theory, soon to be an iron-clad axiom, is simply this: You can run a broom handle for president as a Democrat now and garner a minimum of 233 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. The way the opposition party has been going since the mid-1980s has rendered it fairly obsolete and therefore incapable of competing on a national ticket for at least a generation, and with the wild card Donald J. Trump now at the top of its 2016 ticket, it is almost certain to further disappear.

We have already deconstructed the queer beauty of the Trump candidacy, which on a daily basis fills my tainted soul with a measure of joy difficult to express without the use of poetry. This fabulous Summer of Fun will someday fill volumes in the historical record, but that is for another time and place. Today we deal in a “reality check” far more concrete: beyond a completely outlandish and wholly unforeseen calamity, Hillary Rodham Clinton will become the 45th president of the United States.

For his part, Comey, a staunch Republican appointed by George W. Bush to the post of Attorney General in 2003, most famous for tossing Martha Stewart in jail for securities fraud and openly refuting Bush’s federal wire-tapping program, did what any former prosecuting attorney would do when faced with the evidence he was given; tell everyone this is shitty behavior but not a crime. Adding to this, Comey, a D.C. lifer, was not about to alter the will of the people over “the Clintons being the Clintons”. Using as precedent the pardoning of Richard Nixon and the white-wash of Iran-contra that should have not only impeached both presidents but landed them both in jail, Comey did his duty as a public official and let it slide.

After being thwarted as a respected man of law, Comey did his due diligence as a proper Republican and unleashed as many accusations about a person’s character as he could on Clinton in his actual-fifteen-minutes-of-fame, casting aspirations on her motives, judgment and blatant disregard for basic state department procedure. But make no mistake, Comey took with him any shot Trump and the Republicans had at achieving the executive branch of this government and turning it into “who knows?” – which may be sad for some of us, who ponder Who Knows as a preferable, or at least interesting, place for things to go at this juncture.

But alas, there is a very real possibility that Clinton will garner well over 300 electoral tallies and roll into history as the first woman president, which will be lauded as some kind of incredible achievement for a country so proud of its freedoms and democracy, but will place 64th in a list of nations who have since elected/appointed a woman as head of state. Whoo-hoo!

And although this is obviously editorial speculation by a well-worn mental defective, it is nonetheless a pretty sound one when considering all the factors; either in voting demographics, geographical polling, two decades of national statistics, and the fact that mere weeks from the Republican Convention nearly seven of ten members of Donald Trump’s party are conjuring harsh and inventive ways to avoid, dismiss, explain him away or even dump him altogether in a nineteenth century styled bloodless coup on its floor. At best Trump needed Clinton to be led away in an orange jump-suit with ankle chains.

Comey… did what any former prosecuting attorney would do when faced with the evidence he was given; tell everyone this is shitty behavior but not a crime.

Why do you think Republican senators have spent over seven million dollars over nine separate investigations throughout four brutal years trying to pin something-anything on Clinton for the Benghazi tragedy. Even when their own report cleared her of any shenanigans but the normal red-tape shit that lands war zone-placed CIA agents in the crossfire, they kept it up. Why? Because these are learned politicians who have studied the Broom Handle Theory and know it is sound.

Shit, once Bernie Sanders quits his Bastille-storming charade and endorses the woman who bested him in the primaries, and now that Barack Obama, whose approval ratings rest in second-term Reagan-esque 50-percent territory, is on the stump, this presidential campaign will be merely spectator sport.

This is exactly why I have touted Trump’s candidacy so fervently. He provides daily entertainment that sets him apart from the sort of sad-sack, half-assed loser pabulum displayed daily by the likes of John McCain and Mitt Romney. Trump will lose, but he will lose with a pizzazz sorely needed in our political rhetoric. In the short year he has been bounding across the national political scene, Trump has mocked and challenged every corner of our bloated, corrupt and mostly fixed system. For all intents and purposes he has eviscerated Republican politics and shed a light on our most putrid and damaging traits as citizens.

To wit: The day before this column was penned, Trump told an audience in North Carolina that Saddam Hussein, whom this country spent trillions of dollars and spilled American and Iraqi blood to oust, was an exemplary force for anti-terrorism, which is what every president since this nation put him into his dictatorial post believed but did not have the guts to express in public. It is this Trumpian craziness that will put Clinton and the entire system that bore her on trial, which this country needs to see in the worst way.

Of course, as stated, Trump will inevitably go down to ignominious defeat and head back to funding Clinton’s kind soon, but the ride will not be business as usual, and this is a grand thing for our ongoing blessed democratic experiment, no matter what ridiculous thing he spouts or tweets and what outlandish charge some liberal think-tank-defamation-whine-fest chooses to call it.

Whether Clinton fucked up or not is never our concern around here. The horrors of politics are routinely dissected here with the kind of detached acceptance of the numb coupled with an acute and rigorous understanding that for the first 150 years of this republic the sickening level of debased monsters that ascended to the presidency makes either of these candidates – both buried beneath a torrent of record polling negatives – a fine choice for the post.

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WHY BERNIE SANDERS MATTERS

Aquarian Weekly
6/1/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

WHY BERNIE SANDERS MATTERS

Everybody’s gone but me and you
And I can’t be the last to leave

– Bob Dylan

At this juncture it would take an act of God or the teamsters or something dreamed up by the ghost of Frank Kapra for 74 year-old Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to wrest the Democratic nomination away from Hillary Rodham Clinton. The former secretary of state is but a handful of delegates away from wrapping this up and she owns an impressive number of controversial “super delegates” – not to mention the unofficial two and half million more votes she has garnered in this process. It is also not stretching credibility to argue Clinton has dominated the primaries with traditional Democratic voters – women, African Americans, Hispanics, and the core of union support, etc, and has used her campaign to fund-raise for down-ballot Democrats.

However…

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.,  speaks at the Alliance for Retired Americans 2015 National Legislative Conference in Washington, Thursday, July 9, 2015. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

The 2016 presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders matters.

The fact that I am writing about Sanders on the cusp of June is one pretty good reason. A year ago he was a completely unknown senator from a tiny northeastern state, whose claim to fame was copping to being a socialist. He was supposed to be this platform-shifting “issues candidate” that before being fodder would maybe force Clinton to edge slightly to the left before she went on to crush whatever loon made it out of the Republican contest. In any other year Sanders would be… say, Dennis Kucinich. But this is the witchy season of 2016, a bizarre year where a TV star mogul gets to play and win. Madam Shoo-In should have made Sanders go away around early March. This is how things are usually done around here. Yet, he has not only failed to go away, he is surging to the finish; making a terrible noise, along with the millions that make up his mostly young, feisty and fed-up constituency.

This would make Sanders a Ted Kennedy circa 1980; chipping at the inevitable nominee from the left to the detriment of the general election. But he is more than that. Sanders represents to Democrats what Donald J. Trump accomplished on the Republican side; he is an insurgence candidate, an anti-Washington, anti-establishment figure that has captured this year’s zeitgeist; a must for any presidential candidates (ask the sixteen or so actual GOP politicians that are home wondering what the hell just happened). If anything, Bernie Sanders has been the only real news on the Democratic side since February. His rallies (larger and more raucous than even the Donald’s), his character, (parodied brilliantly by Larry David on SNL), his suddenly “man-for-his-times” stature has eclipsed Clinton from every angle.

Turns out that Sanders is the only true issues candidate; leading a progressive charge against a sitting Democratic president. And as much as it is fairly fabricated, Sanders at least appears pure, untainted by the evils of Washington D.C. Of course, he has spent decades in the same quagmire as his opponent, but Clinton, who reeks of establishment and been-there-done-that gives him rare breathing room on this count. Again, in this climate, he is appealing, which according to most Democratic and national polls matters more to voters now than ever.

But Sanders matters not for hanging in there, staying the course ideologically, and timing; he matters because he is shifting the direction of the coming general election dramatically and has already (as has Trump on the other side) put the system under the microscope – the democratic vagaries of caucuses, strange delegate proportions, antiquated and shady party rules. Both he and Trump like to use the word “rigged”, which of course is nonsense, but indeed the structure of party primaries is such that it promotes scrutiny solely on the general misunderstanding of them by the public. Reminds me of watching a baseball game with a friend, who was unaware of the rule that a catcher must secure a third strike in order for the batter to be out; so when the ball whizzed to the backstop and the batter sped to first, he was incredulous. “The guy’s out! Why is he on first?” Well, you see, according to the rules… “But he struck out!” Okay, it’s weird, but that’s the rules, right?

Beyond the inside baseball aspect of Sanders’ movement, allowing the electorate to see behind the curtains, his candidacy has done a masterful job of revealing the warts of Clinton’s. Without sinking to the level of most political campaigns, the mere presence of Sanders, has put the onus on Clinton to stand for something, which beyond the standard liberal talking points, is a flimsy notion at best. Sanders has exposed Clinton’s greatest weaknesses as a stump candidate, an orator, or even a likable, relatable character. Remember what “likable enough” got her in ’08? Her blandness, already baked in, would have seemed less egregious against the standard opponent. Against the flamboyantly disheveled New Yawk ethnicity of Sanders, she appears invisible.

He matters because he is shifting the direction of the coming general election dramatically and has already (as has Trump on the other side) put the system under the microscope.

Of course, the biggest complaint of Sandersnistas is the seeming wild popularity of their candidate; his winning so many states, but constantly trailing. This puts the rigged idea into the lap of the “rigger”, which would be Clinton, further enhancing her villain persona, something Trump has already begun to weave into his already incendiary rhetoric. The now official Republican nominee has smartly coalesced his anti-establishment movement on the right with Sanders egalitarian rants, prompting him to run as a true independent, effectively handing the election to Trump by default – not to mention feeding this narrative that has grown in the ensuing months that the young and impressionable newbies rallying to Sanders’ populist message will see a viable revolutionary option in Trump.

Sanders has never really had a chance here. There was a moment in mid-March or immediately after his stirring upset in Michigan when Sanders could have made a move. He did not. He was roundly defeated by Clinton when it mattered most and it has left him as this annoying afterthought for Madam Shoo-In, which she has wrongly ignored or condescended to as if this whole silly primary thing is merely a winding road to her coronation. But by hanging in there until his party’s convention, Sanders has pushed this to the limit. If he wins California in early June and rides into Philly with serious momentum and poll numbers that show him trouncing Trump, while Clinton, with her damaging untrustworthy numbers weighting her down, barely squeaks by, he will have a fairly good argument to sway the aforementioned “super delegates” his way and throw the whole shebang into chaos.

And with more troubling news coming from the state department investigation on Clinton’s private server this week, Sanders may come to matter as much as anyone in American politics in 2016, including Donald J. Trump.

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DONALD J. TRUMP, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE – WTF?

Aquarian Weekly
5/11/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

DONALD J. TRUMP, REPUBLICAN NOMINEE – WTF?

The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet.
– Mark Twain

Today, as you read this, the presumptive nominee of one of our republic’s two major political parties is a man who eleven months ago was a tabloid-addled, real estate mogul turned reality TV personality. How did this happen? Let’s dissect.

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Never Underestimate the Power of Celebrity or the Grim Reality of Math

In the late 1980s I proposed the idea that if Clint Eastwood ran for president, he might not win but would garner about a third of the vote for merely being Clint Eastwood. This is long before a weight-lifter/movie star became governor of the nation’s largest state. Once Donald Trump, a well-known macho big mouth, descended his fancy escalator at the Trump Towers on Fifth Avenue, he owned one-third of the Republican electorate by simply being Donald Trump. This is the celebrity quotient seemingly lost on the political class that at any time may come calling and is ignored at its own peril.

This one-third quotient would have been nothing but an entertaining fart in the wind if Trump were opposed by a reasonable three or four candidates divvying up the remaining 65 percent. This did not happen in 2015. A record seventeen candidates emerged slicing up two, five, eight and ten percent of the pie between them, leading to a growing narrative to those who thought Trump a goof (myself included) having a legitimate shot (something I came to realize all-too clearly in late September). And since not one of the other sixteen candidates chose to confront this mathematical certainty, most stayed in the race, which made Trump’s 33 percent a solid bet.

Trump did not get a majority of the vote until his home state of New York, 34 states into the process. By then most of the field had winnowed and Trump had legs enough to break a record for the most GOP primary votes ever.

Shitty Field & the Republican Lie

Since 2009 the Republican Party, with the ardent assistance of talk radio and FOX News, rolled out the fantasy that President Barack Obama would plunge the nation into Hades. Not that he was a sub-par president, mind you, but Satan. When none of this actually happened, they decided to claim it did anyway. This narrative, wholly baseless, not unlike the left’s insane panic when Ronald Reagan became president, created a netherworld of fact-free political discourse that led to a TEA Party movement at first exploited and eventually reduced to a whole lot of nothing in Washington D.C., which predictably upset a whole lot of people.

Fast forward to the comically large Republican candidate field, which operated under another GOP lie that it would be the finest in a generation. It was not. It sucked, and people knew it, and thus “outsider” Donald Trump became the voice of the disenfranchised tired of the lie. His support was that of a defiantly powerful weapon against bullshit.

The actual shitty field was made up of wildly unpopular governors; Bobby Jindel and Chris Christie, unlikable sods with crappy records and no point to run for re-election, much less the presidency, and popular governors, Rick Perry, a dullard, who put glasses on to appear as if he were not a dullard, which made him look more like a dullard, Scott Walker, who campaigned as if he would rather have a three-way with the Clintons than run for president, and John Kasich, who never seemed to articulate what his actual point was. And finally two long-retired ex-governors, another goddamn Bush, who was merely fodder for Trump’s most effective coming out party; the burying of this pathetic era in American history, and for reasons only known to his shrink, George Pataki. Then there was Marco Rubio, a wildly unpopular senator that lived on the lie he was the Hispanic Obama, but turned out to be in way over his head, and the latest in the Paul family to be shoved aside as a libertarian kook. For fun there was Dr. Ben Carson, a mumbling neurosurgeon and religious loon, who had his fifteen minutes of fame for being “nice”, thrice-failed religious loons, Santorum/Huckabee. Senator Lindsey Graham, who polled as well as me at zero percent, which made abject business failure, Carly Fiorina look good, her eventually running mate, Ted Cruz, a man who looked like the guy you would cast in a slimy politician role for your movie about corruption, and some guy named Gilmore.

Not a Jefferson in the bunch.

The Social Media Pissed-Off Two-Step

This is the social media era and Donald Trump is its demigod. He lives for the short-attention span this opiate satiates and the outlandish quip in short spurts it demands, which translates well to Twitter and cable news, the Internet for old people. Trump dominated every medium mostly made up of two things – a narcissistic obsession with self-promoting the most mundane claptrap and expressing the kind of the hate-speak no one would dare say in any measure of polite society.

Anger, whether legitimate of not, is anger. You can’t tell people they’re not angry if they’re angry, and since the electorate has been repeatedly lied to by both parties for centuries, it came to a head in a very unusual but understandable way. On the left, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders tapped into the anger of progressives that feel abandoned by Obama while Trump tapped into the general anger of the lies the right has fed its base.

When people are angry they like to say outlandish things to hopefully shock the system; a collective Lenny Bruce moment when merely uttering “cocksucker” in a lounge becomes social commentary. This is why when Donald Trump said things that would not only fell normal politicians but destroy careers and reputations, it elevated his stature. He was the living embodiment of anger; an avatar for the very core of ourselves; righteous indignation. He was like the birth of punk music; crude, raw, and defiant, a middle-aged Kurt Cobain character with disdain for decorum and a hard-on for disorder.

Trump is a man for his times, but he also represents our culture of flimsy factoids and fantasy narratives and that somehow being pissed-off is a solution to anything.

For the first time, those who spent their days sitting at home elbow-deep in the Costco-sized Cheetos tub firing off horrifyingly hilarious vitriol under the cover of cowardice could now have a voice and a place to get nuts. Trump and Sanders provided the rhetoric and rallies to take it to the streets, and the primary voting days to file their protest. Some of this frightened those who are afraid of things like free speech and expression, but for those of us who celebrate the ugly experiment that is democracy reflecting the terrors of human nature, it was glorious times.

Trump, and to a lesser extent but no less riotous, Sanders allowed America to bear its soul, and it got real…fast.

The Boring & Sacrilegious Christ Analogy & the Vote

Trump was never really a candidate, he was a symbol. Like the symbol of Jesus of Nazareth some two thousand years ago, the character rolling into Jerusalem and pronouncing his messianic priority, calling everything crap; the social system, the political system, the religious system, the entire thing crap. His declaration of one man replacing all of it is at once egalitarian (what we would call populist today) and fascist, (a nebulous accusation of a singular proposal to return all-things to not crap) resonates. Both guys were faced with a similar push-back from those who needed to survive on the status quo. And when Jesus was executed, his point grew into this other thing entirely. What we call Christianity today is just another fulcrum for the frightened to keep reality at bay.

You think I’m nuts? Ask Ted Cruz, who said as much in his concession speech once Trump made mincemeat of the entire field. He talked about his own march being halted, but the “idea” living on, or “resurrected” in some other larger movement. Problem for Cruz is he was not the Jesus in this analogy, which was borne out by his being bested in nearly every state with evangelicals by Trump. It is Citizen Trump, the human grenade, that calls everything crap and has all the answers to make it not crap; him, alone – not a system or an ideology or even a party, just Trump. Very Christ-like. Or Mussolini-like. But I find it hard to differentiate the symbolic nature of Mussolini and Christ, but that is for another column entirely.

But, again, none of this matters without “the vote”. It was “the vote” that crushed the system and the ideology and the party, none of which could handle or understand Trump. The voters did. The anger did. The timing sure did. Every step of the way the voting came his way and it was ignored by the other candidates and the party and mostly the media, who looked at this as it looks at all things, a shiny object in which to sell ad space. None of these entities understand Trump or the fear and anger people have about a changing world they are not part of, whether socially or economically. Not that Trump can do anything about it, like the Christ thing, but it is better than the crap that is currently happening or what they believe is the crap that is happening.

The voting, not all the other stuff, kept the Trump Train on the tracks. Trump did not hijack the party as the lazy right-wing pundits and the Wall St. Journal claim; he got the votes. This is how it works. And it worked for Trump this time.

In Conclusion

Nothing ever happens in a vacuum, whether Hitler or the Beatles. Trump is a man for his times, but he also represents our culture of flimsy factoids and fantasy narratives and that somehow being pissed-off is a solution to anything. Sometimes it is, like a bunch of British colonists unhappy about the tax/representation balance overseas, and for Trump, if he is to compete against the odds to actually be president, it had better be.

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WHAT’S THE POINT OF TED CRUZ?

Aquarian Weekly
5/4/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

WHAT’S THE POINT OF TED CRUZ?
(Or For That Matter John Kasich)

So why should a bunch of principles get in the way of tactics?
-Matt Bai

Maybe I’m mistaken. It would not be the first time and will hardly be the last. But someone please tell me that the point and purpose of the presidential candidacy for Texas Senator Ted Cruz is not just “Vote for me, because I’m not Donald Trump”. Granted, I don’t always expect a “New Frontier” or “Morning in America” or even “Yes We Can”; inspiring generational movements that rally around both an idea and an individual who transcends an era. I can live with the middling “I Like Ike” or “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”. I can wrap my mind around a flaccid “Compassionate Conservatism” routine or even the fifteen different versions of “Reformer” that come and go like mouthwash ads. But I’m not sure “If You Want To Stop Someone Else, I’m The Guy” is necessarily a goose-bump inducing rallying cry.

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I never begrudge anyone who runs for office, and I am loathe to make any suggestions as to when a candidate should enter or exit a race, especially one of this magnitude; so if Ted Cruz wants to make victory speeches after getting his clocked cleaned in some 30 primaries or pick running mates when he is on death’s door, then I say more power to him. However, I think there should be a point to it. There seems to be none here; beyond one pathetic ploy after the other until the whole thing appears sad.

Lord knows I understand there are plenty of races wherein a candidate shows up to just stop a weakened opponent; the tried-and-true “lesser of two evils” jag. It is just damn rare for someone to articulate it as a campaign strategy. Hell, John Kerry and Mitt Romney ran on, “me or else”. Of course this worked out badly for them, but it’s not like they held press conferences talking like a tic-tac-toe X; “Play me to block!”

And just when you thought this nonsense couldn’t get more tragic, Cruz, now mathematically eliminated from a first-ballot contest, merely says, out loud (in campaign speeches, with people sitting in front of him, on television holding a microphone and everything), that “Sure, I can’t win, but neither can Trump if you vote for me. In fact, don’t even vote for me, vote for someone else in other states to prevent him from winning.”

It is so inspiring you can put music to it. The bumper sticker might be larger than normal, but it has a certain dramatic ring. Can’t you hear the women swooning and men fighting back the tears? I get chills writing this.

Okay, so Cruz is nuts, but I maintain he is not any crazier than your average politician. Granted, he may be a little crazier since he keep telling us he isn’t one. He’s like a salesman who begins his pitch by telling you he isn’t selling anything. Cruz is as political as they come. He will do or say anything to get elected. He reeks of Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon. For instance, early in the campaign his staff pulled a fast one on former sort-of candidate, Ben Carson by spreading false information to his voters during the Iowa caucuses that he had dropped out. When confronted about this at the following debate he had three ways to go; apologize, spin about false narratives, or lie. He chose lying. If you look at the campaigning and governing history of both Clinton and Nixon, they both had choices on several and varied occasions to handle their affairs, and in each case, they chose to lie.

But say what you want about the increasingly bizarre “I’m Not Him” strategy of Ted Cruz, what Ohio Governor John Kasich is running on is pure madness.

someone please tell me that the point and purpose of the presidential candidacy for Texas Senator Ted Cruz is not just “Vote for me, because I’m not Donald Trump”.

At least Cruz has managed to pull down a dozen states and a fair share of delegates, working his organization tirelessly within a hazy, backdoor system to gain the requisite votes to take this thing into an open convention come July. Kasich has won one state, his own, and gathered about ten delegates in the past six weeks. No one covers him. He never gets any traction. His argument from day-one has been, “I’m the adult, clear-thinking one.” I find this even less inspiring than the rousing “I’m No Him” scheme. Kasich doesn’t even care that he has less support than candidates who dropped out months ago. And he obviously doesn’t give a flying fart about his party, which will implode if somehow his fantasy of lying in the weeds to get the nomination on a sixth ballot comes true. No one really wants Cruz, but they really don’t want the damage John Kasich will inflict on the party now.

Kasich was the best candidate for the Republicans to defeat Hillary Clinton this past June. Now he looks like an establishment kook, who is just waiting for all this annoying surge voting to cease, so he and his cronies can get back to controlling the system. If Kasich is the nominee, Clinton could actually win southern states.

I’m not sure there was any point to Cruz or Kasich in the first place. Case in point: the goofy #NeverTrump alliance to join forces in their stirring “I’m Not Him” momentum. If either of them were truly principled or had a reason for anyone to vote for them, then how could they coalesce? Kasich is a centrist pro-government compromiser, everything Cruz claims to despise. And Kasich is actually running against the very concept of the agitator/non-compromising Cruz. It would seem by this move that these gentlemen would collude with the irrationally hated President Barrack Obama at this point if it meant there is the slimmest chance they could be in a position to be the nominee.

Apparently this nonsensical tactic backfired when neither campaign adhered to its incoherent messaging for more than a few hours; further illustrating all this pointlessness. Cruz could not stand abandoning futility completely, so he yanked poor Carly Fiorina into the fray in the hopes that Trump might once again blurt out another slice of misogynistic claptrap and scare people over to him.

This is what the year of Trump has wrought. Every campaign is about him, even the ones that claim to be alternatives. Before Trump, Cruz had it all planned. He was the “outsider” in a season of anger and resentment, and Kasich was the viable, electable candidate, who could stop the inevitability of corruptible Madam Shoo-In. Love him. Hate him. But Trump is real and his actual movement is happening. “Make America Great Again” is as vague and confusing as Trump himself, but at least it’s a slogan and an actual mission statement you can get behind or rail against. It’s not, “If I Can’t Play, I’m Making Up Another Game”.

If the Republican Party tries to stop this from happening, no matter what swinging dick is left to pick up the scraps, the whole mess will turn into #NeverGOP, making way for a Hillary Clinton landslide.

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THE GREAT REPUBLICAN LIE ON ABORTION

Aquarian Weekly
4/6/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE GREAT REPUBLICAN LIE ON ABORTION

This week Republican presidential front-runner, Donald Trump, in his usual wing-it fashion, told an MSNBC audience that if abortion was illegal than the woman getting the abortion is committing a crime and therefore should stand trial for said crime. This caused the predictable outcry from pro-choice advocates and Democrats, but unconscionably, it also drew the ire of conservative Republicans. This makes no sense and someone should point this out.

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Pro-Life advocates conveniently want it both ways; they continue to woo the woman vote while also stating that abortion is murder and should be deemed such. Who exactly then is the murderer? The doctor? Does the doctor enter the woman’s room late at night and yank the fetus from her or does the woman make a difficult choice to terminate the pregnancy, then, in their ideological view, walk willingly and knowingly into the clinic and murder the fetus?

This is why I state emphatically that if I were a woman in no way, shape or form would I ever support a major political party that stands by the concept of allowing the government to manipulate my insides. Ever. Whatever side you fall on in this very difficult issue, you cannot support the government deciding what happens inside the body of a tax-paying citizen protected by the Bill of Rights. It is not only unconstitutional, it is insane. It leads to a world in which if there is over-population, then the government can decide who lives and who dies and could one day force women with “too many children” to get abortions.

But if you strongly believe that it is the right and moral foundation for the United States government to protect innocents – unless innocents happen to be gay, undocumented, the elderly with no money, or the random black kid gunned down by rogue cops; then fuck them – it stands to reason you deem abortion murder, and therefore that murder must have a perpetrator. Conservative phonies like Ted Cruz, who is now fully immersed in the establishment, despite his charade of stating he is anti-establishment whilst asking the party to coalesce behind him to stop the actual anti-establishment candidate, like to tell us that in this weirdly constructed reality, the woman is the victim of this “crime”.

Really?

Then why do we put drug offenders in jail or bust drunk drivers? They are merely victims of the terrible drug dealers and liquor stores and bars who serve them dope and libations. When someone hits you with their car, do they seek out the manufacturer? Is Ford responsible for the guy who hits you? So, I ask; in what crazed dystopian nightmare does a woman who gets an abortion somehow translate to victim?

I guess Ted Cruz is a bleeding heart liberal who believes somehow that society, the prison system, and the Beatles were guilty of ritualistic murder, and not poor, victimized Charles Manson.

If abortion is murder, then the woman should go to jail. Trump is correct and has continued to be the gift that keeps giving for the free thinkers among us who believe that the abject lies the Republican Party has been selling for decades about military build-ups and asinine wars, Wall Street, free-trade unregulated nonsense, and haughty attacks on social issues are stupid and antiquated and have become sad, fringe positions that have no place in an advancing world.

But that is politics, and we are not dealing with politics today, just like we are not dealing in morals here, ever; we are merely dealing with personal liberty and the law, which rightly gives a tax-paying citizen protected by the Bill of Rights control over her body. However, if that law should change, and abortion becomes illegal; then you explain to me how a woman who seeks an abortion does not break the law? And if you break the law, should you not pay for your crime? And if that crime is murder, then should you not be sentenced to life imprisonment, and in some states, face execution?

This is about taking Trump down, while simultaneously keeping the false notion of deeming abortion a crime against humanity while somehow absolving the architect, so women will vote Republican in the fall.

I believe Trump when he repeatedly says, “You either have a country or you don’t.”

So, where does this dribbling nonsense of staunchly defending the unborn while simultaneously absolving the woman killing this child come from?

Now, the cynic in me understands the campaign landscape of shock and dismay is wholly motivated by a #nevertrump effort. Trump, like Obama, could espouse the entire GOP platform and someone on the right will get in a tizzy and blame them for pissing on God’s head. This is about taking Trump down, while simultaneously keeping the false notion of deeming abortion a crime against humanity while somehow absolving the architect, so women will vote Republican in the fall. Period.

The main discussion about abortion really comes down to the idea that you must accept that you are indeed terminating a life when you have one. As a supporter of pro-choice, I also get tough with those who support same when they deny that this is not the case, that somehow this glob of tissue is not life or to make things cushy, some sub-life or pre-form of life. Technology and advanced science now prove with no doubt that life is being terminated. Whether this constitutes murder, as it is described in the annals of civilization or our current structure of law, is another argument I shall not make here. But I have been asking my pro-life friends now for decades; how exactly do you accept the premise that the government has a right to adjudicate what is inside a citizen’s body? The government has no right to burst into your apartment and begin rummaging around, but your body is open season?

And how do you police this matter?

Donald Trump says you arrest the murderer, and he is right.

But that is shocking to us, because we cannot imagine someone being arrested for such a thing. So, in abject panic that we can now see their draconian oligarchy correctly, the right-wing moral loons scramble to tell you Trump is nuts. Well, of course he’s nuts, but so is the notion that the government can arrest a woman for this. So, they make up some wild story about the woman merely being a victim.

Poor, unknowing, weak, and distressed female, whose only purpose is to plunk out babies on demand; you will not be held responsible for the thing you just did. But, of course, you will, and you should, and if you don’t think that is coming if Roe v Wade is overturned, which the Republican Party wants – including Ted Cruz and John Kasich, no matter how much they try and distance themselves from it – then you are not listening to the pro-life movement. This is what they want; to make abortion illegal, which means if you happen to have a vagina; it is time to watch your step.

If the premise introduced to Donald Trump on MSNBC this week is correct, and one day we are faced with abortion being illegal, than women will need to stand trial for murder.

Any other conclusion to this is a lie.

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MADAM SHOO-IN – THE SEQUEL

Aquarian Weekly
3/23/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

MADAM SHOO-IN – THE SEQUEL
The Clinton Machine Revs Up

Can you hear it?

Vrooooooooooom. Vrooooooooom.

It is an old model, early 1990s to be exact, and though it was idling a tad shaky this past summer – not surprisingly, it hadn’t been cranked up since 2008 – it is starting to hum. The pistons were rusty and the fuel lines were clogged. A few spark plugs were less than optimal, and the radiator leaked. It may not be a perfect machine, right off the line, like the 2008 Barack Obama model that ran it off the road on the first turn and never looked back. But even that model has a few laps on it now. It is ancient history around these parts, the Clinton parts; where the sense memory is long and deep and needs no motivation beyond a push on the pedal to get her going.

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Vrooooooooooom. Vrooooooooom.

Hillary Rodham Clinton is about to be the first woman to ever lead a major party’s ticket for the presidency in the 240-year history of this republic. It is only a matter of time before she gets the engine of The Machine at peak levels. It’s just about revving now; across the South and now through Midwest, with a few pit-stops for tuning up around New Hampshire and Michigan. But after the real Super Tuesday, where the delegate count started to look like something from Custer’s Last Stand, it is picking up steam. Even the Bernie Sanders supporters now begin talking about “changing the party” and “making our point” and “looking forward to marching into the Democratic Convention and pleading our ideological case.” Winning for them is out of the question now.

This is what happens when The Machine rolls over you. There are tire marks on your back and you wonder, what’s the point?

The late Paul Tsongas had a similar feeling in 1992. The Massachusetts senator entered Super Tuesday with momentum and was putting the screws to William Jefferson Clinton, an embattled and politically wounded Arkansas Governor. Clinton was a scandal working on another scandal while waiting for the last scandal to wrap up. Soon, without warning, Tsongas was headed back to Beantown not knowing what hit him. What hit him was The Machine.

I have seen The Machine up close. I felt its heat and heard its engines purr. They are a mother, let me tell you. In 2009, I went to Radio City Music Hall to listen to its main mechanic James Carville publically discuss how to build and maintain such a thing. He sat across from Karl Rove, a man I drank with more than once in early 2000, who ran an effective engine of his own. That tip-top bastard of an apparatus turned a garble-mouthed Texas bonus baby into Captain Shoo-In, who would become a Texas governor and later president of the United States. These are men who know how to put together a machine that instinctually warms up and finds the open road.

Right now that is where Hillary Clinton finds herself. There is no junior senator rock star in front of her now. The Bern has flamed out. Most it can do now to make news is have its youthfully exuberant charges bust up Donald Trump rallies, which is good for press but does nothing to stop whatever that maniac’s got going, which looks real and mean and unstoppable. But that is a problem for the Republican Party, which fears the real estate mogul’s dismal approval ratings might sink it and hand the senate back over the Democrats. Trump, they say, is even more untrustworthy and unpopular than Clinton, who has now approached Nixonian levels of icky. No one seems to know what the woman is capable of, but none of it matters. The Machine is on its way.

Vrooooooooooom. Vrooooooooom.

There is no junior senator rock star in front of her now.

For the record, this model has an easier ride than the ’92 model. That one was brand new but up against serious odds, and the Democratic Party didn’t give a shit who the hell lost to George Bush Sr. Eyes were already on 1996 when the whole Reagan Revolution finally died out and people could get on with things. But Big Bill had other ideas. He also had a madman Independent candidate called Ross Perot, sort of an antecedent to this Trump fellow, but crazier. Way crazier. The Texas billionaire garnered 18 percent of the vote, despite dropping out halfway through the summer haunted by delusions of CIA infiltrations of his daughter’s wedding and other weird shit he blurted out during odd moments on the Larry King Show. As a result of this mess, Clinton won the presidency with 43 percent of the popular vote. Only Richard Nixon in 1968, (43.4) Woodrow Wilson in 1912 (41.8) and Abraham Lincoln in 1860 (39.8) earned less. To fair, Honest Abe had three opponents and the entire South delivered zero votes.

The 2016 Clinton model could face a similar set-up, if anti-Trump Republicans decide to form a third party and siphon off 20 percent of the right-wing electorate.

Either way, you’d have to be a political novice to not see that The Machine has found its motor and is kicking up a storm now. It came alive somewhere along the southern rim of the contiguous United States in mid-to-late February, and it shows little sign of slowing down. Not until there is an opponent, and that looks malleable right now. For Bernie Sanders, as we have come to know and love him, is done; left by the roadside with his thumb out looking for a way back to the senate. It was a nice run, a short revolution, but one that had a mind-bending effect on Clinton. It may even hound her come late summer when the main laps for The Machine commence.

But know this: The Machine, the Clinton Machine, is back. And at some point all this fleeting hope for the FBI or some smoking gun to come out of any of these Clinton shenanigans to halt its momentum has got to cease. It will be time then for someone or something to stop it on the campaign trail, where is has shown at once a lethal effectiveness and an inability to get out of its own way. There is only one way to put The Machine down now; the ballot box, where all these things end up…eventually.

Vrooooooooooom. Vrooooooooom.

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CIVIL WAR!

Aquarian Weekly
3/9/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

CIVIL WAR!
The Republican Party Vs Citizen Trump

For the first time since 1964, the Republican Party is engaged in an open and hostile coup de tat against its overwhelming frontrunner for the nomination. This space has it solid from deep insiders within the national party that the “motherload” is coming down on Citizen Donald Trump, who currently leads the field in delegates (represented by the affluent to the working class) and states won (from New England to the Bible Belt) with what these sources are calling a “carpet bombing” of television ads and a legal plan to wrest the nomination from him come July at its national convention.

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The key word here that follows this is “if” – which entails Trump not reaching the requisite 1,237 delegates needed for a majority, and not a plurality of the vote, something most assuredly to happen now with three other candidates splitting the remaining tallies. If Trump fails to reach this crucial plateau, the increasingly apoplectic party leaders and establishment clan will pounce. These same sources describe a “brokered” convention as a very probable “shit show” that would see Trump march his 35 percent support out of the building and with them any chance of defeating a strengthened Hillary Clinton in the general election.

Yet, despite repeated calls, follow-ups and a lengthy discussion with several prominent voices in the GOP over the last couple of days that resulted in statements like “Trump is using the Republican Party as a tool he will later abandon to create a lane to the presidency”, I could not pin them down to a specific number: What if Trump gets to 800 or 900 and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, now in second in the delegate count, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a distant third, are a few hundred behind? No one would commit. However, the general consensus is without equivocation, if Trump is not at least at 1,000 pledged delegates by July 18, all bets are off.

And most of this is not back-room, off-the-record chatter; sitting senators, congressmen and governors have already gone on record throwing out all modes of legal shenanigans that could use party rules to simply deny a vast majority of millions of Republican voters their preferred candidate – on national television, cable news networks, and all over the Internet.

As stated in this space for months now, the neo-cons, buried by Trump along with the Bush Myth in South Carolina, the phony evangelical nationalists, buried by Trump on the Super Tuesday SEC Primaries, the international free trade elites, and Wall Street barons are in full panic mode – and although it is at the very edge of “too late”, are fully committed (monetarily or otherwise) to bring down the human hand grenade that is Donald Trump.

In a move that resembles the Mullahs of Iran defiantly robbing the voice of the people from a purported democratic system, the Republican Party, the very institution that forced Trump to sign a pledge of allegiance to not run against it as an independent in the general election, is floating rumors of running some bastardized Constitutional Party if he is close to the nomination. Crazies on the radio are calling for an illegal two-man anti-Trump combined ticket with Rubio/Cruz, which was dismissed as simple fantasy by my sources who cite that delegate must be appropriated by individual candidates, not magically shared in some half-baked cabal. The other more outlandish “plan” dismissed as “lunacy” involves the RNC systematically fusing its remaining Trump alternatives as a “three-headed majority” to claim their combined delegates that would add up to…whatever, my brain hurts.

if Trump is not at least at 1,000 pledged delegates by July 18, all bets are off.

Beating Trump with viable candidates and strong, defendable ideologies in an open primary season has thus far turned out to be a monumental bust. In fact, Trump is rocking it everywhere in every part of the country with every type of voter; while the party that for the past six years has welcomed a rousing anti-government fervor and piggybacked an alarmingly ill-suited mob of TEA Party non-politicians to gain control of both houses of congress, now works like mad to save its brand from Donald Trump. The party clearly absorbed what was a wholly grassroots movement into a political tool and then ignored it, creating Trump as its vengeance. Illustrating how out of touch with its electorate the party is they ironically now prop up two of its most opportunistic and fabricated TEA Party interlopers, Cruz and Rubio, as alternatives to the very system they exploited.

Whoops.

Thus, the sudden and pathetic re-entrance of two time presidential loser, Willard Mitt Romney, who began to frame the establishment narrative last week by announcing with no evidence at all that Trump had a “bomb shell” in his tax returns, something the flaccid campaigns of Cruz and Rubio vainly tried to use as a cudgel. This time, however, the once and rejected Massachusetts governor, with all the credibility of a man recently fleeced at a black jack table giving you tips on when to take a hit, stood on a stage in his home state of Utah and called his party’s nearly presumptive nominee a “fraud”, “bully”, and deemed him “disqualified”.

The man who blew an election that before he announced a doomed candidacy in 2012 had any Republican with a pulse with a seven to ten point advantage over a vulnerable incumbent by stating that 47 percent of the American electorate was filled with freeloaders is now calling people voting for Trump during record-turn-out primaries as “played for suckers”. The man who four years ago had to be dragged kicking and screaming to release his tainted tax returns now demands Trump release his. And in a spectacular example of utter lack of self-awareness, (the perfect foil for the party elites) Romney labeled Trump a flip-flopper; a term invented to describe his neck-wrenching shifts in policy over a very spotty political career.

There is only one cure to stop the GOP machine from taking to the convention in July and pulling a Democratic re-dux of the 1952 presidential nomination of Adlai Stevenson, who competed in zero primaries and yet received his party’s nomination to eventually be trounced by Dwight D. Eisenhower; Trump has to get to at least 1,000 delegates.

Or bring on the “shit show”!

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MYTH BUSTER IN CHIEF

Aquarian Weekly
3/2/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

MYTH BUSTER IN CHIEF
Donald Trump Reshapes GOP Platform, Takes Down Bush Era Nonsense & Rolls On

Truth hurts.
– Lord Byron

Here’s all you need to know about the Trump juggernaut that dominated both the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries back-to-back, not to mention a blow-out in the Nevada caucuses, which has effectively put the entire system on alert: The fantasy notion that the Bush Administration, which slept-walked through the first ten months of its time in power leading up to the most horrific attack on the U.S. mainland since 1812, was somehow magically free from responsibility, is now over. Donald Trump obliterated this nonsense once and for all by standing on a Republican debate stage with the former president’s brother three feet from him and not only blamed him for 9/11, but called George W. Bush a liar, a war monger, and even went so far as suggesting he might have better been impeached. Then, instead of being ruined, the electorate in a mostly conservative southern state with 50% military vote and a miraculous 88% approval rating for Bush, agreed in a big way.

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Imagine, if you can, a Democratic debate in Illinois eight years from now wherein a leading candidate of the party stands next to Barack Obama’s kin and calls him a Muslim Communist, who should have been thrown in jail for repeated executive actions, and then wins overwhelmingly.

Now, once and for all, we can stop ignoring history and repeating the falderal that George Bush and Dick Cheney and the rest of that useless cabal kept anyone safe.

As far as Trump’s sound victory, it is hard to argue it is anything but historic and impressive by every conceivable measure.

A private citizen less than eight months ago has now managed to effectively burn down the entire idea, purpose and foundation of Republican politics. On the same debate stage that Trump unloaded unprecedented vitriol on the last GOP two-term president, he derided further intervention in unwinnable foreign conflicts, defended the irrationally maligned Planned Parenthood, talked up single-payer health care, heralded eminent domain, stood firm against open free trade, and attacked Wall Street so vociferously the Wall St. Journal rushed two bogus polls showing him behind nationally and only five points ahead in S.C. days before the primary, despite composite polls giving him a 12-point national bulge and a two-digit lead in the state.

If Rick Santorum turned RNC Chairman Reince Priebus into a staggering lush four years ago, these developments have sent him into the kind of spastic paroxysms of fear that no narcotic invented by man could abate.

But Priebus’s manic substance abuse in the wake of this political and ideological grenade is nothing compared to what kind of abject panic, hate and rage is exploding from all ends at the Koch Brothers headquarters. Having purchased nine out of every ten Republican candidates for the past dozen years, the billionaire duo is hemorrhaging money trying to halt this march towards a nomination that would unthinkably leave their influence out of the White House bid. The much-celebrated right-wing Citizens United ruling a few years ago that has the Bernie Sanders bunch (and quite frankly Trump) in a tizzy has thus far gone belly up.

The latest casualty in money-pissed-away-on-a whole-lotta-nothin’ is W’s brother, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, whose dead-on-arrival campaign spent $177 million to collect three delegates before ignominiously quitting in utter defeat. His little buddy, Florida Senator Marco Rubio also chucked a ton of cash away to gain, along with the millions spent by Wall St. puppet, Ted Cruz zero delegates in South Carolina. This in Cruz’s case despite its hearty chunk of glassy-eyed evangelicals who completely ignored his “blood of Jesus” rambling and ran to Trump in droves.

I want you to digest this for a moment; Rubio, Cruz and three other candidates got as many delegates as me and you in South Carolina. Congrats, you’re in the game – because both Rubio and Cruz called this spectacular ass-whup a victory. This is the kind of “everyone gets a trophy that participates” reasoning that has the Carolina Panthers as Super Bowl champs.

It also needs to be noted that the wide and highly qualified field of Republican candidates we were told were primed and ready for the White House, a daunting seven of which were sitting or former governors, are now down to a doctor, a real estate mogul, and two junior senators. Only Ohio Governor John Kasich, ironically the only traditionally electable candidate (whatever the hell that means now), stands – and he does so barely. Each one hardly got a foothold on this thing, as Trump dominated media coverage at every turn.

A private citizen less than eight months ago has now managed to effectively burn down the entire idea, purpose and foundation of Republican politics.

Pundits from all over the place are so flummoxed by all this there is now a cottage industry for coming up with magic math in which if everyone dropped out but, say, Rubio, then the field would take a candidate still only pulling in a third of the Republican electorate. This works at the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Wonderland, but where the rest of us hang out it is craziness.

If Ben Carson, who is merely selling books and getting his jollies speaking like a faith healer at a car show finally comes to what little senses he posses and drops out, where is his “we don’t want a politician” votes going; to establishment central-casting male model, Marco Rubio? I think not. So now Trump goes from 35% to around 42 to 45, which, by the way he surpassed in a rousing Nevada victory. Then, once Cruz is toast, which will not be for awhile, because his only reason for breathing is to do this; he has as much point in the senate as a Vegan at a pig roast; where does his “insurgent against the system” votes go; to centrist nice guy Kasich? I think not.

I am not ready to hand the Republican nomination over to Donald J. Trump, as I am on the Democratic side to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who pretty much ended Bernie Sanders’ 2016 bid in Nevada, but it is time to come to grips with this. If the Republican Party thinks it’s going to back-door this at the convention in Cleveland this summer and wrest the lion’s share of delegates from the Trump camp quietly and not cause a complete revolt and then exit of his supporters, subsequently handing the general election to Madam Shoo-In with less than 50% of the vote, as her husband did twice, then it is sadly mistaken.

The toothpaste is already out of the tube, jack; something I think Lord Byron would have said, and would have been right to say it.

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THE SCALIA BOMB

Aquarian Weekly
2/24/16

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

THE SCALIA BOMB

Once the death of ultra-conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was announced late on February 13, the wheels of political discourse, the fluidity of the 2016 presidential campaign, and the very core of the United States Constitution was put into play. No matter how this is handled, and chances are very good they will be handled poorly by the current members of the senate and our sitting president, his name, legacy and his vast and prominent ideological shadow will nonetheless hover.

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Elections have consequences.

We have all heard that spouted over and over throughout our lives come campaign time – whether a battle for municipal comptroller, dogcatcher or president of the United States. To the winner goes the spoils – the will of the people is paramount.

To wit: In 2012, Barack Obama, the duly re-elected president of United States, was given the right and responsibility by a majority of the electorate to appoint a Supreme Court judge in the event of retirement, which he has already done twice (Sonia Maria Sotomayor – 2009, Elena Kagan – 2010), and certainly if one is suddenly vacant. This is clearly framed in the Constitution. The idea put forth by Republican members of the senate or political rhetoric by GOP candidates that they will not consider his nominee or to refuse to even vote on said nominee is patently unconstitutional.

Now, of course, no one argues that it is the role of the senate to set parameters and hold hearings and even (wink, wink) stall or filibuster this process, but to arbitrarily state the chief executive, with an entire eleven months remaining in his presidency, cannot appoint a nominee for an empty seat on the Supreme Court is to ignore the will of the people to its elected president, and therefore I argue, treasonous.

If Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell had just merely said, “We’ll see” and let the process play out in the predictably obstructionist environment largely conducted by the congress over the past five years into January of 2017, then all is fair. But he did not. Like his bluster about “making Obama a first term president” and leading the charge to obstruct the agenda voted on by the majority of the American public twice in the past seven years, this reeks of partisan pettiness and ideological gridlock; the very reasons why an Independent socialist and a TV star businessman are the currently leading candidates for both major political parties.

Having stated the obvious, President Obama needs to be careful here. Back in 2006, then Senator Obama joined 24 Democrats to filibuster George W. Bush’s nominee, Samuel Alito. Obviously, Alito became a justice, but it did not come “smoothly”, as the president has challenged the senate this week. And so must the Republicans, in and out of the senate, tread lightly, as this false notion that not in 80 years has a president gotten a justice confirmed for the Supreme Court as Texas Senator erroneously blurted out during presidential debate in South Carolina. It happened six times in the twentieth century alone, the latest, Ronald Reagan’s 1987 appointment of Anthony Kennedy. Lyndon Johnson nominated two people in 1968, after announcing he would not seek re-election – Justice Abe Fortas to the Chief Justice position vacated by Earl Warren. But, of course, you could pack Yankee Stadium with what Cruz doesn’t know about constitutional history.

One thing Cruz, the president, and every Republican, Democrat and Independent on this continent understand is how monumental the Supreme Court has been over the past thirty years deciding on the most pressing social, economic and domestic issues of our day. It is the looming third branch of government, as laid out by the framers of this republic. Its decisions, however controversial, have shaped our history and solidified our Bill of Rights against the tide of painfully slow-moving progress.

However much they hold this fight dear, this is a huge gamble for Republicans, who are underdogs in any general election which gives any Democrat at least 244 very likely electoral votes before a single poll opens. Not to mention it fires up a Democratic electorate that is half as jacked as Republicans, who have only achieved the popular vote once (2004, G.W. Bush) since 1988 (H.W. Bush).

The idea put forth by Republican members of the senate or political rhetoric by GOP candidates that they will not consider his nominee or to refuse to even vote on said nominee is patently unconstitutional.

At least Obama will be forced to send a moderate to the senate, unless he decides to make this political, which he could very well do, which again, will embolden the left and the growing majority of independents with more progressive social concerns. And should the victor be Hillary Clinton or (gulp!) Bernie Sanders the nominee would in no way, shape or form resemble a moderate. It will be as liberal as Scalia was conservative, and that choice will have post-election political capital not available to a lame duck president. Say what you wish about Barack Obama, but listening to these stump speeches and watching the Democratic debates, he is a country mile farther to the center than either Sanders or Clinton.

This election also includes the “swing” factor – the amount of Republican seats up for grabs (24) dwarfs the ten the Democrats have to defend. There is only a four-seat majority that Republicans are likely to lose and thus hand the senate back to the Democrats.

But beyond a very risky and potentially gut-wrenching political gamble, it is the duty of the senate must hold hearings on an Obama nominee. Cease this childish and unconstitutional whining and do your job.

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MISTAH CHRISTIE – HE DEAD

Aquarian Weekly
2/17/15

REALITY CHECK

James Campion

MISTAH CHRISTIE – HE DEAD

Our mostly absentee governor has returned home utterly and completely defeated. His over one-year, suicidal presidential campaign, beginning in scandal with the so-called “Bridge-Gate”, which will go to trial this spring, ended with barely whimper on February 10, 2016, when the usually blustery and confrontational blowhard meekly announced the suspension of his campaign on Facebook, like the sagging, middle-aged dink he turned out to be on the big stage.

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Chris Christie’s career of garnering votes to continue culling a paycheck are no more. He will likely spend more absentee weeks and months brokering a deal with the Republican Party’s presidential frontrunner to try and get a cabinet position or a cushy federal government gig he so brazenly dismisses as some sort of welfare, because, as a serious candidate for anything going forward or certainly the final lame-duck years of his governance here in the Garden State, he is done and done.

Five years ago Christie was the darling of the national political scene. He was a mostly moderate, hard-talking, straight-shooting Republican governor of a heavy blue state and seemed to have the ear of the national party donation-class. He was begged by the party to head up a challenge to the increasingly shaky prospect of a Barack Obama second term. The Republican National Committee was certain that Obama was ripe to be taken down, and you know what – they were right. A strong candidate that could appeal to the TEA party anger of the base and help pull in moderates while bridging the gap to the all-important general election was paramount. Christie had all of these attributes in spades.

Christie, to his credit, recognized, that he had barely gotten things going here – and by that I mean fucking them up – so he declined several times citing that he was just not ready, or more dramatically, “It’s not my time.” Republican elites turned to former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. He was summarily hounded through a long and mostly pointless primary season by also-rans and nut cases before being roundly defeated by Obama, a stunning victory for a man with the highest unemployment rate and lowest re-election approval ratings for a sitting president in two generations.

Around this time, Hurricane Sandy devastated the state and Christie committed the sin of all sins; welcoming the “despised” president of the United States warmly. He was photographed surveying the carnage with him while petitioning the federal government (gulp!) for aid. This was seen among the thug-class as being some kind of anathema, and Christie began to see backlash. Nonetheless he was reelected in 2013 and seemed poised for a 2016 run.

However, my covering of the ensuing months into this primary year, I could not find a single soul who considered Christie’s run for president realistic. It appeared as if he just joined the gaggle of other mediocre governors and some crazies to muck up the lanes. It did not help in the least that another north-eastern big mouth bully completely upstaged him at every turn. Donald Trump, as he has done to most everything that people hold dear in the political realm, eviscerated the Christie purpose for running. He was bold. He was confrontational. He was politically incorrect. Christie looked liked a sad Jersey fat man screaming at a woman to shut up on CSPAN whilst in some incredible half-baked karma Trump appeared as a polished professional wrestling version of Don Rickles with money.

Turns out Christie’s finest moment was his final one on the stump. For ten crucial minutes on Saturday, February 6, he mentally broke Florida Senator Marco Rubio. During the ABC nationally televised debate, Christie took the young candidate apart; no small feat, since he was surging as the only establishment alternative to Trump and Texas Senator Ted Cruz only days before. Rubio had finished strong in Iowa and looked like he might make big noise and get big bucks heading into the New Hampshire vote. In classic Christie fashion, he laid into Rubio’s robotic responses to everything and for some odd reason that no one can still explain with any clarity Rubio provided ample and staggeringly stark examples of this. Christie pressed harder, himself looking like a Terminator machine, but an obviously damaged Rubio kept saying the same thing over and over and over until he was buried in the voting a few days later and remains on life support.

But this did not help Christie, who has no money and no support and was mostly a drive-by candidate – not quite the pathetic visage of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, but pretty awful. But like Jindal, Christie is a shitty governor with shitty approval ratings, hovering around 29 percent with a state fiscally downgraded seven times in the past year and half for being broke and incapable of paying bills. My property taxes here go up exponentially on the hour and our unemployment rate is a point higher than the national average, which while being far better than when the economy was struggling, still blows when you consider the state’s geographical proximity to New York, (unemployment rate there is one point better under a Democratic governor).

Now, if I have to deal with a Republican lecturing me on austerity and having the social issue flexibility of a 1950’s Alabaman statesman, I expect my taxes to go down.

If Christie is not taking the federal Medicaid expansion as part of the ACA because he is trying to win the GOP nomination, then why am I paying to supplement Ohio’s medical costs, as that state’s republican governor – incidentally still in the race – John Kasich takes his? Why do I have to hear this jack ass herald state’s rights and then blather on about how if he were president he would use the FBI to enforce federal law over states who have legalized marijuana? Why is it that a man born one day before me and lived through my generation goes hard-line against marriage equality after the Supreme Court deemed it legal, or say he abolished Common Core when my kid is still dong math conceived by a cyber-metric shut-in? If I have to deal with a governor who defunds Planned Parenthood and extends bear hunts in our beautiful part of the state to double the massacre of these spectacular creatures, I do not want to get raped on school taxes.

not quite the pathetic visage of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, but pretty awful

Fuck Chris Christie.

He is as useless as a titted bull and twice as stupid on Sunday.

We can only hope whoever wins this Republican nomination gets brain damage and puts him on the ticket so he can spend his days cutting ribbons and get the fuck out of my state.

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