OPEN LETTER TO MY WIFE

Aquarian Weekly
6/12/24
 
Reality Check
 
OPEN LETTER TO MY WIFE
On the Occasion of our 25th Wedding Anniversary

I know you hate this.

My professing the joy of loving you in print is irresistible even in the face of your abhorrence. But to be fair, if after over a quarter-century of living with me and quite of few of these published missives (I lost count) on our seminal anniversaries, you should be used to it by now. I would say you should have already braced yourself, like I do when we enter a cat shelter and expect to leave with one. But for the sake of decorum and to alert readers of how much you are a painfully private person married to a pathetically loquacious public one, and someone who clearly has no problem using this space to express my ecstatic bliss and utter shock by our unbroken chain of civic monogamy, I decided it best to begin with this disclaimer.

With that out of the way, let’s start with the glaringly obvious: There should be a congratulatory citation for living with me. Maybe a trophy. At the very least a silver plaque (it is silver for 25, right?) with “For Outstanding Achievement in Dealing with a Lunatic” embossed on it. But, shit, words don’t matter. As much as I worship at the Literate Altar, they pale. There is zero chance I can capture what it has meant to be by your side these 25-plus years – counting the half-year of bunking and one trip around the sun in blissful if not harried engagement, and then the plunge on June 12, 1999 on the cusp of the millennium.

For those reading this space long enough and having endured these missives over the years, they know the tale of our nuptials, the poetry readings, song-singing, head-shaving madness. Married by a woman in a theater in Syracuse. That is how we rolled. Went west. Camped at the Grand Canyon, then cruised northwest to Joshua Tree and up the coast among the red woods into Big Sur. If I close my eyes right now, I am there. Try it. It’s cool. You and me, bald, grimy, and filled with wonder, sipping beer and gorging on left-over Indian food. Billiards with the barflies in North Beach. Coyotes. Giant flies. Tents. L.A. Solidarity. Arguably the best two weeks of my life.

Being with you, and now with our current triumvirate filled out by our daughter, who is a strange combination of us, has perhaps topped it. That girl. Sixteen. Wise ass. Funny. Creative. Way cooler by rights than should be allowed. She travels well. She likes to sleep like you and argue like me. Plus, she is a cat nut. That one is more on you than me, but we share it because we share the blood coursing through her veins – the crazy lust for life (mischief and revelry), and furious anger at all the other stuff – kind of blood. Music. Passion. Art. Feminism. Our Pagan Warrior. I am lucky to wake her up every day.

We did good, huh?

All those walks discussing our future, what we wanted to do, what we wanted to create. Your photography and painting and yoga, my writing and the other distractions. 

My main distraction, though, let’s face it, has always been you. 

I love being distracted by your beauty, your quiet grace and impenetrable strength. Your wit. Dark. Biting. Your smoldering calm and impassioned defiance of bullshit. I love being distracted by your voice when we sing together. Friday nights. Beer. Guitars. Songs. When we sing on stage, I am always distracted by sitting next to you, listening to your breath, your tone, your phrasing, your rumbling nerves, your unwavering courage. As I am distracted by wherever you are, right by me, in that place you should be, whether in a theater on Broadway, in the car traversing the miles, a beach in Mexico, a café in Paris, a pub in Dublin or London or Greenwich Village (okay, so we like bars), and lying next to you in our bed, no matter what country or city that bed might be in. We own it, you and me.

There is zero chance I can capture what it has meant to be by your side these 25-plus years

That is a nice distraction from the have-tos and sort-ofs and musts and everyday clamor that gets in the way of merely being in your presence.

Okay, so back to 25.

How the fuck did this happen? We were huddled in the Putnam Bunker – blessedly poor, hungry, confused, and hourly amorous, and then those glorious couple of years at Fort Vernon – alone, together, our embrace of independence, and then nearly two decades at the Clemens Estate. That was some fine distractions. Watching baseball. Hiking. Drinking. Dancing. Lounging. 

Fort Vernon is arguably my favorite two years. I mean, if I had to choose. Don’t make me choose. I cannot fathom a world before or after we met that doesn’t have our daughter in it. It’s like she’s always been here, but quietly waiting to invade the duo. She fits like a glove.

The girls. My family.

So damn intensely, supremely distracting.

Along the way we survived births and deaths, our growth as artists (you’re the artist, I’m a craftsman – writing is a craft, and art, well, we can go back to that argument about what art is) has been a fine journey. I write for you. I tell people this – interviewers, fellow scribes, friends and family, and it is true. Vonnegut wrote for his sister, Hemmingway for his first wife, Salinger for some kid he met on a beach, I write for you. I envision you reading my books and I hope you dig them, and when you don’t totally dig them or this column or any feature I crank out, you tell me, and I am better for it. 

And when you do like it, like those paragraphs in my first book, or something I wrote when Warren Zevon died, I am lifted. 

This is why merely holding your hand is a kind of resurrection for me. Strike that, “merely” connotes it is a banal gesture of intimacy, but for me it is a silent reminder of why in your presence, your distraction, I am invincible, and when you are not right here next to me, I can still feel it. It travels well, like our daughter. And it is also cooler than it has any right to be.

And so, happy anniversary to you and your incredible spirit and patience and vulgarity and resolve and humor and your force of feminine sexuality.

Take this as my gift.

Sorry it is not a trophy.

But I am sure a pub will do. 

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GUILTY!

Aquarian Weekly
6/5/24
 
Reality Check
 
GUILTY!
Donald Trump’s Former Criminal Playground Finally Nabs Him           
 
 
The presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States is a convicted felon.

Roll that around your brain for a moment.

Never has this happened before in a republic over 240 years old.

Was it Confucius who said, “May you live in interesting times”?

Donald Trump makes sure of that.

For the former embattled president, despite a penchant for alluding justice time and again, this was inevitable. Like his being impeached, twice, another presidential first. Once he became president, no one from NYC who knew the Donald believed he could get through four years as the country’s chief executive without doing something illegal. I mean, it’s his thing. 

For decades beginning in earnest in the 1980s, breaking the law and flouting it with court-clogging counter-lawsuits, media-humping bluster, and blaming everything and everyone else but himself was the foundational principle of the Trump playbook in and around the Big Apple, like not paying contractors, repeatedly and openly cheating on his three wives, developing that interesting hair configuration, and calling up the NY Post pretending to be someone else praising Trump as a genius.

Earlier this year Trump’s business was found guilty of and fined $355 million for years of financial fraud, the first chink in his armor.

This ignoring of legal norms is nothing special, really, no matter where you live. The rich trampling on laws that would send us all away for a long time is part of the fun for them. And like most privileged effete frighteningly illiterate and deeply sociopathic children of the rich, Trump believes laws are for the great unwashed. There’s “the law” and then there’s “Trump’s law.” This is what he would like to do on a national level should he win back the presidency in a few months, and what he rehearsed in the weeks after he was defeated in the 2020 election – denied it happened, made a big stink, riled up people who were pissed it happened (supporters he suckered into thinking he was infallible) and then perpetuated an “event” wherein violence, death and destruction ensued. All of it to soothe his fragile, rich kid ego.

More on what’s ahead if he is re-elected in a moment.

But let’s deal with the convicted felon.

Trump’s four-decades-plus uninterrupted parade of malfeasance and mendacity ended in this conviction on a mind-numbing 34 guilty counts delivered by twelve jurors of his peers, fair and square. Despite his rich kid whaaaa! bitching, (“It’s cold in here!”) he was granted lawyers, a presumption of innocence, more leeway than any other American would get, especially for a domestic terrorist who tried to upend the constitution by trying to stop the ratification of our vote while serving in its highest office. This wide-ranging fairness granted him is something he felt should have been denied the infamous Central Park Five in 1989 when Trump took out a full-page ad in the NY Timeswith the headline, “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY” proclaiming their guilt before a single piece of evidence was presented. Turns out those railroaded Black kids never raped anyone and were exonerated in 2002 with not only refuting evidence but a confession from the actual rapist. Learning this, Trump, living in Trump Reality, still believed they were guilty. He knew nothing of the case. They were guilty. Period.

Fast forward: I lost the election? No, I didn’t. 

Like most privileged effete frighteningly illiterate and deeply sociopathic children of the rich, Trump believes laws are for the great unwashed.

For the past four years, amidst lawsuits, recounts, cable TV blather, and riots people were living in the rich kid’s infallible fantasy. And now Donald Trump is the pick of the former law-and-order, family values, personal responsibility, socially conservative Republican Party to run for president again, meaning everyone running down ballot as a Republican must wear the shame of a criminal at the top of their ticket, despite the crocodile-tears whining from shills like Ted Cruz, Lindsay Graham, J.D. Vance, and the Speaker of the House. Trump may lose in November, he may win. But he is still a convicted felon. A criminal could lead this country. A man who cannot vote in most states, own a gun, or have anything to do with the military might be commander-in-chief.

That part is up to us. 

And so, let’s discuss November, shall we?

When we make our choice this fall, this is what we know for certain: Everything and everyone Trump comes in contact with is either destroyed personally or financially, humiliated publicly or goes to jail. Ignominious defeat awaits. Ask the people who were left holding debt after his six (SIX!) bankruptcies. Ask those lawyers and sycophants who went to bat for the fake elector schemes or the scores of people doing time for picking up his damaged mantle on January 6. Ask the USFL, which Trump infiltrated by owning the NJ Generals before muscling into the commissioner’s office and summarily tanking the league within months. Ask those who went to the skuttled Trump University or all those Trump-related “charities” that were determined in courts of law to be fraudulent fronts for money laundering. 

All the usual schemes over decades of sauntering through public life as Teflon Don were on display these past weeks in downtown New York, stripped bare of the myths Trump perpetuated. But it is always the same, Trump, the con man and now a convicted criminal, finding new ways to profit from his bullshit. Within seconds of the conviction, he crowed about his innocence like every other sad sack felon but then strategically pivoted to fund-raising while painting his plight as somehow a commentary on the death of America. Yeah, America is fucked. No, it’s not. Your fucked. I’m doing fine. My 401K is blossoming, crime is down everywhere, and so is inflation, gas prices, and the GDP and wages are up. I’m doing A-okay, pal. For one, I’m not a convicted felon. And I assume neither is anyone reading this. 

Don’t let the scoundrel drag you into his mess. Did you fuck a porn star while your wife was nursing your newly born son? Did you pay her off after the Access Hollywood tape revealed that you sexually assault women as a personal philosophy a month before the 2016 election? Did you falsify documents to hide those payments as campaign contributions to get elected? 

America didn’t do any of that. Donald Trump did. And he was convicted for it. Not us.

When Ted Cruz called yesterday a “dark day in America” he is implicating you in the actions of one man’s fucked. The feckless Cruz, who in a sad twist to his bootlicking was noted in the trial as Trump and the National Enquirer accused his father in planning the assassination of JFK, is glad to be part of fucked. That is his phobia. Leave the rest of us out of it. America is not in bed with criminals, Cruz is. The Republican Party is. 

The Republican Party, another thing Trump has wrecked, is in shambles. Trump’s daughter-in-law is running the RNC, a dozen party chairs in states across the country are dead broke. All the candidates Trump has endorsed since his 2020 loss have been defeated, even in ruby red states. He’s done to the GOP what he did to Atlantic City and the USFL and everything else he runs into the ground. He ran Roe v Wade into the ground. He almost ran America into the ground for four years. He left us sick, dying, mired in recession and debt, a laughingstock of the world. He wants to finish the job. But we decide that. Not him.

A convicted felon is the Republican presumptive nominee aiming to be the chief executive of this nation, your nation, not a de facto Trump Enterprise bolstered by religious lunatics who have conjured Project 2025 in which America turns into a Christian Fascist White Supremacy stronghold that will treat women as nothing more than baby containers, brown people are deported, and all enemies are eradicated, including a free press, the State Department, the FBI, and the Justice Department. But right now, that sounds like a “them problem.” Let’s not make it ours in 2025. One man’s misery, his own prison of misdeeds, are not ours. 

Let’s avoid hitching America’s wagon to fucked.

It took over 40 years of civil suits, pay-off settlements, fines, expulsions, and bankruptcies for New York City to topple its demon rich, spoiled brat. Don’t let America have to suffer for that long, because after 2020 if you think Trump is leaving office once he’s in, you really are stupid. This November we need to end this once and for all and when Trump’s three other trials – for far more egregious felonies – finally begin, then we’ll see if he wins or loses. Only then will we find out if he walks free or rots in prison as an enemy of the state. 

Or… we could put him in charge of America.

Your call.   

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ABOUT THESE PROTESTS

Aquarian Weekly
5/8/24
 
Reality Check
 
ABOUT THESE PROTESTS

No one supports the idea of waving a fist and shouting random musings in large groups against aggression, suppression, and general bullshit more than me. This is what this space has been about since August of 1997. I’d prefer, of course, to keep it to the words and not risk getting tear-gassed or hit with a projectile in a mob of submentals, but you get the gist: I’m into protests. The First Amendment is king around here. And even if the occasional thing gets wrecked, it happens, you deal. But as I watch these recent campus protests against Israel’s military campaign in Gaza or what some are calling “Pro-Palestinian” fervor or “Genocide Joe” outrage against President Biden, I can’t help thinking there is a theoretical disconnect in America’s role in this.

This is not Viet Nam where hundreds of American kids are coming home weekly in boxes for a nonsensical and morally corrupt war based on a lie or even Iraq, another hoax-induced military faux pas, which turned into a clusterfuck of corporate malfeasance wrapped up in vengeance and ad hoc world-building that lasted two decades. This is more than a half-century of fiduciary and ideological commitment to the Middle East’s only democracy that has spanned fourteen presidents. What we’re dealing with here is proxy complaints that need some nuance to deconstruct.

Ahhhh… nuance.

kay, so details matter little in the fine art of the protest. The overarching theme is the key. Nuance is not the bailiwick of someone in a ski mask heaving a brick through a window, I get it. But to be fair, if you are going for red-faced righteousness and morally impassioned voice-shredding, it’s important to know what you are protesting.

Now, I do not wish to see a country, especially one bankrolled by us, murdering women and children arbitrarily in what appears to be some half-assed terrorist campaign. I didn’t dig it in Afghanistan or Iraq, which, again was primarily a U.S. operation instead of a foreign investment. And there is no one more dedicated person to the idea of making the clearly insane Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu go away. I was in Jerusalem in the spring of 1996 when he was first elected and there was more than a little concern that he would wreck things. So, let’s say I was quite shocked to see his return to the position in 2009. He’s a lunatic hardliner, who’s now become that nation’s George W. Bush. – asleep at the wheel this past October when all of this started with Hamas’s attack and capturing of hostages and has only worsened things by taking what used to be the world’s most efficient fighting machine, the Israel Defense Forces, and turned it into an armed thug-fest.  

And I think the protestors need to understand that President Biden and our State Department have endeavored to put pressure on Netanyahu, but this is his country and his tactics. Pulling aid is not the answer here, just as the former president’s maneuver of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a religious hotbed of madness for well over three millennia from the innocuous Tel Aviv, was not the best decision to avoid inciting the violence we see today. Also, decades-long support of Israel by corporations or universities being personally responsible for what has happened in the last six months seems pushing it, even for young, privileged kids, who want to re-enact the 1960s. I get that they want some recognition of this abject violence, and the events on the ground are indeed horrific, but, again, there are degrees to which Columbia University is directly connected to the IDF’s war crimes.

And to address the “I don’t want to pay taxes to bomb children” argument. I pay federal taxes to a nation that currently enslaves the bodies of women to which I am less thrilled, but ya know, how taxes go: If you’re going to worry about blood on your hands by proxy, we’re all going to hell, so chill out. Shit, I’m typing this on a device, and you’re likely reading this on one, that was made by Chinese children in a sweatshop for half a dollar an hour. 

It’s good to have some idea what you’re protesting and, most importantly, have an end game: What do you want?

Finally, I think it’s important to point out that anyone who refers to the January 6 domestic terrorists that sacked the Capitol motivated by Trump’s Big Lie as “hostages,” as the current Republican nominee does, cannot weigh in on how “out of control” college students are. That afternoon’s activities and your dismissing it as “a tour” eliminates your credibility on this issue, and you should shut the fuck up. (I am aware of the ironic shift in my “First Amendment is king” eight-paragraph’s ago claim, but although it’s not illegal to be stupid, I nevertheless wish the purveyors of it would go away). This goes for the Speaker of the House calling these protests “nonsense.” Not a good look for the man two heartbeats from the White House and the most powerful Republican in D.C. shitting on the most sacred right we have – but again, he also calls the January 6 people who wanted to violently stop our other sacred right, voting, from occurring. So… there’s that.

Listen up; everyone supports a cease fire. Maybe not Trump, who appears to be all for razing Gaza to the ground, so you can go ahead vote against Biden and elect him, if you wish. Or cast your vote for that loon, Robert Kennedy Jr., who’ll just help get the game show host back in the White House, so he can sign a national abortion ban. Your call. Just know, that way before Netanyahu, and long after he’s gone, the United States must support Israel. As mentioned, it is the region’s only democracy. It’s bad enough we hang with nations like Saudi Arabia that are human rights abominations for diplomatic and financial reasons – a good subject to check out if you’re into all the protesting – this is truly the lesser of two evils situation. Also, it’s good to have some idea what you’re protesting and, most importantly, have an end game: What do you want?

Figure that out, and get back to me.

Meanwhile, it’s not the greatest balancing act to protest violence and oppression by violently oppressing fellow students and faculty and wasting our tax money sending police in there to stop you while you’re busy deciding on a plan. 

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MR. JOHNSON GOES TO WASHINGTON

Aquarian Weekly
4/24/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
MR. JOHNSON GOES TO WASHINGTON
Speaker of the House’s Jimmy Stewart Hollywood Mythmaking
 
 
For the past six months the United States has not had the funding needed to stem the tide of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after two years of bloody and heroic defiance. This is because the Republican-controlled Congress and its newest Speaker of the House Mike Johnson has taken orders to hold off on a vote at the whims of one man, Donald Trump. The Republican nominee for president has a childish beef with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for not making up shit about his 2020 opponent, the current American President Joe Biden, not to mention the former president’s weird allegiance to Russia’s tyrannical lunatic president, Vladimir Putin. 

As insane as this sounds, the future of western civilization rests on a man currently sitting in a NYC courtroom defending himself from hush payments he made to a porn star illegally using campaign funds in 2016 and then covering it up with falsified documents. For reasons only known to the GOP Cabal, Speaker Johnson, who is supposed to be the third most powerful person in the nation and not a Trump organization lacky, is hamstrung. Flanked on the far right by House members that use their unchallenged positions – thanks to Republican gerrymandering – to hang over his head the same fate as former Speaker Kevin McCarthy, the dreaded “motion to vacate,” Johnson has kept the House of Representatives in a state of inertia.

If the Speaker merely puts the measure to fund the Ukrainian effort to a vote, he risks his gig. Putting the world on notice for a third world war or be ousted as Speaker and endure the wrath of the MAGA crazies, who routinely threaten the lives of people and their families who oppose the fascist Trump at every turn* has been Johnson’s choice.

*By the way, it is important to note that if Trump becomes president again this kind of violent, unchecked, lunacy is a glimpse into what life is going to be around here.

But I digress.

Johnson must let thousands of innocent women and children in Ukraine be massacred and hand over Ukraine to Russia, who will geographically threaten NATO and thus the United States, or risk becoming a political footnote. But in a dramatic Hollywood-esque shift, this week Speaker Johnson has undergone a Saint Paul on the road to Damascus moment. For months he has enthusiastically done Trump’s bidding and avoided being on the chopping block, despite Georgia Representative and resident goofball, Marjorie Taylor Greene incessantly threatening to kick him to the curb. He even whisked on down to Florida to kiss Trump’s ring. But somehow, amid this pathetic genuflecting, Johnson has floated the idea of getting a vote together, blathering something about “doing the right thing”… eventually. Six months later. Better late than never.

The cynical among us must ask why.

The political landscape has not changed. Trump is still trying to get elected. He still hates Zelenskyy. Silly right-wing punditry and media poofs continue espousing Russian-fueled ant-Ukrainian propaganda. The speakership still hangs by a thread. Assuming Johnson hasn’t suddenly dumped a lifetime of right-wing stupidity and chucked his worship of Trump, and hasn’t lost all sense of survival instincts, what changed this week? 

I have a theory!

Clearly, the Speaker feels this is a moment for him to either fade into obscurity – no one on the precipice of history wants that – or become “someone.” He sees daylight to significance and, most importantly, has found a buffer, Democrats. Nearly in the majority due to the lack of Red Wave in 2022, they want to save Europe from being overrun. Dems, unlike Trump and the MAGA isolationists, see the historical worth of NATO for the protection of democratic ideals in Europe. So… a deal has been struck. 

Maybe the 118th Congress, for the first time since being sworn in, can do something other than whorish media stunts and feckless political shenanigans.  

Unlike McCarthy, who Democrats pegged as a two-faced hack, Johnson seems, for now, politically malleable. This means they won’t lineup to oust him, as they did to the former Speaker. And the way some “moderate” Republicans have been crowing lately – many of them supporting the defense of Ukraine – there doesn’t seem to be the votes to send Johnson packing. If so, he can finally get a vote to fund Ukraine and other foreign aid to the floor, which he apparently and quite suddenly decided was now important.

Why is it important?

The Republicans, and particularly Johnson, see that if not for Israel’s horrific invasion of Gaza after Hamas’ heinous attack in October, President Biden might be crushing Trump in the polls. The pullback from the youth and minority vote from Biden over what they consider genocide in Gaza has been a political loser for the preseident.* 

*Somehow the lives of Ukrainian women and children are not as significant as Palestinians. Go figure.

Hence, Johnson’s quick trip to Trump-land to convince the former president this is a wise political move to keep his name out of events in Europe and lay them on Biden. This may, and this is just me riffing here, lead to Johnson taking up the recently rejected Republican-penned bi-partisan border security bill Trump killed to keep that crisis raging in a ham-fisted and terribly cynical attempt to hurt Biden on the issue. Johnson, like most Republicans, believe this is an existential crisis and should not be used as a political tool for Trump. They also see this as a growing political loser for Trump, who now shares the blame for the migrant issue that should have been all on Biden. 

If Johnson is emboldened by this vote, it gives him momentum and gravitas to actually do his job. He becomes “significant” instead of a bystander to history. He rises to the moment and doesn’t just ride out whatever time he has left in this powerful position as a MAGA doormat. 

It is a wise move, and, yes, it is the correct and moral one. But my guess is that if someone wasn’t so sure this was the “right thing to do” as Johnson now professes, for the past six months, and all of-a-sudden makes this kind of ballsy move, it is rarely done for the good of anything or anyone but himself.

Regardless, looks like the “right thing” will be done. The U.S. will continue to arm Ukraine against Russian aggression. We’ll keep our military out of this, which it could come to if NATO is threatened. No one, except Trump, who despises NATO and will likely pull us out of it if he is unfortunately elected in November, wants that – Republicans or Democrats. Apparently, with his own kid in uniform, Johnson has a personal stake in avoiding that outcome. 

So, while I think Johnson is auditioning for his Jimmy Stewart Mr. Smith Goes to Washingtonmoment – one man against the system – I’m thinking he’s already secured his safety net. And just maybe the 118th Congress, for the first time since being sworn in, can do something other than whorish media stunts and feckless political shenanigans.  

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PRO-CHOICE RISING

Aquarian Weekly
4/17/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
PRO-CHOICE RISING
The Rapid & Continued Ascension of the 2024 Election’s Primary Issue
 

The egregious, unconstitutional, and highly partisan Supreme Court decision to strike down the Roe v Wade protections for women’s bodily sovereignty in this purported democratic republic 22 months ago has been a voting bonanza for Democrats, the only party supporting its return as the law of the land, and a death knell for Republicans. The GOP spent decades appointing judges, filing lawsuits, raising money from evangelical groups, running ads, holding rallies, and giving speeches to strip women of rights, and now with its horrid realities being perpetuated by Republican-run states (currently 14) across the union, and the audacity (or stupidity) to run a candidate for president who appointed the corrupt justices that caused this has put Reproductive Rights squarely in the crosshairs of the 2024 presidential campaign. 

Since the terrible “Dobbs Decision” in June of 2022 the bottom has fallen out of Republican election politics. Between the disastrous midterms that historically should have sunk Democrats (What happened to the Red Wave?) and the ensuing special elections victories with abortion rights on the ballot (six in 2022 – a record – and one last year), the ascension of this issue in electoral politics is staggering. So much so I floated a lifeline for Republicans to come to the table for at least a national 20-week moratorium (99.9 percent of all abortions occur before 20 weeks) with non-negotiable exceptions for the woman as a negotiating ploy to save the party from themselves but mostly to free women in red states from government bondage. 

But, alas, since my rare display of empathy for fascist scum, the Republican-run House of Representatives has continuously introduced legislation for a complete eradication of women’s rights federally and red states keep passing draconian laws to jail women (the most recent, Arizona) or deny travel rights to leave to find suitable 21st century health care (Texas), and in Alabama one conservative judge banned in vitro fertilization (IVF), which even stunned Republicans.

This is what not having the national guard that Roe provided.

The outrage has been palpable and quantified in poll after poll, and certainly in its unbeaten record in ballot-measure voting. This has also led to an undefeated record for pro-choice candidates in both red and blue states. In a recent special election in New York’s Third District out in Long Island, which a Republican won by six percent less than two years ago, Democrat Tom Suozzi flipped it with a decisive seven-point win mainly due to his leaning into the reproductive-rights issue. 

Today 70-percent of Americans (a new high since Roe was instituted in 1973) want reproductive rights protections back. Only 22-percent support the heinous six-week bans that are all the rage in most red states. These numbers in a highly partisan electorate that is seemingly 50-50 on all issues is astonishing. Pro-choice is on a roll, and it is showing no signs of slowing. In fact, it has gained steam beyond any issue we have seen since 9/11. We can’t even get Americans to agree with any semblance of sanity that armed lunatics smashing into the Capitol to halt the sacred democratic rights to the vote is bad. But allowing the government access inside the bodies of 51-percent of the populace is a monumental loser.

And those straddled with the loses are Republicans.

Good news is they are finally aware of it, or at least some of them are, which means it’s reached its saturation point.

This has always been the plan since Dobbs was enacted. Hang losses, shocking in red states and conclusive in blue ones, on Republicans time and time again until they buckle, cut the shit, and join Democrats in instituting federal protections for women’s rights or suffer extinction. And as written here, either one is fine; it still gets us to the same place. And the buckling is happening. Sure, some fanatical Republicans continue to dig their own political graves, but the fact that many are flip-flopping to survive reveals the end game is afoot. The tide has indeed turned.

Elections, as they say, have consequences.

The best evidence that the issue is electoral gold for Democrats and a steaming turd for Republicans is found in formally staunchly Pro-Life politicians now running in the other direction. GOP legislators, governors, and candidates for state and federal positions are in a mad scramble to crank out statements and post tweets distancing themselves from their previously zealous part in this national calamity. Even its architect, Donald Trump, wholly and proudly responsible for killing Roe (he can’t help touting himself as its architect) with his hand-picked litmus-test SCOTA justices, recently put out a video statement forgetting his recent call for a 15-week national ban he’s proposed for months in a pathetic attempt to remain neutral, lauded the states’ rights aspect of his actions.

This retreat, while speciously entertaining, has gone badly.

No less than 24-hours later Republicans in the battleground state of Arizona, which incumbent president Joe Biden flipped from red to blue in 2020, put into effect an 1864 law which bans all abortions at any time with criminal penalties for women and doctors. A law that was enacted years before Arizona was even a state by slave owners when Abraham Lincoln was president, the country was embroiled in a Civil War, and women, never mind all Black people, had no rights, is on the books. 

If Republicans are not defeated this year they will be emboldened, they will continue to escalate their attacks on our freedoms, and far, far worse will be in store for the good people of the United States. The stakes in this election, somehow, got much, much higher in the past week.

Simon Rosenberg

“Leave it up to the states,” Trump heralded. Apparently, he is okay with this. Although he was quick to denounce it, a cynical ploy to deflect from the truth. This raised the cockles of his most ardent supporters, evangelicals and his former vice president, Mike Pence, whom he nearly got killed on January 6, 2021, and has come out against his re-election. They are just another in a long line of suckers Trump has grifted for his own gain. But in his feckless wake the growing chasm inside the Republican Party, already embroiled in their own civil war between MAGA extremists and former “normal” Republicans of Reagan and Bush, has widened.

Divide and conquer. That’s the ticket.

And all this lunacy is on the heels of midnight secret laws banning abortion passed by North Carolina’s legislature after its Democrat governor vetoed it, and thousands of women in health crisis fleeing Texas and Florida – Texas’s historically horrifying laws have inspired Florida, which is one month from having a six-week ban go into effect that has forced a ballot measure this fall. These states are injuring and killing women, not in some post-apocalyptic world, but right now.

Let’s face it, leaving it up to the states didn’t work for civil rights or gay rights and it ain’t working for women’s rights. It is quite frankly working against women.

And so, here we are, a little more than seven months out from a presidential election and the decision is clear. If you wish to have the very real threat of a national ban on reproductive rights in all 50 states, then vote for Donald Trump and Republicans. You might want this. It is your right to do so. If not, you must vote for Joe Biden and Democrats. Sorry, but this is the choice. Tossing your vote away now to go Independent (and this is an Independent, who has voted that way in far more elections than not talking) puts women in jeopardy of being wards of the state. And while Trump is busy shouting in videos at two in the morning in front of a bay flags, orange caked makeup melting down his cheeks, Joe Biden is promising to return sovereign rights back to women.

I’ll let Democratic strategist, Simon Rosenberg sum it up for us: “If Republicans are not defeated this year they will be emboldened, they will continue to escalate their attacks on our freedoms, and far, far worse will be in store for the good people of the United States. The stakes in this election, somehow, got much, much higher in the past week.”

And those stakes are real and not going away until we make it go away.

Regardless of what shenanigans Trump and his cabal conjure to eradicate the Constitution and democratic protections, this is how the system works. 

Choose wisely.

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PROMETHEAN MYSTIQUE DE LA FEMME

Aquarian Weekly
3/27/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
PROMETHEAN MYSTIQUE DE LA FEMME
In Praise of Poor Things

I know I’m late the party on this, but Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things is a masterpiece of filmmaking, writing, cinematography, acting, and editing, and having just seen it, I needed to write about it. 

Spoiler alert (hinted in the opening paragraph): Poor Things is the best film I have seen in some time. For originality, it is right up there with recent films I have written about here, like the brilliant satire, JoJo Rabbit, which I praised in this space in 2020. I do not often comment on movies or music or much art here, although I do in other places in this publication and in my books. The fact that I am infiltrating this column with a glowing review should give you some indication of how much this film kicked my ass from the opening frame. 

Emma Stone, its female protagonist and beaming metaphor, is fantastic. Playing its central figure as visual/imaginative chronicler with defiant absurdity, rightfully took Best Actress in the most recent Academy Awards that for some reason also saw fit to bestow a ton of awards on Oppenheimer, which was painfully unoriginal in every way Poor Things succeeds. Shit, Barbie, a stellar contemporary satire on women’s plight in a fucked man’s world was better than Oppenheimer, which while a weaker depiction of this fucked world, does kind of present the same argument.

But I digress.

While Stone appears in nearly all the scenes, due to the film being shown to us through a looking glass into her untainted, feral eros world, the rest of the cast, just as pertinent to its themes, shines as well. Especially Mark Ruffalo, as her boorishly feckless poseur of a social/sexual mentor, who, like Ryan Gosling’s wonderfully portrayed clueless, Ken in Barbie, travels a rapidly paced arc downward into despairing madness in a veiled comedic attempt to live up to his own self-aggrandized façade. This is also true of Willem Dafoe as the mad scientist, whose monotheistic name and machinations evokes both dread and empathy.

A quick synopsis of the plot, which does not do it a scintilla of the justice it deserves, is thus: Dafoe’s Godwin Baxter, mostly referred to as God throughout, (hence the monotheistic reference above) is a shameless take on Mary Shelly’s Victor Frankenstein from her groundbreaking 1818 novel, Frankenstein (subtitled The Modern Prometheus) who fishes a fresh corpse from a suicide out of the Thames to bring her back to life. Turns out she is/was pregnant, so Godwin, “a man of science” – a line which he utters constantly in the movie to excuse heinous deeds in the quest for knowledge, as his father did to him as a child – places the baby’s brain into that of the reanimated former Victoria Blessington and voila, our hero, Bella Baxter.* 

*I will abstain from spoilers, as this is my attempt to get those who have not seen it to do so immediately.

But the long and short of it is that Bella’s emotional and intellectual trek from impish id to impish id woman reflects humanity’s evolution of thought. This is aided in part by an interloping attorney, Ruffalo’s Duncan Wedderburn, who whisks her off into a world Godwin has been trying to shelter her from in the guise of libertine philosophy. Wedderburn ravages a willing Bella, who in her speedy maturity discovers her sexuality and like her insatiable appetite for anything the world offers, displays an equal fervor for coitus delights.

We discover as she does. We grow along with her.

In fact, throughout, Bella’s personal quest to remain in a state of perpetual happiness, truly and without shame or guilt, literally and symbolically strips bare the hypocritical men she encounters; men obsessed with the failed pursuits of happiness in philosophy, religion, politics, and sex. Not that the awakened Bella does not dabble in those, oh, she does, as does the film’s most potent themes, but they merge as a mere pathway to fulfilling her most ardent desires, until she is made to realize she does not exist in a vacuum, much like children must learn eventually.

A few key elements separate Poor Things from merely a gothic coming of age story. Visually it bursts from the screen in both black and white and color, depicting, much like the legendary Wizard of Oz, a woman’s stark revelations on how life sometimes appears unreal. Using fish-eye lens, enormous wide shots, almost living impressionistic paintings saturated in colors, and relentless closeups, Lanthimos and his cinematographer, Robbie Ryan keep us unbalanced, as if we are equally naïve and hungry for experience. We share Bella’s quizzical consumption of art, music, commerce, human nature, and the enigmatic architecture of city life, as she travels through much of her evolution. She (we) can only comprehend so much of humanity’s fault-lines of jealousy, insecurity, anger, grief, and general confusion through her experience. She asks the questions that need to be asked and have been broached in treatises for eons but rarely penetrate our cycle of despair. We discover as she does. We grow along with her.

Added to these visual enchantments is the soundtrack. The music of Poor Things is another outstanding aspect of the storytelling – a dissonant and disturbing mélange that evokes an unsettled ecosystem from which the characters seem unable to escape. Its composer, Jerskin Fendrix, who describes his style as “electro punk” uses an impressionistic aural assault in the manner of such musical experimentalists as Arnold Schoenberg, La Monte Young, and John Cage. The music takes us inside Bella’s head, as her surroundings pummel it. As she emerges unformed and becomes more aware, using outside stimuli to develop her own voice, so does the music. Yet it remains discordant, as she always will be, as a manifestation of Shelley’s “monster.”

Speaking of Shelley; there are yummy asides to the author, culled directly from the 1992 novel by Alasdair Gray. Firstly, its late nineteen century setting, and more pointedly in the name Godwin, taken from the Shelley’s own father, political philosopher, William Godwin, whose complicated relationship with his daughter after the death of Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, a devout early feminist, was a huge influence on Frankenstein. Wollstonecraft’s late eighteenth century book, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman also reveals much of the themes in Poor Things, as does Shelley’s marriage to radical poet-philosopher, Percy Bysshe Shelley and her relationship with libertine poet, Lord Byron.

There are so many layers to Poor Things, it is impossible to dissect here, and certainly improbable without spoiling much of the latter half of the film’s narrative. It is, as I wrote to a colleague moments after seeing it, a heady mash-up of Frankenstein meet Siddhartha meets Anaïs Nin. And in modern Hollywood, where originality goes to die, that is some juggling act. 

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RIP GOP

Aquarian Weekly
3/20/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
RIP GOP
Trump Family & Election Deniers Raze Republican Party 

With the firing of former Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel this past week, and make no mistake it was a sacking, and presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law and election denying Michael Whatley inserted in the role, the final death rattle of the Grand Old Party is upon us. The Party of Lincoln and Reagan is now Trump Enterprises, with former cable news hosts, who spread lies of a “rigged” 2020 election, using resources not already assigned to pay for the candidate’s legal bills to set up potential lawsuits in case of a 2024 loss.

This has been coming for some time. The Republican Party of the 1980s, the last time it was a majority Party, is alien to the MAGA crowd now. Geo-politics, free trade, personal sovereignty, debt reduction, law-and-order, and less government interference were tossed the second Trump won the 2016 election. It was how he governed, and if he is elected again, he will simply take a blowtorch to the country as he’s done to the Party. He promises this. Out loud. Daily.

“If I don’t get elected, it’s going to be a bloodbath.”

Donald Trump, March 18, 2024

Republicans have brought this on themselves, even those who might not support fascism, because they could have convicted the impeached Trump and disqualified him from taking their nomination three years ago. Their future Speaker of the House didn’t have to fly down to Florida to rehabilitate his damaged brand after the horrors of January 6. They didn’t have to cast doubts on a free and fair election he got skunked in to save his little-boy ego. But they chose to do all that and, in essence, chose this mess, and here we are, three years later with the crazies cleaning house to distribute resources usually used to further the Party’s health down-ballot and across the states for a one-stop, singular top-down operation.

How much longer before Trump sneakers are sold on the RNC homepage or Republicans are inundated with his son’s Little League scores?

It is the TNC, the Trump National Committee, that runs things now. This will please the MAGA wing, but the dwindling rest of the Party, and its candidates, cannot fail to see this as an issue. Where do they get their financial and systemic support? National Committees are the reason there is a two-party system and look no further than Trump choosing one instead of going the independent route ala Ross Perot initially. Ground game. Local offices. Money and resources allocated to races across the Party, which work in tandem to…

What the fuck am I doing?

MAGA doesn’t know what any of that is. Never did. Not sure why I’m even trying to explain the importance of not using the Party’s national committee as a defense fund or to simply cater to a rich asshole to these merchandise-festooned, toothless goobers.
I am not a Republican and couldn’t give a shit, but as stated before in this space, it is important that the nation have two healthy ideological poles – not some half-assed game-show fuck-around that funnels funds to porn stars, televangelists, and land barons.

But, alas, the second Trump lost in 2020, and unleashed the January 6 coup along with the fake electors and the racketeering of state attorneys’ generals and governors to “find me votes” there was a good chance we’d end up here. Republicans knew this was coming and, again, allowed it. They can quit congress and write books and bitch all they want on CNN, but it’s beyond them now. Trump will turn what’s left of the GOP into a failed Atlantic City casino or the doomed USFL, two things he killed by his very presence. It is left up to us to make sure this shit show doesn’t smear onto the national scene come January of 2025 when the promised “dictator from day one” will slash Social Security and Medicaid, place a ten-percent tariff on all imported goods, build camps to imprison undocumented workers and migrants, institute a national abortion ban, pardon all the January 6 domestic terrorists, use the Justice Department to nix his many criminal trials, and then weaponize it against his political enemies – oh, and pull all aid from Ukraine so Russia can roll right up to the edge of NATO and put our troops on alert.

All of these, again, Trump has promised publicly. Easy to find anywhere. Look it up.

Fun times.

Pretty sure there will be no more things like elections should Trump win in November, but win or lose, the first casualty of this bad craziness is the GOP.

Rest in Peace.

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IMMUNITY & THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Aquarian Weekly
3/13/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
IMMUNITY & THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Now that the stage and the candidates have been set for the 2024 presidential campaign, let me go beyond economics, immigration, reproductive rights, and foreign wars, and even take us past politics with one word that should rouse the American spirit – immunity. Right now, the Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump is arguing before the Supreme Court that he seeks total immunity from the law. It is in writing: Presidents should be unbound by and refute the oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I believe this disqualifies him from seeking the office. The American Revolution was fought to not only take down a king, but the concept of kings forevermore.

Immunity.

On December 7, 1896, in his address to Congress, the first President of the United States, George Washington stated that “Arbitrary power is most easily established on the ruins of liberty abused to licentiousness.” In less than a year, he would step down, when everyone in the government begged him to stay on until his death – like a king. Washington did not stay and began the “peaceful transfer of power” tradition that every president until Donald Trump provided the nation. The central critique of Trump’s attempts at a coup through false electors and demanding the vice president not ratify the electors as proposed by the will of the people through the vote originates from Washington’s grand humble gesture. Trump did not, and does not now, believe in votes. He believes he should have remained president, despite the people, and therefore, for all intents and purposes a monarch. And he is back again to seek the throne. He will argue this before the highest court in the land at the end of next month. Listen to him. 

Immunity.

It’s Merriam-Webster definition: Protection or exemption from something, especially an obligation or penalty.

Protection from obligation.

Protection from penalty.

Donald Trump sees no obligation to the office, or a penalty if he commits crimes. 

Immunity.

Like a king.

In January of 1776, seven months before the Continental Congress drafted and signed the Declaration of Independence from King George III, which was an unpopular sentiment among the colonists, Thomas Payne, the true farther of this nation, wrote in his brilliant, Common Sense, “Men who look upon themselves born to reign, and others to obey, soon grow insolent; selected from the rest of mankind their minds are early poisoned by importance; and the world they act in differs so materially from the world at large, that they have but little opportunity of knowing its true interests, and when they succeed to the government are frequently the most ignorant and unfit of any throughout the dominions.”

Ignorant.

Unfit.

Payne was the first colonist, the first American to put into words that the infallibility of the king, the idea of one voice being above all the other voices engendered by a patriarchal God was total bullshit. This shook the foundation of the “belief” in one voice as the voice of the people. Until those words, there was one set of rules for the body politic and another for the ruler. Listen to those who support Trump. They only want one voice, his voice. No compromise. No solutions. They say he is anointed by God to become our leader, which is the literal definition for how the King of England gained his power. The Republican National Committee, which is now run by the woman currently sleeping with Trump’s offspring (very king-like), does not have a platform – a list of policies, agenda, and ideologies reflected in the Party. In its place is Whatever Trump Says.

No plan. 

Immunity.

Monarchy.

That is the plan.

“Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavored to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us.”

– Thomas Payne

Why do you think Trump praises the despot Vladmir Putin and supports his invasion of Ukraine? It is understandable that a narcissistic lunatic wants total power, but for those to openly give it to him, or sit idly by while he takes it, should not be conceived of in America, much less enacted. That is a Russian ideal. Their revolution traded in one form of monarchy for another ideological one. The few deciding for all. It is embarrassing to even have to write this, but it needs to be said: We don’t do kings here. 

The fact that this already exposed politically compromised Supreme Court is wasting five seconds listening to arguments from a candidate to be king is beyond prosperous on its face and is antithetical to the entire American Experiment. This should enrage us. By taking this case, the Court proves it cannot save democracy. Democracy will come down to what it always comes down to – as it did in 1776 and 2020 – the people. This should galvanize us. We must see immunity as what it is, a plea to rule without parameter, without recourse, without constraints from our Constitution. And we must stop it in its contemptable, what did Washington say, “licentious” tracks.

If you vote for a king, then you wish to change the concept of America. And I, as great French philosopher, Voltaire once said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” do not begrudge your decision. If you want a king, then vote for that. A lot of decent people I know have and will vote for Donald Trump, but they need to know this is his aim – Total Immunity. And there is a very good chance this will be their last vote, because, you know, kings don’t need your vote. 

Whether Trump gets a thumbs up on his egregious immunity plea from this wacky SCOTUS is unknown, probably not, but by merely asking for it, quite publicly and proudly, should send him packing, not to the fucking White House.

Immunity.

This election is not about anything but this, really. One candidate wants to be king, the other merely president. Agree or disagree on policy or politics, whether Republican, Democrat, or Independent, you can choose whatever semantics you’d like, but all of it matters little in the shadow of this monumental threat. 

Immunity.

The second American Revolution has commenced.

I’ll let Payne take it home: “Common sense will tell us, that the power which hath endeavored to subdue us, is of all others, the most improper to defend us.”

Amen.

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HOW CONGRESS & POLITICS SHOULD WORK

Aquarian Weekly
2/21/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
HOW CONGRESS & POLITICS SHOULD WORK
A Simple Primer for the Uninitiated
 
Two events have recently occurred that prompts me to propose solutions to and from both. It’s what I do in my spare time, occasionally discuss these random theories with friends, and then pass them onto you. You’re welcome. Or… sorry.

The first is the current untenable situation with a skuttled border security bill in the Senate and a refusal by Speaker of the House Mike Johnson to even put it up for a vote. We discussed the tanking of the Republican-pitched, eventually bipartisan Senate border bill at the behest of current GOP presential candidate frontrunner, former president Donald J. Trump last week. With dwindling reasons why anyone should vote for this walking disaster with 91 indictments and the usual circus-like atmosphere surrounding him, the growing migration crises is his best argument. Thus, even though the Right has deemed it an existential threat for years, Republican members of both the House of Representatives and the Senate are willing to let it slide until November to help him out.

Although it is petty, hypocritical, and stupid – all hallmarks of this current Republican party – it is understandable politically. They want to win something, anything. Since 2016, Democrats have slaughtered Republicans in nearly 80-percent of elections and are undefeated in special elections and any vote that combats the Party’s continued attack on women’s reproductive rights across America. They believe, and current polling doesn’t refute this, that Trump is their best shot. But that’s all well and good for Trump, but what of these very same members of Congress that don’t hail from cushy gerrymandered, non-competitive districts in Arizona, California, New York, and New Jersey, all of which were won by President Joe Biden in 2020?

This brings me to my second event; the taking back of a House seat in New York’s 3rd District this week by Democrat Tom Suozzi, who did so by outperforming his polls by five points, which while impressive in a growing conservative Queens/Long Island area that elected detestable lunatic Republican George Santos by eight points in 2022, is still is not as impressive as what Democrats have done almost everywhere else – outperform polling by ten points on average.

Regardless of the spread, Suozzi’s win, buoyed by his embracing of the fucked border bill fiasco, should send shivers of abject fear down the spine of fellow congressmen and women who hold seats in similar Biden-friendly places from 2020. By my count, there are ten. Right now, Republicans hold a razor-slim five-seat majorly in the House, thanks to shitting the bed in ’22, a year they expected a “Red Wave” that didn’t materialize. If they want to pass the border bill – supported by sane conservatives and border security, et al – then all they have to do is make congress work as it is intended: Compromise and aisle-crossing temperament.

If just half of these vulnerable House members flip to supporting the bill, then they can have the numbers to pass it, assuming all Democrats follow suit, which is a gamble, since the far-left wing of the Party could not be happy with this Draconian thing the Senate whipped up that doesn’t even address their core immigration issue of Dreamers – undocumented people born in this country to illegal immigrants. But for the sake of argument, let’s say Democrats could play smart politics too and support the passing of a possible law that would ease tensions at the border, give their president a much-needed win on the issue, and remove it from a Trump talking point in the campaign going forward.

Since 2016, Democrats have slaughtered Republicans in nearly 80-percent of elections

None of this matters, of course, if the Speaker doesn’t bring it to a vote, but thanks to the insane wing of the Republican caucus, which negotiated a “one-vote to vacate” rule for the previously ousted former Speaker Keven McCarthy, one of the ten aforementioned congressmen/women could simply move to vacate, seconded by another one, and then join together with Democrats in having the votes to oust Johnson. Then, once this vacuous theocratic dink is toast find a moderate, compliant speaker to bring the damn bill up for a vote with the same numbers.

Bingo! Working congress! Much needed bill turned into law, and the crazy contingent sent packing with their goofy cult leader.

This not only helps the country, which is a sidebar here, but it makes perfect political sense – the only reason Republicans, many of whom abhor the boorish idiotic mess that is Donald Trump, kowtow to his MAGA contingent in the first place. Pure politics. These people have no ideology (there hasn’t been a Republican platform since 2016) nor leadership, (Trump is about to hand the Republican National Committee over to the woman currently sleeping with his son). So, it’s survival or nothing. I am offering these doomed congressmen in blue districts a way to govern and give them a victory, not hand a life-preserver to Trump. Fuck him. They need to defend their positions in the fall. 

At this point you might rightly point out, “But James, the Senate already killed this bill.” Yes, but there are enough moderate, clear-thinking politicians in the Senate, who must win state-wide elections, not fixed, gerrymandered district jokes, who might be inclined to take the House’s bold move as permission to take care of a national issue that is purportedly important to them. But remove the guesswork by taking the temperature of the votes in the higher chamber before making any moves. They’re all in walking distance of each outer. 

Let them figure it out.

I can’t do everything.

And so, if you are among the nearly 90-percent of Americans on both ends of the political spectrum who would like to see less theatrical voting like impeaching a homeland security chief, and more lawmaking from your Congress, this is the answer to your bitching.

Now, if only someone beside a columnist from a pop culture weekly could give this some traction across the social sphere, we might have something here.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REPUBLICAN BORDER BILL?

Aquarian Weekly
2/14/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REPUBLICAN BORDER BILL?
Republicans Killed It    
 
This has been a stellar week for ridding the body politic of the Republican Party virus, as it continues its self-destructive Ouroboros routine to inevitable implosion.

Senate Republicans began festivities by competing a 180 to kill an historically comprehensive bi-partisan border security bill they demanded and aggressively helped to pen, much of it politically conservative anti-immigration porn. Lots of walls and guns and roundups, and zero liberal provisions for Dreamers and the like. The Wall St. Journal raved, as did the pro-Trump National Border Patrol Council, giving it a full-throated endorsement and demanding “its quick passage.” Then GOP nominee frontrunner, Donald Trump, fearing it would curtail one of the few political arguments he has to be president again, called it off, and his errand boy in the House, Speaker Mike Johnson said it would be dead on arrival. Soon, Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who had worked for weeks on the bill’s drafting, got in line, and abandoned it. 

So, like Richard Nixon in ’68 skuttling the Paris Peace Talks to keep the Viet Nam War raging and killing hundreds of American kids a week to help him take the White House and a dozen years later when Ronald Reagan made clandestine deals with Iranian fanatics to hold off releasing American hostages until he was sworn in, Republicans once again toss the greater good for their presidential candidate. 

This should be enough stumble-bumming to make voters run the other way, but to outdo their ineptitude, Republicans in the Senate then agreed to pass a financial support bill for Israel and Ukraine without border provisions, something they flat-out refused to consider a month ago unless there was a border deal in there, something they just sank. It is difficult to fathom goofier ass-over-teakettle legislating than this. So, instead of making President Joe Biden complicit in the most conservative border security law ever, getting what they’ve been screaming was an existential threat handled, the supposed feeble old fart outmaneuvered them. Biden got the foreign aid he wanted without having to compromise. And, for good measure, he can now run around the country retaking the border argument away from Trump.

You get the feeling that if Republicans wanted to haggle for fruit at an Egyptian market they’d end up without pants. 

On the heels of this, Republicans decided to stage a dog and pony show impeaching Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for, get this, failed border security policy, something they could have overridden had they passed the bill they wrote! This ridiculously baseless charade, only outdone by the Impeach Biden boondoggle that offered zero evidence and less enthusiasm before ending up in a ditch, was engineered by the neophyte religious zealot, Speaker Johnson, the party’s fifth choice for the position after Republicans tossed the last guy, Kevin McCarthy in early October of last year. McCarthy then quit, followed by the exit of disgraced Republican congressman from New York, George Santos for committing roughly 34 crimes. This meant they didn’t have the votes. The thing tanked, and because Johnson doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing and is only there to be Donald Trump’s lapdog, he appeared woefully unaware that bringing a vote to the floor without the requisite numbers is a basic no-no. 

You get the feeling that if Republicans wanted to haggle for fruit at an Egyptian market they’d end up without pants. 

If Mike Johnson asked to wash my car for free, I’d instruct him to leave my property before my lawn caught fire.

This is a level of incompetence rarely seen, even for the federal government. We have reached a new low for a national political party that looks more like five-year-olds trying to get their lemonade stand onto the New York Stock Exchange. 

Why people are still voting Republican is beyond me. Honestly, this has gotten beyond ideological politics or the two-evils quotient. These people are dangerous, mostly to themselves.

To recap: Since the January 6 insurrection wherein one political party stood for toppling the government for a white supremacy fuck-tard wet dream and the enslavement of women’s bodies to the government after the Dobbs decision engineered in a stacked fascist Supreme Court by Republican machinations and a Donald Trump presidency, things deteriorated rapidly for the party. After Democrats handed Donald Trump’s administration an historic defeat in the midterms, a total and resounding rebuke of the clusterfuck of his reality show on high-grade crank, he coughed up the White House in 2020. More people than ever voted for his Democratic opponent, which was followed by a shockingly tepid midterms against a sitting president two years later, leaving the Senate back in the hands of Democrats and a House with a slim majority, which led to McCarthy being booted, and the ensuing failed votes for red-meat political theater.

Well, as discussed last week, once this goes up in smoke, there will hopefully there emerge a functioning Republican Party with a platform beyond “Whatever Trump Thinks in the Last Four Minutes.” Republicans had no platform in 2020, and they still stand for nothing beyond the whims of the guy sitting on 91 federal indictments. Soon the Chairman of the Republican National Committee Ronna Romney McDaniel, who has been unable to get her frontrunner top show up to her the party’s debates, will be gone. No doubt replaced by another slack-jawed Trump lackey, continuing the slide of this once proud institution founded by Abraham Lincoln. 

But it’s hard to argue anymore that when Republicans oversee anything bad craziness abounds. 

Vote accordingly.

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