LEGAL WEED NEW JERSEY

Aquarian Weekly
12/23/20

Reality Check

James Campion

LEGAL WEED NEW JERSEY

This year sucked. Sure, we were decimated with a pandemic, faced with systemic racial reckoning, and run, for a few more days at least, by a dangerous idiot, but what 2020 really did was take my eye off the prize in this space. And that prize is New Jersey’s vote to legalize marijuana, something I have written about and actively campaigned for with much fervor here for years. It is the reason I supported Phil Murphy for governor. Finally, after a couple of painful years of stonewalling by morally-suspect Republicans and a regretful contingent of feckless out-of-touch Democrats in our state government, our call here for a vote came to fruition. And boy, did that work out. Weed is legal in New Jersey.

I wish to write this again.

Weed is legal in New Jersey.

The day before I put down these words, the state Assembly voted 49-24 with six abstentions to pass bill S21, and the Senate later followed, passing it 23-17.

You know why?

Because we say so.

It was the will of the people, who voted two-to-one on November 3 to amend the state constitution and make weed legal.

This is how democracy works.

Call up Donald Trump and let him know. He needs some lessons. On second thought, fuck that moron, he’s going to Florida in a few days. He’s their problem now.

Hmmmm, 2021, welcome.

“I feel that nothing will have a greater impact that I’ve done in my career in the Legislature on all New Jerseyans,” Sen. Nicholas Scutari, D-Union, the bill’s sponsor, blustered with glee moments before the vote. You could almost detect a tear of joy there, but it was likely the pain of being a N.J. lawmaker. No one should have to endure that without some herb. Hell, this was a tough one, as Scutari, one of my heroes, said, “It’s been a long journey.”

This, dear reader, is the sweet sound of freedom in a year that had a shit-ton of restrictions, rules, curfews, and limits. Soon Governor Murphy will sign this baby into law and his campaign promise, the only reason I backed him in these pages, will be made real.

Weed is legal in New Jersey.

Forgive me, I cannot help but to keep typing this. It’s almost involuntary. I could see it on the horizon, I could argue it, and dream it, and even conjure it as some kind of positive affirmation on what is good and true in our statehood, but now it is happening. And, by the way, I am not even a pothead. I could take it or leave it. It mostly makes me hungry and sit in front of the TV until all hours watching old Elvis Costello and the Attractions boot videos. I prefer gin.

Nevertheless, weed is legal here.

The details will have to be worked out. This is a major business model and one that has had uneven results in other states. There are, by the way, sixteen of us now. Whereas in Colorado things went smoothly, other states have had issues. But where New Jersey is concerned, this could not have happened at a better time. The economy has tanked, and some jobs are not coming back. The very concept of the office is being re-examined by accountants from Bangor to the Baja Peninsula. Empty buildings. Quieter streets. This is part of the “new normal” and so the influx of tax from commuting, rentals, to simple sales tax has diminished to the point of affecting schools, police, fireman, and the pressing matter of infrastructure.

This will of the people comes at the right time.

As reported on NJ.com: “The bill currently directs seventy-percent of the state sales tax revenue from marijuana purchases and an excise tax on marijuana growers to certain minority communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war.”

Moreover, soon, when the vaccine takes effect (yay, vaccine!), people will be coming out of their holes and much like the 1920s after the last massive pandemic rocked the nation and WWI drove a spike through the heart of our collective faith, they will be ready to party! The Roaring Twenties Redux, without all the Prohibition. Nothing stopped those maniacs, and we shall follow in their Flapper/Charleston/Gatsby wake. So, we need to regulate their product, push the pushers and dealers to the side and assist in making things easier for our overloaded cops. This will be a boon to all of those things.  

This also means we can clear our prisons of low-level drug offenders. Saves on feeding, clothing and accommodating them. When I was in the Manhattan tombs two October’s ago for a few evenings on a bullshit charge, I would conservatively estimate that over ninety-percent of the poor bastards in there were on minor drug busts. And ninety-nine percent were people of color. But it will soon be 2021, and this should not be a thing, and it is no longer a thing, and for that I celebrate The Vote and the coming of 2021.

“This bill to legalize cannabis is a strong commitment to social justice,” Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, D-Union, one of the bills’ sponsors, told NJ.com, “This bill establishes measures to make the cannabis business diverse and equitable.”

As predicted, the people want this, and they will now get it. And like most experiments in freedom, this may be rocky and maybe it won’t be the cash windfall I and the governor believe it will be, but it is way overdue. It was always – thank you, Randolph Hearst – an arbitrary and capricious law, making a plant illegal, and we here in New Jersey, at least, have rectified it. And thus, it will not be long before New York follows suit. They must, or risk losing much revenue, because until then the tolls and local economic boon will be coming this way.

Oh, and the cool thing about having a Democrat in the White House again is the federal government won’t spend tax dollars, energy and manpower trying to enforce antiquated federal law and let the states experiment, let the free market and the people decide the outcome of our destiny.

To write that in a year that has seen us isolated and sacrificed and arguing stupidly over what we can wear and not wear and ignore the greater health and consciousness of our friends, family and neighbors, this news, this will of the people comes at the right time.

Weed is legal in New Jersey.

And now, 2021…  

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C’mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus – David Cassidy (1994)

Reading the latest books on Prince and Lenny Kravitz for this Rock Reads segment brought me back to one I’d read when it came out twenty-six years ago, David Cassidy’s C’mon, Get Happy: Fear and Loathing on the Partridge Family Bus. Of course, I would. Cassidy’s iconic Keith Partridge, the feather-haired, guitar-slinging, pukka-shell sporting lead singer-songwriter of the fictional Partridge Family was as important a figure in the third wave of rock history than almost anyone. The Partridge Family television show about a family that rides around in a multi-colored Ken Kesey-style bus playing music and getting into adventures reached millions of kids – the aforementioned Prince and Kravitz, as well as Green Day’s Billie Joe, who continues to cite it as an influence – and your humble reviewer, sitting in his Bronx apartment gawking at how damn cool long hair, playing guitar and attracting screaming girls could be. Keith Partridge was our Elvis, our Beatles. We had little Michael Jackson and his cartoon Jackson 5 and Keith.

Before his untimely death in 2017, Cassidy aged well, still acting, performing in Vegas, making the talk-show circuit and explaining what the hell it was like to live in a kiddy pool while experimenting with drugs, dreaming of being Jimi Hendrix, and posing nude for a cover of Rolling Stone. The Partridge Family released many albums throughout the early Seventies, as did Cassidy, and he went on tour, and those tours were a mixture of Beatlemania and Satyricon, and then it was back on set Monday morning at 5:00a.m. to play a teenager. 

Cassidy, son of the famous (actors Jack Cassidy and Evelyn Ward) and careening through his youth with reckless abandon is a fine storyteller; self-depreciating and exacting. He tells it like it is, copping Gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson’s infamous phrase for the subtitle of his book, and writes with a helping measure of empathy for his demented father and his Partridge Family co-star, the inimitable dumpster fire that is Danny Bonaduce.

C’mon, Get Happy is a fun and eye-opening read. It takes you to a time when pop culture and the underground would meet oddly to form the 1970s and beyond.  

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Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World – Rob Sheffield (2017)

Rob Sheffield’s Dreaming the Beatles may be the finest book on the subject. Considering the dearth of Beatles literature, this is a feat worth celebrating. But it is true. There has never been, at first a more modern, and second, a better perspective framing of the band to end all bands put to print. My greatest compliment may be that if I were to recommend to future generations why the Beatles were so important, wildly over-and-underrated, and how they hypnotized an entire generation and continue to gather even more disciples, it would be Dreaming the Beatles.

Sheffield lends a post-Boomer slant to all this deconstruction; rightfully claiming a space in the 1990s where the Beatles as a force in consumer consciousness and a lasting iconicity cemented their legacy far more than for those who had either lived through it, or for myself, just missed it and were left with its echoes. There is also a wonderful re-imagining of each Beatle personality in Dreaming the Beatles; the emotional pillars of John, Paul, George and Ringo beyond the monolithic Fab Four. Again, despite having read dozens of volumes on these monumental figures, I found that Sheffield does a remarkable job of re-humanizing them while baring their most enviable and abhorrent traits. 

Perhaps its best feature is the book never loses its sense of humor about all this pop-culture proselytizing. I found myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of post-Beatles worship versus backlash, as if shifting the tele Perhaps its best feature is the book never loses its sense of humor about all this pop-culture proselytizing. I found myself laughing out loud at the absurdity of post-Beatles worship versus backlash, as if shifting the telescope from one end to the other and seeing the past as a far-off spec of what we now embrace as our musical Big Bang.   

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There Was A Light: The Cosmic History of Chris Bell and the Rise of Big Star – Rich Tupica (2020)

Interestingly, despite its short but mythic existence, the Memphis band Big Star – critics’ darling in the pall of curious career implosion – has very little of its story in book form. In fact, there is none. Aside from the 2012 documentary, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, wherein a new generation of gawkers could debate how a band this good with songs this incredible be a total bust, no one has gone where Rich Tupica’s There Was Light does. The author chooses the best possible entry into this mystery by using its doomed but sympathetic founder, Chris Bell as the titular protagonist of the tale. Bell is one of a myriad of misunderstood rock geniuses that fell hard and left us too soon – a lá Nick Drake, Jeff Buckley, Elliott Smith. He also deftly uses the oral history template to get firsthand accounts of much of what has been passed on in the cloudy realm of pop culture historians as an inquisitive train wreck, but on closer inspection, was really just a bunch of guys trying to make music and make it.   

Hovering over the proceedings is the specter of Alex Chilton, whose music biography stretches back to teenaged lead singer of the Box Tops and his sometimes brilliant and most times combative relationship with Bell. There is also the ancillary matter of Bell’s battle with sexual identity and the more pertinent one of his mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse. 

There Was a Light pulls no punches but reading the accounts of every major figure in the compellingly tragic story of Big Star, including Bell in a series of culled quotes, and discovering more of his solo work, make this an important document in the annals of rock and roll history.  

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Remain in Love: Talking Heads / Tom Tom Club / Tina – Chris Frantz (2019)

Chris Frantz is not a writer, he’s a drummer. He’s not a pop star, he’s an artist. He’s certainly not a rock and roll cliché, he’s a dedicated businessman, husband and father. His wife, bass player and musical partner for the past nearly half century, Tina Weymouth are half of the founding members of Talking Heads and leaders of its off-shoot band, Tom Tom Club. Both of those bands helped to change the course of popular music from the early 1970s punk revolution to the MTV age of visual expression and beyond. Therefore, when you read Frantz’s memoir you are not treated to a journalist’s or biographer’s take on the events surrounding his life, but what you do receive is brutal honesty and a humble narrator who will lead you through one of the most exciting times in popular music and introduce you to an incredible array of music legends.

Here are firsthand accounts of life in the burgeoning downtown NYC music scene from CBGB to Max’s Kansas City and across the crime-infested, broken but defiant city streets, on tour in Europe with the wild and wooly Ramones and groundbreaking recording sessions from New York to the Bahamas. Franz pulls no punches on Talking Heads undisputed leader, David Byrne, whose dissociative to myopic to downright cold aim to control the narrative within the band may have led to some odd twists and turns and personal difficulties. But their time working together bore intriguing, and in an artistic sense, revolutionary results.

Most of all, Remain in Love is an epic love story of two college art students from Rhode Island School of Design, who reached the heights of pop and rock and remain today as in love and creatively vibrant as ever. 

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This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off Record – Neal Karlen (2020)

Reading more like a hybrid of the enigmatic genius Prince Rogers Nelson as well as author and friend, Neal Karlen, This Thing Called Life: Prince’s Odyssey, On and Off Record is nevertheless an important historical perspective for a pop/rock titan bathed in both self and general myth. Karlen and Prince met on a neighborhood basketball court as pre-teens on the tougher north side of Minneapolis. Later, the author would become one of the first to interview the post-Purple Rain monster rock star for Rolling Stone magazine in 1985. Karlen would then go on to conduct several more interviews with the reclusive Prince into 1990, when the two would simply become phone buddies. 

Karlen’s late-night discussions with Prince, whom he describes as sounding like “the loneliness man in the world” are the core of this book. He wrestles with his position of being wooed by Prince’s idiosyncratic emotional manipulations and a sense of true friendship. They play basketball together, take long drives, watch movies and go to clubs, as Prince confides in him about love, loss, his parents, and mostly his fears – significantly, his fear of dying alone, something he would do in an elevator in his sprawling complex, Paisley Park in 2016. 

Yet, as we learn, and Karlen writes, that Prince “offered up multiple versions of who he was. Each correct, each wrong,” the book carves up Yet, as we learn, and Karlen writes, that Prince “offered up multiple versions of who he was. Each correct, each wrong,” the book carves up many accepted lies about Prince’s father’s supposed talents, his mother’s influence on him, and perhaps my favorite sections of the book, beside learning of Prince’s obsession with 1960s into 1970s professional wrestling, cover the paradox of his home town, Minneapolis in race, tradition, economic disparity and what Karlen dubs “Minnesota Meanness”, which both repelled and seduced Prince his entire life.

While Karlen mostly ignores the music – there are plenty of those books out there – we finally get a mostly objective insider view of one of the most important musical talents of the latter half of the Twentieth Century. And since Prince, like most great artists, was a semi-autobiographical creator, This Thing Called Life will get you closer to that amazing music.   

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Let Love Rule – Lenny Kravitz with David Ritz (2020)

Fusion funk-rocker Lenny Kravitz has aptly named his collaborative memoir, Let Love Rule, as it ends with the release of his debut album of the same name and would begin a career that has spanned four decades. But the reason for this truncated look at his life as a boy becoming an artist is that during those years Kravitz had seen and done more and had crazier life-altering experiences than most people could handle in three lives and certainly enough to provide lyrical material for an opening musical statement.

The book opens in a relatable manner for those of us who are not quite Boomers and came early to qualify as Generation X – Kravitz is a Seventies kid, culturally woke by the Jackson 5, KISS, bell-bottoms, Flip Wilson, Richard Pryor, weed, Converse, Blacksplotation films et al. But then having access to a Jewish family (his dad, Sy, a top television news producer) and a Bahamian one, (his famous mom, Roxie Roker, who would star in the hit comedy The Jefferson’s), and even spending time in the burgeoning hip-hop center of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, and eventually Hollywood, provided the young musician a rare cultural foundation and worldly view many never experience.

Meeting the famous, being tutored by musical change makers, and finding his way spiritually, musically, culturally, and sexually, with a heavy emphasis on cool fashion before he even hits high school, Kravitz’s exploits in youth reads like some Dickensian adventure with highlights like stealing the family car at fourteen and rushing off to rescue a child prostitute, appearing in commercials and plays, bouncing homeless from couch to car backseats and on and on.

Kravitz is an inspiration and a cautionary tale. He fucks up and triumphs in the most dramatic ways before you and I could find our elbows. He experiments, learns several instruments, backs up acts twice his age, hangs out in famous studios, stumbles into crossroads that lead him to become the artist he envisioned. One of those eventually led to his mind-bending connection to Lisa Bonet that wrapped all of it in a romantic bow.

Let Love Rule is not just the story of a rocker’s journey to his fans but a symbol of those fans. He is the American Homer; rebellious, erratic, indomitable, and unforgettable.

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EXPLAINING THE TRUMP COUP & GOP POLITICAL TERRORISM

Aquarian Weekly
12/16/20

Reality Check

James Campion

EXPLAINING THE TRUMP COUP & GOP POLITICAL TERRORISM


This is an actual event that is happening in the United States of America, today, as I write this – not Venezuela or Cuba or Russia or Iran or North Korea, or Germany in 1933. America. Now. The Republican Attorney General of Texas Ken Paxton is seeking to sue four states to invalidate the 2020 election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with hopes to challenge the will of the people in the Supreme Court and overthrow an election decisively won by president-elect Joe Biden over a month ago with the express aim to anoint Donald Trump king and ruler of an autocracy. Over one-hundred GOP congressmen are backing this blatant attack on democracy and Texas Senator Ted Cruz is volunteering to represent this bloodless coup to overthrow the government. All of this with no credible evidence there is any reason to pursue the “case”, over thirty court losses and the attorney general of the United States, a Trump bag man, announcing; “There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.”

I have written about some crazy shit in this space over the past twenty-three years, but this takes the cake. None, absolutely none of what appears above is opinion or satire or hyperbole. This is news and fact, treasonous machinations that are being conducted with our tax dollars; a monkey trial, a circus act, a fucking abomination and overt political terrorist attack on the fundamental foundations of the republic. There is no other way to put it; this is a concerted effort to overturn a national election, essentially to satiate the insecurities of a megalomaniac, but also to quell the growing need for sore-loser zealots to have an excuse to why a wildly failed incumbent president, who did not win the popular vote in 2016, and NEVER had positive approval ratings, lost the election by over seven-million votes, thus denied another four years to further eviscerate the fragile center of this nation.

For the past week, the president of these United States, not a game show host or real estate baron or celebrity playboy freak, called on lawmakers and attorneys’ generals of sovereign states to ignore the vote and appoint electors to make him king. This is something real, not imagined, like Q-Anon or the Proud Boys, Communist Black Lives Matter or ballots in garbage cans. Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president, is openly conducting a coup d’état and then tweeting about it. It’s all in the open. This is something his buddy, Vladimir Putin does routinely. This is right out of a fascist playbook. I first read it in Mein Kamf, and now it is happening. Here. In America.   

Of course, this was expected. Trump told us he would do this. “If I don’t win, then it was rigged” was baked into two campaigns, 2016 and this one. Trump was shocked he pulled a fluke the first time. This year it was a higher hill to climb. He sucked at being president and he was about to go down. He set this up to ameliorate the devastation to his paper-thin ego. Plus, as much as he hates losing, Trump loves litigation, or at least the show-boating of litigation to provide an alternative optic that something went wrong when it doesn’t go his way. Shit, he ran for president because NBC was fucking with his contract. This charade is the summation of his abysmal business career.

Moreover, Trump is in big trouble in the Southern District of New York and other places, and his family too. There are a ton of ongoing criminal investigations into his business and personal affairs, lawsuits and financial ruin coming his way. He is in deep debt to foreign banks and corrupt governments and he is a pariah in the liberal, urban, Hollywood circles he craves to be accepted in, before he put on his phony populist right-wing religious act. He has burned bridges and committed many crimes and if I were him I would try and overthrow the government to maintain the protections of the office to keep my ass out of jail and bankruptcy. Why do you think he floats pardoning his family, his lawyer, himself? He is guilty and a loser. His motivation to continue his attack on America, which he has perpetuated for four years, makes absolute perfect sense.

Treasonous machinations that are being conducted with our tax dollars.

The Republican Party, the party of Lincoln, that has represented the conservative will of the electorate since the mid-nineteenth century, is another matter entirely. It has lowered itself into the quagmire here, because there is little chance it can survive without Donald Trump’s base. There are not enough votes to win anymore without kowtowing to the racist, ill-informed, knuckle-dragging element of the party given voice these past four years. So, they go along with this insurrection. Makes sense for right-wing rodeo clowns on the radio and TV too. Conspiracy theories, faux outrage and mob rules make good ratings. Why not illegitimate the incoming Biden Administration before it comes to power? But they are civilians, and they have every right to line their pockets with advertising money to tear down America. But a political party backing this treasonous bullshit is a lasting scar on our checkered history.

And what about this lawsuit: a desperate eleventh-hour sham before the votes are set in stone on Monday, January 14, 2020, officially and quite legally making Joseph Robinette Biden Jr the forty-sixth president of the United States, as willed by the American electorate? The lead legal mouthpiece on this farce is just another bleating gremlin like Rudy Giuliani, a man with arm’s length crimes soon to be revealed and in need of a nifty pardon from Donald Trump, who is doling them out to all his criminal friends. Paxton has been under indictment since 2015 on securities fraud charges relating to activities prior to taking office, and just this past October many high-level officials in Paxton’s office made allegations accusing him of “bribery, abuse of office and other crimes.” He knows who is president, and he knows that president likes a show to wallpaper over his failures, so he is giving him one in hopes of getting one of those get-out-of-jail-free cards.

For all intent and purposes, Paxton, Trump, Cruz, over one-hundred Republican congressman, and a host of song-and-dance imbeciles in the bowels of our airwaves are saying; Fuck America. Fuck the vote. Fuck the law. Fuck the founders and the flag and the military that provides the freedoms of vote through sacrifice. Fuck the solemn institutions of the republic. We need succor. We choose profit. We crave power. Mostly, Fuck the voters and for good measure Fuck you.

Sure, it is abject folly and it will not work, but attempted robbery and attempted murder and an attempted coup d’état are still considered crimes.

This is a crime. Republicans who back it are complicit in this crime. For the record, there are many who are not, proving its dangerous anomaly. Donald Trump, the most criminally active of all our presidents, however, is making this his final act.

This is happening. Right now. Not in Venezuela or Cuba or Russia or Iran or North Korea, or Germany in 1933. In America. 2020.  

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THE FINAL RECKONING OF AN AMERICAN ENEMY

Aquarian Weekly
11/25/20

Reality Check

James Campion

THE FINAL RECKONING OF AN AMERICAN ENEMY
Donald Trump Ramps Up His Exit Destruction 

If I were a foreign adversary of the United States I would attack now. We have never been more vulnerable. The federal government is in complete chaos, the president has literally disappeared from his duties and spends his time trying to undermine the core of our democracy, final election results, while ignoring a raging pandemic that has reached its nadir. Instead Donald Trump spends his time tweeting the firings of key members of his cabinet and those of utmost import in security positions and replacing them with unqualified sycophants. He is yanking troops out of strategic areas of war against the wishes of his generals and advisors. The secretary of state is abroad claiming a second Trump term and the Pentagon is now run by confused amateurs controlling the movements of the world’s most powerful army. This is now a full-blown structural crisis. It has become quite obvious that Donald Trump is using the angst and humiliation of his profound defeat to destroy America in his last sixty days.

This is not opinion. By any measure, this is happening.

When history records this, it will come to one conclusion: Donald Trump was the most effective anti-American terrorist ever. No one, not Osama bin Laden, has done the kind of lasting damage to the foundation of the United States of America than our president is enacting right now. If America’s enemies could have drawn this up, I doubt they would have even dreamed this scenario.   

For those who wondered why for over a year now, and especially these last crucial months, I continued to write column and after column begging the American people to stop the fire blazing across the country – lit and fed by a psychopath in the White House – it has become abundantly clear these past two weeks how far a second Trump Administration would have gone to completely annihilate the substance of the United States. The madness he now displays in a ramped-up form of obliterating everything in his wake is very real and very dangerous and has put this nation at its lowest and weakest ebb in modern times.

There has never been a more heinous enemy of America than Donald Trump at this moment – he is acting as an unhinged vengeful monster hellbent on demolishing the country he is sworn to lead and protect by the guidelines of our constitution; what insiders have leaked as a “scorched earth policy” to leave nothing left for president-elect Joe Biden. And since Biden will take that solemn oath on January 20, 2021, then it means he is leaving nothing left for us. We are under attack. Our enemy is inside the walls. He holds the weaponry of demolition and he is wielding it with extreme prejudice.

Trump has advised his staff to stonewall any information due to the president-elect as is the custom and the law, a courtesy he enjoyed in late 2016. This is another wall built by the president between his rule and the rule of law. It mirrors his refusal to accept Russia’s interference in the election that year and then the ensuing firing of personnel investigating it, concluding with his obstruction of justice against the American intelligence and law enforcement communities that aimed to get to the bottom of it. And because certain Republicans humored and supported these crimes, this abhorrent behavior has now come to directly affect the health and lives of our citizens, and most vitally, the very security of our nation.

Ignoring a peaceful or really any transition of power is especially injurious to a country in the middle of the worst pandemic in a century that has reached new heights of infections and is predicted to get much worse in the coming weeks of winter and into the holiday season. Even before his decisive defeat, Trump had not attended a Coronavirus Task Force for nearly half a year in which 11.8 million have been infected and 250,000 Americans are dead. It was written here before in several ways, but it is hard to not conclude that Trump would rather see people die than take blame or face defeat. He is a murderer. And that too will fill history books.

He holds the weaponry of demolition and he is wielding it with extreme prejudice.

And right now, more than ever, our standing in the world and general security is in complete ruins. Already gutted, the State Department is in shambles and the Pentagon completely rudderless. Check that, it has a rudder, but those at the wheel are ineffectual neophytes. Dumping the remnants of two wars conducted over the past two decades is Trump’s penalty for our voting him out. Now the troops, sent to protect us, are under fire by their own commander-in-chief. It is beyond pettiness to fuck with America’s military and its security infrastructure, but, of course, this has been the aim all along for the draft-dodging, veteran-mocking Donald Trump, something he is proving again in these weeks that follow his electoral beating. He would rather see the nation vulnerable aboard as he bullies lawmakers and states to disenfranchise millions of voters for his damaged ego at home.   

As I write this, Donald Trump is doing something right now to attempt to destroy America. No one is sure what or when, not even those in his service. It is completely anarchy of governance that leaves open our flanks to our foreign adversaries and those who lay in wait to cause further chaos. His fleeting days at its helm has become an exercise in virulent attack. This is what we who have always known him to be our enemy have written and shouted and argued now for four years, and here it is, in warp speed, day after miserable day.

The evidence is glaring. And to those who continue to defend this vindictive and destructive presidency, you will also be counted as enemies of our state, and not because of your ideological disagreements, zealot-like idolatry of a cult of personality, or because we don’t like or don’t understand this dangerous idiot, but because of his odious actions, this wildly anti-American flailing about to do harm. There is no longer hiding behind MAGA slogans. They lie in ruins, like his legacy, one of boorish, authoritarian, pathological mayhem. This particular part of the sad joke that is Donald Trump is over now, just as his treacherous presidency is over.

It is time to stand with America against Donald Trump, before he takes the whole thing down with him, like everything he has ever been handed.

There is one truth to this entire mess that I hope for my daughter and your children will end not with an attack on our shores or harm to our troops abroad, with the solemn appeal that our system can endure these venomous attacks: There was indeed a conspiracy on November 3, 2020. Eighty million Americans conspired to vote Donald Trump out as an enemy of the state.

We just have to survive the fallout.

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THE PREDICTABLE OUTCOME OF THE 2020 ELECTION

Aquarian Weekly
11/18/20

Reality Check

James Campion

THE PREDICTABLE OUTCOME OF THE 2020 ELECTION
After All, Things Pretty Much Went According to Plan 

Seriously. Is anyone surprised at the outcome of this election. Really?
Considering the current climate, crisis and the incumbent? I think surprise would have been re-electing Donald Trump. I mean, come on.

When I sent my column to press last week, one day before decision desks officially called the presidential race for Joseph R. Biden Jr., my trusted compadre Dr. Slater thought it a tad premature for me to write anything under the headline TRUMP IS FINISHED. After all, the previous three days, moving into four, we had still not secured a winner. There was, for many, the specter of 2016, and some states, including Pennsylvania, which eventually handed the victory to Biden, had Trump still leading. None of this mattered. Not here. Where for the past four months this space predicted without equivocation a Biden victory and a Trump loss, nothing had changed.

And if you remove a lot of the emotional and ideological aspects of this campaign, it was kind of in the cards. All signs pointed to it; statistical, anecdotal, historical. The sad echoes of 2016 were in the rearview. Donald Trump lost because it was supposed to happen.

As I wrote in my August 26 piece, THIS IS NOT 2016: “This time around the numbers are not three to four percent for a wildly unpopular Democratic candidate; they are a six, seven to ten percentage point lead for a fairly likable one. And the enthusiasm to vote against Trump, the incumbent with a terrible record, is higher than his opponent’s. Throwing a Hail Mary touchdown pass in the final seconds worked swimmingly for Doug Flutie and Boston College once. Flutie was not asked to repeat that four years later. This is what is asked of the 2020 Donald Trump, morph back into an outsider, grenade-throwing grievance candidate. It is he who is the system now and that system is broken. Change is in the air, and that change candidate is not the current president. The time, the numbers, the opponent, and the crises make 2020 very different from 2016. But only the Election Day numbers can bear this out eventually, whether the president accepts them or not.”

This was August. And not much shifted thereafter. If anything, Trump fucked up worse – ignoring the worst pandemic in a century, gassing protestors for some weird Bible photo op and acting like a buffoon in the first of two debates – only two because… ahem… he contracted Covid-19. So, if you have paid any attention to the remaining columns of this campaign season, my confidence in a Joe Biden victory, or more to the point, a Trump loss only grew stronger.

The sad echoes of 2016 were in the rearview. Donald Trump lost because it was supposed to happen.

The numbers, which while askew in some states, most notably Wisconsin, were pretty much on point. The Democratic Party’s choice of a centrist, old white guy from the Rust Belt pretty much sealed the deal. As long as Biden, known for his self-immolation in two previous presidential runs, maintained his composure and his campaign stuck to the script, the Blue Wall that Trump barely flipped in 2016 would return to the Democratic fold.

And it did.

As noted above and for several of the past weeks here it appeared that discussing the possibility that Biden could win Republican strongholds like Arizona – in ’92, Bill Clinton was the only Dem to win there since 1952 – and amazingly Georgia – native son, Jimmy Carter took it in 1976 – was a fairly important sign that this would be an impressive, decisive victory. He won those states. And so it was indeed both of those things.

There was solid evidence early that Texas was in play, which it certainly was, and this worked as a canary in Trump’s coal mine. No incumbent can be fighting to win a state that should be banked weeks before Election Day and hope to hold onto swing states. It is here that the comparison to the aforementioned Jimmy Carter in his 1980 re-election bid was apt. Actually, it turned out to be a greater stomping. Biden passed a 1980-type win before Arizona came into the fold. And North Carolina has still yet to be called, as Trump clings to a 77,000-vote lead with nearly 140,000 ballots yet to count.

This is all to say that Biden’s victory, which garnered more votes than any presidential candidate in American history had been in the bag for a while, despite the weird days-long counting of the immense level of mail-in ballots due to the pandemic. The president’s constant campaign rhetoric about “rigged election” and “fraudulent mail-in ballots” telegraphed his post-election plan, which was to ameliorate his humiliation and give him a chance to raise funds to pay-off his campaign debts under a legal defense ruse. It is reprehensible and pathetic, so of course it is a Trump thing. It is one last money-grab. Every silly, baseless lawsuit has been thrown out of court amid a phalanx of mockery and laughter.  

Make no mistake, this election was not close. Had the Republican-led legislatures in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin allowed the mail-in ballots to be counted earlier – like Florida, North Carolina, Texas, Ohio and pretty much everywhere else, this thing would have been called by 11:00 PM on Election Day. Unlike Trump, Biden will win the popular vote by a ridiculous margin. What is it now five-million and counting? This was a cruise win for Joe Biden. Once the nonsense from crazy-land dies down and someone puts shackles on Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich attends his first Civics 101 class, history will mark this baby as a one-term tank job.

Let it be known, the 2020 presidential election is a repudiation of Donald Trump; his epic failures with the Covid-19 crisis, his abject racism, his disregard for constitutional norms in governance, his overall narcissistic stupidity and so on. He barely won in 2016 and alienated a whole shit-ton of people. How else was this supposed to go?

The Joe Biden campaign was handed a gift, and they took it. This was, in the end, a finely tuned machine, helped on the ground, especially in Georgia, by a massive African-American voter effort. They stuck to a script that was laid out for them over these past four years. An alternative candidate had to be steady, on-point and unflappable. Biden came through. It was tidy and impressive. Beating an incumbent is historically a tough task. But not this one. And the results bear that out. It was time to wipe away this particular catastrophe.

A wise man once mused, “Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes the bar eats you.”

That pretty much nails it.

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