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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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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DONALD TRUMP IS FINISHED

Aquarian Weekly
11/11/20

Reality Check

James Campion

DONALD TRUMP IS FINISHED
Fascist Game Show Has Been Cancelled


And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
– Revelation 11:3

Good riddance to bad rubbish.
–  Ancient Christian Proverb

Donald Trump is a loser. He lost. One-term president. The fluke of 2016 has been corrected. The 2020 election season is over, and it ends with the expulsion of an American terrorist, a fascist con-man whose best claim to fame will eventually to be listed as the worst president that served after the Civil War. And it is hard to even claim it a presidency. More like a pitiful aberration of the body politic. A random mistake, a cancerous boil on all that is good and true about the American experience. It was, in the end, another failed venture of Trump Enterprises. Another in a sad series of bankruptcies that make of whatever Donald Trump touches doomed on arrival. Then it got worse. Much worse. History will mark it as our country’s weird diversion into a twisted nightmare. It will read that Donald J. Trump never won the popular vote. He never had a positive approval rating. He was summarily impeached. He sank the economy and 200,000 Americans died on his watch. His bid for a second term of this disgraceful mockery of governance was rejected with extreme prejudice – flushed from its system like a satisfying defecation. He is officially done. And when he goes in January of next year, the nation can get back to being a beacon for the world as a respected democracy instead of an embarrassing authoritarian clusterfuck.

Predictably, the president is taking this beating with his usual fantasyland approach. It is how he has run things. Somewhere in the bowels of his addled brain there is a plan for more votes. A bizarre re-imagining through the courts where he loves to delay the inevitable and make all his fuck-ups disappear in a torrent of red tape and lawyerly bullshit. But that is not forthcoming. The election is sacrosanct. And he sits on its butt’s end. And while he tries to besmirch the results, as he has done with all of his anti-American maneuvers, he will fail. Miserably. And daddy is not here to bail him out. His personal lawyer went to jail and this other crazy-ass one is likely headed there. And Russia is silent. It has abandoned him. Even the shameful husk of Bill Barr, combing through his lecture circuit planner, is shutting down his fast-food farcical Justice Department debasement. He can no longer defend the criminal activities of his shattered president. The people have spoken. They have evicted Donald Trump from their house, the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump ambles weakly around the place like the syphilis-crazed Hitler in his bunker, moving imaginary armies that do not exist around a map. And like de Führer, there are still those who patronize his delusions. They cannot let go of the damaged faith in their bloated savoir. But the rest of us can see it. Defeat reveals truth in a man, and Donald Trump’s truth is on full display now. He is the American scam. This charade was debunked the moment he became a candidate and conned the feeble-minded and desperate into thinking he did anything in life beyond the selling of a flawed macho image. But now it is stripped bare in defeat.

On Election Day, he committed treason from the venerated White House East Room by announcing he was the winner of a race still in progress. A day later in a haphazard diatribe in the press room, he framed the sanctity of the American election and its people who participated in it a fraud and cheaters. Those who waited in the rain and heat and cold to vote him out, that work on the front-lines in these dangerous times. The ones who came weeks early to brave the virus his failure has blown up into a pandemic and vote. His second address was so defamatory and riddled with dangerous lies and anti-American sewage, every network save Fox News, because … well, you know, Fox News… took him off. The president of the United States taken from the airwaves because what he has to say is a call for the destruction of American democracy. Trump said the votes must stop being counted, like a third-world dictator, and then he had the temerity to prop his bloated carcass behind the presidential seal to call our votes “illegal”.

His bid for a second term was flushed like a satisfying defecation.

But, let’s face it, even in winning Trump came in like a criminal of the state. Remember, this is the same man who could have stood strong against Russian aggression in 2017 but instead of assisting congress and the intelligence community in protecting us from a foreign enemy’s attack on our 2016 presidential election – an election he won – he denied it and fought against our efforts to find out what happened. He could have calmly told citizens that although he may have benefitted from such an attack that it was wrong, and we could, as nation, get to the bottom of it and stop it. He chose to do everything to undermine it and obstruct justice. He even stood on foreign soil with the Russian president and sided with the enemy against the United States.

For the rest of these long, pathetic four years Trump has spit on America. Soiled its institutions. Destroyed, gutted and shat on its most sacred tenets. All for his vainglorious ego. But try as he might, he could not take her down. She stood up to his tyranny. She sent him packing. Where soon he will deal with several cases against him in the Southern District of New York – tax fraud, campaign crimes, illegal foreign money laundering, and on and on and on. Soon the Deutsche Bank will ask for their money back. His $400 million debt will now have to be paid back as a citizen, not a sitting president. His de facto protections are gone. The piper’s tune has concluded. He needs his check.

And, as they have shown in the last months, the sane Republicans, the ones who care about this nation, have refuted his nonsense claims. Not all of them. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, having kowtowed to him after he mocked them and their families and their manhood, still lower themselves to help in his attack on America. For shame. History will also call their names in anger.

Texas Congressman Will Hurd, though, said it best in a tweet on the morning the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania blew up as the last vestige of hope for a second Trump presidency; “A sitting president undermining our political process & questioning the legality of the voices of countless Americans without evidence is not only dangerous & wrong, it undermines the very foundation this nation was built upon. Every American should have his or her vote counted.”

Oh, they are counting. And with each one, Donald Trump is finished.

In his 1994 Rolling Stone eulogy of Richard Nixon, Hunter S. Thompson wrote; “Some people will say that words like scum and rotten are wrong for Objective Journalism” and went on to point out that it was “objective journalism” that allowed monsters like Nixon and now Donald Trump to slither into office and actively work to extinguish our democracy. But say one thing about America, it knows its villains when it sees it. Nixon was sent away. And now it is Trump’s turn.

Donald Trump lost.

He is a loser.

And Joe Biden? Oh, yeah, him. Nah, America is the winner here.

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RESISTANCE IS LEGION

Aquarian Weekly
11/4/20

Reality Check

James Campion

RESISTANCE IS LEGION


It is not in numbers, but in unity, that our great strength lies; yet our present numbers are sufficient to repel the force of all the world.
– Thomas Paine, Common Sense, 1775

Friday, October 30: 7:42 am

It is early morning in the mountains. There is late-October snow falling in large billowy flakes outside my window. I can hear, upstairs, the distant echo of morning news. We are days away from the 2020 presidential election. I have said all I can say on the tyranny of Donald J. Trump. That mantle has been taken up by the voters now. No impeachment, reprimand, or check on powers is left us. This has been handed over to the Voice. And as these words fire in the brain and work their way down the spine into the arms and then the fingers and type furiously on this thing, I am not sure – no one is – what that Voice will ultimately say. This is before us. History. People. America.

The word on the streets is good. The people are responding, despite a deadly and once again exploding pandemic. They get in line, drop off ballots and seal them to be mailed. They stand in those lines for two, three, seven, some even eleven hours. In the pounding rain in Florida and the bitter chill of Wisconsin and the searing heat of Arizona. Wearing masks. Social distancing. Lawyers and local judges line up to stop them. The media tries to threaten them. The pundits try and fool them. The president of the United States lies about their vote, their rights, being rigged and fraudulent. But here they are, here they come. As if marching to war. Because it is a war, the most important one, the one that provides the Voice.

My favorite anecdote from these times comes from one of those long lines somewhere along the fruited plain. A reporter stood by in awe of it wrapping around the block, down the street, out into the horizon. A man approached unsure whether to endure it to cast his Voice. He shouted out to no one in particular; “How long have you been waiting to vote?” A woman’s voice called out from the undulating throng, “Four years!”

This is the time for that Voice. One like no other. This is the moment to stand against the tide of authoritarian madness. To recognize and repudiate the unhinged, un-American attack on all-things principled and correct in this country. And this is not the Voice of politics, it only uses it as a weapon, but it is the Voice of our rights and our sanity and our very existence. And I must say I feel pride now. Not a natural emotion around here. But it is there. Seeing these people motivated, hungry for change, lining up. And, of course, many of them, a good many, are lining up to vote for whatever lunacy is being cooked up by the current president – since, let’s face it, he does not tell us what to expect, although we know, don’t we? But I think more, many more, are lining up for c-h-a-n-g-e.

Most election years I would warn against too much of that. You know, Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss. When I was a grammar-school kid I wrote a short story of which the basic premise is aliens have come to control the earth and a group of marauders convince a frightened populace to follow them in vicious battle for their survival. They win, besting the aliens. Then the victors turn around and oppress the people as well. Like Cuba, basically. I guess surviving the Cuban Missile Crisis at one-month old must have had a preternatural hold on me. But this is different this time, even for a staunch cynic like me. Whatever may come from a Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. presidency, you can bet your house it will not be irrational, racist, fascist, game show host bullshit. I know this. You know this. The Voice knows this.

And so we vote; some 80-million have already done so as I write this. In some states, like Texas, nearly 98-percent of the entire 2016 numbers have been met four days before Election Day. By any measure, the numbers are staggering. Not since 1968 has over 60-percent of the eligible populace participated in the Voice. Can we beat that? Can nearly 160-million come out in force?

“How long have you been waiting to vote?” A woman’s voice called out from the undulating throng, “Four years!”

This tells us one thing: The resistance is legion. It is an immutable, singular yawp! Somewhere the spirit of Walt Whitman shutters. The will and purpose of Thomas Paine, whose pamphlet changed planet earth forevermore, trembles. This is what we do here, in America, when motivated, and four years of this utter degradation to America’s foundation has put a mighty charge in the body politic, like Shelley’s Frankenstein, awaking from the dead – because to allow this abomination we must have been dead in 2016. That is over now. The Voice emerges from its apathy, its selfishness, its nuances, and with a renewed sense of dread and urgency, it speaks. Loudly.

What 2020 has shown us, from a deadly virus to police shootings, protests and riots, from an overdue reckoning on race and inequality, from the failures of government to economic collapse, is a sense of duty to rise up.

It has been some year. And it is almost over. But not yet. There is one more thing to do, be the Voice. The Voice that says no to division, and spite, and self-aggrandizing reality-bubbles of inertia and bloviating miasma. This Voice says yes to inclusion and understanding, common ground and solidarity. The Voice comes in the elderly, the Latino, African-American and Asian, the young and the female, the disenfranchised and the forgotten. The lies must stop. The pseudo-celebrity tweeting nonsense must end. This is about the Voice, nothing else.

In the cold January of 2017, my wife Erin D. Moore decided to march on Washington with her fellow like-minded sisters against Donald J. Trump, who has stood for all that is wrong and hateful against women. She got up at an ungodly hour and drove somewhere to take a bus down to our nation’s capital, and for her daughter, her late mother, my mother, her biological sisters and their daughters, for the women who did it once and twice and countless other times before to fight for rights in that defiant resistant Voice, she marched. Standing in the shadow of our capital, she put a defiant fist in the air and breathed in the Voice.

And that was the moment, the Women’s March 2017, that ends up here in 2020. In 2018, women stormed that very building with overwhelming vote numbers to usher in the Year of the Woman in congress. Now it culminates in the defeat of this bleating monster in the White House, to send him, and every oozing pustule he stands for, packing.

I’m tired but hopeful. I have said all I am going to say. It is up to the Voice now.

Resistance is legion.   

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DISQUALIFY

Aquarian Weekly
10/28/20

Reality Check

James Campion

DISQUALIFY
The Issue That Makes Donald Trump An Enemy of The State

What Trump has done is desecrate the traditions of the presidency and the traditions borne out over two-hundred-plus years of the American republic, and we have to understand democracies exist on the basis of their traditions and norms and what fuels a healthy democracy is faith, trust and belief of the legitimacy of the system by the people who direct that system. And that collapse of faith, trust and belief is a signature failure of Trump in these past four years, and history will judge him very, very harshly for that. 
– Steve Schmidt, former senior campaign strategist and advisor to presidential candidate John McCain, and founder of the Lincoln Project

I think I have made clear, doing my civic duty and holding fast to my calling as a proud member of the Fourth Estate, that Donald Trump has to go. His presidency, by any metric, has been an utter disaster. Even his veiled claims of a previously strong economy “before the plague” land fallow in the wake of his cataclysmic failures with the Covid-19 pandemic. We are reminded of the sham that George W. Bush “protected us” after 9/11. Yeah, but what about before 9/11? And what about the “plague” that could have been ameliorated with any measure of a consistent plan? The president still not only ignores its horrible devastation but is openly hostile towards the tools to curtail it. That, above all, will be his final undoing.

But what ultimately disqualifies this president from a second term in office, beyond his botching of this once in a century crisis, his impeachment, his obstruction of justice in keeping our institutions from fighting Russian interference in the sanctity of our elections, and all the rest, is his disdain for the underlying principle of the great American experiment – the vote. I knew Trump would be an awful president before he ever made it down that escalator in late 2015, for I had lived in and around NYC and had seen his insanity up close, but not even I could have imagined he would openly question the legitimacy of our vote, our sovereign right to decide whether he will serve us or not. He has fanned racial unrest and abused the levers of power to threaten political enemies and even prompted his justice department to jail his opponents, but these relentless attacks on the military, the FBI, our intelligence community, our judges, and the trampling of the traditions that keep this democracy, the finest, longest running political structure in the history of western civilization, is unforgivable and should render him an enemy of America. He should not be president, he should be in prison.

Not only this, but the president of the United States has never voiced a commitment, in fact, has more than hinted that he will not agree to a peaceful transition of power should he lose this election. He already calls it a fraud; “The most rigged election ever.” The president has said he will not accept the results, he shall not bow to the will of the people like every president that has preceded him. This was dangerously humorous when he was still a citizen and had no power, but for a president to challenge the very foundation of this concept called America is unconscionable.

This is not about Republicans and Democrats anymore. Without the sovereignty of our vote, the voice of the citizenry, this is a fascist construct, something Trump wants, and not because Trump understands what fascism is, any more than he understands or cares a thing about this nation or its most cherished doctrines, but because he thinks this is merely another business enterprise to dominate. We are not his real estate dodges or his con job university or his reality television show. We are not owned by Donald Trump, as much as he thinks so. We are not his lap-dog attorney general and his minions in the senate and his propaganda machine media outlets and his rich, out-of-touch, spoiled, manipulative family, although he has run the country under this pathetic assumption for four years. We are America, and we have a voice and that voice will speak on November 3, loudly and clearly, whether he accepts it or not.

Think about this for one minute, and consider George Washington, the first of these presidents, and his cede of power – something that was not automatically understood as the war for independence was won or as 1797, the final year of his subsequent presidency, approached. The world wondered, what would Washington do? No general who had won a war beyond Roman Emperor Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus in 458 bce and relinquished power after a military victory. Even those in the government, most notably founder John Adams, wanted Washington to continue as His Excellency until his death. Washington said no. He walked away. He created the presidency Trump now besmirches. Trump spits on Washington. As he spits on everything about America – not the country, the economy, the social construct of America – but its spiritual center that only holds, as Ronald Reagan once mused, from generation to generation if we adhere to its most sacred edict; that freedom begins and ends not with an army but a democratic election to decide our leaders.

This is not about Republicans and Democrats anymore. Without the sovereignty of our vote, the voice of the citizenry, this is a fascist construct

This, above all, is the damage that Donald Trump has caused this America. If law doesn’t matter. If judges are questioned. If the free press is made enemy. If our fallen are mocked. If our allies are corrupted. If our enemies are defended. If our very institutions are abandoned. What is America? What is left us?

When Donald Trump says your vote is corrupt and fraudulent and stands aloft from the people, then he abandons his position. It is the people who make America. Not Washington. Not Adams. Not Trump. America is not a flag. America is not a song. America is not a bunch of words on faded papers hanging in the great halls. America is a living ghost in the voice of the electorate. It echoes down through the centuries. That echo, when questioned, is a tragedy if it is uttered by any everyday American, but when it is assaulted by the president of the United States, it disqualifies that president from remaining so.

The pandemic is on the ballot in a few days. So is health care, climate change, the economy, our foreign relations, and all the rest. But that pales in comparison to one plain, immutable fact: America is on this ballot on November 3. We have to take it back. Remind ourselves and the world what the Revolution means, what is has always meant, long before this cancer on the body politic was allowed to fester.

We the people…

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SENIOR CITIZEN EXODUS

Aquarian Weekly
10/21/20

Reality Check

James Campion

SENIOR CITIZEN EXODUS
The Final Bell Tolls for Trump & Republicans 

It is with equal glee and shock that I write this: A Republican presidential nominee is underwater with the senior citizen vote. And that is being kind. Donald Trump trails seniors nationally by 20 points! No Republican candidate has failed to capture this most vital voting block in my lifetime; not even Gerald Ford, mere months after he pardoned the criminal Richard Nixon. And when I write the word “vital” it should really appear as VITAL. No group at any point since I have been on this spinning sphere votes more consistently or enthusiastically than people over the age of 65. This is why the concerns of younger people are mostly ignored; they don’t vote. Seniors vote. And vote. And vote some more. This is why socialist constructs like Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid are non-starters for the otherwise staunchly conservative types when campaigning. They’re all in, because seniors are all in. Seniors teach us the primacy of voting. Heed it. Because without seniors the Republican Party is going the way of the Whigs. And let me repeat for effect: Trump is losing that voting block by 20 points. That is two-oh. Losing it.

Who would have thought that during a deadly pandemic, which has run amok due to his administration’s criminal failures, a president could try and downplay the thing by repeatedly stating in one way or the other, “Only older people die, so it’s not that bad” and hemorrhage the support of said group? And because the president is a political genius, his campaign released a photo tweet just a few days ago superimposing the head of its opponent, the 77 year-old former Vice Presidents Joe Biden, onto a senior in a wheelchair next to other seniors with the caption “Biden for Resident” – cleverly crossing out the “P” to connote that he is resigned to rotting away in obscurity with the rest of those pictured there.

Makes you wonder if calling a man who is only three years older than him, “sleepy” or “slow” and challenging his mental acuity could be a bonanza to those who share Trump’s generation. And when the last remaining functional people around this doomed campaign decided to curtail the badness they spruced the president up and shoved him onto the White House lawn where he subsequently appeared as if his mental acuity needs to be questioned. This is the exact quote; enjoy: “We’re taking care of our seniors. You’re not vulnerable, but they like to say you’re vulnerable, but you’re the least vulnerable, but for this one thing… you are vulnerable. And so am I.”

To be fair, the president, who claims to never take anything harder than aspirin, was jacked on so many drugs it’s amazing he was able to pronounce “vulnerable”. I mean, let’s face it, he’s a senior and has Covid-19, and access to the $100,000 of steroid cocktails, which he claims in that rambling mess will be available to the rest of his fellow seniors. Sure, right after the forthcoming Mexican funds to build his fantasy wall.  

All jockularity aside, make no mistake, seniors are the last frontier for Republicans. Never mind Trump, who is an insane mistake that will soon be wiped away like Joseph McCarthy or some silly pop song that we’re forced to endure for months on end. His whole deal was a fluke and it will be over very soon. But what about the Grand Old Party (the operative word there is “old”) without the senior vote? Maybe some of them will come back. Maybe not. How is this lawsuit hitting the Supreme Court going to go a week or so after the election after the mandate has been stripped, giving no more cover for “the right for Congress to tax” Chief Justice John Roberts used twice to save the Affordable Care Act, making it go bye-bye? And think about the thousands of seniors Trump has slagged off as an annoying outlier to the inconvenient virus story he keeps trying to duck by saying “no one should be afraid” and things are “turning the corner”. Are they coming back to the Republican Party?

A double-digit lead means we are headed for a beatdown of epic proportions.

Because if not, then the jig is up, folks. This is the Fox News audience. Who’s going to keep Sean Hannity in speedballs or provide dead-eyed blonde female anchors a place to mispronounce hydroxychloroquine? Who will gorge on the hate and fear propaganda now?

And to make matters worse, this is a rapidly late-shifting electorate; always a bad sign in October for any campaign. These voters hung on through all the pussy grabbing and porn-star payoffs, impeachment, kids in cages at the border, faking hurricane directions, mocking the military fallen and holding Bibles upside down after gassing peaceful protestors. In the past two weeks, as Trump started his super-spreader events and infected half the White House, his family, and almost killing Chris Christie, his national polling deficit went from about 7.5 percent to nearly 11. A double-digit lead means we are headed for a beatdown of epic proportions. The idea that in 2016 Trump came from 3.5 down to shock the world is not available this time, and it sure as hell isn’t available without people of over 65.

The states that made Donald Trump president by 77,000 votes in 2016, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, all show the senior vote flipping from a previous seven-point GOP lead to double-digit negatives. Never mind Florida and Arizona, the cradle of retirees. Trump is already coughing up the Rust Belt, even his internal polling is telling him that, which is why he is trolling the last vestiges of his MAGA zealots in the heretofore comfortable Republican strongholds of North Carolina, Georgia and Texas. And if this is the case, then this is no longer a Trump problem, but a Republican Party problem, which is looking down the barrel of a new generation demographics in 2024 that are far to the left of Joe Biden or Kamala Harris or even their former bullhorn Bernie Sanders. That tide is coming and coming fast.

Turns out stupidity and the fear of death are powerful shifters of the political wind. You know how they say there are no atheists in foxholes? Well, it appears there are far fewer conservatives in a pandemic. 

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THE PREDICTABLE GRAND PIVOT

Aquarian Weekly
10/14/20

Reality Check

James Campion

THE PREDICTABLE GRAND PIVOT
Doomed Republicans Begin Scurrying Off the Sinking Trump Ship

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”
– Edgar Allen Poe, The Raven, 1845

You can hear them now if you listen with the kind of ears I have developed over forty years of following politics and thirty-some in covering it. It is the sound of the pivot. I heard it in late 1980 when Jimmy Carter was slipping in the polls late – although in the end it was closer than anyone expected. The Democrats running for office and supporting him changed their tune from righteousness to resignation. I absolutely remember the chatter and had direct conversations with Republican operatives when things started going sideways for George H. W. Bush in the fall of 1992. A one-term president and his staunch support erodes fast when the going gets tough. And that is what is happening to Donald J. Trump. In the past week a bevy of polls have gone up three percentage points for former Vice President and Democratic nominee Joe Biden, after months of toggling between six and seven points nationally. More importantly, his battleground state leads have ballooned to their highest numbers yet. Thus… the pivot.

People around Trump are scrambling for a life raft, and let’s face it, almost none of this good news for Biden has anything to do with Biden, just like Trump’s fortunes in 2016 had little to nothing to do with Trump. That was about Hillary Clinton, and for Trump, whose abysmal record speaks for itself, this latest and last plummet has been part shitty debate, part president who disregards virus gets virus, part trying to jam Supreme Court nominee a month out from a national election, and part seeing the forest for the trees for people in the know. Trump is finished. And the rats are abandoning ship. Fast.

Personal anecdotal evidence of the pivot began for me this week when I started getting emails about things duly ignored by Republicans for four years – decorum, good taste, rationality. My rightly pointing out last week the delicious irony that a man who ignored the seriousness of this pandemic and whose bungling of it at the national level that has now caused 213,000 deaths, contracted the disease and then continuously lied and diverted information about his health has caused a stir. Republicans who willfully abandoned the moral high ground want it back. Well, fuck them.

Suddenly Donald Trump, who has openly mocked paraplegics, women, military veterans, and protestors and every single person smart and brave enough to call him what he is – a racist, lunatic fascist – is worried that now that he is sick and possibly dying, jacked on a cocktail of weird drugs, his face painted in an orange cake, his normal erratic behavior taken to new lows, is supposed to garner sympathy and respect. Fuck him.

Then there are the pundits. In this past week, after the vice-presidential debate the cry was “Hurrah for Mike Pence!”, they cheered the VP’s return to a calm, calculated vision of conservatism; lower taxes, anti-government, the usual crap about religion. They would like to forget and move on from this gory pestilence of democracy they’ve enabled and defended for four years. Yeah, fuck them.

Even Pence’s performance – a Pavarotti-esque aria of obfuscation – was amazingly heroic considering he’s holding two sixes against an opponent sitting on a royal flush. All California Senator Kamal Harris had to do is tell the audience that the head of the Coronavirus Task Force is sitting behind plexiglass because everyone in the White House is infected by coronavirus, drop the mic, blow a double-kiss and sashay out. Yet, Pence did a masterful job trying to defend his shit-sandwich administration a week after his boss acted like a boorish lout, which began an alarming precipitous nosedive in the polls that were already deep under water long before he took the stage in Cleveland.

Republicans who willfully abandoned the moral high ground want it back. Well, fuck them.

It did little to change the narrative – more people were interested in the fly that camped out on Pence’s head for two agonizing minutes – since he was doing less to get Trump re-elected than trying desperately to cover his party’s ass. It was a smart political move, but he has the stench of failure and defeat about him, as Trump killed any momentum he may have snatched when the president called Harris a “monster” in an incoherent monologue on Fox Business News the next morning. The pivot will toss Pence aside like refuse. His career is over. It will be the God-lecture circuit for him now. And fuck him.

Pence’s showcase and the commentary from the right immediately afterwards is all you need to know about where this election is going and has been going and covered as such here for months. Trump is toast. And now, within the past six weeks, so may be the senate. And there is palpable GOP panic about that. Take Lindsay Graham, who will probably survive in South Carolina, but in no possible way is that a sure thing. South Carolina? Lindsay Graham? He was reduced to go on Fox News begging for money and has been conspicuously silent about a president he has shamelessly boot-licked for four years after calling him a “race-baiting, xenophobic bigot” in 2015. This is what they call in D.C.’s legendary Shelly’s Backroom “a canary-in-the-coal mine maneuver”. Graham is telling you there is danger ahead. But you don’t need his prognostications. And, in fact, for the record, fuck him too.

Make no mistake; the grand pivot has begun. The reckoning is among us and now there is a clamber to make this hurt much less, to make sure the Democrats don’t “pack the court” or start making states out of Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, nix the filibuster and start going as nuts as the Republicans have been. And as far as I can see, all of that and more is on the table and there will be great ripping of garments and gnashing of teeth, but it will be too late. Because the emperor is sick and twisted and condemned and is stark naked. He sold his togs for TV ratings and pussy-grabbing and a gutting of the state department, acting as a Russian operative, and a whole lot of obstruction of justice from the FBI to the EPA.

Many people believe Edgar Allen Poe wrote his masterpiece, The Raven for his fallen wife, but those with the right ears hear it as a tolling bell for our eleventh president, James K. Polk, oft-considered one of the worst to hold the office. Polk was elected in 1844, one year before The Raven was published in the New York Evening Mirror – portending dire consequences to come; an inescapable sense of doom. Doom was Poe’s sweet spot. Now, 175 years later his dark premonitions on the evils of a damaged leader evoke the same echoes of disaster. There is a reason I think there is more to learn about politics in Poe’s cocaine-addled missives. I have quoted it before and likely will do so again. It is perhaps the most brilliant insight into the dark, American spirit of our most heinous choices. Now, after straddling the nation with a game show host, we can listen to the voices pivot and beseech the inevitable. They’ll tell you: Nevermore.

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THE WEEK TRUMP GOT COVID-19

Aquarian Weekly
10/7/20

Reality Check

James Campion

THE WEEK TRUMP GOT COVID-19
When Poetic Justice Makes Its 2020 Presidential Election Appearance



I am hours from learning that the president of the United States, who has utterly botched the federal government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic resulting in nearly 7.5 million Americans infected and 209,000 dead, has contracted it. And while this is, in many delicious ways, a hilariously immaculate example of the cruel dynamics found in the universal code of karma, it is also a wonderful framing of what denying science and reality can do in the wake of unchecked hubris. In its most brutal reading, Donald Trump deserves this. But what of the thousands he has coerced into joining his mask-less rallies, the dozens in his administration jammed on airplanes and in office meetings throughout the White House, or those at the debate in Cleveland on Tuesday, September 29, and even those whom he met with at some fundraising event in New Jersey 48 hours after he learned his top advisor, Hope Hicks had displayed symptoms and 24 hours after testing positive for the virus?

Donald Trump contracting Covid-19 is a microcosm of his damaged personality and his failed presidency. This is the silly fight over how many people were at his inauguration to his skewed interpretation of his shake-down of the Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on his eventual opponent (turns out that was the right move, because that opponent is going to beat him like a rented mule in a month), which resulted in his impeachment. Trump has lived his public life since the 1980s and ran nearly all of his businesses into the ground by ignoring the facts of situations before him. Lucky for Trump, his daddy was rich and bailed him out and then when that safety net was gone he used the fame he cultivated to sucker vendors he refused to pay and banks he would eventually defraud into working for free and granting him loans. Look at the entire pathetic history of this man and it lands you into this stirring dénouement of a Grimm fairytale.  

Speaking of fairytales, I think we all learned as kids that actions have consequences. When you are rich and famous this axiom hardly applies, except this time. This is why I repeatedly mark Trump as our Game Show President. He was one, yes, but he also conducts himself and his politics, whatever the hell they may be this week, as such. The thing is this virus is not a show. It is real. And now, after months of hiding its effects and then downplaying its severity from the American people, outwardly waging a battle against scientific fact, inviting people to packed rallies to mock those who wish to stay safe, and commanding the CDC and the EPA to fudge numbers and conceal key information, ordering schools and states to reopen, endangering the elderly and our children, this old, fat, high-risk idiot has been infected.

Or is he?

Hoax? Fake news? Fraud? Fixed?

Come on, admit it, who would be surprised if Trump turned into a werewolf this weekend?

One has to wonder, considering Trump’s spectacular lying track record, if the president even has Covid-19. Anyone parsing any poll you would like to quote and after his historically abysmal debate performance this past week, has to consider if this is the best move for Trump. Like in 2016, anytime the story is about him, or he engages in the campaign or just speaks, he hurts his chances. Certainly, sending this moron onto another debate stage to bray falderal like some dumbfounded sub-mental cannot be prudent to the cause of his re-election. Similar boorish lout, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted the virus in the spring and it provided a sympathy boost to his sagging approval ratings. “Contracting the virus” for the time being is the wisest strategy for Trump. The previous plan has him down eight points nationally and he now trails in Ohio, finds Iowa and Georgia in dead heats, and the entire Rust Belt abandoning him.

This latest news also best illustrates the kind of strain the Trump presidency has put on this space. On Monday, I wanted to write about Trump’s leaked tax returns and the fact that he is either a busted failure as a businessman or a shameless scofflaw. Maybe both? He pays nearly no taxes and is $420 million in debt, and I was to wonder to whom? The Russians? The Turks? What compromised position has he put American international security in by his irresponsible to criminal business practices? What favors has he granted to our enemies? That would have been a good column. Then there was the debate a day later; how pitch-perfect it was that this “clown”, as Democratic challenger Joe Biden repeatedly called him, would have to be berated by the moderator and then coddled with “You’ll be happy about this next subject,” as if he were an incorrigible six year-old wining at Disney World. I had that one teed up. But, alas, this…

Come on, admit it, who would be surprised if Trump turned into a werewolf this weekend? I have no fucking idea how to comment on this madness anymore? I was thinking merely throwing up onto the keyboard, taking a photo of it, and sending it to press. And seeing how Trump is just one big lie, who knows if this guy has a virus or this is another chance to get out of paying off hookers or clouding the ass-kicking he has coming next month? Is it just another crazy story akin to ballots with his name on it floating in some Pennsylvania river? He told reporters the other day when asked what evidence he had that Biden was on drugs, “Check the Internet.” Taking his advice, the Internet already has plenty of theories about how Trump is faking it to get out of the remaining debates and to self-quarantine to save the embarrassment of impending defeat.

You know, a lot of people say he’s faking it. Have you heard? I’m not saying he it, but some people say it.

Either way, this is what Hollywood types call a formulaic ending. This presidency and the ensuing national crisis exacerbated by a failed chief executive had to end with him struck down by the very thing he bricked.

Poetic justice.

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