Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Stop me if you heard this before: Unpopular Republican president that citizens generally view as incompetent is confronted with a crisis and bungles it… badly. Yeah, 2005, August, George W. Bush. Hurricane Katrina. You know, the Kanye West “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” thing – frightened victims sitting on roofs begging for help in Louisiana. The head of FEMA, a horse trainer or some such, in way over his head. Federal government stumbling around. The Superdome in New Orleans a flophouse. People dying. That has pretty much been the “Jump the Shark” demarcation for the past two presidents. Kind of like putting the suffix “gate” at the end of political scandals since Nixon. Fast-forward fifteen years. There appears to be a global pandemic on our hands and an unpopular idiot is in the White House. I guess you can call him a Republican, although he does a ton of random shit that has nothing to do with Republican traditions, but okay. And once again, bungled.

The question is will this be as historically or even short-term as damaging as Katrina was for Bush to this president, who unlike Bush, is seeking re-election?

Or, maybe it’s worse.

Thus far it has been. Trump’s approval ratings, not stellar at any point in this first-term quagmire, have steadily dropped since this thing hit American shores, and he has not helped matters.

The optics and truth on the ground is that for all intents and purposes the response on the global and now domestic outbreak of COVID-19, or as it is more widely known, the latest trend of human coronavirus, has been abysmal. First, the president ignored and mocked it. This is his thing. But like almost everything Trump deems a hoax – Russian interference in our 2016 election, his impeachable offenses being investigated and prosecuted, paying off porn stars for sex, climate change, North Korean aggression, etc. – coronavirus was spreading fast and he could no longer rely on the great unwashed at his base to help him tweet it away.

So, he told everyone it was contained and overrated, a media invention, like his shitty approval ratings and orange tan, his children being mentally challenged or his playing golf half the time – which he did for the first week of this crisis. To slap some lipstick on this pig, he put on a baseball cap and lied about everyone being able to get a test for it. It’s been ten days since this nonsense. Hardly anyone can be tested.

Hopefully we survive this. But like Katrina, it’s going to have to happen in spite of our leadership not because of it.

This was around the time he put the vice president in charge. You know, the science denier in chief. Actually, after two or three days of Trump ranting about Democrats inventing a disease to hurt him, Mike Pence has been fairly effective. He at least let the doctors speak during press conferences, instead of standing there while the game show host rambles on about how he is unfairly treated. Because, of course, a global pandemic is all about him. Jesus Christ, it is hard to believe there is still a human breathing who is not retching every time this moron opens his mouth.

Okay, so there was then more lying by Trump and the comically said, “Everyone should just go to work.” There is a slow and sloppy response to a hurricane and then there is the president reportedly pitching a payroll tax cut to officials in private that had better last until he is re-elected and then silencing a medical warning for the elderly not to fly to quell the “bad news” cycle. This takes things from goofy to evil.

So, yeah, this has been pretty bad, and although it looks – after three weeks – as if the government is slowly catching up to say the National Basketball Association (canceling the remainder of its season) and the Democratic Party Committee (holding a presidential debate without an audience and then moving it to DC), Trump kept his plans on having a rally, until it became untenable for him.

Then came time for his oval office address.

Holy shit.

Now, for a man preternaturally incapable of empathy, making a calm fireside assurance or somber address is not a good look. It was like watching a monkey try and open a can of tuna with its dick. The president, looking perturbed that he had to do this at all, opened with us being hit with a “foreign virus” and mocked China and Europe and said some things about how Americans are better than all of them before telling the world there would be a travel ban from and to Europe, including goods and products. He made some odd campaign pitch to bail out frackers, and breathed like a man about keel over. When he was done there was a scramble to correct the president on several points, not the least of which was the import/export gaff, which he then corrected with a tweet. There would be trade. He thinks. Well, maybe. Mostly it looked like Kevin Bacon shouting “All is well!” before the rioting horde literally flattens him in the closing mayhem scene in Animal House. No mention of tests being made available or hinting at domestic travel and this containment things he assured us almost a month ago. Even Republicans were “disturbed”. Wall Street followed up with having the worst day on the Dow since 1987 and Disney World closed.

This is what happens when truth and leadership are bandied about on cable news as in the eye of the beholder. Alternative facts may be fun on FOX News, but now people are getting sicker and some are dying, and this is happening in a country that panics on the turn of a dime. Having a game show host in charge turns out, again, to not be the best move.

Hopefully we survive this. But like Katrina, it’s going to have to happen in spite of our leadership not because of it.

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check
James Campion
Joe Biden Rises from Political Oblivion to Become Democratic Frontrunner in One Insane Week
What transpired on Super Tuesday, 2020 is by far the most stunning political comeback I have ever witnessed.

Former vice president Joe Biden nearly swept through the fourteen states like a firestorm, many of them he had not stepped foot in or spent a dime campaigning, while his opponents, especially billionaire and former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg, spent millions. Yet he flipped states he was a clear underdog in over and over, and won, won, and won again. He beat Senator Elizabeth Warren in her home state of Massachusetts, and bested neighboring and favored Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and did it again in Minnesota and Oklahoma, states Sanders dominated against Hillary Clinton in 2016. Biden even bested Sanders in Texas, where he wasn’t even supposed to collect a single delegate. To add to this amazing election day performance is that the turnout, for the first time in this cycle, was record-breaking – larger in some states than 2016 and shockingly more than the 2008 Democratic revolution of Barack Obama.

All of this from a political dead man.  

The week before, Biden, having never won a single primary in his third run for the White House, stood on stage at the Gaillard Center in Downtown Charleston with five other candidates; all of whom were more viable than he. The presumptive frontrunner throughout the summer, Biden was a no show in the first three primaries. Sanders had millions of dollars, an impressive ground game built from his 2016 run, and rabid rallies, not to mention three wins in his pocket. He was the clear frontrunner now. Biden was broke, looked old, confused and beaten. Even Capitol Hill Republicans and Trump loyalists stopped mentioning his son and Burisma and figured they’d dodged the threat that got the president impeached in the first place.

Then something completely unsuspected happened. Biden held his own in the debate, appearing as the adult in the room and making timely quips about the furious cluster of shouting candidates around him. At one point he stopped speaking when his ninety seconds were up and calmly uttered, “Why do I stop when my time is up, no one else up here does?” Even his opponents chuckled. “Must be my Catholic upbringing,” he said. Then he got a little ornery. He started remembering the annoying, loudmouthed Irishman that people both adored and despised in the Senate. He pointed his finger. He did some shouting. He occasionally made sense.

Something else fortuitous, some might say magical, happened on a similar stage the week before. Elizabeth Warren took the opportunity of Michael Bloomberg’s first ever presidential debate in Nevada to relentlessly eviscerate him. It was a bloodbath of personal, business and political proportions. And suddenly the moderate alternative to Sanders, as Biden lay in ruins, was unmasked as a stuttering dolt who looked like he showed up at the wrong event. The millions he spent on ads that vaulted him in mere weeks to twenty percent in national polls withered to low single digits in days.   

When the SC debate was over, while Bloomberg was still being widely mocked as a paper tiger, Biden received condescending praise from pundits. But it appeared at the time that all the debate did was give supporters a reason to hold their noses and vote for him, allow him to get at least one slim victory before he bowed out gracefully and pulled the final curtain down on the Obama legacy.

For one week in the late winter of 2020 a 77 year-old went from the edge of oblivion to the top of the political heap. This doesn’t happen. Ever.

Those people were mostly African American. Some were contemplating Bloomberg, but no more. And they came out in South Carolina in large numbers that Saturday for Joe Biden. He gathered nearly fifty-percent of the vote, despite a veritable horde on the ballot. Thanks in large part to perennial congressman Jim Clyburn, who is to SC what Ted Kennedy once was to Massachusetts, without all the drunken buffoonery and murder. Clyburn, a no-nonsense, astute political thinker, told Biden and then the press he was impressed that his friend Joe found his voice, because up until then he had been a joke: no organization, half-ass operatives, weak stump speeches and off-kilter TV appearances. He told him in no short order to get his shit together and he would endorse him, then he would carry the state and be reborn.

It was that moment that Clyburn became the man who will either topple Donald Trump or hand him another four years. It was the seminal event thus far in the 2020 presidential campaign, whether Joe Biden becomes the nominee or not. Clyburn almost single-handedly shifted the narrative, forever to be known as the “candidate whisperer”, who resurrected dead Joe, because he was flatlining Saturday morning and by Saturday night he had a landslide victory. Then reborn Joe hit the stage and gave the speech of his life; a speech he needed to give. He needed to sound coherent and energetic and ready to fight and connect. And he did all of that. And within two days he ended the campaigns of Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the other two moderates frightened by Bernie Sanders.

The evening before Super Tuesday they both joined Biden on stage in El Paso, Texas for full-throated endorsements. Even long-gone Beto O’Rourke, who nearly beat Ted Cruz as part of the 2018 Blue Wave, chimed in. And after that the storyline was maybe Biden could hang in there on Super Tuesday and make this respectable? Maybe he could get to the fifteen-percent viability level to grab a few delegates and stay within a hundred or two hundred of the surging Sanders? Maybe hold off Warren or Bloomberg? South Carolina, they said, was a blip. There are no Clyburns anywhere else, even the other southern states like Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Arkansas. He may do well there, but ho-hum.

By Tuesday morning the odds-addled 538 web site started chirping that the Biden surge was mega real, and it was scrambling numbers, flipping deficits to big leads, and by Wednesday morning it predicted he would have the delegate lead over Sanders. And boy were they right – to the humming tune of 637 delegates by the time of this writing (they’re still counting California). He is now in the delegate lead. The frontrunner. Before SC he had nine. Nine.

What Joe Biden has pulled off in one week, and really since the South Carolina Primary two days before, is beyond remarkable. The NY Times called it a miracle. The Sanders backers called it Party Interference. A frightened Trump is tweeting again about coups. One or two GOP senators began floating another possible investigation into Biden’s son, followed swiftly by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, demanding it. Mike Bloomberg, after a half of billion dollars spent on TV and radio ads, a giant multi-state infrastructure, and a superstar team of soulless political vipers, quit the race and endorsed, you got it, Joe fucking Biden. One day later Elizabeth Warren suspended her campaign.

What this means for the race going forward is hard to tell. After the bizarre 2016 results, I am out of the prediction business, but there is one thing for certain; for one week in the late winter of 2020 a 77 year-old former senator of Pennsylvania and vice president of the United States went from the edge of oblivion to the top of the political heap. This doesn’t happen. Ever.

Except it did.  

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
The Swift Erosion of Democracy in Living Color
Fascism is a form of far-right, authoritarian ultranationalism characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and strong regimentation of society and of the economy.
                   – Wikipedia
The current administration is working in a fascist construct. Now, this may become a popular form a governing for the 21st century United States or it may crumble in the wake of horror and revolt, but make no mistake, it is occurring. I am not going to get into the personality that is perpetuating this. We know it. We saw it in New York City in the 1980s and through the latter parts of the 20thcentury into the early aughts, on television from celebrity to politics, and how it was conjured in a one-man operation that appealed to far less than a majority of the electorate four years ago. This is about the actions of our present government as a whole. There are many actors in this severe shift to fascism; as close to a true tyrannical state as I have witnessed in my nearly half century of political sentience. And more importantly, this is institutional, as in a broken system that must be dramatically altered to save the republic.

Now, in my time in political science study in school and post-collegiate research from Zinn to Buckley to Koestler to examining the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich through experiencing Watergate and Iran/Contra and the myriad of unconstitutional wars we’ve been embroiled in since late 1962, this current crisis in the powers of the executive branch has reached the levels of pure autocracy; from the constant and blatant attacks on the media as an “enemy of the people” to the shut-down of press briefings of any kind from the executive branch to the Pentagon. There is zero consensus on foreign policy with an embrace of dictators from North Korea to Turkey to Russia and spastic conflicts with of the most powerful democracies in the world – Germany, France, Canada and Mexico.

Add to this an institutional assault on the rule of law practiced in defiance of non-political power structures by a Justice Department that now acts solely as an arm of the executive branch and attacks and investigates state-run court cases as if it controls its outcomes. This is, of course, only if the defendants are part of the cadre of administration loyalists, no matter the level of criminal behavior. This has expanded to investigating independent councils and whistleblowers instituted by the founding fathers to check the creeping slide toward monarchy, which include those who should feel safe in protecting the republic against a single-voice of power that are being weeded out – disparaged and mocked openly and then relieved of their jobs to be replaced by disqualified boot-licking sycophants. This includes the pardoning of high-criminals who not only have been convicted of anti-state and anti-American conflicts, but those who have no confidence in the U.S. Constitution.

In addition to this, the entire structure of the federal government from its leading law enforcers (FBI) to its intelligence committee (CIA and DNI) are incessantly under attack for expressing anomalies in the power structure and being replaced by dictatorial substitutes for positions usually given to non-political candidates. This has led to the attempt to silence threats to national security and our democratic processes to keep the Russians out of our system, thwarted by one branch of government for the consolidation of influence.

It does not end with one man, with one regime, it ends when the next person sitting in its chair bequeaths its powers to the people.

The most formidable faction of our legislative branch has been severely compromised by fear and a lust for keeping power and chooses to avert its sworn responsibilities to instead allow for a singular political ideology to command the day, ignoring decorum and its place as a check on utilitarian rule. Moreover, many in the United States Senate, like the Justice Department, currently act like the ruling class of a third-world country in its feckless verbal and material defense of this affront to democracy.

This is fascism. Plain and simple. You can defend fascism, and that is your right, as you can defend misogyny and racism. I will fight to the death for your right to do so, but there is a reason for semantics and vocabulary. Facts are facts and they line up with this description. When the initiation of government abandons systemic parameters to act without constraint for a myopic vision without the will of the people or the rule of law, this is fascism. And like facts, the ensuing description cannot be debatable.

So now as the courts and military and watchdog principles are brazenly and outwardly being dismantled, berated and undercut, there is a lesson to be learned. It is important that it is, because we are in a structural crisis, not a one man or one term incongruity. This was an inevitability; the culmination of our steady erosion of the original checks-and-balances put into place by our founders since the 18th century. This is beyond the current madness, although it has reached its saturation point in 2020, it is something that must be corrected the minute this present threat is sent away.

Beyond what is at stake in November, this is something we should demand from the moment the next president is sworn in, and maybe demand it from the current crop of candidates that stand as the only hope to curtail this tailspin. The powers of the presidency must be reined in, no matter the name or political affiliation. The next president must embrace the George Washington model of handing the majority of powers back to the law and those who enact and protect it. All presidents in my lifetime and beyond have been guilty of over-stepping or expanding their powers and it has led to a vacuum that has been filled by an irresponsible, ignorant and power-mad individual. This is what happens when we ignored the war powers, the executive-order powers, the power to pardon any criminal, no matter how heinous, the power to wield the threat of the IRS and the CIA and the Justice Department to lash out at enemies, withhold information and cover-up crime.

If we learn nothing from this crucial period in our nation’s history is that you cannot wipe clean the infrastructure of democracy by merely changing the personality or the party in power. We have a serious issue with the unchecked authority of one branch when that branch is led by one voice, and when that voice is consolidated by its own control over narrative, law, military might and volume-addled pulpit, we are left with fascism.

We have been on this path for decades. It has now reached a point that anyone claiming to be American must defy. But it does not end with one man, with one regime, it ends when the next person sitting in its chair bequeaths its powers to the people.

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Democratic Primaries Kick Off with Chaos & Fear     
The shit show that is the Iowa Caucuses draped a pall of calamity on the start of the 2020 election season. After three years of a mentally-challenged racist goofball in the White House sixty-percent of the nation turns to the only major party left to stem the tide of madness and criminality that is Donald Trump and is instead confronted with bad craziness. Nearly one week went by before anyone knew who the hell won the Iowa follies, and even then, it was some kind of plurality tie between former South Bend Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and 2016 also-ran, once independent socialist Bernie Sanders. I used to dig the eighteenth-century charm of the Iowa Caucus system. I have fond memories of the greatest speech I have still ever heard in February of 2008 by future two-term president Barrack Obama there after his stunning upset of Madam Shoe-In, two-time loser, Hillary Clinton. But now an unchecked dangerous lunatic is running the free world and it is no time for charm.

Nevertheless, Sanders and Buttigieg claimed victory for the week and then got to do it again once, I guess, the numbers became official. In the New Hampshire debates leading up to the second primary of the season, Mayor Pete took his requisite beating as “the new guy” from the field of, I don’t know, twenty Democrats drooling to defeat what is a wildly unpopular and newly impeached president. But all of that was window dressing, because Sanders, once a senator from neighboring Vermont with the infrastructure to compete from four years ago, and a spectacular cash foundation from dollar-donations, had it in the bag. He would indeed win the primary, but not in a blow-out (something not in the cards when there are, what thirty candidates, in this thing?), which led to all sorts of bizarre permutations.

Pete Buttigieg, hardly a household name with subpar liberal credentials from a tiny town in a mostly red state, is in this now. Too bad Iowa fucked him, because he could have had an Obama Moment, surprised the field with his tie or percentage win, and given a speech that may have vaulted him like Obama. But alas, it did not happen. Yet he was still the prime target in the following debate, and then had another strong showing in New Hampshire. It is he and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, all smiles and vinegar, that placed in the teeny-tiny, lily-white state, and so they get to crow and hopefully for them raise the kind of cash it will take to deal with Sanders.

Before we get to what the Democrats and their cable news affiliates seem to think is the “Sanders Problem”, we should provide a shout-out to the losers of these first two contests. The biggest hit is on Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, for many reasons: First off, she is also a neighboring senator and received zero delegates out of New Hampshire. That is how many you and I got. Secondly, unlike Klobuchar and Buttigieg, she has name recognition (she is so famous Trump has given her one of his fifth-grade nicknames) and was once a liberal lion. Finally, the party – whether they admit it or not – are worried that another woman candidate is mere fodder for the great unwashed in the Mid-West, so what’s the point? Next up is former Vice President Joe Biden, who was for months the front-runner, most-electable, and so feared by Trump and apparently the entire Republican Party there were a myriad of impeachable offences and a lot of disgusting displays of cover-up by the Justice Department and the U.S. Senate to bury him. Still, Biden did not compete in Iowa or New Hampshire. He looks old and tired and has that usual “Biden fading fast during a primary” look about him. This is his third trip to oblivion (the man has never won a goddamn primary), so the trail is familiar and well-trodden.

Sanders failed miserably four years ago coalescing his constituency behind the doomed Clinton campaign, and he is four years older and hardly even an autumn chicken.

Biden and Warren, once strong nomination possibilities, are on life support. Neither are flush with cash and both are hemorrhaging support to other more viable candidates. The clock is ticking on both these campaigns unless someone wins something quick.

Then there is the wild card in all this. And wild cards are not welcome in movements to oust crazy people from power. Billionaire and former three-term mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, who is not on ballots or debate stages, has already spent over $300 million of his own money trashing, trolling and engaging Trump, for which in his usual twitter-moronic idiom the president has duly taken the bait, and getting traction. Within a month Bloomberg is now polling as strong as anyone beyond the new frontrunners and is slowly bleeding the African-American and Electable vote from Biden.

Now to the state of the Democratic Party going into two election days in Nevada and Virginia before Super Tuesday: It is crap. Unless Sanders shakes this apparent stench that he gives off within a party that went above and beyond to cheat him out of the nomination in 2016 or convinces the rest of the power-brokers that he can win a general election, he is going to have issues. And so then will his following, which appears to have a Bernie-or-Bust manifesto attached to them. Twitter is alive with their rancor and recalcitrance already, as if, like the Trump Cabal in 2016, they are preparing to get rooked. It is entirely possible – like in 2016 – that Berne-Backers will stay home if he is not the nominee. That cannot be said, yet, of any other candidate. Sanders failed miserably four years ago coalescing his constituency behind the doomed Clinton campaign, and he is four years older and hardly even an autumn chicken, and, as mentioned, still not fully embraced by the powers that be. You do not have to be Benjamin Disraeli to know this is a problem.

The moderate and clear-speaking youth of Buttigieg is a formidable foe against the Sanders tide. And Bloomberg has money. Lots of money. And money means more than anything in the current political climate; ideology, party support, a ground game, a coherent message shutter in its wake. He is not a game show host, but there is something of a showbiz element to what Bloomberg brings to this game, which, as we know, is antithetical to what Sanders has brought to the party platform since the 99-percent movement nearly nine years ago now. You know, Eat the Rich and flip the power structure, which is not as popular as a daddy figure with the bucks. The slack-jawed knuckle-draggers in the Rust Belt apparently dig that kind of candidate and this is where the 2020 election, as in 2016, will be decided. This is Bloomberg’s argument for being the nominee, and considering the human clusterfuck that currently sits at Pennsylvania Avenue, can you refute him?

Finally, everyone knows that Sanders biggest support comes from the youth vote; this weird ghostly group that never seems to come through for anyone. Shit, kids didn’t vote against Nixon during the draft or against Reagan when their generation was under attack. And although the youth vote came out for Obama, that isn’t a fair example, because not since George Bush Senior over four decades ago had we seen a candidate for president as popular or impressive as Barrack Obama. Everyone else has won without the popular vote or by a teeth’s skin.

So, no matter which way you look at this right now – and it is fluid, so stay tuned – there is a Bernie Sanders problem in the Democratic Party. It is rightly seen as a muddled construct that needs to cut to the chase and begin to form a workable movement to stop this madman in the White House or continue to be a political pratfall.     

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check
James Campion
In Praise of Jojo Rabbit – The Best Film I Have Seen in a Decade
We have to dance to show God we are grateful for being alive.
The power of satire, when done fearlessly, unapologetically, and with a sense of artistic duty laid out through the centuries by such masters as Lucien, Swift, Twain, Bruce, Newman and Brooks is a thing of fierce beauty. Eviscerating its subject may be its aim, but it absolutely must entertain, to effectively spread its message. This is Jojo Rabbit, a brilliant film by writer/director Taika Waititi that skewers the black heart of hatred oft-times masked as patriotism, fascism posing as loyalty, and a growing fervor of racism that currently underlines the climate of European, Middle Eastern and even American politics today. And, as all great satire, it is damned funny and chillingly poignant.

Though it is set in 1940s Berlin, the film speaks volumes to its current generation about how the absurdities of human nature can and will lay waste to civilization by the systemic perpetuation of ignorance and fear.

Waititi, a self-described Polynesian Jew, born and raised in New Zealand, was inspired to embark on the project by learning with a fair amount of disgust and alarm that sixty-six percent of Millennials and forty-one percent of adults have not heard of Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp that took over one million lives from 1940 to 1945, and only twenty-one percent of young people could accurately describe the Holocaust, a red-tape, bureaucratic annihilation of over six-million European Jews. The memory of these horrors is fading with the passing of its survivors. We are one generation removed from no living witnesses, only words and pictures in books, statistics in place of souls. These are the ghosts at the heart of Jojo Rabbit, made clearer within its characters, plot and comedic conceit. Specters of our darkest impulses, as well as apparitions of our most cherished innate desires for hope and love.

The film’s imagery, awash in symbolism, is magnificent, its airtight script, featuring both dynamic and moving dialogue, offers nuggets that pay off every trail. Using modern music with subtext galore is one of its most underrated highlights. It is a film you must see, so there is no need for spoiler alerts here. I only aim to focus on the ghosts, both literally and figuratively, and the importance of their hazy visions, as Dickens once conjured for a Christmas Carol, to the comprehending of something so mind-numbingly horrific as World War II.

Every main character in Jojo Rabbit in one way or the other become ghosts, partly visible spirits of their true selves as trapped enemies in the final days of the Third Reich.

There is a child; eleven year-old, Johannes Betzler, aka Jojo, an innocently fanatical Hitler youth, the way kids that age might be about sports teams or rock bands (Waititi hits you right in the face in an opening montage of Jojo’s enthusiasms and Germany’s rabid excitement over National Socialism set to the German version – yes, the Beatles did this – of “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, evoking Sixties images of Beatlemania, idolatry in pop culture).

Sixty-six percent of Millennials and forty-one percent of adults have not heard of Auschwitz

Jojo will later confront a young woman; a Jewish girl named Elsa, hidden in his attic. Despite being physically shrouded, she is played with relentless vigor by nineteen year-old New Zealand actor, Thomasin McKenzie, simply because Waititi told her to not appear a victim and more like one of the terror teens in perhaps the finest satirical films of the Eighties, Heathers.

Jojo’s mother, Rosie, portrayed with manic joy by Scarlett Johansson, hides her allegiance to the underground resistance as a strong German role model for her son. Jojo’s father, acting as a German soldier, is sabotaging the war effort, and his absence haunts the fractured family construct. Finally, in his place, is a damaged male figure; Sam Rockwell’s tragically comedic Captain Klenzendorf, a gay man, who fully understands the idiocy of his fate as a wounded officer for a cause that would surely hang him if exposed. His voice, his experiences, his eventual heroism will act as a spirit within Jojo.

Women. Minorities. Immigrants. Children. Revolutionaries. Homosexuals.

These are the identities that must be hidden, meant to exist as someone or something else beneath the penetrating glare of hatred. Each play both sides of this game as a matter of life and death. French-British actor, Roman Griffin Davis is first seen as Jojo as only half a face, and finally in full view, through a mirror; part Legion, part child – simultaneously seduced with mob mentality of a movement based on a myopic vision and an adorable, sensitive and fun-loving youth, who is asked to be an adult in a world where adults have lost their fucking minds and live in a city that crumbles beneath the terrible weight of madness. He regurgitates Nazi propaganda in scenes in which he cannot even tie his shoes, snap his fingers or wink.

The characters are introduced as gothic creatures – Rosie comes in from a blurry shot when her son is recovering from an injury, and later says of Jojo, “I know he is in there somewhere,” and having already lost a daughter, she worries that “her own remaining child is not just another ghost.” Elsa tells her, “Perhaps we’re all ghosts now, we just don’t know it.” Captain Klenzendorf, a grotesque visage of a drunken, beaten, erratically violent man, whose eye was taken in battle; appears as Homer’s Cyclopes, while also possessing a little of Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter with an affinity to create a bizarre moral code out of the chaos all around him. When Elsa is discovered by Jojo, she appears as a Grendel figure, revealed at the climax of a building scene that lends homage to Hitchcock’s Psycho and Kubrick’s The Shining. At first the boy is sure the house is haunted, but Elsa eventually whispers to the shaken youth, “I am not a ghost, but something worse…”

The initially tense and then tender scenes between Jojo and Elsa are both rich with innocent exchanges of pre-teen and teenage bluster and existential debates on racism, morals, love, respect, and art. “I am descended from those who wrestled angels and killed giants, we were chosen by God,” Elsa argues in one dramatic exchange, “You were chosen by a pathetic little man who can’t seem to grow a full moustache.” They possess all the beauty of the world barely sheltered from the carnage outside and try and hold onto that despite what has befallen them.

Then there is the visage of a starry-eyed boy’s idea of Adolf Hitler; pathetically goofy, over-the fucking-top, self-centered, irrational, manipulative and quick to unprompted rage. In other words, Hitler. Played by Waititi in the manner of Chaplin in The Great Dictator or Mel Brooks’ The Producers farcical caricature, he turns the true monster of the piece upside down. The architect of the great sin of humanity as a clown coming and going as Jojo’s imaginary friend. He instructs the boy to “be the rabbit” he must become to survive his insanity.

The final ghost of the piece is Berlin. It exists only in the tattered memory of a city, once the epicenter of European artistic, musical and radical thinking, dragged into the mire by thugs and despots. Germany’s mighty Blitzkrieg reduced to sending the elderly, women and children to slaughter, its incredible architectural achievements bombed into oblivion, as German culture had been under the crushing yoke of Nazism.

 Jojo Rabbit is so much more than the ghosts of war and kinship, love and hate, but you have to see it, because I could go on and ruin the whole damn thing. I’ve already written too much. Know this: Satire rarely wins awards or is as beloved as other artistic genres. It is often misunderstood. But is as necessary as the ghosts in Waititi’s film. It must continue to remind of what has been and what is coming, because as quoted at the film’s finale:
Let everything happen to you
Beauty and Terror
Just keep going
No feeling is final.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Read More


Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

Another Element of Governing Where No One Wins

Impeachment is hard.

There have only been three in the nearly 244 years of this nation’s existence. Considering the rogue’s gallery of insipid fuck-ups that have served as president, that means you really have to be a god-awful, whiz-bang, super-duper, bona fide monumental fuck-up to be impeached. This is Donald Trump. He has fucked up so many times it is a stunning understatement that he received a paltry two articles of impeachment. His entire presidency has been one continuous impeachment seduction. But, as stated, impeachment is a difficult and painful process for the congress, so much so the Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi argued vehemently against it – one of the main reasons it was sketchy whether the rabid hate-addled left wing of the new wave of Democrats would allow Pelosi to have the gig in the first place. They wanted impeachment. She did not. Because impeachment is hard.

Of course, Trump forced Pelosi’s hand. It makes no political sense to impeach a president months before an election. This only riles up the opposition and eventually – because Americans have short attention spans and no idea how government actually works, otherwise no one would have actually voted for a game show host for president – there is impeachment fatigue. Impeachment fails on its face. Even if you have the votes, as the senate did in 1974, to remove Richard Nixon before the thirty-seventh president quit, there is always a political risk. People tend to forget how close Gerald Ford came to beating Jimmy Carter, even after pardoning Nixon, which may be the most unpopular idea not proffered by the current moron in office. The Republicans didn’t have enough votes to oust Bill Clinton in 1999, only serving to raise his popularity. If I had a dime for every time Pelosi went in front of cameras to try and convince the American people that there was no Democratic consensus for impeachment, I would have lots of dimes. Then the whole Ukraine thing – an insanely criminal maneuver for a president who had just been vilified in a lengthy independent investigation attempting the same damn thing – forcing her hand. I mean, come on.

But, you know, impeachment is hard.

And it should be. Removing an elected official is a solemn and rare event – I am lucky enough to have seen two of the three of these in the time I have helmed this space. But if impeachment is a difficult decision and execution for the prosecution, just think of the poor defense, especially the current rhetoric that is apparently centered now – after many weird attempts – to focus on “Abuse of Power not being an impeachable offense” or as Senator Lindsay Graham, whose hard-on was clearly visible on CSPAN in 1998 during his leading of the impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, “The president was innocent in his mind.” I have since described these and other irrational oddities as something you might hear the crazy guy screaming as he wanders around the Bowery before you quickly cross the street. For fuck’s sake, Graham, I am sure Hitler and Charles Manson thought they were innocent “in their mind”.

This is politics, not justice. This is not a court of law, this is the U.S. Congress.

Right now, the defense of the indefensible Trump falls on the U.S. Senate, controlled by Republicans, who come in having zero motivation to remove their president from office. As stated for months here, why would they? None of the anti-Trump tribe can answer this one. Because he’s guilty? What the hell does that mean? They are all guilty of something. Reagan should have gone to jail, so should have Johnson and both Bushes. This is politics, not justice. This is not a court of law, this is the U.S. Congress. The president is insanely popular among fellow Republicans and their constituents, the economy is booming, and he is currently running for re-election. We are weeks away from primary season. It’s bad politics.

This is why it was semi-curious, but when considering the source, maybe not, that Trump added Kenneth Starr and Alan Dershowitz to his legal defense team. One, he doesn’t need them, and two, they are hacks (Starr) and evil (Dershowitz). I maintain that Dershowitz may be the evilest man in America. Defending Trump will make this a “Why Most People Hate Lawyers” trifecta; represent two murders (Claus Von Bulow, O.J. Simpson) and this cretin. Of course, it also makes sense for Dershowitz, not so much Trump, that he would celebrity sniff is way into this fiasco when considering the shit-ton of famous crazies he’s defended in court, from Patty Hearst to Mike Tyson to Jim Bakker. 

Dershowitz’s hell-bound reputation aside, I keep hearing a lot of goofy stuff about the American spirit of truth and the nation’s soul at stake, and it is utter nonsense. This is politics, and politics rarely has to do with any of that. Think about most of the political movements in history, actually, all the political movements ever; even the American Revolution. Where was the revolution for the slaves and women? France. Cuba. Russia. China. Every country in Central America. A war on truth and justice has been the greatest and lasting crime of civilization, and all this impeachment “trial” does is re-affirm it. It is the element of governing that promotes stasis in governing. Trump is still guilty, forever impeached by the House and then acquitted by a politically motivated Senate. And that is also not assuming, which must be done, that impeachment wasn’t politically motivated in the first place. Because not only is impeachment hard, but it is a political mechanism with the possibility – check that – probability to be abused.

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
A Guide for Our Children
This past week a Major League Baseball investigation concluded that the 2017 Houston Astros cheated to win the World Series. They stole signs that catchers put down to let the pitcher know which pitch he should throw (curve, fastball, change-up, slider, etc.) through an elaborate electronic system of cameras and then players banged on trashcans in the dugout to alert batters of what was coming. It is the greatest cheating scandal in modern baseball history. Only the 1919 Black Sox affair, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox took mob money to throw the Series to the Cincinnati Redstockings eclipses it. And maybe not even that, as only part of the team was implicated. It is clear now that everyone in the entire Astros organization was part of the scheme to steal a title. All eight men on the White Sox were banned from baseball. Those guys didn’t have a union. Current players do. Thus, they were granted immunity to come clean. They did. They told MLB that they all cheated, all season, and during the playoffs. They admitted that their individual achievements and their team title were a complete and utter fraud. So, Astros owner Jim Crane, in a CYA move for the ages, fired manager, A.J. Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow after the league fined the team, took away draft picks and suspended those gentlemen for a year. However, the counterfeit title stands. Again, it was a fraud, but there it is, in the record books.

Was it worth it?

The answer would have to be yes.

The players are likely being vilified behind closed doors from fellow players who rightfully whisper if they knew what pitch was coming, or more importantly, which one was not coming, and they too could win an MVP, like Jose Altuve did that year or their entire team could lead the league in every offensive category or go 8-1 in the post season at home where the cameras and system to spy were set up. Sportswriters, ESPN and fans of other teams are registering their disgust loudly. No one outside of Houston actually considers them the legitimate champions of anything, but who cares? They have rings. They have awards. They got all the outside-the-game revenue that comes from being a champion, from being considered the best. It’s still there. Cheating helped that happen. Good for cheating.

Of course, the very next year the Boston Red Sox took the World Series, winning a ridiculous 108 games, and they also had an MVP, Mookie Betts, and led the league in all the pertinent offensive numbers. The stat-heavy Five Thirty-Eight web site actually said they were the closest thing to the immortal World Champion 1998 Yankees that went 125-50 that we ever thought we’d see. Their manager, Alex Cora had been the architect of the Astros cheating as a coach in Houston, so, of course, the Red Sox were caught using video monitors to steal signs. Why not? “If it ain ‘t broke, don’t fix it” is how the saying goes. The Red Sox are now under investigation and Cora was sacked to save face. Their title is also a goddamn fraud. But it still says 2018 Champs, so was it worth it?

You’d have to say by the standards of American ingenuity and success, absolutely.

Fairness? Fuck that. Sportsmanship be damned.

Take the New England Patriots aka America’s Cheat Machine, its coach, Bill Belichick aka Belicheat and its bogus quarterback Tom Brady aka Tommy Tuck-Rule (look that one up, it’s a doozy), who have been making a mockery of the rule book for over a decade and as such winning championships and awards after championships and awards. It’s a tragic fucking joke what is going on up there. And everyone knows it. The league has repeatedly fined and disciplined and suspended and warned and castigated this gory lot for camera and audio spying, deflating footballs, finding weird loopholes in rules, and other illegal shenanigans. The players, coaches, owners, front offices and fans of the teams that have repeatedly cheated have screamed from the rooftops. For a while. But everyone loves a winner. Beantown loves to say everyone is jealous or that they’re being persecuted. Everywhere else watches the Patriots get slapped on the wrist, another freaky thing occurs, everyone winces, and things go on as before. Tainted Super Bowl titles stay in the record books. Hell, “if you ain’t cheating, you aint’ trying,” is another old saying that applies here.

So, you see, none of it matters in the end, and all of it has led to an unprecedented era of winning for the Patriots. Even their owner Bob Kraft aka Nasty Krafty was busted in some sex trafficking, porn video, massage parlor shit and he gets to go back to his luxury box and preside over all this cheating. Because winning is the thing, how this achieved is a bunch of detailed bullshit for moralists. Fairness? Fuck that. Sportsmanship be damned.

Then we have our game show president. Holy shit, what a corruptibly insane asshole Donald Trump is. He gets help from a foreign enemy, like his rich daddy, denies it happened, like every stupid thing he says and does, fights the United States intelligence community, goes to Russia, tells our press that Russia didn’t do it, then when he is up for re-election tries to threaten another foreign nation to help him win again.

He is our greatest and most successful cheat. He sidestepped his way into the most powerful position in the world. If everyone on the Astros, Red Sox and Patriots shot everyone walking down Fifth Avenue, he can pardon them. He can assassinate heads of state. He can take people from their land to build an imaginary wall. He can even shut down baseball and pro football if he wishes. He is the shit, and he’s lied and cheated his way there, and that is a lesson for us all.

The illegitimacy of the president’s 2016 win becomes ever more into focus with every new allegation and piece of evidence that comes down on what eventually got him impeached. Impeached? Stained? Tainted? Sure. But Trump still gets to be president. Was it worth it? Fuck yeah!

Even when you erase the hoary characters from this fiasco, the entire electoral process is now in question. Who knows who’s currently hacking into the private emails of a major American political party, spreading false information and passing it off as news on Facebook, or even queering the vote counts of how many counties in how many states? Who knows?

But without all this, there is no victory in 2016 or the presidency. So, cheating worked spectacularly and may work again. Hell, those who voted for him or share his politics agree it doesn’t matter if he cheats. They love tax cuts, conservative judges, a rising stock market, and for those of us covering this hot mess, there is a shit-ton of craziness to get into print. Goofiness. Embarrassment. Anger. Racism. Idiocy. It is all on the table and a win-win for everyone.

Ask the U.S. Senate, who are preparing to sweep all of this president’s constant cheating and stonewalling under the rug. They will cheat to victory and move on for more cheating.

Cheating is in.

Class dismissed.   

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Welcome to the New Age of Isolation, Apathy & Defeat
I’m not sure what you would call this Trump Doctrine. Is it foreign policy? Not sure it would make the cut of any “policy” per se. Seems like most of this presidency’s maneuvers are knee-jerk, ad-hoc, half-ass what-the-fuck kinds of things that end up in ranting tweets and Nuremburg type rallies of bloviating mendacities and bumper sticker logic. Does it show a consistent measure, say, like the Bush Doctrine’s War on Terror or Reagan’s Geo-Political chess games or even Clinton’s piecemeal effect? I would argue no. Fact is, it appears that Donald Trump doesn’t know either, and more to the point neither does his drooling attack dog Mike Pompeo, a former CIA Director and cheap hood from Kansas whose only understanding about international affairs is assassination. It was the current Secretary of State who convinced the easily swayed Trump to illegally assassinate the top general of a sovereign state in a battle zone that was not specifically waged against the nation for which he toiled. Ensuing press conferences seemed to indicate that he was bad. And that is a very tenuous reason to conduct international murder.

It appears even to the mentally challenged that the erratic short-range planning on how to deal with international affairs falls mainly to a man whose woefully short attention span and fantastic inability to learn anything has been on dangerous display for three years. Some call this a method. In other words, the lack of planning or doctrine is kind of a doctrine, and I would grant them this misnomer, if not for the imbalance of enemy vs. ally that comes with who might “like” or “ego pet” or “placate” a single human being as opposed to the safety and advantage of an entire nation.

This is especially appalling because nearly two-thirds of the American people do no support this president. He has zero mandate, in the traditional sense. For whatever that is worth these days. And these kind of zig-zag irrational one-off decisions – like tweeting to pull U.S. troops from Syria last year without alerting those who are running the war, or worse still, the allies on the ground – tend to alienate America from the international community. This has happened with annoying regularity during Trump’s first term and while this gets the current 41-percent that support him the giddies it does leave America isolated globally. And this latest Iran goofiness has only exacerbated the problem. And although I couldn’t give nary a shit whether we have any kind of powerplay in the Middle East, I would guess that Iraq (“welcomed as liberators”) after eighteen years voting last week to kick the most powerful nation out of its country has to be a bad look to the rest of the world. Not to mention without a presence in the country we broke, a vacuum – already partially filled by ISIS and soon to be consumed with Iran, the very nation killing its lead commander was supposed to impede – will most certainly not be completed by anything approaching U.S. friendly.

That is not foreign policy, it’s the script of a horror movie. 

This is why I took to Twitter – which I rarely do – to implore congress to cobble together a veto-proof halt to what will likely be an ongoing clusterfuck in the Middle East with Iran. The House, with mostly Democratic votes, predictably came with a feckless attempt to limit Trump’s war powers a few days later – I am not suggesting this was because of my tweet, but hey… – it was a show vote and not a binding resolution. At some point, I will argue until the face turns a bluish hue that the actual branch of government that has the constitutional powers to declare war needs to get their shit together and end what has amounted to over seven decades of abject stupidity from the executive branch, the Pentagon and the military. We suck at war. We have not won one since 1945 and that’s because congress was kept out of it since; in most cases illegally. This appears to have happened with Pompeo’s fancy assassination.

But I digress.  

If I may, let’s take a look at non-binding, shadowy “agreements” that lunatics have entered into with this president in the past three years: More pertinently, Russian President Vladmir Putin, North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, Turkish President Recep Erdogan and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bind Salman Al Saud. All of these leaders – Trump favorites – are despots, dictators and tyrants. All of them Trump has “trusted” over American intelligence agencies – the same agencies the administration and Pompeo ran to use as cover for murdering the Iranian general. Trump said, on foreign soil during the first year of his term with Putin standing beside him, that Russia probably had nothing to do with hacking our 2016 election, before his private meetings with him that did not include an American translator. He has had two meetings with Jong-un that resulted in no signed treaty, just a couple of what he described as “love notes.” Meanwhile North Korea continues to fire off missiles and thumb its nose at the U.S. Then there was the little nastiness of the Saudis murdering an American journalist that Trump excused after some shady rationale from the Prince.

Now, Trump, who tore up an actual Nuclear Pact that had assurances in writing agreed by a large part of the international community, is telling us “All is well” and that he’s got Iran’s assurance that this whole thing is a misunderstanding and whatever other nonsense he can garble in a pinch. No treaty. No negotiation. No international coalition. Just “I got this” from a guy who has trouble telling the truth about everything.

No question that what happened this past week in Iraq could have gone far worse. If anything, Iran acted as an international power with some restraint. But that’s if it is to be believed and that’s another story, because we have nothing in writing. There is no safety net. There is no “trust but verify”. Only trust, and oh, a crazy man taunting another crazy man on social media. Makes me sleep well at night.

One thing is certain, there has to be some stable direction with America’s foreign policy, because this kind of silliness is not sustainable. If this is a new era of isolationism, then let’s go with that. Anything would suffice over what is currently transpiring. Pulling out of treaties, reneging on promises, scuttling agreements and random assassinations with no explanation is wearing thin.

What the result of all this looks like is anyone’s guess. And that is not foreign policy, it’s the script of a horror movie.    

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Forget Impeachment, Crimes, Lying, Stupidity & Sucking Up to Tyrants – This is the Worst Part of the Worst First Term
We are at the brink of war with Iran.

The executive branch is at war with Congress.

The Senate and the House are at war.

A game show host is in charge of all this.

Welcome to 2020.

What a shock. Impeachment. Then the assassination of a key war figure of a perpetual enemy. Is this what they call “wagging the dog”? Crisis. Distraction. Didn’t Bill Clinton do some bombing after he was impeached? Yeah. Same shit. Trump. Clinton. Shamed. War. Got it.

What makes this worse is Donald Trump appealed to the great unwashed for his constant mocking of stupid moves in the Middle East and now he has got himself one. It is a good distraction, for sure. Making bold idiotic moves to change the narrative is all well and good when you are stealing real estate in Manhattan or selling a pro wrestling gig. It even worked to sucker the duped into voting for you. Using the presidency as a queer business maneuver – like the Ukrainian nonsense which got him impeached – is another direr story entirely.

Assassinating Iran’s top military commander, suddenly the most important thing in the world – as Syrian burns and North Korea spits in our face and Europe laughs at us – with a gutted State Department and a Department of Defense in shambles is a bad move. War with Iran was always a bad move. Even in the best of times. These are not the best of times. Far from it. We are not prepared for this shit. Hell, this was an imprudent move in 1979 and through the 1980s and into 9/11. Always bad. Ask Saddam Hussein. Oh, shit. You can’t. They hung him. Why? Because we made him our puppet to take on Iran and they beat him mercilessly and we decided to hunt him as a despot, invade his country and then turn him over to what amounted to Iranians.

This is just another in an agonizing series of foreign policy blunders for this president. What the fuck am I talking about? There is no foreign policy. There is no domestic policy. This is reality TV for Trump. His capacity to parse these things does not exist. He is a damaged personality living in paranoia and madness and the best place for that kind of thing is the Pentagon. They love a commander-in-chief with his back against the wall. But no one, not even our top generals think we can sustain a third-front war in the region. We are still at war in Syria, despite rhetoric to the contrary, and in Iraq, where this guy was offed, and of course in Afghanistan – our longest running military mistake, which we have learned (yet again) was run on a lie and perpetuated for nearly two decades on more lies. Your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters died for a lie, just like in Korea and Viet Nam. And this lie by the most untrustworthy human to ever take the office is a doozy.

Even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing.

And it could have been avoided. In fact, it was avoided. Because the previous commander-in-chief had a choice; engage in an unwinnable conflict with the largest country in the Middle East or try and curtail its nuclear capabilities while giving lip-service to its inclusion in the world politick. Barrack Obama wisely chose door #2. It was his finest hour. It had international support and by all accounts (not most) it was working. For the first time, Iran was not pursuing nuclear capabilities. It was good for the region, especially good for our most cherished ally, Israel, and good for the world. I supported it wholeheartedly, and I support almost nothing. It was certainly not perfect. Nothing is perfect. This is not Disneyland. This is the real world. Things are difficult and have setbacks and bumps and bruises and you work with that. But all of this, reasoned the game show host, had to go, because Obama did it and all-things Obama had to go, because Donald Trump is a simpleton and should have been sent packing in the first weeks of a Republican primary, but has now engaged us in a war with Iran.

Again, even for the far less cynical, the timing is more than intriguing. And since it is hard to believe anything this dunce has to say we find that the same day hundreds of incriminating unredacted emails between the Department of Defense (trying to release the halted funds to Ukraine as directed by Congress and signed originally by the president) and the Office of Management and Budget (doing the bidding of Rudy Giuliani/Donald Trump) further implicated the president in criminal activity, an overt act of war ordered by Trump is sketchy.

However, regardless of timing and distraction from his disgraced presidency, this nation is on the brink of war with Iran. From its statements, Iran believes we are already there. Oil prices soared overnight. Israel is in lock-down. The over-reaching battle against ISIS, already damaged by recent ill-advised actions by this administration, is over. Trump has escalated troop numbers to the region already. Congress is being kept in the dark. Zero Pentagon briefings. Propaganda talking points. Trump tweeted an American flag.

Welcome to 2020. The year we have to find a way to oust this bleating cancerous boil from the White House and try and undo three years of astonishing destruction. That is if we see 2021.

Happy New Year. 

Read More


Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Mass Exodus of GOP in Congress Tell a Different Tale
I have spent weeks hammering Republicans who have contorted their broken ideologies and done mind-bending about-faces on morality and Russia and free trade and exploding deficits and a ton of other apparently flimsy tenets of what used to make up their platform to kowtow to a rabid base that props up the worst polling numbers in the history of a first-term president. Donald Trump, I’ve surmised, has crippled the party, because, really, what could they do? They have to defend this. Supreme Court judges, tax cuts, a booming stock market and low unemployment is not nothing. So what if he’s a criminal and a doofus and the laughing stock of the world and blurts out daily vulgarities as a matter of Twitter discourse? And although having done this kind of thing for decades, I understand it. I do. But it turns out that I was not entirely correct about this. A preponderance of polling and a whole lot of talking does not quite meet the one criterion that matters in this workaday world; actions.

This week, Representative Tom Graves of Georgia announced that he is retiring from congress. At present, Graves makes seventeen Republicans that have decided to quit rather than seek reelection in 2020. This is not too dissimilar to the twenty-three House Republicans who bailed prior to the November 2018 crushing the GOP took in eventually losing forty seats in the midterms. Now, not all of these are merely seasoned professional politicians seeing the writing on the proverbial wall that Trump is headed for defeat and is poised to take the party down with him in November. More than a few have been around a long time – which some may argue means that it has taken three harrowing years of a game show host stumbling his way through the executive branch to make this a sane alternative to continuing the gig. But then again it may just be time to seek quieter pastures. Still, there is something brewing beyond this.

To wit: Only two of the escaping legislators, F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. from Wisconsin and New York’s Peter King, are north of seventy. And despite abysmal approval ratings for the president, his pending impeachment in the very same House of Representatives, and the continuing low approvals for congress in general, many of these Republican retirees come from districts (polling twenty to thirty percent higher than the nation’s average) that they will most likely win without much effort. So why not run?

Well, let’s take Greg Walden from Oregon, who has raised a shit-ton of money and is virtually unbeatable in his district. What is his reason for getting out? And, by the way, he is not alone. There are others who have raised enough funds and have superior polling numbers to show that they could keep their jobs beyond 2020, and yet they want out.

I proffer that these representatives simply can no longer bear Donald Trump or where the country is going – fiscally, morally or otherwise. Some announced they were quitting shortly after Trump’s knee-jerk shift in Syrian policy turning America’s Kurdish allies over to their Turkish enemies without notifying anyone, including the Pentagon. Some also mildly raised eyebrows about the spend-thrift lunacy signed off by a Republican president. Recently former fiscal conservative rodeo clown Rush Limbaugh answered a caller concerned about the exploding debt under Trump by saying, “There has never been fiscal conservatives, that was always a myth.” And then there is the thorny battle between phony Evangelists who claim some form of aborted Christian values and yet tossed them into the shit can for this bleating oaf of a president, who mocks, spats and pays off hookers with campaign funds and holds sway over the human tragedy that is occurring at our southern border.

A good example of someone who is quitting directly because of Trump is Florida Rep. Francis Rooney, the only House Republican to publicly say he was open to impeaching Trump. The next day he quit. Rooney put his mouth where his position is and combined anti-Trump rhetoric with leaving, but for the most part the rest of those who have decided to abandon public service in the past few months have simply given no reason or just the standard, “I’m done.”

These representatives simply can no longer bear Donald Trump or where the country is going – fiscally, morally or otherwise.

It was either Sigmund Freud, Thomas Aquinas or someone or other said that “there are no coincidences” and we know that regardless of whatever lip service people provide, their actions indeed speak louder than words. Something is up.

I choose to see this as some Republicans not being comfortable with all this and to stick around and have to deal with a pro-Trump primary opponent or to rubber stamp this mess is simply beneath them. Many of my colleagues, and still other brain damaged types, claim this is a sign that perhaps things may not go as smoothly in an upcoming senate trial for Trump. But a Republican-controlled upper chamber is not going to kick their president out of office no matter what crazy, illegal, anti-American crap he does. And, again, if that is the way they wish to play it, I cannot argue with them. And this is why although I am considered a cynic, I am a realist. I never believe when people talk about loving America or blah-blah values. This is how things work. Self-preservation wins against America and values every time.

Other commentators and insiders broach the idea that legacy and having the stain of letting these latest crimes and misdemeanors pass will forever put senators in the “wrong side of history” box and that may sway them. But a gig is a gig and if you belong to a club or a team or a company, and in this case a political party, you may have to fall on a sword or two to keep your job or at least keep the whole thing afloat.

But it ain’t all of them. Seventeen and counting members of congress are begging to differ. They won’t stick around to continue to besmirch their names with this madness. Maybe they actually care about the country, the constitution or perhaps they’re thinking of saving their own hides. The last one is probably true, because I highly doubt even in exiting they would vote against the party to impeach Trump in the House. But, nevertheless, what their quitting ultimately says is that it is better than whatever Donald Trump and his cronies are cooking up next. And I can’t say I disagree with that either.    

Read More
Page 7 of 90« First...«56789»102030...Last »