ABOUT THESE PROTESTS

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

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

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

Ahhhh… nuance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figure that out, and get back to me.

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

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MR. JOHNSON GOES TO WASHINGTON

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

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

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

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

But I digress.

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

The cynical among us must ask why.

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

I have a theory!

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

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

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

Why is it important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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PRO-CHOICE RISING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And those straddled with the loses are Republicans.

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

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

Elections, as they say, have consequences.

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

This retreat, while speciously entertaining, has gone badly.

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

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

Simon Rosenberg

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

Divide and conquer. That’s the ticket.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choose wisely.

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RIP GOP

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

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

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

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

Donald Trump, March 18, 2024

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

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

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

What the fuck am I doing?

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

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

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

Fun times.

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

Rest in Peace.

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IMMUNITY & THE SECOND AMERICAN REVOLUTION

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

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

Immunity.

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

Immunity.

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

Protection from obligation.

Protection from penalty.

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

Immunity.

Like a king.

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

Ignorant.

Unfit.

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

No plan. 

Immunity.

Monarchy.

That is the plan.

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

– Thomas Payne

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

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

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

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

Immunity.

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

Immunity.

The second American Revolution has commenced.

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

Amen.

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HOW CONGRESS & POLITICS SHOULD WORK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let them figure it out.

I can’t do everything.

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

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

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WHAT HAPPENED TO THE REPUBLICAN BORDER BILL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vote accordingly.

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NIKKI HALEY & THE LAST DYING REPUBLICAN PARTY STAND

Aquarian Weekly
1/31/24
 
Reality Check
 
 
NIKKI HALEY & THE LAST DYING REPUBLICAN PARTY STAND
         
 
Somewhere at the confluence of laughable and pathetic lies those who still fail to see Donald Trump as a tyrant, his candidacy a pox on democratic ideals, and finally the capitulation of the Republican Party to his abhorrent whims. Just this week, the nearly presumptive nominee for the GOP demanded his only opponent, former South Carolina Nikki Haley exit the race, threatened to expunge her donors from his movement, and commanded Republicans in the United States Senate to abandon a crucial bi-partisan bill to secure the southern border and support the dire defense of Ukraine against the bloody invasion of Russia. This is going on right now, not in a Third World country, but America

For her part, Haley hangs in there, for now, trying to be a right-wing alternative to this mayhem, but she is an anathema to the Party. They don’t want her, or what she represents, the Ronald Reagan Republican ideology. That is dead and gone, maybe because it failed to deliver on its geopolitical policing of the world’s ills or the debunking of its trickle-down laissez-faire economic falderal, but maybe it is just because at its violent white-supremacy core the Party openly supports the final death-throes of the American experiment. But pick your poison, Haley is doomed, and only the general election stands between this dark storm and our future. This is blatantly obvious now, even to those who support fascism. It has come to a head.

The good news is Trump’s victory in New Hampshire, which for all intents and purposes was the final hurrah for Haley and what is left of the old, tattered Republican party, was tepid at best and a harbinger of difficult tidings for him.

Firstly, nearly 70-percent of Independents, who will decide who is president in November, sided with Haley, many of whom told exit pollsters their vote was “anti-Trump.” And despite stomping Haley in the Republican tally, still 25-percent abandoned ship. And unlike lily-white and painfully evangelistic Iowa, New Hampshire, while still pretty damn white, reflects more of the politically measured and staunchly secular hue of the country, which is why Republicans have only won the popular vote once over seven presidential elections since 1988.

Trump lost in 2020 by eight-million votes and nearly every swing state. He needs to expand his voter base but is working overtime trying to shrink it with attacks on Haley’s womanhood, crowing about ending Roe v Wade (supported by nearly 70-percent of Americans) with his Supreme Court justices, calling for the dissolution of the U.S. Constitution, and braying in court through haphazard lawyers that presidents should have total immunity against committing crimes. And although his supporters rightfully point to national polls that have him leading President Joe Biden by one to two points, despite being down in the crucial swing states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, there is still the matter of recent voting outcomes that have seen the Democrats win nearly every local and national election since he took office in January of 2017.

It is also important to note that through Democratic rule shenanigans Biden wasn’t even on the New Hampshire ballot and still won a more convincing victory over the field than Trump on the other side with mere write-in votes, which is the first sign that perhaps the “enthusiasm gap” between Biden and Trump is a tad overblown.

Haley is doomed, and only the general election stands between this dark storm and our future.

This is not lost on Haley, who continues to hammer home the idea that since his presidency Trump has coughed up the House, the Senate, the White House, and a host of governorships. She is also correctly stating that her lead over the weakened Biden is more in the five-point range. And all of those who voted Republicans out – women, educated suburbanites, et al – are hardly enamored with his mocking her mode of dress, or calling a woman candidate a “birdbrain,” while going to court every day facing a woman he’s already been found guilty of sexually assaulting and demeaning her in a second defamation case.

The bad news is that Haley is utterly alone. Since the economy is booming, low unemployment, lower gas prices, dwindling inflation without the prognosticated recession, and the stock market at all-time highs, the only weapon Republicans have in their political arsenal is border security. They scream and yell incessantly about it. It is by far the Party’s most potent and belabored issue. Yet, as they closed in on a solution, which many observers feel is as conservative a compromise as they’re likely to see in the Senate, the minority leader, Mitch McConnell tells reporters Trump asked them to skuttle it so he can continue to use the issue to get elected. And since McConnell admitted in public his only aim in the aughts was to make “Barack Obama a one-term president,” not legislate (a plan that worked out fantastically), and his cheating the system to ram anti-abortion justices on Supreme Court, seems to be gladly continuing his hackery to keep these “dangers” alive while aiding Vladmir Putin’s march across Europe. All in the name of electing a lunatic.

And while this is nothing new for Republicans – Nixon surreptitiously halted the Paris Peace talks in 1968 to allow his “Secret Plan to Stop the Viet Nam War” afloat and Ronald Reagan made secret deals with the Iranian theocracy to halt the release of the American hostages before the 1980 election against President Jimmy Carter – this proves once again Trump’s hold on the Party and its only aim is to prop up his vanity project.

And while I think it the longest shot, Nikki Haley should stay in the race to merely show that whatever is left of the Republican Party prior to 2016 remains on life support. At some point, the Party will have to rise from the ashes of this Trump insurgency, whether he wins in November and takes us into a dystopian autocracy or loses once again, taking the GOP with him. Who will be around to build back up in its terrible wake? 

It is likely too late for Republicans, something I am openly rooting for to return reproductive rights to our women, but as long as Haley stays on the stump in the face of utter defeat and reminds us that there could still be a viable two-party system, then maybe hope isn’t so far-fetched.

But I highly doubt it. 

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REPUBLICAN (DONALD TRUMP) PRIMARY

Aquarian Weekly
1/17/24
 
Reality Check
 
REPUBLICAN (DONALD TRUMP) PRIMARY
Or How Long Before the Terrorist Party Goes All-In  

The Republican Party is owned by Donald Trump and the MAGA cabal. This is hardly debatable anymore. He is poised to represent the party for a third consecutive run for president and has moved it from a conservative, Reagan-esque fiscally responsible, geopolitical faction to a populist vanity project. The idea the party is even faking a primary in 2024 is laughable, as funny as holding a dozen debates without the clear frontrunner. Even his competition is resigned to his victory, which is why none of them can articulate why they should be a viable alternative. Can you blame them? The man has a national polling number safely over 50-percent among likely Republican voters. They’re Republicans, where are they going? But suffice to say, the primaries are happening, and we cover politics here, so here we go.

Let’s start in Iowa. There is zero chance Trump loses there, even though it is likely going to be 15 degrees below zero next week and frontrunners want big turnout, so that might take a minor hit. That means Trump wins by 30 points instead of 40. We’re merely talking the spread now, not candidates. 

There are approximately three-million people in Iowa, of which about a hundred-grand will show up to caucus, and that number will be loaded with Evangelicals. Two-thirds of Iowans identify as such. Trump is killing it with Evangelicals, unlike in early 2016 when his loud-mouth, philandering boorishness handed Iowa to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. But since, Trump put three justices on the Supreme Court specifically to strike down Roe v Wade, which they did, an achievement he recently crowed about in a Des Moines town hall. Now he’s Jesus’s son. Iowa is a done deal. 

What holds the future of this dog-and-pony show beyond Iowa is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The once highly touted fascist has been a shit show on the campaign trail. He has taken over two-million dollars and a 40-percent voter share and turned it into campaign bankruptcy and a nine percent voter share. This is Rick Perry / Jeb Bush levels of crapping the bed. DeSantis sucks at everything – debates, stump speeches, defining his positions; being human or likable is beyond him. He imploded almost immediately and went from bad to worse faster than most people not named Rudy Giuliani, who once spent a million dollars for a single delegate – prompting still one of my favorite political observations: “That’s only one more delegate than me, and I didn’t run.” DeSantis might not get any delegates for twice the cash. Pretty impressive failure by any measurement of futility.

If DeSantis sinks to third place in Iowa, he may drop out. And if he does that, Trump sweeps the primaries. But if he comes in second, even a distant second, and hangs on for another two weeks, things might get interesting during and after the New Hampshire primary. This has less to do with the walking corpse that is Ron DeSantis than the only other barely breathing candidate left in this farce, Nikki Haley. 

The former South Carolina governor has held her head above water simply because she’s been surrounded by a parade of shitty candidates, many of whom are gone now, and one guy who has enough money to pull a Michael Bloomberg self-aggrandizing run until he becomes bored. Right now, the ghost of DeSantis is polling around nine percent in NH. Haley, however, is at 30. Trump is rocking at 41-percent lead there. Solid, but not insurmountable. Mainly because Independents (many of them abhor him) vote in the state, and only one out of four NH voters identify as Evangelical, likely the smallest number of that voting block Trump will see on this trek. But the real story here is former New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, who is sitting at 12 percent, just quit the race.

The idea the party is even faking a primary in 2024 is laughable

Christie’s only aim in running for president, as covered in this space months ago, was to hammer Trump. His campaign was Stop Trump “because he’s a fascist lunatic, who will take this country into a darkness rarely seen in many a generation” (his words). His 12-percent shan’t be going to Trump. Maybe, some of them go to DeSantis, but he’s MAGA-lite, and as illustrated above, sucks and is doomed. I’m no math whiz, but let’s say for the sake of argument Haley pulls even ten percent of Christie’s anti-Trump vote, then she’s at 42-percent, and that beats 41-percent.

Moreover, Christie smartly got out two weeks before voting, so there is time for polls to reflect her bump, and if there is a sniff that she might dent Trump, New Hampshire, one of the most vacillating contrarian states in the Union, would be happy to oblige. This is especially prevalent in a year in which there is no Democratic Primary to speak of, therefore the entire Independent anti-Trump attention will be focused on the GOP. However, if DeSantis decides to succumb to reality and suspends his “campaign,” then much of his nine percent might be enough for Trump to hold Haley off.

One interesting twist is Christie went out swinging at the remaining field, spatting, “Any candidate who doesn’t admit that Trump is unfit for office, then they themselves are unfit for office.” So, it is unlikely he endorses Haley outright, but again, this matters little – his 12-percent is less Christie-based than anti-Trump based. They will look at what is left and go for who’s closest, and that’s Haley. Giving your vote to DeSantis at this point is pot-pissing.

Let’s extrapolate this out, shall we? If this is a three-way race and Haley wins in NH. Then, even though she has no shot in her home state of South Carolina, where Trump is around 60-percent, at least he loses something for the first time since November, 2020. And, if you recall, that went well. Just as he did when he coughed up Iowa in 2016, he will say it was rigged. He says everything is rigged unless he wins. Convictions. Loses. The USFL. Atlantic City. 2020 general election. Everything he botches is someone else’s fuck-up. He will most definitely whine for a month between NH and SC and bring up all that bad mojo of election denialism that has torpedoed the GOP in every election cycle since he slunk out of D.C. with his tail between his legs. Could that boost Haley in SC? Could that remind those who may be under-motivated for Joe Biden in the general to remember what kind of loose cannon jack-ass Trump is when he’s running for office?

If nothing else, previous news-cycle primary shifts have taught us that narrative matters. It mattered for Trump in early 2016 when he was only winning primaries with 28-percent of the vote and everyone was convinced he was just trying to boost his NBC contract, yet he kept gobbling up delegates and winner-take-all contests. Bill Clinton in 1992, George Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008 all gained momentum from early surprise victories or even serviceable second-place finishes. A narrative bump for Haley against a thin-skinned psycho twit like Trump taking to social media and giving disjointed press conferences to bitch about the New Hampshire primary being stolen might make things look a little less cushy for him. 

Trump is going to be the Republican nominee and try and take down America from jail eventually, but there’s no reason this can’t be fun until then.

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THE VENGENCE OF JANUARY 6

Aquarian Weekly
1/10/24
 
Reality Check
 
THE VENGENCE OF JANUARY 6 
This is the Year We Decide Who We Are – Democratic or Fascist

Three years on, the horrific events of January 6 remain vivid. Everyone, from the right-wing extremists who enacted it and its opposition, purportedly the rest of the nation, keeps its memory alive. The instigator / orchestrator, as then sitting president, Donald Trump brings it up constantly. This is despite advisors and media apologists attempting to spin that day away from him and the damaged Republican Party, As he pursues finishing the job of bringing his brat-king fantasy in perpetuity, Trump promises vengeance for those who were prosecuted and “persecuted” for its crimes – crimes, by the way that happened on video streamed across the world in real-time. The Republican Speaker of the House recently boasted a scheme to protect the remaining fugitives from justice.

By the time the fourth anniversary of 1/6/21 comes up the man and the party responsible for its domestic terrorism will either be elected president again, heralding his defiance of law and order, or rejected outright, ending the fascistic violence he stands for. America has a choice. It will be an interesting year indeed.

Meanwhile, the fallout of January 6 is a fluid endeavor.

Donald Trump and his attorneys are trying anything possible to stall his D.C criminal trial, as in Georgia where his elaborate fake electors’ plot is in similar legal jeopardy. Much of the evidence for both indictments having been revealed in the congressional investigation on the attempted insurrection and a deeper Justice Department and FBI sweep – the largest in U.S. history – into his mob’s looting, assault on officers of the law, and finally murder. It could have been far worse had the heavily armed hordes gotten to lawmakers running for their lives inside the Capitol that day or the undetonated pipe bombs left in front of the Democratic and Republican committee offices.

More than 1,200 people have been charged with federal crimes for the events of January 6, ranging from misdemeanor offenses (trespassing) to felonies (assaulting police officers and seditious conspiracy). Over 170 have been convicted of at least one charge at a trial decided by a judge or a jury, while north of 700 have pled guilty to charges. Of the 750 sentenced, two-thirds have received jail time. Prison sentences have ranged from a few days of intermittent confinement to 22 years in prison – the longest sentence handed down to Enrique Tarrio, the former Proud Boys national chairman who was convicted of seditious conspiracy in a plot to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

“The peaceful transfer of power” is one of the most sacred tenets of the American experiment begun when George Washington, only the second general cum ruler in civilized history to abdicate power peacefully and legally after winning a revolution, insisted on there being a term limit for presidents while admonishing the monarch ideals of the fallen British overlords on the way out. Since the spring of 1797, this has been more than an American tradition. This hallowed ritual, the very underlining principle of our republic, stems from one of the first lessons we teach our children; learn to lose gracefully, uphold the spirit of competition, and adhere to the rules laid out before them. Consider the greater good of the institution and less about your temporarily bruised ego. The infantile petulance of the foot-stomping, red-faced sore loser crying foul when things do not go his way is anathema to the very core of America. 

Until Trump, we mostly lived under the idea of democracy as an agreed upon collective deciding our leaders at the ballot box, and despite some consternation in past presidential elections, most recently in 1960 and 2000, concession speeches and general adherence to decorum won out. This was appallingly missing in the words and actions of the former president. He chose a different path, to disenfranchise 81-million votes cast for Joseph Biden Jr. and use every lever of his office’s power to stop the will of the people. 

January 6 should not be a date to recall as mere history, it is a reminder…

Lest we forget, mucking up the “peaceful tranfer of power” was the aim and ultimate purpose of January 6, 2021 – the very day that would ratify the 59th American election of our president. Regardless of the skewered reasoning by Trump and his allies (rigged election, questionable voting machines, massive Democratic conspiracy), this was the goal. Period. After exhausting the false claims of the election fraud through the media, then being beaten in over 60 court cases, failed schemes to jam fake electors in at least four states, Trump tried in vain to convince Vice President Mike Pence to deny the ratification of the electoral college tally that day in congress. Not wanting to commit a crime he advised Trump not to pursue, the president ignored Pence and took one final shot to deny democracy by using a rally he set up and promoted on social media across from the Capitol as a call to arms – urging the amped up crowd to “fight” for their country, or more to the point his wishes and illusions. Joined by many of his cronies using similar violent rhetoric, much of it aimed at Pence, Trump then directed everyone present to march to the Capitol. What happened next, we all know. It is a matter of history, no matter what crazy shit passes for a revisionist one. 

Now, in 2024, just three years hence, we face the very same man that wants to be president forever. He has stated and shown quite effectively through his actions that he has no intention of continuing the American experiment as it is presently constructed. But ultimately, whether Trump believes in elections or not, this is not up to him. It is up to us. We have a decision to make as a nation this year – beyond the economy, border security, abortion rights, and a host of other issues that hang in the balance in November: Do we allow Donald Trump the most powerful post in the world after what transpired when he lost a free and fair election in 2020 or move on with the American experiment?

Fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice, that’s on us. 

It is as simple as that.

I do not believe a court or protests or third-party candidates or bitching about President Joe Biden’s age is going to keep Donald Trump from the White House. Voting for Biden, the only other viable candidate, is going to prevent autocracy in our times. The ballot box is our best weapon, otherwise we become, as Friedrich Nietzsche once warned, the monster we wish to defeat.  

January 6 should not be a date to recall as mere history, it is a reminder, like Pearl Harbor Day or 9/11 of what transpires when we shirk the responsibility to fight for the freedoms bestowed upon us in this rare but fragile framework. Know this, regardless of rationalizations to do so, a vote for Donald Trump this year is a vote for fascism and the repulsion of America as a concept and a democratic foundation.

Yup, it’s gonna be one interesting year. 

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