Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

The Issue That Makes Donald Trump An Enemy of The State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We the people…

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

The Final Bell Tolls for Trump & Republicans 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

Doomed Republicans Begin Scurrying Off the Sinking Trump Ship

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

When Poetic Justice Makes Its 2020 Presidential Election Appearance

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

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

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

Or is he?

Hoax? Fake news? Fraud? Fixed?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poetic justice.

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Heralds the End of Progressivism

Make no mistake; the very idea of a progressive moment, one that ironically is approved by over sixty percent of the American electorate, regarding sensible gun laws, environmental conservation, corporate checkpoints, the ACA, gay and gender rights, voting rights, and, most notably women’s reproductive and healthcare rights ended the moment Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg stopped breathing. Ginsburg, a staunch feminist and defender of voting and gender rights, was the liberal lynchpin of the Court, the way Justice Antonin Scalia was on the conservative side. When Scalia died with nearly a year left in the Barack Obama presidency, the Republican-controlled Senate, led by Mitch McConnell and many who preside there today, argued that the election should decide the next lifetime appointee to the highest court. There would be no vote on Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland for ten long months. That pick went to Donald J. Trump, who, as we know won in 2016, and is conservative Neil Gorsuch. Now, with less than six weeks to decide the next president, the same GOP members are trying to ram through another conservative Donald Trump pick, essentially making a 6-3 Court, a one-third of the federal government weapon to kill any progressive legislation for generations.

Of course, on the surface, for people unfamiliar with politics, who believe politicians when they pontificate about fairness and law and freedom and all the other head-patting verbal opiates that keep your conscience satiated, this is a horrible example of anti-American hypocrisy. And really, all I can say to that is “Tell it to the judge.” And it is likely that judge will side with them. 

This has been a long-standing vision for Republicans for four decades-plus. And it is now in front of them. Silly things like hypocrisy and looking like lying sacks of pigeon shit is small potatoes. This is politics. This is power. They wield it, and realize, as has been written here for months, that Donald Trump is toast in a few weeks, and this is their last chance to make it happen. If you were wondering why the same Republicans, many of whom previously warned that candidate Trump would destroy the party and America, have stood silent while the president tramples on all of their purported principles of geo-political strength, free trade, small government, rising deficits, and formally abhorrent behavior that used to be the foundation of conservatism, then this is it. In one term, Trump will have remade the highest court, along with over one-hundred federal judges, to make it nearly impossible for laws pertaining to the above list to survive conservative legal review.

Days after Ginsberg’s death, Trump began floating the possibility that he may sue his way to combat the inevitable election results that should send him packing in January of 2021. To make that happen he needs to send this to a friendly Supreme Court, of which one-third he will have appointed. He doesn’t believe in free elections that has him ending up on the losing side. He says this every day, calling our election a fraud before it even happens. Being down by seven points nationally will do that. He knows, as again, I have written here for four months, that is he going to lose, and he is laying the groundwork for an excuse, “I was cheated!” to make the election, in his half-assed analogy, illegitimate.

The president of these United States, last I checked not run as an authoritarian state, when asked about a peaceful transfer of power should he lose the election, said this week; “The ballots are a disaster. You’ll have a very peaceful (transition of power)… there won’t be a transfer frankly. There’ll be a continuation.”

In other more coherent words, if the president wins, it is legitimate, like in 2016, when he started calling the general election fixed. Then after he won and digested the data that he lost the popular vote by a whopping three-million votes outside of his miniscule electoral college victory, he falsely claimed that there was widespread voter fraud. Trump even commissioned an investigation that fell apart under the weight of his fantasies. This is what Trump does. When a business of his, in this America, goes belly-up, he lawyers up. This will be one of those. And if so, it will result in a constitutional crisis. And everyone on Capitol Hill knows it.

Voting rights? Sensible gun laws? Millions with pre-existing conditions? Sorry.

And the Supreme Court will be sitting there for Trump in November. Texas Senator Ted Cruz, constitutional lawyer, whose father Trump accused of plotting to murder JFK and called his wife a dog and repeatedly diminished as “Lyin’ Ted” during the 2016 GOP Primaries defends this nonsense. Why? Because even Cruz knows, as he barely hung on for re-election in Texas in 2018, that the state and the country is beginning to lean to the left. This is the Last Chance Hotel. Of course, he has bowed to Trump, eaten his pride and self-respect, showed zero spine or personal self-esteem by backing him. That kind of thing is for the movies or fairytales. America is about power. And money. But you know, the Scarface thing; “First you get the money, then you get the power, and then… well, you know… you get the women.”

And soon conservatism, as it has been set up for decades, is coming for the women. Their rights. Their bodies. Their sovereignty. Believe it.  

Eating Trump’s shit has been the way the Republicans have gotten what they wanted – corporate tax cuts, deregulation, a bloated military budget, and on and on. And before liberals whine, try and remember that there would have never been any candidate Hillary Clinton losing to Donald Trump had she not eaten her husband’s shit; a man who continually cheated on her and lied to her in public and made her sit on the Today Show and claim a Right Wing conspiracy was hunting her husband, when it was just his uncontrollable libido. She ignored it, even enabled it, because she wanted the power Bill Clinton’s presidency enabled; and like Cruz, subjugated her self-worth, her good name. She became a senator, secretary of state and the first woman candidate for president by chowing down the dung. This is how it works in politics.

Power corrupts, completely. And this is what this column has been about now for these past seventeen years. No matter which way you look at it, politics is not to serve the people, it is to engender an ideology, no matter how rank or out of touch it is with evolution of the electorate And for all those women who voted for Trump and all those kids who stayed home because they loved some ultra-progressive dreamscape or Bernie Sanders in 2016, I say, it is time you eat the shit and understand the ramifications of losing elections. And this one is going to hurt. And hurt for a long time.

March all you want. Boo Donald Trump on the Supreme Court steps. Bitch and moan and listen to the MSNBC crew tell you that is outrageous! But know this, the people with the hammer get to wield it in your direction. Make sure those people have your interest at heart, not lobbyists or religious groups, but you. That is a lesson learned too late for most of us.

It is true, that I found the 2016 election to be a somewhat surreal, dumbfounding and at times a humorous mockery of America. I reveled in it because never in a million years did I think this country stupid enough to actually elect a morally corrupt conman game show host. But it did. And now it gets this. And for that I apologize to the people who will die at the hands of a military-grade weapon and the women who are raped or have the tough choice to make whether to die or have a child, because the government now will decide what happens to your body. And to those whose alternative lifestyles don’t jibe with ancient voodoo made-up of religious lunatics trying to hang onto their own patriarchal powers, my condolences. Voting rights? Sensible gun laws? Millions with pre-existing conditions? Sorry.

RIP Progressivism.

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

Trump Campaign is Dead Broke and Headed for Defeat

You know how I know Donald Trump’s campaign for re-election is fucked? His actions. I don’t need to see the veritable bevy of polls that have him down by twice as many points as Hillary Clinton enjoyed as she slept-walked through 2016 to ignominious defeat. We’ve already covered that once-in-a-billion fluke that straddled us with this nightmare. Nope. All you need to do is ask yourself, why would the president appear on ABC television, a vastly left-leaning network news organization for a town hall with actual voters, not dead-eyed Fox News MAGA drones, and in the greater Philadelphia area, hosted by a former Bill Clinton communications director? Six weeks before the election? In a state he carried in 2016? When he never ever does this?

Needless to say, Trump was eaten alive. He looked like a chipmunk before any of my three cats turn it into a gore-fest and sounded as if he wandered off a space ship into an alien world beyond his comprehension. He rolled out his standard lying thing and was met with anger, derision and tears. George Stephanopoulos tried in vain to hold back the chuckles while failing to appear concerned for what was happening to his “guest”.  It was so bad that Laura Ingram, dead-eyed drone #4357, wined on her rodeo-clown review the next evening that the president of the United States, a self-proclaimed “very stable genius” that will fix everything “only I could fix”, was somehow sandbagged by middle-class moms and college students. Who could have possibly allowed this to happen?

This is similar to last week’s uproar from the president’s defenders, who blamed the man currently sleeping with Trump’s daughter on the granting of seventeen rambling interviews to Bob Woodward, an entrenched and vengeful reporter who has spent the last half century laying waste to subjects far more capable than The Donald. Predictably, Trump buried himself by openly dreading a pandemic that he then publicly mocked and downplayed to the tune of nearly 200,000 American deaths, on tape. The vilified Jared Kushner, who comes off as a sycophant in the book could, not be reached anywhere for comment.

Trump took his flaying on ABC because he is losing Pennsylvania, like he is losing Michigan and Wisconsin and also Arizona, and not as badly, but bad enough, North Carolina, and although close, yeah, fucking Florida. I know it’s only mid-September, but a Republican president is ahead in Texas by a percentage point. Texas!

“If you listen closely you will hear that familiar sound; the bottom of the barrel being scraped.”

But more important than all that nonsense is that Trump is out of money. And when you think of Trump before he became one of the most failed presidents of the last one-hundred years, you think of money. And grabbing pussy. But mostly money. He wants you to think of money. Giant gaudy buildings with his name in gold. Casinos. Hotels. A big show of money. This hides the six bankruptcies or scuttled ventures or losses in court to pay millions to people he conned. He has always been a failure with money. Money his daddy gave him. Money he stole. Money he borrowed and had no intention of paying back. Money he has syphoned in and out of Russia that forces him to defend Vladimir Putin against his own country’s interests. Money. The Trump campaign has none of it now. It is bankrupt. Going on ABC is free advertising. Except Trump is a bumbling moron who is working with a broken nation of which he is in charge.

At the time of this writing, the Trump Campaign, defending an abysmal incumbent purported “billionaire”, has gone belly up. And the word on K Street is that’s the last of it. Big money donors don’t hand over cash to a lost cause. That’s how they gained and kept it in the first place. The money people know Trump is a fraudulent drunken-sailor on a spending binge, whose betting window is closed. Apparently, all those high-priced hookers, and top-shelf liquor, limos, private jets, and bootleg Trump merchandise the executive portion of this shit-show has sold on the black market has ripped through what was once considered an impenetrable war chest. These are the same assholes who embezzled money from what was the most expensive inauguration ever in January of 2017. One former Trump donor told me in confidence this week, “If you listen closely you will hear that familiar sound; the bottom of the barrel being scraped.”

Campaign spending is an excruciatingly boring and annoying subject, but to put it bluntly, right now former VP Joe Biden’s campaign is currently outspending Trump three to one in battleground state ads, and in some cases the president has already conceded the airwaves in Michigan, another state he carried in 2016, and for some reason Ohio, which no Republican since the last presidential fatty, William Howard Taft has failed to win and end up in the White House. The twenty-seventh president was not welcome even in his place of birth, Cincinnati, something his biographers still have trouble explaining. This has happened to Trump in New York. He had to decamp to Florida. Not even Taft was as shunned as the president in his own home town. He will, of course, lose the state by nearly thirty points.

But explaining the last gasp of this political abortion is far easier. Trump is acting like a man in the rear, as he acted like he was already guilty before the private investigator ever made his way into the Russia Investigation. Less than twenty-four hours in the president was calling it a “hoax” and a “witch hunt”, as he repeatedly charges that mail-in voting, something as common as his lying and will be all the rage in our pandemic year, is corrupted. It is not. Of course, he says this, because he is about to get smoked.

Let me just say, even someone as stupid as Trump would not be bashing tried-and-true voting methods if he and not Biden were up by seven points nationally and well outside the dreaded “margin of error” that dumped his last sorry excuse for an opponent.

Woodward’s infamous Deep Throat once presciently counseled him to “follow the money” when tracking Nixon’s crimes. He and his buddy Carl Bernstein, who told me years ago at a Mets game in Trump’s hometown of Queens, “Nixon wanted to get caught, because he was finished as a serious statesman” worked that axiom to its rightful conclusion; the president tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a rail. And if Woodard’s latest tome on this absolutely criminal administration, Rage, which I am nearly done with and require a shower to recover from, tells us anything, is that everyone who worked with the man, EVERYONE, thinks he is an insane idiot and goes on the record to express this. Loudly.

The jig is up for Trump. He tells you this with every tweet and speech he gives about voter fraud and secret silent vote and other things that still has him underwater nearly everywhere. And now his war chest is bare. And no one wants to sink anymore of their hard-earned money into this car wreck. Not even him. He says he will spend one-hundred million of his own money to win. He won’t. He said that in 2016, and actually embezzled money from his own campaign like he did with his fake charities. That figure comes as a result of his buddy, Michael Bloomberg, who despises Trump like few others, pumping that much into Florida to see the president humiliated.

The president has six weeks to make something happen. And that should make you shudder, because he clearly has zero regard for public safety, health, the constitution or anyone other than himself and the three or four people left in the White House whose gig now is to tell him what he wants to hear. If this were Elvis, he would be face down off the toilet with his head buried in shag carpet.

Trump is bankrupt.


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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

President Withholds Vital Info on Pandemic, Leading to Nearly 200,000 Dead

This is more deadly. This is five-percent versus one-percent, and less than one-percent. So, this is deadly stuff. 
– President Donald Trump on the dangers of Covid-19 to Bob Woodward, February 7, 2020

It’s a little like the regular flu that we have flu shots for. And we’ll essentially have a flu shot for this in a fairly quick manner.
– Trump at a White House coronavirus task force briefing, February 27, 2020

There is now a recording of the president of the United States admitting to celebrated author/journalist, Bob Woodward that he was fully aware of the deadly severity of Covid-19, which he cites as five-times as dangerous as normal flu on February 7 and that its transmissions through the air makes it an imminent threat to the health of Americans. Donald J. Trump then spent the next six months not only saying the opposite of what he knew to be true, but outwardly combatted attempts by states and its governors to enact rules to curtail it, then refuted his administration’s scientists and doctors’ repeated dire warnings of its risks, many of whom received death-threats as a result. He is doing it right now as you read this. And, in the most naked expression of evil in a political leader, Trump hosted six campaign rallies in packed indoor arenas for an entire month until he was forced to stop on March 2. And during those rallies, he mocked the virus as a “hoax” that would “disappear miraculously” with weather.

At the time of Trump’s comments, there were less than twenty cases in the U.S. There are now 6.5 million. He then went onto share in the same interview that the dangers to young people were just as severe, before announcing in a Coronavirus Task Force Briefing days later that young people are hardly affected, if at all. This utterly indefensible cover-up of vital health information during the first weeks of the deadliest pandemic in a century is the smoking gun used to kill 192,000 (and counting) of our fellow citizens.

No matter how you parse this; it is systemic murder. Plain and simple. Tantamount to the worst example of government-sanctioned killing of Americans in my lifetime; Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon’s blithe disregard for the facts on the ground in Viet Nam from 1966 through to 1974 when tens of thousands of American kids died for a completely fabricated war, for which the strategic framework for achieving victory was long gone. Both of those presidents quit in shame.

The president should be summarily removed from office for this. But he will not be. Instead, he will continue to lie, run ads, and make rally appearances to scores of people with no protective masks to strive to be re-elected. He disparages his opponent, former VP Joe Biden for wearing one. He dismisses the deaths of Americans as “It is what it is,” as he said during an Axios interview last month. This immoral dereliction of duty is a hideous scar on the body politic and a permanent stain on the American character. Trump is scum. And he must be expunged from office this November, because only we can stop this.

Of course, Trump’s lies on the severity of Covid-19 is another glaring example of the abject failure of his presidency, which has been defined by his incessant dishonesty to protect his ego. If news is bad for him, he claims it is fake. If a member of his inner circle or administration official blows the whistle on his criminal activities or is convicted of said crimes, he claims to have never known them – including two of his campaign heads and a private lawyer. He wanted his inauguration to dwarf his predecessor’s. It did not. So, he sent his minions to lie about it. He wanted to hide the damaging information in his tax returns as far back as 2015 when he began to run for office, so he lied they were being audited and said when the IRS was done he would release them. He did not and has yet to do so. When Russia interjected itself into our 2016 presidential election that ended with his winning, he downplayed its effect, denied it happened against his own nation’s intelligence, and then obstructed the investigation to get to the bottom of it. He even committed treason on foreign soil by siding with Vladimir Putin against the U.S. in Helsinki, Finland in July 2018 to perpetuate these distortions.

If you have contracted Covid-19, suffered, lost a loved one, blame Donald Trump.

Trump knowing the dangers of this disease and working against the nation he has sworn to protect is what he does again and again. He ran on protecting the border from deadly invasions, but he allowed a lethal combatant (he called himself a war-time president this past spring) to enter our country and run roughshod. Replace Covid-19 with ISIS, how does it look now? I write this on the eleventh day of September. Think if al-Queda had killed 192,000 Americans. We lost 2,779 Americans that day. How do we remember it? How will we remember our 2020 bin Laden; Donald Trump?

Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien warned the president as early as January 28 in an intelligence briefing, ten days before the Woodward interview, that the virus would be the “biggest national security threat” of his presidency, while O’Brien’s deputy, Matt Pottinger informed the president it had the very real potential to be as bad as the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed an estimated fifty-million people worldwide, including 675,000 Americans.

“I wanted to always play it down,” Trump told Woodward of the growing deadly pandemic in late February, nearly one month to the day of these official warnings. “I still like playing it down because I don’t want to create a panic.”

Trump clumsily seized on the last part of the above statement as a specious defense the day after the revelations by claiming he was attempting to be a calming influence. This man, who has based his dying campaign for re-election on stoking fears of suburbs being overrun by angry blacks and anarchists, who embraces conspiracy-theory propaganda about Antifa and grade-school level QAnon madness, who tried to stop the eventual Blue Wave that acted as voter condemnation of him in 2018 by creating a phony caravan of marauders attacking the border, wanted us not to be panicked.

Then Trump had the audacity to compare his withholding of vital information from Americans by evoking FDR, who in December of 1941 quite forcefully expressed to the United States and the world of a “day that would live in infamy” after Pearl Harbor. He did not tell people we are having some boat issues and that the Japanese attack was a hoax and that the reports from Hawaii were fake news to keep the life-and-death facts from injuring his image. He was a real leader, an actual president, not a game show host huckster real estate cheat, whose fragile self-esteem has destroyed the economy and killed citizens.

In less than two months we can wipe this virus called Donald Trump out. Then go about facing the truth about what has devastated this country over the past six months, while he worked hard to help it. We know now, for sure, from his own mouth, that all of it could have been avoided. If you have contracted Covid-19, suffered, lost a loved one, blame Donald Trump. He could have done his job, but he played his games instead, as always.

Systemic murder.

End it on November 3.

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

A Week in the Opening Political Death Throes of Donald J. Trump

We of the craft are all crazy. Some are affected by gaiety, others by melancholy, but all are more or less touched.
– Lord Byron

With the weird virtual party conventions in the rearview and the tolling bell of Labor Day upon us, the crucial final sixty days of campaigning for president has begun. Down in the national polls by twice as much as 2016 to former Vice President Joe Biden and bleeding in swing states – mired in a national pandemic, as the rest of the world goes back to school, attends sporting events and rebuilds economies, while thousands of Americans die daily, countless others are evicted from their homes and dozens of doomed businesses shutter – Donald J. Trump has taken his perpetual campaigning routine and ramped it up this week in a bizarre series of spastic flailing the likes of which the electorate has rarely seen. It is a show for him; a perpetual geek-fest of name-calling, monosyllabic gas-baggery  and wild lies. And this is just the beginning.

Seeing how the president has spent his first term incessantly campaigning – against the press, the Left, his enemies, both real and imagined, and whatever floats his boat at five am on a Tuesday morning before tweet-storming – one’s mind boggles at the notion that he is actually doing it for real now. All those crazed Nuremberg-style rants in front of slobbering sycophants chanting “Lock her up!” and “Build the wall!” – neither of which has happened, has it? I missed that – starting six weeks into his presidency should have been a sign that a manic obsession with competitive battle overshadowed governing. The latter means nothing to Donald Trump. His friends in New York would say of him; “Donald wrecks stuff and then looks around for the culprit.” He has wrecked America. And now finds himself actually campaigning to keep this botch-job; a tough gig for a fat, coddled rich kid used to getting what he wants when he grimaces like a four year-old. And this time he actually wants to win, instead of playing at a daily fuck-around to jack-off the media and try mightily to convince his fellow elites that he is worthy of their attention.

This first true week of re-election campaigning for Trump has been a glimpse into unflinching desperation and, predictably, it was not pretty. Or as an already exhausted White House correspondent Stephen Collinson wrote the morning I pen this; “The outrages, conspiracy theories and drama have come so fast that it’s almost impossible to believe Donald Trump can keep this up for another eight weeks until Election Day.”

The president began the week trying to stay on the flimsy please-don’t-pay-attention-to-this crippled-economy-and-failures-on-our-raging-pandemic campaign strategy of predicting that the common-place racially charged riots under his watch will be common place under the watch of his opponent. But, as usual, he could not focus. Within hours of this, he returned to the two issues that are killing him in the polls – no viable plan to combat Covid-19 and ignoring the shifting support against systemic racism.

Trump ceremoniously dragged out some hack to pitch a “herd immunity” concept, which could have been something to consider when the infection numbers were under one-hundred thousand in March, not currently over six million. A day later, filching from the Trump playbook, the hack denied everything he said into a microphone. Looking to disguise this farce, Trump floated ideas that there will be a vaccine by Election Day, like there will be a wall paid for by Mexicans and Hillary Clinton would be locked up and he would repeal-and-replace Obamacare (On day one!) and manufacturing jobs would return to the Rust Belt. This is despite every living scientist denying such a claim is remotely possible and nearly seventy-percent of Americans already deciding not to take any vaccine offered by this fraudulent administration.

This was followed with whiplash imprecision by Trump insisting, after pleas otherwise from the governor of Wisconsin and mayor of Kenosha, to visit the volatile street-madness aftermath of the shooting of yet another unarmed black man by police – in this instance seven times in the back. Because, you know, the “Bible in front of the church photo-op” worked so well last time… for Joe Biden, who spiked from four-percent up to double digits a week after the stunt.

Another week of this Dali-esque surrealism mocked up in greasepaint political theater may finish the job for our game show president.

Trump’s visit to Kenosha included no mention of the severely wounded Jacob Blake or his family, replaced by a vehement defense of a chubby white supremacist seventeen year-old wind-fart charged with two counts of murder, who decided it would be a good idea to carry a semi-automatic rifle across state lines to kill whoever confronted him. Trying to force another ham-handed photo-op in front of a burned storefront, on which the owner of the place told Trump to go fuck himself, the campaign ran out and got the previous owner to stand there with the president and make like he cared.

There was the usual, weekly eerie Russian connection leaked again from the Department of Homeland Security, which reportedly withheld the foreign enemy’s attempt to besmirch Trump’s opponent with its signature parade of misinformation. This was followed swiftly with the removal of in-person congressional briefings on election security by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence at Trump’s request. Even Republican senators, usually bagged and carted for whatever pro-Russia ass-licking comes from the White House, were appalled.

Somewhere in the midst of this carnival folly Trump sat for what was supposed to be another softball love-fest interview on Fox News with whatever dead-eyed echo-chamber flotsam showed up that instead resulted in the president blurting out two year-old Facebook conspiracy theories about evil dark-shadowed marauders coming for the white “suburban housewives”, or whatever 1953-meets-1983 shit Trump heard at one of his piss-addled hooker parties with his sex-traffic pal, Jefferey Epstein.

In the midst of his ongoing campaign to stir up unfounded distrust in mail-in voting to soften the blow of his ignominious defeat in November, the president of the United States thought it a good idea to tell a mini-crowd of unmasked goobers in North Carolina to vote twice. When the N.C. Board of Electors was forced to send out a notice that such a maneuver was a crime, Trump went to New Hampshire and said it again. Then someone thought it was a better idea to send his lackey attorney general onto CNN to admit out loud that he was unsure that voting twice was illegal. Then the already disgraced William Barr continued to lay further groundwork on the Trump excuse for his soon-to-come beatdown by sowing doubt about voting.

Trump ended his first real week of Kamikaze campaigning sweating like Nixon on a D.C. tarmac bathed in darkness trying to defend some lunacy he told reporters, confirmed by officials from the Pentagon and his own administration, that he considers dead soldiers of foreign wars “losers” and “suckers”.

And this is only mere days into this. Another week of this Dali-esque surrealism mocked up in greasepaint political theater may finish the job for our game show president. He is on fumes, and by that I mean inhaling them. Either that or these rumors of his mini-strokes may provide further answers. No one, not even Trump, is this stupid. Or is he? It is getting harder and harder to tell where the act ends and the stupidity starts. Nevertheless, I advise Mr. Collinson and anyone cursed to cover this relentless grab-ass absurdity to get some sleep and drink heavily. But know this: It will all be over soon, and then we can get back to covering a real president.  

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

or The Truth Hurts & The Search for Real History

Big fan of history.

Since around 1976 when a wonderful giant of a mind began to percolate inside me a jones for civics. The late, great Mr. Thomas E. Antus – celebrated over the years in this space – was my Eighth Grade History & Social Studies teacher at Dwight D. Eisenhower during the nation’s bicentennial, just two years after the president of the United States quit in shame and a year after the war that waged throughout my childhood ended in ignominious defeat for the U.S.A. It was then I became acutely aware that the bullshit in my history books was a dangerous lie and the education system had failed me and my generation and would continue unabated when I had a daughter thirty-two years later and had to eventually send her to swallow the same nonsense.

This is why I support Cancel Culture. It brings to light our failures to understand the basic tenets of American History. I seek the truth. You should too. This is part of the revolution that must be adhered to in order to save us from new monsters like Donald Trump.

And, by the way, failure is underrated. As a writer, I need to embrace this concept. Everyone should – corporate executives, starving artists, parents, politicians. There is failure in the pursuit of forming a “more perfect union”, which in itself is a sad grammatical error. Penned by New York Statesman and later Senator, Gouverneur Morris, a mad scribe for his times, when he was cobbling together the Preamble to the Constitution in a furious dash to put lofty aspirations into concrete. He knew his way around the written word. He above all should have known that there is nothing that is “more than perfect”, no matter how much flowery rhetoric you brush on it. It is our failure to achieve even a sniff of this that should be taught, not propaganda. That is different than history.

Of course, taking down statues or challenging their import is not the same as wiping out or rewriting history. This is also true of revisionist historians who try, for instance, to clear the stench from cretins like Andrew Jackson or Joseph McCarthy. That history exists. All of it: The massacre of Native Americans. The slavery. The ostracization of immigrants from the Irish to the Italians to the Jews to now those of Latino heritage. Hostile work conditions. Civil Rights battles. Unlawful, immoral wars. Denying women the vote for over a century. That history is there if you are exposed to it, instead of wishing it didn’t happen or putting a veil on it to assuage the fragile ego of exceptionalism. Replacing it with truth is is the correct action.

Take for instance Theodore Roosevelt’s appearance on Mount Rushmore – a more abjectly silly impression cannot be conjured. First off, sitting beside the father of the nation, the author of the Declaration of Independence and also a man who expanded the nation by a third during his presidency, and the greatest of all presidents who preserved the union and ended our greatest moral stain, is an abomination in itself, but when considering he wrote several published works dissecting the subhuman aspects of Asians and African-Americans, and his lies about heroic exploits in the Spanish-American War, among other blustery fuck-ups, it kind of pains the conscience. Can we cancel that mistake?

You, me and Thomas Paine, have the same amount of statues.

But Roosevelt is small potatoes. My daughter is still being taught Christopher Columbus “discovered” America. He did not. It was “discovered” – if one ignores the fact that people already lived here, like someone coming to your house to “discover’ you live there and then planting their fat asses on your couch is “discovering” – by the Vikings five-hundred years before any such voyage, which, incidentally ended up in the Bahamas. Christopher Columbus never set foot on this continent. It is a fucking sick joke that it is 2020 and this is still in history books. It is a lie, not history. Do we want our children to be lied to? Do we need them fed the kind of falderal that leads to voting into office completely unqualified buffoons who promise a wild list of shit they have no constitutional authority to propagate?

This whole Cancel Culture thing started with the weird celebratory nature of the South’s fascination of the Confederacy as some kind of cultural right. This is completely ignoring, forgetting or failing to care that these men were treasonous enemies of the state; the equal of say Nazis or Evangelicals. Wiping it out in 1860 was as fine to me as it is in 2020. That one is a slam dunk. What I would like to know is why is it so terrible that we come to grips with the truthful legacy of our founding fathers; mostly slave-owning revolutionaries who stole this land from indigenous peoples, practiced rampant genocide, then stole more land from Mexicans, still more genocide, and then used free labor to build a powerful apparatus that would someday kick out our British landlords, warrant six-hundred thousand deaths to free slaves, and finally become the most powerful nation on the planet?

Take Thomas Jefferson. How come he gets a pass? He owned humans. He raped a child slave that produced children. We rightfully had a fit when Bill Clinton got a hummer in the Oval Office from an intern. How many people would be okay with a statue of William Jefferson Clinton in their town square? Oh, and recently I heard Bill Maher making jokes about how “that’s the way things were in those days, so maybe we should get over the horrors of the past.” All right. But not every founding father held slaves. Three of our finest patriots, the man who first challenged the Stamp Act and coordinated the Boston Tea Party, a writer who single-handedly convinced illiterate farmers to take up arms against their king and the mightiest army in the world, and one other who in my estimation was the most important member of the Continental Congress, our first vice president, and our second president.

Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, and John Adams never owned slaves. Never. Ever. In fact, all three vehemently opposed it and John Adams even tried to have it expunged before the Revolutionary War. These men were arguably three of the most important figures in the birthing of this nation. You know how many statues of these men there are in Washington D.C.? None. Not one fucking statue. And since I was thirteen and became aware of this I have openly discussed this obscenity with those who make those choices and have proposed replacing the Jefferson Monument with one of John Adams.

I would like a little cancelling on this, please.

Oh, and in case your history books failed to teach you about Paine and his brilliant and seminal Common Sense, the most important document in the history of this republic – because without it, no revolution, no victory, no constitution – Paine was deported as a pariah because of his open refute of Christianity. He died a despised man. No statues. You, me and Thomas Paine, have the same amount of statues. The guys who seceded from the union to keep humans as property get a lot.

I say tear it all down, and let’s set the record straight. And while I know my arguments here are mainly built on semantics and mostly historic in nature – bypassing the horrors enacted on the African-American community that had to endure the lies and deceit of the European culture for centuries – I only mean to celebrate truth. For it is beauty, and, as the man said, it will set you free.

Set us all free. One truth.

Because, you know, out of many… one.

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Aquarian Weekly

Reality Check

James Campion

A Stroll Through The Difference Four Years Make

You’ve heard it: What about 2016? Everyone thought Donald Trump would lose and he won. Yes, this is true. And after four years of sober reflection, for reasons that are varied and somewhat complicated, and still others that are blatantly obvious and should have been then, Trump became the forty-fifth president of the United States. But with the advantage of hindsight, there are factors this time around – not the least of which is Trump being an incumbent presiding over, and the underlying cause, of two national crises instead of a tweeting troll tossing stones at the guy in charge – that makes 2020 a very different election year than 2016. But that is only part of the story.  

My colleague and friend Bill Roberts of Conservatively Speaking – a column that shared space in this paper with me some years back in the aughts and currently a staunch Trump supporter – co-wrote the post-mortem of that election with me the week after. The conclusion of Mr. Roberts, which explains one aspect of Trump’s victory, was the uncharted vote not understood in polling and mostly ignored by both parties that pushed Trump to a narrow electoral college victory, specifically in the Rust Belt. Trump’s opponent, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, although up by 2.5 points on Election Day, teetered in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan; all states that had traditionally voted for Democrats for decades. This time they swung to Trump, who won them by a razor-thin margin of approximately seventy-seven thousand votes. There are more seats in Met Life Stadium a few miles down the road from where I am writing this.

What I added to Bill’s analyses, which I have maintained for four years, is Clinton’s embrace – along with every previous presidential candidate whether Republican or Democrat – of international trade deals. Many of these deals had done damage to the Rust Belt lower-middle class high school educated voters, who had heard for years about how jobs and factories going abroad could be returned. This was always a lie, and one Trump, a champion liar, latched onto. With Steve Bannon (just arrested for fundraising fraud as I write this), the architect of the last six weeks of the campaign in which he actually disciplined Trump like never before or since, the candidate visited these states time and again, while Clinton never went to Wisconsin or Michigan, an unconscionable fuck-up that led to Trump – an outsider that wasn’t really a Republican or Democrat – to seem like an alternative. In classic Clinton fashion, she started hedging her bet on trade when she saw it was a 2016 loser, but it just fed into her phoniness and entrenched political image. That, in a nutshell, is why Trump became president.

Of course, there are many nuances to this – racism, fear of foreigners, Russian interference, Trump’s free TV time due to the interest in his clown show, his wild claims and name calling – all contributed to the upset. In the summer of 2020, as mentioned above, Trump is the status quo, and the status quo is historically shitty right now. The nation is suffering its worst economic collapse in my lifetime because of a deadly pandemic the president still does not admit is even happening. He no longer gets to say “I alone can fix it” when he is in charge and clearly can’t.

Before we leave Hillary Clinton. She is the worst candidate for any civic position I have every witnessed. Her losses to a then neophyte Barack Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries and later to a game show host who didn’t even want to win and would have lost if not for Bannon, are epic. Hubris and stupidity are what doomed the heavily favored Clinton, not FBI Director James Comey reopening the investigation on her emails or Russian hacking into DNC emails. That assisted, sure. But if Clinton had not avoided the press for eighty-six days that summer and actually went to states that were teetering on flipping on her, then she would be president. Hillary Clinton is not running this time.

What Obama people argued in 2016, and I ignored, was it should have been Joe Biden, who was dealing with the death of his son, Beau, not Hillary Clinton to run. But that was never an option for Biden, who was steamrolled by a Democratic Party showing its old-world idiocy (the outed emails revealed this) to get their hands on “the first woman president” angle. The party then slanted the table against Bernie Sanders when he started piling up delegates. Ironically, the Vermont Senator shared much of Trump’s anti-trade rhetoric without all the racism, sexism or queer TV performances.

But even the Sanders Movement was bullshit. For four years I had to hear about the Sanders’ youth coalition, this burgeoning progressive voter-base inside the Democratic Party. Where was it during the 2020 primaries? They didn’t show up. Sanders’ numbers were precipitously down from 2016. The whole thing is a myth. The 2016 Sanders vote turned out to actually be anti-Hillary, because many of them made Joe Biden the 2020 nominee. This adds to the notion that without Clinton on the ballot this time, this ain’t 2016. And it also skewers the Republican’s weak argument that a centrist forty-year veteran of D.C. is somehow a radical. There is a progressive wing of the Democratic Party, sure, but it is much smaller and less active than reported. The primaries settled that score. And Biden’s VP pick of Kamala Harris and not Sanders or ultra-progressive Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren underlines this.

Hubris and stupidity are what doomed the heavily favored Clinton.

The idea of a 2016 coronation for Clinton was a death knell because it ignored the Obama collation that had triumphed like no Democratic candidate in fifty years. Joe Biden was part of that coalition. Without President Obama’s VP on the ticket, 2016 could not be a referendum on his legacy. It was more of a referendum on the 1990s and the Clinton years. Biden connects more with the numbers in 2008 and 2012; both winners. And now with a woman of color on the ticket he has galvanized the very vote that would have bested Trump in 2016. Clinton received eighty-nine percent of the black vote in 2016. Biden is hovering at nearly ninety-one. His Latino numbers also dwarf Clinton’s, and most importantly for Biden, white suburban women, that abandoned Clinton, have returned with a vengeance. The 2018 mid-terms numbers that created the Blue Wave have increased during the meltdown of the past six months. Those three factions are enough to overcome seventy-thousand votes.

Finally, and most importantly, the difference between 2016 and 2020 is the undecided vote. While it had a volatile effect on polls in 2016, wherein anytime either Clinton or Trump became the main story there was a dramatic shift against them, is miniscule now. This is why Clinton’s 2016 poll graph looks like the blueprint for a rollercoaster, while Biden’s has been a steady hum. In 2016, nearly a quarter of the electorate was undecided into November. Trump received the whopping lion’s share of it. This time it is eight to ten percent. And without expanding his forty-percent base, Trump needs a Hillary Clinton with her forty-four percent base to leap her and win with the forty-six percent he garnered in 2016. Biden has consistently polled around fifty percent (As I write this it is an average of 51.2). Neither Clinton nor Trump ever sniffed fifty percent. Where exactly is Trump getting these secret votes?

Also, it should be pointed out that state polling, because of the anomalies apparent in 2016, has improved greatly. Those voters ignored last time are in the system and are considered. Unless some new middle-aged white guys have formed like pods all over Michigan and Pennsylvania, it is impossible for Trump to find the variables Mr. Roberts discussed in November of 2016 this time around.

So, what am I saying here? Is Biden a shoo-in? Nah, that was Hillary’s nickname and she lost and handed us this national nightmare on a silver platter. Trump, as covered here two weeks ago, is already trying to tamp down the vote with his usual bizarre rhetoric, because as he has rightly pointed out, “When people vote, Republicans lose.” But this time around the numbers are not three to four percent for a wildly unpopular Democratic candidate; they are a six, seven to ten percentage point lead for a fairly likable one. And the enthusiasm to vote against Trump, the incumbent with a terrible record, is higher than his opponent’s.

Throwing a Hail Mary touchdown pass in the final seconds worked swimmingly for Doug Flutie and Boston College once. Flutie was not asked to repeat that four years later. This is what is asked of the 2020 Donald Trump, morph back into an outsider, grenade-throwing grievance candidate. It is he who is the system now and that system is broken.

Change is in the air, and that change candidate is not the current president. The time, the numbers, the opponent, and the crises make 2020 very different from 2016.

But only the Election Day numbers can bear this out eventually, whether the president accepts them or not.

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