IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY NOW A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION?

Aquarian Weekly
6/9/21

Reality Check

James Campion

IS THE REPUBLICAN PARTY NOW A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION?
Suddenly a Legitimate Question 

I have been following politics since the early 1970s, covering it since the late 1980s, and paid to comment about it here and elsewhere since the late 1990s. I have mostly taken a realistic, some may say pessimistic or cynical, stance to this subject. I understand why politicians shift radically with the winds of change to stay relevant and get elected, which causes many to think them slimy, opportunistic hypocrites. This is why I do it, quite frankly. Politics reveals a great deal about human nature, and the reason people love/hate politicians is we are acting out our own psychological issues through them. I, for one, do not blame politicians for being human. It is when they sell bullshit excuses for this behavior that raises my antennae, and, well, you know.

Otherwise, I see it all as part of a grander game. Therefore, I do not think all Democrats socialists, nor do I think Republicans are fascists. But something very interesting has happened since the days following the defeat of Donald Trump to Joe Biden in November of 2020, culminating in the seditious atrocities of January 6, the most heinous act of domestic terrorism since the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. A majority of the Republican Party has actively chosen to abdicate its position as representing a segment of the American body politic to enthusiastically support an anti-American program and shamelessly cover-up the invasion and destruction of the Capitol by murderous thugs, resulting in the killing of police.

What gives?

Now, my first reaction to this behavior is, of course, (see above) mere political survival. It is the most important aspect of the gig. Without being elected there is no chance to enact agenda or ideologies. And what good would it be to bash the rantings of your party’s most popular figure, alienate his rabid base, or put a spotlight on something he cooked up that ended in political sedition and murder? But I am not sure that interpretation washes here. Because… um… what is the agenda? To stop the free and fair election of the leader of the free world – that was the point of the rally that began things on January 6, conceived, promoted, and conducted by the president of the United States. He did not like losing. He wanted to stop the ratification of the vote. He caused a riot. The entire “rigged election” enterprise was to sate the wounded ego of a narcistic loon with zero evidence. It ended with the events of January 6.

If anyone could see another agenda here beyond terrorism, please write me.

Is this what the Republican Party wants? To forever be implicated in this crime against the nation?

As to the ideology? Is it to take up legislation in dozens of states based on this lie to change voting laws ostensibly to “protect” against a security breech that never happened? If this was to occur in, say, Venezuela, what would we be saying about it? Yeah, I thought so.

This brings us to the question at hand; has the Republican Party now morphed into an anti-American terrorist organization hell-bent on destroying democracy?

Hardly. I would respect the party more if it were. But it is merely filled with opportunists, who secretly laugh at Trump and his conspiracists and don’t believe a wit about it, but avoid confronting it, and more egregiously, use it to enact laws to make it easier for them to stem the tide of history that is against them at the ballot box.

There is a political axiom attributed to everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Adolf Eichmann, “Don’t let a good crisis go to waste.” But what if said crisis is stupid made-up shit?

But forget all that. The very idea that I could write such a headline, as less satire and more interpretative of events, is what should give us a chill. It is very plausible that we have lost the Republican Party as a legitimate political entity in this country if the party supports suppressing votes and protecting terrorists, many of whom were trying to lynch them, including the then vice president, a Republican, who is also conspicuously silent about this. Forget about the party of Lincoln, the party of Reagan is now dead and buried – the final nail in the coffin is when its members voted to oust traditional conservative Wyoming congresswoman Liz Cheney to replace her with less conservative New York congresswoman Elise Stefanik simply because Cheney is against anti-American sedition and Trump crap and Stefanik is not.

As covered here a few weeks ago, Cheney is a Reagan Republican, Stefanik is a Trump Republican. That maneuver affectively ends one era for another. And if January 6 is any indication, it is not a proud era for Republicans.

To wit: Mitch McConnell, the minority leader of the Senate, who after January 6, told the august gathering that Donald Trump “held responsibility” for inviting and rousing the mob to the ultimate destruction and murders that followed. Yet, he ordered his constituency to block an investigation on those events. This is the same contingency that ordered up nine, that is correct, nine different investigations of the Benghazi tragedy that killed two Americans in a Libyan war zone. This is the American Capitol under siege with hundreds of armed marauders shouting for the heads of the vice president and the speaker of the house. Is it crazy then to inquire if this man is not at least committing treason?

How about Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader in the house, who screamed at Trump in the White House to stop the insurrection on that dismal afternoon and took to the House floor to decry its horrors, only to continue to deflect from finding out more about where it originated from, how many factions enacted it, and if it could happen again? There are still questions about how many members of Congress had a hand in January 6. Is this what the Republican Party wants? To forever be implicated in this crime against the nation?

These are serious questions. They are not meant for sensationalism or to piss-off innocent Republicans, who have their own reasons for loyalty to the party. I have friends, family members and colleagues who remain Republicans in the face of all this. And I feel sorry for them, because they do not deserve what is happening to their party. America needs at least two healthy political parties.

But it is fair to dissect this and confront them with these facts, because all of what’s covered above has happened and continues to occur within one of the two major parties. The refusal to even appoint a bipartisan commission when it was supported by thirty-five House Republicans and six GOP Senators is a damning admission to this assertion. But they have made this bargain and hope to win elections, and as stated above, that is the gig.

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VACCINES, CDC, & THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS

Aquarian Weekly
5/19/21

Reality Check

James Campion

VACCINES, CDC, & THE NATURAL ORDER OF THINGS

So, I’m halfway home. The wife and I got the first Moderna shot a few weeks ago. On the twenty-seventh day of May 2021, we shall be vaccinated. This week the Center of Disease Control and Prevention announced if you are one of the nearly half of Americans fully vaccinated against Covid-19, you can shed your mask, and go about your business outside of hospitals and airports, etc. But for the most part, all the whining – I never understood this, why is wearing a mask such a burden? Man, we are lazy, weak slackers – can now cease. No more watching Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former libertarian, current whiney bitch, scream at Doctor Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, while he tries to explain to him that a square has four sides. Although, it was sometimes entertaining. Nevertheless, things are moving along swimmingly.

Of course, there are concerns. Children, for instance, are not vaccinated. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency approval for use of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine in twelve to fifteen-year-olds and the CDC also (kind of quietly, if you ask me) announced kids as young as twelve can get the normal Pfizer shot. Hmmmm… That leaves really young kids. But, apparently, they are just rotten carriers of the virus, not its victims. I mean, let’s face it, toddlers and a little further along children are rotten carriers of everything. Example: I barely survived my daughter’s kindergarten years in which I endured varied and mysterious illnesses I had never experience in a half-century of living. In a world-wide pandemic, I haven’t had as much as a sniffle. Children are a far more dangerous virus than anything conceived by eating bats.

As a brief aside, I like to think that children are either freaks of nature, a biological prank or a vengeful God’s way of proving that we are generationally challenged. I live with a teenager now. And she is showing signs of what I was as a teenager, and if this comes to fruition, I may have to move out.

It is that kind of ice-cold factoid writing that proves where we are in this one. I am here to state clearly that once we get to a majority of vaccinated Americans this entire operation needs to turn into a science experiment. Everyone goes about their business. If you do not want to get vaccinated, I support your decision. But for the rest of us, we go to bars and the beach and to the ballgame and God help me, live music concerts. Please! I want Broadway back. If the un-vaccinated attend a show and catch Covid and get horribly sick or die, dems the breaks.

At some point, and maybe it will be next year, Covid-19, which is never going away and there will be annual booster shots for us all for the foreseeable and probably infinite future, the general sentiment – even among the most paranoid among us – will be that it is time to move on. But I think that time is now. We are a sort-of democracy, or at least claim to be. Over fifty percent of something is good enough for me. I know this has zero to do with science, as most experts say we need to be at seventy to eighty percent immunized to get to that critical herd immunity thing, but every revolution has its casualties.

Children are a far more dangerous virus than anything conceived by eating bats.

Most of the people who are not getting vaccinated at this juncture are complete deniers and anti-vaccination types. Fine. They are rolling the dice and unfortunately roll the dice for their kids in every vaccination offered anyway. So, they can go about their business. Good luck to them. Those who are still hesitant and feel they are young, healthy, or like my family, lucky enough to not catch the virus, then more power to ya. Your call. And for those hesitating to see what happens, know that all vaccines show their aftereffects on subjects within three months of the shot. People have been getting these things since last September, and officially since December 2020, it’s not going to grow a third eye. And if you believe Bill Gates is putting a chip in your arm, you need to die. So, please do not take the vaccine and leave the gene pool.

Look, although this may read as unusually harsh – welcome to Reality Check, my name is James Campion, and I have been filling this space with vitriol now since 1997 – we have been quite patient (most of us outside of Florida and Texas) and now we have this fancy vaccination. So, let those who want to risk it, risk it, and let’s all get back to pre-pandemic life. If a new strain appears because we are not fully immunized against it, then, well, what else can you do? The time has come to find out.

I don’t want anyone to get sick or die. But I also don’t want people to stockpile guns and wander into a school and kill children or cops to shoot unarmed Black men in the back or half of congress to promote a false stolen election theory drummed up by a con man and then support domestic terrorism or people to abuse recreational or prescription drugs or eat fast food until their bloated heart explodes or blast eighties hair metal from their sadly over-sized, penis-compensating pick-up trucks or see another headline with the words My Pillow Guy in it or have to give money to Cablevision because I have no fucking broadband in the woods or scoop litter when my wife leaves for a few days or write about, talk about, ague about or even think about a quarantine.

Life’s tough. Get a helmet.

Go get vaccinated or not. I honestly do not care anymore. For the rest of us, it’s time to roll that dice and see what we come up with. Because, if you think about it for about a minute, that’s pretty much how America even exists.

Until then, I wish everyone reading this the very best of luck, health, and well-being.

Or not. Whatever.

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THE NOT-SO CURIOUS CASE OF LIZ CHENEY

Aquarian Weekly
5/12/21

Reality Check

James Campion

THE NOT-SO CURIOUS CASE OF LIZ CHENEY
Wyoming Congresswoman at The GOP Fault Line


You know the deal: Wyoming Congresswoman Liz Cheney who along with eight her Republican House colleagues joined all the Democrats in voting to impeach the former president for trying to destroy democracy in a sad and dangerous attempt to save face for getting his clock cleaned in the 2020 presidential election is not happy about her party and the country simply “moving on” from all this. Especially since it eventually led to a deadly insurrection on the Capitol by right-wing terrorists. However, this meandering over crimes committed by its titular leader makes zero sense for Republicans, who have been furiously changing election laws all over the country based on this bullshit in hopes of winning back power in 2022. Back in D.C., Republicans are performing the difficult political trick of simultaneously condemning the attack on the symbol of American law and order and the attempted murder of colleagues while appeasing the very people who did this and the guy who planted its seed, Donald Trump. Thus, Trump remains the GOP’s messianic avatar with the only voter base that can make the party relevant in the near future.

Because of her understandably furious reaction to the January 6 terrorist attacks, Cheney is at her party’s fault line, making her as important a figure for party unity as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who has rankled his fellow Democrats and skuttled President Joe Biden’s more sweeping bills through his siding more with Republicans. Cheney right now is the key Republican figure and the last vestige of hope for them to admit that Trump’s lies about having the 2020 election stolen is a threat to the future of this democracy and reeks of fascist elements of one-voice for one-party.

But that is political crazy talk. Again, it does nothing to help Republicans using The Big Lie to change election laws to benefit their winning in 2022 and beyond, nor does it assist the convenient sweeping under the rug one of the most heinous acts of a president in the republic’s history.

This is the sweet spot for this space. There is nothing quite like intraparty political intrigue, especially when it is so unabashedly cynical. Republicans have stated emphatically that their main objective is to win back the House and Senate, which is understandable if this were 2022, but we are four months into the new administration and 117th congress, and they have been tasked by their bosses, us, to legislate and debate and represent their districts and the nation at large. Spending all their time setting up for future political successes usually floats near the surface of this shallow pool, but this time it is the entire pool.

Again, Cheney is the most interesting political football for this battle to rescue a GOP hijacked by the Trump coalition. What used to be a problem for the United States is now squarely inside the Republican Party, as gutless lackies like Senators Lindsay Graham, Ted Cruz, and Congressman Mike McCarthy, jet down to Mar a Lago, Florida to kiss the ring of the Donald and gain bonafides with its base, mostly made up of science-denying, race-baiting, election-fraud minions. Because without these voters, as stated here before, there is no more Republican Party. And these voters are motivated not by infrastructure bills, foreign policy or systemic injustice, this is about culture wars and anti-woke rhetoric that fires their fears that their country is eroding.

Maybe silencing Cheney is the way to put that final nail in the coffin of the Republican Party as we had come to know it over the past forty to fifty years.

There is no other place for the Republicans to go to remain in power. Following the Trump win in 2016, this maneuver has cost them two chambers of congress and the presidency, not to mention the previously sacred moral high ground, as well as being proponents of fiscal responsibility, intrepid geo-politics, and free trade that used to be the pillars of conservatism. No one knows what conservatism is anymore. Ronald Reagan would be a flaming liberal to this base.

Liz Cheney is a traditional Reagan Republican, daughter of former vice president Dick Cheney, not long ago the pro forma conservative. She represents the Bush wing, the suddenly dismissed identity of the party that was erected in the late 1970s and started to see cracks during the second half of an ongoing Iraq conflict that was openly challenged by Trump during the 2016 campaign in which he called George W. Bush a war criminal and anything to do with that war a sad mistake. It got so bad, during the general election Trump ran to the left of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who voted for the thing, and was a staunch proponent of the Reagan Doctrine.

Cheney, who in almost every respect, is a dyed in the wool old-world conservative, the kind that used be a big star in the party, but now due to her voicing her concerns Republicans have tied themselves to a violent, anti-American contingent is anathema. She represents an upside-down argument about what the party will stand for going forward, post-Trump, and she is not shy in stating it.

Behind the scenes Republicans like minority leader McCarthy have begun plans to remove her from any seats of influence within the caucus, quite literally expunging what is left of Reagan from the party and embracing the mythos of popularism and nativism and most importantly, for Cheney, reality. She recently wrote in a Washington Post op ed titled “The GOP is at a Turning Point” that “History is watching us.” Now, I’m not sure of that, but certainly the long-term solvency of the Republican Party is. The short game to stick with the popular base movement is what put Democrats behind the bell curve in the late 1960s to early 70s. A radical left contingent gave rise to semi-electable candidates and quasi-governing officials, who in the long run could not pull in enough moderate and independent voters to stay relevant for long, leading to six years of Nixon and twelve years of Reagan/Bush, and eventually in the 1990s, losing the House for the first time in generations.

This is a far more polarized electorate now, but with a much heartier independent vote than ever before in American politics. Joe Biden got a hell of a lot of votes, yet in districts across the nation some Republicans shocked the pundits. Cheney sits on this split, and it is widening by the hour.

Lastly, it is deliciously hypocritical that a party that has gotten itself all in a tangle over what they deem is Cancel Culture, the practice of businesses, publishers, corporations, sports leagues and overly polite society taking little chips off of questionable to outright racist and misogynist content, etc, and cancelling it, is doing the same thing to Cheney. Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene have been raising money and making a name for themselves by whining about what they deem is an attempt to silence them in this climate. Greene often wears a mask with “Free Speech” on it. Yet, they are smack dab in the coalition to silence Cheney simply because she ain’t going along with the plan.

And maybe silencing Cheney is the way to put that final nail in the coffin of the Republican Party as we had come to know it over the past forty to fifty years. It will be worth watching, for both entertainment and, yeah, for the future of governance in the United States for the next fifty.

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BIDEN AT THE CENTURY MARK

Aquarian Weekly
5/7/21

Reality Check

James Campion

BIDEN AT THE CENTURY MARK
The First 100 Days in Our National Recovery

It is going to be difficult to judge this president without gazing through the dismal lens of the last one. Donald Trump was such an ineffectual, downright moronic and haphazard president, anyone who followed him would have an advantage of “not him”-ism. Think of how good a McDonald’s hamburger might taste after a pile of steaming shit – it’s not rib-eye, but it’s sort of edible. This will be Reality Check’s fourth president hitting his first 100 days in office, and the first that will skew the numbers from any semblance of reality. Sure, Joe Biden has a 54-percent approval rating at the century mark, which is below George W. Bush (63-percent) and Barack Obama (62-percent), but way above Trump’s 45-percent. And that was Trump’s four-year high – he was just warming up to suck – but it is hard to know what I am analyzing here. Nevertheless, I’m bound to duty, so let’s do this.

To get the obvious out of the way, Biden is not Trump. When the president used my “house on fire” analogy I had worn out last year during his congressional address this week I had to smile. Because for these first 100 days the most important thing Biden could have done was turn the page, fast. Especially since we are still enduring a pandemic that has taken the lives of a half-million Americans and sunk the economy. All of this was defiantly ignored by his predecessor, especially when Trump lost the election and spent his final three months disappearing to whine or emerging to blather tired bullshit about election rigging, ending his sad tenure with the gathering of lunatics to attack the Capitol. What a merry time of misrule it was.

When I write, Any new administration had to be better, it comes with heavy emphasis, like, ANY NEW ADMINISTRATION HAD TO BE BETTER. And for the first couple of weeks Biden shifted tone, connecting the otherwise abandoned federal government response to Covid-19 with the states to expand testing and get the new vaccines out to as many places as possible, specifically lower-income urban and rural areas, and did things presidents do, like function and not tweet at four am about craziness, embrace foreign despots, deny reality, and lie, lie, lie, and more lying. So, is this success? I guess? It’s not a shit show, so that’s a win.

People who somehow find the temerity to defend the Trump presidency conveniently forget he was hired to wreck shit. On that front, and by that measure, the experiment to send a game show host to run the free world was a rousing success. What revisionist historians try and tell us is this was a form of functioning, like having someone demolition your home and call it redecorating. Biden, on the other hand, is being president. Whether you agree with his policies or ideology is up for grabs, he is actually doing the thing he was elected to do, instead of running the federal government as a vanity project wrapped in criminal activities.

To say the very least, confidence in a functioning president was paramount in late January 2021, and on this count, Biden delivered by quickly undoing much of the damaging silliness of the Trump era by going executive-order crazy. Even supporters of the president realized that this was a speed-train approach, but since Trump mostly altered the terrain through a phalanx of executive orders, this sidewinding method held sway in changing course accordingly.

The other key element of Biden’s first 100 days is his restocking the business of government – the gutted state department, the eviscerated diplomacy tract, politicized justice department, embattled intelligence community, and the use of the national guard to deploy vaccines, etc. (220 million shots in 100 days – he promised 100 million). But this is just doing the job. After the last four years, it is apparently big news.

He is actually doing the thing he was elected to do, instead of running the federal government as a vanity project wrapped in criminal activities.

On the ideological front, Biden’s $1.9 trillion economic rescue package was as progressive and big government as it gets. No Republican would touch it under the hypocritical auspices that it would add to the debt and it was too expensive, all the things they ignored for the four previous years of senseless corporate handouts and tax-cuts. Spending is always suggested in economic crisis, especially one created by the government when shutting it down in the first place, but Biden came in swinging. And if his address to congress is any indication he intends to spend some more. To be fair, again, expanding infrastructure investments was a Trump/GOP edict – roads, bridges, airports, schools, broadband – but once again the $2 trillion price tag is too high for them, and unless Biden can get a couple of his sticky centrist Democratic senators onboard there is likely to be compromise or fancy politicking.

One major cross-political pollination occurred in the final weeks of the century mark for this president; Biden’s decision to remove troops from Afghanistan. There have been both left and right arguments for and against this war since we invaded that country twenty years ago, making it by-far the longest running U.S. military engagement. First, it was a Bush plan (GOP backed), then it was Obama’s inheritance (wait and see, and then wait, and wait and wait some more) for eight years, then Trump went all America-First No More Stupid Wars, but kept it going, despite threatening a few times in his final year to end it, but, ironically, was met this time from Democratic blowback. The Pentagon also weighed in, warning of doom and gloom, but this was expected, since the generals always want war. Keeps them in business. Gives them a reason to exist. Biden, unlike Trump, is old-world. There is more Reagan and Bush in Biden than Trump. Biden is a Cold War vet. He still sees America as the Shining City on the Hill. Devoid of perspective, Trump didn’t see any money is supporting our allies. But for all his bluster and maverick nonsense, four years went by and we were still at war in Afghanistan. Biden wants out.

Not sure what this tells us about a Biden Doctrine. His job for the past 100 days was to get us back in the international game, wipe the egg off our face and put us back into conversations about climate change, international treaties, alliances in Europe and Asia, all left to rot or were sabotaged in the last administration.

One major failure for Biden, he miscalculated the partisan divides in his town. All that “work together” rhetoric revealed he was out of touch. Even his close friends on the other side like Lindsay Graham have long ago sold their commitment to govern for faux heroism in the eyes of the far right. Biden also needs to come to grips with the centrists on Capitol Hill, specifically West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, who has shown more empathy for the Republican caucus than his party’s president. Yet, this should not shy Biden from being bold on his agenda, (national referendum on voting rights to placate the Black vote that put him in the White House and to stem the tide of voter suppression the Republicans seek to stay relevant, for one). Seeing how the weight for 2022 looks to be shifting back to a GOP controlled House and Senate, there is no better time than now.

The mark for Biden’s first 100 days is incomplete. He has shown he can transform and rebuild. He has brought decency and sanity back to the presidency. He has been really liberal (big government solutions) and steadfastly moderate (keeping Trump era immigration regulations in place). He has not yet shown his hand on the refugee crisis at the southern border, which has been punted to the next 100 days, or three and a half years.

But one thing can be said about Joe Biden. He is no Donald Trump.

cmini

And I will take that every day and twice, please, on Sundays.       

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LOW BAR ANOMALY

Aquarian Weekly
4/28/21

Reality Check

James Campion

LOW BAR ANOMALY
Where We Are After Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict

It never ceases to amaze me how a country that celebrates its “exceptionalism” with such sickening fervor continues each year to honor Major League Baseball’s “allowing” an African American to participate in its endeavors after 78 years of existence. The observance of Jackie Robinson Day, this late-arriving moment of racial enlightenment in April of 1947, is a pathetical solemn reminder of our incredibly low bar of enthusiasm for racial-equality progress, especially when considering how deeply engrained systemic racism was/is in our national construct. This level of disgust revisited me this week when the guilty verdict came in on all three counts against Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Some would like to see this as a sign that we have turned the corner on 1) Unchecked police violence against our citizenry, especially our Black citizens or 2) The way our cities and states handle murderous police officers in its wake. But joyous singing in the streets does not change the fact that this outcome is a mere anomaly in a wider issue. To wit: Less than twelve hours after the Chauvin verdict a Black man was shot dead by a cop in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The city has still not released the bodycam footage. Outrage ensued. Protests began. Change non-existent.

We have a loooooonnnnnngggg way to go.

Let’s concentrate on the Chauvin case.

A cop, in broad daylight, and on camera, kneels on a man’s neck for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds. That man, as we all know by now, was George Floyd, perhaps the most famous civil rights martyr since Martin Luther King (and man, there have been an alarming amount of those). Floyd begged for his life on this recording. He repeatedly shouted that he could not breathe, as did Eric Garner in a 2014 Staten Island, New York incident in which he was murdered in broad daylight on camera. Floyd, like Garner, predictably died from not breathing. This time, once again, it took nearly ten minutes. I’m no doctor or prosecutor, but I would think without any other evidence or whatever the poor bastards hired to defend this thug had to cook up to “excuse” it, if someone is doing something this violent to another person for nearly ten minutes, there is a very good chance the perpetrator is working towards killing him. This is as cold-blooded and open-and-shut case as you can get, irrespective of race or civic duty. This was murder.

This legal slam-dunk even forced several fellow officers to turn on Chauvin and do what has been impossible in police circles – officers acting as witnesses to prosecute police crime. Sadly, this was lauded as some kind of heroic act. When in reality it was yet another anomaly in a case jammed with them. Is this going to show cracks in the Silent Blue Wall? Will this change the “closing of ranks”, union blowback, or reduce the stupid Pro-Police No Matter What Crimes They Commit or the usual political intransigence we have seen forever?

I argue no to all those questions. A very confident no.

Granted, the aforementioned Garner case only resulted in the sacking of his murderer, Officer Daniel Pantaleo. But despite prior issues of racism, Pantaleo was the subject of two civil rights lawsuits in 2013 where plaintiffs accused him of falsely arresting and abusing them, including one in which he and other officers allegedly ordered two Black men to strip naked on the street for a search, he saw no jail time for Garner’s death. In fact, he was never indicted. So, if we lower the bar to a spectacular limbo-like level, then, sure, Chauvin actually going to jail for killing a Black man is progress.

Whoopie.

Should we break out into a chorus of “God Bless America” or just throw up?

Less than twelve hours after the Chauvin verdict a Black man was shot dead by a cop in Elizabeth City, North Carolina… We have a loooooonnnnnngggg way to go.

The Chauvin case proves that you need overwhelming, damning, sure-shot evidence that a cop murdered a citizen. What if that young woman with the smart phone doesn’t show up? Anomaly. No other cop on the scene stopped it. They had ten fucking minutes to do it. A lot had to work out for justice. Anomaly. Sometimes it doesn’t. Most times.

A cop shooting someone in the heat of the moment or not making a correct decision with his weapon or even these repeated shootings of unarmed Black men in the back, are not going to shift in the other direction because of the Chauvin verdict. Police and the echo-chamber defense of “any and all” police activity will argue that cops need to have a wider spectrum of violent retribution in order to do their jobs correctly. And if we push too hard against all this racial profiling and murdering then they might not want to be cops.

For instance, in what can only be deciphered as a publicity stunt to cull the goon vote, Amanda Chase, a GOP candidate for Virginia governor, told reporters upon hearing the Chauvin news, “Today’s verdict makes me sick. I am so concerned about our law enforcement right now, quitting. And you should be, too.”

But this has always specious claptrap, which keeps cities and states from weeding out crappy and racist police, of which there are way too many. And the idea that critiquing this is somehow anti-police is another childish retort to common sense. Not liking some foods does not make you an enemy of food.

Sure, celebrating the Chauvin guilty verdict seems like the thing to do, but now what?

Until guilty verdicts for murdering cops becomes the norm, this is just a blip in our systemic issues radar.

And, let’s face it, if this is what we’re congratulating ourselves on – convicting a guy for choking a man for ten minutes on tape – then I’m not even sure anyone has even begun lifting the damn bar.

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AMERICA: THE VIOLENCE PROBLEM

Aquarian Weekly
4/21/21

Reality Check

James Campion

AMERICA: THE VIOLENCE PROBLEM
History, Legacy, Inhumanity & Stupidity 


We are a nation forged in blood. Violence is our thing. America, as stated here time and again, is the great human experiment. And so far, for the past 300,000 or so years of humanity the results have been fairly consistent. We are super-duper violent. And in the freest of national constructs, humanity gets to let it all hang out. And man, we have done a fantastic job of bringing the bang. Since day-one, shit, before day-one, Americans have killed everything and anyone in our path, then expanded that globally, and then when that wasn’t enough, we turned the big stuff on ourselves. Violence is in our political structure, our media, our religions, our neighborhoods, our sports, our hobbies, our obsessions, our songs, our art, our vocabulary, our DNA.

I have written about all of this since this column started in the late summer of 1997. In the first volume of my collected musings, Fear No Art – Observations on the Death of the American Century, there is a piece from 12/9/97, LOVE & HATE that frames it. Since, there have been many revisits here to this American Violence phenomenon. So why bring this up now? We know we like to kill and celebrate killing and make movies about it, video games, all of that stuff. Seems kind of redundant and a little condescending. Or… is it?

Timing is everything in life, as it is in journalism, and especially commentary. And in the last few months, there has been an alarming uptick (that is being kind, it has been a flood) of violence in this country. We were barely through January when the president lost his shit and invited a bunch knuckle-draggers to Washington D.C. to attack the Capitol and threaten the lives of the Vice President, the Speaker of the House, and Capitol Police, a few died, along with other casualties. Welcome to 2021!

Then there is the 147 mass-shooting so far this year.

That is 147 in 106 days.

According to the tally on the Gun Violence Archive 2021 site, there has been 12,406 gun-related deaths in 2021 – 5,410 in the homicide department, 6,996 by suicide and some 9,754 injured. Eighty-seven children have died by the gun so far, 184 injured, and 313 teens (758 injured). It is barely halfway through April. We are on a killing spree folks. Hang on tight.

Of course, we love guns. I get this. We are not going to stop loving guns. I also get this. The gun is a part of the great American experiment. Deal with it. Also, deal with these deaths. It is part of the violence pact we have here. We will be violent, and we will love guns. It is in our national anthem and our constitution. Hard to argue against any of this. Many have tried. The most popular bill ever is the Brady Bill. People mostly want gun control. But they can’t have it. Killing is way more popular.

We are a nation forged in blood. Violence is our thing.

War is the offshoot of our love of high-powered weaponry. We used to be excellent at war. We totally suck at it now. And we spend a lot of blood and treasure to suck at it. We haven’t won a real war since 1945. That is more than a half-century of sucking. But we still love it. Why? Because it is really violent.

The above list of this year’s wild doings does not include the thousands of stabbings, violence in robberies, violent retribution for spurned lovers, dumped spouses, angered friends, upset employees, politically disenfranchised losers, racists, economically despaired loners, and the usual shit – rape, pedophilia, Florida congressmen romps. There is someone killing someone right now as I right this. Actually, a lot of killing.

But what really brings all this home is the violence perpetuated on the citizenry by its police forces. This is especially prevalent in African American communities. For the uninitiated and deaf to all this, it is kind of why there is a Black Lives Matter movement. Not to promote Marxism or as some kind of progressive attack on cops, just shitty, racist ones who kill unarmed Black citizens over and over and over and over and over and over… I have also written about this over and over, especially in the last few years, also bringing to bear the police union, which is the most immovable workforce in the history of any nation. The police unions are so strong their members have free reign to kill, maim, break into homes, beat, choke, and generally manhandle any of us with zero retribution. It is pretty much a Gestapo Force. Nah, it is a Gestapo Force.

Just last week about a short hop and a skip from where George Floyd was murdered by a Minneapolis cop, who is currently on trial there, there was yet another shooting of an unarmed Black man. You can’t make this up. You wouldn’t. In fact, you should expect it.

So, I wouldn’t say we have a gun problem, or a cop problem, or even a systemic racist per se. What we have here is an American Violence Problem. We’ve learned to live and die with it. Like we will with pollution, bad television, the homeless, NFL and soon Covid-19.

Those are just symptoms of the grand human experiment.

America, this is our virus.

Violence.

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LET’S TALK FILIBUSTER

Aquarian Weekly
3/31/21

Reality Check

James Campion

LET’S TALK FILIBUSTER

In all cases where justice or the general good might require new laws to be passed, or active measures to be pursued, the fundamental principle of free government would be reversed. It would be no longer the majority that would rule: the power would be transferred to the minority. Were the defensive privilege limited to particular cases, an interested minority might take advantage of it to screen themselves from equitable sacrifices to the general weal, or, in particular emergencies, to extort unreasonable indulgences.
– Federalist Papers, Publius
(Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay)

This is the fun time in American politics. The gloves are off. And when the gloves come off, the real fighting begins. None of this namby-pamby jab and parry. This is gut-punch and chin-shot time. True politics as blood sport. How it was drawn up. If the Republicans are going to use the rules available to ram a Supreme Court justice to a vote with weeks left until a national election after taking ten months to avoid a vote before a previous presidential election, because simply, they had the power, then it stands to reason that the Democrats are contemplating blowing up the current automaton filibuster rule to get things done on their end. They have the power.

Simple math.

Who has the most votes?

Democracy in action. Like the forefathers wished it and put down in writing. It’s all in the Federalist Papers. Shut off the TV, turn off talk radio, silence the blogs, vlogs and podcasts, chuck the slogans, give up your marching signs, and read the fucking thing. It’s chock full of America in there. Real America, not this nonsense we’re dealing with today. It is the foundation for whatever we supposedly celebrate in all our “exceptionalism”. And man, does it hate letting the minority make calls.

And that is where the rubber hits this particular road.

Firstly, let’s make it plain; the filibuster as presently constituted is against the fair rule of democracy. I use fair not in the sense that “life is fair”, because it most certainly is not. If it were, we wouldn’t need a Federalist Papers or the Constitution, or 600,000 wouldn’t have had to die to free humans from slavery. It is a failsafe, as Messrs. Hamilton, Madison and Jay surmised, to muck up the system if abused. And it has been abused more in the last decade than at any time since the antiquated rule emerged during an 1806 parliamentary procedure. For most of the next 150 years it was barely broached, save the Southern Democrats and most Republicans who used it to try and stop the Civil Rights Act, because, you know, Black people and rights has always been our disconnect. Lawmakers saw a problem and battled it out. The idea of simply blocking something on “principle” was not the issue. If you wanted to stop something, like say, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, then you had to make your points, stand your ground, vote your conscience and the will of your constituency, and live with the consequences. See Doris Kearns Goodwin’s’ magnificent Team of Rivals or check out Steven Spielberg’s brilliant film based on it, Lincoln for a slice of the true American nightmare of legislation.

The problem is, and here is where our 2021 edition of Let’s Talk Filibuster comes in, the Republican Party is in deep shit. It is losing its majority nationwide. Most of its electoral strength comes from gerrymandering counties in states and dominating deep red states in the Great Northwest or the South. They need to curtail voting ubiquity. Since taking a shellacking in November, some states like Georgia are passing or poised to pass restrictive voting laws ostensibly to keep minorities from having access to drop boxes or voting on Sundays when they go a-churchin’, along with other fancy elements of suppression like making it illegal to hand out water on voting lines. That’s right. Illegal to hand out water. The design is to kill voting, hence helping the minority party keep the numbers down in order to win. Classic political maneuvering. The Democrats, who are in the federal driver’s seat want to, of course, keep the demographic progression of the voting block flowing in their direction. A new bill just ripped through the Dem-controlled House that will override these new measures.

And now it is the Senate’s turn. And even though the Democrats have a majority in both houses of Congress and the presidency, here comes the filibuster, an automatic stoppage to vote by proxy, not physical oratory, discussion, debate or rhetoric. In other words, democracy under siege. Of course, it is highly debatable – if there were anything close to such an animal in the Senate – whether this new bill is constitutional. But that won’t be discovered legally or otherwise unless this automatic filibuster is eliminated, and we get to vote on it.

This is gut-punch and chin-shot time. True politics as blood sport.

Eliminating this anti-democratic caveat in the system is seen as a nuclear option – not sure why, if you read the Federalist Papers or care a lick about the origins of American democracy. But let’s say you don’t, and you just want to stop the other party from getting the mandate they acquired by the vote in November; then you hide behind the current filibuster.

Now, there is another side to this. So juicy. It means the perception will be – not unlike the one-sided ram-though Affordable Care Act vote of 2009 – that this is a power grab by Democrats to tip the playing field, much that crazy shit Republicans pulled earlier this year that led to the insurrection on the Capitol. Apparently, those who perpetuated it now call it satire, that they were only kidding, the election was not stolen. But it is merely a wonderfully entertaining but shameful survival tactic to avoid lawsuits and prison. But be that as it may nixing the filibuster, which doesn’t even have enough Dem votes, means there will be a political price to pay for Democrats, and certainly, as noted above, there is a very good chance this new Voting Rights Law, if it should make a majority vote, will be vehemently challenged in every possible court.

But hell, the ACA and the Patriot Act are still going strong, so fuck it.

And so, what to do about the filibuster as it is currently administered in the grand scheme of lawmaking?

When you hear the bell, come out swinging.

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ANDREW CUOMO ON THE BRINK

Aquarian Weekly
3/17/21

Reality Check

James Campion

ANDREW CUOMO ON THE BRINK
N.Y. Governor Clings to Power in Doomland


As I write this, the governor of New York Andrew Cuomo is being besieged with requests to resign. First, he endured a scandal regarding his administration’s hiding of Covid-19 casualties in state run facilities and more recently a phalanx of women have accused him of several haughty to criminal levels of sexual harassment. Most people reading this column and familiar with the previous dunce who just left the White House may consider these stains to be the perfect training ground for a presidential run, but Cuomo is a Democrat, and it’s been a long time since Big Bill Clinton’s wild days of forgive-me fornication. The Me Too movement is now calling the shots in the Democratic Party, and what is considered “Locker Room Humor” or “Boys Being Boys” in Republican circles is anathema around these parts. Therefore, Cuomo’s reign is hanging by a thread.

The question posed to me for the past week has been Cuomo’s lack of seriousness with the idea of quitting. This does not surprise me. I expect him to dig in. This is in his nature, and it is not for us to argue it. It’s a Darwinian imperative for Cuomo. 

Firstly, the man is a political animal, not merely a comedian trying his hand at governing, like former Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who went from yukking it up on Saturday Night Live to the big chamber in D.C., and after enduring an infinitesimal sexual harassment grievance compared to Cuomo’s, exited his post in shame. This kind of moral thinking is beyond Cuomo. His father was a legendary NY bestial marauder, and his offspring is just as hairy. He will not go quietly, if at all, in my humble estimation.

And this is not just cynicism on my part. As of late this week, the governor still enjoys a majority of support among New York voters and a much larger portion in the party. This is akin to Donald Trump’s stellar support among Republicans despite his bevy of irrational lunacy and criminal behavior, two impeachments and inciting an insurrection. Politics is not about morality or values, and it sure as hell isn’t about weird idyllic notions like America. It is about power: Getting power and hanging onto power. Cuomo already nailed the first one, twice. The second, always the trickier of the two, is now on the table. This is when true politicos go to the numbers. If the numbers hold (Trump and Clinton) you remain steady and hope things blow over, and if they don’t (Richard Nixon) you bail.

Speaking of “the blow over” the irony of the Me Too movement is that it may have rattled cages and given credence to those who wish to overcome social inequities and fear of reprisals to come forth and tell their stories, but in truly high-profile cases – outside of Hollywood, where it has wreaked havoc – it has gone belly up. Trump skated through more than a dozen of these things, including bragging about assaulting women, before he was elected, and a Supreme Court Judge was confirmed despite the horror of the accusations against him by a woman brave enough to come forward.

In this climate, where rhetoric and shocking headlines may have some pull, once the dead end and now merely a speed bump for politicians, why should Cuomo quit?

Politics is not about morality or values, and it sure as hell isn’t about weird idyllic notions like America. It is about power.

And lest we forget, and I shan’t because I watched it up close, my dear friend, former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, who was defeated by Cuomo in 2014, tried to alert voters of Albany’s corruption excused by the then incumbent. That summer, Cuomo summarily disbanded his own high-powered Moreland Commission to root out corruption in state politics once they began sniffing into his campaign finance issues. The whole thing stunk to high heaven. Cuomo was re-elected.

Again, in this climate, with the power and promise of two generations of Cuomo politicians, the absolutely joke of repercussions for previous political figures and sexual harassment, and the numbers in his favor, why would a craven lifer give up the most powerful governorship in the most powerful state in the union? The type of creature Cuomo is does not bend to the outcry of editorial pages or Twitter. Even his party bows to his resistance. He’s in charge. Giving that up is a tough gig. You had better have the votes to oust him. The party and/or the state government will likely have to step up and impeach Cuomo, and if the votes are there, he will go, if not, as with The Donald, then he will ride this out.

Here’s the deal; Cuomo’s career is toast, he knows it. He was the toast of America during the pandemic, despite complaints from inside his administration of grandstanding. Many in the party wanted him to run for president. Ahhh, but the same brutal acumen that makes him what kind of mutant he is, lets him know that it’s over now. He’s not a moron like Trump. He sees the writing on the wall. I see Cuomo more as a political shapeshifter like Clinton or a Kennedy, someone who gets that by quitting you just give into the enemy and mark your legacy for all times as a quitter. When we think of LBJ now, do we think of the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act or Viet Nam or the Kennedy Assassination? I argue we don’t. He’s the guy who quit rather than to defend his legacy at the ballot box. He’s a quitter. And that is worse in the political sphere that Cuomo runs in than pinching a woman’s ass.

If grabbing pussy gets you to the White House, then Cuomo is going to stay put.

The scum, as Hunter S. Thompson so eloquently put it once, also rises.  

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THE POLITICS OF MONEY

Aquarian Weekly
3/10/21

Reality Check


James Campion

THE POLITICS OF MONEY
The $1.9 Trillion Stimulus Bill – A Perspective

Children should be left an abundance of awe rather than gold.
– Plato, Republic 375 bce

As the proposed $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill bumps its way through the congressional sausage factory, it is important to envision it as a pinball (do people play pinball anymore, I used to love it) bouncing from one legislator to another, traversing quasi-ideologies, ringing up talking points and making noise with cable news hosts, editorial pages, and finally the public at large. No one involved has argued we need something. The argument is for how much, and, of course, since this is politics, who will win the day, the week, the next news cycle. People are still hurting. Businesses, even if opened in states like Texas and Florida, have already endured heartache and will be courting wary customers whose trust in politicians is shaken. Can you blame them? They’ve been repeatedly lied to about the severity of the virus, its statistical results, and anything to do with this ongoing pandemic. This is a very important piece of economic legislation that will affect us all one way or the other and it has devolved into the usual D.C. donnybrook.

You would expect, and if you do, you must be pretty naïve, that some manner of solemnity might be displayed by lawmakers in these grave times, instead of shameless grandstanding for extra perks, half-baked doomsaying, or parliamentary shenanigans, but, alas, this has not come to pass. This has already taken far too long, as the looming deadline of mid-March when much of the federal government’s protections for unemployment benefits and eviction immunity go bye-bye. Time is of the essence, but so is politics.
The most important element is this “fight” is the electorate, or it should be. As of this writing, the steady and overwhelming popularity of President Biden’s bill stands at 77%. And considering we can’t get 77% of people to agree that Biden is actually president, it is a truly remarkable number. Shit, 59% of Republicans want the package passed, even if it includes the fifteen-dollar minimum wage hike, which frankly should not be part of this, and due to a ruling by Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough last week, it shan’t. Doubling the pay of millions of Americans cannot be tacked onto a relief bill. It is silly. Nice try, Democrats. I give them a gold star for trying. Surprised Republicans didn’t try to tack on another billion for defense spending.

So, this thing is wildly popular everywhere, even in deep red strongholds around the country. Making it rather curious and courageous (maybe suicidal is more on point?) that zero Republicans have signed on. Many Democrats signed onto the first of these last year when the pandemic hit. This worked out for them politically. The last guy to hold the presidency became the first since Herbert Hoover to lose his gig, the House and the Senate in one term. But, alas, they are taking the “Not If This Guy Proposes It” road. Risky, but mostly consistent. This explains a week of debating the Dr. Seuss canon.

What’s the point of all those taxes we pay for in the first place?

As for Democrats, they are predictably getting slammed from the further reaches of the left for the Senate’s messing with the economic parameters of who will receive the all-important $1,400 checks from the IRS, who, we all agree, have enough of our money to begin with. Despite much consternation in that chamber, it will nevertheless send the bill back to the House for review and passing, then onto Biden to sign and have the money flowing by April. Important for two reasons; Tax Day is a-comin’ and the aforementioned deadlines loom.

One talking point that falls rather flat for me is this constant haranguing from the minority party about Biden’s campaign claims to work across the aisle to get things done. This was always bullshit. Good bullshit, because it rid us of the grand game show dunce, but no one, not even Biden thought Republicans were going to help him do anything. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has dug deep into partisanship. It is his sweet spot now. What else does he have left? He is despised from all sides. Even those who voted for him did so reluctantly, probably motivated by Jesus and guns, and now that he’s taken to trashing the former president as treacherous imbecile, it has eradicated what’s left of the core support of the new and disabused Republican Party.

This ain’t on McConnell anyway. All that rooting for the Georgia run-off elections to go the Democrats way came to pass. They have the ball, and they have to stop pretending they don’t. They also have to cease considering the crashing and burning of the system like eradicating the filibuster is somehow “out of bounds”. There is no such thing anymore. Burning the system is in vogue. What’s good for the proverbial goose is… well, really good for the geese with the gavel. We are through some twenty-first century looking glass now, in fact, I’m not even sure the mirror is still intact. I thought I heard it shatter when the executive branch instructed a mob to attack the legislative branch after months of creating dangerous fictions. This is the framework the 116^th congress works within, not some pollyannaish nostalgia that never existed. If Lincoln had waited for decorum slavery would have gone on for another century or more.
The most laughable of angles is discussing the deficit. No one anywhere gives a shit about this anymore. It is  passé, like music on MTV or Evangelicalism. Party is over for that debate. There’s a better chance heroin is legalized, and Harvey Weinstein makes movies again than anything resembling legislation to pare down the national debt. This used to be a GOP thing, but the glaring evidence of the drunken spending of the previous administration sealed the deal. Glad everyone is on board with my mantra; “Fuck the Children”. It feels good to write it. Say it out loud. It works the spine. Better than yoga and tantric sex. Okay, let’s not get nuts. Nothing is better than sex. Least of all stimulus checks.

But things are dire and the dire has reached a saturation point. Time to poop or get off the proverbial pot. This is what the people want, and the people have spoken, and get to speak again by the end of next year. Vaccines are rolling along at a swift pace and an actual functioning human is running things. Next step is to get this money out there; open up the schools with protections for teachers and kids, support for shuttered businesses, provide greater testing and increased delivery of the good stuff. This should have been done months ago. What’s the point of all those taxes we pay for in the first place?

Hell, Rush Limbaugh is dead. Things are looking up.

Let’s get on this.

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THE LONE STAR STATE DISASTER

Aquarian Weekly
2/24/21

Reality Check

James Campion

THE LONE STAR STATE DISASTER
Rugged Individualism Meets God’s Wrath & Loses


In a 9/15/05 column in this space titled “The Big Desperate: New Orleans Drowns It’s Poor and Huddled Masses”, I opined on the concept of self-preservation after one of the most devastating hurricanes to hit the continental U.S. in decades. My general rambling point was that too many politicians and officials, and quite frankly residents, ignored major issues with the woefully insufficient levies, despite decades of warnings and previous damaging floods. Then Hurricane Katrina came along, and we all know how that worked out. I didn’t necessary “defend” the Bush administration’s dormant response to it – which was so bad we still refer to a president’s fuck up in a crisis now as “His Katrina Moment” – but I did mention that ignoring probable dangers in lieu of profits, getting elected, or finding affordable housing in a flood zone, will most likely lead to homelessness and drowning. And expecting those same systemic abnormalities to come to the rescue when the poop hits the proverbial fan seems kind of naive. This is what’s currently going on in Texas, where, ironically, the very same George W. Bush had been governor for four years.

Texas is run more than any state as a separate entity to the rest of the country. It’s been their “thing” since they stole the land from Spain, who stole it from Mexico. Even their bullshit “Remember the Alamo” story is another in a long line of American revisions: Illegal land barons trapped by angered landowners refusing to vacate the filched property they had zero rights to and are summarily slaughtered, ostensibly committing suicide, suddenly become heroically martyred symbols of frontier spirit. We’re good at nonsense history like this; changing the villain/hero dynamic to fit our national conscience. Our history books are jammed with this crap. Our children are still taught it. It is an abomination. Leads to voting for game show hosts and believing elections are stolen.

But I digress.

The Texas mantra has been to run things in the Lone Star State tradition of self-reliant, rugged individualism. This is being sorely tested by a once in a generation winter storm that has eviscerated a singular grid system running ninety percent (90%!!!!!) of the state. And, to make matters worse, the company running the system has zero standby plans for emergencies, causing electricity prices to skyrocket during the crisis.

Texas and its snowy crisis have become both the symbol and the epicenter of political haranguing.

The perfectly named Electric Reliability Council of Texas, (ERCOT) collapsed this week because it was not remotely designed or equipped to deal with this shit. The extreme freezing temperatures and unusual snow falls are not as re-occurrent as floods in New Orleans, but the ERCOT monopoly is complete, and it is currently fucking thousands of Texas residents, many of whom were and still without power since this happened some days ago; burst pipes, no water or food, Texans living in their cars and freezing or burning furniture to survive. It is a post-apocalyptic nightmare down there. And it was their choice; or at least the choice of the politicians and the system they created on a myth.

This “choice” (and I assume not everyone’s opinion was considered in this perpetual cowboy fantasy) to live in a singular grid free of federal oversight and regulation was met with (shockingly) a tone-deaf response from Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Instead of shouldering the blame, as he should in his position, Abbott took to the conservative airwaves to warn us all about a Green New Deal and somehow blaming the ten percent of the rest of the state’s energy concerns on solar wind turbines or Karl Marx and Hollywood.

Whatever spurious excuses and political falderal the faltering Abbott offered appeared less about reviewing the systemic mistakes made over decades of ignoring the facts, and more about Texas’s liberal sacred cows like Beto O’Rourke cravenly taking the crisis opportunity to attach this to climate change and the refusal of former Governor Rick Perry (another idiot) to expand Medicaid, leaving about five million residents without health insurance, including an estimated 625,000 children.

But none of this is the actual issue here. Texas has a plan: Do Not Have Anything To Do With Anything Beyond Our Borders. And that plan works for them, until it doesn’t, and now it isn’t. Over twenty souls (so far) have gone to meet their maker as a result. This is a surprise, how? What happened to “Every man for himself means every man for himself – in good times and bad?” This is how it goes. You make your choice, and you live with it. Shit, take Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who shuffled off to sunny Cancun with his family this week while people froze to death in his district. This is a man who fully understands the Texas Edict. “There’s really nothing I could do, anyway,” he said, before he made up some stories about his kids and then rushed back amid a belligerent outcry against his doing “The Texas Thing”. Cruz is not the problem; it is the system that created him and the constituents who make him a senator against their best interests.

To wit: Have you seen the Texas/Arkansas border photo yet? It shows what is literally called Stateline Boulevard, a border road that divides Texas and Arkansas, and the Arkansas side is cleared and plowed and the Texas side is buried in snow.

That is the Texas Plan. Good for them. Now what? Let’s see if they have what it takes to get out from under it.

What I ask is; what happens in its wake? It is very interesting politically. Texas has been trending blue for three election cycles now. There is a groundswell of new residents and larger cities with bigger international interests that think “Go It Alone” is not good for business. And business greases the wheels of America and thus, American politics. Texas and its snowy crisis have become both the symbol and the epicenter of political haranguing.

The very future of The Lone Star ideology, and more importantly for the rest of us, American politics for generations will emerge from it.

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