BIDENOMICS

Aquarian Weekly
7/12/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
BIDENOMICS
The Dangers of Owning the Wild Beast 

Economics is not a science. It is certainly not a religion. To study it, parse it, analyze it points the way to madness. But owning it is a dangerous game. The Bengal tiger in the brush. Stay in the boat, the man said. And he was right. Because the thing in the dark has fangs and a passionate hunger. Taming it is a recipe for gouging and gnawing of flesh. To think about the results of you in the jungle with God’s perfect killing machine is not for me or you or the poor bastard running the Treasury Department to fathom. Some of this nation’s best and brightest have slunk slack-jawed in defeat from its considerable shadow. Boastful yuppies in power ties end up on the wrong end of a swinging rope. Lives and reputations end in tatters. Weeping the order of the day. Yeah, it’s best to let it be.

I have written very little about economics. There is a reason. I am afraid of it. There is this hoary thought in my head that once I finish this sentence most of the money I have in the bank and whatever ghostly form it takes in the stock market will go the way of the hoola-hoop and rock music. I will be left with fond memories and a cot in the poor house. And that is after one sentence. Given the choice of finishing this paragraph or going back to writing about politics or society or even sports and art is not a choice but a redeeming factor to my existence. And yours. We’re all in this together.

But having written all the above, I will attempt to report on the current economy here, which by all indications is showing two signs – fucking gangbusters and edge of disaster. Statistics, as stated already, are less than meaningless. Ask the guy sleeping on the street as your stepping over him. But statistically, all indicators are that we have roared back from the sinkhole of 2020. Even inflation has been halved. A year ago, we and world were at nine percent. Today we are at four, the world still at nine percent. That’s fucking amazing. America currently owns the most robust post-pandemic economy of any G7 nation. And with halving inflation, unemployment is at lows that you’d only have seen if you had a gig in 1969. I was six most of that year. My gig was electric football, the Jackson 5 cartoon, and choosing peanut butter and jelly for lunch. And we’re at some kind of record number of months of payroll increases and job growth as well. Consumer confidence is at a ten-year high. They tell me the GDP is crawling but doing so in the right direction.

In the economic jungle, we’re all stupid. Or tiger chow.

Of course, this brought our president out of his hermetically sealed chamber last week to tout it. And why not? He got the Inflation-Reduction Act through Congress, along with an era-defining Chips Act. A bi-partisan infrastructure bill was also done and done. He worked with the crazies in the Republican Party to avoid dogging on our bills a few months back. If his predecessor had done half of this, he’d be doing a victory lap while eating hamburgers, but not too strenuously, because he’s dangerously obese and mightn’t have lived otherwise. But there would be band-beating tweets aplenty to be sure.

But Joe Biden, with his paltry 40-percent approval rating absolutely should be reminding people that we’re in the midst of the third verse of “Happy Days are Here Again.” But I remind him, he is playing a scary game. Owning an economy that is precarious at best is mumblety peg with a hunting knife high on meth. The same indicators that ring the bells, and Wall St. hinted at it yesterday by shedding over 500-points, also toll the bad ones. If interest rates are jacked again, even with a booming housing market, there may be no stopping a late 2023 to early 2024 recession. How hard a recession matters to who is viewing it, whether you root for the fascists or the domestic socialists. The fascists dream of the nation to be plunged into darkness so Jesus can save us from the drag queens and the Mexicans. The domestic socialists want more money for more taxes to get us more government stuff, like college debt relief or free electric cars.

A rolling economy can bring confusing signs that come from the strangest places. And what emerges from those places is someone’s business, as Patti Smith once mused, but not mine.

For kicks, Biden used the moment to shat on Ronald Reagan’s most infamous boondoggle, Trickle Down Economics. A tale of fine yacht enthusiasts tossing their crumbs to the middle class to allow their parade of malfeasance and land rape. Thus, the president’s reference to the high times now as Bidenomics. In fact, he leaned into it as a way to prove that unfettered capitalism and hoping rich people and corporations pitch favors to Johnny Lunchpail, which for the record has NEVER happened in the history of humankind, was always a pile of elitist claptrap. Ground up economics, of which Biden also noted, though, is not a thing. There is no money down there. No one has or will ever care about the worker bees deep in debt and paying the piper for our share, whatever slice that is allowed.

But, again, I don’t know fuck-all about economics, and don’t want to know, but things are so sunny these days even the bleating corpse of Larry Kudlow was singing its praises. The very man who quit a cushy TV job lying about the economy to make up numbers for Donald Trump, so he could sell whatever clusterfuck was going on before January of 2021 as “the best economy is American history” while swearing they weren’t tea-bagging the rich’s ample testicles and leaving the rest of us to suck air is left to admit this baby is cruising.

I would normally apologize for such cheap and vulgar symbolism, but I’m writing about economics. This is my point in a nutshell. I once asked an assistant for celebrated economist and former chairman of the federal reserve Allen Greenspan for his thoughts on Quantitative Easing and he went on for twenty minutes about how to remove a cock ring from your molars.

Look, I am sure things are going swimmingly now, and if this was the summer of 2024, the politics of this would be a slam dunk. But we are so far removed from that we could have seventy shifts in the economic winds by the autumn of 2024 when the country decides to hand the operation over to either a domestic terrorist or a 100-year-old man. But the whole thing is a jinx. And I shan’t be touching this subject for another decade of so. It’s safer eviscerating the stupid.

In the economic jungle, we’re all stupid.

Or tiger chow.

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MARION GORDON “PAT” ROBERTSON – 1930 – 2023

Aquarian Weekly
6/21/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
MARION GORDON “PAT” ROBERTSON – 1930 – 2023

I could not let last week’s passing of Pat Robertson go by without comment. He was a monster, a gutless bigot and purveyor of dumbness. He lived on a razor’s edge of sinister clothed in the evilest of vocations, profiting off fear and delusion. This did not make him a monster per se, even though he represented the most grotesque forms of the Christian disease. No, con men and carnies are a dime a dozen. This is what makes America thrive – feeding off the weak and desperate. We have no economy without dupes and predators. Nope. Robertson is a monster because he will be remembered for being the gateway drug to anti-intellectualism under the guise of holy order, a war against reason, freedom, and individualism traded in for a cult. And not just his Christian Broadcasting Network, or the 700 Club, or the dead-eyed gaggle of the emotionally damaged sycophants that flocked to them, but the Cult of America – knee-jerk hate nurtured from an irrational intolerance against fellow humans under the auspices of God’s will. The philosophy of systemic persecution that leads courts and congress to strike down personal sovereignty by citing superstition and voodoo. Roberson was a voodoo master. One of the worst examples of the hazardous virus of humanity. And now he is dead, and that is a cause to celebrate, as if felling Hitler or smallpox.

Unfortunately, his fumes live on.

Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson was a failure long before he ever shat upon the vox populi. Like most hucksters, he sucked at everything beside being a “preacher,” which is someone who blathers about things they cannot comprehend to fill voids in people frightened by life. Their weapon is conjecture. They take opaque reverences in the text of ancient cultures and interpret them to fulfill their agenda, then sell it as dime-store salvation. Preachers create a propagandized movement from random musings and once they see what sticks, they just slather on their own bullshit to complete the con. In a nutshell, this was Robertson’s schtick. He knew he was a serial liar, but the kick is he was happy to be so. Some people like to hump the darkness, they get off on the grift. It sustains them. The dung beetle is a content creature. Robertson lived in shit, his mind was a cesspool, his clogged with sewage. He drained them nightly on television. For money. And fame. Big cars. Fist-fucks. And worship. Every time he smiled into a camera, he endeavored to topple another pillar of America’s secure construct of secular democracy and replace it with his voodoo theology. Nice work if you can get it.

Things got real for the rest of us once Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States and let the wolf into the henhouse. Reagan’s trip jived with Robertson’s. These were men most comfortable cloaked in the myths of the White Man, the old Manifest Destiny and American Exceptionalism afforded to the few. Reagan hoped Robertson could bring in his evangelical flock to control the national narrative by suggesting that people stop evolving, stop reading, ignore AIDS, ignore Iran Contra, police brutality, immigrant hazing, pedophile priests and worship at the Cult of America. They worked together to normalize voodoo as a national treasure, close the collective mind and smile.

It was antiquated vengeance, an attempt to stop our cultural renaissance organically derived from generations of great artists and denizens of truth. An era of quite literal white-washing – the lie of the shining city on the hill with a mansion only inhabited by Christian gun-toting, Bible-thumping ignoramuses. They were Darwin’s runts. The last puppy to the teat. Miserable mange and black organs. A B-movie Roger Corman slaughter-fest of twentieth century thought burned at the stake and tossed back into the dark ages.

In order to complete this transition to the Cult, Reagan and Robertson needed for us to thrive in stupid – squash feminism as a threat to a theocratic order, suppress art as pornography and music as delinquency, sexual freedom as smut and free speech as dangerous. These are the forebearers of what we see today in the wrecked Republican Party of cultists and MAGA drones. Do not read, do not seek truth, do not live in reality. Hide your head, call the “other” out, save the nation from the hordes. Up is down. Wrong is right. When the myth is obliterated deny it and shout from the roof that the messiah has risen and storm the capitol and murder the infidels.

Well, Pat Robertson ain’t rising. There is no messiah for the anti-Christ, just the long black veil, the hooded reaper, and the tolling bells. Ring them loudly. Because although one disease has been eradicated there are more, and they are coming. We are infected with the preacher’s Cult and it is a growing virus, seducing our worst tendencies, idiosyncratic pestilence, a marching order of the perpetually ignorant.

Keep us stupid, buy the voodoo, vote against our interests, and live the myths.

This is the legacy of the monster. He’s not under your bed. He’s on your TV, bubba, he’s running for president, he runs Florida and Texas, he has giant flags on his pick-up truck and shames single moms and trans kids, bans books, and wants your money and your nation’s soul.

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THE UNITED STATES V. DONALD J. TRUMP

Aquarian Weekly
6/14/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
THE UNITED STATES V. DONALD J. TRUMP
 

Get used to this.

The former president of the United States and remarkably the leading Republican candidate for the job again is racking up quite a dark resume and it shows no signs of slowing down. A lifelong criminal with dozens of civil settlements for millions of dollars and convictions on dubious to outright felonious real estate scams, Donald Trump has now become the first ex-president to be officially indicted by the U.S. government. He is facing seven counts of federal crimes including obstruction of justice (his favorite) and running afoul of the Espionage Act. Details on the other counts have yet to be confirmed, but likely will by the time he turns himself in this coming Tuesday. This is the cherry (for now) on top of a shit parfait that has rendered him arguably the greatest enemy of the state since Osama bin laden.

And that is quite an achievement for a one-term presidential failure. We usually forget these people – Jimmy Carter’s malaise and George H. W. Bush’s cluelessness. Despite it being hardly shocking, considering his deeply checkered past, this is still a walking disaster worthy of top-shelf infamy, even for Trump, who I assured his supporters within minutes of his unlikely 2016 victory that it merely began the countdown to impeachment and arrest. Correct and correct. I’m good. Or I pay attention. There was little chance Trump wouldn’t have ended up two steps from jail the second he descended that escalator at Trump Tower.

I am still not sure why a man whose entire professional life has been continuous fraud backed up by a panoply of lies would open himself up to the rule of law and media scrutiny laid at the feet of presidents. He was so comfy in New York ripping off construction firms, bribing officials, assaulting women, evading taxes, and impersonating people defending him on talk radio. There was always a chance he might get fined, or his accountants and lawyers would go to prison (all of it has happened), but he wouldn’t be where he finds himself today – in the crosshairs of the United States.

But the man can’t help himself. And there is certainly no one around him who can step in. He is fat Elvis working his way to face-down on the toilet carpet, General Custer riding into Little Bighorn, Mike Tyson hitting the canvas in Japan against someone named Buster Douglas. Hubris doom. A ticking timebomb of stupid. A willing victim of his own vanity.

In entertainment there is the EGOT – winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. Trump has that beat. He has committed treason, domestic terrorism, racketeering, all manner of fraud, and is now accused of essentially being a spy. Pretty soon Georgia will weigh in on his fake electors and trying to bully its officials and governor to “find me eleven-thousand votes” for his failed 2020 campaign, and the Department of Justice will come calling again for his inviting insurrectionists to the Capitol and openly inciting them to attempt to corrupt the electoral process, murder the speaker of the house and vice president, and kill police.

Donald Trump is becoming the Babe Ruth of political crime. He is the Meryl Streep of malfeasance. Call him the Mozart of scandal or the Jimi Hendrix of indignity.

But maybe he’s more like Michael Myers of Halloween, an unnatural demon that cannot be felled. Especially among the fascist Republican Party, many of whom are stinking up our congress and leapt to his defense yesterday. These include among many others current Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy and all-time Trump butt-sniffer, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, as Trump predictably turned the home cameras on for his Truth Social to cry foul and whip off his greatest hits; “rigged” and “witch hunt.” These people are in for the long haul, which means Trump will be the Republican nominee (currently leading 53% to 21% over his closest rival) whether he is convicted or not.

Every one of these people coming to his aid knows he could have avoided this so easily. He is correct that both his former vice president Mike Pence (also now running for president) and Joe Biden (our current commander-in-chief), took classified documents out of the White House and escaped prosecution. That’s because they are not insane. Normally in these cases the benefit of doubt is applied if the suspect cooperates, which both men did. Trump instead decided to first deny he had documents of any kind. Then he ignored subpoenas to give over said documents, and when a Florida judge granted a warrant and dozens of these docs were uncovered by FBI agents, he claimed (and still claims) that he had a right to them. He does not. Hence seven counts.

He is the Meryl Streep of malfeasance.

This is what we call in the parlance of reality (unfamiliar territory to Trump and his cabal), self-inflicted wounds. All of it could have been avoided, if Trump wasn’t raised as a rich, spoiled brat who has been told his whole life and rubber-stamped by gullible and desperate voters six years ago that he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. He turned America into Trump Enterprises for four miserable years, and he is still wrecking shit, but this time it is Republican shit and his own shit, and he is going down for it.

Now, if I were to defend Trump politically, he has some runway. This is Biden’s justice department. Trump is likely going to run against him next year. Trump is still selling the “deep state” robbery of the 2020 election. He can say, and is already saying, this is a weaponized DOJ trying to oust him from his 2024 candidacy this time around. The current Attorney General Merrick Garland has this job because he was denied his vote to become a supreme court justice by hack Republicans, an appointment which would likely have saved women’s sovereign from the current politically damaged SCOTA, but now is using his backup gig to fuck Trump. He can say it is a personal anti-Republican agenda. Vengeance. Trump’s personal playbook. He can also say the trial is taking place in Florida. Who runs Florida? The next guy up if Trump goes bye-bye, Governor Ron DeSantis. You see, once Trump declared his candidacy, he slid into the guise of a candidate making everything political. That is a measly but justifiable defense in the vox populi but holds zero H2O in court.

Many on the right are buying much of the above and are currently being bilked for money as a fundraising ploy, another addiction Trump cannot break. But none of that matters once a jury convenes in Florida and he is on trial and must leave his fancy propaganda and political machinations behind. Soon he becomes one man versus the U.S.

The United States versus Donald J. Trump has been going on for six years now. It is officially going to play out in a court of law and not OAN.

Next!

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BIPARTISAN BIDEN & THE DEBT CEILING MIRACLE

Aquarian Weekly
6/7/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
BIPARTISAN BIDEN & THE DEBT CEILING MIRACLE
In a Time of Deep Divide, Congress and the White House Shock Us All

Now, I am not a big fan of the current president, but he does represent the only party left not trying to lead us into fascism, so I guess I support him. It’s not unlike supporting the kid with his finger in the dam – don’t really know him, don’t care what kind of shoes he wears or his taste in music – just keep your finger in there, buddy, or we’re drowning. But I must give the guy his due. Like Rudy Giuliani thirty years ago when he ran for NYC mayor and promised to clean up the streets, I guffawed heartily at Biden when he kept saying on the 2020 campaign trial that he would work “across the aisle” to get things done, dissimilar to his previous two predecessors, who seemed to go their own way on things. That autumn, the nation Biden hoped to lead was as politically divided as it has been in my lifetime, and it appeared it was merely the usual falderal to get him to the top spot where there would be more hemming and hawing, name calling, and expected gridlock.

Well, after this miraculous fair and equitable political détente that kept the country from economic crisis this week with the conjuring and passing of an agreement (an agreement!) between disparate political parties to extend the debt ceiling for another two years (after the 2024 election), Biden appears to be a seer. However, this was not an isolated event. Nope. This highly unlikely coming together of unlike minds added to the president’s many (again, when considering Obama and Trump) bipartisan accomplishments. It is fair to say Joe Biden was and is not fucking around on this “working across the aisle” thing.

Since being sworn in, and for two years with a Democratic Congress and Senate at his disposal, Biden managed to corrall Republicans to support and vote for legislation on several crucial bills that will alter the nation for the good. First was the much-needed measure that no president (despite all the promising) has been able to pull-off in four decades, a one-trillion-dollar infrastructure bill in November of 2021. One month later came the bipartisan federal codification of gay marriage that was needed after the radical right-wing Supreme Court, a puppet of religious zealotry, struck down Roe v Wade and was throwing threats to kill marriage equality. This was followed by last April’s $52 billion chips deal, a huge and quite frankly overdue measure to not rely on foreign companies to hijack our entire digital eco-system and have American companies make the key ingredient in nearly everything we rely on today. Finally, and perhaps most incredibly, a wildly popular (even among Republicans) gun law that at least tries to address the almost daily carnage of the past fifteen years – the first meaningful piece of gun-related legislation in three decades – last June.

And now comes the extension of the debt ceiling, which should never have been an issue, but the moment Republicans squeaked out the House last November, you knew it would be. Never mind that most of the money on that docket was engineered by the Trump Administration and gleefully passed onto the debt by the same Republicans who were suddenly up in arms over spending once a Democrat became president. But this is par for the proverbial course in Washington. What wasn’t rote was Biden’s apparent negotiating skills, which he touted as a member of the Senate for thirty-five years. Once things got vocal and snipey, he demanded just he and the Speaker of the House meet in private without all the noise. He allowed the opposition to continue to berate him and demand to cut everything in sight and kept his eye on the prize.

Hence, the deal.

Now, of course, to be fair, this could not have been accomplished or even fathomed without the assistance and heady work of Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who had incoming fire from all ends and the fate of the U.S. economy on his watch. An economy, mind you, which has been firing on all cylinders – unemployment has dipped under 3.5% for the first time since 1969 (I was six, I am currently sixty) with a decrease in inflation from eight percent when Biden was sworn in to under five percent. The aphorism “it takes two to tango” applies here. And dance these two men did.

This level of deal-making did not look good a few months back. After a record fifteen rounds of voting that it took to secure McCarthy the speakership, political junkies were convinced he was a hostage of the crazies that made him sweat it out. McCarthy too was not fucking around when he kept repeating that if not him, we were looking at the lunatic fringe running the asylum. But it definitely looked less likely he could control this wacky contingent of fascists and religious zealots to get anything close to a coalition once he gave them the ability to oust him with a single voice. The shit he had to eat to get the gig from his own party was scary, embarrassing, and sad. Since the day McCarthy became speaker there has been an albatross on the man’s neck. And yet, somehow, someway he worked tirelessly with the president to extend the debt ceiling and rescue the nation’s economy.

I piss on most things in this space, but this was a fine job. Professional. Political. Critical.

Now, I wouldn’t say this is any sign that when the coming national budget arguments explode, we can use this as a reference on how events will unfold. This was kind of like voting to not let a bomb go off in the rotunda. But at least Biden and McCarthy proved that this can be done. The two parties have enough in the center to move the needle. They, if not their constituents or the press can point to this deal – in which no one is happy and no one “won” but was the correct, adult, prudent and responsible thing to do – as a marker.

For now, this is a victory for bipartisanship and shows the country that allowing Trump back in the henhouse or whatever that fascist pig from Florida is pitching like eradicating Democrats from the national scene, is a non-starter. Voters claim they want the federal government to stop grandstanding get shit done. The president and the speaker got something done.

Take the W.

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KIDS ARE FINE – PARENTS ARE FUCKED

Aquarian Weekly
5/24/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
KIDS ARE FINE – PARENTS ARE FUCKED

Our steady decline of anti-intellectualism in this god-forsaken country has reached new and despicable lows. Seemingly every day in the fascist sinkhole that is Florida its brainless dipshit governor, Ron DeSantis robs children of information in schools. SCHOOLS! Banning books. Cancelling curriculum. Learning now is up to the fucking governor? One guy. Fantastic. The already bent bastion of meat-grinding mediocrity that is school, wherein we learn that Christopher Columbus discovered something he never discovered and that we pledge allegiance to some bizarre concept of freedom that our government is taking away, is in enough trouble. I have news for this moron and the “disgruntled” parents who rile idiots like DeSantis up, so he can consolidate power and prove to his daddy that he’s worth a shit – our kids are fine. Trust them to learn. Protecting them from truth and information is dangerous. Aren’t we stupid enough? You want more slack-jawed dupes to believe elections are stolen, so they arm themselves and storm a federal building, then spend years in prison wondering what the fuck just happened? Then keep this up.

And that’s what they want – keep you stupid, so they can sell you cheap beer and bad movies and no agenda to help you besides robbing you of your rights and lecturing you on patriotism. 

Your kids, and by kids, I mean tweens and teenagers, but I would also argue even grammar school aged, are far more comfortable with their sexuality than you, and they’re willing to accept the differences – gender, race, religion – in their classmates. You don’t have to ban books that introduce “difficult” subjects or jail teachers who speak to gender identity. This is the same nonsense as the Scopes Trial and the banning of the teaching of science over religion. Religion is a failed intellectual concept, and our kids need to know this. If they want to worship whatever idol they choose or an interpretation of that idol, then fine, but don’t fuck with my kid’s pursuit of truth and knowledge. 

You want to talk morality? I believe it is immoral to deny children the right to learn. Okay, if some kids are intimidated and/or disturbed by information, then sure, if their parents insist, pull them out of class. But why should the majority of children suffer because people are afraid of their kids learning more than they did when they were twelve or becoming better, more evolved and intellectually stimulated humans than them?

Let’s face it: This is a parent’s issue, not a school or kids or teachers’ issue. Why does every fucked up, half-assed insecure bigot get a voice in this country and those of us trying to be free thinkers are relegated to writing expletive-laced falderal like this. How long, oh, lord, can this go on?

And what about our Black students? Why should they be denied their history – however horrifying and insane it is? Do we wipe out the entire backstory of this country so middle-class parents and their sheltered children aren’t offended or upset? No one hates white people because we learn about the systemic pogrom heaped upon a people for decades. Get over yourself. Such self-important, privileged whiners. If you feel guilty, that’s on you. Go to therapy, read a book. Leave the rest of us alone to understand our failures to become better humans.

We are passing down this damage to every generation that does not face-up to the sins of their forefathers. Period. Not just the American experiment, which is five minutes old compared to the madness of civilization, but the whole of humanity. Education is not just numbers, dates, grammar and whatever the fuck gym is, it is expanding horizons, not shutting down the view, it is titillating our neurons to think for ourselves, not placating the ramblings of an ancient superstition or whatever the latest Right Wing TV guy thinks. Pretty soon there will be no one left who remembers how close the world came to fascism, while fascism dominates one of the two political parties in this country right now! Kids need to know this. See the signs of evil, know what the person next to them might be capable of – for good or ill. They for sure DO NOT need to be protected by the likes of you. And they sure as hell don’t need some uptight vote-sniffing grotesque politician making that call. Get off your high horse, lend hand or get the fuck out of the way. 

Why should the majority of children suffer because people are afraid of their kids learning more than they did when they were twelve?

I cannot believe there are people who were born when I was, experienced the same enlightenment and savagery, and choose to go back to a time that never existed. There was no peace in the valley, bub, and there never will be. Sheltering our kids is not a way to prepare them for a real world. I have news for these parents, your kids are not staying in Florida. They grow up and get the fuck out of there to where the action is, the real, vibrant, open and productive places, the places that keep this broke nation afloat, like NYC, and they will be swallowed up, because mommy and daddy and the nanny state kept them in the dark.

This is why people panic when CNN puts Donald Trump on the air. “He’s going to destroy democracy! CNN is criminal for allowing people to listen to his bullshit!” Yeah, well, fuck you! Give me the bullshit. Give me the good and the bad and the ugly. There is more ugly coming and we need to grow the fuck up and face it. More Trump. Let’s see the warts and pus and inhuman disgust he brings. We’re big boys and girls capable of fact-checking his lunacy if we care, and if we don’t care, that is our prerogative. Hell, people still think he’s president or that he won an election he lost by millions of votes. Good. Perhaps if they weren’t so coddled, they would be more aware of what is ACTUALLY going on. Forfend! How dare we?

The history of this country is riddled with stories of five morally outraged dinks making a fuss and causing a shift in our construct. These are the same people damaging our kids today. The schools are already having a tough time keeping your pathetic offspring from mainlining smack, molesting their friends, or being shot by a Nazi. Let them teach.

The kids are alright, man.

Parents are fucked. 

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SCOTUS AT LOWEST EBB & DEVOURED BY SCANDAL 

Aquarian Weekly
5/10/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
SCOTUS AT LOWEST EBB & DEVOURED BY SCANDAL 
Another Suspect in the Slow Murder of Democracy

 
Not since the dark days of Jim Crow has the United States Supreme Court been in such disarray from outright corruption to political hackery. Even after the controversial 2000 presidential election decision that anointed George W. Bush president at least half the nation believed the Court was a trusted and objective defender of democracy and its sacred laws. Now, only one in four Americans believe that – the lowest polling in its history. And it is likely that most of that twenty-five percent are Republicans, who cheered as the packed “conservative” Court stripped women’s reproductive rights in 2022 and handed a tyrannical blank check to states that have since enthusiastically enslaved women with the stroke of a pen.

Since the final few Republican flunkies filled the highest court in the land there have been a bevy of ridiculously partisan and radical decisions that fly in the face of civil rights, voting rights, much of it kowtowing showing to religious fanaticism over legal precedence and a gutting of protections for minorities. The Supreme Court is now a rogue anti-democratic collective that has lost the trust of the American people.  

Then came the Clarence Thomas saga.

The long-time embattled justice, who lied under oath about sexual abuse during his senate hearings in 1991, was finally outed as the fascist swine he is. Thomas is beholden to special interests from the right. Every one of his decisions have been bought-and-sold by a rich, sugar-daddy who whisks him to million-dollar locales, pays for his kid’s college tuition, and buys his mother homes. A Supreme Court Justice, who wishes to scuttle every protection for the electorate and openly mocks the system with quotes like this one from a 2001 speech that now holds deeper, darker meaning, “The job is not worth doing for what they pay” is now the poster-boy for this shit show. 

Thomas has been a mouthpiece for fascism for decades, held in check only because the Court, even conservatives, kept him from wrecking their reputations. But now the corruption is so blatantly shameless, he cannot even feign defending his actions. And won’t. His defiance is guilt enough. Thomas shrugs his shoulders at mounting evidence of his receiving luxury gifts, travel, and tuition payments from the GOP billionaire donor Harlan Crow without publicly disclosing them. Of course, he didn’t, because it proves he is in the tank for whatever Crow tells him to do. In the parlance of the law of business, this is called quid pro quo. Think of Crow as a mob boss and Thomas some cheap hood. Backscratching is only part of the fun for Thomas.

The top mob boss owning a radical fascist Supreme Court Judge, who openly challenges the Fourth Amendment as if a fart in the proverbial wind.

His right-wing activist wife, Virginia, is also tits-deep in scandal. The woman who called White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows to demand Donald Trump ignore the election results of 2020 and declare himself monarch, has been routinely pocketing a stipend of secret payments from leading deep-state fascist, Leonard Leo to spread anti-American propaganda. It turns out Thomas and his wife are paid lackeys carrying the water for unelected lunatics that own our Supreme Court. Hence, the plummeting trust of the American people in this slag heap Court.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice John Roberts has been on a month-long mission to restore the Court’s tarnished integrity that has long been sold out to Fundamentalists and Neo-Nazis that use this farcical doomed institution to ignore human rights for political gain. And to what gain is anyone’s guess. As covered here for months, the dismantling of women’s reproductive rights has put the Republican Party in a deeper hole than it was after the chaotic goof-fest that was the Donald Trump presidency and his ensuing January 6 insurrection. And despite the party’s nominee to lead the 2024 presidential ticket being the same domestic terrorist, this rancid Supreme Court might be the GOP’s biggest political weakness. 

But make no mistake, Clarence Thomas is Harlen’s Crow’s whore – legs akimbo, moaning to the bidding of his benefactor. And now that the cat has scrambled out of Thomas’s fetid bag of tricks, the word is that Crow is not merely a Koch brother or even the wrinkled turd that owns discredited and embarrassed Fox News, he is the leading donor to Republican and conservative causes. He is numero uno. The top mob boss owning a radical fascist Supreme Court Judge, who openly challenges the Fourth Amendment as if a fart in the proverbial wind.

How does that sit with ya, patriots?

Meanwhile, a flummoxed Justice Roberts is trying to sell you dog crap by telling you it’s ice cream.

Here is what we know: the Supreme Court is currently the Republican Gestapo. It has no shame. American fundamental rights twist in their hands. These crazies can pretty much do what they want, or sorry, what Harlen Crow wants, or Donald Trump wants. And that is to defecate on your personal sovereignty, especially if you have a vagina. Their motto is Fuck You. That should be the new seal for SCOTUS. Fuck you. And also, Pay Me.

How did we get here?

This clusteruck has the fingerprints of two America villains, former Democratic Nevada Senator Harry Reid, and current Republican Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. Both were majority leaders when they fucked the entire Court. First Reid invoked the “nuclear option” in November 2013, when a Democratic majority eliminated the 60-vote rule for judicial nominations, sans the Supreme Court. But that was risky, and McConnell promised vengeance. Then ultra-conservative pustule, Justice Antonin Scalia croaked during the Barack Obama presidency. The GOP owned the senate and with over a year to go in his presidency disallowed a vote on his nomination to replace him, hoping against hope a game show host would win the 2016 election. Turned out to be a good bet for Republicans, bad for the USA. McConnell then used Reid’s “nuclear option” to lower the threshold for SCOTUS appointees to 51 senate votes and summarily rammed Judge Neil Gorsuch into the seat. Then in a reversal of ideology, which I guess is Hypocrisy 101, within months of Trump’s final term, with polls looking like he would be waxed by Joe Biden, McConnell guessed right again and rammed another Trump nominee onto the Court after progressive champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg stupidly didn’t retire earlier and died of a cancer she’d been fighting for years. Consequently, screwing the Court for decades. 

So, now there is this complete joke of a Supreme Court. Politically and financially in the employ of extremists. The tool of one party and special interests with a twenty-five percent approval rating and a stench reminiscent of the swamp in which it plies its evil trade.

Maybe we should storm that building. 

Oh, shit. The Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers are all in prison. 

Next time.

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FIGHT FOR THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT

Aquarian Weekly
5/3/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
FIGHT FOR THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Republicans Continue Their War on Women They Will Lose

 
In yet another glaring assault in the Republican Party’s war on women, this week all Senate Republicans – aside from two GOP women, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Susan Collins of Maine – voted against a resolution to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment that has been before the U.S. Congress in one form other another since 1972. In the wake of the blatantly unconstitutional, politically manipulated Supreme Court striking down of constitutional protections for women’s reproductive rights last year, the ERA would serve as fulcrum against government oppression against women’s rights over their body. 

Ironically, the Fourteenth Amendment, the very one ignored by the Court and shouted for months from the rooftops in this space as a legal umbrella for said rights, was cited by Republicans as a reason for squashing the resolution. In a humorously sickening turn, GOP opponents argued that the amendment already protects women’s rights. Clearly, it does not, nor does the Fourth Amendment. Otherwise, fascist governments in places like Texas would not currently override women’s personal sovereignty. And so, there is no time in my sixty years on this planet when the ERA has been more vital, and it must now be ratified into our Constitution or our laws continuing to view women as less-than American citizens will stand.

The foundation of the Equal Rights Amendment is simple: “Invalidate many state and federal laws that discriminate against women; its central underlying principle is that sex should not determine the legal rights of men or women.” Just as no law shall discriminate against skin color, religious, cultural, or political belief, or financial station, all of which are currently protected against systemic autocracy. Except for women. This is a Civil Rights issue, which gets us back to “equality” and the Equal Rights Amendment. 

Republicans clearly don’t want women to be equal. They stacked the Supreme Court with anti-women, religious fanatics carrying the water for Republican fascists, then once elected to barely control the House of Representatives, Republicans voted unanimously to federally ban all women’s reproductive rights, and now their Senators work to stop a measure that would protect fifty-one percent of the citizenry against this crime. 

There is no time in my sixty years on this planet when the ERA has been more vital, and it must now be ratified into our Constitution.

Lest we forget, in the same week Republican-controlled states continued to crank out Draconian laws to jail women seeking abortions or incarcerate those who aim to move across state lines to freed states in order to enact what should be their inalienable rights. In Florida, a proposed Republican candidate for president of the United States signed a six-week ban on women’s reproductive rights that all but eradicates them in Florida. 

Women are under siege, and although the goal of this space and all true Americans is to eradicate the Republican Party completely from our vox populi, failing this pipe dream, the ratification of the ERA is paramount.

In 1972, the arguments against the ERA were to keep women from serving in the military or from earning an equal wage to men, the latter of which is still true today. It was also an attempt to dehumanize the gay community and begin the decades long push to stop marriage equality. The latter thankfully failed. Now, in the wake of the Court’s Dobbs decision of 2022, its rejection is to make sure the government controls women’s organs. Pure and simple. Republicans voting against the amendment openly argued this point, saying that the ERA was a veiled attempt for Democrats to supersede the Court’s Dobbs ruling, which, of course, it would, because the Court ‘s ruling was/is unconstitutional. 

Proud fascist Jim Jordan, congressman from Ohio, told Politico after the vote, “Anything that would hurt the right to life and threaten the protections we have for unborn children is a concern.” This is tantamount to the argument for segrationists in the 1960s to disallow integration under the guise of disturbance of the peace and harmony of the South, so Blacks should choose safety from lynching and be happy to not be able to vote or eat at the same diner or sleep in the same hotel as whites. It is the same tired shit over and over again. No matter the argument against rights – remember, “If women vote, what’s next, horses?” – it is specious and always fails on its face.

Finally, in 2020 with Virginia’s vote, the ERA has been ratified by thirty-eight states, the required three-fourths needed to be approved. However, some of those states adopted it after a congressionally mandated deadline had passed, raising questions about the validity of those actions. Nevertheless, the procedural claptrap is for Congress to figure out. They do it all the time – to wage wars and raise the debt ceiling, they can do it for women. Instead, what is before us is one party strategically and systemically refusing to grant women equal rights to men. Period.

You would think at this point, Republicans would just relent on this nonsense, since it is looking more and more with every election since the Dobbs decision that Republicans are no longer a viable national party. Gerrymandering and the goober states are pretty much the only ways they even remain in the conversation. Pretty soon winning elections with any measure of the independent vote (and by the way a majority of Republican voters support women’s reproductive rights and voted that way in 2022) or pulling in Democrats, as Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan did, will be impossible. Sixty-five percent of the electorate want protections for women’s reproductive rights against government oppression. Getting this issue off the table will allow them to run on other policies, instead of being choked by this issue. They should jump at a chance to even do the practical thing. But they choose to keep shooting themselves in the political feet. It is pure madness.

Needless to say, the actions of Republicans have worked consistently against the rights of women – in the workplace, the military, the voting booths, and the womb. If you are a woman or support women, you can no longer support the party. The only way to continue to show Republicans they must give up their attacks on women is to keep serving up losses in elections. Force them to come to the table to return women to equal status or face electoral extinction. 

This is how it is done. 

Stomp out fascists or accept that our daughters, sisters, mothers, wives, and friends are second class citizens. 

Fight for the Equal Rights Amendment.

Or accept tyranny.

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THE WISCONSIN STORY

Aquarian Weekly
4/12/23

Reality Check


James Campion


THE WISCONSIN STORY
Protection of Women’s Reproductive Rights & The Marginalization of the GOP

Another important and resounding win for women’s reproductive rights transpired this week in Wisconsin. The state supreme court flipped from a conservative to liberal majority after nearly sixty percent of its voters – many of them young, women, and independents – spoke at the ballot box refuting the civil rights abuse of American women with the advent of the Supreme Court’s unconstitutional, partisan decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and hand the sovereignty of women’s bodies over to government control. This disaster led to a draconian 1849 trigger law in Wisconsin to make abortion a crime that a conservative court would have codified if victorious. But the Republican war against women took another wounding this past Tuesday, as liberal judge Janet Protasiewicz defeated conservative Dan Kelly, and doing it in impressive fashion – outdistancing President Joe Biden’s numbers that barely handed him the state in his 2020 victory and cutting into his opponent Donald Trump’s vote-totals in more Republican-leaning counties.

Protasiewicz won by eleven-points. Do you know how much of a stomping that is in a battleground state? Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is touting his 2022 re-election victory of ten percent as if he is Genghis Khan and the reason he should run for president. And Florida is no longer a purple state. What happened in Wisconsin wasn’t merely an election but a loud, booming, resonant call to action. 

This should send shockwaves throughout the Republican Party, but it likely won’t, since they exist in a fantasy media bubble led by the recently indicted conman Trump and fringe lunatics in congress who believe they exist to enact religious vengeance. But it is real, and it is happening at a rate that may decide the fate of the party for a coming generation, one that is rejecting its fascist leanings and might well expunge it to the dustbin of history.

To wit: Since the Dobbs decision, there have been resounding victories to codify women’s reproductive rights in blue states like Vermont and California, as well as the crucial purple state or Michigan, or denying the criminalization of abortion in deep red states like Kansas, Kentucky, Montana. The 2022 midterms were poised to be a “red wave” due to inflation, low approval numbers for President Biden, and the historic nature of a first-term president’s party taking a beating, but dramatically shifted that narrative mostly due to the blowback to Dobbs. Many state legislatures flipped to Democrat, as governor’s races moved left. The general rejection of new Republicanism has taken its lumps, and it shows no sign of stopping, at least for this and maybe the next generation. Then, history shows, people are willing to live in a less free world, because this is what they know. This can never take place. 

There is a long road ahead in the fight for women’s civil rights, but so far it appears that the wind is blowing in the right direction.

While the survival of democracy and sensible gun restrictions were also concerns in the Wisconsin election, an overwhelming majority cited the 1849 law and the Dobbs decision as paramount to motivating turnout and eventual victory. This latest blow to fascism is important because it happened in a battleground state that will be crucial for deciding the next president of the United States. This became dire since Republicans showed their hand on how they will govern if given the national majority in 2025, when they unanimously voted in congress two days after taking power to strip women’s rights if given the chance. A chance they must never have. You think your rights are safe in your state? Not if Republicans take all three branches of government backed with a fixed and corrupt SCOTA. Wisconsin was an excellent sign that this is a less likely outcome.

That is if we don’t become complacent. Complacency is what led to women being legally relegated to second-class citizenry. The fight and these results are only beginning to rectify this horror. 

Since Dobbs, Republicans have taken historic beatings at the ballot box. Red state, blue state does not matter. Even a majority of Republicans don’t want the government to decide what happens inside the body of American tax-paying citizens, so there is a slow and steady siphoning off of votes for a party that is already hanging by a thread, having only taken less-than-majority wins for the presidency once in two decades, and losing ground in the senate. Only redistricting and the south is keeping the Republican Party relevant. And this must be the goal for anyone who wants to give women their sovereign rights back: Marginalize the GOP, as the defunct Whigs Party before them, and force them to realize they can no longer win on the national level if they do not relent on this issue.

In a recent article for The Cook Political Report titled “The Impact of Abortion on 2022 and Beyond,” Amy Walter cited a recent interview with Democratic pollster Anna Greenberg in which she said, “‘the gender gap with independents was huge” in 2022 not because these voters didn’t prioritize inflation but because “being scared about what was gonna happen to the country for the folks who voted Democratic mattered more than inflation.’” Greenberg went onto say, “I think the existential threat of Republicans to Democrats as it was presented in Dobbs drove turnout, drove voting Democratic, drove particularly independent women voting.”

Walter is correct in dissecting the framework of the Democratic argument for women’s reproductive rights as effectively making “the debate on abortion about ‘values,’ not the medical procedure itself.” The parsing of a Republican post 2022 mid-term election analysis found that “for many women, the issue was about much more than abortion. It was about how we [Republicans] view and respect women in America. This sentiment is deeply felt and highly nuanced.”

And the vote to reject fascism in the Wisconsin state supreme court this week was a major victory to that end. Legal and systemic protections for fifty-one percent of our American citizenry is all that should matter now. If Republicans want a voice in our democracy for lesser taxes and international intervention or isolationism or this latest populist fad, then they must give up on fascism. If not, they will be relegated to a regional party that appeals mainly the southern portion of the U.S. Without Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and now trending blue states like Georgia and Arizona, not to mention the slow shift in North Carolina and even Texas, then there is no national political party, only a sad, marginalized philosophical cult. As an independent, I do not want this, but it is up to Republicans now to decide to stand with fascism or relent, and get back to governing in a democracy, not as a theological gang like ISIS.

There is a long road ahead in the fight for women’s civil rights, but so far it appears that the wind is blowing in the right direction.

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“WOKE” – A STUDY IN DEFINITION

Aquarian Weekly
3/22/23
 
Reality Check
 

James Campion
 
 
“WOKE” – A STUDY IN DEFINITION

Recently, a woman who’d written an entire book on the concept of “Woke” was hawking her wares on some podcast. The host asked a simple question that one assumes a person having taken the time to pen a tome on one topic would be able to define it: “What does ‘Woke’ mean to you?” The author stammered through a weak aside before falling silent, looking as if she had lost her puppy. Of course, this is 2023, so she was summarily lambasted on social media. And she knew it was coming, remarking moments after her flummoxed response that it would likely “go viral.” But to be fair to scribes unfamiliar with their subjects, quite a few of us appear to know next to nothing about a term that has come to define the political and cultural divisions in America.

I’ll give it a shot. 

Since Republicans are woefully bereft in having anything approaching policy or ideology, the entire purpose of the party’s existence seems to now be about using “Woke” to attack societal progress, or what Brandon Tensley couched recently on cnn.com as “an imprecise term used to decry progressive action.” This strategy to stem the tide of cultural evolution worked out great for the Whigs. That was sarcastic. They went bye-bye like most movements based on stopping progress. Ask Southern Democrats or the Catholic Church. Still, “Woke” has become the #1 priority for the modern Republican Party, a term they abhor and often cite with the pejorative suffixes, Woke Mob, Woke Mania, and the neatly designed “Wokism.” Ascribing an “ism” to something brings Reality Check into the fray, as both a cultural/political movement and sheer linguistic fun. 

First off, “Woke” has been attached to things it has nothing to do with; for instance this past week when those Silicon Valley banks went belly up due to banking regulations being stripped by the former president, a Republican, GOP voices attempted to cover their asses by blaming the banks’ failures on being “Woke,” which I assume means that their kowtowing to diversity and cultural understanding of minorities distracted them from making money. Determining the implosion of financial institutions due to a misunderstood cultural phenomenon may seem odd to you, but, again, no policies or concrete ideology will get you here. 

It is also important to note that “Woke” is not liberal agenda per se, like taxing the rich, comprehending climate change, or government-funded social safety nets. Yet its most vehement opponent, who may well be the Republican nominee for president, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has based his entire purpose for political existence on fighting it. Another “conservative” politician with nothing to offer society beyond suppressing free speech, demonizing gender and sexual diversity and other scary things to the imbecilic among us, DeSantis has made a good living propping up “Woke” as a cheaply cobbled enemy to which only he “has the balls to fight.” However, the origin of the term did not speak to political agenda but a very real response to the mistreatment of persons of color, specifically African Americans.

Insert racist reasoning for DeSantis’ opposition here if you like. I’m moving on. 

Since it is now in the dictionary, a book that the woman who wrote the fancy “Woke” book might be familiar with, we can start there. Merriam-Webster defines “Woke” as: “Aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice).” More to the point, it is a term that recognizes marginalized communities, which is only half of the idea currently ascribed to it. The other half would be respecting those communities, which “Woke” does not address. Its cultural origins are derived directly from the Black community attempting to rise above the stereotypes perpetuated on them, to become aware of their plight, as must every societal minority – which, by the way represents everyone’s family history. It could not have less to do with other cultures, mainly the White race, which has now taken up a knee-jerk defense to “Woke” or the idea that anyone can rise to their “status.” So much so, it has fed to unfounded fears that their “culture” is being usurped by its very uttering. 

I have zero time to discuss white supremacy and systemic racism, which is essentially the entirety of American history in this space. If you wish to do so, I suggest expending more research energy than Ms. Woke Book did on her project.

But I digress… 

For our succinct purposes here, the term was first used in a 1962 New York Times op-ed by Black novelist, William Melvin Kelley titled “If You’re Woke, You Dig It.” You can’t read that piece today online without paying the publisher, but since I read it in a college journalism class in the early 1980s, I can tell you it is a revolutionary and revelatory depiction of how the Black community might define itself while faced with the absurdly ubiquitous levels of oppression and discrimination mentioned above.  But since most cultural movements after the nineteenth century begin with artforms other than that of the written word, it was singer-songwriter Erykah Badu’s 2008 song, “Master Teacher” and the empowering phrase “I stay woke” that did the trick. 

“Woke” has been attached to things it has nothing to do with

Similarly, I was reminded of “Woke” during my activism in support of Russian feminist group Pussy Riot, who you might remember were imprisoned for protesting Vladmir Putin’s oppression of women. It was then Badu lent her support to their cause by tweeting: “Truth requires no belief. Stay woke. Watch closely. #FreePussyRiot.” Two years later, Michael Brown’s murder at the hands of cops in Ferguson, Missouri triggered the phrase “Black Lives Matter” wherein “Woke” was used to express much-needed systemic change. And so, it became a police thing, and for those who think the police can do no wrong, a belief mostly held by Republicans, it became political. 

Of course, “Woke” has been used as a convenient get-out-of-dutch free card when personal fuck ups go painfully public, like when NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers lied to the league about being vaccinated against Covid-19, was busted, and then blamed his travails on a “Woke mob.” This example having absolutely nothing to do with the term “Woke” has appeared in defense of fuck ups as much as the phrase, “Cancel Culture” perpetuated by the book-banning Right and safe-zoning Left of our political spectrum. 

It’s a semantic free-for-all out there, folks. 

In conclusion, the slow transfer of “Woke” to the ensuing “Me Too” movement, which crystalized the general fears of White people to the alienating of specifically White men being threatened by sexually abused women, was then applied to any form of diversity and inclusion efforts. But, most interestingly of all, this application of “Woke” was not by its proponents but its opponents. Of course, demonizing a term or a culture is as old as civilization itself, yet unlike the wicked labels of “Foreigner” or “Communist,” “Woke” is quasi-defined by both those who use it in protest and to silence protest.

In the very weird way that culture often creeps up on us, “Woke” has become yet another indefinable word like “love,” “music” or “god” that can never inarguably be applied to the very thing it supports or attacks.

I might even say you might be more “Woke” after reading this.

But that is not the correct use.

And you’re probably not anyway. 

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THE REASON FOR FOX NEWS

Aquarian Weekly
3/15/23

Reality Check

James Campion

THE REASON FOR FOX NEWS
Contemplating an Elixir for the Damned

Author’s note: As a rule, I do not comment on show-business cable new outlets, but once the song-and-dance elbows its way into national news, it becomes fodder for commentary here. Thus…

There was a time when Fox News offered an ideological slant on “the news” that differed from CNN, MSNBC, and network news organizations. Not sure when it went from conservative-leaning option to completely off the rails as a shameless propaganda machine, but it did. Specifically, over the past two years it has transformed into a right-wing bullhorn that serves one purpose, to placate the guilt of conspiracy theorists, domestic terrorists, bigots, and the generally frightened. Of course, not everyone who watches Fox News is a domestic terrorist or a bigot, mind you, but they are frightened, either by real or imagined bogeymen, and the network is absolutely their propulsion and forgiveness chamber. Riling up the audience and then using bizarre rationalization for anti-social behavior and general disdain for democracy, it has managed to survive burgeoning competition from even more demented outlets that popped up during the dark times of the Donald J. Trump presidency, which simmered the scum to the top of the boiling pot that is America.

I’ll explain with two key events that are currently ongoing at Fox News.

The first is a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit brought against the concern by Dominion Voting Systems. After Trump was roundly defeated in November of 2020, he did what he hinted at in 2016 during the Republican primaries, a general election he actually won, and the ramp-up to the 2020 presidential election, he claimed if he lost the system was rigged. The severe beating he took, something he does not believe can exist in the off-kilter world devised in his spoiled rich-kid head, broke him. He found enough anti-American voices and a clearly dementia-addled Rudy Giuliani to pitch the idea that not only was the entire election, run across fifty states – most of them Republican run – rigged by the opposing party, this sham was assisted by the voting machines. Many of these machines were owned by Dominion. They suddenly became the specific target of Trump and his sycophants’ fantasy show. The trouble is Dominion counts on integrity to exist as a business, and when it is not just called into question but accused of deliberately being involved in a bloodless coup d’é tat, it had to retaliate.

The suit has gone to trial and depositions from Fox News hosts, who perpetuated this nonsense, were released to the public in which all of its hosts, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Laura Ingram, and most importantly for the rest of his piece, Tucker Carlson admitted to outright lying to support Trump’s anti-humiliation defense mechanism. Tucker, the station’s leader in ratings, as did the others, knew the entire thing was a crazy kneejerk fallacy, yet continued to vehemently whip up the kind of frenzy that placates its audience that believed, as they were told for months, Trump would win, and as Trump kept assuring them, easily. This is despite Fox News and every other poll conducted for six months of the campaign predicting candidate and now President Joe Biden would win by a comfortable margin of four to six points. If anything, the final results defied these prognostications in Trump’s favor. But these are mathematical absolutes, which doesn’t jibe with fantasy. Fox News stuck with the latter and will likely pay a hefty price for it.

So, as everyone had known for some time, except Fox News on-air personalities that called it left-wing attacks, the entire operation was full of shit. Every one of the hosts told authorities they thought Trump was nuts and they were shocked and dismayed by the entire thing, including the ensuing January 6 insurrection on the Capitol that occurred when Trump and his allies called to Washington D.C. the worst element of the bigot-terrorist-frightened brigade. In the face of all of this historic lunacy, they continued to pitch election fraud that failed to emerge in dozens of investigations, lawsuits and recounts. They openly described in these depositions to repeatedly lying to their own audience for ratings, for money, for fame. That they weren’t a news organization at all, but an entertainment entity. Come on, the rabbit doesn’t live in the hat. It’s all for fun. And, by the way, I do not begrudge any of this. That’s showbiz, folks! It just proves the musings of my opening paragraph: Fox News merely exists as an elixir to coddle the deranged.

Then comes this week’s shenanigans by the aforementioned Tucker Carlson, aided by Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, who was forced to promise the darkest corners of his party he’d provide mayhem if he were to procure the votes to secure that position.

The mayhem began when McCarthy took hundreds of hours of footage of terrorists violently sacking the Capitol and handed over to Carlson for his dog-pony-show. The only possible reason for Carlson to then go on the air and manipulate the footage (pro-terrorist propaganda?) to dilute the crimes (overtly and on camera live) committed against the United States was to make those who felt shame and disgust by this, much of it echoed by lawmakers like McCarthy that day and for days afterwards, much needed cover. Until Carlson went to the airwaves this past week, there was only weird rationalizations for this horror show that left five police officers and two civilians dead, many present having been badly injured, and now hundreds arrested. But the idea that it never happened was never seriously broached. Now in the tradition of Holocaust deniers, flat-earth proponents, right-wing denials of climate change, and the sudden movement on the right to wipe out the moral outrage of this country’s systemic treatment of African Americans, the events of January 6 did not occur. So therefore, none of it was a crime. Thus, nobody should go to jail. If anything, it was a fine day ruined by left-wing extremists trying to turn everyone not agreeing with them into outlaws. It was rigged. Like the election. The election Tucker Carlson said was rigged, even though he knew it wasn’t, lied anyway, and then copped to lying under oath.

I cannot think, beyond the ratings and money angle (always a good angle, explaining the existence of reality shows), why Tucker Carlson would do such a thing if the agenda wasn’t condoning January 6. It makes no sense. Historically, he is now an accomplice-after-the-fact of one of the worst events in modern American history. Granted, this once moderate commentator, who got his start bloviating on liberal-leaning PBS and MSNBC and kick-started the career of much-hated by the right, Rachel Maddow, was given the task of taking over the prime Bill O’Reilly spot at Fox News and knew what he needed to do to keep and grow this audience. He needed to become an avatar for bigotry and anti-American rhetoric. For cash.

Funnily enough, there are ample clips all over YouTube of Carlson previously excoriating O’Reilly for the very thing he does routinely every evening for the same reason. Carlson, having admitted to lying for a living, is a cheap carnival barker. What he does is nothing more than a geek biting the head off a chicken for a sixpence. But in the social order of the day, he is accomplishing a key element, washing away the sins of the guilty with one fell swoop, like a Catholic priest. Go now and sin no more.

Fox News had never been a serious news organization. It was built by a notorious Republican operative to game the system. Its genesis was silly and continued down the silly path, like, to be frank, most things on cable television. But the Dominion defamation suit and this week’s January 6 revisionist history showcase underlines its existence now is to make those who watch it feel emboldened and not anti-American for questioning the nation’s right to vote, its promise of civil rights, and the rule of law. But ultimately, they are no different than the radicals they used to fear and mock from the 1960s. But as long as Fox News tells them it is okay to act like wild animals when elections don’t go your way, and that looting, assault and murder are perfectly fine, because, you know, it didn’t happen at all, then… whew… they’re not crazy terrorist-sponsoring bigots paralyzed by fear. Hell, they’re true Americans.

As one president once said without retribution, “Mission Accomplished.”

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