Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
The Sad Tale of Kevin McCarthy Continues

It’s weird, right? Doesn’t it seem like Republicans are trying to not get elected ever again for anything? First, they have a criminal, who already lost an election three years ago by nearly eight-million votes coughing up former red states in the process, at the top of their presidential ticket. And they repeatedly send doomed candidates to the slaughter who mimic his “stolen election” craziness. They ban abortion, which six-out-of-ten Americans abhor. They deny climate change after five of the hottest years on record, which most Americans want addressed. They defend gun manufacturers and block sane gun regulations in the wake of dozens of mass shootings annually, which is gaining support among voters. And in all states that they run they make it more difficult for citizens to vote.

And now they’re going to shut down the government in the middle of a childish and very public inner-party spat that makes it look like their whole plan is to wreck America. Or as the current Speaker of the House, California Republican Kevin McCarthy put it this week, “They just want to burn the whole place down.”

Mind you, Republicans do not control two-thirds of the federal government, and yet, for some reason only known to six or seven MAGA Morons, they are going to do the one thing that is guaranteed to bury them in opinion polls and further motivate Independents and moderate Republicans to vote them out next fall. You would think the Speaker could wrangle enough votes to at least provide the Senate with a budget to fund the government, the most important job of congress, instead of floating strange evidence-free impeachment inquiries and trying to embarrass law enforcement on Capitol Hill for hours on end, before giving his colleagues a week off with two weeks left to the deadline.

But, nah.

No one should vote for Republicans until they right this ship.  Which sucks, because it fails to put a check on Democrats…

These appear to be the actions of someone who just wandered into the Capitol, like that guy who’s going to prison for four years for putting his feet on Nancy Pelosi’s desk on January 6. But McCarthy, nearly 60 years-old with a marketing degree, has been in congress for 17 years. You would think he could envision the shit storm he is orchestrating. But wait, why is he Speaker in the first place? Ah, right. He needed to persuade these MAGA Morons to get him enough votes to gain the gavel after a record-shattering 15 votes (longest such proceedings in 164 years). And what did McCarthy give up getting those votes? Oh, right. He handed the majority party the right to have any member call for a motion to vacate the speaker’s chair. This was unprecedented idiocy that no Speaker has had to face in the 234 years of the U.S. House of Representatives, but what choice did he have? It was either that or go home. He wanted the damn job, and now he has it, and it comes with essentially no power. He cannot get the requisite votes for anything. He didn’t even have the votes for his sham impeachment inquiry, which means that it’s a toothless political exercise that is also wildly unpopular. Seven out of ten Americans don’t want it, so, of course, Republicans are doing it. They apparently are begging to get shellacked at the ballot box again.

Let’s review: McCarthy is fucked. His party is fucked. The country, as long as Republicans are in charge of anything, is fucked.

I am going to reiterate what I have written here since January 6, 2021, and the ensuing striking down of Roe v Wade by the corrupt Supreme Court jammed with lunatics by scheming Senate Republicans, who moved heaven and earth to rob women of their reproductive rights; the first elimination of citizen rights in my lifetime: No one should vote for Republicans until they right this ship.  Which sucks, because it fails to put a check on Democrats, who continue to have it easier because the Grand Old Party doesn’t seem to want to compete in the political arena anymore. They merely want to make Donald Trump and his 38-percent of the national vote happy. They show no desire to expand their voter block, which is shrinking by the generation, or work in a sane construct. They are fooled by conservative media that this is the way forward to govern. It is not. And if Democrats winning every special election in the last six years by an average of 11 points in a polarized atmosphere is any indication of what is coming next year, then I’m not sure what is.

When Republicans return with one week to go before the shuttering of the federal government due to their incompetence, McCarthy has one move left; work with Democrats on a bi-partisan bill that can pass a Democratic Senate and be signed by Joe Biden, a Democrat in the White House. Or watch those polls, and with it, Republican prospects for 2024 sink further. And with the end of gerrymandering in six states by next year and many of the members of congress fortunate enough to gain seats in purple districts in 2022 facing an ousting, this would be bad. For them. Good for people who don’t want American “burned down.” But to accomplish this would mean a revolt in the party and McCarthy’s eventual removal as Speaker.

It’s all so Shakespearean. But it’s what McCarthy signed on for: Fund the government or take a powder. Either way, as I see it, things go further sideways for the Republican Party; shutdown, backlash, or dump McCarthy and then who becomes Speaker? Bozo the Zealot? And can that person get enough votes from moderate Republicans, many of whom have taken to the airwaves and the D.C. press to deem this a “clown show” and “unserious” and “politically suicidal?” 

All of it is a terrible look for Republicans, who prove they are a mess and continue to entreat Americans to vote the other way.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion

In the recent Fox News showcase of candidates vying to be Donald Trump’s running mate or at the very least increase speaking engagement fees, a subject caught my ear: “A crisis in education in America.” After laughing at this irony, since for decades Republicans have waged rhetorical war on intellectualism and over the past fifteen years unleashed a legislative assault on the public school system, I thought I’d check the statistics and see if there is indeed a “crisis.” Turns out there is! And Republicans are causing it.

The most egregious of course is in Florida, conducted as a political ploy by Governor Ron DeSantis, one of Fox’s also-rans, with its banning of books, although other states have indiscriminately implemented “selected reading” for students and have levied sanctions and threatened arrests for teachers daring to cross these arbitrary lines. There has also been a steady movement on the Right to sanitize American history to protect the feelings of white people. A repeated lie perpetuated on the teaching of Critical Race Theory being offered in grade school, or even middle to high school classes, has succeeded in ginning up the great unwashed. CRT, as they like to frame it – one, they can’t deign to say it, and two because it sounds more sinister that way – is a college-level course and even that is rare. And, come on, who thinks these people even know what CRT is?

This country has seen this kind of middling crap before. I direct you to the Scopes Monkey Trial, probably our most embarrassing chapter of this pogrom against education – I am leaving out the South’s rejection of African Americans to attend schools and universities because I don’t want to further upset white people, and let’s face it that had way less to do with education than systemic racism.

Nearly a century ago in 1925, a high school teacher, John T. Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which had made it illegal for teachers to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The argument: the Bible takes priority over all human knowledge. Crazy right? Wait, read that last sentence again and think of the current state of 51% of our American citizenry in bondage to the government thanks to more idiotic Republican/Fundamentalist claptrap. Crazier still, Scopes was found guilty! But later the goofy verdict was overturned, not because it was abjectly stupid and unconstitutional but on some technicality.

For more on this sad footnote in our complicated history that Republicans try to hide from our kids, check out H.L. Mencken’s work on the matter – some of the finest journalistic writing ever. Seriously, Mencken kicked ass.

Nine out of the ten worst educated states are run by Republicans.

But things have certainly reached a saturation point lately. Republicans want to run the federal government to strip women’s reproductive rights nationally and wipe out the Department of Education, so parents can decide curriculum. Now, as a person who feels we do need to restructure our education system, it is not to teach less or massage the public-school syllabus to match our national pride or placate superstitious zombies, it is to expand the scope of knowledge. To this end, we absolutely CANNOT leave education up to a mob of people who can’t agree on proper diet for their kids, or sleep time, or what content their offspring can consume. We had to put stickers on everything in the 1980s because parents were unable to decipher if “Fuck Like an Animal” was an appropriate listening experience for their eight-year-old daughters.

Also, please stop teaching that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America. This was a difficult feat for a man who never stepped foot on the continent, never mind that there were already people here and lots of other Europeans.

But I digress.

Did some research on the Most Educated States in America based on 2021 data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Since this paper was founded and is published in New Jersey and I am writing this from my barn office on Jersey soil, I will not bury the lede: NJ is in the Top Ten. As a starting mean, let’s note that the national average is 43.8% – the share of a state population with a high school and/or bachelor’s degree. That number already makes me cringe, but judging from some of the stuff that pops up as popular on Netflix and the cable ratings for Sean Hannity, it makes sense.

I think you know where I’m going.

The Ten Worst Educated States are as follows, West Virginia: 22.40, Mississippi: 25.64, Louisiana: 27.36, Arkansas: 30.87, Alabama: 34.46, Oklahoma: 35.32, Nevada: 35.70, Kentucky: 35.70, New Mexico: 36.99, Texas: 40.14.

Firstly, can someone explain to me how in 2023 only two out of ten West Virginians have graduated from any level of schooling?

Second, you got it: Nine out of the ten worst educated states are run by Republicans. (For the record there is a Democratic governor of New Mexico, but it’s a purple state, so there could be some fucked up stuff in there already, but to be fair, the party does also run the legislature.) But that’s one out of ten.

I repeat: Nine of ten of the worst educated states are run by Republicans.

Is there a crisis in education?

To finish our research let’s peek at what the statistical ratings are for Most Education States.

Unless you’re from West Virginia, I think you know what’s coming.

The most educated states in America: Massachusetts: 83.03, Maryland: 76.73, Connecticut: 72:06, Vermont: 71.40, Colorado: 69.30, New Jersey: 68.85, Virginia: 67.33, New Hampshire: 67.20, Minnesota: 63.98, Utah: 63.31.

Come on, NJ, let’s get this to at least seven out of ten!

Eight of the ten states are distinctly NOT run by Republicans, and Virginia has just recently flipped its governorship, and is likely to flip back.

But… Massachusetts. Wow. Completely, shamelessly indoctrinated in liberalism. There is no more “woke” section of this nation. Shit, there’s a reason DeSantis sent those migrants up there. Turns out this was a boon to the migrants, at least if they wanted to learn stuff, instead of being sold that education is a progressive, elitist, radical plot to turn our kids into snowflake robots.

Look, if there is one thing I’ve learned from six decades of being a free thinker, despite Catholic school and mediocre public schools and years of reading and research and never being complacent on what new information emerges from the apparently dwindling great minds of this world: Knowledge is Good. (If I may borrow from the good people at National Lampoon).

Republicans think it’s bad, and then they stand on a stage and pander to the Fox News agenda of denying truth and pass this disease onto our kids. And those kids grow up to storm the Capitol and go to jail and then apologize for being duped by a lunatic.

But judging from the overwhelming number of Gen Z voters – many of them having endured locked downs from school shootings and are far more respectful of gender identity, race, and sexual preference, and sure as hell don’t want the government to control their bodies or choose the Bible over all human knowledge, I think we’re going to be fine.

Republicans on the other hand will be forced to keep running monosporic fascist narcissist domestic terrorists like Trump for high office or start educating their children better.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Corpulent Kamikaze from New Jersey Explained

Good question.

Once a popular and within his party revered governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie had his time to run for president. That time was 2012. He did not run. Instead, he chose to run the year Donald Trump was in a contract dispute with the National Broadcasting Network and decided to raise his brand by ruining the Republican Party and then after that particular joke ran dry, went onto wreck the country. During Trump’s rise, Christie bailed on his goal and became the first Republican to publicly back the leading candidate, working inside the wavering campaign, debate prepping and standing weirdly behind him as Trump made a mockery of democracy.

When Trump became president he dangled many jobs in front of Christie, something the venerable politician, considering his simpering fealty, thought would be a slam dunk to get. And it would have been for normal politicians. But Trump was a game show host who spent decades using a quasi-real estate business to build his celebrity while getting other people to pay for it. Trump didn’t know what the fuck he was doing and cared even less about it. And so he was duly informed by the ad hoc fascists behind him that Christie had made one of the grandest mistakes for any Republican back in 2012 when he embraced and worked with then President Barack Obama, a Democrat, to assist in the rebuilding of his state after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

Christie was out in the cold.

But Christie was steadfast; throughout Trump’s horrid run of governance from 2017 until the insurrection of January 6, 2021, the former governor now claims he hung around in an attempt to be one of the few “adults in the room” surrounding Trump, keeping him from completely tanking America under the weight of his haphazard whims. Basically, Christie followed the actions of his Republican brethren Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Lindsay Graham; forget the terrible things Trump said about them and their families, emasculating them publicly and constantly, damaging their reputations, and just suck his ass like a pathetic bitch.

However, something happened to Chris Christie on that dark day in January of 2021. A profound sense of clarity overcame him; what many outside this space considered would be the final straw for Trump among his party. But to Christie’s dismay, his party kept defending Trump, making excuses for him, perpetuating his gambit to lie that he actually won an election he was pummeled in by nearly eight million votes – yeah, that’s the ticket, I won, not lost, and it was stolen, like the popular vote in 2016, yeah, stolen!

Christie, who had eaten more of Trump’s shit than anyone thought humanly possible, couldn’t stomach that, so he began extricating himself from his former sins, admitted he fucked up, that he now realized that Trump was evil and stupid and hated America and democracy and treated the country like all his failed private businesses. He was likely to run again in 2024 and he had to be stopped.

Christie, mostly a poser phony jackass who sucked at governor, is here to make some noise.

Some months ago, despite no ideological lane or foreseeable constituency, Christie announced his bid for the presidency. Throwing his hat in the 2024 race seemed silly. Ron DeSantis, humiliated governor of Florida, was poised for coronation should Donald Trump implode, which he most assuredly would, and there was several (turns out four) investigations that were to end up with Trump and his cronies indicted for the 2020 and 2021 shenanigans to take down the federal government and piss on the will of the voters. DeSantis was next up! What the hell was Chris Christie doing, exactly? He’s not MAGA, he’s not a culture warrior decrying “Wokism.” He wasn’t even a former cable news commentator. He’d retired back to Jersey. Out of the game.

But wait…

Ron DeSantis sucks. He is broke and has shed twenty poll points since the moment anyone outside of the sinkhole of Florida heard him utter a word. There is no more second place, just a giant hole where once stood an empty suit. So, Christie decided to do what DeSantis could not; he became Donald Trump’s troll under the bridge to the former president’s unwitting Billy Goat Bluff: Tormenting him on social media, taking to news shows and fake news shows, legitimate press and the goofy right-wing echo chamber of horrors. Trump’s a loser, he said. Trump’s a liar, he cried. He’ll sink us all – Republicans, Independents, Democrats. He must be stopped!

At first, again, this seemed silly. What’s the end game, to merely trip Trump up? Name calling and verbal fisticuffs have greatly assisted in faking the gullible unread and unwashed from believing Trump is good at debate. He is not. My fifteen-year-old-daughter would eviscerate Donald Trump in a debate. I might even feel bad for him. But Christie said he was in it to win it and suddenly he is tied with the fumbling DeSantis for second in New Hampshire and gaining in Iowa for primary positions he had no business sniffing in the spring.

And his only platform is taking Trump down. He says a few things about President Biden but considering the economy humming at a record rate and the bogeyman inflation cut from nine percent a year ago to three percent currently and all-time lows in non-wartime unemployment, and not really being into the Hunter Biden sweepstakes, that’s all Christie has got. And he does not mind playing the kamikaze. Republicans don’t want him, but that has not stopped Trump’s corpulent pit bull from gnawing at his shinbone day after day.

And now with only a week to go before Trump surrenders himself to yet another district indicting him – mugshots to come! – and a debate stage he will skip, because what’s the point? He’s forty points ahead of anyone close to him and apparently no one in this field beside Christie wants to take him on. (My daughter is busy with Minecraft). One guy said he’ll pardon him if elected to an office Trump wants, and if this idiot were within twenty points of the Donald, he would call him every racist name in the book.

And so, Christie, mostly a poser phony jackass who sucked at governor, is here to make some noise. We do that in New Jersey. And it is rarely pleasant.

Let’s see how far this noise goes.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
Another Fascist Republican Defeat to Democracy & the Call of Women’s Productive Rights Nationwide

We’re not going to stop until Republicanism is dead. Period. And we’re going to use the tool of women’s reproductive rights to do it, because so far, the not-so-silent majority is on an unprecedented winning streak to send the fascists a message nationwide. On August 8 a record turnout of highly motivated voters rejected a scam by a super-majority of Republicans in Ohio to make it harder for the will of the people to change their state constitution. This cheap and losing tactic was lashed together haphazardly for the fascists to stop the codifying of women’s reproductive rights that they robbed from them. And so, Ohio joins Kansas, Michigan, Kentucky, Vermont, California, and a growing number of states to stamp out the illegal virus heaped upon the U.S. after the ignominiously unconstitutional striking down of Roe v. Wade by a corrupt Supreme Court last summer. And it is not going to stop.

It was a nice try by the fascists to whip up a special election referendum to raise the threshold for amending the state constitution from a majority to sixty percent. After all, fifty-seven percent of its citizenry want legal and safe access to abortion and that issue is on the ballot this November. This is thanks to a petition that doubled the number (700K) needed to get it there. Republicans had to stop it, because these hypocrites who and claim that the striking down of Roe v Wade lets states decide. But they don’t want states to decide, because when they do their anti-woman policies go bye-bye. And so, they play games. And they lost this game, and will keep losing these games until they either give up, come to the table on a national referendum to return women the rights they’ve had for half a century, or die on that hill.

I would take either… but prefer both.

The assumption by the Republicans who cooked up the idea of taking the voter’s voice from them was that not enough of them would notice – low turnout in early summer. And so, they changed the rules (even though this same body of “legislators” banned special August elections just last year) and hoped to crush the democratic process.

But democracy went all democracy on them.

Democrats, Independents, and a surprisingly considerable number of Republicans from districts Donald Trump won by ten to fifteen points voted to strike down this “Issue 1” scam, in some cases by forty points. The ballot-box slaughter was a vehement rebuke of fascist tactics. And in the fall, they will lose again.

This November they will finish the job and notch another victory for women’s rights and put fascism on notice once again.

By the way, as a matter of record and sweet revenge, the final tally was 57-percent voting “no” on Issue 1, the exact polling number that want legal abortion codified into their constitution.

And if August 8 and red-state Ohio standing up for women’s reproductive rights is any indication, the momentum and furor over the disastrous Supreme Court Dobbs decision has not eased. If anything, it has gained fire. Just a few months ago Wisconsin, a severe 50/50 battleground state, elected a liberal judge, flipping the court for the first time in fifteen years to stop the draconian anti-women laws sanctioned by state Republicans. This all-but guarantees a lawsuit against their unconstitutional shenanigans will be successful and as a bonus will spark a long-overdue redistricting to disallow fascist Republican gerrymandering, which is one of the severest in the nation.

You see, Republicans, who are in the minority on almost every issue; gun violence, climate change, “Wokism,” LGBTQ rights, and abortion, among many others, have only been competitive because of heavy gerrymandering. They have no national voice – having lost the raw majority vote in every presidential election except one (2004) – for the past thirty-five years, and with Mr. Soon-to-be- Convicted at the top of their ballot, this will stumble closer to half a century. They must stop you from voting, otherwise they don’t exist. Most Republicans are in their 70s and 80s and the new flock of teen-to-thirty voters (Gen Z) are progressive, politically aware, and apparently voting in record numbers. The University of Ohio students had a 95-percent attendance rate in this August 8 vote.

If I was stupid enough to cling to the Republican party at this juncture, I’d cheat too.

But this latest attempt to do so was sent packing in a red state by a large margin in the middle of summer.

This November they will finish the job and notch another victory for women’s rights and put fascism on notice once again.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
The Final Perp Walk of Donald J. Trump

There was only one way for the Donald J. Trump experiment in governance to end: Facing a series of felony charges for defrauding citizens and attempting to subvert democracy. He promised “American Carnage” during his inauguration speech in January of 2016 and brought it to bear four years later on January 6, 2021. And now he is charged with the crimes he very publicly and merrily committed. A businessman who knew nothing about how the government worked, who was a Democrat all his life and decided to use the Republican Party as a marketing tool and then the United States as Trump Enterprises predictably descends into an indictment on four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding and conspiracy against rights. 

Yeah, it had to end like this.

January 6 was the darkest day in American electoral and modern presidential history, and what the Department of Justice has unfurled in a forty-five-page document are the illegal machinations of a madman, who just could not admit he lost – against brand and fragile “daddy love me” psychology – and chose to remain in power as a dictator, above the law, above the country, above the sphere of logic and decorum.

But January 6 was merely the culmination of two of the most horridly bizarre months following Trump’s loss in the 2020 election – 63 weirdly worded and strangely filed and ultimately defeated or tossed lawsuits, five state recounts, some of which awarded Biden more votes, and press conferences by crazy lawyer types.  But it didn’t have to end like this. Or at least for functioning humans. One of those types could have walked away once the wacky theories were debunked and all the faux outrage unfounded. You give it a shot, then you take your orange tan and the Bozo coif and go home. 

But, nah, it had to end in carnage. 

Not since George Washington abdicated a power everyone in his employ thought he should maintain to walk back to Mount Vernon, Virginia in March of 1797 with the peaceful transfer of power has any American president failed to comply with the Constitution’s framework. Until Donald Trump.

Well, you put a man in office whose name is plastered over everything he owns like some kind of twisted Liberace meets Al Capone, then it has to come to this. Trump could have gone bye-bye and gotten away with dozens of egregious malfeasances to out-right crimes during his presidency, but he just could not manage to negotiate the human-function apparatus. He had to make up some story of having been bested by cheating, because he could never lose to Joe Biden fairly. And now that level of ego, hubris, and living in a hermetically sealed lie bubble has come home to roost. The reckoning of the failed experiment of Donald Trump’s American Carnage is nigh.

Whether you like him or not, it had to end like this.

Mr. Frankenstein, your monster is here.

It turns out that the conjured lawsuits and fantasies of hacked or corrupt voting machines in Philly, vote dumps in Detroit, devious deep-state minimum wage vote counters in Atlanta, have consequences. To think, strong-arming state attorneys general and governors (all of them Republican), to “find votes” and make him the winner might end in legal jeopardy. Could you fathom going to sycophantic crazies for ideas like secretly creating false electors in seven states to sneak in Trump votes over legitimate Biden votes landing you in federal court? Strange how begging the vice president to send all the legitimate electors back to their states and anoint him King of America while Mike Pence repeatedly told him the half-baked scheme was unlawful, and Trump mocking him for being “too honest,” concludes in his arrest

And finally, what are the chances inviting an angered and armed insurrectionist mob to the Capitol to fight for their country and use “force” to protect his power on the day of the ratification of an election he lost, putting his vice president on the hot seat by telling his people on the mall “We can fix this if Mike Pence has the courage to do the right thing” and when he refused (doing his constitutional duty, which is largely ceremonial), unleash the hordes on him and nearly 250 years of American law and order could possibly put him a jury-decision away from dying in prison?

Come on, let’s face it, whether you like him or not, it had to end like this. Petulant children, even 74-year-olds, do not comply to what they do not deem acceptable. Losing was never an option for Trump. Instead, he would rather wreck a system he found irritating and disenfranchise your vote and send his white-supremacist-fascist-goobers to smash up the Capitol and injure and kill officers of the law than go away quietly. It’s his thing. The Tao of Trump: Everything he touches dies.

He has to do it. 

Cows moo. Birds chirp. Dogs bark. Trump Trumps.

And so…

He’s guilty.

Fuck the trial. Let’s use the Trump method of jurisprudence like he did with the Central Park Five, when he took out a full-page ad in the NY Times calling them scum and how they should be executed before given a day in court. I agree with that particular Trump’s method to handle this version of Trump. He is scum and he is guilty. 

But no matter what Trump you use to cut it, it had to end this way.

MAGA Carnage.

Don’t worry, though, the Republicans have a sequel.

Trump 2024 – Stay of Jail on Your Money and Votes!

And that will very much end like this one.

It just has to.

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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
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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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion

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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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion

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.


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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion
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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Aquarian Weekly
Reality Check

James Campion

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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