BIDEN AT THE CENTURY MARK

Aquarian Weekly
5/7/21

Reality Check

James Campion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cmini

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

Read More

LOW BAR ANOMALY

Aquarian Weekly
4/28/21

Reality Check

James Campion

LOW BAR ANOMALY
Where We Are After Derek Chauvin Guilty Verdict

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

We have a loooooonnnnnngggg way to go.

Let’s concentrate on the Chauvin case.

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

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

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

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

Whoopie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

AMERICA: THE VIOLENCE PROBLEM

Aquarian Weekly
4/21/21

Reality Check

James Campion

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


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

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

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

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

That is 147 in 106 days.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Those are just symptoms of the grand human experiment.

America, this is our virus.

Violence.

Read More

LET’S TALK FILIBUSTER

Aquarian Weekly
3/31/21

Reality Check

James Campion

LET’S TALK FILIBUSTER

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

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

Simple math.

Who has the most votes?

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

And that is where the rubber hits this particular road.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When you hear the bell, come out swinging.

Read More

ANDREW CUOMO ON THE BRINK

Aquarian Weekly
3/17/21

Reality Check

James Campion

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

THE POLITICS OF MONEY

Aquarian Weekly
3/10/21

Reality Check


James Campion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s get on this.

Read More

THE LONE STAR STATE DISASTER

Aquarian Weekly
2/24/21

Reality Check

James Campion

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


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

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

But I digress.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read More

THE REAL VICTIMS OF “THE BIG LIE”

Aquarian Weekly
2/17/21

Reality Check

James Campion

THE REAL VICTIMS OF “THE BIG LIE”
Members of Cult Terrorists Pay the Price for Political Theater 

As the second impeachment trial of the former president rolls on, I can’t help but think of all the random Americans who turned into cultist, terrorist, insurrectionists as a result of the repeated chant to “Stop the Steal” from those who merely used it to deflect from the reality of defeat. This tactic, as discussed ad nauseum in this space, was openly declared for months and at every turn appeared to those familiar with dime-store propaganda to be a fabricated media smokescreen. For whatever the reasoning – delusion, irrationality, classic grifting – the fallout is the people who believe it, and those who act upon it; especially when specifically prodded by the perpetuator of The Big Lie.

I shan’t spend more than a sentence making the point that this behavior has been propagated since humans could communicate, sometimes to horrific results. Being suckered or brainwashed or riled up by the ravings of a megalomaniac is as common a human trait as love, jealousy, fear, and hate. It is baked into our DNA. We can’t help it. The thing that matters most are the lives of these people who seem to be (and I am only guessing here) so empty and bereft of emotional contentment that they seek outside sources to provide a level of self-esteem. Again, for whatever the reasoning there were a whole lot of people who bought into this thing with zero evidence and no logical framework. It was, for them, (another guess?) a brighter alternative than the ignominious ending to what they deemed as an imperative

Some took to Facebook or chatted up their theories on Twitter. Still others made a placard and did some protesting or kept their election signs up on the lawn a few more weeks after the election. And while that last one is pathetic and a little sad, none of those things are criminal. I believe people have every right to think the earth is flat or that Tom Brady doesn’t cheat. Whatever gets you through the night. It is the criminal thing that we’re interested in here. Some people felt the need to act as if this was Armageddon, as if there was nothing left to lose. The desperate and disappointed among us are also a dime a dozen. In the grand pantheon of the human experience, the illusion of fate and doom can be powerful sparks to weird and violent actions. The results were on display on January 6.

I’m reminded of the most famous of these illusions, the Resurrection of Christ. I am using the word illusion; one might use faith – a belief in something with no tangible evidence. For me, as I delved into over ten years of research on this subject for my third book, Trailing Jesus, I was unceasingly intrigued by the refusal to abandon a movement as dramatically ingrained in the spirit of first century Palestine simply because of the systemic execution of its leader whom many believed was God. It was decided to ignore the gory facts of this and repeat that Jesus of Nazareth didn’t really die or that his purpose was to die, and whammo! you have a resurrection. Defeat? Nah, victory! The cults and violence that succeeded this story is the legend of western civilization. And the funny thing is, it had little to nothing to do with the original Jesus movement. For more on that, you can read my book.

Shameless plugging aside, let’s take the most famous of the Big Lie suckers, Q-Anon. Part of this belief depends on certain dates that would allegedly hand a divine intervention victory to the ousted president. January 6 as one of those, which brought many of them to Washington D.C. to commit crimes against the nation. The next date is March 4. Let’s see how that goes for them.

Politics, religion or cults are okay in their place. No point risking it all for any of it.

But cultists are easy targets. They look to something otherworldly (like resurrection) to cure the pain of loss. But what of the Proud Boys and The Oath Keepers, two right-wing extremist groups who plotted the attack on the Capitol and used the president’s January 6 “rally” to enact violence and mayhem? These political terrorist groups used the trauma of defeat as a call to action to overturn the results as a matter of “principle”. Political principle is as good a reason for terrorism, or as Osama bin Laden once jibed, “One man’s terrorist is one man’s freedom fighter.” But at least bin Laden (American intervention), like the IRA (draconian British colonialism) or even the Weathermen (Viet Nam draft), based their rage on something tangible, despite building its violent grievances on lies.

I look to the Kennedy Assassination to find where people like the Proud Boys live. For years the main reason for delving into conspiracy theories about the murder of the president in broad daylight was not the shock of the incident but the idea that a bumpkin communist with an antiquated rifle could cut down the mighty Camelot. Now, unlike The Big Lie of 2020, there is ample evidence that there were shenanigans with that incident, however, it does not explain the initial and continued motivation to find out something more befitting the magnitude of this tragedy – it had to be more – a government plot, a mafia hit, a vengeance jag for Fidel Castro. This falls under the category of hero/godhead worship, but in a more socially foundational construct. The country is being taken away from us is the theory here. The “rally” that ignited the violence of 1/6 was titled “Save America”. These guys heeded that call to arms.

This is the core of the Capitol insurrection, which began the moment the former president did not accept defeat and decided to jack up the demented into providing a reason to unleash their grievances upon the symbol of American democracy, inviting them to the place of their eventual crimes, and finally allowing, even cajoling them to run amok as he tweeted inflammatory rhetoric condemning the vice president and anyone not buying into The Big Lie for one last media event. Finally, and most egregiously, is the ignoring of a call for the national guard to protect fellow Americans. That is something for the Senate to debate. But, let’s face it; there is little chance that committing political suicide is available to already feckless Republican sycophants who once called the former president a conman, liar, psychopath and nonetheless did his bidding to maintain power. These cretins get to keep their gig and make like nothing happened. Good for them.

But what about the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, Q-Anon suckers? They are arrested, humiliated, their lives ruined. They will do time for this. They’re losing their jobs, what good standing they may have perpetuated as a front for their extremism, and for what? A revolution? As horrific as January 6 was, that is one sad revolution. They are now criminals. Terrorists. Maybe martyrs for the cause – the ravaged butt end of The Big Lie? I wonder if they will be thinking of St. Peter’s last thoughts as they hung him upside down to die or St. Stephen’s bloody carcass lying beneath a torrent of stones. How did that all work out?

Not that I give a shit about any of these idiots, mind you. They’re adults. We all have to endure the consequences of our stupid shit, even though many of their lawyers are blaming this on all the brainwashing I covered above. You see, only presidents and rich people get away with stuff. These people are duly fucked and fucked for nothing. Nada. Bullshit. The ravings of a dung stain on history.

There is a lesson here. Maybe one person might read this and say, “Hey, the next time a stranger tells me something that only benefits his/her agenda, perhaps I should step back and think for myself before putting on a funny outfit and break shit and kill people or join some confusingly named group (come on, who doesn’t think of the Village People when you hear Proud Boys? You know you do). Politics, religion or cults are okay in their place. No point risking it all for any of it. Those things will fail you. Every time. And man, did the latest gaggle of the duped get jobbed on this one.

Read More

THE GREAT VOTER MIGRATION

Aquarian Weekly
2/10/21

Reality Check

James Campion

THE GREAT VOTER MIGRATION 
& The Future of Southern Politics 

To celebrate Black History Month, I dedicate a column this week to a brilliantly prescient account of the present and future political climate in the United States as proffered by African American journalist, Charles Blow in his new bookThe Devil You Know – A Black Manifesto. Its central theme, already played out in the 2020 presidential election and again just last month in the heretofore red stronghold of Georgia, is a new “great migration”, this time in the opposite direction. Citing the Great Northward Migration or the Black Migration of the early to mid-twentieth century that saw six million African Americans leave the rural South to Northern urban centers, Blow posits that the shift Democrats were seeking after its subpar showing in the 2016 presidential elections in the Rust Belt to a new “southern strategy” might well tell the tale for coming generations.

“The proposition is simple,” writes Blow. “As many Black descendants of the Great Migration as possible should return to the South from which their ancestors fled, which are the true centers of power in this country, and as such control the lion’s share of the issues that bedevil Black lives: criminal justice, judicial processes, education, health care, economic opportunity and assistance.”

For Blow, this begins in the cities, the most economically thriving part of the new South, especially in its major metropolitan centers. In a 2018 Forbes report, the worst cities for Black Americans were found in the North from the Great Migration, whereas the majority of Black wealth was being realized in the South. More than one thousand of the nation’s twelve-hundred majority Black cities reside there, all of which are home to most of the nation’s Black-owned businesses and boast the most Blacks in local government.

This, of course, like all economic calling, including the first Great Migration, is where the direction of any racial, economic, or generational group will lead. It is the plot line of the American story.

Blow’s points, noteworthy in how the voting went in the past two election cycles but crucially in the most recent, is why The Devil You Know is perhaps the most important political theory book of the past two decades. It summarizes the foundation of the Black voter explosion that helped culminated in over eighty million votes for President Joe Biden, whose own flagging campaign was rescued by the Black vote in the Democratic Primary. Those numbers, already calculated among Democratic insiders, who tallied the most fervent support for the defeated Hillary Clinton four years earlier in the African American vote, measurably increased for Democrats in 2020, as it did also for Republicans. More young Blacks under the age of forty-four supported the losing party, thus allowing Republicans to outperform the top of the damaged ticket, leading many to surmise that the general numbers of a steady voting bloc were evident everywhere.

New Black voters… were lying in wait for the general election and to turn a reliable red state a deeper blue

Seeing how only eight percent of the Black vote routinely supports Republican candidates, the party has some work to do, but according to Blow’s research and reasoning this is ever more evident in the South, where a traditionally White voting bloc had shifted from Democrat in the early part of the previous century to Republican during the Civil Rights movement, resulting in the blowback against the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act signed into law by a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson in the early 1960s. LBJ’s predecessor, also a Democrat, John F. Kennedy and his Justice Department, run by the president’s brother Robert, became the first administration to openly challenge the region’s draconian and racist Jim Crow laws. This led, as we know, to Richard Nixon’s shamelessly racist “Southern Strategy”, which fanned the flames of fear amongst white voters, and some Blacks as well, to the changes implemented by overzealous federal government interference. Nixon would win overwhelmingly for a Republican for the first time there and change regional politics for nearly half a century.

Despite overwhelming numbers for the African American community, due to voter suppression, violence, and corrupt police activities, it became ever more difficult for politicians to secure or count on Black support throughout the South. The shift changed in the early 1990s, as Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton began to solidify the heretofore silent Black vote to his advantage, and although he failed to win a popular vote average nationally, consolidated this constituency to gain two consecutive terms as president. However, the Democratic Party did not spend enough time and effort working that segment of their voter base, which ended up costing Al Gore a razor-thin election in 2000 and later another tight loss by John Kerry in 2004.

It was, of course, the electing of Barack Obama, the first Black candidate president in 2008 in which the greatest number of African Americans flocked to the polls. Obama became the first Democrat to win the presidency by a considerable margin since LBJ in 1964, but his party could not maintain that level of support in his re-election bid of 2012, despite securing a second term. Many political scholars cite a lack of faith in a true Southern breakout of Black votes.

This changed dramatically in 2020.

The most prevalent formation of this change was enacted by one of the most effective and powerful political minds of the past decade, Stacey Abrams, who while losing her bid for governor of Georgia in 2018, found formally silent Black voting blocs amidst the urban centers of Atlanta and Columbus. A former state legislator, lawyer and author, Abrams canvased Georgian counties for two years, expanding the base and registering record numbers of new Black voters. These were lying in wait for the general election and to turn a reliable red state a deeper blue, a blue that became solidified with the election of two senators in a January run-off, one of them a Black candidate.

Similar numbers were revealed in Arizona, another state the Republicans lost in 2020, much as the Dems lost Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania four years earlier, Black destination cities of Phoenix, Tucson and Tempe have shifted the balance of political power in the state, leading to inter-party fisticuffs just weeks ago when Martha McSally broke ranks with Republican pushing to overturn the 2020 election results – causing a restructure of the political landscape back to the state’s more racially divided roots. Blow believes, although a heavier lift, the influx of African American entrepreneurs entering the largest growing cities in America – Houston and Dallas in Texas, and Charlotte and Raleigh in North Carolina – will cause a dramatic shift in not only the political power structure but also a need for the Republican Party to either court this vote or expunge the white supremist underbelly currently battling for a majority voice in The Grand Old Party to remain relevant.

Blow’s book, while certainly political – I concentrated on his theory of economic migration to urban centers acting as Democratic strongholds, such as Detroit and Philadelphia in states Biden won back this cycle – it is more a study of the racial power structure in the second decade of the twenty-first century. This goes beyond, of course, winning elections, it proves Hunter S. Thompson’s, another great son of the South, axiom; “Politics is the art of controlling your environment.”

Read More

AND SUDDENLY… THE NEW GUY

Aquarian Weekly
1/27/21

Reality Check

James Campion

AND SUDDENLY… THE NEW GUY
Joe Biden’s Bid to Exorcise Bad Faith Politics


Who had the over/under on the word “unity” in Joe Biden’s inauguration address?

Many, definitely Fox News’s Chris Wallace, heard all this talk of unity as a seminal moment in American politics. I heard it differently. I heard the New Guy trying to lay down a narrative; disagreement on issues, ideology and policy is welcome, bullshit name-calling and nonsense blather for the Big Show, not so much. If there is an apt analogy, I go with bringing a knife to a gun fight, and this speech was a bazooka.

There has been quite a bit of parsing of the 2020 election for the losing side, because the losers made it about them. And commenting on it, while banal and mostly foolish, was justified because it was legitimate news – not so much the lies about voter fraud, just the initial fallout from it, and that news led us to an insurrection and one of the worst domestic terrorist attacks in modern times. However, not to be forgotten in that whole mess – which was, in truth, part of the plan to make it about losers – Joseph R. Biden Jr. received more votes than any human who has run for president of the United States. Specifically, 81,283,485.

That is a lot of fucking votes.

Yet many Republicans, either for the Big Show to solidify political standing or lazy mob mentality, first ignored and then tried to disenfranchise those votes. But now they have to cast legislative votes to help Biden make D.C. move or not, and one thing the New Guy has over the previous one is that he is actual politician, and a very studied one at that. Burning bridges as an opening salvo for TV ratings and to rile the great unwashed might work fine in Hollywood or New York Real Estate, but what the New Guy knows is that regardless of the landscape, there is a political way forward. This, and not whatever that crazy shit that went on the past four years, is how things get done around here. Rhetoric used as a means to an end.

The results of this “plan” certainly remains to be seen; but make no mistake, the president’s inauguration speech was the opening paragraph in a political thesis he formulated long before January 20.

Now, I know this partisan bickering thing – always a feature of national politics – began to get really ugly during the Obama Administration. A major part of this was achieved through obstruction politics, the other part is that Obama was truly shitty at the hard knocks of negotiation, getting his hands dirty with meetings and interplay. He had, according to sources on both sides of the aisle, an overt disdain for congressional fisticuffs. Obama had only been a senator for five minutes when he ran for the highest office in the land. This is why he chose Joe Biden as a running mate, among the normal electoral concerns – older white guy with centrist ties to the Rust Belt. This is precisely why I thought Biden had the best chance to end our national nightmare, and guess what, he did.

Biden was Obama’s inside man for eight years. When no one would deal with the president, Old Joe was there to kick up the dirt of his three decades in the chamber. Any legislation accomplished during the 44th president’s two terms, especially the last one and a half when he coughed up the House and Senate, was mostly due to Biden. This is the guy who gave the “unity” speech; some of which was the obvious pivot from bleating asshole to old-world statesman, but the real underlying rhetoric told not a tale of the past, but one of the immediate future.

What the New Guy knows is that regardless of the landscape, there is a political way forward.

And as mentioned, it was all strategically planned out. The day before the inauguration, Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain made available to the White House press corps the four pillars of the incoming president’s agenda: Covid-19, Economy, Environment and Racial Equity. Let’s consider the breakdown: Crisis. Collateral Damage of Crisis. Long-Reaching Results of Crisis. Most Effected by Crisis.

A few minutes after the nifty “unity” speech, Biden went to work; signing seventeen executive orders to directly hit all these subjects. There was a cold, calculating myopia about it. Time to move on. New Guy.

On the second day, the Biden staff was appalled to learn that not only was a national vaccine roll-out a mess, but it was also non-existent. The previous administration did not have one. For the two months it could have been administered, and for the months leading up to it, only politics and then lying and whining about politics mattered. As thousands died and millions become infected by the worst pandemic in a century, the federal government, which has all of our money, tanked it.

Turns out my assessment that “the house was on fire, time to put it out first, and worry about where to put the furniture,” during the summer, was spot on.

So, I’m taking this prediction winning streak and letting it ride. I say, the New Guy puts to use the post-election goodwill to transform narrative (“unity”) into legislative manipulation. (Hey, look at that, a president with a positive approval rating!) Biden may have lost something off his fastball at age seventy-seven, but if he knows one thing, it is legislative manipulation. This is what his inauguration speech tells me and believe me, if Republicans want to stay relevant in congress, they had better know this: Merely saying legislation is socialist or that the opposition hates America or some dime-store nugget that excites talk radio is no longer going to cut it. Oh, they’ll try. It’s hard to break habits. But that is what is before them. It is the consequence of the election: eighty-one million said, “New Guy, please!”

Cult of Personality has literally left the building, and it has been replaced by the New Guy – wonky, stealthy, shrewdly effective, and always smiling that smile. Placate the left, challenge the right, the way of the politico

Infant time is over.

The New Guy is in town.

Read More
Page 4 of 54« First...«23456»102030...Last »