The last week’s “impeachment show” was a painful spectacle. Everyone betrayed everything; the only people who seemed to be truly self-aware were the horrible, sleazy, republicans and Donald Trump’s defenders. There was nothing to expect from them except the worst and, boy, did they deliver.
The president’s lawyers and defenders made fools of themselves, or they would have, if anyone actually felt that they actually believed any of the nonsense they were spouting. I was reminded over and over of Charles Schultz’ sadistic Peanuts cartoons, in which Lucy constantly trolls Charlie Brown in to trying to kick a football that she always pulls away. Charlie Brown is so stupid, and Lucy so vicious, that our sympathy becomes inverted and we hate Charlie Brown for having the temerity to hope in the face of such a ruthless, horrible, opponent. Perhaps I am projecting my own reaction too much, but I feel like that, watching the last couple weeks’ charades.
It was a charade at every level, and the complaisant media played along with it, while simultaneously pretending to be either deeply engaged, or incredibly stupid. Perhaps, perhaps the stupidity was real, but for it to have been real, the media would have to ignore pretty much the entire history of the republican party. Much like Lucy in Peanuts, it always pulls the football away. Yet, the media put on this great spectacle of “will Susan Collins do the right thing!?” Of course not! Why would they expect that? Didn’t they watch the Kavanaugh hearings? It sickens me when I read nonsense about “The republicans are spineless! Why won’t they do the right thing for America and uphold the constitution!?” Don’t you get it: if they were going to uphold the constitution, the current situation would not obtain in the first place. Expecting Mitch McConnell to “do the right thing” is such naive optimism that it qualifies as a philosophical disorder – anyone insisting that maybe this time the republicans won’t cheat is a fool: cheating is what the republicans do. It’s how they get and stay in power.
You do not respond honorably to an enemy that shows no honor. And don’t get me wrong about this: the republicans are the enemy; they’re quite clear about that. I’m mind-boggled that, for example, in 2000 the democrats decided to play nice in Bush V Gore, in Florida – a state where everyone acknowledges that the voter rolls have been rigged through thorough voter-suppression. Oh, sure, let’s just accept the rigged vote and let Bush be president. How did that work out for the USA? The democrats did the same routine in the recent impeachment: they walked into a rigged situation and loudly declared that they expected the republicans to do the right thing. Holy shit, Batman, that’s stupid! That’s like attempting to shame Mitch McConnell by calling him “Moscow Mitch.” McConnell has no shame and has made that obvious over and over again in the past; what kind of imbecile is going to look at that swamp thing’s history and appeal to his sense of fair play? Strategically, that makes fighting a land war in Asia look like a brilliant decision. McConnell may actually enjoy attempts to shame him; I picture him naked in his tighty-whities (naturally they are white) looking at himself in the mirror while saying “you’ve been a bad, bad, boy!” and spanking himself with a ruler. None of that matters: that shitbird has a tremendous amount of power and is in a position where he will use it ruthlessly and unblinkingly.
The media and the democrats (and a lot of Americans) don’t seem to realize two things:
- The south have always been fascists/white supremacists; same thing
- Fascists tend to say what they plan to do
I’m not kidding. That Hitler guy made a lot of speeches about hating jews and, when he came to power, he and those who came to power with him, did exactly what they had said they were going to do. The republicans have made it crystal clear, in multiple ways, that they plan to cheat in the 2020 elections. Starting with multiple plots to disenfranchise voters in swing states (based on race, because that’s a good proxy for “those who see through us”) and to flat out ignore new legislation in Florida that gives the vote back to people with criminal records. Basically, “we are going to ignore that law, OK?” Because they need to cheat to win, they’ve made it clear that they’ll cheat. Then, there was that crazy little matter of Trump making it clear that he was going to cheat to smear Biden (personally I think he picked the wrong target, but what do you think they have in store for whoever gets the democratic nomination?) They aren’t being subtle, damn it! The media’s going to sit there and wring its hands and say stupid garbage about how they sure hope Mitch McConnell lives up to his oath of office, this time. Even the evangelical christians who smirkingly follow Trump aren’t goofy enough to actually believe any of this crap.
What I want to know is where the mob with pitchforks, torches, and high-capacity rifles is going to meet, and when.
Let me go back to point #2 above: Fascists tend to say what they plan to do. That’s because they’re not very bright; racism is a disease of the ignorant. But that doesn’t mean they’re not sincere. Trump has been saying he might not accept an unfavorable election. That is, in fact, the truth: he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016, and the republicans used existing political levers built into the vast corrupt machinery of the United States, to steal the election. That it’s a built-in election stealing mechanism that’s there because the racist southern states insisted on it, and the corrupt northern oligarchs agreed that an excess of democracy was a bad thing – that’s irrelevant: you’ll notice that nobody was naive enough to ask Trump nicely to concede after losing the popular election by a whopping 3 million votes. Of course he wouldn’t do that. He’s not going to concede until his gun-toting followers cause a hell of a lot of trouble. And, unlike the fascists, the democrats and well-meaning liberals are not saying what they plan to do. We need to be saying, clearly and openly, “If you didn’t notice you were outnumbered by at least 3 million, you need to know that if you talk that secession shit a second time, you will not wind up with an easily mooted ‘reconstruction’ there will be martial law, rough arrests, and hangings. You assholes will get to see what it feels like, if you keep talking that shit.”
It may already be too late, because there’s been too much sitting back and asking the republicans to play fair. It’s been a downhill spiral ever since Gore didn’t take the country to war over Florida in 2000, because, unfortunately, he was a genuine hand-wringing liberal.[guard] The kind that fascists were mocking at the time for being a wimp. Turns out, he was.
The eight-strong commission, whose report will be published on Friday, found that black voters were “10 times more likely than white voters to have their ballots rejected”, and pointed to the use of a flawed list of felons and ex-felons to purge the voting rolls.
The 2000 election was stolen. Gore should have fought harder. Did he fold because he knew it was like Mitch McConnell’s impeachment show: hopelessly rigged?
If you remember how that all went down, all the news channels were calling Gore the winner until the last minute when Fox news started calling it for Bush and then republicans started challenging the votes and, basically, mobbed the vote-counting facilities? The whole time that was going on, liberals stood around calling on the republicans to “please play fair.” Please don’t jerk that football away this time. Please don’t do what you’ve already made it clear you will do every single time you get the chance!? What pathetic mewling bullshit. And liberals simply cannot seem to find the resolve to defend their liberalism against threat at every level. Part of that problem is that the democratic party is a bunch of fake liberals; what on earth were The American People thinking, letting Nancy Pelosi decide when to impeach Trump? And what on earth were the democrats playing at, going into an impeachment process without subpoenaing Trump, and without subpoenaing his helpmeets? They would not have appeared, of course (they already made that clear) which means it would be time to start issuing arrest warrants. Pelosi, being part of the corrupt system, was not willing to rock the boat she has sheltered herself and made so much money in. She probably doesn’t care, either, since she’s got hers and is ancient and will die comfortably and leave her mess for future generations to clean up. Après lui, le déluge. Après all these assholes, a hard rain’s gonna fall. They’ve said so. They mean it.
Fascists are pretty open about their plans, because they think they have the power to carry them out, regardless of what anyone does to try to stop them. They also “project” a lot; i.e.: they assume that anyone else, in their situation, would do the same thing they’d do. In this case, when they say that the democrats’ impeachment attempt was trying to nullify the election, what they mean is they’re thinking about how to nullify a democrat win in 2020, if the vote suppression and gerrymandering doesn’t work. They are saying this stuff openly because that is what they are thinking. What do you think would have happened if Obama had not kept his nose squeaky clean? Frankly, I’m just glad that the guy wasn’t murdered, though (if you remember) the republicans were making rumbles about that, as well.
This is not a good situation. The US has maybe one, maybe two, more election cycles to eradicate the republican party, or none of this will matter. For one thing, the republicans will continue to do exactly as they have said, and continue to pollute the planet until the ecology collapses. In the meantime, liberals will have to forgo liberalism and its irresolution and consequent weakness. The ecological catastrophe we are looking at may plunge the world into a new age of blood and iron, an environment more suited to amoral republicans than people who want to share and care and try to do what’s right.
This is my sermon for sunday: don’t get your hopes up.
Don’t expect the media to suddenly stop reporting on the primaries like a horse race. For one thing, it’s all they know how to do and for another, that’s the inevitable side-effect of having elections based on how much money you can raise. Who raised what becomes a proxy for who cares. Don’t expect the media to suddenly become incisive and outspoken; if they were capable of it, they would all sound like Medhi Hasan, and they aren’t.
Don’t expect the republicans to suddenly become honorable. Any appearance of fair play, there, will only be a tactic. If a republican appears to be playing fair, that’s because they’ve already but polonium isotope in the coffee you just drank, or they have the next election in the bag already.
Don’t expect change from the current system. The democrat candidates – well, some of them, anyhow, talk about changing this or that, but real change cannot happen in the context of the current system of control. Were we less liberal, or were we fascists willing to resort to violence, we could bring change through unrestrained cheating as Trump, McConnell, and their allies have done. In the meantime, McConnell has made it clear that as long as he can control the senate, nothing is going to happen that does not further Trump and the republican’s agenda.
There is no line in the sand which we can point at, like the Romans did their Rubicon, and say, “once it goes past this point, we’re no longer a republic.” I used to wonder about that: what’s the litmus test we can apply? Is it when they suspend voting entirely and stop bothering with the pretense? Even Putin hasn’t done that, but nobody thinks the elections there are any more meaningful than Saddam Hussein’s 99% electoral win. Is it when the justice system starts covering for the executive branch? Oops. No, maybe not that, yet. And I remembered when I was a teen-ager talking about some of this with my dad; I asked him “when does a country become a dictatorship?” I used to ask stupid questions like that, I guess it was my way of getting his attention. But he thought about it. In fact, he said, “I need to think about that more” and didn’t have an answer for me until after dinner, when he said “it’s when the dominant political faction can outlaw the others.” That was back in the 1970s, sometime (I’d guess around 1974) but it still seems right today. And it looks like it’s right around the corner. Unless the republicans feel that they’re going to get the pitchforks and torches routine, they’ll nullify electoral results they don’t like, assuming that the democratic party – corrupt and stupid as it is – doesn’t do the job first.
Did you hear about Thwaite’s glacier? [nyt] The reports are in; the scientists were finally able to measure the water temperature 600ft underneath, and it’s 32F (0C) which is above melting temperature at that pressure. Estimates that it may take 100 years to break apart are now down in the decades, but really it could start to happen any summer. That’s going to represent around a 10 foot sea-level rise, just from uncorking the glacier melt behind Thwaite’s; it’ll take a while to build but say goodbye to New York, Boston, LA, Florida, San Francisco, etc. La déluge, indeed. That particular disaster is now inevitable. If you know someone who is feeling like they’re about to lose everything because of this, or medical insurance bills, or gutted social programs – tell them to grab a pitchfork or a high powered rifle and head to Washington to personally thank a republican. Perhaps that will cheer you up.
In a recent posting over at PZ’s – the one about the guillotine in Puerto Rico – some of the commenters were hand-wringing about how violent talk about guillotines is not appropriate. Excuse me? You’ve got wanna-be right wing death squads walking around prepared to kill you, liberals. They won’t care if you’re offended by their language.
By the way, take a look at this golem:
What the hell is going on there? His right hand, which is on the opposite side of his body, looks yuge. His left hand looks like a baby doll’s. His foot appears to be much larger than his head, which already resembles a glob of congealed mashed potatoes. He appears to be goose-stepping. It’s the hands that really have me scratching my head. Here’s my theory: Trump died of a heart attack and that rushed trip to the naval observatory hospital was when they reconstructed him out of spare parts. Since his replacement had to happen suddenly (they were going to replace him if he got impeached, anyway) they got spare parts from the “abnormal” bin, figuring that nobody’d notice. If something happens to me, you’ll know I figured out the secret and I’ve been silenced.