Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Pottersville Digest

     Corporate ass-covering at its finest.
     You hear that scribbling in the background?
     That's Trump supporters taking notes.

     But when thousands storm the Capitol with the intention of overthrowing the government in a seditious frenzy?
     Not one arrest made that day. But wear a Biden tee shirt...

     Hasta la vista, Danny Bongos. Don't let the door hit your sore ass on the way out.
     What the fuck was the Star Tribune thinking in running this racist, white supremacist drivel the day before MLK Day?
     Oh, the third party projection is strong with this one.
     Executives have learned absolutely nothing since the Triangle Shirtwaist fire of 1911.
     Every mid January we have to hear this shit from the right wing. "Yes, Dr. King was great but..."
     Does that special treatment also include slavery, lynching and Jim Crow voting laws?
     Adds a whole new meaning to Giuliani's Broken Windows program, doesn't it?
     The Tale of the Whiny Mariner.
   OK, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals said he has no Executive Privilege. So, why is the J6 Committee getting only some of the records and not all of them?
     Being a Republican requires a complete inability to feel shame or guilt for criminal acts.
     How horrible. I loved him in Hannibal Rising, in which he played a young Hannibal Lecter with eerie malevolence. RIP Gaspard Ulliel.
     The elusive simple reason why white people will do anything to keep from feeling guilty about our racist past is because they want to leave the door open for such abuses to happen again. Which defeats much of the purpose of maintaining and keeping history accurate. (Tip mo' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC)

     Meanwhile, from the #whiteprivilege files...
     You know how in professional wrestling when the good guy gets the upper hand on the heel, the heel then gets on his knees and begs for mercy? (Pointing at this asshole Walden.)
     If we live in a system in which 17 year-old gunmen can murder on videotape with impunity and a palpably obvious, artless crook like Trump can run for president just to evade legal accountability for his countless crimes, then the laws have to seriously be rewritten.
Pleading the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times: Something a TOTALLY innocent person would do. And finally...

This guy used to be a respected federal prosecutor and the hero of 9/11. 20 years later, he's being suspended and sued left and right after being caught fingering himself in a Borat movie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Dispatches From Pre-Civil War America

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
 "If you can convince the lowest white man he's better than the best colored man, he won't notice you're picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he'll empty his pockets for you." -President Lyndon B. Johnson.
By now, it's become as conspicuous as a Black Panther at a Klan rally that the radical right wing is plotting a nationwide coup of the electoral process. You'd have to be blinder than a Kentucky cave fish to not see that. What should frighten more of us is that some of that radical right wing element is already in Congress. MTG, Lauren Bobo, Louis Gomer, Andy Biggs, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, etc. They're just the advance scouts.
     What should scare even more of us is that these advance scouts have already been in close contact with the shock troops that we saw a little over a year ago during the siege at the Capitol. Ali Alexander said as much. Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ 11) said on a Facebook Live a week after the riot that certain Republican lawmakers gave the future rioters tours of the Capitol the very day before, despite tours being banned at the Capitol at the start of the pandemic March of 2020 (a claim that made Barry Loudermilk scream for Sherrill and other Democrats to be investigated).
     And, incredibly, Republicans and right wing conspiracy theorists are still obsessed with overturning the election results that came in the year before last. One of them is even crowdsourcing citizen audits on a new platform that's gaining new members at an exponential rate. Laura Logan (Of the ironically-named "Lara Logan Has No Agenda" show), who four years ago left CBS to float up to the mothership of Fox "News", got dropped by her talent agency UTA for comparing Dr. Fauci to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who'd murdered thousands during the Holocaust. If you think that doesn't merit mention in this wall of shame, reconsider that Bill O'Reilly's rants against abortion doctor George Tiller resulted in Dr. Tiller getting shot to death in a Wichita church.
    To get back to Marjorie Taylor-Greene again, let's not forget that in between conspiracy theories involving Jewish space lasers and the borderline hilarious Qanon Frazzledrip charge involving Hillary Clinton, America's most beloved bleacher bum also called for a "national divorce" between red and blue states, which would be laughable just on its face since not one state has all Republican or all Democratic voters. Plus, just because someone moves from a so-called blue state to a so-called red state, it doesn't mean they're liberals or Democrats. Likewise, Greene's suggestion that such emigres should have their voting rights suspended "temporarily" could wind up hurting her own base.
     Greene's suggestion should have been laughed out of the marketplace of ideas after being tarred and feathered were it not for its antebellum implications. And, unlike the Civil War, in which the lines dividing North and South were plainly demarcated by the invisible Mason Dixon line (or which states allowed slavery and which didn't), such a civil war nowadays would be impossible since the radical right wing has thoroughly infested not only the body politic but also our population. Think of a certain virus that has killed nearly 6,000,000 people worldwide over the last two years.
     State lines in a latter-day Civil War wouldn't exist and the uniforms of the insurrectionists would be identical to those worn by those on January 6th- Proud Boys riot gear, red hats and Trump flags worn as capes such as the one worn by Ashli Babbitt when she was shot dead that day. The right wing is using the Us vs Them mentality straight out of the Nazi playbook. And, like the Nazis, they're tapping into a rich vein of nationalist resentment that the elections they have no problem stealing as long as a radical Republicans wins was in turn stolen from them. Evidence or the lack thereof that any wide-spread fraud was committed means nothing because we're not dealing with sane people. And it's about time we stopped treating them as if they are and worth listening to.
     So, considering the openly arrogant boasts of the radical right wing and the fruit they've already begun harvesting from their labors, how come the Democratic Party isn't more alarmed by this?
The Lowest White Men 

"Trumpism is a religion founded on patriarchy and white supremacy." Charles Blow, NY Times, January 11, 2018
Perhaps the most vivid delineation of this lack of alarm regarding the planned right wing takeover of the government within the next year are the forged documents signed by Republican officials and sent to the Supreme Court, the US Senate, the National Archives (which had rejected them) and other official bodies. These forged documents claiming to be electors when the electors had already been chosen were signed, sealed and delivered over a year ago. We knew about this over a year ago. Yet Congress, the American voter and the reliably supine mainstream media had hardly managed more than a yawn until recently.
     Helping to tie together these disparate threads of white collar insurrection was Jeffrey Clark's now-infamous "proof of concept" letter that was written and intended to be sent off to Georgia's Republican leadership (Brian Kemp, the GA Speaker of the House and the Senate President pro tem). It was a draft letter written by Clark, who was briefly favored by Trump to take over as Acting AG until the DOJ's leadership threatened to quit en masse if Jeffrey Rosen was fired and replaced by Clark. It seemed to quiver for the seal of the Justice Department that Clark could only use if he was the Acting Attorney General.
     In it, he seemed to anticipate two weeks in advance the phony documents purporting to be the actual electors in at least seven states, all of which having been won by Joe Biden (Georgia, New Mexico, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Arizona). In fact, the phony document out of Lansing alarmed Attorney General Dana Nessel so much she'd sent the documents to that same Justice Department requesting a review.
     So, we now know that Clark knew about the phony documents, which is to say Trump knew about it, at least a fortnight before they were amateurishly copied and pasted onto templates using the same spacing, phraseology and even fonts. The Clark draft letter was intended to be sent out to several states and one should shudder if such a letter was sent out to state legislatures with the seal of the DoJ on it.
     We also know from the "privilege log" submitted by Bernie Kerik to the J6 Select Committee that Trump had drafted out a letter announcing his intention to seize every voting machine in the nation just a day after a certain infamous Oval Office meeting in which Michael Flynn brow-beat Trump into doing just that, including invoking martial law.
     We know about the war rooms, plural, at the Willard Hotel (subsidized by the Trump campaign). Impaneling a slate of fraudulent electors in, again, seven states, was also in the Eastman coup memo, which detailed a comical six point plan that would allow then VP Mike Pence to either throw out or send back to these states the results of their electoral college votes. 
     Then, if that didn't work, there were more drastic and sloppier measures to be taken. That's where Stewart Rhodes, the founder of the Oath Keepers, and his goons came in.

Blue Collars and White Collars
With all due respect to them and the lack of information they had at the time of the insurrection, one of the most damaging misconceptions put out by the mainstream media was that the rioters were disaffected blue collar types who were legitimately concerned that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. We now know with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight that this was far from the case.
     If we could bisect the factions that took part in the insurrection, we could neatly divide them into blue collar and white collar. There were the white collar types, DoJ and administration stooges fanned out by Trump, intended to overthrow the election in a bloodless coup. But if Trump's tweets in the lead-up to the January 6 rally at the Ellipse and other rumblings from GOP lawmakers were any indication, they plainly relied on the likes of Stewart Rhodes and other far right wing militia leaders as their Plan B.
    Trump had shock troops well-placed in the right wing media ecosystem (Alex Jones and Steve Bannon, among others, not to mention an army of flunkies at Newsmax and OAN parroting the lame duck administration's Big Lies) as well as in the Department of Justice, the Pentagon  as well as the US Congress. Looking at it with a bird's eye view, it shows an administration that was far more obsessively focused on overturning the election than it was in confronting the very real threat of coronavirus. Last winter and all the revelations that have come out this winter made us look like a glorified banana republic.
     It boggles the mind how much better we'd all be if Trump had been this focused and proactive in combating the pandemic as he was in his increasingly frenzied attempts to remain in power to avoid prosecution over the dizzying variety of his countless crimes. The COVID pandemic was, to Trump, just an increasingly serious inconvenience to his reelection chances.
     But the blue collar rioters turned out to be a lot more uncivil in their 45 minute-long takeover of the Capitol than the white collar insurrectionists counted on. Five people died that day and on January 7, one of them a cop. Four more policemen committed suicide. They called for major elected officials, including VP Pence and Speaker Pelosi, to be executed (in a loud echo of Marjorie Taylor Greene's calls for Pelosi's execution and Lauren Boebert tweeting about Pelosi's location during the riot).
    What we don't have, incredibly, after over a year, is the smoking gun absolutely establishing a connection between the likes of Rhodes and other rioters and the white collar faction consisting of administration, Trump campaign officials and others. Where are the security tapes of the Capitol from January 5th when the recon was taking place between right wing lawmakers and the next day's rioters? Why haven't more phone records been seized? Hard drives, email accounts? Anything?
     We now know from the videotapes that are available that the Oath Keepers marched up the Capitol steps in a stack formation, or Ranger file, commonly used by the military (not surprising, as many Oath Keepers are former military and/or law enforcement). We know they'd set up ammo and weapons dumps theoretically supplying a "quick reaction force" in various motels surrounding Washington DC. According to Rhodes and his communiques through right wing social media, all it would've taken was a word from Trump to get them scrambling back for their guns and ammo and return to the Capitol.
     Again, one shudders to think how much bloodier January 6th would have been had Trump issued that order to his loyal followers.
     So, my open question to Congress, federal law enforcement and our 16 intelligence agencies is, "Why didn't you take this threat seriously then and why aren't you taking it seriously now?"
     You know, since past is often prologue?

Friday, January 14, 2022

Pottersville Digest

     God, the chutzpah of these people.
     Those crooks made over $6,000,000 from the Arizona taxpayer plus more from right wing donors. They can pay the $50k a day fine.
     We are the stupidest nation on earth.
     "He was arrested later that night for violating curfew in DC, but subsequently released under 'a high-intensity supervision program' after being charged in the insurrection."
     Yet, he continued to offend. So much for high-intensity supervision.

     The wheels of justice continue grinding up racists. And I say, it's about time.
     Florida Man, the world's worst superhero.
     Boy, Anderson Cooper didn't mince words.
     They're also charging these assholes with sedition and insurrection. This is awesome news.
     “We now know: multiple states — Republicans in multiple states — had sent in false assertions, forged documents claiming to be the electors for their states. That draft letter was dated December 28. How did that guy, that Trump guy at the Justice Department, know that two weeks earlier, Republicans in at least five states had, in fact, created these forged elector documents? Did the Trump Justice Department know about it because they helped Republicans in those states do it? We don’t know. But somebody helped them do it, because they all filed the exact same document in the same font, in the same spacing, with the exact same language. So, somebody helped them do it.” -Rachel Maddow.
     You can always count on Republican scum to fulfill the Three F's of their party: Fraud, fakery and forgery.

     Cowards. The whole lot of them.
     This is some real 1984 shit.
     God, please tell me this isn't true, that elected officials aren't actually this stupid. (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC)

    Arrogant twat. Serves him right.
    Everything in the name of "freedom", at all costs. Including human life.
     I kept expecting any minute for Cooper to ask Toobin, "Jeffrey, show us both your hands, please."
     "I'm gonna go eat worms." There. Fixed it for you.
     As the old saying goes, "Set a thief to catch a thief." Crooks know each other, know how they operate. And, no, contrary to that other adage, there is no honor among them.
     So, assaulting a fellow officer doesn't "rise to a level of criminal behavior or criminal conduct"?

     Trump screwed himself over by running a sloppy campaign. Then he screwed over the rioters by not giving them pardons like they were vaguely promised. This is awesome news.
     This is the same gutless prick who refused to show himself getting vaccinated then boosted.

    "Oh yeah, I’ve talked to him. I wouldn’t say on a regular basis, but half a dozen times just to keep him up-to-date to make sure he understands what’s happening but to know we are doing our very best.”

     That's right, Robin. Keep a civil tongue on that little mushroom-headed cock.

     Charles Darwin not only lives, he lives large. No great loss.
     Can we please all agree that Marjorie Taylor-Greene is nothing more or less than the highest-paid bleacher bum in the US? And finally...

     WTF is happening to Staten Island these days? Since Trump, it's turned into a mental leper colony.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

RIP Popeye, ?-January 8, 2022

To many if not all conscientious pet owners, Nature provides the cruelest of ironies. When their time on this earth comes to an end, they lose us and we lose them. Except we don't get the reunions with departed relatives and pets. We don't cross over the fabled Rainbow Bridge with them. We're left with vet bills and the cost and hassle of finding a place to bury them. We're left in tears.
     Popeye passed away last night at around 11 PM. When I woke up yesterday, he was stretched out before the front door, typically, in a sunbeam. I was going to take him to the vet but when I picked him up, I immediately realized that he couldn't walk and that there wasn't any point in taking him.
     So Barb and I gently laid him on our bed, where our other beloved cat, Sweetie, passed away in November 2009. All day and night, we took turns comforting him and making sure he was comfortable. He died on the red fleece blanket you see above in  one of the last photographs I ever took of him, maybe the last. I got it for Barb on Christmas and, in the last week of health he had, Popeye, ever the hedonist, had taken an instant liking to it and we'd happily shared it with him. That picture was taken either right before or right after his final decline.
     There are those reading this who may sneer at my sentimentality over my pets, and have in the past, but I won't talk about them. This is Popeye's space. This time is his. And such people who would sneer at our grief and outpouring of love over our recently-departed little friend are just emotionally-stunted people who had never benefited from the unconditional love of an animal and my pity goes out to them.
     Popeye often had a waspish personality yet I ascribed that to what must have been a hard life on the streets of Hudson, MA. I knew nothing of his former life before I'd taken him in early June of 2009 and I never will. Yet, the nick that cleaved the tip his left ear gave me a clue. There was also his fear of thunderstorms that would make him crawl, his belly almost on the floor and seek our comfort or at least his little refuge under our bed.
     There was also his lack of litter box training. Many cats will spill their litter on the floor but I've never known one who would claw his litter liner over the litter then shit on the bag. I also never knew a cat that would regularly piss on a bath mat while the litter box was just feet away. In the last year, it forced me to put the bath mats on the floor only when I needed it then pick up and drape it over the tub when I was done.
     So, assuming he'd had a hard life before I rescued him, I gave him endless passes. Yes, he still drove us crazy these last 12½ years. Like all cats, he'd knock things off our bureau and sink, jump into cabinets and drawers conveniently left open and into, of course, boxes and bags. He'd claw our furniture to shreds while completely ignoring the scratching post I'd bought him in September 2009.  But Popeye was the kind of cat that desperately needed structure and routine. He was like a furry little Rain Man who needed to be kept on a schedule and, more importantly, to keep his human charges to that same schedule lest his orderly little corner of the universe descend into chaos.
     Mrs. JP brings me my coffee in bed most every morning while I'm still trying to wake up. More often than not, Popeye, long accustomed to the routine, would see Barb walk into the bedroom with my cup, he'd run into the bedroom, scoot around her, jump up on my pillows then onto my right leg so I could rub the top of his silky head with the bottom of my coffee cup. He loved it and was just one in what was an astoundingly complex system of habits and routines that made us wonder in amazement he could keep straight in his little head.
     I'd often work on one book or another until late at night and Popeye would patiently, sometimes not so patiently, sit on the table and watch me. When I'd pull the ice pack out from under my laptop, he associated that with my getting ready for bed, leap off the table and howl for his final treat of the day. He was the living embodiment of Pavlov's research. Then, once we were both in bed, he'd jump on and assume his customary place at the lower left corner, just beyond Barb's feet.
     But before my coffee, Barb had to first tend to him. Canned food, fresh spring water in his bowl with the requisite two ice cubes regardless of the time of year, also made out of spring water (We were very careful about what we put into our beloved cat's body).
     There were other habits and quirks galore. If I tried to rub both his jaws at the same time, he would forcefully jerk his head back. Prior abuse? Again, I assumed so. He didn't like being chucked under the chin like most cats and he hated having his eyes wiped when discharge developed. Softly rubbing the tuft of fur between his eyes would almost instantly put him to sleep.
     These are just some of the quirks that loving pet owners note and respond to and I did whatever I could to make him happy. Of course I did. We both did. Because bringing an animal into your home means saying goodbye to your old life. It's the same as bringing a new baby into the family. As the old saying goes, "All conform to infancy and infancy conforms to no one."
     The same applies to pets.
    And, whether we know it or not, pets teach us valuable things- They teach us discipline, the necessity of routine. They continually reinforce our innate sense of humanity by having us care for them. In short, pets are powerful extensions of the best parts of ourselves. We would do anything for them, unreservedly, unconditionally. Because that is the only way they know how to love us.
     When it became obvious that Popeye was declining and he stopped eating and drinking and using his litter box, I prayed to whoever would listen, knowing that, as usual, no one was listening, to spare his life. If I could supernaturally strike a deal to spare his life at the expense of my own, I literally would have done it. That's love, when you would die for your pet.
     Desperate to get him to urinate again, I kept changing his water, dropping his beloved ice cubes into it, anything to get him to start using his kidneys again. I even put the bath mat back on the floor and, indeed, I saw him sniffing at it on a couple of occasions when he could still walk.
     He ordered us around like he was the boss because he was. He'd meow and yowl for his treats, of which we had several on hand from Sheba stick treats, to broth to dry Temptations treats to the moist variety. Sometimes it'd sound as if he was barking at us and we happily went along with it while wondering why we put up with it. But we spoiled him and indulged him in his every little demand and routine that, somehow, he was somehow able to keep straight in his little baseball-sized head.
     Because we had to assume there was nobody to do so or even feed him regularly before I picked him up and took him home.
     But I didn't rescue him. He rescued me. I'd moved into this apartment in March of 2009, having lost my family of 15+ years, my home and much of my property. It was time to rebuild, to move on but I had nobody and nothing to care for, not even a house plant. Then this Russian Blue runs up to me on a rainy night, having recognized me from when I bought him a can of cat food last April. By late that month, I'd invited Barb to come up from Florida and live with me. When I literally picked Popeye up off the street, it wouldn't be until the end of July that Barb would get up here. Popeye had provided me with that crucial seven week-long bridge because I desperately needed to care for another living creature, one in as much dire need as I. Popeye, like all cats, very rapidly got used to being spoiled.
     And now he's gone. I'd like to think he's awaiting me somewhere in whatever awaits us on the other side. But I have a tough, analytical mind. As much as I'd like to believe in a celestial reunion, I cannot. I'd have a lot of dearly-departed pets awaiting me. Our lives now seem formless, bereft of the comfort of routine, lacking a lot of the love, the love that Popeye had given us in his less waspish moments. He clung to us in his last full day of life on the 7th switching from my side of the kitchen table to Barb's. Cats get asocial when they're sick. Not Popeye.
    Today, I went to the bathroom and something told me to look under the bathmat. I picked it up, looked at the rubber backing and saw something: The telltale sign of a small urine stain that he had left in great abundance over the years.
     In trying to keep one of his own routines alive, the little devil had one last trick up his furry sleeve.

Friday, January 7, 2022

Pottersville Digest

     Sure, guys, pile on. That's what Trump's supporters did to you a year ago.
     It wasn't within Speaker Pelosi's or the Sergeant at Arms' legal purview to have authority over the DC Guard. That's the purview of the Commander in Chief only. And who was that, pray tell?
     "'We can't lose the entire WH counsel's office,' Hannity wrote to Meadows on Dec. 31..." Who's this "we", white man?
     Vaccines are an extermination plot by the Jews? That's ridiculous. We all know the Jews are trying to burn us all to death with their space lasers. A pint-sized gym rat told me so.
     Melania's selling off her own clothes? I guess she didn't renegotiate that prenup as well as reported.
     The dumbest men on the internet.
     A flamethrower?! Does he think he's in a fucking Lethal Weapon movie?
     "To stop people like you who think that you can anoint themselves the reviewers of the voters, of the American people, of what they lawfully did, that you trump the Supreme Court. People like you are what the Constitution is designed to stop, and it worked, and it did stop you." Ari Melber is my hero for this. This little fascist Navarro needs to be put in his place as do all these white collar insurrectionists.
   So by this, may we infer that Manchin not only controls the Democratic party, but his own Republican party, as well?
     Sean Handjob was a de facto consigliere of the Trump crime family. We'd always suspected it. Now we have the receipts.
     And this hasn't been presented to a grand jury... why? Oh, right,. #Blueprivilege.
    Surprisingly, few have made the connection between The John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Supreme Court's now infamous ruling that essentially gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by getting rid of Section 4. If it wasn't for the SCOTUS, the The John Lewis Voting Rights Act would've been unnecessary because these states would've had to run their racist voter suppression bills before the federal government.
    What, the fucking birds and windmills again? Someone get this Man of La Muncha a corkscrew sword!
     "So far the committee has only requested voluntary cooperation from Republicans in Congress, including Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.)."
     Oh, to hell with this professional courtesy bullshit. I would've gone straight to the subpoena then immediately moved for inherent contempt in the likelihood they wouldn't appear. (Tip o' the tinfoil hat to Constant Reader, CC).

     And the Nazi whiteboarding of history continues.
    That same FBI against which she was inveighing conducted a secret intelligence assessment that named everybody as a potential terrorist threat but Trump supporters and right wing terror groups.
     So many innocent black people to shoot, so little time... And finally...

     If this nasty, embittered little leprechaun was around between 1861-1865, you know whose side he would've been on.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Our Fur Baby's in Trouble

     I don't know what it is, if it's mere coincidence or if there's something to it. But since the pandemic began in earnest nearly two years ago, it was virtually impossible to log onto Facebook without seeing at least one of friends mourning a lost pet. Pet deaths seemed to ramp up when we began sheltering in place.
     I'd often express the appropriate tokens of condolences, always feeling helpless that I'm powerless to mitigate their grief. Through it all, I confess I was also quietly grateful that my cat, Popeye, remained in ruddy good health.
    All that dramatically and abruptly changed on New Years when he suddenly stopped drinking and eating. He's already dramatically lost weight (it's amazing how quickly a cat can do that) and he's little more than skin and bones. His behavior has completely altered and he's a shadow of his usually sassy personality that was fully in evidence in the lead photo, my favorite one out of all the dozens I've taken of him over the last 12 1/2 years.
     Since I'm not a vet, I don't know what the problem is. But he's often camped out by his food and water bowls as if he wants to eat and drink but something is holding him back. Now I'm feeling an especially pernicious type of helplessness.
     The problem is, I can't afford to take him to the local vet before it's too late. Christmas put us behind the 8 ball and we haven't even paid our rent for January. My suspicion is that he has either an intestinal or urinary tract blockage and if he doesn't start urinating again soon, his kidneys will fail. On the offchance this can be corrected by surgery, I want to give him every chance for survival.
     Those of you who have stuck with me over the last 13 years may remember the post I'd written the night or the night after I literally picked him up off my street and brought him home. I'd only been living here for nine or ten weeks and desperately needed someone or something to care for and Popeye presented himself to me as to say, "Here I am."
     While sometimes he's been a pain, peeing where he shouldn't, being finicky when given pate cat food and jumping on a chair seconds after we'd momentarily left it, Mrs. JP and I are very partial to keeping him around for as long as possible. I'm not saying anyone owes me anything but I still owe it to Popeye to get the little guy checked out before it's too late. And if any of you own a pet such as a cat or dog, you know trips to the vet ain't cheap. We'll need hundreds if not over a thousand dollars to do what needs to be done for him.
     This is beyond devastating for us. He's our fur baby and he's given us unconditional love for 12 1/2 years. It's time we gave it back to him in his direst hour of need.

The Epiphanies Keep Coming on Epiphany Day

(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari) 
One year ago today, it had been lost on most that the now-historic and infamous riot that had ground business on Capitol Hill to a three hour-long halt occurred on Epiphany Day. Those of us who'd been around the block more than once or twice knew the revelations would continue leaking, if not spilling, out in the months to come. Yet, what should give every American who cares about our republic cold sweats at night is what we don't know even after a year.
    What we already know is the stuff of nightmares.The FBI did a secret threat assessment just before violence broke out at the Capitol without ever once mentioning Trump voters or right wing extremists. (In fact, the FBI found "scant evidence" that January 6th was even planned in advance or coordinated and that whatever threats they came across were "largely aspirational"). To its credit, the same Capitol Police that was so hideously mauled on January 6th did its own intelligence assessment just three days before the insurrection. In fact, unlike the FBI's joke of an assessment, the Capitol Police's intelligence analysts named a name: Louis Gohmert.
     In fact, this is how Politico summed it up just below their lede:
   "The assessment, obtained by POLITICO Wednesday, laid out analysts’ views of danger that lawmakers and law enforcement officers could face during the protests against the certification of President Joe Biden's election. It also noted that the White House was actively helping plan a rally on the Ellipse on Jan. 6. 
     The Jan. 3 assessment noted that Gohmert had sued to try to get then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the election results. The assessment added that a federal judge had thrown out Gohmert’s suit."
    Yes, Gohmert, a former judge, actually tried to sue Pence into doing exactly the wrong thing during the Electoral College certification on January 6th. And then, when that didn't happen after a judge tossed his suit, Gohmert said, "But bottom line is, the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this. You have no remedy – basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you gotta go to the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.’” (audience laugh track)
     Gohmert's not known for his subtlety but in this case we should make note of it. Yes, technically, Gohmert isn't actually telling people to riot and spill blood but he's certainly leaving that open as an option to anyone who just may be listening in. Plus, he's pre-emptively blaming the courts if it does happen. Which, of course, it did.
     It's the equivalent of Trump saying at the Save America Rally that morning, 
    "And we're going to walk down to the Capitol (emphasis his), and I'll be right there beside you. We’re going to walk down to the Capitol, and we’re going to cheer on our brave senators, and congressmen and women. We’re probably not going to be cheering so much for some of them because you’ll never take back our country with weakness. You have to show strength, and you have to be strong.”
     Toward his peroration, he added, "I said something is wrong here, something is really wrong, can't have happened and we fight, we fight like hell, and if you don't fight like hell you're not going to have a country anymore."
     Again, a master of word parsing, Trump didn't specifically tell people to break up and break into the Capitol Building or assault police officers with anything and everything they could get their hands on. But when it did happen, he sat frozen in front his TV for three hours and seven minutes in a state of high excitement, plainly not interested in stopping the chaos waged on his behalf.

What About May 16th?
That was the day in 1918 that Congress passed the Sedition Act into law. Nowadays, historians and other scholars generally agree it was a noxious piece of free speech suppression, legislation aimed specifically at Socialists and assorted leftists who opposed our entry into WWI 13 months before. The most famous victim of the Sedition Act was Socialist Eugene V. Debs who exhorted listeners in Canton, Ohio to oppose conscription.
     The federal authorities grabbed Debs and threw him in prison for what was supposed to be a decade and disenfranchised him for good measure. Debs battled his conviction all the way up to the Supreme Court when he ran into Oliver Wendell Holmes who essentially said, "Yes, the First Amendment gives the right to free speech but not always."
    Debs was released from prison after the Sedition Act was axed by Congress a century ago, perhaps not coincidentally the year Wilson left office. So, yes, the Sedition Act is no more in name but large chunks of it, and the Espionage Act, still remain embedded in the US Code. But Debs was a classic pacifist- He opposed our entry into the first world war and the very concept of conscription. He did not try to overthrow the government, interrupt a valid function of government nor tried to exhort others to do the same.
     That's the former guy you're thinking about.
    So, considering the increasing granularity of the evidence that's being collected by the January 6th Committee, more than one person is rightfully asking, "What's taking so long?" True, the government can't prosecute someone under the now-defunct Sedition Act but they can certainly charge them with the language from that and the Espionage Act that remain on the law books.
     Here's the problem. Scholars and laymen alike see the Sedition Act for what it was- A brutal government suppression of First Amendment free speech rights. Despite our brief involvement in the Great War, the government still tapped scores of corporations acting as defense contractors. In other words, criticizing the war was potentially bad for business, especially when there was plenty of war profiteering to be had. World War I was the first mechanized war. Of course we had a Military Industrial Complex to keep happy.
     So charging the rioters with insurrection, for which the government could make a hell of a case if it chose to, would raise the ugly specter of the Sedition and Espionage Acts and the First Amendment rights it had gleefully trampled. Originally, it was aimed with laser-guided precision at left wingers, But try to use the remnants of it now against the right wingers of January 6th, they'll scream government oppression and suddenly will make friends with the ACLU.
     Not charging Trump or any of his thousands of largely nameless goons is a way for the Department of Justice to get in front of a potential flashpoint that could ignite another riot and right wing anger. But trying to get in front of a nonexistent scandal still leaves the DoJ with the problem of doing its job and appropriately charging these rioters and the organizers with the crimes they had, in fact, committed.
     And not doing so and dispensing slaps on the wrist will merely embolden them to do it again. Trump was impeached for the first time in the winter of 2020 for violating the Constitution during his phone call to Ukrainian President Zelensky in which he sought Ukraine's help in throwing the 2020 election. Republican senators, in a supreme display of cowardice and fecklessness, not only voted to a man to acquit Trump (except for Romney on one count), they refused to even allow evidence and testimony from the witnesses. Obviously, that emboldened Trump to do what he would do in less than a year, which resulted in another aborted impeachment.
     So don't take to heart what Garland said yesterday. "At any level" shouldn't mean short of charging them with insurrection.

You Give Them an Inch...
You can dicker and split hairs about when this blatant disrespect and rabid hostility for the government and our democracy actually started but you could make a pretty good case with the Bundys. One can even say that the prologue to January 6 was January 2, specifically January 2, 2016.
    That was the day Bundy and his followers occupied the Malheur wildlife refuge in Oregon in what should've been a comical one day stunt that turned into an ultimately deadly confrontation that lasted over five weeks. As with January 6th, 2021, offices were occupied and trashed, weapons were brandished and officials were convicted in absentia by a self-appointed judge with the intention of arresting them.
     Oh and that occupation occurred after a peaceful rally, Just like January 6th.
     Before all was said and done, they were building crude roads with heavy equipment while local law enforcement and the Portland FBI field office nervously fretted from a respectful distance. For the first month of this tragic clown show, law enforcement gingerly approached the refuge and negotiated with Ammon Bundy as if trying to steal federal property may or not be a crime.
    Maybe the sheriff's department got their marching orders from somewhere or maybe they wrote them. But the end result was a sickening display of laissez faire law enforcement that seemed to take into account just two things- Political ideology and skin color. Essentially, no one wanted another Waco or Ruby Ridge. Water protectors? They don't count. That's something else, entirely.
    The Three Percenters and Oath Keepers, two of the radical right wing groups that were front and center in the January 6 riot, were among the first ones there. It all started with a mining dispute that had nothing to do with them or the Bundys but if Backes and Barclay wanted to take on the feds, that was all they needed to know and they wanted in.
     Why the Bundys and their confederates chose to steal a small, obscure Wildlife Refuge and how they thought they could actually get away with it is anyone's guess. It's as if Ammon threw a dart at a map and let where it hit make his decision. But the main takeaway from that clusterfuck was that a bunch of rednecks tried to steal federal land and law enforcement both at the local and federal levels gave them the illusion they could do just that.
     The Bundys and their followers were eventually arrested and convicted. But their convictions for their 2014 standoff started by Cliven Bundy were, incredibly, vacated by a judge in Nevada. That and the sickening, cringe-worthy hands-off approach to the Bundys in every one of their stunts gave the imprimatur of approval. And others were listening and watching.
     So it shouldn't strike anyone as surprising that those same Oath Keepers and Three Percenters would nearly five years later almost to the day go on to try sacking the Capitol. They didn't just pop up out of a vacuum like the Boogaloo Boys or were relative newcomers like the Proud Boys. The government should know what and who these people are and what they stand for. And beneath the outwardly childish behavior is a deadly serious ideology that states in no uncertain terms, "If you don't give us what we want, we will kill you." Imagine a toddler with a loaded handgun during a tantrum. That's what we're dealing with.
     And if we keep dispensing slaps on the wrists to these lunatics who want nothing more or less than the downfall of our system of government, then there will be other January 6ths to add to the calendar.

KindleindaWind, my writing blog.

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