Why Do Republicans Love Guns?


              You would think that in the aftermath of the recent horrific, mass shootings, which even have occurred in Southern states, that at least a few members of the GOP House caucus would find some way to join with the other side and come up with some kind of mild measure to cut back on the violence caused by guns.

              Maybe those stalwart defenders of the 2nd Amendment aren’t quite ready to abandon one of their most cherished beliefs, so we shouldn’t expect them to jump onto the assault rifle ban bandwagon quite yet. But isn’t there some other, less dramatic way that the GOP can figure out to demonstrate some degree of worry for the seemingly endless shootings that are taking place?

              According to Gallup, more than 60% of American adults are dissatisfied with the gun-control laws we now have on the books and would like to see gun regulations increased. And while 54% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents are satisfied with current gun laws, this number is a drop from the 69% who were satisfied two years ago.

              Think the gun-control issue won’t be an electoral concern in 2024? Think again. I get weekly emails and snail mails from the NRA and the gun-control groups like Brady and Giffords, and next year’s election is mentioned almost every time.

              Even after the killing of three adults and three children at a Christian school in Nashville, the House GOP Majority Leader, Steve Scalise, refused to talk about any kind of gun -control legislation in positive terms. Meanwhile, back in 2017, Scalise took a bullet in his rear end during a practice session of the GOP House baseball team.

              How can we explain or even just understand the complete and total refusal of the GOP House caucus to acknowledge the unending spate of gun violence which, if you recall, was blamed on the life stressors caused by Covid-19 in 2020-2021, but the Pandemic has now receded while gun violence seems to be getting worse all the time? The truth is that we can’t explain it, but given the fact that the ten states with the highest current rates of gun violence all send a majority of House members to the GOP side of the aisle, there would be at least a slight murmur about this issue from the red team.

              To the contrary, the GOP’s reaction to gun violence has been to introduce a bill in the House – H.R. 1095 – which would make “an AR–15 style rifle chambered in a .223 Remington round or a 5.56x45mm NATO round to be the National Gun of the United States.” I’m quoting from the text of the bill.

              So far, this bizarre piece of legislation only has five sponsors, including (of course) Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert and George Santos. Can you imagine something this crazy as representing the response to shootings in Uvalde, Nashville, and a few other supermarkets and public sites?

              But before you take what I have written so far and consign the GOP to the nuthatch of history, let’s not forget that the primary reason that someone sits in a Congressional House seat is because he or she wants to get elected again. And to keep a seat in a legislative body where everyone has to face the voters every two years, you better make sure that what you say and what you think is what those voters want to hear.

              The Rand Corp. recently published research which breaks down household gun ownership on a state-by-state basis, and I happen to think that this particular study (as opposed to many others) is pretty good. Rand estimates that 32.4% of American households contain at least one gun. But of the 25 states which gave Trump a plurality in 2020, you would find a gun in more than half the households in 14 of those states. Only 2 states which gave Joe a plurality, contained gun-owning households above 50%, and they were Oregon -.508% and Vermont – .505% respectively.

              Let’s not forget that what matters in Congress is which party has the majority and this number increasingly reflects the outcome of elections in just a few states for the Senate and just a few CDs for the House.

              In that respect, no matter how devastating gun violence may prove to be, it may be an issue which the GOP has no choice but to ignore.

How Much Political Violence Can We Absorb?


A few years ago, I spent a day with the Michigan Militia at a campground where they were holding their monthly meeting and shoot. This is the group that Timothy McVeigh hung out with before he went down to Oklahoma City and blew up the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

What impressed me most of all was the pizzas – quantity and quality. The cheese with extra mushrooms and onions was – non pareille!

I was thinking about that experience yesterday while I joined a seminar on ‘The deadly intersection of white supremacy and firearms,’ hosted and planned by the gun research group at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Much of the contributions by various researchers involved issues directly related to the behavior of armed militia groups like the Michigan Militia, a topic of almost obsessive interest following the involvement of various militia groups in the January 6th insurrection.

What did I learn about the intersection between white supremacy and guns over the past couple of years? To be blunt – not a goddamn thing. That militia members who run around in their camo outfits waving their assault rifles are on the far, far right when it comes to their political beliefs?  Gee, that’s a discovery. That most gun owners are conservative and will exclaim the importance of the 2nd Amendment at the drop of a hat? Another new discovery, okay?

One of yesterday’s presenters was Garen Wintemute, who published an article based on walking around 78 gun shows in 19 states. I quote: “Perhaps the most disturbing political activity at gun shows, because of its content and high prevalence, concerns identity politics.”

What are these politics? I quote again: “New Nazi materials (as distinct from memorabilia) are very common.”

Wintemute visited these gun shows between 2005 and 2008. Most of the persons attending the shows were white men of 50 years old or older. Did it occur to Wintemute that most of these men were the sons of World War II veterans?

My father was a Navy vet from World War II. When I was growing up, Dad and his buddies spent every weekend reminiscing about the war. They never talked abut anything else because those years were the greatest years of their lives. And by the way, if Wintemute were to revisit those gun shows today, I guarantee you that he would find that a lot of the vendors who were selling Nazi crap in 2005 are now selling crap from Viet Nam.

Wintemute’s presentation yesterday was based on a survey he has just conducted with 8,200 respondents covering their political views and identity politics today. He has found that ‘support’ for violent political change is strongest among gun owners, except there’s only one little problem.

Wintemute never asked his respondents to define what they meant when they used the word ‘support.’ Does it mean that when someone calls them up and asks them if they like the Boogaloo Boys they’ll say ‘yes?’ Does it mean they’ll send in a few bucks to help some asshole who was arrested for stealing Nancy Pelosi’s desk calendar cover his legal costs? Does it mean actually showing up at a rally of some militia group and marching down the street?

We don’t know, and Wintemute made no attempt to explain this issue in yesterday’s commentary at all. But what we got from virtually every speaker was the belief that violence committed by armed, alt-right militia groups is bad and will get worse.

One of the presenters reported that she had interviewed 60 public figures and 40 reported that they had received some kind of violent threat from someone on the alt-right. How many of these threats actually involved the appearance or brandishing of a gun? None.

Another researcher has been studying data collected by an outfit called the Armed Conflict Location and Advanced Data Project (ACLED) which tracks violence which occurs at political events. I wrote a column about this issue back in December, and I noted that there were some 30,000 political demonstrations in the U.S. between January 2020 and June 2021, of which less than 2 percent involved the appearance of a gun.

During this same period, there appears to have been 9 deaths of demonstrators or onlookers at public, political events. Other than the 2 poor bastards shot by Kyle Rittenhouse (who was not a member of any militia group), it’s not even clear how many of the other 7 victims were killed by someone using a gun, and according to an article in The Guardian, these deaths may have actually been deadly crimes committed during political demonstrations which had no connection to any political activity at all.

What yesterday’s seminar demonstrated is that liberal academics who study gun violence seem to have political violence allegedly tied to gun ownership on the brain. But I can’t blame them, given the degree to which this theme runs through the liberal news media as well. I wish I had a nickel for every story which ran prior to the 2022 election predicting that Election Day would be rife with violence and attempts by armed groups to create a sense of intimidation and fear.

Know what? Here’s what the Christian Science Monitor had to say about what happened last November at the polls: “There was no violence. At least for now, the serious threats that loomed over democracy heading into Election Day – domestic extremist violence, voter intimidation, and Republican refusal to respect election outcomes – did not materialize in any pervasive way.”

Obviously, when we had a President who promoted and glorified political violence on a non-stop basis for five years, nobody’s going to argue that the rhetoric surrounding politics and political activity is the same as it used to be. But the whole point of doing academic research is to make clear and convincing distinctions between what really happens as opposed to what we would like to believe.

Yesterday’s online seminar presented by the Bloomberg Public Health School was an exercise in advocacy which wasn’t backed up by valid research and therefore just added to the cacophony of liberal complaints about how Americans own too many guns.

Shouldn’t we be able to get at least a little bit beyond that idea?

Is Political Violence a Threat?


              So, now we have the entire editorial board of The New York Times pronouncing what we need to do about gun violence. And when you get done reading through this entire epistle, you’ll understand why we haven’t done anything to reduce gun violence over the past twenty years.

              To understand the context in which the esteemed editors of America’s most esteemed public media venue produced their remarks, the per-thousand rate of deaths from intentional gun assaults (i.e., homicide) in 2001 was 3.98. In 2020, the rate was 5.88. Or to put it in raw numbers, 11,348 people were shot to death by someone else in 2001, in 2020 that number was 19,384.

              According to this bunch of Ivy-educated lowbrows, America has a ‘toxic’ gun culture because “a growing number of American civilians have an unhealthy obsession with ‘tactical culture’ and rifles like the AR-15.”

              I know something about that unhealthy obsession because I happen to be the person who advised the law firm representing the litigants who sued Remington for making the AR-15 used to slaughter 26 adults and children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. And what I told the Koskoff law firm about the AR-15 is what they used in an argument which basically said the rile was too dangerous to be in civilian hands.

              That was then, this is now. And now we are being told that “the American gun industry has reaped an estimated $1 billion in sales over the past decade from AR-15-style guns, and it has done so by using and cultivating their status as near mythical emblems of power, hyper-patriotism and manhood.”

              Let’s start right there. One billion dollars over ten years? That’s the big deal? It just so happens that until recently when sales began to flag and retailers began cutting prices, that the average cost of a fully assembled AR-15 was about a thousand bucks.

So, let’s divide a billion by a thousand and what do we get? We get one million AR-15’s sold to a potential market of some eighty to ninety million Americans who own guns. No wonder the price of a share of Smith & Wesson stock has dropped by nearly 50 percent over the past year.

What is worse than all those military-style guns floating around, is how they keep showing up at political events carried by super patriots on the alt-right. The editorial references an earlier ‘analysis’ by the newspaper which found that 77 percent of some 700 political demonstrations attracted people openly carrying guns.

In fact, the analysis was no analysis at all. The NYT simply cribbed some data put together by a research outfit, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), which first started operating in Great Britain, but now is housed in multiple academic locations in the United States.

The ACLED group has done a detailed analysis of all armed political demonstrations in the United States from January 2020 through June 2021, a period which saw perhaps as many as 30,000 public demonstrations, of which somewhere around 560 events involved at least one person openly carrying a gun. That’s less than two percent.

Of the demonstrations which attracted armed demonstrators or onlookers, there were 9 fatalities reported to have occurred, of which two men were shot by Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha during the BLM violence in August 2021. How many of the other 7 people killed in these 560 demonstrations were shot with guns? I can’t find any data on the ACLED website which breaks down fatal violence committed with or without guns, but an article on political violence in The Guardian  (based on ACLED data) says that the ‘overwhelming majority’ of BLM demonstrations were peaceful and that many of the deaths at these events were actually deadly crimes carried out near where the demonstrations took place.

In other words, for all the efforts of the gun industry to market its products through appeals to manhood, patriotism, and the endless bleating about 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ this country continues to exhibit a remarkable level of peace and calm, notwithstanding all those gazillions of guns floating around.

Several weeks ago, the NYT ran another story about how the gun ‘culture’ has become an intimidating element in the public debate, with a tag-line which read “Armed Americans, often pushing a right-wing agenda, are increasingly using open-carry laws to intimidate opponents and shut down debate.”

If I had a nickel for every story the NYT and other liberal media ran about how the mid-term elections would be rife with violent threats and violent acts, I wouldn’t have to finish this commentary up right now in order to report for work.

Meanwhile, the Christian Science Monitor summed it up by saying, “There was no violence. At least for now, the serious threats that loomed over democracy heading into Election Day – domestic extremist violence, voter intimidation, and Republican refusal to respect election outcomes – did not materialize in any pervasive way.”

If the Editorial Board of America’s ‘paper of record’ (a term they have been using to describe themselves since 1924) wants to really do something about gun violence, instead of promoting this cockamamie nonsense about how the Boogaloo Boys are one step away from committing the next Civil War, why don’t these editors sit down and figure out what to do about the 50 kids and young men who get gunned down every day on inner-city streets?

Is that too much to ask these so-called editorialists to do? I guess it is.

Is Violence At Political Rallies The New Norm?

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Our good friends at The Trace have evidently begun to get concerned about how many people visit their site every day. I can’t figure out any other reason why they would post some content which gives us a completely misleading idea of what gun violence in this country is all about.

I am referring to the Newsletter they sent out yesterday (thanks GL) which references a report by an outfit that calls itself the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED – whew!) which appears to come out of someplace on the internet although it’s not clear exactly where. 

Anyway, what this group evidently attempts to do is track ‘reported’ political violence all over the world, in order to ‘bring clarity to crisis,’ whatever that means.

Let’s not forget that political violence is something we associate with undeveloped countries who have weak governments (if any real governing systems at all) whereas what happened at the Capitol on January 6th was for us an unprecedented event.

On the other hand, the appearance of armed people was not only a new and disturbing feature at Trump rallies, but the whole idea of showing up with an AR-15 was behavior that Trump actively encouraged and always condoned.

The ACLED report covers 2020 through 2021, when armed people showed up at 1,646 Trump rallies at least 112 times. The percentage of armed demonstrations taking place on legislative grounds increased from 14.5% (70 out of 482) in 2020 to 33.6% in 2021 (44 out of 131). In other words, political gatherings in the United States have become more frequently targeted (pardon the pun) by the AR-15 schmucks but note that the actual number of gatherings which attracted gun nuts fell by almost half from 2020 to 2021.

If you take the trouble to download the complete report, however, the idea that the United States is awash in political events which attract guns and result in violence doesn’t really work, and the fact that The Trace is hyping the idea that guns have ‘invaded’ American politics and portend more violence may increase their click-rate but is simply not true.

Leaving aside the fact that any data aggregated from open (media) as opposed to official sources has to be handled with extreme care, particularly data from less-developed countries where political violence and violence of all kinds is underreported like crazy, the number of violent political events and the number of fatal injuries which occur at these events show how remarkably non-violent American political gatherings tend to be, guns or no guns.

From October 12, 2020, through October 12, 2021, there were 298 violent political events in the United States which resulted in 98 reported deaths. Right now, the United States contains 4.25% of the world’s population. In the 12 months which U.S. violent events and deaths were 298 and 98 deaths respectively, the reported worldwide numbers were 99,359 violent events and 151,076 fatalities.

So, in the United States, the odds that you might attend a political event where enough violence occurred that someone gets killed was 1 out of 3. In the rest of the world, the odds were better than 100%. In other words, for all the putzes toting their assault rifles around political rallies in the United States, these guns are rarely used in comparison to how guns are used at political events in the rest of the world. And let’s not forget that we’re the country with all the privately-owned guns, right?

Th attempt by The Trace to push the idea that political violence is becoming a serious threat in the United States is just another riff on the liberal narrative about how we are headed towards a civil war, or a fascist takeover, or worse.

When it comes to how many guns are privately owned, the United States continues to be an outlier in terms of a number that is higher, much higher, than anywhere else.

When it comes to how all these guns create a political climate of violence, the United States is also an outlier, but the profile runs the other way. Our friends at The Trace don’t need to sensationalize what gun ownership is all about.

Can We Elect Anyone For President in 2024?

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              When I was growing up in the 1950’s, my parents told me that what made this country so great was that anyone could become President of the United States.  And that statement turned out to be true in 2016. Because if you look back over the time that Donald Trump was in the White House, here’s a guy who made every single mistake that anyone could make.

              He started off by claiming on Day 1 that his inauguration had attracted the largest crowd ever to see a President sworn in. Now the fact that his predecessor was the first Black President in a city whose more than a million Black residents could all walk down to the swearing-in ceremony and many of them did, would have made anyone else ask whether promoting the idea of the largest crowd to attend an inauguration was such a good idea.

              So, from the beginning, the one thing you knew about Trump was that he would say whatever he said with the scantest regard for whether or not it was true.

              He then almost immediately began lying about why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, and even put together a Presidential commission to figure out how and why all the votes that were supposed to go into his column went the other way. The commission was quietly abandoned a short time later, but again the stench of his lying remained.

              Then he did the craziest thing of all, which was to fire the head of the FBI, James Comey, when all he really should have done was ignore him and leave the whole Russian thing alone. For all his talk about how he was victimized by the ‘hoax’ investigation led by Robert Mueller, there would have been no Mueller if Comey had kept his job. Didn’t Trump have the slightest understanding of what happened to Nixon after he fired Archibald Cox?  Guess not.

              The second biggest flub, of course, was when he couldn’t bring himself to immediately and unequivocally denounce the Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville to hold a parade. And these weren’t just your garden-variety Nazis.  These were guys who sauntered down the street waving their assault rifles and yelling anti-Semitic insults at the crowd.

              The President of the United States doesn’t ever pause even for a second to try and figure out how to respond to a swastika displayed on a public street. And yet it took Trump several days to explain that his comment about ‘good people on both sides’ didn’t mean that he would ever say something that stupid again.

              And by the way, when you look at the Gallup poll of the President’s performance from week to week, Trump hung around just under a 50% positive mark until he nosedived to 40% after Charlottesville, which is where he then stayed for the remainder of his term.

              Then, of course, there was the Pandemic, and here was Trump’s biggest screw-up of all. How could he have ever made an opponent out of Anthony Fauci when doctors happen to be the only professionals that most people trust?  Did he actually stop to think that most Americans would believe what he said about anything having to do with medicine or medical care against what the physician said who figured out a little virus known as AIDS?

              For a guy who is allegedly going to run around the country promoting his kind of Republicans in 2022 and then run again for President in 2024, all of a sudden Trump’s public presence has begun to disappear. 

              Check out his website and see how many public events are coming up. Answer: None.

As for Trump’s views on Afghanistan, this was what he said today: “Biden’s biggest mistake was not understanding that the Military has to be last out the door, not first out the door. Civilians and equipment go first and then, when everyone and everything is out, the Military goes. So simple, and yet it wasn’t done. Tragic!” 

Leonard Mermelstein could have come up with a more incisive statement. Leonard Mermelstein is my cat.

              That all having been said, I have a little bit of advice for my blue team friends.

              Want to get another ‘anybody’ elected President in 2024?  Run another lousy Presidential campaign like the one you ran in 2016.

The Democrats Need The Electoral College.

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Gassaway, WV

              It took 7 weeks from the day that Joe and Kammie were inaugurated, but I think it’s safe to say that as of this past Friday, we have seen the last of Donnie Trump. For all the talk about how he’s going to run again in 2024, and how he’s going to campaign for certain favored candidates in 2022, and how the MAGA movement is growing every day, the truth is that all he’s managed to do is give the Democrats not only the Oval Office and both houses of Congress but helped move the GOP into a permanent minority state.

              Well, maybe not permanent as in forever, but permanent for a bunch of national elections down the road.

              Why do I say that? Because of his remarkably stupid decision to refer to the Covid-19 virus as the ‘Chinese flu,’ and an even more dumb decision by some elements in the GOP to continue singing Trumpie’s tune.

              Mister Orange Head began talking about the ‘Chinese flu’ because every time he talked about anything, he tended to express it in racist terms. He was in many respects, the single, most racist public figure in any Western society over the last 76 years. Count back 76 years from 2021 and you’ll know the last politician to voice an even greater degree of racism than Donnie Trump.

              The racist messaging represented by the ‘Chinese flu’ has come full circle with a significant increase in hate attacks against Asian-Americans during the Pandemic year. And to the extent that the GOP has now decided to go after Joe for his alleged failure to clean up the Southern border mess, the racism of Trump’s immigration messaging lives on as well.

              Good. Let the GOP continue to promote itself as the ‘White’ party. Indeed, we need to encourage them to do and say everything they can to maintain the MAGA notion that the White race should continue to make the rules.

              And by the way, at the same time that we should try to keep the GOP obsessed with its whiteness concerns, we should also drop any discussion about getting rid of the Electoral College if we are seriously committed (as I am) to keeping the Republican Party in 2nd place.

              Why do I say that? Here’s why.

              According to demographic estimates from the Pew Organization, the RAND Corporation, and the Center for American Progress, among others, there are eleven states which will contain a majority or a near-majority of non-White residents within the next four to six years. Together, those eleven states, which include such biggies as California, Texas, Florida, and New York, count 217 electoral votes.

              Of those eleven states, eight of them voted blue last year, two others – Texas and Florida – could easily flip the next time around. If the Democrats can’t pick up another 53 electoral votes from the other 18 states that went blue in 2020, the DNC might just as well fold up its tent and quit.

              Want to live in a state surrounded only by White neighbors for the rest of your life?  Go live in Montana or West Virginia, okay?  Have you ever lived in West Virginia? Have you ever even driven through West Virginia?

Next time you drive through West Virginia on Interstate 79, stop off in the town of Gassaway.  According to the 2010 census, Gassaway is 98.6% White. The only jobs in Gassaway are at a nearby county hospital which pays minimum wage to change sheets and empty bedpans. You can get a job there any time you want.

The picture above is Gassaway’s main street. Think about how much you’ll enjoy walking down that street on a Saturday night and lining up for a table at one of the town’s gourmet eating spots. Or maybe you can browse around in one of the local clothing boutiques.

I really want the GOP to continue promoting the Trumpian brand of politics because this will insure that they will always control the election outcomes in towns like Gassaway, WV. Except maybe even in Gassaway there will come a time when ethnic and non-White residents will begin to appear.

I’ll take Gassaway over the Guatemalan city of Villa Nueva and its 50% poverty rate any time.

Let’s Help The GOP Promote Cancel Culture.


              Back in 1971, when I was on the faculty of the City College of New York, a group of us created an uproar on campus by sponsoring a lecture by Evelyn Hooker, a psychologist at UCLA, who had published a study which found absolutely no difference in mental stability between straight and gay males. If you had told me then that fifty years later marriage between two consenting adults, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, would be Constitutionally-protected in all 50 states, I would have thought you were out of your mind.

              For that matter, if you had come up to me while I was sitting in South Africa’s Joberg Airport in 1989 and told me that Nelson Mandela would soon be released from prison and that apartheid would then shortly collapse, I would have also thought you were out of your mind. But sometimes even the most unimaginable and wonderful things happen over the course of our lives.

              I thought back to the lecture by Evelyn Hooker yesterday when I learned that four GOP Presidential wannabees – Rubio, Lee, Braun, Hawley – sent a letter to Jeff Bezos demanding to know why Amazon was no longer selling When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, a bookwhich claims that the decision to become a transgender person is symptomatic of mental disease.

              The response from Amazon was this: “we have chosen not to sell books that frame LGBTQ+ identity as a mental illness.” Good for them.

              The media keeps talking about how the GOP is having problems framing an attack on Joe and Kammie, so instead, they are ramping up the culture ‘wars.’ They have been accusing the Democrats of something called ‘cancel culture,’ an accusation that really got rolling after Twitter and Facebook banned Donald Trump. You can see a list of right-wing noisemakers who have been the targets of cancel culture attacks from the Left.

              In my self-appointed task as someone who would like the GOP to be permanently reduced to a minority party, I happen to think that we should encourage Republican politicians and right-wing pundits to speak out against cancel culture as frequently and as loudly as they can. Here’s why.

              First, you have to be blind, stupid, or dumb not to realize that cancel culture is just a way for the GOP to quietly slither away from the ugly and disgusting racism of the Trump brand, but meanwhile pretend that Trump is still their man. And even though Amazon’s decision to decide what it will and won’t sell has absolutely nothing to do with free speech, you can always claim that being a Conservative means you defend the Constitution; it’s those radical Commies on the other side who want to tear our God-given freedoms down.

              The other reason I want the GOP to continue their cancel culture strategy is that I really can’t believe not only how quaint it sounds to be against gay rights, but it’s particularly going to take the Republicans off to never-never land while we are still trying to overcome Covid-19. If Joe gets a needle into the arm of every adult who isn’t afraid of being vaccinated by the beginning of June, do guys like Rubio and Hawley genuinely believe they’ll be able to score political points by reminding voters that they made a place on the shelves for all the books written by Dr. Seuss?

              Let me tell you something about the future of the GOP, in particular the attempt by guys like Hawley, Rubio, Cruz and the other 2024 wannabees to fasten their wagons to the alt-right. In the months leading up to the 2020 election, the Breitbart website was getting 70 million hits every thirty days. Since Joe’s inauguration, that number has fallen to 39 million, okay?

              Funny how the audience for all that right-wing crap has fallen by nearly half since cancel culture got Trump to shut the f*ck up.

              Hooray for cancel culture. Bring it on, I say, bring it on.

Does Trump Still Own The GOP?

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              In yesterday’s column I said that Trump won because he got 1/10th of 1 percent of the total votes cast in four states.  That was wrong. In fact, he won because he got 1/10th of 1 percent of the votes in three states – Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. He flipped several other states that had gone blue in 2012 but those were states, like Florida, which tip back and forth every four years. 

              On the other hand, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin were always blue states, so Trump winning the electoral votes in those states was something not only unexpected but unprecedented as well.

              In all three states, Trump was able to overcome traditional Democratic urban votes from cities like Philadelphia, Detroit, and Milwaukee by running up red vote numbers in rural counties where residents own lots of guns. Which maybe explains why the aggressive, pro-gun narrative from Trump in the 2016 campaign made so much sense. Perhaps it also explains why Trump went out of his way to give verbal high-fives in 2020 to lockdown protestors in Wisconsin and other places who marched around with their guns openly displayed.

              There’s only one, little problem with this explanation, however. It happens not to be true.  Or at least it’s not a realistic analysis of why Trump won these battleground states in 2016 and lost them the last time out.

              Trump won the 2016 election because he ran against an opponent who didn’t run any kind of campaign at all. Hillary spent twice as much money per vote as Trump spent, but she was almost as absent from the campaign trail as Wendell Willke, who ran against Roosevelt in 1940. Willkie was from Kansas, but he believed that the New Deal had saved a lot of family farms, so he wouldn’t speak out against the Roosevelt’s economic programs on the campaign trail.

Ready? Between September 1st and November 7th of 2016, Trump did 14 rallies in those three, crucial states; Hillary made 3 campaign stops in PA, 2 stops in Michigan and zero appearances in Wisconsin over the same period of time.

              The only Presidential election in the 20th Century where the winner got less electoral votes than what Trump received in 2016 was the 2000 Bush-Gore contest. Otherwise, no other candidate moved into the Oval Office with an electoral mandate as slim as what Trump received in 2016. And let’s not forget that he lost the popular vote that year.

              Now that Trump’s out of office, having lost to Joe by more than 7 million votes, here’s what he faces going forward:

  1. Criminal investigations in New York and Georgia.
  2. Civil lawsuit for incitement to riot and possible defamation lawsuit from Dominion Systems.

To add insult to injury, this past weekend the Feds arrested a guy from Newburgh, NY who was seen talking to Roger Stone just before he breached the Capitol on January 6th. Nearly 300 ‘patriots’ have been charged with participating in the riot event, and sooner or later one of them will probably talk about how his group was taking orders from Stone who will then roll over and say that he was taking orders from Trump.

And yet, despite the fact that no President ever got elected with such a thin margin, nor has any President ever left office with so much legal baggage in tow, the liberal media keeps telling us that Trump is still running the Republican Party and is a force to be reckoned with in 2022such and beyond. The latest example of such attempted wish-fulfillment comes from Jelani Cobb, a know-it-all who writes for The New Yorker Magazine.

Cobb’s piece begins like this: “In just four years, the G.O.P., a powerful, hundred-and-sixty-seven-year-old institution, has become the party of Donald Trump.” It ends like this: “January 6th was not a culmination but, rather, a preface to more violence conducted under the same banners.”

What an apocalypse. The political party whose leader planned January 6th is now planning more such events. That being the case, how come Trump couldn’t even get one person to show up for his second inauguration last week?

Why Do We Have So Much Crap?: Economic Inequality in America: Weisser, Michael R: 9798656228428: Amazon.com: Books

Want An Easy Act To Follow? Try Donald Trump.

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              Yesterday I received an email from The Washington Post, inviting me to tune into some kind of podcast interview with Hillary Clinton, which kicks off a new WaPo programming venture featuring important people who believe they have something important to say.

Sometimes I think that Hillary ran such a lousy campaign for President because she must have been on the GOP payroll. But most of the time I just wonder how come she can’t just go off somewhere and shut the f*ck up?

They never shut the f*ck up. They stick around forever. It’s some kind of disease and the latest person infected with the illness is Donald Trump.

Trump’s latest reminder that he won’t shut the f*ck up is an announcement that he’s planning to go to Alaska to ‘campaign’ against Lisa Murkowski, who voted to confirm Joe’s pick for Interior Secretary, Deb Haaland, even though Haaland is one of those ‘radical’ Democrats who’s against drilling for oil on the Arctic shelf.

Trump says he’s going to back another candidate for Murkowski’s seat in 2022. Meanwhile, the so-called candidate doesn’t yet exist. Maybe Trump is thinking of pulling Todd Palin out from his house arrest to run for the Senate seat.  Or better yet, maybe Trump can get Palin’s ex-wife to leave rehab for a while and start her own campaign.

I really hope that Trump makes good on his promise to insert himself into the 2022 mid-term election, and I also hope that he’ll run for President again in 2024. In case you haven’t noticed, I happen to believe that the GOP should remain out of the Oval Office and be the minority party in Congress from now until the end of time. I also believe that Trump’s presence in the political arena will advance both those goals.

What did Trump really accomplish in four years? He signed a tax-break bill that had been sitting around in the Senate waiting for a Republican President to show up. He also signed the First Step crime-reform bill, which was the work of a bi-partisan Congressional group which got no input or direction from Trump at all.

Other than those two ceremonial events, Trump spent his time running around the country performing at one of those stupid MAGA rallies which had no positive impact on the outcomes of either the 2018 or the 2020 campaigns. He also flew off just about every weekend at taxpayer expense to play golf at one of his bankrupt golf clubs.

Every day he staged a phony, reality-TV event at the White House to prove he had all kinds of public support. Who showed up? Bikers for Trump, Cowboys for Trump, Truck Drivers for Trump, Someone, Anyone for Trump.

Meanwhile, the famous wall ended up being a million-dollar scam for his buddy Steve Bannon, the wonderful relationship he had with the head of North Korea didn’t stop his new friend from increasing the size of his nuclear arsenal, none of the troops that were supposed to come home from Europe, or the Mid-East actually came home and of course he managed the Covid-19 crisis about as well as another ‘wartime President’ named Lyndon Johnson managed Viet Nam.

Could someone please explain to me how a guy who got 1/10th of 1 percent of the total votes cast in 4 states which earned him the election actually believed that he was leading some kind of new movement that would remake the political map of the United States?

In 1932, when all the state banks had shut down, industrial capacity was at 5% and the official unemployment rate was estimated at more than 20%, Herbert Hoover actually believed that he could get re-elected by telling everyone there was no real economic crisis and that ‘good days’ would be here soon.

My only regret is that the Democratic Party’s control of the government beginning in 1932 only lasted twenty years. Maybe we can do better this time.

American Democracy Under Threat? Enough Is Enough.

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Notwithstanding all the hot air and bullshit on both sides of the political spectrum about how we are facing a melt-down of the political system due to the attempts by Trump and the alt-right to maintain some media presence after the ass-kicking they took on November 3rd, if we’ve learned anything over the past seven weeks, it’s how remarkably stable our two-party, political system happens to be.

The election was called for the blue team the very night it occurred, a call that was first made by a media network (FOX) that hasn’t been particularly friendly to the winning political party over the past twenty years. The Electoral College met and voted as scheduled last week, the Congress will validate the results on January 6th, and the 46th President will be sworn in exactly two weeks after that date.

Between November 4th and this past week, there has not in any way been a threat to democracy at all. It was nothing more than a lot of play-acting by alt-right media personalities like Trump and Giuliani who in one month will be looking for new jobs. Evidently, Trump has been musing about bringing back ‘The Apprentice’ because he’s used the phrase ‘you’re fired’ even more times as President than he used the same phrase on his weekly TV show.

Ditto all those supporting actors like Stephen and Jason Miller, Jared Kushner, Sydney Powell, and the rest of that bunch. In fact, the alt-right media has already stopped talking about election ‘fraud’ and switched to discussing the ‘fraud’ represented by vaccines for Covid-19.

Want to get an idea about how incredibly stable our government is compared to other democratic regimes? Let’s go back exactly one century and compare. Italy and Germany, as we know, collapsed into dictatorships, the latter perhaps being the worst, most vicious and destructive government of all time. The 4th Republic in France collapsed from the threat of a military coup in 1958, and there was basically no central government until a new Constitution was written and DeGaulle established the 5th Republic in December of that year. The British parliamentary government faced three ‘no-confidence’ votes and had to reassemble a governing coalition three times since 1919.

Know how many different governing coalitions have been responsible for running Israel since the Zionist State came into existence in 1949?  Try 36 different governments in 71 years.  How’s that for stability, okay?

We have absolutely nothing like that type of merry-go-round here. At the end of Joe and Kammie’s first term in 2024, since 1960 the blue and red teams will have controlled the Executive Branch exactly the same amount of time – 32 years.

As for Congress, the Democrats controlled both Houses from 1960 to 1980, although for most of that time the Southern Democrats often out-GOP’d the GOP. Republicans controlled the Senate from 1981 through 1986, then the blue team took over both Houses until 1995. Since then, Congress has been more red than blue, but the control of both Houses may shift back to the blue team on January 5th.

For all the talk about the ‘deep state’ on the one hand, and ‘armed rebellion’ or ‘secession’ on the other, there is simply no mistaking the fact that American government just rolls smoothly along. And this is true whether we are talking about federal, state, or local governmental affairs.

The United States is the only country in the entire world where you can drink the water from any tap (except in Flint), where you can drive on paved roads between every, single town, where meat is inspected before it can be bought or sold and where children get on a bus every weekday morning even if they live around the corner from the school.

If the Russians want to do some real hacking that will make a difference, why don’t they just hack all those internet news websites and blogs?  I’d be happy to fold up and go away If CNN, MSNBC, Vox, Huffington and Politico would do the same.

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