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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.

Want To Make A Buck? Try A New Market Called Elections.

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Yesterday the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, delivered a major, 45-minute address to the nation.  Did it go out on any of the TV networks? No. It went out on Facebook.

The speech was nothing more than a repeat of all the various falsehoods that Trump has been slinging around about the so-called ‘stolen’ election. The event, which Trump claimed was the ‘most important’ speech of his entire life, got a 30-second blip on the CBS Nightly News.

              At the same time that this video was playing on a Facebook page, a so-called ‘grassroots’ rally was being held outside of Atlanta that featured speakers like Sidney Powell, who has been bumped off the Trump legal team, but is still peddling her crazy ideas about how the software used in voting machines is controlled by Chinese ‘thugs.’ When Attorney General Barr announced that his investigation couldn’t find any evidence to support this notion, he was denounced by alt-right media as a ‘liar’ and a ‘fool.’

              What’s going to happen the week after next is that Joe Biden will receive 306 Electoral College votes. On January 20, 2021 he’ll be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States. These two events will provide a new class of digital entrepreneurs with the ammunition they need to grow a market which first appeared in 2016.

              And who was the guy who first created this new market and worked it to the point that it has become a significant source of revenue for him and others as well? A guy named Donald Trump. His campaign combined massive digital messaging with equally massive public rallies, the latter being used in place of door-to-door campaigning which Republicans don’t do.

              Remember the Fuller Brush man? Remember the kid selling the World Book Encyclopedia? You probably don’t, but I do. Selling a political candidate is no different from selling anything else.

It’s easy to do a Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign in cities where people live one on top of the other. It’s not so easy to do GOTV in rural areas where residents are more dispersed.

Who lives out in the country? Republicans, that’s who. So why drive all over the place to hit a house here and there when you can show up at a tent revival or a county bar-b-que and meet everyone at the same time?

              The other innovation that Trump brought to the political scene was to market himself and his brand all the time, whether there was an election or not. In the olden days, political campaigns started up every other year after the World Series. So, in a 24-month span, you were made aware of elections for maybe two months.  

              Beginning December 1, 2016 until the day before the 2020 election, Trump’s campaign held more than 120 large, public events, although they tended to be scaled down somewhat with the spread of Covid-19. The rally held outside of Atlanta yesterday was an exact lookalike of a Trump rally, including the crowd breaking into ‘lock him up’ chants from time to time.

              The only problem with the Atlanta rally, however, was that it was organized as a protest against the Governor of Georgia, who happens to be from the GOP. Another target was the Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, who’s also a Republican even though he certified the election results for Kammie and Joe.

              This situation has created something of a problem because Trump is going down to campaign for the two Senate Republican candidates who are facing two Democrats in the runoff election being held on January 5th. How do you denounce the electoral process as corrupt but meanwhile tell your people to go and vote?

              The difference in messaging between Trump on the one hand and ‘Stop the Vote’ rallies on the other tells me that political campaigns have become nothing more than a new market which may have a significant potential for growth. There were 127 million people who voted in 2016.  The total in 2020 was 154 million.

              That’s not a new market?

Please Mister President. Don’t Concede.

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              Can you imagine how boring it’s going to be after Joe and Kammie take their oaths on January 20, 2021? I won’t have anything to write about except the same old gun stuff again. At least, right now I can listen to the ever-shrinking circle of Trump diehards and pick up something which is so looney that I can post an immediate response.

             But what am I going to say when Joe gets up and announces that the Pandemic needs to be addressed? In case you haven’t noticed, Trump has already decided that the corona virus threat has come to an end.

              If you think I’m overstating the degree to which the Trump gang is just pushing out one nutty and desperate narrative after another, try this. On Friday, Rush Limbaugh said that Joe was a ‘placeholder’ for – ready? – an “international, elitist, globalist conspiracy” that wants to take over the world and in the process, “destroy our Constitutional rights.”

              Now I’m assuming that this international cabal probably includes George Soros, Mike Bloomberg, and Bill Gates. Rush didn’t give us any other names or identify the countries where this shadowy group of elitist globalists live. But he delivered this pronouncement with a straight face. He really did.

             Understand one thing about Rush. His show, which allegedly gets 14 million daily listeners, can only be heard between 9 A.M. and 3 P.M., no matter where you live. In other words, his audience consists basically of people who are sitting around at home, either retired folks who are always pissed off, or bored housewives or maybe some bored househusbands. And they’ll listen to anything, including the endless advertisements for home remedies to cure erectile dysfunction or various products to protect yourself from identity theft.

           On Saturday, somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 of these folks showed up in D.C. for what was billed as a ‘Million MAGA March’ to support the continued refusal of Trump to admit electoral defeat. The White House claimed that more than one million demonstrators attended the event, the D.C. police set the number at somewhere under ten thou.

             Remember when the then-news guy Sean Spicer got up after the 2017 inauguration and claimed that the event drew the largest inaugural crowd of all time?  That was the first time the White House promoted a bald faced lie to promote the Oval Office’s occupant but it certainly wasn’t the last. Who was behind the so-called ‘spontaneous’ outpouring of MAGA support this past weekend for Trump? None other than Steve Bannon and Roger Stone.

             Once the word got out that Facebook was being used to promote the fake news about all the election fraud, Zuckerberg’s company took the group down. Which of course is just another example of how the internet is controlled by the same group of international globalists that are going to destroy our Constitutional ‘rights.’

             In response to this egregious assault on your freedoms, the Breitbart website not only pointed out that Zuckerberg donated over $100 million to an anti-Trump political group, but “ordinary Republican voters are not allowed to use his platform to organize in defense of election integrity.” Since when have Roger Stone and Steve Bannon become ‘ordinary Republican’ voters?

           Actually, Stone and Bannon are two scammers who have used the internet to illegally enrich themselves over the years – one was convicted, the other one only indicted so far.

            I can’t imagine having as much fun writing about Joe and Kammie as I have had writing about Trump and his cavalcade of noisemakers over the last several months. Of course once Joe takes the Oath of Office, the pro-Trump gang will continue to promote their nonsense and sell their banners, flags, bumper stickers, and other crap online, but it just won’t be the same.

            Maybe I should start selling a ‘Gun Nuts for Trump’ decal on my website. At least it will give me something to do while Joe and Kammie conduct government business by actually getting something done.

Is Trump A Racist?

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 A brief excerpt from Langston Hughes:

“’Why boy, I like you. I am a liberal. I voted for Kennedy. And this time for Johnson. I believe in integration. Now that you got it, though, what more do you want?’

‘Reintegration,’ I said.’

‘Meaning by that, what?’

‘That you be integrated with me, not me with you.’”

This little episode from one of the Jesse B. Simple stories, sums up for me what the Black-White situation in the United States has been all about. Because from the moment that Blacks in every part of the United States were no longer chattel property, thanks to the 13th Amendment in 1865, Blacks have been playing catch-up with Whites.

How many millions of acres of free land did we give to Whites in the Homestead Acts? How many more free acres of land did we give the railroads owned by Whites to move goods and provisions from coast to coast? How many subsidized home mortgages did we give to Whites so they could move into suburban communities where Blacks were not legally allowed to own homes?

The point is that this country built a middle class that did not enroll Blacks. And in the process, while African-Americans achieved legal equality a century after they were freed, economically, and socially they were left behind.

This two-tiered society in which one tier is largely occupied by Whites, and a tier underneath is largely occupied by Blacks, is what racism in today’s America is all about. Racism isn’t about defining or identifying people by the color of their skins. It’s not about Whites being ‘better’ than Blacks or Blacks being ‘better’ than Whites.

Racism is how some Whites still try to explain why they are on top and Blacks are below. Racism is the ideology that justifies inequality. That’s all it is.

The good news is that in my own lifetime I have seen racism erode and in some situations completely disappear. After all, it’s pretty tough to sustain the idea that one race is superior to the other when laws barring inter-racial marriage have been struck down.

In 2005, I found myself eating dinner in one of the most exclusive and expensive restaurants in South Carolina. At the next table sat a lovely, young Black couple trying their best to get through dinner even though either woman’s mother was sitting at the table, complaining away and basically ruining their meal. Twenty years earlier, the only Black faces I would have seen in this restaurant would have been the men and women cleaning the table and sweeping the floor after the White patrons finished their coffee and desserts.

The legacy of slavery and inequality is a stain on our history which remains to the present day. There are plenty of decent, White folks who still believe that ‘integration’ means letting Blacks get something for free that Whites had to earn.

In Genesis it says that seven generations must pass before the past is wiped away. We are only in the midst of the sixth generation since the 13th Amendment was ratified, and Trump’s campaign was based if not whole, then at least in part, on the sense that the terrible stain of slavery has not yet been erased.

Does that strategy make Trump a racist? No. It makes him a clever and opportunistic politician who saw an opportunity to exploit what are still open wounds.

Trump isn’t a racist. Trump is Klan. And if you don’t understand how I’m using that word, just ask one of your Black friends to explain the word to you. Or just read the next several sentences as carefully as you can.

Klan means fear, and fear is the most dangerous threat to the human community. Fear creates violence, and violence is the one threat to the human community that we still don’t know how to control.

We need to vote against Trump next week because we need to push the Klan back under the rock and into the hole in the ground where it belongs.

Weekly Poll Report.

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              Here’s the good news. Remember that just a couple of weeks ago the Trump people were saying that he had time to catch up. And they cited as proof of their rosy picture how the polls started moving towards their man over the last several weeks of the 2016 campaign.

              Over the last week, in fact, the polls have started moving towards Trump. Except there’s only one little problem. The movement in Trump’s direction has been so slight that you need a microscope to see any real change at all.

              First the national aggregate polls.  On October 14th, 538 had Joe ahead by 52.2% to 42%; RCP had it 51.5% Joe versus 41.3% Trump. This morning, the 538 national poll is 52% for Joe and 42.8% for Trump.  RCP’s numbers today are 50.8% Joe, 42.9% Trump. So in both polls, Joe has dropped slightly and Trump has improved by a bit.

              Now let’s look at the battleground states.  Here’s what we have from 538:

Chart, bar chart

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Joe is ahead in 11 of 13 battleground states. On October 12th, he had a slight lead in Ohio, where the polls have jumped back and forth, so he had a lead in 12 battleground states. Joe’s overall average on October 12th was 49.43%, now it’s 49.42%. Trump has gone from 44.67% to 45.26%.  So just like in the national polls, in the battleground states Trump has also moved up a bit.

Now here’s the number that really counts. In the 538 national poll, the dog-shit number is 5.2%, the lowest it has been. RCP has the national dog-shit at 6.3%. The battleground dog-shit number according to 538 is 5.31%, on October 16th, it was 5.89%. 

Back in 2017, Nate Silver found that “the more undecided and third-party voters there are, the more volatile and less accurate the polling has tended to be.” But he also found that as the dog-shit number decreased, the percentage of voters who made up their minds as they went to vote the day of the election also went down.

In other words, right now Trump can only win the battleground states by convincing voters who have already decided to vote for Joe, to change their minds and vote for him. Given the way we are setting records for daily Covid-19 infections, that’s easier said than done.

Want to know the names of two rather important individuals who have announced that they are no longer interested in rooting for Trump? Try Bibi Netanyahu and Vladimir Putin, who let it be known that Trump was no longer their man. On Friday, Trump directly asked Bibi whether ‘sleepy Joe’ could ever do for Israel what Trump has done and the Prime Minister of Israel refused to take the bait. The previous week, Putin said he would work with whomever occupied the Oval Office next year.

Trump has spent the last four years kissing the rear ends of these two guys every chance he got. Know what he’s gotten for all his hard work? Gurnisht, as my beloved Grandmother would say, which means nothing, not a g.d. thing.

Want the best line of all from the two political camps? It has to go to Jared Kushner, the dipshit son-in-law of the President who told Fox & Friends that his father-in-law had done wonderful things for Black Americans, but that Trump couldn’t help Blacks be successful if they didn’t want to be successful.

I guess what Jared was thinking is that the disparity between Black and White Covid-19 mortality rates is due to the fact that Blacks who catch the virus just don’t know how to get cured. Or even if they do know, they don’t care. I’m assuming, of course, that Jared or for that matter his father-in-law is capable of any rational thought at all.

One week to go, folks, one week to go. Get online. Vote early, vote often, said Al Capone. I agree with Al.

Don’t Feel Guilty About The Violence In The Streets.

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              I am a member of the Class of ’68. This sobriquet was used to identify anyone who was involved in the planning for the Columbia bust, the Chicago mobe, or the Harvard bust, except the Harvard bust took place in 1969. We were all college-age kids, some still in school, some out. We considered ourselves ‘radical,’ which basically meant that we didn’t buy the liberal rationales for remaining in Viet Nam. As for the other side, the conservatives who supported an even wide war, we didn’t listen to them at all.

              Maybe there are 20 of us still around, maybe not. There were some occasional get-togethers in years past, but what’s gone is gone. The experience of the 1960’s does, however, furnish something of a perspective on what’s happening today and I’d like to share that perspective with you now.

              To begin, there was a very active Black involvement in our activities, known as the Panthers, led by Huey Newton and Booby Seale. The other side often talked about the Panthers the way the alt-right talks about Antifa today. I lived in Chicago where the Panthers were led by young Freddie Hampton, whom I knew quite well. He was gunned down by the Chicago cops in 1969, having been designated a ‘radical threat’ by the FBI.

              The most radical thing the Panthers ever did in Chicago was to distribute free food to Black residents on the West Side. Today we would politely refer to the West Side as an ‘underserved’ neighborhood; in 1968, nobody had a problem calling it a slum.

              In 1968, we elected a President whose basic pitch was the need to restore ‘law and order’ to cities, which basically meant clamping down on all those ‘radical’ elements whose goal was to destroy the American way of life. In 2020, we are deciding whether to re-elect a President who is saying the exact, same thing. Didn’t Karl Marx say that history repeats itself first as tragedy then as farce? In this case, it’s both.

              What makes the farce so apparent this time around, was that in 1968 we didn’t have the internet; we didn’t have a digital media which competes for daily clicks. But if you think this meant we weren’t surrounded by conspiracy theories which President Nixon could throw out there every day to disguise his own lawlessness, you’re wrong. The civil rights movement, after all, had been fomented by a Black preacher named Martin Luther King, who happened to be a Communist stooge.

              Let’s not forget, however, that the conspiracy theory which caused all the trouble was produced by a Democratic President, John Kennedy, who was aided and abetted by the ‘best and brightest’ Harvard intellectuals he could find. And the conspiracy theory this bunch developed was how the collapse of South Viet Nam would lead to the collapse of every other pro-Western government in South Asia and beyond.

              I was one of the kids who organized the first Viet Nam teach-in held on a college campus in Chicago in 1967. The administration reluctantly approved the event if we would allow someone from the government to show up and make the pro-war case. Fine, we didn’t care.

              We didn’t know the identity of the individual that was coming up from D.C. until he actually walked out onto the stage to inform all us kiddies about the responsible approach to Viet Nam. Know who showed up to deliver an impassioned plea for keeping a military presence so that things were done just right? None other than a first-term Senator named Ted Kennedy, later known as the ‘liberal lion’ of the Upper House.

              Today we get a report about a Black man who was asphyxiated by cops in Rochester, NY while he was being subdued because he had been reported as being in an ‘agitated’ state. I happen to be very pro-cop and I’m not about to pass any judgement at all until the manner of this guy’s death is completely cleared up.

              But let me just say this: As we move closer to November 3rd, and Trump hurls more invectives and lies at anti-police demonstrations, and the polls continue narrow, I can guarantee we’ll hear all kinds of hosannas about keeping things peaceful from the liberal side.

              Know what? Why should we allow the alt-right to justify violence because America is threatened by the Deep State conspiracy led by Antifa, the Socialists/Communists and Joe Biden as well?

F–k them and take their f–king President with them, too.

Who Makes Up Trump’s Real Base?

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              Christopher Caldwell is what we would call a ‘responsible’ conservative advocate and publicist, as opposed to someone like Rush Limbaugh or Laura Ingraham who peddle various self-help medical ‘remedies’ and so-called news which is nothing but pure crap. He now hangs out at the Claremont Institute, which is a right-wing think tank with emphasis on ‘right’ and not ‘think.’

              Anyway, he came out with a book in January which attempts to explain the Trump phenomenon by promoting the idea that many Whites have been attracted to Trump because of how the 1964 Civil Rights Act ended up being used to advance opportunities for all kinds of groups – women, Hispanics, illegal immigrants – except one group; i.e., Whites. In fact, as the fortunes of all these other groups went up through what he says are mis-applications of the Civil Rights law, the fortunes of many Whites have gone down.

              The book is basically an argument against ‘intersectionality’ and PC; the former meaning putting disparate groups together into one, organized mass, the latter meaning what we all know PC to mean. Caldwell argues that this strategy depended on using he Civil Rights law in an extra-Constitutional way, meaning that Obama could reward his supporters by creating government programs and financial rewards without going through traditional legislative channels at all.

              Caldwell spices his argument up with descriptions of events here and there where liberal policy-makers and/or advocates sometimes tried to move the needle a little too far. So, for example, Obama could instruct his Department of Agriculture to make school lunch menus contain more ‘healthy’ foods, and if the kids didn’t like the fact that they couldn’t eat a Hershey bar for lunch, too bad for them.

              Where did Trump come from and how did he understand that White men and women were feeling resentful towards a liberal elite which was rewarding other groups while ignoring or penalizing them? Answer: The rise of the Tea Party which reflected the fact that “those who lost most from the new rights-based politics were white men.” [P. 276.]

              Caldwell’s book is just the latest in a long line of explanations (from both conservatives and liberals, by the way) which uses the rhetoric of the Tea Party to explain both Trump’s 2016 victory as well as the continued support of his ‘base.’ Which is all well and good except that the resentments and anger of the so-called forgotten White majority didn’t first emerge in a rant by CNBC’s Rick Santelli in 2009.

              The GOP has been making common cause with pissed-off White men since Jerry Falwell invented the Moral Majority back in 1979. And what were these White men pissed off about back then? They were pissed off at the fact that a Southerner named Jimmy Carter was reversing Richard Nixon’s pledge to ‘go slow’ on civil rights.

              To deny that the Republican Party hasn’t been playing the race card since Reagan was elected if not before, is to deny the reality of American politics from then until now. And how Caldwell can write an entire book about why White men support Trump and not mention Jerry Falwell even once is beyond me.

              Where did Trump after he was elected President give his first commencement speech? At Liberty University on May 12, 2017. He also spoke at Liberty University in January, 2016. And even though he referred to the Second Corinthians as the ‘”two Corinthians,” he was greeted like a conquering hero by his good friend Jerry Falwell, Jr., who compared him favorably to Ronald Reagan and – ready? – Martin Luther King!

              The only place where anyone would ever dare mention Trump’s name and Martin Luther King’s name in the same positive terms would be at an Evangelical university which was founded by a guy who wanted to give White parents a place where they could send their children to a segregated school.

              This is what Trump’s so-called ‘base’ is based on: racism pure and simple. Nothing else. And no matter what Trump and his acolytes say, racism just isn’t all that popular anymore, which is why all of a sudden Trump’s tweet today refers to his electoral opponent as ‘Joe Biden.’

              What happened to ‘Sleepy Joe?’

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