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Are We a More Violent Country?

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              Back when Eric Adams was Borough President of Brooklyn, I did some work for him concerning guns. Eric had been a cop in Brooklyn’s 88 Precinct, done his twenty and now is Mayor of New York City.

              At some point I asked him how policing had changed since he first went on the job. His immediate response: “Today nobody backs down.”

              I think of this comment when I think about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Because even though Dr. King is considered America’s most foremost champion of civil rights, in fact his primary commitment was to non-violence, a commitment he maintained throughout his entire life.

              We have made remarkable progress in civil rights since Dr. King was murdered in 1968, progress not just for African-Americans, but also for women, for alternate genders, for alternate family relationships, for diversity of all kinds.

              So, we have come a long way in terms of fulfilling the civil rights dream that Martin Luther King preached on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963.

              But what about non-violence? Are we a less violent society and a less violent culture now as opposed to back then?

              To the contrary. I believe we are a much more violent society and now I’m going to tell you why I believe this to be the case.

              What is violence? What does the word ‘violence’ mean?

              According to Merriam-Webster, violence is “behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something.” The World Health Organization defines violence as the “intentional attempt to injure yourself or someone else.”

              Violence is usually, but not always considered to be a crime. And according to the FBI, the violent crime rate in the United States is about half as great as it was in 1994, although there has certainly been an uptick in the past two Coviod-19 years.

              Except I don’t define violence in terms of reported crimes. I define violence by whether we see violent behavior as a necessary and normal part of our lives. When Eric Adams said that ‘nobody backs down,’ he was talking about the acceptance of violence as a positive standard of behavior and belief.

              For me, what demonstrates how normal and natural violence has become is the fact that any American adult with a clean record can purchase, own, and carry products whose sole purpose is to be used to commit violence and to make it easier for people not to back down.

              I’m obviously talking about the several million handguns that are added to the civilian arsenal each year, guns which were designed for one purpose and one purpose only, namely, to inflict serious injuries on human beings. I’m sorry, but anyone who believes that a Glock or a Sig pistol is a ‘sporting’ gun is either lying or is what Grandpa would call a ‘vilde chaya,’ (read: damn fool.)

              The definitions of violence found in the dictionary or in medicine don’t differentiate between ‘offensive’ versus ‘defensive’ violence. You’re not less violent just because you shoot someone whom you believe is about to attack you.

              The idea that violence can be justified if it is used to achieve a positive end has been part and parcel of the American legal tradition since colonial times, and is now codified in the Stand Your Ground (SYG) laws in three-quarters of the 50 states.

Eric Adams wasn’t talking about a SYG law when he told me that ‘they never back down.’ New York State doesn’t have a SYG law. He was talking about the sixteen-year-old kids who walk the streets of the 88 Precinct in Brooklyn, many of them carrying guns.

Unfortunately, my friends in Gun-control Nation are as confused on this issue as the pro-gun advocates on the other side. These well-meaning folks also want to believe that somehow, we can find a way to support the 2nd Amendment because we are so in love with the other amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.

Except the 2nd Amendment doesn’t give Constitutional protection to any kind of handgun; it protects whatever type of handgun the government decides can be kept in the home for self-defense.

Want to spend a little time thinking about how to reduce violence on the birthday of America’s foremost advocate of non-violence? Spend some time thinking about getting rid of the guns which are the means by which so much violence occurs.

It’s as simple as that.

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.

The New York Times Writes About the Gun Business and Gets It All Wrong – Again.

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              I guess it’s just too much to ask The New York Times to exercise a little self-control and withdraw from the liberal stampede to promote the idea that fascism is just around the corner thanks to all those crazy insurrectionists who show up at various political events toting their AR-15’s.

              Of course, these militia groups are smart enough to leave the guns at home if the place they want to show off how important they are happens to be a location which doesn’t allow anyone to walk around with a gun. 

              So, for example, the jerks who wanted to chase Mike Pence around the Senate chamber last January 6th knew enough to leave their guns at home. Ditto the fifty putzes or so who demonstrated to ‘free’ the January 6th bunch last September but also knew to leave their guns at home.

              This wasn’t the case when a handful of Nazis paraded in Charlottesville back in 2017 and then learned that the President of the United States thought the swastika-mounted gang were some of the ‘good people’ on both sides of the line.

              And it was exactly Trump’s failure to condemn this bunch of shitheads which gave the militia groups a new lease on life all over the United States.

              These great patriots had been pretty quiet and kept mostly to themselves after Timothy McVeigh spent some time with the Michigan Militia before he went down to Oklahoma City and bombed the Murrah Federal Building in 1995.

              They had a brief renaissance in 2014 when they showed up at Cliven Bundy’s ranch in Nevada, but that incident quickly folded into nothing when Fox News and the rest of the alt-right media decided they just couldn’t give that idiot Bundy license to tell everyone about ‘the Negro’ on prime time.

              I never thought that Trump didn’t know what he was doing or saying when he defended the Nazis who showed up in Charlottesville with their AR-15’s. To the contrary, Trump openly solicited support from the militia movement because his entire MAGA narrative aligned itself with what these militia schmucks believe, most of all the idea that America will remain great as long as it remains White.

              What Trump didn’t appreciate (or maybe he did) is how the liberal media would make such a big deal out of the so-called militia ‘threat’ after January 6th.  And a perfect example of how Fake News is trying to  make something out of nothing is an article, ‘Out of the Barrel of a Gun – How Armed Protests are Creating a New Kind of Politics,’ which appeared in the NYT Sunday Magazine back in January and has been selected by our friends at The Trace as one of the most ‘memorable’ articles on gun violence published this past year.

The Trace tells us that this article “improved our understanding of a unique American crisis.”  I happen to disagree. And I disagree because the author, Charles Homans, has spent about as much time hanging around militia groups as I have spent in Weight Watchers meetings over the past few years.

In fact, his article is based on some interviews he allegedly did with some of the schmucks who showed up at the Virginia State House the last couple of years to participate in Lobby Day, when anyone who wants to can get 30 seconds to stand in front of a state legislator and complain about this or complain about that. The militia guys love to come around for such events because there’s nothing better than to look at the expressions of shock on the faces of people who can’t believe that someone would actually parade around the State Capitol building with an AR-15. 

And know what happens after the milling and the massing is over and done with?  Everyone goes back home, including the so-called militia members who appear at rallies organized by a pro-gun group known as the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), which has been around for more than 25 years.

Back in 2016, another gun expert, Katie Couric, did a documentary on guns which featured an interview with several members of the VCDL.  What she didn’t know about this bunch was that they don’t believe in background checks because the words ‘background checks’ don’t appear in the Constitution. And if it doesn’t appear in the Constitution, whatever it is, it doesn’t exist.

That’s who you’re dealing with when you interview members of the VCDL.  In other words, you’re dealing with jerks. Be that as it may, The New York Times would like you to believe that an article based largely on interviews with those morons should be taken as a legitimate representation for what gun ownership in the United States is all about.

Not only are members of the VCDL as stupid as can be, but the members who are involved with the various militia groups are also as law-abiding as can be.  Why? Because if they are charged and convicted of any criminal offense, not just offenses involving guns, but offenses involving anything else, they can’t buy, own, or carry a gun for the rest of their lives. 

And the whole point of being in a militia, pace what Charles Homans and his editors at The New York Times would like you to believe, is that if you can’t show up at the shooting range, wolf down a slice and play with your guns, there’s no point in being involved with any militia group or not.  If you can’t own a gun, you can’t have any fun.

I’m willing to bet you that if you ask the average reader of my columns what they like to do on a Saturday afternoon, they’ll say they want to go to a museum in the Winter months or during the Summer read a good book at the beach. Ask a member of a militia where he can be found after he mows the lawn on a Saturday, and he’ll tell you that he’s going to hang out at the local gun shop or if necessary, drive a hundred miles or so to go to a gun show.

You think dressing up in some stupid, camouflage outfit and trotting around with an AR-15 on your shoulder is any different than getting into a Boy Scout uniform and slinging the sash with your merit badges over your arm?

If you do, you might consider writing an article about the gun business for The New York Times.

We Must Stop The International Jihad – Now!

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              Want to go to a cocktail party and sound like a real know-it-all on foreign affairs?  Spend a few minutes reading the latest issue of The Economist magazine, memorize a few paragraphs from the lead story which you can then repeat to the other guests as if you came up with the ideas yourself.

              While reciting your lines, you might want to throw in a bit of a British accent, because The Economist was founded in London and has always been considered a cosmopolitan and highly literate publication that is read and cited by influential people all over the globe.

              It goes without saying, of course, that the editorial slant of the magazine is somewhere right in the middle, promoting the idea that Western-style democracies are the universal, good government model which should be followed everywhere else.

              The most recent issue’s lead story is an analysis of how and where the global jihad will spread following its apparent success in Afghanistan.  The article states that: “In places like Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia and Mozambique, they already control territory.” It goes on to say that the growth of the jihadist movement “will destabilise a large number of countries, endangering both locals and the foreigners who visit or do business there.”

              Instability is no good. It’s not the way things are done in the civilized world, i.e., where readers of The Economist live. It’s certainly not what should be going on in countries whose governments depend on the West for their security and the safety of their populations. Just look at what’s happened in Afghanistan once the government could no longer count on the United States to keep things under control.

              Let’s go back for a moment and review again the list of countries which may soon fall under the jihadist sway – Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Mozambique.  What do these countries have in common?

              Based on data from the IMF and the World Bank, these countries are all poor as sh*t.  There are 225 countries whose per-capita GDP can be figured out, with the highest being Luxembourg at around $120,000, the lowest being Burundi, at $750.  The United States is 15th in per-capita GDP, somewhere around $65,000 and change.

              Not one of the countries which The Economist believes are the likely next jihad targets are even in the middle of the world’s per-capita GDP. Somalia, Mali, Mozambique, and Yemen all rank in the poorest ten percent. Nigeria, Pakistan, and Syria aren’t much better off. The wealthiest of all seven countries is Nigeria, with a per-capita GDP of $5,100 – one-tenth the U.S. per-capita GDP.

              Aside from how miserably poor these countries are, there’s something else which sets them apart. They all happen to be countries which were colonized by the European democracies, particularly Britain and France. In fact, only Mozambique was not part of the Anglo-French colonial world because it was one of the earliest colonial territories in Africa carved out by the Portuguese.

              Many years ago, I found myself in a conversation with a British lady who had just returned from a vacation in Rhodesia, what is now known as Zimbabwe. I asked her what life was like in this British colony and here was her reply: “Oh, you sit by the swimming pool, and they bring you lemonade.”

              The ‘they’ in this case were the unnamed locals, lucky enough to have jobs bringing lemonade to the white trash who came down from Britain and knew they deserved to sit next to the pool sipping their lemonade because they represented a superior race.

              For every local who got a job bringing lemonade or whatever else the White residents and visitors ordered or wanted, there was another colonial who didn’t get a job and resented both the colonizers as well as his local neighbor who was living better than he could live.

Many of the people who right now are desperately trying to escape from Afghanistan survived by being the first in line when the government or the American military needed to hire an extra pair of hands. These people weren’t our ‘allies,’ they weren’t making a ‘sacrifice’ on our behalf. They were trying to survive in a situation where earning a living isn’t an opportunity that falls now and again into everyone’s lap.

However, for those who didn’t get to take advantage of post-colonial, life-style opportunities provided by the presence of the United States, they could wait for the day of reckoning, when the inability of the government to wield authority (as The Economist would say) would give them their just and due rewards.

This is the real legacy of how stable, Western-style democracies like England and France looted the so-called ‘undeveloped’ or ‘third world’ regions of the globe, a legacy playing out today in Afghanistan and is explained by The Economist as the threat of jihad which must be stamped out.

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.

Need A Caterer For Your Wedding?

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              It’s been two months since Joe was inaugurated, and the ‘fake news’ media has finally gotten the story straight for the very first time about who and what his predecessor represented and now represents.  It only took The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker and all the other scions of the liberal print/noise machine five years to figure Mister Orange Head out. That’s not so bad, right?

              Let’s go back to 2015 when Orange Head took his birther theory and transmogrified it into an anti-immigrant rant. Except it wasn’t a rant against all immigrants – he specifically excluded immigrants who came from ‘white’ countries because that category included his own family as well.

              This nasty racism was presented to us as a rebirth of ‘populism,’ as the angry reaction of people who blamed government for the loss of jobs, the collapse of working-class neighborhoods, the disappearance of the ‘good life.’

              Now the fact (note the use of the word ‘fact’) that populism was actually a reaction against government from the Left, not from the Right, and that it had absolutely nothing to do with race or immigration at all, oh well, oh well. Like they say, if the shoe fits, wear it. In the case of how the mainstream media reacted to Orange Head, however, it was the other way around. If you’re wearing the shoe and it feels comfortable, then it fits.

              Midway through the 2016 campaign, the shoe style being worn by the media which became the way they talked about Mister Orange Head began to change. Now, alongside the ‘populist’ explanation for how quickly the more mainstream GOP candidates collapsed emerged the second theme, namely, the idea that we were witnessing the birth of a new political movement, MAGA, which was not only going to transform the GOP, but then define the whole way that Orange Head ran his administration and prepared for the 2020 re-election campaign.

              Now the fact (note again the word ‘fact’) that Mister Orange won the 2016 campaign only because he flipped 4 blue states with a margin of less than 1/10th of the total votes cast in this four states – oh well, oh well. And the fact that his erstwhile opponent couldn’t be bothered to show up one time after Labor Day in any of those states – the outcome still demonstrated the strength and force of the MAGA movement, right?

              MAGA was such a big deal that Joe not only won back all the states that Orange Head flipped in 2016, but Joe’s national vote margin was higher than the margin achieved by that pompous, entitled, idiot candidate who still says she lost because the election was ‘stolen’ from her. You think that the nonsense about the 2020 election ‘fraud’ was an issue we hadn’t heard before? Think again.

              I am still waiting for one, single ‘fake news’ commentator or know-it-all to state what is obvious, at least to me. Namely, that Trump got clobbered the moment he had to compete against someone who knew anything about politics, i.e., someone like ‘sleepy’ Joe.

              And what happened after Trumpe lost? We had to listen to liberal pundits lecture us about how Trump was such a ‘threat’ to democracy, how he wasn’t going to leave the White House at the end of his term, how MAGA would remain a political force to be reckoned with in 2022 and beyond.

              In that regard, it should be mentioned that a Presidential candidate already ran a national campaign from jail. I’m talking about Eugene Debs, who got 6% of the 1912 vote while sitting in a cell. If Cy Vance gets Allen Weisselberg to flip, maybe Trump will outpoll Debs in 2024.

              Know what Mister Orange Head is doing now? He’s running a catering business in Palm Beach. If you throw a wedding at his catering hall, you might even get a picture of the caterer standing between the bride and the groom. The charge for the photo will be added to the bill.

Let’s Help The GOP Promote Cancel Culture.

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              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.

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.

Why Can’t We Secede If We Don’t Like How The Election Turned Out?

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For all his bullshit and bluster, it took fat-ass Rush Limbaugh less than 24 hours to withdraw his rant about why certain states might secede. After all, it’s a felony to advocate overthrowing the U.S. Government, which is what secession happens to be.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at how government documents describe the Civil War. Officially, it’s called ‘The War of the Rebellion,’ okay?

Too bad that Rush’s lawyers probably told him to shut the f*** up before Trump got a chance to repeat that remark. In case you haven’t noticed, most of what Trump says or tweets is market-tested for him by Rush the day before. Where do you think Trump got the idea that the coronavirus wasn’t any more serious than the common cold?

Thanks to a law known as the Westfall Act [clap for Steve Case], you can’t sue Trump for defamation or libel while he’s still sitting behind the Resolute desk. Which is why he can get away with calling the parking-garage in Reno being used to treat virus patients as a ‘fake.’

On the other hand, Trump becomes legally liable for anything he says or does after January 20, 2021 because the Constitution doesn’t permit two Presidents to occupy the Oval Office at the same time, no matter what he might believe.

But before you sit back and think about how nice it is that Constitutional government and the idea of one person – one vote has been restored, let’s not forget that this country has a long, bi-partisan history when it comes to nullifying elections and governments all over the place.

Think the Iranians have forgotten that Ike sent the Marines into Iran to overthrow the Mossadegh government in 1953? Think again. How about twenty years later when Nixon ordered the CIA to get rid of Salvador Allende in Chile, who happened to have been elected President without even a murmur of election ‘fraud?’

Then there was the money and guns given by Truman to the ‘good’ side in the Greek civil war. And let’s not forget a little incident known as the Bay of Pigs, which was the handiwork of another Democrat(ic) President named JFK.

The best one of all is when we intervened in the first, post-war election in Italy, a country that had been run by a Fascist government since 1922. Even though Joe DiMaggio’s father had to carry papers identifying him as an ‘enemy alien’ during World War II, his son’s picture was plastered all over the country exhorting Italians to vote in 1946 for the Christian-Democratic Party which was formed and financed by the good ol’ USA.

Remember the invasion of Grenada in 1983 which was condemned by a General Assembly vote of 108 to 9? We sent the troops down there because a left-wing coup was allegedly resulting in attacks against Americans, but a Congressional report found that not a single American had been threatened or harmed.

I’m not saying that Joe would ever consider sending the 101st Airborne into Texas just because the state’s Attorney General is such a schmuck that he actually believes he has the legal authority to tell somewhere around 160 million Americans that they have to vote again. But I can guarantee you that once Trump gets his last free ride on Air Force One, he’ll start ramping up his calls for federal, state and local officials to join his MAGA crusade.

He’ll also try to maintain his Twitter presence by saying the most hateful, racist, divisive, and crazy things he can say. After all, it’s not as if he’ll have the authority of the Presidency to give his voice any political legitimacy at all.

In which case, I am seriously considering putting up a GoFundMe to pay the legal costs of anyone who is defamed by Trump after January 20, 2021. And if he actually does shut the f*** up and just go away, I’ll happily refund everyone’s donations or send the monies off to a charity like the charity our friend Nick Kristof runs every year.

Right now, however, don’t forget to send some bucks down to Georgia for the runoff on January 5th. Please don’t forget.

Trump’s Not Resisting A Transition. He’s Building A Brand.

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              For all the brilliant investigative reporting about Trump done by my friends in the mainstream (liberal) media, leave it to The Wall Street Journal, a media property owned by  Fox, to explain what the pronouncements about a ‘rigged’ election are really all about. You can download the article right here. [Thanks Paula.]

              What Trump’s Presidency has been from even before he started his 2016 campaign was and remains an effort to build yet another brand, in this case, the MAGA brand that he can now use to sell all kinds of crap as well as to license the trademarked MAGA brand to anyone else who wants to use it to make a quick buck.

              When did Trump copyright MAGA?  His application was filed with the Patent and Trademark office in – ready? – 2013 and was approved on July 14, 2015. Exactly one month earlier on June 16, Trump publicly announced his 2016 Presidential campaign. And you think he started giving away those hats with the disgusting MAGA lettering for free?

            What other Presidential candidate has ever created a logo that didn’t along with his or her name? Here’s the official Hillary campaign logo from 2016:

             Here’s the logo from Joe and Kammie’s current campaign. Wow! A logo like this will surely sell a lot of perfume, right?

              Remember the big, raucous, and energetic rallies that Bernie held in 2019? I recall a rally he held in New York City after he recovered from a heart attack. It was called the ‘Bernie is Back’ rally and the crowd was enormous – probably more than 25,000 showed up to help Bernie restart his campaign. Here’s Bernie’s campaign logo which would make a really great design for a line of clothing or maybe some gluten-free snacks:

              Notice the difference between these logos and the Trump MAGA brand:

              Notice whose name isn’t on the Trump logo. But Trump owns the logo so he owns the brand. And even when just of a few of his diehard supporters show up on a street corner waving their signs about the ‘rigged’ election, they’re wearing the MAGA hats, waving the MAGA banners, buying the brand.

              When all is said and done, what Trump really looks at every day isn’t the alt-right websites or the Fox talking heads. It’s his website where he sells the MAGA crap and I guarantee you that he will introduce other product lines as soon as his legal challenges to the 2020 election come to an end.

              One of the things that folks love to collect are posters, buttons, and other crap from political campaigns. Want to buy a JFK poster from his 1960 campaign? You can get an allegedly original poster for the measly price of $595 bucks. On the other hand, that same website is selling Trump campaign posters for $2.95. Obviously, there’s room for the Trump election memorabilia market to expand.

              But the whole point about MAGA is that it isn’t a slogan based on a specific political campaign. It’s a brand and a name that can stand on its own if it’s promoted for the kinds of products that can be linked in some way to Trump. One product he might roll out is a line of self-defense ammunition. After all, Trump could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue, gun someone down and he’d still be elected President. Or maybe what he should sell is a Nazi flag with an inscription that reads, “there are good people on both sides.”

              All hyperbole aside, the fact is that we have never had a President who was so blatant about using hi political authority to line the pockets of his pants. Download the WSJ article here and you’ll notice how so much of the revenue at various Trump locations came from GOP groups who held events at Trump hotels. When did this revenue increase? During the 2016 and 2020 campaigns.  Gee, what a surprise.

              Trump isn’t resisting a transition to Biden because he believes there’s any chance that he’ll be sworn in again as President on January 20, 2021. He’s challenging the inevitable because his behavior promotes his name and his brand. Which is what his entire Administration was all about.

              I only wish my friends in the liberal media would figure this one out.

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