31 May 2024

Why the Trump conviction is important

I see the choice of Donald Trump for president as almost unthinkable, so I have a difficult time empathizing with those who are likely to make that choice. Which makes me a lousy predictor of what might influence them.

But, purely objectively, I would say that the fact that Trump was quite easily convicted of all counts against him in a case that was somewhat novel in its use of the New York statute (with election interference the underlying criminal motivation making the business records crimes felonies), makes his eventual conviction more likely in the January 6 case, the Georgia RICO case, and, especially, the open and shut Mar a Lago stolen docs case (assuming in-his-pocket Judge Cannon fails ultimately in her attempt to derail the case entirely). And this, it seems to me, is yet another reason (among many, many reasons) why ordinary common-sense Americans might think twice before pulling the lever for this sociopath. It could not be more obvious that one of his principal objectives in running for president is to have the power to throw out these cases before they even go to trial. This kind of strong-arm corruption is so inimical to our system of laws and governance that I truly want to believe a significant number of potential Trump voters... marginal but in an election decided on the margins significant...will see through this and realize that this run for office is yet another grift by a grifter who's been two steps ahead of the law his entire criminal and quasi-criminal career. Until now.

So, hell yes: this conviction on 34 felony counts is important.

Give Collins no pass

I did not follow the Trump Election Interference/Falsified Business Records (calling a spade a spade) case all that closely, but closely enough that I regard it as a pretty good example of the justice system working exactly the way it's supposed to, despite a defendant who committed multiple jury and witness intimidation contempts of court and mostly got away with it, and who showed no regard or respect for the jury or the judge, not to mention any hint of remorse or shame. So, when Susan Collins, who loves to pretend she's above all the MAGA BS and is a "good Republican," comes out and attacks the lawful verdict of the jury, stating completely falsely that Alvin Bragg "campaigned on getting Trump," that can't just be dismissed or tolerated. She should be called on it by every news outlet until she apologizes. (Although not true of her either, really, Collins was probably thinking of Letitia James... Bragg is much, much too careful to have created such an easily alleged "appearance of impropriety".) When one of the two major political parties is calling the entire judicial process (except for the MAGA Supreme Court of course) into question, our republic is in deep distress. 

30 May 2024

Stop with all the Self-defeating Speculation Already !

As is usual for Democrats, many people are speculating that this guilty verdict will somehow help Trump. I'm pretty tired of all this self-defeating blather, especially about Biden's age, etc. etc. But look. A felony conviction during the election run up is not helpful to any candidate. Even Trump. Sure, the hardcore Trump cultists will see him as some kind of freak martyr. But people who (foolishly, but anyway) support Trump out of some kind of belief he will be better for their interests (including many economic and social issue conservatives) are going to see this is a very bad thing. 

25 May 2024

Flipping the House (and keeping the White House and Senate)

I just contributed via Vote Save America to 11 critical House races. https://votesaveamerica.com/donate/#the-house 

I intend to do the same for the Senate, and of course am planning to do whatever I can to help preserved democracy in our country and defeat Donald Trump!


24 May 2024

America's less than stellar future

I have, with heavy heart, come to the conclusion that the divisions in our country are so deep and so emotionally engraved in our ... respective ... collective psyches, that no election result or even decade or two of stability will cure it. The old division, largely but not entirely economic, and largely but not entirely based on the fundamental disagreement as to whether slavery should or should not be tolerated, that separated the South from the North in the Civil War, never really went away. There is no postracial America. There is a liberal... in the best sense... America, and an America that craves autocracy and authoritarianism. Even the liberal faction has embraced a form of laissez faire capitalism that is sapping our intellectual and innovative genius, and separating us into a society of wealth and an underclass that has no real opportunity to rise beyond a certain level. The two views, with all their appurtenant lifestyle and ideological divides, are simply irreconcilable. We will, if we are to survive as a nation, be like Turkiye or China. A nation of multiple nationalities, who do not really cohere as a culture, but, through the institutions of power, simply tolerate one another and divide regionally into very different cultures. It perhaps didn't need to be this way, but I'm convinced it is this way, and will not change soon. The White Nationalists, for want of a better word, feel deeply threatened because they have become a minority, which, just barely, due to the deliberate inequities built into the Constitution originally to placate them, has the possibility of gaining and retaining power over the national government, to rule the whole of the nation by force and diktat. And they are going to try this. Over and over again until they either succeed or are ultimately and firmly relegated to permanent, and perhaps to some extent protected, minority status. The sad thing is that this will sap our country of much of its greatness, harm our economy and even our military strength. Perhaps the hubris of the... now past... "American Century" has brought us this karmic retribution. But however our nation survives and moves forward, whether as an oligarchic republic or as an outright authoritarian state, we will be the weaker, and the less able to claim to have fulfilled the ideals that once were the coin of our realm ideologically. We are doomed, I fear, to be less than the potential we had as recently as my youth. 


20 May 2024

Threat, not vibes

I have a friend who is justifiably upset about what you might call the "late night comedy" aspect of the Trump/MAGA phenomenon. His point is that making of light of what is actually a serious and deadly threat to the very institution of our form of government is actually harmful. It helps the would-be insurrectionists. 

So I'll get serious. Biden needs to give a speech entirely devoted to the domestic threats, including but not limited to MAGA, which threaten to derail the economic recovery he has gotten underway, and the restoration of norms of small-r republican government that Trumpism seems so anxious to utterly annihilate. He, and the Democrats in Congress, in open preparation for taking control of both Houses, need to announce Voting Rights and anti-Gerrymandering legislation. He needs to call out the Supreme Court for its failure to adhere to the law, in showing not only an ideological agenda with no basis other than politics, and in showing outright favoritism to the insurrection faction. You can have disagreements. You can have swings from "conservative" to "liberal" interpretations of the Constitution and legal framework. But you cannot have justices who overtly support insurrection and the overturning of fair elections. 

If we cannot take seriously that the continuity of our form of government is under threat, then we may very well lose it. "Vibes" aren't what should be determining this election. A serious consideration of the gravest risk to our republic since the Civil War is what should be determining it. 


If Roberts had a single minim of integrity, and the slightest phantom of scrotal fortitude (pardon the expression), he would inform Alito as follows:  Look, Sam, you've screwed the pooch. I'll give it to you straight. Recuse from everything to do with the Orange One, and announce you're doing so. Or I will publicly announce I've asked you to and do not a thing to prevent you being impeached next time the Dems have both houses... which could be 2025. It's actually a pretty damn good case. 

Much the same, but for an already thoroughly discussed but different reason, can be said about Thomas. 

I know, I know. In my dreams. But the "verdict of history"? Right there in front of you. Trouble is the more empirical and rational society that writes the real "history" of our time may be a good while off, and might even be the successors.... you know... after the Fall. 

12 May 2024

Trump dementia

It's really remarkable to watch clips of the Orange Menace even from just 4 years ago, when he was spouting incoherent bullshit about "people dying of all kinds of things" and how "you know what Obama is guilty of, just read the papers (except yours)" (What about absolute presidential immunity, Donnie?). It was incoherent, unfocused, and malignant. But compare it to today. Just this weekend, Trump thought a useful thing to say at a rally in New Jersey was to congratulate the "late, great Hannibal Lecter" in a completely incoherent vomiting of utter nonsense that went on and on. It was too much even for most of the rally goers, a good percentage of whom left while he was still speaking. 

Seriously, one of the things that makes me optimistic about this election is that it is increasingly obvious that DJT is gradually sinking into honest to God dementia. Several prominent neuropsychiatrists (Gartner, Segal, Bandy Lee, Zoffman, others) have said that he is clearly displaying alarming symptoms of accelerating dementia. Gartner went so far as to say he appears near the catastrophic meltdown point, where he will be unable to even "pass". The phonemic aphasia and complete inability to focus on a topic and speak coherently about it are growing worse and worse. I think it likely that enough people will see through this that, even if they formerly were receptive to his weird kind of charisma, they will say to themselves, hell, this guy is losing it... we can't elect somebody this bad to the presidency!

11 May 2024

The essence of small-d democracy

"I've presented my case to the American people and I hope and have confidence I will win the election fair and square. But if I don't, then, of course, I will congratulate the winner. That is how it works in a republic governed by democratic principles."

See? That's not so hard. But the Fascist party and its malignant narcissist cult leader can't or won't say it. And that disqualifies them completely. If you don't see that, you don't really care about democracy yourself. Please think about it.