caught up in the moment

You know that guy playing ninja during Comrade Trump’s RiotFest? The one in the photo, hanging from the balcony of the Senate Chamber, that guy? His name is Josiah Colt (and by the way, that’s a great name for a fictional character, isn’t it?). He’s 34 years old, from Boise, Idaho (also by the way, the ‘s’ in Boise is pronounced like…well, an ‘s’ not a ‘z’; you call it Boyzee folks will know you’re from out of town — just so you know).

Our boy Josiah left Idaho and went all the way to DC, nearly 2400 miles, to support Comrade Trump’s attempt to overturn the 2020 election. He wants you to know he’s sorry. In an interview with CBS news, he said,

“I love America, I love the people, I didn’t hurt anyone and I didn’t cause any damage in the Chamber. I got caught up in the moment.”

I get that. I really do. I’ve experienced that. I’ve been caught up in the moment and done stuff that I regret, stuff I knew was wrong, stuff I’d never do ordinarily. I suspect many of us have had similar moments. We found ourselves caught up in the moment, and afterwards wondered, “What the HELL was I thinking?” We got caught up in the moment at an auction and bid too much money on something we didn’t really want. Or we got caught up in the moment and got a tattoo. On our ass. That says ‘Mom’. Or we got caught up in the moment and agreed to volunteer to knock on doors for a cause. Or we had sex with somebody wildly inappropriate. Or we came home from the market with a tin of sardines in mustard sauce.

Being in the moment is a good thing. Getting caught up in the moment is a risk; it can be good or it can be an utter fucking disaster. Hell, sometimes getting caught up in the moment is absolutely glorious even as it’s turning into an utter fucking disaster. I’m pretty sure our boy Josiah was having a great time being ‘Josiah Colt, American Ninja’ starring in the action movie Capitol Building Takedown. I’d be willing to bet my modest income that a LOT of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol Building were like Josiah, folks who just got caught up in the moment.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m also confident that many of the insurrectionists knew exactly what they were doing, knew exactly how criminal it was, and were genuinely trying to destroy the government. Those people were just using the Josiah Colts as unthinking camouflage and cannon fodder. Which, let’s face it, is what they were.

Josiah also said this:

“I sincerely apologize to the American people. I recognize my actions that have brought shame upon myself, my family, my friends, and my beautiful country. In the moment I thought I was doing the right thing. I realize now that my actions were inappropriate and I beg for forgiveness from America and my home state of Idaho.”

I believe him. Well, I believe he actively regrets what he did. I appreciate his apology, though I question its sincerity. Maybe at some point in the future, I’d be willing to forgive him and his fellow ‘in the moment’ insurrectionists. But not now. It’s too soon. It’s not too soon for me to forgive him; it’s too soon for him to apologize sincerely. He hasn’t had enough time to truly consider what he and his fellow insurrectionists have done.

The problem with — wait. This is going to seem like a tangent (yes I’ve a history of wandering off on tangents, so I don’t blame you for being suspicious), but it’s not. Okay, I want you to think for a moment about the Japanese tea ceremony, cha no yu. You’ve probably seen it in movies and there’s a fairly good chance you thought it was lovely but relatively ridiculous. I mean, it’s a lot of time and effort just to sip a cup of tea. But here’s the thing: all that effort, all the meticulous preparation, the cleaning of the path to the tea room, the washing of the implements and the teapot, the arrangement of the flowers, the slow process of making the tea, the ritual of how to handle the cup — all of those things are done for a very simple reason: to create a quiet, meditative state of mind which allows the host and the visitor to be in the moment — that one particular moment — when the tea is sipped. There is a singular, beautiful purity in that moment.

Josiah and his fellow insurrectionists went through a somewhat similar process, although it’s the polar opposite. There were a LOT of steps involved in getting them to DC, all of which contributed to creating the proper frame of mind to try to overturn the election. Every step along the way fed their purpose — the constant barrage of presidential tweets, the echoing claims of fraud, the commitment involved in traveling to DC, the speeches given that morning, the chanting at the rally, the excitement of the crowd, the thrill of feeling powerful, the violence. All of those steps helped create and nourish the frame of mind needed to experience that one particular moment when the mob breached the Capitol. There’s a singular, awful purity in that moment.

Of course people got caught up in it. It took time and a lot of emotional spade-work to achieve that moment. It’ll take an equal amount of time and spade-work for Josiah Colt to truly comprehend what he did in that moment, the gravity of his offense. Unless he’s able to do that, his apology won’t truly be sincere. Until his apology is actually sincere, there won’t be any forgiveness. Not from me.

The same goes for everybody involved in the insurrection, from the most insignificant and lowly flag-waver to the elected representatives in Congress. They all willingly took that path. They have to willingly retrace their steps if they expect any sort of absolution.

that lying fucker is fucking lying again

Did you see Comrade President Trump’s ‘concession’ video? I watched it last night. I knew it would be full of lies, because…well, Trump. But Jesus suffering fuck, it was like thirty pounds of lies packed into a twenty pound lie-sack. You’d need a goddamned abacus to count all the lies. Almost every sentence was a lie.

Let’s just look at the first three lines. “I would like to begin by addressing the heinous attack on the United States Capitol.” Bullshit. There is NOTHING he liked about addressing the attack. He no more wants to address the attack than a toddler wants to begin potty training. And I seriously doubt he considers the attack heinous. Having to deal with the aftermath of the attack, that’s heinous for Trump.

6MWE — six million wasn’t enough. Not convinced this guy was motivated by election integrity.

“Like all Americans, I am outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem.” Bullshit. Trump has a history of encouraging violence, lawlessness, and mayhem if it’s done by his followers at his campaign rallies. Or if it’s done by gun-toting right-wing teenagers defending gas stations in Kenosha. Or if it’s done by local law enforcement officers against ‘thugs’. Or by federal agents or the National Guard against BLM and Antifa. Or by the military (or private military contractors) against Muslims. When used by his people against people who oppose him, Trump eats up violence, lawlessness, and mayhem with a spoon.

That’s part of the reason Trump’s followers love him. He allows them to hate the people they want to hate. He let’s them enjoy their hate, and feel proud of it. All those people storming the Capitol Building on Wednesday, does anybody really believe that was about election integrity? Naw, that was mostly his followers getting a chance to let their hate run free. It didn’t matter if the hate wasn’t actually directed at the specific groups they hated, it was a chance to break shit and feel good about it. It was venting without consequence. It was a physical manifestation of their Twitter/Parler feeds. Let loose, tear shit up, have a laugh.

“I immediately deployed the National Guard and federal law enforcement to secure the building and expel the intruders.” Bullshit. Massive bullshit. Trump, who was puppy-dog eager to deploy the National Guard against BLM protests, did fuck-all on Wednesday. Trump even blocked the DC National Guard from being issued riot gear or being deployed without the direct approval of…whoever the fuck the current Acting Defense Secretary is (seriously, I pay attention to this stuff, and I don’t have a clue who is in charge of the DoD at the moment; Trump spent recent weeks hollowing out the leadership of the Pentagon, replacing career people with obscure but virulent Trump sycophants). So no, Trump didn’t authorize the deployment of either the DC or the Maryland National Guard; he did everything he could to disrupt any National Guard response.

How could anybody predict rioters would breach the Capitol Building perimeter by 1:30?

What Trump DID do, though, was tell the rioters that he understood them, that he loved them and thought they were special. He actually said that. Then, in his bullshit ‘concession’ speech, he said “emotions are high” as if the storming of the Capitol Building was some sort of spontaneous emotional outburst.

It wasn’t. It was planned well in advance. Trump even announced and promoted it himself on multiple occasions. Big Protest in DC on January 6th. Be there, will be wild! His followers organized rides to DC, they published lists of what to pack (toothbrush, gas masks, a sweater in case it gets chilly, zip tie cuffs if you intend to take prisoners, charger for your cell phone), they arranged meeting locations, they created and sold event merch. There was nothing surprising or spontaneous about this.

Who could have predicted there’d be a MAGA Civil War on January 6th?

Trump’s ‘concession’ speech wasn’t a concession speech at all. It was a grudging, weak-ass, pathetic attempt to dodge being impeached for a second time. It was Trump’s version of the kid who murdered his parents asking a judge for mercy because he’s an orphan. It was Trump doing the spouse abuser apology (I’m sorry I hit you, but you made me so mad, here are some carnations I picked up from the gas station, I love you). It was Trump saying all he did was set off some celebratory fireworks, it’s not his fault there was a drought, who could predict there’d be a forest fire, and why didn’t the fire service respond sooner?

It was Trump sacrificing his followers to save his own ass. He said, “[T]hose who engage in the acts of violence and destruction: you do not represent our country, and to those who broke the law: you will pay.” This is what Trump does. If it turns out that somebody has to pay for the awful shit he’s pulled, he makes sure it’s not him. Or his feral children (although if they have to be sacrificed, we all know Eric goes down first).

The stupidest thing is, Trump probably believes his ‘concession’ speech will work. He probably believes it’ll get him off the hook. It’ll save him from impeachment. He’s said some of the words his people have told him he needs to say, surely everything will be okay now. That’s how it works, right?

Sadly, that IS how it works. At least it’s how it’s always worked before. If history is any indication (SPOILER: history is almost always an indication), there’s every reason to believe Trump will skate on this. There’s every reason to believe he’ll manage to remain POTUS until his term expires. There’s every reason to believe he’ll never be held fully accountable for his many crimes.

But we have a new president coming in, with a new Congress that’ll be controlled by Democrats, and a new Attorney General. So while there’s every reason to believe Trump will skate, there’s also reason to hope this time will be different.

‘i just didn’t want to’

He has speech writers. We’ve all seen The West Wing, we know there’s a department in the White House for people who carefully craft the president’s speeches — who take the president’s thoughts and ideas, and use them as a framework for a speech. But, as in everything else, Comrade Trump thinks he knows better.

So instead of giving a speech reassuring the American public that he’s doing everything the doctors tell him in order to return to the White House, Trump presents a rambling, unfocused, semi-dishonest, off-the-cuff monologue. In it, he says”

“I had no choice, because I just didn’t want to stay in the White House. I was given that alternative. Stay in the White House, lock yourself in. Don’t ever leave…I can’t do that. I had to be out front.”

This is maybe the most honest thing Trump has ever said to the American public. “I just didn’t want to. I had to be out front.” He just didn’t want to wear a mask or follow the medical protocols that could keep him and his supporters safe. He had to be out in front of an audience of admiring supporters.

That attitude not only led us to a body count of over two hundred and ten thousand American citizens, it not only led us to economic disaster, it not only led us to a housing crisis and an education system in turmoil, it also led us to the craziest goddamn moment to date in administration filled to the brim with crazy goddamn moments. I’m talking about that appalling scene at the White House when Trump returned from Walter Reed in Bethesda.

They planned this. Some deranged group of people in the White House — probably the same group that thought it would be good optics for Trump to stand in front of a church and hold up a Bible for 45 seconds — thought it would be dramatic for Trump to leave Marine One, climb the steps to the Truman Balcony, present himself to the American people, and take off his mask.

And hey, they were right. It was dramatic. It was dramatically stupid. It was dramatically offensive. It was dramatically arrogant and dramatically undermined any notion that Trump had learned a damned thing from his time at Walter Reed. Or that he’d learned a damned thing during his three and a half years as POTUS. In fact, it dramatically undermined the notion that Trump had ‘beaten’ Covid; he was clearly struggling to breathe as he stood on the balcony.

He took off his mask, people. He has Covid — an infectious disease spread primarily through airborne particles emitted through the mouth and nose — and he took off his mask to show the world…what? That he was tough? That he was courageous? That he was manly?

What Comrade Trump showed the world was that he was still the same arrogant, ignorant, feckless yobbo he’s always been. It showed the world he still doesn’t give a rat’s ass for anybody other that himself.

The butcher’s bill at this moment stands at 213,462 dead in the United States. Last night 421 Americans died from Covid. Four hundred people died from Covid last night. We’re seven months into the pandemic. It’s not going to get better until we can get people to stop spreading the virus. And that actively contagious fucker stood on the Truman Balcony and took off his mask.

follow the money

Never mind the US$750 Comrade Trump is said to have paid in taxes. Sure, that’s infuriating — but it’s not (or shouldn’t be) the the main story. The main story is the hundreds of millions of dollars of debt. The debt that’s coming due in the next few years. The main story is this: to whom does he owe that money? From where did the cash come, the cash that allowed Trump to buy golf courses and build more hotels and condominium towers?

We know that in the mid-1980s Russian organized crime figures (and remember, there’s little to distinguish between Russian organized crime, Russian banking systems, and Russian intelligence services) began to launder money through Trump real estate. We know that because several federal prosecutions came out of it and a number of condos in Trump Tower were seized by the government.

Trump Tower, Manhattan

We know that by the early-to-mid-1990s, the Trump Organization was deeply in debt. We know the Trump Plaza Hotel, Trump Regency Hotel, and Trump Castle Casino were all losing money. We also know the hotel and entertainment industries are attractive ways to launder money. We know that by 1995, US banks began to refuse loans to Trump because he was a bad risk. We also know that Trump turned to foreign banks and entities for help. First to Deutsche Bank and a few year later to the Bayrock Group. Deutsche Bank has a long history of working with Russian organized crime; they were caught in a $10 billion Russian money-laundering scheme and had to pay fines of about $630 million. Bayrock was formed by a former Soviet official from Kazakhstan. Trump’s main contact in Bayrock was Felix Sater; in 1998 Sater pleaded guilty to a $40 million stock fraud scheme run by Russian organized crime.

We know that throughout the 90s and into the 2000s Russian oligarchs (again, remember, you don’t become an oligarch without being indebted to Putin) and organized crime figures working for Semion Mogilevich (the head of an international Russian organized crime cartel) continued to buy more than 65 Trump properties in New York, Florida, and Arizona. We know the Russian state-owned bank Vnesheconombank helped Trump finance a struggling Trump-branded hotel in Toronto. We know that in 2008 Trump sold a Florida mansion to Dmitry Rybolovlev for $95 million, twice what Trump paid for it four years earlier. Ryboloblev has been indicted in Monaco on criminal charges of corruption, influence trafficking, and something called ”violation of secrets of a criminal investigation.” He was also implicated in the murder of a business rival, Evgeny Panteleymonov. However, the charge was eventually dismissed after a witness suddenly recanted his testimony.

Palm Beach, Florida mansion sold to Dmitry Rybolovlev

We know another associate of Semion Mogilevich, Vyacheslav Ivankov (a vory v zakone with ties to Russian intelligence services) was a frequent guest at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino. According to the FBI, Ivankov was often comped “for up to $100,000 a visit for free food, rooms, champagne, entertainment, and transportation in stretch limos and helicopters” by the casino. Casinos, of course, are attractive sites for money laundering. The Taj Mahal casino was fined for violating anti-money laundering rules 106 times in its first year and a half of operation. Ivankov had been hiding out in Trump Tower for months before being arrested by the FBI and charged with extorting $2.7 million. When arrested, he had seven different passports under different names and countries. After serving a prison sentence in the US, Ivankov returned to Russia and was eventually murdered by a rival organized crime cartel.

Trump Taj Mahal casino

We know the daughter of Viktor Khrapunov, the former governor of the East Kazakhstan Province, bought three Trump SoHo condos. We know Khrapunov has also been accused of a number of construction and real estate frauds, as well as money laundering. The $3.1 million purchase of the Trump condos was allegedly made with money stolen from the government of Kazakhstan. Khrapunov has financial ties with Bayrock. In 2008 Khrapunov chartered a Russian Tupolev Tu-154 and flew to Geneva, Switzerland with 18 tons of cargo, which reputedly included antiques, jewelry, works of art and other highly valuable items. Interpol has issued a red notice for the arrest of Khrapunov.

Trump International golf club in Aberdeen, Scotland

We know Eric Trump told James Dodson, a golf reporter, that the Trump Organization was able to expand their property holdings because “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” Golf courses, by the way, are also popular with money launderers. Trump own 17 golf courses, both in the US and abroad.

We know…well, you get the picture. Over the last three decades Trump has had a LOT of financial support from Russian oligarchs, Russian banks (and banks from former Soviet Republics), and Russian organized crime. And once again, it’s impossible to distinguish between Russian organized crime, Russian banking, and Russian state intelligence services.

That Trump only paid $750 in taxes for a couple of years may be an outrage, but the more serious problem is his financial debt. That amount of debt is a clear security concern. It’s impossible to get a security clearance with significant debt (which may be the reason neither Ivanka nor Jared Kushner weren’t given security clearances until Trump insisted on it). We don’t know who floated Trump the money to make the purchases of his golf courses and hotels and condos. It’s reasonable to suspect much (or most or all) of it came from sources connected with Russia.

As I’ve said here, and here, and here, and here, and probably elsewhere, I think Putin has something on Trump. I think Trump is in Putin’s pocket. I think Trump is compromised and that explains why he so often seems to be furthering Russian interests and ignoring the interests of the United States.

hard put and desperate

I like Senator Chris Coons of Delaware. He’s a solid Democrat of the old school. He’s a nice guy with liberal beliefs and has, as far as I know, always tried to do the right thing. So would somebody please take him aside and slap some sense into him?

Wait. I’ll do it.

First off, Chris, those people across the aisle? They’re not your friends. Not really. They may be nice to you, they may laugh and joke with you, they may even say they agree with you, but don’t think they’re your friends. Down at the bone, they’re Trump Republicans. They may disagree with Trump, they may actually despise him, but they’re going to do what he wants. Trump Republicans support Trump, period.

Second — and Chris, I shouldn’t have to tell you this — they’re not going to respect tradition. They’re not going to respect precedent. They’ve shown you that repeatedly. What in the hell makes you think they’d start respecting those things now? What they respect is the exercise of raw political power.

And finally, because they’re not your friends and because they’re not going to respect tradition or precedent and because at this point they only respect political power, they’re not going to be persuadable. They’re just not. A few may be willing to agree that it’s wrong to rush a SCOTUS nomination through 43 days before election day (votes are actually being cast right now, for fuck’s sake), but Chris, they’re not motivated by respect or friendship; they’re motivated by the only thing they fear more than Trump: losing their election.

I hate to say this, Chris, I really do. But right now the only way to get Congressional Republicans to do what’s right is to use their own tactics against them. Do it reluctantly, but do it. Let them know that if they replace Justice Ginsburg before the election, you’re going to go Outlaw Josey Wales on their ass. Tell them that, and mean it. Follow through on it.

Don’t waste your time trying to persuade Trump Republicans. Instead, persuade your Democratic colleagues in the House to go Josey Wales with you. And let Trump and his Congressional co-conspirators know you’re willing to burn the motherfucker down.

If they hold a confirmation hearing, Democrats in the Senate and House should walk out. Walk right the fuck out, and don’t go back. When they want to pass the next continuing resolution in order to fund the government, tell them to piss up a rope. Start another round of impeachment hearings in the House. Impeach Trump again. Hell, impeach Justice Kavanaugh for lying to Congress. Launch an investigation into how Kavanaugh paid off all his debts before his confirmation hearing. Investigate the Russian bounty on troops in Afghanistan. Investigate the Trump family’s alleged financial crimes. Investigate and call witnesses and don’t do a damn thing else until the election.

I really hate to say that. I can’t think of anything more corrosive to effective governance than deliberate sabotage by one political party. But that’s just it. That’s exactly what Republicans have done since Obama was elected. If Democrats win in the 2020 election — if they take the White House and the Senate — then we can try to return to some sort of normal governance. If Democrats lose — if Trump remains in office — then normal governance will be dead. It’ll be four more years of fighting a losing battle against authoritarianism.

The Josey Wales Way is a lousy way to run a government, even for 43 days. But as Granny Hawking said, Josey Wales was “a hard put and desperate man” and that’s where we are as Democrats. Against the blatant power grab of a hurried SCOTUS nomination, J. Wales might be the best chance we have. Because things are looking bad, and “when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”

EDITORIAL NOTE: I don’t know if I’ll feel this way tomorrow. But this is how I feel today. Republican hypocrisy and double dealing will only get worse if we try to play by normal rules.

russian ratfucking

It never stops, does it. Last week yet another whistleblower filed a complaint with yet another Inspector General accusing the Trump White House and Trump-appointed agency officials of yet another abuse of authority by censoring yet another report outlining ongoing attempts to interfere with the 2020 election by Russian intelligence agencies.

This time it was Brian Murphy, the Principal Deputy Under Secretary in the Office of Intelligence and Analysis. Before he went to work for DHS he was a Marine and an FBI agent. Not what you’d call a ‘liberal’. He was ordered “to cease any dissemination of an intelligence notification regarding Russian disinformation efforts…because it ‘made the President look bad’.” Murphy objected (because Russia was running a disinfo campaign) and complained to his superiors. He was subsequently demoted.

There are very few core principles in the Trump administration, but included in them are the need to protect Putin and to deny Russian ratfucking of the 2016 election and the upcoming 2020 election. You have to wonder why that’s so important.

Who appears to be in charge here?

In May of 2018 I suggested that Trump’s insistence that the FBI ‘infiltrated’ his 2016 president campaign in an effort to ‘spy’ on it and entrap his campaign staff into breaking the law was a matter of ignorance rather than complicity. I was giving him the benefit of the doubt. I thought perhaps he simply didn’t understand that the FBI, by opening a counter-intelligence investigation into his campaign, was trying to protect him from some of his campaign staff who were in wildly inappropriate contact with Russian intelligence agents and/or Russian criminal elements. If the FBI hadn’t attempted to find out what the Russians were up to, they’d have been derelict in their duties.

What the FBI discovered was a series of attempts by Russian intelligence operatives to penetrate Trump’s campaign. Sadly, those attempts were actually welcomed by some campaign members. Not only were they eager to accept material that had clearly been stolen from Democrats by Russian intel agencies, they never considered reporting it to the FBI. Worse, when confronted by the evidence, those staffers lied about it. Lied repeatedly, and actively hampered the investigation. That’s a clear demonstration of guilt.

Who seems to be subordinate here?

By July of 2018, after the weird and horrifying Helsinki summit, I was far more willing to believe that Trump’s currying to Russia wasn’t just a matter of ignorance. I began to accept the probability that Putin had something on Trump himself — some sort of kompromat. I figured it was likely something to do with money laundering and/or criminal conspiracy rather than something personally embarrassing (like the alleged ‘pee tape’). In any event, it looked less like stupidity from inexperience and more like cooperation and complicity with Russian influence agents. I couldn’t think of any other probable explanation for his behavior at Helsinki.

By January of 2019, I was ready to accept that Trump was, in fact, a Russian intelligence asset. Not a ‘spy’; Trump lacks the emotional stability and the skill set required to be a spy. But he has a personality that makes him exceptionally vulnerable to Russian exploitation as an asset: he’s emotionally needy, he’s driven by greed and ego, he’s at least immoral if not amoral, he’s both shameless and easily insulted, he has no real sense of loyalty or patriotism, he has no qualms about cheating and assumes everybody cheats, and he’s willing and able to lie about anything. Trump is easy to manipulate.

Who is in control here?

The sad fact is, willing or not, since he took office Trump has furthered Russian interests and increased their international presence, and at the same time damaged US interests and surrendered US leadership on the world stage. He’s created a wedge between the US and NATO — to Russia’s benefit. He’s given Syria a free hand to commit war crimes — to Russia’s benefit. He’s withdrawn US influence in Iraq by abandoning the Kurds, allowing Russian troops to assume control of military bases and stations built by the US military. He’s essentially legitimized Russia’s illegal seizure of Crimea. He’s fought against and/or failed to impose sanctions against Russia despite bipartisan support in Congress. He’s refused to acknowledge, let alone act on, reports that Russia has paid the Taliban bounties to kill US troops serving in Afghanistan.

Domestically, he’s been willing to disregard the collective opinions of the US Intelligence Community on issues like Russian interference in the US election, and accepted Putin’s claim that Russia wasn’t involved. He’s not only undermined the efforts of the FBI and CIA to disrupt Russian interference, he’s appointed agency administrators who have leaned on their agencies to mute any criticism of Russia.

Who is most confident here?

I’m NOT saying Trump is run by Putin or Russian intelligence agencies. They don’t need to run him. On his own, he’s brought chaos and exacerbated existing divisions in US society. Russia helped him get elected (and are trying to help him stay in office), but after that all they had to do was stand back and let Trump be Trump. It was a low-cost, low risk, high reward black op — almost certainly the most successful and cost effective black op in modern history.

The idea that the President of the United States might be — and probably is — a Russian intelligence asset should be absurd. It should be laughable. Sadly, it’s not. The evidence keeps mounting up. It’s entirely possible — and, again, this is shocking for me to say — it’s entirely possible that if Trump is re-elected, representative democracy in the US may come to a crashing halt.

Lawdy, I hate saying that. I hate that it’s actually necessary to say it.

safe to assume

This is just my opinion, but it seems to me that the Trump administration has demonstrated an uncanny ability to do the worst possible thing at the worst possible moment for the worst possible reasons. For example, changing the process for reporting Covid-19 cases during the biggest spike in Covid-19 cases.

Even if we give the Trump administration the benefit of the doubt (stop laughing, it’s just a hypothetical example) and accept that they just want to ‘streamline’ the reporting process, it’s still a phenomenally idiotic point in time to do it. I mean, the CDC has been collecting and reporting hospitalization data for decades. Everybody is familiar with the system, everybody knows what to do, everybody knows the data is unfiltered by the government and pretty reliable. Everybody knows they can use that data as a foundation for planning.

Why are all these refrigerated trucks parked outside of hospitals? It’s a mystery.

Sure, that system is being challenged by a shocking number of Covid-19 cases. We’re talking about national daily infection rates of more than 50,000 new cases a day. A day, for fuck’s sake. Tens of thousands of cases every day from thousands of health care centers scattered all over the US. The fact that the CDC’s system is handling and publicly reporting all that data shows how stable and robust it is.

But the Trump administration has decided to route that data through a private corporation. A private corporation run by a Trump supporter. A Trump supporter and long-time GOP donor who got the US$10.2 million contract through a no-bid process. A contract that requires health care centers to learn an unfamiliar protocol that includes several additional types of data, some of which isn’t usually collected by some state health agencies. The phrase ‘recipe for disaster’ comes to mind.

The worst possible decision at the worst possible time for the worst possible reasons. Well, I’m assuming the worst possible reasons. It’s safe to assume the Trump administration is acting out of the worst possible reasons, because that so often turns out to be the case. It’s theoretically possible somebody in the administration truly and sincerely believes the shift in data collection is being done to make the process more transparent and more simple. But there are people in the Trump administration who truly and sincerely believe prayer is an effective tool in the fight against gun violence. And teen pregnancy. And climate change. And, I don’t know, forest fires. Halitosis. The outcome of football games.

This isn’t to suggest Comrade Trump is actually driving refrigerated body trucks. He doesn’t have a commercial driver’s licence.

So yeah, it’s probably safe to assume this plan to shift Covid-19 data collection from a familiar robust system used by the CDC to a new protocol created by a private company owned by a Trump supporter is designed to control what information the public gets. To turn the data into a political tool. To cook the books and make the pandemic seem somewhat less catastrophic than it is. To benefit Trump.

It’s safe to assume everything Trump does is to benefit Trump. Everything.

i really don’t care, do u?

This particular long national nightmare started five years ago today, when Comrade Trump stepped onto the escalator in Trump Tower. The United States has been going downhill ever since. It’s been a long, strange, ugly trip from that escalator to the ramp at West Point.

Let him take the escalator. This is fine.

A lot has been made of Trump’s awkward, hesitant trek down that ramp. It was the source for a lot of speculation about his physical health, a lot of long-distance diagnosing, a lot of unpleasant wishful thinking that his health was rapidly declining. Whole histories have been written about Trump’s strange inability to drink water with one hand and his lubberly relationship with any sort of inclined exit.

I don’t care if he’s bathmophobic.

To borrow a phrase from Melania’s closet, I really don’t care, do u? Seriously, I would completely overlook Trump’s inability to drink water with one hand, I’d absolutely ignore his apparent fear of stairs and ramps if he was otherwise fit to occupy the office of POTUS. I’d disregard those things even if I disagreed with his policies if he was otherwise fit to occupy the office of POTUS. I don’t really need a president to be in prime physical condition (though it would be nice); I don’t really need a president to agree with me politically (though, again, it would be nice).

I DO need a president who is reasonably honest, who hires competent advisers and listens to them, who isn’t easily manipulated, who is willing to learn, who makes an effort to understand the workings of the government they lead, who isn’t a total narcissist, who is willing to admit making a mistake, who will put the good of the nation before their own personal interests.

I don’t care if needs assistance to drink water.

Give me a competent, honest, thoughtful president in a wheelchair. Give me a president who is intelligent and interested in the world and has cystic fibrosis. Give me a capable, curious, well-read president with a cleft palate and who suffers from a morbid fear of heights. I don’t care if the president needs a seeing-eye dog so long as they are otherwise fit to occupy the office of POTUS.

There are SO MANY reasons Comrade Trump is NOT fit for office. His apprehension when faced with stairs or a ramp is irrelevant, his ineptitude at drinking water in public is totally immaterial. What matters is he’s willfully ignorant, he’s compulsively dishonest, he’s unwilling or unable to put aside his own self-interests, he’s lazy and impulsive, he has no core values, he’s an authoritarian racist who has no regard for the Constitution or representative democracy. Those are all valid reasons to remove him from office. We don’t need any other reasons.