A Coup? ‘Twas Not

After 4 years of demagoguery from everyone involved in the process of politics and governance, words have never been more important. That’s why using the term “coup” to refer to the January 6 Capitol riot/mob/protest gone amuck is grossly negligent and, maybe even worse, historically ignorant.

In order to be considered a coup attempt, there has to have been some sort of plan to achieve overthrow of the government. I beg you, anyone, to demonstrate to me what plan was in place when organic-only horn-shaman guy, or quarter-for-your-thoughts desk sitter, or zip-tie guy, or tase-my-balls guy gained access to the heart of our democracy to seat a government. That’s what a coup accomplishes, by the way: a new government to govern our institutions. You really think anyone at these riots has the patience or wherewithal for any of that?

Now, does this discount the lunacy, or danger, of people that went with violent intent, the people that died, the people who WERE intending to harm members of our government? Of course not, and those people should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for their violence against our elected officials.

But do not call this a coup attempt. The following morning, there were no tanks on the White House lawn. Democrats quartering troops in the halls of the Capitol is what they have gotten so good at over the last four years: political theater. Trump is a Nazi! Fascist. Muslim ban. “Very fine people on both sides”. Covid presented the sort of once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some truly authoritarian moves and, lo and behold, Trump did none of them. National Guard to enforce lockdowns/work permits. Nationalize industry. Censorship. The only person that was censored..was Trump!

Referring to the ragtag buffoons as a coup but the protests over the summer (that did account for dozens of deaths, hundreds of injured officers, billions in damages to businesses) as mostly peaceful is gaslighting. Those numbers from the summer are facts, not spin. Stop trying to rationalize one form of political violence over another because you support one cause over the other.

I wish so desperately that this riot had never happened because I would love to celebrate thousands of people gathering and marching for what they believe in. That’s how we continue to expand our political network and progress, getting people engaged. This denial of service attitude toward anyone that you disagree with is lazy and, frankly, more totalitarian than anything we have seen over the last few years.

Use your words correctly, put critical analysis and thought into your writing. This was not a coup attempt, so stop referring to it as such and giving them credit far beyond their capabilities.

At Least It Wasn’t a Target

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol following a rally with President Donald Trump on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation’s capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

January 6, 2021 was one of the most humiliating days in our nation’s history. The knuckle-draggers that stormed the Capitol, looted and desecrated the very home of our democracy, and live-streamed or posted about it on their social media, are not patriots in any imagination of that word. They were not “saving the Constitution”, heroes of their own Disney spin-off movie. No, they were throwing a temper tantrum, which should come as no surprise as they hero-worship and idolize our spoiled, thin-skinned, soon-to-be-unemployed President; maybe he will get a $600 stimmy on the way out.

There are two facets to this humiliation, the way I see it. The first is that our economic system and government thrives on machines of death and destruction. Our number one export to the world, our number one employer at home, is death. The military-industrial system is so interwoven with our way of being that we don’t even discuss it anymore, we just assume drone strikes and warfare is part of the cost of living day to day with our “freedoms”, and we hardly blink when 41 Democrat senators side with Mitch McConnell to block desperately needed $2,000 payments to Americans but help him pass a nearly-trillion dollar defense spending plan. All of this money sent down the proverbial rabbit hole year in and year out, and yet cosplaying wannabe-Captain Americas and satyrs managed to breach and occupy our Capitol building for a period of time. What, exactly, is that money doing? Defund the police? Hell, defund ALL military-industrial facets.

The second humiliation is on so many friends and family that, for years and years now but especially in 2020, have used the “but it should never turn into violence and looting and rioting” defense. I say humiliation because this riot/act of terror on January 6 has all the hallmarks of their favorite whiny excuse. Violence? 5 people dead, possibly more to come. Looting/damage/vandalism? Sure, we will take some of that. Harming police? Almost 60 officers wounded in the line of duty, Chief of Capitol police has resigned due to their incompetence/selfie-taking officers, and one of those dead is an officer. Yet, mysteriously, I don’t hear condemnation coming from those same people that were so “gee, shucks” and biting their fingernails about protests over last year’s summer of rage and discontent at our broken, racist system.

What, oh WHAT, could be the difference? I think a silver lining (well, second silver lining, people getting fired and having their lives ruined for their behavior on January 6 is more like a platinum lining) out of all of this is that forever, and ever, and EVER, the sniveling “but it shouldn’t turn into riots or damage” is shut down/shut up/PWNED (shout out to my gamer crew). Even more annoying to me is that the protests last year were against a system that has violated and murdered our black and brown citizens since the INCEPTION OF OUR COUNTRY, and the mindless nonsense of January 6 was because they didn’t get their way in an election that, really, probably won’t change much in the way of how business is done in this country to begin with (more on that another time).

So, shame on everyone that participated in the rioting January 6. Shame on everyone that has since posted some lame video about how they think they are defending the Constitution or American way of life or some other BS that they have listened to on Mark Levin’s podcast. How can you be so stupid as to not even pretend to know that the American forefathers CELEBRATED the peaceful transition of power because of the tyranny they had experienced before founding America? You absolute dunces. I can’t even begin to understand what you thought you were going to achieve, but you have managed to humiliate us even further than we even thought possible.

Biden is as Biden Does

While the Biden administration dangles the small carrot of $10,000 of student loan cancellation, he has been busy staffing his administration with Washington retreads and has-beens, maybe none more odious than Neera Tanden.

Already, the soft-peddled media coverage of a Democratic administration is rearing its ugly head, from the possibility of adding a cat to their family coterie to the ever-important question of “where has Joe Biden eaten around DC?”, our media continues to display their bald-faced hypocrisy when it comes to all things Democrat.

Full disclosure: I wanted Biden to win, with my number one concern the environment and planet. The Trump admin forcing through drilling leases in the arctic refuge is an absolute disgrace, and was the last smack in the face to an admin that did nothing but try to force our self-inflicted destruction on a faster timeline. But that does not mean that I am going to suddenly revert to “everything is great!” because a Democrat occupies the White House.

Joe Biden, as noted by Robert Gates, “had been wrong on almost every major foreign policy issue over the preceding 40 years.” He has a history of deferring to the swamp, a term I will absolutely continue to use post-Trump, and is comfortable with virtue-signaling, corporate-funded, militarist, Ivy-leaguers surrounding him.

Neera Tanden might be the worst of them all. This from a recent Greenwald piece:

During her tenure as CAP’s President, Tanden accepted millions of dollars from the regime of the United Arab Emirates, which built Dubai and Abu Dhabi using slave labor, along with massive donations from Facebook, Google, Microsoft, J.P. Morgan, the Walton Family and Michael Bloomberg, while hiding the identity of some of her think tank’s largest donors. A huge chapter on the NYPD’s abusive policies toward Muslims under Mayor Michael Bloomberg was removed from a CAP report after Boomberg donated millions to Tanden’s organization, and he continued to donate even more after that courteous gesture.

She ordered the supposedly independent journalists of the ThinkProgress blog, including Muslim writers, to stop writing critically about Israel after key CAP donors, including Barney Frank’s sister Ann Lewis and long-time Clinton advisor Howard Wolfson, complained. She and Wolfson plotted in 2016 how to weaponize female journalists and people of color against Hillary’s critics as well to use their identity to stigmatize and thus stop undesirable coverage from The New York Times. In 2018, she outed a CAP employee at a staff-wide meeting who had filed an anonymous complaint of sexual harassment and retaliation against one of Tanden’s male allies. Secure with her UAE-and-corporate-funded large salary, she has long urged cuts to Social Security. The list goes on and on.

She represents everything the Democratic party should not, and now Biden is thinking of putting her in charge of the OMB, which would dictate our economic budgeting concerns and priorities. Remember when Bernie tried to cut the Pentagon budget, and Kamala Harris joined Republicans in voting against it? We have no allies in the fight for true progressivism, and we have now lost the power of a sincere, proactive journalist corps.

Most of his nominations are so disappointing so far and we haven’t even started his administration. It is so sad to me that a simple gesture of $10,000 of student debt cancellation, which he has deferred to Congress by the way, so good luck with that, is the kind of bread crumb that will cause us to totally ignore how awful his other actions are already.

Is there an Echo in here?

Vote by mail, as currently implemented, is disenfranchisement on a grand scale

A joke that constantly gets recycled on social media these days is “wow, I didn’t know how many of my friends were experts in *insert subject field*”, and with good reason. It is shocking how often people post definitive, end-of-discussion statements on social media, with little to no understanding or expertise of the matter at hand. The latest “I know this to be true” in the zeitgeist is that vote by mail absolutely works and HAS to be implemented for the fall presidential election. Mostly, I am sure, because Donald Trump has called it a bad thing, and anything he says must be opposed with swiftness, surety of mind, and minimal critical thinking of what he actually said.

Now it’s my turn to make a statement that I will actually defend: vote by mail is an unmitigated disaster, and implementing it on a national scale in the fall is a fool’s errand. As reported by NPR, over 550,000 ballots in the 2020 primary season have been invalidated, representing a massive disenfranchisement of voters around the country. It took over a month for several races in New York City to be determined, and in several cases the number of votes disqualified was greater than the final margin of “victory.”

Keep in mind: all of these problems predate #SavethePostOffice and the fight for funding of the USPS. Is there any question lack of funding and nefarious machine removal will contribute to a disaster implementation of mail-in voting? Of course not. But there are ways around voting by mail that do not require your 37th tweet about how mail-in voting works so well and must be done. In fact, in 2012, the NYTimes reported flaws and fraud with mail-in ballots, and concern about how these could alter the outcome of the election (huh, they sure are humming a brand new tune now, I wonder what changed?).

Shockingly, maybe we should look at Kentucky. Their model for voting in their primary led to record turnout, an undisputed vote count and victor, and zero instances of coronavirus being spread because of in-person voting. It did include mail-in voting, but because of their excellent mechanisms and protocols set up for in-person voting, the number processed did not become overwhelming to local post offices, and they didn’t need $25 billion to do it.

So, please: stop blindly posting and echoing your friends posts about topics on social media without doing your homework. As it currently works, or doesn’t work, mail-in voting has been a massive disenfranchisement of voters all over the country. Half a million so far in 2020! Just imagine the hell we would go through of months and months of litigation, Trump tweets, outrage and yelling, if the election was mail-in exclusively. I want it to be done, and done right.

Vote. Fail. Repeat.

President Trump repeatedly lambasts vote-by-mail as “ripe for fraud,” or, in yell-speak:

RIGGED 2020 ELECTION: MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES, AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!

An actual Tweet! I can feel the spittle hitting my face as a I read it. As usual, and certainly not intentionally, Trump speaks to something that is actually concerning but does it in a way that only a bridge troll can appreciate.

Do I think foreign powers will flood our ballot boxes? I hope not. But what is concerning is that our current infrastructure in place to handle vote-by-mail is frighteningly INADEQUATE AND INCOMPETENT (yell-speak for emphasis).

Of the primary races in 2020 so far, 65,000 mail-in ballots have been rejected for simply arriving past he deadline, often at no fault of the voter. Which leaves the usual culprits for terrible mail delivery practices: the USPS, the perpetually under-funded-but-spends-billions entity responsible for mail.

According to this NPR piece (and where I got the great image for this), over 1,000 votes were rejected in a mayoral race that was decided by just 195 votes. So, while it isn’t fraud like Trump is talking about, that IS a sort of fraud on the American voter.

Look, we already have a serious delinquency problem with voting. Barely 1 in 2 voters showed up for the 2016 Presidential election, and that was the one where a reality TV star was running to lead our country. If THAT can’t stir up the voters, what can? And if you throw in the additional disincentive of “my vote won’t count because it will be late anyway,” the numbers will get even more grim.

As a New Yorker, voting incompetence is the art form of the NY election board, and I feel like I have read the same piece about vote reform and cleaning up incompetence every single year; at this point, copy and paste the last article, save yourself the time.

So, while there isn’t necessarily a YELLING CONCERN FOR FRAUD, the mainstream media should do a much more thorough job of discussing how mail-in voting CAN be a disaster, and spend less time with “aha gotcha!” fact checks of Trump. Seriously, we have been at this for 5 years and they still haven’t learned to ignore him. Maybe I should send them some mail about it.

#vote #fraud #Trump

Today, and Every Day, Vote

I voted by mail for myself AND for 13 fake people I created from my imagination. All for Bernie. Fraud! But really: Be safe and healthy and VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. Engel is being supported by GOP money, get him out. Bernie wins delegates, hold Biden accountable to progressive ideals and prevent him from tacking to his (standard) Republican roots — if only segregationist James Eastland was still kicking, he was civil!

2016 presidential election, the one where people screamed at the sky and booked a therapy appointment, saw a 55% voter turnout. That means almost 1 out of every 2 people didn’t vote. But I bet ALL those people had something to say on their Facebooks and Twittergrams. Lots to say, and people to defriend, and hashtags to push! Viva la resistance!

You should vote in primaries. You should vote in general elections. You should vote in off year elections, whatever that means because really no year is off when all of the policies that our government enacts in the name of us, the citizenry of this country, are always on. We were taught, indoctrinated growing up in America that it is the shining beacon on the hill for the rest of the world. It’s true, we do capture the attention of much of the world, and frankly we should be ashamed of what we show to them.

Sexiest Bro of the Year Andy Cuomo is already telling protesters enough is enough, you won, you can stop already, and I say to him and his ilk and the politicians that continue to bleed our country dry for personal profit and greed: it’s not over. All power to the people. Black lives matter. Defund the police. Demilitarize the police. It was Henry Wallace before, it was Bernie now, they will never stop trying to prevent real, earnest reform from becoming the law of the land. If we VOTE, and change 1 out of 2 into 2 out of 2, then we can see the America all those trash history books actually fantasize about. Vote today in Kentucky and New York, vote November 3 everywhere.

Seems About White

amy-cooper-central-park-franklin-templeton

Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Chris Cooper. Breonna Taylor. As is almost ritual in this era of social media, we have been haunted by these names, victims of the seemingly endless cog of American racism slowly churning, grinding up minorities in its cold, heartless gears. If this sort of confluence of events were written in a script, producers wouldn’t buy it. It is almost too perfect that we have been inundated with racism from all angles: the continued assault on people of color by our militarized police force, vigilante racists hunting a jogger in their neighborhood because of the color of his skin, and a white liberal woman, in New York, who has almost certainly posted about her wokeness before, using the threat of the police on a black man for asking her to obey the leash laws in a public space. I am writing this to beg, plead with, DEMAND my fellow white Americans: TAKE YOUR FUCKING HEADS OUT OF THE SAND.

America has been in a very weird, pre-pubescent Harry Potter in Order of the Phoenix grumpy mood since 2008.  We thought, with the election of Obama, that we had, once and for all, slayed the mighty beast of racism that clung to our nation’s name and likeness. And, to be fair, his election was a monumental breakthrough! Except, well, it wasn’t the cure-all many people think it was. From 2015-2019, while the majority of police shooting victims were white, black shooting victims were by far the most disproportionately represented. This isn’t some problem that Donald Trump created. He, in his trollish Tweets, is simply the messenger of a long, terrible history of American racism.

And where can we possibly turn? In his truly remarkable ability to put his shoe repeatedly in his own mouth, Joe Biden, presumptive Democratic nominee for President, demonstrated the wanton carelessness Democratic politicians regard their black constituents with when he said black people that had a hard time deciding between him or Trump “ain’t black,” making sure to turn on his faux, hip-with-it accent to make sure they clearly understood him. Anyone have any hot sauce, while we are here?

This is our time, fellow white people. And no, I don’t mean this in the sense of white knights, riding down like Gandalf to save the day. I mean it in this way: SHUT UP, LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS OF COLOR, AND UNDERSTAND THEIR NEEDS AND HOW BEST TO SUPPORT THEM. It is high time, in light of all four of these heinous instances of structural racism wielding its ugly power and destructive presence, for white people to just get with the program. Our system is racist, and it perpetuates class and race divisions to keep us from realizing our true potential. Stop conflating these moments with destruction of property and riots; take a poll of your white friends about how they view the Boston Tea Party, and that should put all that nonsense to an end. We must hold elected officials, tax payer funded police forces, and our fellow citizens accountable in instances where they have failed their fellow man. Stop hiding behind the mask of your faux liberalism (how convenient Amy Cooper was literally wearing a mask!) and start to understand how your silence, or what about-isms, or general garbage activism that consists of hashtags and retweets, is doing nothing. Shut up, white people, and listen.

 

 

 

 

 

Cattivo Cuomo

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I am a resident (for now) of New York City and have loved my time there; nearly a decade, where’s my plaque?  During the course of this time, however, I have been less than enthused by the leadership of our city and state.  Bill de Blasio, Mayor Putz himself, deserves a post all to himself one day, so this is going to focus on legacy-governor and boyfriend-psychopath Governor Cuomo, the politician du jour.

Cuomo has received enormous amounts of praise for his “leadership” during the coronavirus crisis, but I think we do that word a disservice by using it in regard to his actions during this time. His ability to confidently form sentences, unless he is trying to explain why he wants to put concrete boots on his daughter’s boyfriend, does shine in comparison to our grumbling, McDonald’s chomping commander in chief, but that’s about as far as the praise should go.  And, yet, his approval rating sits at 81% (!!!) for the coronavirus crisis, and there have been constant rumblings about him replacing Biden atop the Democratic ticket (which they might be able to without Biden even knowing what happened, let’s quit the charade that he is lucid).

But, and I need to make this clear, so, let’s see, how do I do this: ANDREW CUOMO IS AWFUL.  Some empirical evidence to back my subtle claim up:

  • he passed a budget CUTTING Medicaid to the tune of $2.5 billion DURING said coronavirus pandemic, impacting the neediest and poorest New York residents he is elected to protect.
  • his disastrous nursing home policy (reversed only 4 DAYS AGO) resulted in a nursing home death toll of over 5,000 residents, nearly a fifth of nursing home deaths in the country. When asked about the policy, our boy Andy said (as recently as April 21): “that’s a good question, I don’t know.”
  • his refusal to adopt progressive prison release issues has resulted in 15 prisoner deaths and 4 prison workers as the coronavirus spreads throughout the New York prison system.  a man, Leonard Carter, died April 14 weeks away from his release due to the virus, and would have likely been saved had Cuomo acted earlier.  Only last week they decided to give prisoners and prison workers masks.

Why am I writing this?  #MAGA, or whatever?  No, certainly not.  Trump has been a true disaster of seismic proportions during this epidemic, and I won’t excuse that.  I guess I am writing this because, while my Facebook feed is DAILY lit up with Trump-hate, Trump-bashing, and self-righteous doses of “told you so,” I guess I am writing this because I am alarmed by how many people simultaneously want to get a tattoo of Cuomo in effigy.

Stop letting confident, mild competence pass as caring and compassion.  Stop giving your love and loyalty to politicians that look good, sound smart, present well on TV, all the while burning down your house and taking the kids with them.  Cuomo has heinously mismanaged the MTA to the tunes of billions of dollars wasted and showered on cronies, had aides imprisoned for shady business dealings and more taxpayer dollars wasted, and continues to propagate a regressive tax structure that costs the state billions a year all the while suffocating the poor and working classes.

I guess, what I really want to advocate for, is being honest and transparent when we write and post about politicians. We shower hate over Trump all day, every day, and then turn and joyously celebrate a politician that enacts policies filled with just as much disdain and damage for the poor people in our state. But, hey, he is really funny when he goes on his brother’s show on CNN, isn’t he?

For Bernard

young bernie

I hoped I would never have to write something like this.  It looked, for a time, like this would finally be your time.  After the romp in Nevada, assembling a true coalition of young and old, and the establishment favorite looking dead, literally and figuratively, it seemed like your time in the spotlight finally had met the moment it was meant for.  Writing about that time now seems like a different world entirely, and I have to put something down to release the valve of the sadness and anguish I feel at losing our chance for you, Bernard, to lead our country.

It took me a while to sit down and write this piece because I always had a hard time preventing it from letting it degenerate into a rant about policy differences, a rage at feeling like we, as a people, have been cheated out of you, not once but twice, or from wanting to break down in rage tears and just shout at my screen.  I have never done the last one, but only because I have a little son now, and I don’t want to see him emulate shouty Twitter behavior.  At the end of the day, all I can do is write about how much you have meant to me as an elected leader, and what I think we are missing out on by having you be our President.

For my entire life, our political discourse has been dominated by war (the Soviets, 9/11 and the war on Terror, Saddam Hussein, an impressive two times against mighty America, Libya, Afghanistan, Bosnia, BOSNIA?!, ISIS (not from the show Archer), North Korea in perpetuity, and more than I can even recall) or devastating economic events, often connected to those very same war events.  Very little attention, if any, has ever been paid to the general plight of millions of Americans, but all the while we were told that we lived in the inarguably greatest country the world has ever known, with the most wealth imaginable (seemingly endless amounts of wealth when the financial order is under duress, almost like magic), and that to challenge this notion was to be a conspiracy theorist, a radical, or just a hippie lazy loser.  And I am guilty, Javert!  I am 24601!  I was born and raised in conservative Virginia, a country club attendee, golf playing, popped collar, White Bread America (WBA).  And, indoctrinated on this Kool-Aid, I thought Democrats represented something evil and other, something that flew in the face of the America we should all be proud of and adore.

Like many young scholars at COMMIE UNIVERSITIES, I went through a profound reimagining of the world really was, what our country really stood for, and how our government really served (or didn’t) millions of our citizens every single day.  Barack Obama, hope and change, holy smokes!  What a time to be shocked into a realization of this magnitude, to realign your allegiance to the opposite side of the spectrum, to believe that NOW you were on the right side of history.  And then, almost as shocking, to watch as corporations got fatter, to watch the American war machine expand its footprint around the globe even further under a Democrat, to watch as the financial markets reaped the rewards of their own heinous behavior, and to gradually realize, with extreme bitterness, that both parties sure had a lot in common.

Then I met you, Bernard, and my political world would never be the same.  A politician that not only never talked about terror and American imperialism and the evil of the rest of the world, unless it was to denigrate it and lambast its impact around the world, but in fact targeted his cranky man laser beams on the evil inside our very own borders!  And no, MAGAbots, I don’t mean immigrants, I mean the systems of industry, business, war, profit, capitalism, greed, gluttony, and soulless mercantilism that keeps our country in perpetual crisis, conflict, and division.  You were such a sweet soul you even gave your great rival, HRC, a pass on her “damn emails” because it didn’t let you talk about the ills facing millions of Americans every day and played right into the corporate media game of politics.  You saw right through their game and wanted to run a truck right through it!  I couldn’t believe you were real, and when I did research and found out you had been real for 50 MFin’ YEARS, I knew this was the sort of person we had to have in our great White House.

And, now, here we are.  Twice, so close.  Twice, the character from 27 dresses, I think that’s a movie about never being the bride always the bridesmaid.  I don’t think this piece is, yet, what I want it to be, it turned into a bit of a screed I think, but I hope one thing is clear: I am heartbroken that we weren’t ready for you, despite you devoting your entire life listening to a clarion call that was never louder than this current moment, this current world.  My political fire, my political heart, is, from now on, for you, Bernard.