Monday, January 25, 2021

Deficit Attention Disorder

Annnnd right on schedule, the Republicans are concerned about the deficit again. I’ve said it since the early days of this blog, and I see it everywhere now, Republicans are only concerned with the deficit when someone else is in charge of spending.

And this isn’t a new phenomenon, this pattern has gone on for decades. Republicans spike the deficit but don’t demand austerity until there’s a Democratic administration.

The next time they ask where the money for a tax cut is going to come from will be the first.

The only thing that matters right now is getting a handle on the COVID and giving people the tools to get by until that happens. Biden’s new plan is a good start.

In an emergency, we have to address the problem first, then deal with how we’re going to pay for it. Republicans holding up the stimulus package is akin to if your house is on fire, refusing to let the fire department put out because of what it will do to your water bill.

First you have to put out the fuckin’ fire before anything else comes into play!

This is the viewpoint stated by a lot of conservatives:

The thing is, the checks are what will keep businesses going, whether it’s the general checks that provide spending money or the small business checks and loans that allow businesses to pay their bills and staff. They tried that last year, but it was set up so poorly, huge businesses and connected individuals sucked up the bulk of the money.

People need money to spend. But they also need a safe place to spend it. All the stimulus money in the world isn’t going to make people go out and shop like they used to. Most of us value our asses more than risking a fatal illness just to eat at the Cheesecake Factory.

I’m fortunate that in my area of Baltimore, pretty much everyone is masked up. I haven’t seen a stranger’s face in months. But not all locations are toeing the line on masks.

I say, if you want your friend’s business to survive, wear a damned mask and get your shots.

Teacher Teacher

Speaking of “Wear your damned mask,” (which is our governor’s (Larry Hogan, R-MD) new catch-phrase), after appearing rational about the virus last year, his “Republican” is suddenly re-emerging. He’s exerting pressure on state school boards to get schools open ASAP, or else face the consequences (to be meted out by him.) He proclaims that since teachers have been moved to status 1B and are currently eligible for the vaccine, we should be opening up the schools right now.

The problem with this logic is that while the teachers are eligible, there isn’t any vaccine to be found, nor is there an efficient way of procuring one. Being “eligible” is fine and dandy but it doesn’t mean jack until the shots go into the eligible arms.

Also, the schools, like the one at which my wife teaches 1st grade, still haven’t done anything to prepare for in-person classes. There are still 20+ kids assigned to a class with no room for proper spacing, no dividers, not much of anything except some new posters on the wall urging proper handwashing. Even teachers, like Sweetpea, who desperately want to come back to school are resistant without proper precautions, like the shots.

This whole thing smacks of a political ploy. The Gov knows that people are sick of having their kids taking online classes and everyone knows that’s not the best situation for them. So in setting up the teachers to protest rushing back without protections, he’s shifting the blame.

You don’t like your kids doing remote learning? Blame the teacher’s union.”

It’s a pretty shitty thing to do, just to position yourself for the GOP 2024 nomination. The teacher’s union has no intention of rushing straight into a germ-infested nightmare.

Teachers give their lives to teaching, but shouldn’t be expected to give their life.

Now Back to Congress

I hear that Congress is tied up over their operations agreement. Mitch is holding out for a commitment from the Democrats not to alter the filibuster rules.

I agree with Majority Leader Schumer that doing so is a non-starter. Why on earth would the Democrats agree to give up such a lever? It’s one of the few pieces of ammunition they have. Mitch certainly wouldn’t do so, if the roles were reversed.

If I’m Schumer, I tell McConnell that he’ll first have to show that the Republicans don‘t intend to abuse the power before I yield anything. Odds are, they won’t be able to do that because obstructing every bill is exactly what they intend to do, just like they did with Obama. Schumer knows this, as does Biden. They can reach across the aisle a time or two, but as soon as they pull back a stump, the game’s over, they go it alone.

Republicans never shy from playing pure power politics. It’s about time the Democrats try it themselves.

Impeachment 2, The Sequel 

I’m not optimistic about impeachment anymore. While I like that the Democrats are tending to essential business first, (like cabinet appointments), I fear the Republican stomach for impeaching the former president has turned. Now they’re trying to use Biden’s call for unity against them, by insisting that we shouldn’t prosecute the previous administration, in the name of moving on, which is so very Republican. When they prosecute a political foe, it’s essential for the nation to uphold law and order. But when it comes back at them, it’s divisive.

From my point of view, an impeachment is absolutely necessary for this issue alone: if using bald-faced lies to incite an armed insurrection against the government, by people ready and willing to kill those with whom they disagree, isn’t grounds for impeachment, then what is? There absolutely HAS to be consequences, or else the door is wide open for any idiot with a grudge to try again to overthrow a legally elected government.

This makes Nixon’s sanctioned spying on Democrats look like child’s play. And Clinton’s impeachment? That’s a mere pimple on Trump’s ass compared to launching a violent campaign to pry power back from those who defeated him in an election, fair and square. And remember how Republicans got all dewy-eyed while insisting that telling a lie under oath needed to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, in order to maintain the integrity of the Presidency?

Then their guy tells 35,576 of them in a single term and they don’t contest one of them. Hell, they lined up to support the lies.

If Trump’s actions aren’t impeachable, then there is no longer anything a (Republican) president can do to get thrown out of office. That’s a precedent that can’t be allowed to stand.

And now for a little debunkery…

I’ve seen this one posted several times by my conservative friends. And each time I weep for what’s become of them.

This is the very definition of propaganda. Lots of shaky assertions that seem rational on the surface until you spend about 10 seconds thinking about them.

“No wars in four years.” Only the one against black people who dare to demand not to be harassed, shot, or choked while in police custody. And as far as overseas matters go, we cut and run, hung our allies out to dry, as well as other people on the ground who supported us at great personal risk. Isn’t that what the Republicans charged Obama with when he tried to wind down operations in Iraq? How pride-inducing!

“Job security.” Are you fucking kidding me? Joblessness is at a record rate! People are literally losing everything. Then again, the only jobs Republicans really care about are the high-paying white-collar jobs, preferably on the Boards of Directors, the ones who donate to Republicans. Yeah, those guys are really secure. The rest of us, not so much.

“Oil independence.” We are not now, nor have we ever been oil-independent. We could be, but the markets don’t work like that. Remember that every time something blows up in The Middle East, our gas prices go up. If we were independent, that wouldn’t be so. I suspect this segment is about Biden nixing the Keystone XL oil pipeline project and that’s laughable. The United States wasn’t getting anything out of that. It was a means for a Canadian oil company to get its oil to the Gulf of Mexico for shipping to its overseas customers. The only thing America would get out of it was the environmental damage should an accident ever happen. This is just towing the Republican company line, wherein fossil fuels are the only ones that matter, while wind and solar are just hippy daydreams. Just keep in mind that there’s a finite amount of oil in the ground. At some point, it will cost more to extract it than it will be worth. Then they better hope the hippies will share.

“Gas at under $2.10.” Hah, in Possum Holler, maybe. This weekend, I filled up for $2.29 a gallon. But I get the drift… gas is cheap right now. And do you know why? Because of the Coronavirus! People aren’t traveling or going much of anywhere. Lack of demand brings down gas prices. I found gas for under $2.00 last spring, at the height of quarantining. The most benign reading of this point would be the because of the incompetency of the Trump Administration, letting COVID-19 ravage the country brought gas prices down a bit. Hoorah!

“Stock Market above 30K.” LOL. Stocks took off once it looked like Trump was going to lose the election, and then continued up after Biden won. But yes, the stock market was one (and probably the only) area that thrived under Trump. All it took was crippling the government to pay for the massive tax cuts that big businesses received and used to buy up their own stock. There was little job creation, little in the way of wage increases, just padding for the bottom line. As usual with the Republicans, the rich got richer, kept it all, and duped their followers into bragging about it.

Monday, January 18, 2021

One Day at a Time

With the inauguration of Joe Biden set for Wednesday, this week is supposed to be Insurrection Part 2, The Sequel. I don’t think it’s going to happen that way.

I know insurrectionists were shown not to be the brightest crayons in the box, but I do think they’re smart enough not to try to storm a location that’s ready for them. You can’t escape the reports on TV of the National Guard setting up around the Capitol Building and inauguration area. After all the holes in the defenses on 1/6, from reduced numbers to insider participation, the whole world is watching this time. And they’re vetting which Guardsmen to send as well, to ferret out the closet white supremacists.  There will be no screwing around.

I think the camo brigade knows better than to go up against real military people. The most I expect is some small gatherings around more loosely guarded places or state capitols.

There’s also the matter of underestimating the degree to which their every move was under surveillance. They spent last week watching dozens of people that participated in the Capitol Travesty getting fired by their employers and rounded up from their homes by the FBI. I think Gomer wants to keep his job down at the mill and his ass out of prison.

Although, I’m skeptical about how much jail time these clowns are going to get. These are white people. I bet most will skate with a tap on the wrists. More home detention than prison time.

Still, the blame-shifting and rationalizations continue. I saw this one over the weekend.

As usual, nothing about this is correct. Democrats LOVE walls and cops, as long as they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Cops are supposed to be the instrument of justice, equal justice for all. We’ve seen that not to be true in hundreds of cases. Walls are supposed to hold up the roofs over our houses and buildings, not to be barriers between free countries. Our greatest national triumph of the 80s was getting rid of a wall.

Not to mention, Trump has had a wall around the White House for at least a year now. This wall from the meme will be taken down as soon as it’s feasible.

This is just a cheap shot using false equivalency, designed to be persuasive to easily persuadable minds.

Status Check

As I mentioned in my post on 1/7, I decided, for the first time ever, to try a #DryJanuary.

I used to be a heavier drinker than I am now. Anymore, I never drink at all from Monday to Wednesday. My initial goal was to only drink on the weekends, but Thursday kind of crept up on me after getting in the habit of working from home on Fridays, which earns me another hour’s sleep. (Which is less important now, since I’m WFH every day.)

But even on those four days, I drink a lot less. A lot of that is due to my regular sports bar, where I’d go to watch football every Sunday, stopped getting the NFL package. I started going there to catch Steelers games that weren’t televised here in Baltimore, but ended up going every weekend because it was so much fun. But that would usually entail 3-4 20-ounce beers.

At home, I can get through two games on two cans. Then maybe have a drink after dinner.

It’s like that old joke…

“What’s the difference between a drunk and an alcoholic?

An alcoholic has to go to meetings.”

So that’s me… more of a drunk than an alcoholic. Maybe even a half a drunk.

But after reading about all the benefits a body gets from going alcohol-free for a month, I figured I’d give it a shot.

I asked Sweetpea if she cared to join me. She had two words for me: “Hell.” And “no.” So I’m on my own here.

I’m doing OK, although events seem to be conspiring against me. Right off the bat, there was a series of stress points that would normally have me reaching for a bottle.

1/6: All hell breaks loose at the Capitol, my reactions to which I’ve well documented.

1/8: We discover that we have a leak under our kitchen sink and can’t get a plumber out here for 10 days.

1/9: I left a bagful of groceries at the store. (I went back for it and they had it for me, so it ended up OK. But it was a pain to have to return there from home.)

1/10: My Steelers got creamed in the playoffs by the freakin’ Browns. That’s enough to drive any yinzer to drink.

1/11: We found out a close family member was diagnosed with an illness much more serious than initially expected. Definitely drink-worthy.

1/11: My Buckeyes got smashed by Alabama in the college championship game. (Yes, I’m a Pittsburgher, but also spent some formative years in Columbus.)

1/12: Learned that my car had suddenly become a target for birdie bombing runs. They must have had a meeting and decided that big blue thing down there was a public toilet and massed in the branches overhead to use it. Every time I’d clean it off, there would be four or five more bombs dropped. One literally covered the top of my side mirror. It got to where I was embarrassed to go through the drive-thru windows. I was waiting for the time I’d get my bag of food and it would have “Shitmobile” written on it. And of course, this was a week that was sunny and nice every day. A hard rain would have been welcome.

1/15: That was the 4-year anniversary of the day I met Sweetpea. No, I don’t consider that a tragedy, but it’s one of the most important days of my life and we usually celebrate. I mean, we did meet at a bar.

Fortunately, that’s been the end of it. Last week contained no atrocities. I’m hoping for the same for the rest of the month. This Wednesday will be the big test.

So yeah, it’s been a test so far but I’ve toughed it out. One of the things that helps is using replacements. I’ll watch a game and drink a can of root beer.

Tasty but not the same.

Or, on Friday or Saturday nights, I’ll pour some ice tea into a drink glass, squeeze in some lemon juice and add ice. It looks and feels like a drink so that’s two issues covered.

It helps that I’ve mentioned it to several people and covered it on my Facebook timeline. The more people know about it, the more determined I am to keep at it.

I’m way too stubborn to give up on a public battle of will.

Although if the inauguration blows up, I might have to go looking for the neighborhood smack dealer.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Still Pissed

As angry as I am at the attempted coup at the Capitol building last week, I’m only a shade less angry at the aftermath, wherein Republicans and Trump followers are desperately attempting to rationalize their behavior, shift the blame on to others, and open up new fronts into which they can project themselves as victims.

I saw a meme one of my conservative friends posted on Facebook that almost gave me an aneurism. In a rare fit of righteous indignation, I set off the following bomb on my own Facebook timeline.

Here's why this meme is bullshit.

It's the fallacy of false equivalency. The Kavanaugh incident was nothing like the one this week. Here's a description from the BBC:

"Thousands of mainly female demonstrators marched through the nation's capital on Thursday, starting at the appeals court where Judge Kavanaugh currently presides.

They converged on Capitol Hill and held a rally outside the Supreme Court, chanting: "Kavanaugh has got to go!"

Police rounded the protesters up in (the atrium of) a Senate office building after they sat down and refused to budge."

Yes, they sat down in the atrium and about 300 were arrested. Unarmed women. (Even in the meme picture, I can only find a couple of dudes.) How many were arrested on Wednesday? Fox "News" says 70. (Granted, that total will rise as they round up the people caught on camera.)

You know what the anti-Kavanaugh crowd didn't do?

Bring weapons.

Leave bombs.

Bring zip ties to kidnap legislators.

Build a gallows to hang legislators.

Overpower police officers and kill one of them.

Break into and ransack offices

Steal stuff.

Break into the House and Senate floor.

Take a shit on the Senate floor.

Do all of this based on an easily disproven lie.

The MAGA people did this. They talked about it online, planned it, executed it, and then bragged about it on social media. There was no Antifa and no BLM, it was all MAGA. Now they need to fucking own it.

Using a weak comparison like the Kavanaugh protest is a desperate display of blame deflection and equivocation of that which has no modern equal.

Trump and his followers tried to nullify a clear and lawful election (yes it was) by use of force and intimidation. There is no parallel anywhere with their political opponents. Now they have to live with the consequences.

My friend whose meme I used commented, “Don’t care.”

And that’s the problem with the current political culture. People don’t care if what they post is bullshit as long as it makes their intended point. That’s why we’re in this mess today and I’ll come back to that.

Another friend facetiously commented that they weren’t really true Kavanaugh protesters… Someone used facial recognition software to conclude that they were MAGA supporters disguising themselves in Birkenstocks and BLM tee shirts, aiming to give the protesters a bad name.

To which I responded, “Don’t care.”

Elsewhere, I’m seeing claims of violations of free speech and censorship because of Trump getting banned from social media, along with other known promoters of violence and insurrection, and Parler getting evicted from their server system.

I appreciate these objections because it shows me who among us doesn’t know how the 1st Amendment works. They yammer on, blissfully unaware that the 1st Amendment is about government censorship of speech. Private companies are under no obligation to support speech that condones violence, illegality, or is just repellent. It’s their platform and they can run it any way they see fit.

The funny part is that the Republicans, themselves, made it that much harder on themselves when they went all out to support bakers and florists’ right not to serve gays. Now when the same principle bites them in the ass, they want to cry about it.

Sorry, no sympathy here.

With all the fingers of blame being pointed every which way, I want to throw mine into the mix. I brushed this a little in my last post but it bears fleshing out.

We now live in a society with two separate realities. One where Biden earned more votes and won an election, and one where Trump won in a landslide but unknown Powers That Be conspired to steal the presidency away from him (and his loyal followers).

There is zero evidence that there was any malfeasance in play to steal votes and if there was, Republicans would have presented it at trial. But they had no such evidence and at each turn, they were laughed out of court.

In a sane society, that would be enough, but that’s not where we are. And why is that?

Conservative media. Fox “News,” AON, Newsmax, Breitbart, Limbaugh, Beck, and all the other pied pipers of bullshit have spent years using military-grade persuasion techniques on those most susceptible to them. They’ve been conditioned to listen only to these sources because everyone else is the “liberal media” (which is owned by gigantic corporations).

Trust US. Don’t trust those other guys. They lie to you. Only we tell you the truth. They think you’re sheep but you’re too smart for them. You just listen to us and everything will be fine. Hey, look at those brown people… they want to take your jobs and steal your property. Look at those religious nuts. They pray to a God who tells them to kill you.”

After decades of laying that groundwork, they can peddle any lie they want and no one will believe any different. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence and in spite of gaping holes in the logic, they believe the bullshit because they want to believe it. They feel good when they believe it.

Then when, inevitably, a complete sociopathic huckster comes along, telling more lies than anyone can even comprehend, they swallow every bite and pledge their devotion.

And that’s how we come to a place where people can be led to attack the center of the government they claim to hold dear, based solely on easily disputed false premises and lies.

They’re only doing what they’ve been trained to do.

There’s only one solution I can see. The government can’t crack down on these outlets, or it could be considered censorship. They could try enforcing “news” standards like they used to, but networks like Fox can just claim that they’re not “news” at all, they’re merely entertainment.

The only people that have leverage are the advertisers, who can stand up and say, “Enough! Stop denying the obvious!” If Fox and OAN can’t make a profit, they will eventually dry up and fizzle out. They have to stay financially viable or they can’t support their own weight.

Now, will that ever happen? I doubt it. There are a few rumblings from companies who are temporarily ending their political spending. Some others cut off their ad buys. But I can’t imagine that’s a permanent change in philosophy. They’ll be back once the heat dies down. And there are too many others who will only be too willing to step in and buy a piece of that audience, who’s already shown that they’ll believe anything.

Maybe, if we’re lucky, all the conservative news outlets will take each other down with in-fighting, bringing a halt to the entire circus.

As a people, we could educate ourselves on recognizing these persuasion techniques and questioning the validity of our media providers, but I’m not optimistic.

From what I can see, people will always believe an attractive lie over an uncomfortable truth.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Just a Heap of Blind Rage

Director’s DVD Commentary: This is an off-schedule post because if I wait for next Monday, who knows what fresh horrors will have taken place in the meantime? Plus, I have to get this out of me or I'll have an aneurism.

I was working at my job from our little home office yesterday when my nephew texted me.

After that, I split time between going back and trying to work, and running into the living room to see what was happening next.

(Pretty much pegged that Antifa prediction, huh? More on that in a sec.)

Our conversation went on:

As you can see, my immediate reactions matched up with pundits and Twitterers all over the country.

How was it so easy for them to break in? While I’m sympathetic to a police force being vastly out-manned, they’ve known for months that the MAGAts were planning on demonstrating, already bragging about how much hell they were going to raise. And then, after hearing Trump’s rile-em-up speech, they should have had every man on the force plus the National Guard already in place. It didn’t take a seer to see that this was going to turn ugly.

And you couldn’t help notice the difference between how the police handled these guys versus the BLM protests. They waded into the BLM crowds with clubs swinging and tear gas popping. Anyone in the way got mowed over… women, senior citizens, everyone.

They practically ushered the MAGAts right up to the Capitol.

It was surreal watching all this on TV. I can say, I had quite a visceral reaction, mostly rage. Watching them go through the halls and offices reminded me of what I’m told having your house robbed feels like… a violation. Seeing a picture of one of those morons sitting in the Senate President’s chair made me sick, as did the shot of that man with his feet up on Nancy Pelosi’s desk. The inmates were truly overrunning the asylum. It looked like something out of Animal House.

 Is this Pelosi’s office?

The guy with the Buffalo horns looked like he was about to administer the fraternity oath to the pledges.

Outside, people strolled around like they were on the lawn for a Jimmy Buffet concert, like they didn’t have a care in the world.

And these people are supposed to be the Uber-Patriots? The ones who promote originalist interpretations of the Constitution? (Except for when it doesn’t suit their needs.)

Add Trump to that lot. I don’t know how he could think that the Constitution gave his Vice President the power to overturn an entire election, just because he didn’t like the result. I mean seriously? If that were even remotely true, then why even have elections? Just ask the sitting Vice President to decide. Jesus tap-dancing Christ!

This siege has very deep roots and has been building for years. I put the blame right at the source… Fox “News” OAN, Rush Limbaugh and his ilk, and Newt Gingrich.

All have been instrumental in not only pushing stories that were patently untrue and making the Democrats out to be the “enemy,” sub-humans who want to take everything away from God-fearing, White, “real” Americans. People who only want to lay around and take handouts from hardworking conservatives. They invented the zero-sum politics under which we now labor.

Now, they’ve been telling their cult that those evil Democrats have stolen what was rightly theirs. “They cheated! They rigged it! They took everything away from YOU!” And every word of it was a verifiable lie, designed for a single purpose.

When you repeatedly broadcast a message like that to an audience that’s half ego and half testosterone, with a 3rd-grader’s knowledge of civics, what the hell do you expect? Lively debate? Violence was inevitable.

The whole event is a national embarrassment. With the world watching what should have been a shining moment, setting the stage for the peaceful transfer of power, the president urged a mob to take action, which they seemed delighted to do.

Of course, it’s not like they needed the presidential urging. These people came prepared. They brought a supply of zip ties and built a gallows out front. Think that wasn’t planned? What do you think they were planning? Believe me, those zip ties weren’t for trash bags, filled by policing up the grounds when they were done. They planned to take people from inside and hang them, either with a phony-baloney “trial” or not.

I’m looking forward to when the feds start using facial recognition to identify and arrest these “pat-rioters.” I heard they’ve already been appealing to the public to help identify the people caught on camera.

By evening, I saw the first attempts to blame others. I saw a tweet going around saying that Antifa and BLM activists were identified in the crowd.

BLM in the crowd? Seriously? Did you see that crowd? Finding Black faces in there would be like a real-life Where’s Waldo exercise. Who the fuck are they kidding?

They also claimed that some facial recognition company identified Antifa activists. But according to our friends at No More Mr. Nice Blog, such a company exists on paper only. They have no business, no testing, no licenses to operate. And Snopes has a good debunking of the whole issue. So in other words, it’s total bullshit, thrown out there to deflect blame.

You know, if you’re going to make a statement like invading the Capitol Building, you’ve got to own it. No alibis now. This entire episode has to be hung around MAGA. They planned it, they bragged about it, they brought supplies, and they executed it. There is no “Some Other Guy,” in play here. They have to own it.

It’s our job to make sure they do.

Final note: Congratulations to Senators-elect Warnock and Ossoff. Their election will make a world of difference in the next 2 years, even if it’s only for managing the Senate and operating the committees. And I think Biden should give Stacy Abrams any title she wants, including “Queen.”

Director’s DVD Commentary: For the first time ever, I figured I’d try to do a “Dry January.” Starting Monday, 1/4 of course. You don’t start a Dry January on a Friday during a holiday weekend. Boy, do I ever wish they made it “Dry February instead!” With all that's happened this week...


Monday, January 4, 2021

Where's Rosemary Woods When You Need Her?

Just when you thought the Current Occupant couldn’t go any lower, we now have him on tape trying to strong-arm the Georgia Secretary of State into turning 11,780 votes from Biden to Trump. I mean, how else do you “find” votes? It’s not like someone left a crate of votes under the coffee table. Although that’s probably one of the debunked scenarios Trump was pushing.

I heard about the call last night via Twitter. At first, I listened to the audio excerpts before becoming aware that there was a tape of the full hour’s conversation. I decided to read the full transcript instead because I didn’t want to spend a full hour on this, but more importantly, I didn’t think I could handle listening to that idiot talk for 60 minutes. I got enough of a taste during the excerpts.

It was like a series of monologs. He’d go on and on about one point or another and eventually someone would say, “No, Mr. President, that wasn’t true…” or “We investigated that and there was no evidence.” That would only send him off on another angle, all the while telling them, “This (the alleged election tampering) is illegal. You don’t want to do anything illegal do you, that’s risky.”

What I took away from it is that I think he actually believes what he’s saying. I think people have been feeding him the bullshit he wants to hear for so long, he never even questions it anymore.

Every allegation it was, “I’m told…” and “Everyone says…” No proof, no evidence, and no listening to any counter-arguments from people who know the situation intimately. (That’s “Trump media” for you.)

I think he either believes it, or he’s a master at The Costanza Principle:

It was almost like he wanted to be thanked for bringing this to the Secretary of State’s attention. He was doing him a favor, giving him a deal in that though he won Georgia by hundreds of thousands of votes, he was only asking to overturn 11,780. It’s like he was selling wholesale, at a fraction of the fraud.

This is serious stuff. Nixon was impeached for less. Hell, so was Trump. This is direct evidence of election fraud for personal gain. There is no escape from this truth. What anyone is going to do about it is another story.

With hard, cold, clear evidence like this, the GOP has no easy choice. They can either back up their master and encourage an authoritarian seizure of government, or stand up for the Constitution and risk running afoul of 74 million saps who think whatever Trump does is fine, just because it’s Trump that’s doing it.

Given the number of Congressmen and women who plan to join in the protest of the ceremonial electoral vote counting on Wednesday, I don’t think there’s a lot of true patriotism in this lot, nothing that goes any further than flag lapel pins and bumper stickers.

So far, the only defense I’m seeing is people protesting the “unauthorized recording.” Not that they had any problem with unauthorized recordings during the Clinton years. And in this case, Georgia is a 1-participant consent state.

There also seems to be some debate on who leaked the tape. On one side, I’ve seen several reporters say the Secretary of State told them he’d release the tape only if Trump misrepresented the phone call in public (which he did almost immediately.)

Yet others point out that you can hear Trump as plain as day, while the folks in Georgia sound like they’re on speakerphone. That indicates that it was recorded and leaked from the White House’s end. I suppose eventually the truth will surface that explains both phenomena.

So far I haven’t seen a lot of defense from my conservative friends on Facebook. They’re still preoccupied with celebrating their freedom to walk around unmasked and get people killed.

When the shoe fits, wear that fucker. Selfishness is the only explanation for people refusing to be inconvenienced by wearing a mask and keeping the distance at the cost of spreading a serious and often fatal disease. Is it really that hard not to be an asshole?

Maybe the phone call story hasn’t penetrated the bubble yet. OR, they’re saving their theories for Parler, where no one will trouble them with facts or rebuttals.

In other news, and in a surprise to no one, Mitch McConnell single-handedly kiboshed the possibility of a $2000/person COVID check, by refusing to bring it up for a vote. He says they’ve already passed a COVID bill, not really appreciating the irony that $600 won’t even buy a meeting  phone call  text message from him. He said that too many people who didn’t need it would get it.

See, if Mitch and the Republicans really wanted to pass a bill to help those who truly needed it, they’d have done it. They could have easily passed a similar bill with lower top-end limits and then worked it out in committee with the House. But no, they just shit-canned the whole thing because Republicans don’t give money away to the general population. Not unless it can be filtered through big businesses, for the skim.

I think I know why it played out that way. The rest of the GOP Senate can object and clamor for bigger checks knowing full well that Mitch is the bottle-stopper. None of them really want to send any money to us deadbeats anyway, but they can make noises like it and seem like reasonable, caring people.

They know Mitch is impervious to pressure. He simply doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, other than his wealthy mega-donors. And he’s just been re-elected, so he’s basically bullet-proof for six more years. Do you think he cares what the rest of the nation thinks? We’re just the tools that keep the big money wheel spinning to fund his corporate buddies’ tax cuts.

Director’s DVD Commentary: In case you’re too young to recognize the name in the title, Rosemary Woods was a secretary in the Nixon White House who was “blamed” for the 18-minute gap that appeared at a pivotal moment in one of the Watergate tapes. Everyone said it was an accidental erasure. But then when she demonstrated how to push all of the buttons necessary to execute the erasure, it was so convoluted, it looked like she was playing Desktop Twister. As far as I know, no one has told the real story of how that gap came to be.