Wednesday, August 11, 2021

This Is Your Boat Deck Wednesday Update For 2nd Class Passengers

A Barking Rant 

God's Away On Business

Using BandAids On Brain Cancer

Prosecutions for the January 6th attempt to derail Congressional certification of the  Presidential vote are dissolving into surrealistic theatre. The investigation, involving so many Federal resources, was intense and focused -- it matched the seriousness of the event. But any investigator knows a case they've built can be chopped up, watered down, even ignored by the prosecuting authority in their jurisdiction.

Charges have been brought by the DOJ against 605 rioters. The lead felony offense in the Federal indictments -- the most serious violation against each of them -- is "obstruction of an official proceeding"; attorneys for the defendants argued back that the joint session of Congress to certify electors' votes is a ceremonial, not an official, session, and the charge should be dismissed.

What constitutes an official Congressional proceeding; its never needed to be defined. One Federal judge in Washington was frustrated enough to comment that the DOJ's charge was so constitutionally vague that it could easily be overturned on appeal.

But there seems to be no rush to bring justice. Some defendants on bail are being allowed to vacation, attend weddings, or go backpacking out of the country; it's all quite leisurely. And while estimates of damage repair costs to the U.S. Capitol are over $1.4 million -- the total of monetary fines levied against the 605 defendants for that damage is... $2,000. 


Cosplay Conspiracy Is Too A Crime

More serious, the DOJ is not pursuing actual conspiracy charges against any defendants. The FBI claims no such information has been discovered, but an independent review of social media posts in the weeks leading up to the insurrection show clear planning and coordination -- tactics, and objectives. 

Review of cellphone videos and social media traffic show at least two groups of insurrectionists appeared at the Capitol in full tactical dress and appeared to follow military-style movement discipline. At least two of them carried zip-ties inside the Senate chamber

Lt. Col. (Ret) Larry Brock, USAF, (At Left), and unnamed Cletus in Senate Chamber

Then there are the recent revelations about the attempt by Trump and his allies to entice then-acting Attorney General Rosen to support The Leader's false narrative of a stolen election through a letter from the DOJ claiming irregularities in swing state voting. 

Trump told Rosen in a December 27th phone call that all he had to do was agree to the DOJ letter -- "Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R. Congressmen", according to contemporaneous notes taken by acting deputy AG Richard Donoghue. 

Meetings between Trump and his allies and toadies were held at the White House in December and January. Trump (and others) made phone calls to election officials in Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, trying to find weak links who would support The Lie. Trump inserted loyalists into key intelligence and Defense Department positions; the Joint Chiefs of Staff planned to resign if he ordered the Armed Forces to enforce martial law. Then came January 6th.

(Photo: Mother Jones)

You could ask whether there was an attempted coup in the United States; it's a matter capable of question, but no one wants to ask it. As with prosecution of the insurrectionists who breached the Capitol -- the Justice Department and Attorney General Garland seem tired, uninterested in pursuing Trump or his toadies for conspiracy. Biden said recently that pursuing Trump is a "bad idea". 


One might be forgiven for thinking that our Justice system just doesn't care. The message our government seems to be sending is attempt a takeover; pay no penalty. That there is no political will in the government to step down hard on any attempt to subvert the Constitution -- and to appoint a fat, lying, narcissistic con artist as President For Life of the United States of America. 

It's almost as if they were signaling to the Owners who financed the coup attempt (Koch, Mercers, Murdochs; others), and their hired front men -- Trump, Stevie Bannon; screeching evangelical preachers; and the Red-Hat Orcs -- telling them: try again. 


Meanwhile, the usual suspects in Congress seem determined to push every situation as close to the edge as possible -- keeping the level of viciousness and blood-feud outrage high among the Faithful Red-Hat Cletuses. 

There's a drumbeat, too, on Murdoch media; Tucker Carlson travelled to Hungary, then aired on Fox his extended infomercial gushing with praise for its authoritarian, proto-fascist government, and its Leader, Viktor Orban. It was a love letter to Lil' Viktor, and a message to Americans that -- with a Strong Daddy and United [White] People -- a fascist form of government can be good, for loyal white people. Such a pretty, orderly country under Orban, the Strong Daddy -- as Trump was, and will be again.

Little Tooker Hearts the Strong Daddy, the Good Daddy; the Fuhrer

Little Tucker, like the Congressional Rethugs, want to keep the level of hatred and calls for Action! high -- all for Der Tag, when the call goes forth, and the loyal [white] people will Own The Libs once and for all. Scores will be settled and the strong shall rule; non-white people will disappear again, and all will Love The Leader, or else. 

And the Red Hats continue to lap up the vomit NewsCorp and the Murdochs provide; a fantasy of victimization and marginalization -- and now, they've twisted their politics around the axle of the Covid wagon: Mask mandates, vaccinations, are infringements on personal freedom and cannot be allowed. Marjie Green, Rand Paul, Teddy Cruz, Loren Boebert and others screech and preen and strut in front of the cameras, decrying this vast conspiracy against freedom-loving Americans.

And tens of thousands of bikers crowd into Sturgis, South Dakota, for their annual festival -- cheered on by the state's governor, who wants to be the next Trump. Last years' event was cheered on by her, too. 500,000 people showed up. It was later proven to be a Superspreader event for Covid; this year will be no different -- given the Delta variant, it will be worse.

...and the Delta variant roars across the country. For someone who actually trusts science, scientists, and professionals to provide the best data possible, watching people on the Right equating vaccination with slavery or the Holocaust is unbelievable. There is almost no way to describe it, except as metaphorically a descent into schizophrenia, psychosis.

I'm an end product of the Enlightenment -- and people behaving like superstitious peasants, refusing to listen to anyone but Murdoch media 'personalities', or gibbering Sky God preachers, about, well, anything... I find it hard to believe it's happening. America hasn't had a long spasm of irrational nationalism since 1917 or 1942 -- but this is different. 

40% of our adult population claims that science and fact are lies. That bleach and faith in Jesus are prophylactic miracles, or a cure, for Covid. That simple, common-sense public health measures (masking and social distancing) are part of a sinister plot organized by a One-World cabal of pedophiles to steal the election from Trump and his loving supporters, to control Americans and remove their freedom. 

All the verbiage aside -- I'm speechless in the face of this level of malicious, willful ignorance. I don't know how the Cletuses can do it -- particularly when The Truth is staring them in the face: The largest number of new Covid infections consists of unvaccinated individuals. States with the highest percentage of Maga-ites, or Trumpist Rethugs, also have the highest new case numbers in America. This is what happens.

Surge bedding outside a Texas hospital, to accommodate high numbers of Covid patients 

The governors of two states hit exceptionally hard -- Abbott in Texas and DeSantis in Florida --  have signed orders banning any mandates by school districts, or businesses to wear masks or to be vaccinated. DeSantis threatened that school districts which violate the order will have salaries or state funding frozen.

As unbelievable as that seems -- at the same time, DeSantis and Abbott are asking for help from other states to deal with the rising number of the sick who need hospitalization, as medical facilities in each state are overflowing with Covid victims; as in the Fall of 2020, ICU nurses are posting videos describing how bad this is. And it is bad.


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released it's 2021 report on the state of  deterioration of the earth's living species, weather, soil, water and temperature. No surprise: it's bad. 

But this report -- unlike the others released by the IPCC since 1988 -- says unequivocally that their report is "a code red for humanity". It's effectively too late to prevent a rise in average world temperatures by 1.5 Centigrade, and as a result there will be a rising number of "extreme weather events", wildfires, disease. 

Evacuees watch from a ferry as wildfires consume the Greek island of Evia

The best humanity can do to mitigate the effects already put in motion is to completely change the course of the major streams of the global economy towards that end. It is all or nothing -- unless world governments do what they've always done and allow themselves to be bought cheaply by the fossil fuel, mining, aerospace, timber, and farming megacorps. Then I guess we're well and truly fucked.

But on the bright side -- hey, we have Our Owners, the Oligarchs, at play! Richard Branson got into space -- well, kind of -- ahead of Jeffy Bezos; yay! But meanwhile, Elon got the coveted contract with the U.S. government! Which means a Virgin made it above the Amazon, but both were sprayed with Musk.

Jeffy didn't like that. He filed papers and said it was unfair and he would just give more money to NASA and he would too just give the government a real price reduction (which would be recouped with interest in Jeffy's pricing structure; it looked good to say we'll charge less right now!). But the government said Jeffy was a silly and ha ha ha no. Jeffy cried, and took away things from the subcreatures in his labor camps to make himself feel better. And lots of people bought stuff and made him more money too. Yay!

Our Oligarch Owners caper and play, and someday will all go away -- to the emerald Isle of New Zealand, to escape all the Bad Things. We, of course, will not -- proof positive that god favors Jeffy and Elon and Marky and Richard and all His Billionaires. Because otherwise they'd have to bake and die with the Little People Worker Bees! 

Please go to the Boat Deck for a Second-Class sing-along with the ship's orchestra! There will be a free, small soda for those of you who remembered to keep your coupons. After, we will assist the First Class passengers into their boats and wish them a hearty Bon Voyage! and wave to them, until.

Meanwhile, don't cry, or make a scene. That will just spoil the party for everyone else; look at how brave they are. And remember, that small soda is a privilege. They can take it away any time they want.

MEHR, MIT EIN SPOTTSBILLIG KLEINER SODA:  Here, courtesy of The Soul Of America, an essay on the balance between the sinkhole of facts we observe, and the sticky commodity of faith in a future.
We must always act from a sincere love of our fellows, but never give in to maudlin sentimentality or (worse) facile irrationalism. In theory, so long as one avoids silly ideological tropes, it is not so difficult to keep the two apart. But on a day to day level it can seem very difficult indeed. Especially when one is faced with nigh-inevitable catastrophe.

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