What Say You, Caitlyn?

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Jan. 20th Has Come and Gone – As Has Any Chance of Seeing a Federal LGBT Anti-Discrimination Statute During My Working Lifetime

And so I did my part yesterday.

I refrained from even posting here about the ascension of the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta.

I did tweet, though – and at one point I realized just how under-siege our Constitutional form of government is: In rapid-fire succession, I re-tweeted a half-dozen tweets from Bill Kristol.

And the re-tweeting was because I was in agreement with him.

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And then there was George Will:

Twenty minutes into his [          ], Donald Trump, who is always claiming to have made, or to be about to make, astonishing history, had done so. Living down to expectations, he had delivered the most dreadful inaugural address in history.

“A dependence on the people,” James Madison wrote, “is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.” He meant the checks and balances of our constitutional architecture. They are necessary because, as Madison anticipated and as the nation was reminded on Friday, “Enlightened statesmen will not always be at the helm.”

Once again, full agreement – almost.

I omitted one word.

It is not a presidency.  It is a Russia-backed, white nationalist junta.

Period.

The previous eight years were a presidency – at least officially.  But we all know that, in large part, Barack Obama’s two-term presidency ended as Bill Clinton’s did – after only two years.

And therein lies the reason that the only honest assessment of the Obama Administration that one can offer is that it was a failure.

Mind you, I’m not talking about Barack Obama the person.  Had he been eligible to run for a third term, I’d happily have voted for him.

But he wasn’t.

Term limits – via the 22nd Amendment (rammed through Congress in 1947 while under the control of Republicans who, then as now, talk the talk about ‘the people’ deciding for themselves how government should operate, but are always eager to rig the game to stop the majority from electing their candidates of choice) – prevented that.

And, of course, con artistry is what ended the Obama Administration in practical terms on Jan. 3, 2011.  For Clinton it was the Contract on America.  For Obama it was the astroturfism of the Tea Party.

Obama, though, was luckier than Clinton in one respect: the Democrats did maintain control of the Senate for four more years, only losing control in 2015.  So, Obama did get to fill a few more federal judgeships than Clinton was allowed to fill.  But, thanks to that, the Supreme Court seat that, very clearly, a majority of Americans wanted a Democratic president to fill, remains empty.

But ENDA?

As I’ve noted here more than a few times of late, the wants of the few outweighed the needs of the many.

Cue St. Barney:

“We had three items and there was only room for two.”

Those LGBs with the specific want of a military career got what they wanted (and later, those Ts with the same want would get the same – or so they think.)  And those who want us to believe that hate crime laws actually prevent hate crimes got what they wanted.

That was just in Congress during 2009-10.  We all know that those who want it to be true that ‘once we have marriage equality, nothing else will matter’ later got what they think will cause nothing else to matter.

But, of course, they’re about to find out otherwise.

Those who are able to milk the media for quote space in which they bloviate about trans people having “robust bias protections” got….

well, a lot of undeserved space in the media in which to bloviate about the entire universe of ‘sex discrimination’-based judicial and administrative protections which all emanate from a very thin Supreme Court decision from almost 30 years ago is something more than smoke and mirrors.

But, of course, we are about to find out otherwise.

Most of the bloviators, after all, weren’t the ones shopping for employment while the bloviators were bloviating – and most of them aren’t shopping for employment right now as a necessity to pay bills.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t make use of the smoke and mirrors before the fans blow the smoke away  and before the jackboots shatter the mirrors.  Some trans people have worked it in their favor.

But what lives by the administrative ruling can – and likely will – die by the administrative ruling.  And what lives by a passage (albeit an incredibly salient one) from a four-justice plurality opinion from 1989 can – and likely will – die by the five-justice majority that will exist when Thomas, Roberts and Alito get two christofascist playmates (one if the bloviators are as wrong about Kennedy as they are about most everything else.)

And Chelsea Manning’s commutation?

Explain to me how that is of practical value to anyone not named Chelsea Manning?

Yes, I agree, it is symbolic of a change between the Democratic presidential administration of the 1990s and the one that ended on Friday.  But I have to go back to the thing that didn’t change: each one was assaulted – successfully – by the right-wing hate machine.  Perhaps Bill Clinton had an excuse for not seeing his coming – or at least not believing it was possible.  Barack Obama did not.  He’s a smart guy.  He surrounded himself with smart people.  Perhaps one can make an argument that they could not have prevented what happened in 2010, but we’ve already seen – just today – the lengths to which the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta is willing to go to control the narrative.

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To the same degree that the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta is willing to push lies, the Obama Administration had the power to push reality.  Sometimes it did, but too often it let itself get run over by lies.

So, I repeat: Barack Obama the man is top notch.  Ditto for Barack Obama the man as the president the individual – for the most part.  But the entity – the era – known as the Obama Administration really is a failure.

Now, I do hope that the protests of today are the start of something that will lead to Democrats re-taking Congress in 2018 – but this time under a Speaker of the House who doesn’t take impeachment off the table even before the votes are counted.

And yet, I remember the last time dubious presidential election signaled the end of a Democratic president’s second term.

Sixteen years ago we all were confident that we could contain the cancer of illegitimate executive branch control to four years.

We were wrong.

Now?

Protest?

Sure.  Again – I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen today.

But also place your bets.

You might as well make a few bucks off of accurately predicting which American cities will be volunteered against their will to be the victim-props in the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta’s ever-so-convenient counterpart to 9/11 which – probably far quicker than Bush-Cheney so needed – it will need to fully distract an overwhelming majority of the populace and completely suppress dissent.

And, while you’re at it, place your bets as to which American cities will, once the Russia-backed, white nationalist junta manages to unite all of the world against America in global war, play the roles of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Place your bets.

You might as well make a buck.

Because if anything – well, anything in addition to roaches – survives the coming holocaust, it will be the obscenity of profit-above-all-else.

So, yes, long after the mushroom clouds dissipate, Chad Griffin will still be pulling down a half-mil per year.

As an American, that makes me feel great again already.

#sarcasm (in part)

All of the Analysis of White Supremacist, Christianist Hypocrisy that is Really Necessary

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#DoNotMentionTheSoCalledCommandmentsEverAgain

When the History of What Was the United States of America is written, the Final Chapter Will Read:

While they slept – either comatose from the L-Tryptofan of Iraq War (profiteering) engorgement and the oxycontin of trickle-down christianist sham economics that harmed the very disenfranchised white supremacists it had been sold to as a cure for all ills, or latently anencephalous via ‘reality’ television tales of fake lives grounded in substanceless nonachievement – the bear that Ronald Reagan had warned them about entered their homes and devoured them all. But it was not a communist bear; instead, aided by the most diseased monster that multiple American immoralities could cobble together into one clown, it was a bear amped up on the very capitalistic economic steroid that Reagan died believing saved the world by selling…

to a Russian bear.

I Dare Call This Treason

“As a matter of constitutional law, the Senate is fully within its powers to let the Supreme Court die out, literally,” wrote the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro in a column Wednesday on The Federalist.

Any questions?

Everything You EVER Needed to Know about Donald Trump (and, for that Matter, Ben Carson) in One Soundbite

On this morning’s Morning Schmoe (though, to be fair, he seems to be one of the reality-based ones here), Token Ben exhibits the white male privilege he thinks Donald Trump will confer upon him during the Fourth Reich:

SCARBOROUGH: No, no. It’s a simple question. Yes or no? Do you believe these women are lying or not? Nobody’s trying to paint you as a bad guy. We just want an answer, straight talk.

CARSON: It doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not.

KAY: Of course, it matters.

CARSON: Listen, it doesn’t matter whether they’re lying or not.

Token Ben then veers off into his own version of Trump’s neo-Trilateral Commission rant of yesterday – but, for Token Ben, the CONSPIRACY involves anyone and everyone who has dared not to adhere to whatever he says THE WORD OF GHOD is at any given moment.

But put Token Ben’s christianism aside for a second and go back to the main chunk o’ apologia.

Remember Cassie Bernall?

One of the victims of the Columbine massacre?

The one whose murder her family tried to cash in on via an eagerly-accepted-by-mainstream-media story which asserted that one of the killers asked her if she believed in Jesus – to which ‘she said yes’ – prior to killing her?

It was a Mountain Time Zone insta-canonization.

Except that, soon, accounts by the survivors of the massacre called into question whether the ‘she said yes’ scenario could have happened as it was being portrayed.  No one (including me) has ever questioned Bernall’s faith post mortem – after all, it wasn’t Cassie Bernall who was pushing the story and trying to sell books based thereon.  It was her family.

From Salon:

[C]ooperative sources quickly clammed up when questioned about the most celebrated Columbine story of all, immortalized this month in Misty Bernall’s bestseller, “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall.” “This is just too sensitive,” a key source said, insisting on anonymity even for that statement. According to Misty Bernall’s book, which has energized Christian youth movements around the world, the killers put a gun to her daughter Cassie’s head and asked if she believed in God. When she said yes, they blew her away.

But while no one would go on the record, key investigators made it clear that an alternate scenario is far more likely: The killers asked another girl, Valeen Schnurr, a similar question, then shot her, and she lived to tell about it. Schnurr’s story was then apparently misattributed to Cassie.

“Many of the kids were actually hiding under desks and hearing only bits and fragments of the conversation,” one investigator explained. “It appears that exactly who they taunted, what questions were asked and who replied what may never be crystal clear.” And even if it is clear, investigators clearly don’t intend to tell. They cited the tense political climate around the story in this heavily evangelical community, as well as the potential embarrassment to Cassie’s family, uniformly describing the Bernalls as sincere victims who may have been misinformed “through no malicious intent.”

Seems like a plausible mistake scenario, yes?

Also from Salon:

Emily Wyant knew from the beginning: Columbine “martyr” Cassie Bernall never said “Yes.”

Wyant, who survived the Columbine massacre April 20, told the FBI months ago that the famous “unlikely martyrdom of Cassie Bernall,” immortalized in a best-selling book by Cassie’s mom, Misty, never happened. She told Misty and Brad Bernall, Cassie’s parents, the same account, and she also told the Rocky Mountain News.

But it wasn’t until Sept. 24, one day after Salon News broke the story that investigators doubted Bernall’s famous gunpoint declaration of faith, that the News printed a long story detailing Wyant’s account.

How did the paper react so quickly, with a detailed, never-before-public account of Bernall’s death, a day after the new revelations? Sources at the paper confirm that the details weren’t actually new at all: They’d been sitting on the story for quite some time. The News ran the article nearly five months after obtaining the true story from Wyant, and two weeks after running news stories promoting the release of “She Said Yes: The Unlikely Martyrdom of Cassie Bernall” — news stories that presented the account of Bernall’s martyrdom as fact.

Now, from Skeptic Magazine:

One spectrum of debate in Denver this week is whether the truth matters or not. The argument goes like this: It doesn’t matter if it happened or not, it’s a wonderful and heartwarming story that makes people feel good so just let it go. That is, in fact, what probably happened to the Denver media until the Salon story broke. But now that the truth is coming out (which it inevitably does despite best intentions), I fail to see how such blatant mythmaking and commercialism (the book is just the beginning–audio and video tapes are already being released) can help anyone involved in this tragedy come to grips with their loss and grief.

I even recall one of Bernall’s parents (sadly, I’m blanking as to which one, but I think it was her father) explicitly saying that it didn’t matter.

As Skeptic makes clear, christianist family or not, you’d have to be a heartless bastard not to sympathize with the Bernall family over the loss of Cassie.  She didn’t have it coming.

But it also quickly became clear that, even if the ‘she said yes’ conversation happened, it very likely did not involve her.

That’s certainly not a sin on her part.

But saying that it didn’t matter whether or not a martyrdom tale that her family was pushing was actually true was – and is…

which brings us back to Token Ben.

According to Token Ben, “it doesn’t matter whether [Trump’s accusers are] lying or not.”

Yes, Token Ben, it damn well does.  Trump’s own words make him guilty of being a sleazeball – but by themselves they don’t make him guilty of sexual assault any more than Jon Mark Karr’s ‘confession’ by itself makes him guilty of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.

The facts underlying the accusations matter.

Token Ben’s spin crass is the Cassie Bernal canonization process writ large….

for Weimar America.

Don’t buy what he’s shilling.

So…Dinesh D’Felon Wants to Hang Out in Women’s Dressing Rooms?

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