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    • The Lack of Belief In Good
      Are humans good, bad or neutral? It’s an old philosophical debate, and not just in the West. Confucius thought they were born neutral, for example, while the later Confucian Mencius felt they were good, noting that everyone who saw a child fall into a well would be horrified. Others, including many Confucians and the Christian church, with original sin, have […]
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Washed up and ranting about the same old bitter things

The Week reports that Big Orange’s novelty is wearing off very rapidly:

… the man’s political potency is fading at a remarkably rapid rate. With Trump silenced on social media, still obsessed with nursing personal grievances against leading figures in his own party, and continuing to spread transparent, delusional lies about the 2020 election, he looks increasingly marginal, like a pathetic, weak, and comical figure.

I think Trump may have finally jumped the shark.

His latest bilious temper tantrum took place on Saturday night at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where Republican National Committee donors and 2024 presidential aspirants gathered to schmooze and listen to what the former president had to say. The message? The Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is a “dumb son of a b-tch” and a “stone cold loser” for failing to back up Trump’s baseless assertions of voter fraud during the election he decisively lost last November. The former president also castigated his vice president, Mike Pence, calling him a coward for going along with his constitutionally proscribed role in Congress on Jan. 6 instead of working to overturn the “bullsh-t” election results.

It wasn’t a speech about the accomplishments of his administration during its four years of running the country or the GOP’s electoral triumphs in the 2020 election (when the party exceeded expectations on multiple fronts and made potentially fruitful inroads among Hispanic and Black voters). Neither was it a speech that was especially forward looking — on his own political agenda for the future, or the priorities other Republicans ought to pursue in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond.

It was instead (in the words of one attendeequoted in Politico) “horrible,” “long,” “negative,” and “dour.”

I think I’ll stop right there. The writer has accurately captured what’s in store for the Big Orange for the rest of his life. He’s going to be sitting at a bar, nursing his Diet Pepsi (Diet Coke? Whatev.), getting all worked up about “routers”, like he actually knows what a router is.

If he knows what a router is, it can only be because he knows all about tinkering with them when his foreign assistants helped him win in 2016. Do I know this for sure? No. We didn’t have paper trails on our ballots back then so there’s no way to cross check. Let’s just say I have my suspicions. Not enough to go storm the Capitol and terrorize the lawmakers but, you know, it takes a cheater to know a cheater. The Big Orange thinks everyone is as corrupt as he is.

Like Moses to the promised land, Big Orange got the tribe there but can’t cross over with it to full fascism. As the author notes, Big Orange is a blunt instrument that smashed the party and remade it in his image. It’s up to the real politicians he hates in his own party to take it from here.

It’s probably just now dawning on him that he’s been used. They’ll use his name when they want his base and will swear to be even more over the top, more Orange than a traffic cone, noisier, more hostile to government, more vigilant about keeping Guatemalan toddlers out of the country and more emphatic about blaming poor people for being poor.

Do they even need Big Orange anymore? They’ve got his base wrapped around their fingers. They know how to inflame it, deceive it and even threaten its life for more fearful panic voting for the “Daddy’s going to save you” party. They’ve got this.

The Congressional Hearings on the American Insurrection

I woke up a little late to see the beginning of the House Committee hearing on the insurrection of January 6. I am watching it now, and it is like listening to accounts by soldiers who fought for America in a war. People who usually are given medals and are hailed as true American heroes.

These officers did not fight in a war against a foreign foe. They fought against fellow Americans who are not really Americans, even though they literally were born or raised here. These were people who were driven, and who drove themselves, to a state of hatred, violence, anger, and hysterical desire for destruction. They were out to kill anyone in their way. They would have killed Capitol officers, and they surely would have killed members of the Congress. There are no words, really, to encompass this.

It is nice to see a hearing where there are no Republicans trying to undermine it, and deflect to conspiracy theories, ranting and raving, and then sending out tweets to ask for donations.

I don’t know how many people will watch this, with the Olympics on. But the hearings have to be held, and hopefully millions will view some of it. Of course, whatever is learned, will have somewhat limited effect, as Republicans in power, and the media control they hold, will siphon much of it away. And this is scarcely the only outrage that they are perpetrating, as they sweep forward trying to remove the right to vote by those who would choose not to vote for them, and to overturn any election which they lose. It is just one part of what is happening to the country, under the all-out assault by Republicans to turn this into a fascist state where they control every aspect of people’s lives.

But it is so important to focus on this, at least; and to hear the heartrending stories by the brave police officers; and to hear firsthand how insanely violent the insurrectionists were and still are. How did our country develop such people full of hate and violence? Do they believe that they must kill everyone who does not agree with them? Have they been taught that they must destroy every person and entity which represents something that they don’t like? Apparently so.

Did Trump teach them this? He certainly stoked it, for his own mentally deranged purposes. But it has been there for decades, the hidden underbelly of America, the radical groups, and the part of the internet filled with prejudice and hate. It is not a “both sides” thing, no matter how much some of the media might want to make it so. It is many millions of people who are actually traitors to the ideals of America, and who will not stop until they are stopped.

You certainly don’t need me to explain any of this, but sometimes it helps to voice one’s feelings. I will watch all I can of these hearings, for which there has been no parallel in American history.

Postscript: The officers’ testimony was the sum of the hearings today, as it should be, given its significance, emotion, and power. Decent, dedicated and very brave men who did everything they could to repel a hostile force. “The world… can never forget what they did here.” They saw it as their duty, just like the soldiers who fought at Gettysburg

It is believed that the testimony given at these hearings may take as much as a couple of months, and will not begin again until at least well into the August House recess, according to Chairman Thompson. It will be worth it, particularly if they can get to the truth, which has been in very short supply for the previous four years. I do hope that the Senate Democrats who seem to value the filibuster over the right to vote, saw the testimony today, because the insurrection was the violent prong, and the vote suppression is the political prong, of the attempted takeover of the government by the fascists, as Congressman Raskin accurately termed them today.