Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Who Thinks You're Stupid?


Playing the system like a kazoo, abetted by a judge feeling a bit too grateful for her lifetime appointment to a plumb job by him, Trump has successfully delayed the most clear-cut case against him. While calling the timing of all similarly delayed cases “election interference.”

It’s the stolen secrets, kept at Mar-a-Lago and elsewhere, illegally, subpoena-ignored and lied-about. The illegality is so undeniable that his only escape is the ridiculous claim that a “president” has absolute immunity to break whatever laws he chooses, whenever and wherever he wants. Or becoming “president” again, and having the prosecutions terminated. Like his Attorney General Barr did for him previously.

Obligingly, SCOTUS is putting off ruling for as long as it can. Presumably, even the Sanctified Six know they’d have to rule against him unless they’re willing to destroy what remains of their credibility. So, for now, we’re stuck revisiting Trump’s Stormy Daniels election interference scheme.

It’s the least interesting of the cases against him and, regarding implications for national security and the taxpayers he’s scammed, the least important. So, while he dozes off during the proceedings (who’s “Sleepy” again?), let’s talk about other things. But not before noting this trial is the opposite of what MAGA Republicans are calling an unfair, two-tiered justice system. In court, Trump is being treated exactly like all indicted criminal defendants.

Now, those other things.

Constantly, viciously, and death-threat invokingly, having attacked all other judges overseeing his prosecutions, Trump whined, a three-fer, that Biden, Garland, and Smith are calling the aforementioned grateful Judge Cannon “terrible names, wrongfully threatening her with impeachment, and disrespecting her.” Neither Biden nor Garland has said a word about her, much less threatening impeachment. And Jack Smith has mostly pled with her to move things along, and appealed, successfully, to higher courts when necessary. Accusing others of what they do and others don’t, expecting their voters to buy it, is typical MAGA Republican strategy.

That, and performative uselessness. Holy Mike Johnson, R-LA, Speaker-of-Lies of the House, scarpered to Mar-a-Lago, where its so-far owner and he announced plans to criminalize voting by non-citizens. It’s already illegal. Fox “news,” when carrying the announcement, hilariously ran a sidebar showing the existing law. Even Steve Bannon, as Trumpophilic as it gets, found it meaningless

Because illegal voting isn’t a thing. The right-leaning Heritage Foundation found fewer than 100 votes by non-citizens between 2002 and 2022, looking at a BILLION ballots. And the left-leaning Brennan Center found 30 among 23 million votes from 2016. Which confirms what’s really behind the vote-suppression laws rising like swamp gas from red state legislatures: Lies. Rigging to win.

Speaking of gas, Trump made one of his usual “It wouldn’t have happened if I were president” statements after Iran sent hundreds of drones and missiles into Israel. (Nearly all were shot down, helped, in part, by the US military and others – thanks, Biden.) Trump is hoping voters have forgotten that when Iran injured 110 American soldiers by firing missiles into a base in Iraq while he was in office, he did nothing. Except lie about it.

Back on the trail after collecting (he says) fifty million bucks from billionaires he promised more tax cuts, he discussed the Battle of Gettysburg, sounding like a grade-school student faking a book report. It’s disturbingly bizarre. Among the fawning faithful, nary a wtf expression. Watch it here.

Earlier, on his way to milk a few more billionaires, he’d faked a “spontaneous” photo-op, “surprising” just-regular folks at a Chick-fil-A. Fox “news” was ready with their usual Trumpophansy

Cataloging the week’s fakery would be incomplete without mentioning the agenda cooked up by House Republicans. Serious legislation to save us from Joe Biden. Because, you know, he’s approaching your driveway right now, with a truckload of illegal immigrants, ready to haul away your appliances. Guns, too, probably, though unmentioned in the current proposals.

No satire, this is their proposed legislation: Hands Off Our Home Appliances Act; Liberty in Laundry Act; Clothes Dryer Reliability Act; Refrigerator Freedom Act; Affordable Air Conditioning Act; and the Stop Unaffordable Dishwasher Standards Act. Jared Moskowitz, D-FLA, responded appropriately For once, shaming the shameless worked.

There’s a common thread here: It’s not commie, America-hating, Marxist “thugs,” as Trump likes to call liberals, saying MAGA Republicans are stupid. The call is coming from inside the house. From Trump and Moses Mike; from Fox “news;” from Lara Trump’s RNC robocalls amplifying lies about “massive fraud” in the last election.

Nor do they merely assume stupidity. To win elections, they count on it. Adopting Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda methods, they’ve learned that repeating lies for long enough turns them true in the manufactured minds of their voters. Unless outvoted, they won’t stop, because polls show they’re not wrong.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs


Even a blind squirrel, it’s said, can find an acorn once in a while. Thus it is that Marjorie Taylor Greene, strong contender for Congress’s dumbest and most obnoxious member, yet privy to God’s thinking, came up with a worthy pronouncement. “God is sending America strong signs to tell us to repent,” said she. “Earthquakes and eclipses and many more things to come. I pray that our country listens.”

Though total eclipses of the sun have been predictable for centuries, before dismissing her connecting the timing with a minor East Coast earthquake, not unlike recognizing the evil behind Joe Biden forcing Easter onto International Transgender Day of Visibility, let’s admit she’s onto something. The epicenter of the quake was, for practical purposes, Trump’s Bedminster golf-cemetery tax write-off.

God attends to the entire universe, a gazillion miles across, so we can excuse His missing by a mile or so. Failing to mention for what, our little Margie is right that America needs to repent. And the “what” is daylight clear. Bedminster? Not subtle. What God is saying, as MAGAgonizers proclaim Trump’s divine chosen-ness, is, “No. He’s not. Stop it.”

A disturbingly large umbra of America needs to repent for its commandment-breaking idolatry of Trump, whose latest ungodliness, after lying that Biden wants to “quadruple your taxes,” suborned criminality from his idolators, whining, “How many more corrupt judges do I have to endure before someone steps in?” Steps in. No wonder God is repulsed.

Differing from Ms. Greene, Rudy Giuliani hears from God that He quakes California and New York because they’re “communist states.” It’s certain that America’s Used-to-Mayor couldn’t define communism, which describes no US state. Fascism, though: Texas, Florida... Weirdly, neither he nor MTG had anything to say about catastrophic hurricanes in those states. Slippery things, empyreal omens.

Republicans could also use a little repenting for their curious capitulation to America’s enemy, Vladimir Putin. Defending her opposition to helping Ukraine, MTG said, as counterfactually as humanly possible, “This is a war on Christianity. The Ukrainian government is attacking Christians...Russia is not doing that. They are not attacking Christianity. As a matter of fact, they seem to be protecting it.” Just. Wow.

It’s that kind of traitorous untruth that has led a high-ranking Republican Representative to admit it’s “absolutely true” that members are repeating Russian propaganda on the floor of Congress; and another to say it has “infected a good chunk” of his party’s base, blaming it on rightwing media. “Trumpofoxification” is the word he’s looking for.

Holy Moses Mike Johnson, Speaker of lies of the House, should repent for his unending, Trumpophilic lies, like referring to “Biden's unprecedented assault on American oil production,” when the truth is the opposite. For better or worse, US production of oil (and all forms of energy) is at an all-time high. It’s only by lying that Trumpublicans have a chance of winning. If Trump is the fakest Christian, Mike is the real deal. He should be ashamed of such Biblical mendacity.

For further repentance, Americans on both sides need to renounce the scam that is RFK, Jr’s campaign. Unbagging the cat, his New York campaign manager removed any doubt that his goal is to put Trump back in office. Explicitly. A vote for him is one for Trump. The truth is out there; no longer can it be self-righteously rationalized away.

In a speech full of lies, Trump, whose blasphemy RFKers would return to office, tried to have it every which way on abortion. “Leave it to the states,” he obfuscated, which is exactly what SCOTUS did in ending Roe. After the ridiculous claim that “all legal scholars” wanted Roe overturned, he lipped the libelous lie that Democrats “are the radical ones on this position because they support abortion up to and even beyond the ninth month.” Where’s an earthquake when you need one?

Finally, since we led with it, solar eclipses are magical. Our family’s first, of three, was in eastern Washington, in 1979. After all the media hype, I expected disappointment. I was totality wrong. It began with watching the moon’s shadow race, west to east, up the Columbia Gorge; amazing in itself. Then the drop of temperature, and cheers, as that unworldly ring of light appeared, centered in darkness, making one feel somehow connected to the Universe, yet also the tiniest, tiniest part of it. I’ll be one hundred for the next one.

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

No Foolin'


April Fools’ Day passed with few of the usual prank postings. Or maybe I missed them. These days, who can tell? For example:

Members of the “Freedom (for me but not for you)” Caucus want to rename DC’s Dulles International Airport “Donald J. Trump International Airport.” If that doesn’t fly, how about Folsom Prison?

“Some folks probably like to eat bugs with Bill Gates, but not me,” said Tennessee state Republican Bud Hulsey. He was talking about meat, lab-grown from animal cell cultures, which has environmental benefits, is safe, and tastes normal. It doesn’t yet exist for consumers, but red-state legislatures are already criminalizing its distribution and consumption, with stick-to-the-libs rationality. And, no doubt, with cash from big meat. 


Devout Catholic President Biden, who attends church weekly, who MAGAs believe hates Christians, said, “Jill and I send our warmest wishes to Christians around the world celebrating Easter Sunday. Easter reminds us of the power of hope and the promise of Christ’s Resurrection...”

Then, the man who compares himself to Jesus, MAGA-certified presidential material, Trump, indicted felon, out on bail, posted a picture of President Biden hog-tied, unconscious, in the back of a pickup truck. MAGA Republicans, Christians all, loved it.

He even lies when exploiting the death of Ruby Garcia.

Another non-joke: The Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, doctors pushing a ban on the abortion drug mifepristone, didn’t exist two years ago. Their claims about the drug are false, and they’re arguing against being forced to provide care they consider against their religion; something that’s never happened. Moreover, if they’re really “Hippocratic,” they’ve sworn allegiance to Apollo and a few other Greek gods, plus their teachers, to whose children they’ve promised to teach medicine for free. 

Alabama football coach Senator Tommy Tuberville says Democrats are part of a “Satanic cult.” A quality guy, one in a hundred, chosen by MAGA Republicans over highly-qualified incumbent Doug Jones. Remember the coach’s blockade of military officer promotions, protesting a program to pay abortion-related expenses for military members? Only 12 people have availed themselves, costing a total of $40,000. For travel and lodging, but NOT abortions themselves. Nice work, Tommy.

ETTD: Lawyer John Eastman has been permanently disbarred for his role in Trump’s fake elector plot. Mike Lindell’s business was evicted for non-payment of rent. Rudy Giuliani declared bankruptcy.

Trump, out on bail to play golf, bragged that, as usual, he won trophies at his own golf course, which he does by cheating. Openly. Flagrantly. Well-known and documented among golfers. Is this consistent with presidential character? 

What about posting pictures of a judge’s family, knowing the death threats it’ll incur? Presidential?

Investigator extraordinaire, James Comer, giving up on finding impeachment-worthy crimes by President Biden, claims Attorney General Merrick Garland is colluding with the “deep state” and the press to hide evidence. 

In the Georgia election fraud case, a Trump lawyer told a judge, that “... examination of a false statement—even if made deliberately to mislead—can promote a form of thought that ultimately helps realize the truth.” Right: Liars lie to help us find truth. Makes sense. Especially for a life-long liar.

RFK, Jr’s announced running mate believes IVF is “one of the biggest lies that’s being told about women’s health today.” She has no political experience; nothing to suggest she’d make a good president. She does, however, have tons of money, with a few millions of which she bankrolled his bizarre Superbowl ad.

The guy who bankrolled Trump’s bond-posting, seems kinda sleazy. And not because he’s Mr. Hankey. (South Park reference) 

When a bridge over the Mississippi collapsed during the GWB admin, Congress unanimously approved funds to rebuild. Trumpublicans are outraged that Biden promised the same for Baltimore. The men who died were immigrants. Likewise, 120,000 workers in the Baltimore area, about 40% of the total workforce. Without immigrants, or, as MAGAs call them, “animals,” our economy would collapse.

Also not a joke was the reaction by Republican leaders and their media and preacher mouthpieces to Easter at the White House. Whatever you think about “Trans Day of Visibility,” it’s been March 31 for fifteen years. Easter Sunday varies wildly. That the two coincided this time was Biden deliberately desecrating the holy day. Lying like that is who they are.

Same with their claims about banning religious-themed White House Easter eggs, a rule in place for 45 years. These are awful people.

No joke.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Names And Places

As right-wingers blame collapsing bridges on President Biden, “wokeism,” and “open borders;” as Hannity says Trump should be allowed death-threat-inducing fulminations against a judge’s daughter and others; and as ever-grifting Trump is selling sixty-dollar (plus shipping and handling) “The only endorsed by Trump” Bibles, let’s change the subject to surgical ruminations before I tear out the last of my hair. So, here’s some fluff, modified from my surgery blog

It was always with wonderment that I considered the pioneers of medicine, surgery, and anatomy. To conceive of a time when every thought was a new one, when discoveries abounded for those with imagination, boldness, and curiosity, is to be thrilled, jealous, and.... bemused. What could it have been like, opening the body and its mysteries to the world, naming something new on the way out?

When it takes some effort -- maybe a microscope or some really careful dissection -- to discover something, it seems reasonable that your name gets attached. Islets of Langerhans. Ampulla of Vater. Sphincter of Oddi. Valves of Heister. Crypts of Morgani (he got "columns," too, like me.)

But where's the cutoff? I don't get why Gabriele Falloppio got to name something as obvious as an oviduct. That's not discovering. That's noticing. We don't have the Colon of Powell or the Heart of Palm. (I don't know who March was, or why he got to name the Eyes.) The white line of Toldt is sort of macro-observational and a name seems an extravagance. On the other hand, if he was the guy who figured out that it was a dotted line on which a surgeon cuts to mobilize the colon for resection -- a move that thrilled me the first time I did it and still does, for its anatomic simplicity, for its sweet entry into secret space, for the way it translates embryology into practicality -- then he deserves the kudos.

"Foramen" (for-A-men) and its pleasant plural, "foramina" are among those cool words we learn in med school. It means "opening." A hole, is what it is. Many anatomic openings are deserving of the name: foramen ovale (oh-VAL-ee) sounds good and does good; keeps a fetus alive. Lots of bony holes, especially ones through which nerves or vessels pass, are called foramina -- the obturator foramen, optical foramen, foramen magnum... But Jean-Jacques Winslow (shouldn't that be "Winsleau?") discovered he could stick his finger through a hole behind the portal vein, and stuck his name on it, too. Borderline.

I don't want to get into the Zen of what constitutes a hole, but his "discovery" is only about some things that are near each other. Inlet, maybe. We've got islets, why not inlets? Then it starts to sound nautical, which makes me think not of Winslow, but of Winslow Homer. That's it: it's the "Oddity of Homer."

Consider Morrison and his pouch. And Douglas’s. They're just places, areas. To me, it's not earthshaking. On the other hand, Broca claimed his area of the brain with some effort. I'm ambivalent about the Space of Retzius. As an anatomical concept, "space" doesn't have a lot of panache. On the other hand, the surgical dissection of it, developing it into a tissue plane, is cool: another of many places that spread themselves open for and yield to the surgeon, when their secrets are out.

Clearly the Greek and the Latin have fought for dominance of nomenclature. It's a puzzle to me that they made a truce of sorts in the kidney. We speak "nephric" and we talk "renal" interchangeably. Even to the point of naming things twice: that little yellow top-hat to the kidney, the ad-renal or the epi-nephron, as of juice it makes, two names for the same thing: adrenaline, epinephrine. What gives? Like the robin’s egg blue of the gallbladder, the bold yellow of the adrenal is a startling splash of exuberant color among the otherwise earthy tones of the belly. Sure, there's lemony lipid all over in there. But as organs go, the color of the adrenal is a surprise.

Those solid surgical soldiers of old deservedly got operations named after them; and instruments, and procedures. Because there's no end to invention, it still happens, and will. (Cotton Schwab?) Lots of the living have their names (and lucrative patents) on devices; techniques and new operations keep unfolding.

Then there’s having a position named after oneself: Trendelenberg, Fowler (and its kin, Semi-) managed to do it. If I had a position named after me, I'd rather...

Nearly unique, though, among namings, is to be remembered for a maneuver. Like Theodor Kocher, name-bearer of many things: clamps, incisions, and this, a way to make the duodenum handy and hold the pancreas in your hand. An elegant snip and slide. The Kocher Maneuver. Inspiring. Deserving a whole column in itself. I’ve written about it, here.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Don't Care


I don’t care if it’s traditional. It’s a “courtesy,” not a law. The fact that a party’s nominees for president have been read in to national security briefings doesn’t mean Trump should be. Not unless he, gods forbid, becomes “president” again,” in which case it won’t matter. It’d be game over for the US and jubilee for Putin, Xi, Kim, Orbán, and MBS. It’d all be for sale. We might never know the price, but by then it’d be moot. We’ve seen the carelessness with which he handles America’s secrets, and not just where he stores them after illegally retaining them. With enemy sources and fans alike, he shared them like a teenager sexting to impress. Bad analogy, maybe, if what Stormy Daniels described is accurate. In any case, entrusting Trump with state secrets would hand him trading cards for Putin’s help. Again.

I don’t care what the judge had to say: Fani Willis’ affair with her lead prosecutor should never have led to court hearings, fancy vacations notwithstanding. Where’s the conflict of interest when they’re on the same case, working in the same direction? Granted, it was poor judgment, handled poorly. But in what way was the prosecution compromised? One certain thing, though, given the credible death threats she receives, enough that the FBI initiated extraordinary methods to ensure her safety, is that she’s very brave.

I don’t care if Trump’s hardest core are a small minority of Americans: there’s enough of them that when he predicts a “bloodbath,” it could happen. “Now, if I don't get elected,” he predicted, “it's gonna be a bloodbath. It's going to be a bloodbath for the country.” No matter how MAGAphiles try to spin it (“he was talking about the auto industry”), it was “It’s going to be wild,” to the power of ten. “For the country,” he said. Not “Detroit.” Or “Japan.” The country.

I don’t care what Trump and his MAGAwashed acolytes say: people who’ve been found guilty of crimes, by a jury, in a court of law, following the dictates of American jurisprudence, are not “hostages.” They’re convicted criminals, serving time. When he says otherwise, Trump reaffirms his lifelong rejection of the rule of law, and his willingness to inflame. His all-time lack of patriotism is verified when he calls those insurrectionists “unbelievable patriots.” He wouldn’t recognize patriotism if it bit him on his about-to-be-seized assets.

I do care that, to cheers from rally-reliables, Trump says Liz Cheney and all members of the J6 Committee must be jailed. For the crime of doing their Constitutional duty. It’s a glimpse of another “presidency” for anyone who criticizes him. Including Mike Pence and dozens of other high-level people who worked with him. Those who call liberals communists are fine with Stalinist purges; including replacing RNC leadership with sycophantic election deniers, intent on winning not on thoughtful policy but on Trumpic vengeance and Democratic vote suppression. Conservatives should care. A lot.

I care that Trump is so sure of the mindlessness of his supporters that he places lies at the center of his campaign. “Rampant crime.” “No longer energy independent.” “Wrecked economy.” Obvious to the brain-alive, the truth is the opposite, but he’ll keep saying it and they’ll keep believing it. Lies are all he has, and lies are all they want.

I care that decades of right-wing attacks on education and expertise have been so successful that tens of millions of Americans can’t separate falsehood from truth; have been taught to fear and resent people unlike themselves, and find those feelings compelling enough to accept a self-serving, xenophobic liar as their leader. To believe he cares about them, “loves America,” “never lies,” and would be “better on the economy,” crashed under Trump, revitalized and soaring under President Biden. If humanity survives long enough, historians will struggle to make sense of it. Likely, they’ll consider the impact of Fox “news,” Trumpists’ main purveyor of disinformation and inventor of prevarication and fakery as business plan. To hear Trumpists interviewed is to hear every Fox talker on loop.

I care that, after wasting time and money on Trump-demanded, up-empty “investigations” of the Biden “crime family,” House Republicans are considering a fact-free “criminal referral” to the DOJ. If the DOJ takes no action, or if it does and, like those “investigations,” finds nothing, Rs can call it proof that the DOJ has been weaponized by criminal mastermind/incompetent Joe Biden. There’s been weaponization, all right. By Jims Comer and Jordan.

And I care that Trump-appointed, inexperienced, unqualified Judge Aileen Cannon is overtly working to kill the stolen secrets case against Trump. By demanding that the jury be allowed to see unredacted documents or charges will be dropped, she’s putting at risk government covert sources and operations, placing the guy who gave her a lifetime job above our country. It’s MAGA, defined and personified.

Hit the mandamus road, Jack. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2024



No comment on Senator Katie Britt’s (R-AL) melodramatic, bizarre, scary-on-many-levels response to President Biden’s State of the Union Speech: embarrassed Republicans have been panning it enough. Okay, well, since she harped on the border crisis (and lied about it, MAGAly), let’s note that she was one of the bipartisan group of senators that hammered out a bill addressing the crisis more significantly than any previous attempts. And then, as demanded by Trump, under indictment, out on bail, voted against it. It’s doubtful she’ll take this advice from one of her constituents.

The president’s speech put the lie to Trumpofoxians’ perseverating claims that he’s sleepy, weak, and/or befuddled. So much so that they’re suggesting – seriously! – that he must have been given drugs to hype him up. Except that Ronny Jackson’s no longer there. 

President Biden presented a progressive vision for America, in which there’s less poverty and more opportunity. His subsequent budget proposal provides for that and lots more, by raising taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations. And it’d lower the national debt by $3 trillion over ten years. There followed, of course, screams to low Hell from Republicans’ ultra-wealthy paymasters. With Rs controlling the House, it’s DOA. 

There were, as usual, energetic standings and pejorative sittings. No Republicans rose to applaud Mr. Biden’s call for an end to political violence. That, and other regressive accouterments of autocracy, including encouraging riots like J6, are what, in their support of Trump (under indictment, out on bail) they desire.

Joe all but dared them to interrupt, which they did, disrespecting the office and themselves. He responded with delight, while Holy Moses Mike sat shaking his head at everything; reinforcing his and his party’s devotion to Trump (under indictment, out on bail) and their bankrollers; forsaking average Americans, including their own supporters, too Foxotrumpified to realize it.

That Trump, under indictment and out on bail, fawns over dictators and would emulate them, has been evident since day one. Underscoring it, he invited Viktor Orbán, Hungary’s autocratic “president” (not Turkey’s, as Trump, out on bail, once asserted) to Mar-a-Lago, where he heaped servile praise on him: “There’s nobody that’s better, smarter or a better leader than Viktor Orbán,” said Trump, under indictment, out on bail. “He’s fantastic… because he says, ‘This is the way it’s going to be,’ and that’s the end of it. Right? He’s the boss...” Like Putin, Orbán is lionized by democracy-fearing MAGA Republicans and their media. Given the opportunity, Trump, UIOOB, will strive to out-autocrat both.

Less certain, but suspicious, is the possibility that the $92 million bond he finally posted while appealing the E. Jean Carroll verdict, was backed by Russian – i.e., Putin’s -- money. It came from the Chubb Group, now operating out of Russia. True or not, it’d be nice to know the terms of the bond. Likewise, the explanation for his sudden flip-flopped love of TikTok, in which a pal’s hedge fund has a $33 billion stake. Trump, under indictment, out on bail, strapped for cash, seems to have a price for anything. What do top secret documents go for, nowadays? 

To support him at all, to overlook his promises to weaponize government against all enemies, domestic and domestic, to rationalize his immature, petty nastiness and lies, people must not just acquiesce to it, but desire it. With their electoral choices, today’s Republican Party confirms the premise.

For governor, North Carolina Republicans just nominated Mark Robinson, a conspiracist, homophobic, Holocaust denier, school-shooting mocker, who says the purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to “enslave everybody.” Out on bail, Trump called him “Martin Luther King on steroids.” Presumably because he’s black.

The presence in Congress of MTG, Gosar, Gaetz, Boebert, et al., further proves the point. They’re there because they’re what their voters prefer (grammar lesson): people performing base-pleasing, kangaroid “investigations” rather than legislators committed to working on solving problems.

It all comes down to Trump, UIOOB, the proof positive, the tone-setter. At his rambling rallies, when he’s not stumbling over words, incoherent, and mixing up names, he’s taken to mocking President Biden’s stuttering. Were any attendees repulsed? Did they question whether it befits a would-be President of The United States of America? Of course not. They laughed and cheered. It’s who they are and what they came for. It’s what that party has become. Mean and demeaning. Lies and empty promises.

Speaking of lies, Special Counsel Robert Hur, whose final report of his Biden investigation luridly included implications of a failing memory, conveniently left out Biden’s actual transcribed words, showing the opposite. MAGA-normal is blatant lying, confident the truth will be smothered on Fox “news” and both-sided by mainstream reporters.

Perhaps there remain actual conservatives who, repudiating his despotic intentions, lies, and fear- and hate-mongering, will reject Trump, under indictment, out on bail; taking an America-honoring, KAG stand against MAGA’s embrace of totalitarianism. There’s at least one.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Getting Real


The Supreme Court was right to overrule the Colorado decision to remove Trump from the state’s ballot, unanimously. It can’t be up to individual states to decide, on their own, who can be on the ballot for a national race. But, going further, five asserted it’s up to Congress to define and declare who is and isn’t an insurrectionist. Four otherwise concurring justices argued that current federal law suffices; that the majority made it nearly impossible for candidates to be disqualified for insurrection. In effect, they rewrote the Constitution. You know: originalism.  

The SCOTI chose not to challenge the Colorado ruling that Trump is an insurrectionist. He is, and so remains. The ruling, in other words, is NOT the “big win” for Trump that he claims. SCOTUS’ slow-walking of Trump’s absolute immunity claim, however, is. There won’t be a Congressional definition of insurrection as long as Republicans control a Congressional house or the white one. Which is another reason why survival of the Republic depends on Democrats keeping two and regaining the third. At this historical moment, it couldn’t be more critical.

What’s an analogy for the lunacy of American politics? If your house were on fire and two men were approaching, one bearing a can of gasoline, the other pulling a fire hose, to which would you turn?

Or this: A baseball player attempts to steal second base; arrives after the catcher’s throw, already in the second-baseman’s glove, which tags the runner ten feet before he gets to the bag. Insisting he was safe, the runner refuses to exit the diamond. Replays from all angles confirm the obvious out. Nevertheless, the umpires gather at home plate to discuss it, carrying on through the night, the next day, and for days after that. Fans blame the ball.

Or: You have neighbors on either side of your house. To one of the houses people come at all hours, handing cash to the occupants, receiving unmarked packages in return. Cops often show up to haul someone away, cuffed. The other is a family who smiles and says hello when you see them. They go to church every Sunday, occasionally leave little gifts on your doorstep. Mom is a teacher, the kids are on the honor roll, dad runs a green energy company listed as one of the top 100 to work for.

Which is the “crime family”?

Final try: Donald Trump runs for president. He loses the popular vote by millions, and the Electoral College by a wide margin, making him the loser by all measures. He claims he was cheated, files scores of lawsuits in multiple states, initiates several recounts, hires a company to search for fraud. None is found. His suits are rejected. The recounts find he’d lost by even more votes than initially recorded.

A mewling documentary is made (see what I did there?), purporting to show massive fraud. Every claim is disproved, definitively. Three years later, Trump continues to insist he won; as seen in interviews, his supporters believe in him the way they believe in Jesus (despite not following His teachings), re-mouth his mendacity, refer to that “documentary.” What would it take for MAGAs to recognize they’re being used

As a person who values truth and respects, if not always agrees with, the laws of our land, what are you to think? If your education taught you to distinguish, or at least try to, between fact and fiction, and if, in half the country, you see efforts to make education into its opposite, where’s the hope? How can you not fear for your grandchildren’s future? Write a column? Trust me: it doesn’t work.

Confirming that citizens of the “exceptional” US are no less susceptible than were pre-WWII Germans, the power of Third-Reich-style big lie and scapegoating is disturbingly evident here. Nor is there reason to think the current, repetitious, MAGA Republican liars have any less malevolent intent than Joseph Goebbels and his master-race master. That it worked then is confirmed by the carnage of a world war.

That it works now is proved by that party’s shameful capitulation to Trump, a recidivist liar and dictator-loving, would-be authoritarian; and by the clueless gullibility with which his supporters repeat his lies, ignoring his increasingly confused rally-ramblings.

If Republicans loved America and the Constitution as much as they claim, Trump’s approval would be asymptotically approaching the x-axis. But Fox “news” and its wishfuls, along with the current crop of Republican leaders, are making sure it won’t happen. Pounding the same propaganda constantly (“terrible economy!” “wide-open borders!”), even using AI to make fake photos of Trump with Black voters and dishonestly edited news stories, they treat supporters like the dupes they know them to be.

As to the recent, ballyhooed NYT poll, here’s why we should calm down.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Chilly Children

It’s hemi-heartening that there’s been an uproar over the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling regarding in-vitro fertilization (IVF); namely that frozen, fertilized eggs are “children” in need of protection from murder. Even hard-core, anti-choice Republicans, though far from all of them – including whoever placed that bomb outside the home of the DA who said he’d not enforce it -- are backpedaling. Many of them previously signed legislation declaring that life begins at fertilization, putting IVF at risk. 

Even referring to frozen, fertilized eggs as embryos is a stretch, in that they’re generally fewer than a dozen cells. To make sure those “children” are doing their chores and going to bed on time, you’ll need a microscope.

Only one of those judges, all of whom are Republicans, foresaw the closing of IVF programs, which help not only women trying to get pregnant but also ones undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, who have eggs harvested before treatment. Because some of the intended implants are found unsuitable or die, they’re discarded, making IVF personnel murderers; a risk many are unwilling to face.

There’s not been a clearer preview of America under MAGA-trending theocratic governance. That this specific outrage has some Republicans scrambling doesn’t change the fact that reactionary, Bible-based thought underpins most of their agenda, whether it’s women’s health, LGBTQ+ issues, school prayer and curricula, books, and more.

With enviable insight into God’s thinking, the Chief Justice of Alabama’s court explained his Biblical concurrence: “... In summary,” he wrote, “the theologically based view of the sanctity of life adopted by the People of Alabama encompasses the following: (1) God made every person in His image; (2) each person therefore has a value that far exceeds the ability of human beings to calculate; and (3) human life cannot be wrongfully destroyed without incurring the wrath of a holy God, who views the destruction of His image as an affront to Himself... [E]ven before birth, all human beings bear the image of God, and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory...”

As the Alabama legislature hurries to exempt people who live in freezers, one wonders if such a law would require their court to reverse itself. “We got it wrong. Turns out God doesn’t believe that.”

Tom Parker, the aforementioned Chief Justice (but not Elvis’ manager), revered by far-right, forced-birth conservatives, had an interview with a Qanon-positive podcast, where he espoused the “Seven Mountain Mandate,” which promotes the wedging of Christian nationalism into all aspects of American life, to bring about the End Times. He is, of course, free to believe whatever he wants, but it has no place in judicial rulings or legislation. Nevertheless, he and all of those justices were elected, by people who must either want theocracy or are too high on Trump’s anticipated government weaponization against liberals to care. In this case, “End Times” refers to democracy.

“Theocratic” also describes the latest CPAC attendees, who cheered a man holding up a crucifix, saying it signifies the law they want. Neo-Nazis were there, too. Which didn’t stop Trump, Cruz, Gaetz, Tuberville, MTG, faux Christians all, from showing up to preach their gospel. Trump’s was a promise that, “[for] liars and cheaters and fraudsters and censors and imposters who have commandeered our government, [the day after my election] will be their judgment day”. “They want to steal my liberty,” he added. Which, coincidentally, is what happens to criminals when justice prevails. No one projects like Trump.

Even America’s worst leaders, like Governors Abbott and DeSantis, plus former “president” Trump, atypically wind-fingering majority opinion, are expressing support for IVF. To his credit, Trump has also spoken in favor of a sixteen-week abortion ban, more liberal than hardly any of his supporters would accept. Seeing if he changes his tune as his handlers panic, will be interesting. His reason, though, is consistent with his usual effort to understand complex issues: he likes sixteen weeks because it’s “a round number.” 

Theocracy and autocracy go hand in hand (as long as it’s not people of the same sex interdigitating). It’s perfect for America’s most repetitive scammer. The least religious, most profane person ever to become “president,” Trump has convinced millions of the opposite. His pretense of belief is like his hugging and kissing the flag, of which he made another shabby show at CPAC. This, while promising to turn government into a vehicle of vengeance; while degrading the indispensable protectors of our flag: free elections, and the law. That kind of “love” is the kind that kills.

But since his only consistent agenda is to punish those who, following the laws of our land, are attempting to hold him to account, Trump will happily cede policy decisions to Christian Nationalists while he goes about having enforcers of the law and us liberal “vermin” pilloried in the public square.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Putin Love

Vladimir Putin is a murderer, killing with impunity, by defenestration, poison, bombs on planes, imprisonment in life-threatening circumstances. Whatever the proximate cause of death, and no matter the length of his arm from Alexei Navalny, Putin, to whom Trump seems ready to hand Ukraine, is directly responsible for his death.

Navalny was praised and mourned by every leader of the free world. Except Trump, Putin’s biggest fan other than North Korea’s Kim and China’s Xi. The Kremlin attributed Navalny’s death to “sudden death syndrome,” a practically meaningless medical term. After three days of silence, using the Kremlin’s exact words, and then, per usual, making it all about himself, Trump wrote: “The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction...” 

No mention of Putin. None of what Navalny stood for. He died a day after Trump invited Putin to invade any of our NATO allies he chooses.

If Trump ignored Putin’s role, Tucker Carlson, Putin’s most enthusiastic osculator outside Trump's circle and Republicans of Congress, excused it. Asked about Navalny and the many journalists similarly dispatched, he said, “Every leader kills people. Some kill more than others. Leadership requires killing people.” Which raises the obvious question: what does Carlson know about Jeffrey Epstein’s “suicide” that the rest of us don’t?

Visiting Moscow, Carlson rhapsodized over Russian subway stations and a supermarket where goods are cheaper than here, finding himself “radicalized” against America’s leaders, as a result. A self-described “journalist,” he’s evidently unaware that the average weekly income of Russians is equivalent to $200, and that a majority spend half of that on food.

Residing in clean and groceryful parts of Russia comes at a cost: living where dissidents die or disappear; where people peacefully protesting their government’s actions are arrested by the hundreds. This is Putin’s governance, admired by MAGA Republicans. Not unlike the use of government for vengeance against his critics, as promised by Trump.

Not to be outdone by Fox’s formerly biggest star, Newt Gingrich, probably the individual most responsible for the degradation of his party into scorched-earth, dishonest, no-compromise behavior, chimed in: “Watch the Biden Administration speak out against Putin and his jailing of his leading political opponent while Democrats in four different jurisdictions try to turn President Trump into an American Navalny.” Trump is already trying.

That perfidious piece of deceitful excreta is no outlier among MAGA Republicans, who consider the convicted January 6 criminals “political prisoners,” and investigating Trump’s criminality equivalent to Navalny’s summary imprisonment and death. That’s more than just dishonest, more than “hardball” politics. It bespeaks either appalling but intentionally created ignorance of America’s system of justice or rejection of it: the indispensable foundation of our enduring democracy. It confirms what many, including me, have said, time and again: MAGA Republicans’ view of America is the opposite of patriotic. Echoing Trump and his congressional enablers, they’d prefer Putin-style dictatorship, as long as it’s Trump, revered leader of the cult, pusher onto enraptured believers of outdated, useless, $19 high-top tennis shoes for $400. 

When Navalny was poisoned, twice, he barely survived. Later, he was arrested and sent to prison, where he died. Public mourners have been rounded up and arrested; but treated, so far as we know, somewhat less terminally. Unlike Alexei Navalny, Trump and the J6 insurrectionists have been duly investigated and represented by counsel. (For those who believe the lie that President Biden is behind it all, note that many of the charges are state-level, not federal.)

Evidence has been presented to grand juries comprised of ordinary citizens who concluded indictments were warranted. In some cases, subsequent law-following juries have found Trump, et. al., guilty. Because our system allows nearly endless appeals and delays for those who can afford it, unlike the J6ers, Trump remains at large. In the unlikely event of imprisonment, like members of previous Republican administrations, he’ll probably enjoy a gentlemanly one.

To see Trump as comparable to Navalny in any way is to love Putin and Trump too much and America too little.

Now, an important subject-change: Adding to his string of unexpectedly exculpatory witnesses, House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer’s star testifier to Joe and Hunter Biden’s “corruption” has been indicted by the same Republican special counsel who’d praised his believability, for lying about everything he said, spreading lies fed to him by Russian agents. 

Similarly, “True the Vote,” the MAGA group whose claims of election fraud in Georgia were and remain central to Trump’s continuing big lie, admitted in court that they have no proof of anything they’ve said. 

Fortunately for Trump, Fox “news” still pushes the lies, and MAGAs can’t see the difference.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024



Appointed by Attorney General Garland to investigate President Biden’s handling of documents, Robert Hur, after exonerating him, dwelt on memory lapses, as if they were relevant to the law. And unique. In prior depositions, Trump may have set the record.

When my parents came to my college graduation, I introduced my mom to a group of friends as my wife. Returning to D.C. for Jon Stewart’s and Stephen Colbert’s “Rally to Restore Sanity,” first time there since I was twelve, I was surprised to find my memory of the Library of Congress couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s beautiful. I’d remembered it as a standard-issue, city-style library. Same with my memory of JFK’s penultimate public speech before Dallas, when he spoke in honor of our Robert Frost Library. Wrong campus location, wrong status of the building.

Following several days intubated in an ICU, my dad died. The picture of him and our family surrounding him is branded into my mind, every detail, probably because as doctor/son, my opinions guided the decisions we made. But I can never remember the year except by recalling that he was almost ninety and was born in 1915.

Despite those cognitive failings, and being within two years of President Biden’s age, I’m able to write columns intelligibly enough to engender repetitive emails calling me a liar. (When I reply, asking for specifics, none are forthcoming. Ever.)

After yakking about President Biden’s memory, spurred by Hur’s hit-job, Sean Hannity introduced Kellyanne Conway as Kellyanne Trump. Trump has told us he beat Barack Obama, and that he saved us from World War Two. Looking at a photo, he confused one of his many wives with E. Jean Carroll, and, in real life, Nikki Haley with Nancy Pelosi. He spoke admiringly of Viktor Orban, Republican hero and Europe’s only dictator, but thought he led Turkey, not Hungary. Dodging the war by way of fake bone spurs, he said “dating” multiple women at the time and avoiding STDs was his personal Vietnam. He didn’t mention impregnations.

The point: Memory is mercurial, mangled by more than just age. No doubt, it has tricked or abandoned every person reading this. More than once.

Since he let Mr. Hur’s report stand, allowing hundreds of spurious attack-pages after the exoneration, A.G. Garland is owed a MAGApology for saying he’s in the tank for Joe. The report has more than accomplished its anti-Biden intent. Dudgeon on the left and right and everywhere between is higher than the running count of Trump’s lies. A lifelong hardcore conservative, originally appointed by Trump, Mr. Hur knew exactly what he was doing.

But okay: as he has throughout his political career, President Biden produces verbal gaffes. Some, if not most, relate to the constant, intense effort he and all of those so afflicted must make to control stuttering. And, like you, me, Trump, and everyone you know, he sometimes forgets and confuses things, every instance of which is reported at DEFCON 1 by all media; whereas Trump, having “misspoken” so often it’s become white noise, gets nearly no mention. On rightwing media, none at all.

I wish President Biden had the gift of elocution we’ve seen in Barack Obama and his wife, in Pete Buttigieg and his husband. JFK. Pre-second-term Ronald Reagan. Were it the case, MAGAs would have only the border to scream about; although, in killing a border bill that gave them everything they’d been demanding, they’ve lost that issue. Except for the impervious Foxified, who probably haven’t even heard the news. Desperate to regain the issue, cynicism cubed, they’ve impeached DHS Secretary Mayorkas.

If your preferred pronoun is “MAGA,” you admire Vladimir Putin and the other dictators over whom Trump fawns. You welcome Trump’s intent to use NATO membership as a protection racket. “Nice alliance you got there. Don’t do my bidding, I’ll invite Putin to invade you and won’t lift a finger. Except, you know, that one.” Words to that effect. It’s yet another example of Trump’s renunciation of our Constitution.

If your pronoun is “American,” you’re appalled. Confirmed by his own pronouncements, Trump is a threat to democracy, our allies, and the world; whose most consistent promise is “vengeance.” By contrast, no matter his age and gaffitations, the accomplishments of President Biden on behalf of America and the world are myriad. More to come, if Democrats retake the House. Except for the FoxoMAGAfied, who’ll never see it, the choice is easy.

As is recognizing that voting third party is voting for Trump. RFK Jr’s SuperPac’s Superbowl ad was largely funded by wealthy, election-denying Trump supporters Timothy Mellon, Patrick Byrne, and others. Any questions?

Wednesday, February 7, 2024



It was a bad week for Trump. Immunity. Mayorkas. Holy Mike. But there’s more important stuff to talk about.

A few weeks ago, our granddaughter went to see the Taylor Swift movie. Her mother sent videos of her, happy beyond words, dancing and singing in the aisles. She’d worn her T. S. shirt and a cute skirt, and, based on hundreds of other girls similarly attired, was definitely among friends.

When it was over, and the undocumented Hondurans came through the theater with voter registration forms, she happily signed up. So did all of the other girls. She’s not entirely sure who she’ll vote for in November, but she has time. She’ll be eight by then. She’s still into fairy dust and unicorns, so she’s considering Marian Williamson. We’re trying to talk her out of it, but you know how it is with kids that age: can’t push too hard or they’ll do the opposite, just to tick you off. At least she’s not mentioning Dean Phillips.

Her grandmother and great-grandfather are Forty-niners fans, so she’s torn about the Super Bowl. She cried a little when Travis Kelce broke Jerry Rice’s post-season reception record. Taylor is for the Chiefs and when our granddaughter watches Fox “news” she hears about the nefarious plot vis a vis (as she likes to say) Trump.

Whoever she votes for, she’ll use a drop box. At her age, voting in person is tricky. Not that it hasn’t been done; it’s just that, based on every instance of discovered fraud, Republicans are a lot better at that sort of thing. And she’s definitely a Democrat. Goes to a very diversely-populated public school in Portland.

Much as I’d like to think otherwise, our granddaughter had very little to do with convincing those billionaire Republican NFL owners (Mark Cuban excepted) to throw games in order to get the Chiefs into the Super Bowl, platforming a Swift/Biden endorsement. She stopped after a couple of calls because a few of them had read my columns and hung up on her.

In other news, Putinophilic mouthpiece Tucker Carlson is in Russia. At the time of this writing, we don’t know when he’ll be interviewing Vladimir Putin, which he says he’s doing “because no one has told [people] the truth.” But we can be sure they’re already talking Trump. It’s likely a one-way thing, with Putin’s demands of Trump received and Tucked in eagerly. Making no secret of his devotion to Putin and his Europe-conquering plans, rhymes-with-Tucker will be only too happy to deliver the latest mail, the color of which need not be stated.

In return for another round of election meddling to reinsert Trump, Mr. Putin will be insisting on bigger things. Bigger than previously removing sanctions on his oil. Bigger than sharing state secrets with Russian agents in the Oval Office. Merely threatening to pull out of NATO will no longer suffice. Maybe adding another S into USA and changing the A to R, too. Tucker’s just the syco to phant the manifesto to Mar-a-Lago. Would destroying a certain tape quid the pro? Doubtful. Not until Putin gets everything he wants. Toward that end, Trump had barely begun.

We may soon learn whether the conditions for repeat scale-thumbing from that side of the world include making Carlson Trump’s VP, giving Putin an inside twofer. Were that to happen, what would Elise Stefanik do? Stop calling the jailed J6-ers hostages and return to her pre-groveling position that they deserved punishment to the full extent of “the law;” a term the following of which is headed to antiquity in a second Trump “presidency”? Unlikely. Though Rudy’s probably a lock for A.G., she could still be Secretary of Defense. Unless it’s Alina Habba. Only the best.

If the preceding seems peripheral to the posturing produced by a political party pandering to a perverse predator, there are times when, watching the residua of that party behaving with such dereliction, attempting humor is self-preservation. How else to respond to the abject uselessness they’ve demonstrated by rejecting a border bill they’d demanded and which gave them everything on their wish list; so much so that they’re justifying their no votes by lying about what’s in it?

With disgust, at minimum. And despair for our country. A lame attempt at badinage? If only it were possible to laugh off consequences like possibly handing Ukraine to Putin and allowing Trump and his prostrate propagandists to keep lying about the border. In a saner world, such blatant proof of their hypocritical unseriousness would mean they’d get not a single vote in November.

Speaking of which, our granddaughter, deep-sixing the deep-state plot, now says she plans a write-in for Taylor Swift.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Borderline Crazy

Immigration! The border! Solutions have eluded presidents and congresses of both parties for decades. If producing effective policy is confounding, though, one aspect is self-evident: Republicans do NOT want resolution. They want only to rail and derail. Lacking positive accomplishments on which to run, stuck defending a convicted sex-offender facing 91 felony indictments and likely huge penalties for fraudulent business practices, they have nothing but lying about Biden’s border policies; declaiming lack of action while making sure none happens.

Don’t take my word for it. After President Biden facilitated a bipartisan agreement in the Senate, Trump, who hopes to ride immigration into November, has been pressing Congressional Republicans to block it. Said election-denying Texas Rep. Troy Nehls about any border deal, “I'm not willing to help Joe Biden's approval rating... I'm not going to do it.” He speaks for them all. Milder, though, than Speaker-From-God Mike Johnson, who holds photo-ops at the border while accusing President Biden of treason, and, later, promising that the Senate agreement is DOA.

Could anything be more cynical? From House Republicans? Sure: newly-hatched articles of impeachment against DHS Secretary Mayorkas for “doing nothing” about immigration after they’ve blocked all of Biden’s and Democrats’ efforts to address it. How Trumpified are Republicans? The Oklahoma GOP censured their Senator Lankford for participating in that bipartisan border agreement. This is a party interested only in retrogressive performance.

Nor should you take my word for their lack of accomplishments. Here’s Republican Rep. Andy Biggs, on superMAGA Newsmax: "We have nothing to go out there and campaign on. It's embarrassing.” “Right,” agreed anchor Chris Salcedo. “... the Republican Party in the Congress of the majority has zero accomplishments."

When there’s nothing to say, say anything. Hurt America for points on the scoreboard, be it immigration or Trump hoping for economic calamity.

Here are some facts about our president’s “wide-open” border: He got Mexico to agree to spend $1.5 billion in border technology, which Trump failed to do. Under President Biden, more illegal migrants have been removed from the US than any administration in history: almost 2.5 million Title 42 expulsions, which is 35 times as many as people put into “Remain in Mexico” by Trump. Under Title 42, Trump released a higher portion of border-crossers into the US than President Biden. And, under Biden, more potential terrorists and dangerous drugs have been interdicted than Trump could dream of or lie about. “Open border”? Hardly.

Like budget priorities and legislation, immigration policies disclose who we are. By far, the majority of people seeking entry are escaping crushing poverty and political abuse. And most of those are arriving from the “Northern Triangle” countries of Central America. Recall that President Barack Obama put in place initiatives and funding to improve conditions in those countries, lessening the need for their citizens to flee. Recall, also, that in his perverse desire to undo all of Obama’s accomplishments (still false-promising something better and cheaper than the ACA), Trump ended those initiatives, almost while his smaller-than-Obama’s inauguration crowd was still dispersing. For him and most legislative Republicans, it’s about making things worse. And more inhumane.

Sending National Guard troops and confused truckers to the border, insurrectionist Governors like Texas’ Abbott and others, with Trump’s encouragement, are angling to cancel the Constitution. In particular, the Supremacy Clause. Four of the scary six SCOTUS sitters saluted it. This bodes ill. As does a convicted criminal who wants another shot at the presidency calling for a potentially lethal confrontation between Americans. As on January 6, he’d delight in the results.

Other than MAGA Trumpublicans, who fear everyone who doesn’t look, speak, and pray like themselves, who are the rest of us? Progressives and real conservatives have always recognized that immigration is essential to our country. It’s not only about Christ-like love and caring for the poor and the strangers (remember Jesus, MAGAs?)

Welcoming immigration is about self-preservation; it’s about advancing our future. How many to absorb and how to screen them remain unanswered questions, and no solution will be perfect. But as long as MAGA Republicans continue to demagogue it, we’ll have none at all.

In 2021, President Biden proposed billions for enhanced border security, including more agents and more officials to adjudicate applications for entry. Nowhere, is where it went with Republicans. The current bipartisan Senate agreement reportedly includes those items, plus the ability of a president to “shut down” the border when it’s overwhelmed, which Biden has said he’d do.

Passage of such meaningful changes will happen only if Democrats regain control of the House and retain the Senate and White House. As if there aren’t other, equally important reasons to make sure that happens, like preserving democracy, education, healthcare, the environment, and, if Trump and governors like Abbott have their way, the Constitution itself.

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