What a week! The way things are going, I won’t be surprised if Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies before this post goes live. Of course, I’m not sure that it would matter. If Biden is elected in November, he will need to act boldly to stop the judicial take-over of this country that has largely already occurred. And I doubt he will. So we will limp into the future. As usual.
Secret Police in Portland
Trump is going full authoritarian on Portland. But since he hasn’t said the exact words “I’m going full authoritarian in Portland,” most news sources are equivocating or just talking about how it will affect the November election.
What’s happening in Portland is just a replay of what we’ve seen before. Each week, he shows that our government is extremely fragile. The only thing stopping a president from doing almost anything he wants is his own conscience. The American people finally picked for themselves the perfect president. And our system is crumbling.
If it weren’t for the fact that most of the military command doesn’t like Trump, we’d have troops in every major American city. I assure you, however, the next authoritarian who becomes president will be much better liked.
I watched the reaction to the secret police action in Portland among libertarians over the weekend. Nick Gillespie’s timeline mentioned Portland. But it didn’t rank high in his priorities. Politics is ultimately about what you are willing to fight for. The clearest authoritarian moves don’t animate libertarians like “tyrannical” clean water rules.
One libertarian I saw called out leftists as hypocritical because we believe in mask mandates. So: mask mandates are as bad or worse than secret police kidnapping protesters? This is the kind of intellectual nonsense that drives the libertarian movement. “Hitler was bad but a social safety net is worse because it leads to Nazism!”
This kind of sums up what was happening on Twitter:
As if to prove Pakman right, a ton of libertarians comment with reasons why cracking down on the protestors is right. They also spout a bunch of Fox News talking points. https://t.co/o2cTrMHOhw— Frankly Curious (@FranklyCurious) July 18, 2020
I appreciate that libertarians on Twitter didn’t think they should be blamed for not speaking out about Portland. Many of them did so. But going through endless Twitter threads, the vast majority of people who call themselves libertarians were fine with what’s going on.
Libertarians Missed the Mark
One argument I found particularly annoying: “We’ve been talking about this for years!” True. They have! But it’s mostly been theoretical nonsense that focused more on the supposed threat from the dreaded “political correctness.” Actual authoritarian behavior on the right was simply ignored.
The libertarian movement does much of the heavy intellectual lifting for the Republican Party. It has allowed the GOP to go off the rails while proclaiming that leftists are the real threat.
Most libertarians are just neo-Confederates anyway. But the movement has never been interested in cleaning house — or even pretending to. Because if they did that, there would be no movement left. I’m willing to admit there are principled libertarians. But they are small in number and cowardly.
The media are reporting that Biden called Trump the first racist president. Thank God for that, given it is an absurd claim. What Biden did say was also not true. But he is right that no recent president has been so overtly racist.
What’s more interesting is how Trump responded:
Trump: “I have done more for Black Americans than anybody with the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln. Nobody has even been close.” (Sorry, MLK) pic.twitter.com/demOLlXdvD— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) July 22, 2020
Trump has very little to say. We know that he speaks at a very low level. But the main thing about him is that he is repetitious. It’s just the same thing over and over again. I suspect that some of the slip in his approval rating is pure boredom. And I suspect the only support he maintains is simply because he outrages people like me.
John Lewis Dies
Last Friday, John Lewis died of the pancreatic cancer that he was diagnosed with six months ago. I don’t know what to say about him. Truthfully, I’m not that good with commenting on people deaths because I don’t think it is a bad thing. That’s especially true if they’ve had a life worth living.
I can’t think about him without the image of him being beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. It’s not pleasant. Just the same, check out this video. It doesn’t look much different from what we’ve seen by law enforcement during the protests the last couple of months.
If the police and others don’t think they are going to look just as bad in a decade or two, they are delusional. There will be no apologists to protect them. They will be busy apologizing for the current events. Conservative ideology has a very short shelf life.
In an amusing story, Senators Marco Rubio and Dan Sullivan both posted pictures of themselves with Elijah Cummings in memory of John Lewis’ death. But you know what they say, “If you’ve seen one bald African American congressman…”
Michael Brooks Is Dead?!
Long-time co-host on Majority Report and more recently on his own show, Michael Brooks died. He was 36. It came out of nowhere. The reports indicate that he died suddenly of a medical condition. One thing I remember about him is that he meditated and ate well.
Anyway, he was always brilliant — especially about international affairs. And he was very funny. His Obama impression easily fooled people.
One thing I especially liked about Brooks was his cackle. Most funny people have restrained laughs. Brooks showed that he was fully plugged in the absurdity of life. It’s a sad loss.
Over the last week, I’ve watched about a dozen films by pioneering no-budget filmmaker Mark Polonia (sometimes with his late twin brother John). They are pretty well-made and always feature notable elements. But most of the time, due to budget constraints, they seem more like proof of concepts.
I finally saw what is probably the Polonia brothers’ masterpiece, Splatter Farm. They made it when they were 18 years old. And it is twisted. I’ll just describe one bit of it. There’s these psychopath who works on the farm. He kills someone. Then he cuts off his hand. Then he eats part of it. Finally, he sticks the hand inside his pants and masturbates with it.
It’s playing over at Psychotronic Review. You can watch the whole thing. It’s the kind of film that you’ll want to share with someone you love. Really. It’s amazing!
Until Next Time
I hope there is enough to write about in the coming week…