Sunday 16th of May 2021

in the bunker and detached from the country...



There was one thing that even Donald Trump’s harshest critics were never able to accuse him of: invisibility.

The outgoing US president held endless campaign rallies, verbally sparred with reporters on the way to his helicopter and spent so long on the phone to Fox News shows that even pliable hosts had to gently but firmly hang up. He was the master of saturating every news cycle with his voice and image.

Yet two weeks after his defeat by Joe Biden in the election, Trump has effectively gone missing in action. Day after day passes without a public sighting. He does not hold press conferences any more. He has even stopped calling into conservative media.

For critics, it is evidence of a monumental sulk as Trump contemplates his imminent loss of power and exit from the White House. In their view, it is also a staggering abrogation of responsibility as the coronavirus pandemic surges to new highs, infecting more than 158,000 Americans – and killing in excess of 1,100 – every day.

Amid the deafening silence, Trump’s only “proof of life” since Biden’s victory has been a handful of public events at the White House and a military cemetery, weekend outings to his golf course in Virginia and a barrage of tweets airing grievances and pushing baseless conspiracy theories that the election was stolen from him.

“I don’t think we’ve had a president since Richard Nixon who is as far in the bunker and detached from the country as Donald Trump is right now,” said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota.


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the future of america has already been...


by Peter Van Buren


The last straw was Rudy Giuliani stripping down to his borats and shouting “Never concede! Wolverines!” The Second Civil War had begun.

“Newspaper” (so called because it once contained news and was published on actual paper, for the elderly) columnists at The New York Times and Washington Post, now the Ministry of Truth, tried hard enough to warn us it was coming. Statues now line the National Mall, and school kids know the names: Krugman, Friedman, Bruni, Rubin, and Boot. All perished in the White Guilt Plague of 2026, its origin traced to the Oberlin campus.

The key event in the Second Civil War, the Great Confiscation of Guns, took place even before the struggle proper unfolded. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (whose name graced the aircraft carrier USS AOC, now in the process of being handed over to the Native American nation, spa, and casino formed out of the former state of Texas), standing outside Fox headquarters, challenged anyone with one of those automatic guns with the handle on top to take a free shot at her. This was a clever solution to the problem of the people who have guns living nowhere near and having nothing to do with those who oppose guns.

After over 200,000,000 people showed up, waves of millenials descended on the crowd. As most of the attacking wave only had one hand free (no one set down their Starbucks) the confiscation proceeded slowly. Sadly, several thousand patriots were rendered unable to reproduce due to pistols-in-their-belt-related accidents. Reinforcements were unavailable when QAnon, Boogaloo Boys, Oath Keepers, Proud Boys, and seven Michigan militias all turned out to be the same guys and they couldn’t get anyone to take their shifts at Chick-fil-A.

The Maddow Division (General Maddow, her bearded face in relief wearing a black beret over shaggy hair, adorns a million t-shirts) struck south on Citibikes. The advance was delayed when the second wave’s surge-priced Ubers did not arrive on time and the black UN helicopters never showed up, again, but the division’s clever use of weaponized sarcasm caused Tr*mp supporters (while the name is banned, for historical clarity we use here the term Tr*mp rather than “The T word”) to quit the field and return to their RVs.

It also turned out wearing bright red MAGA hats made for relatively easy targeting after Apple released its “Kill Kinda Kaucasians” app. Still, many of Maddow’s troops suffered after being deeply offended as the MAGA line displayed photos from old Hollywood movies of white actors playing Asian roles.

Postal workers hiding ballots accidentally then discovered the secret Fox transmitter which had been broadcasting mind control instructions not only to vote Republican, but also to purchase MyPillow, items from that fishing store that has way too much stuff for just fishing, and massive amounts of Flexi-Seal people didn’t need so it’s in the garage now behind the cooler. The conservative economy collapsed. The images of conservative children forced to eat soy products when their regular high-fructose food supplies ran out haunt even the toughest Resistance fighters to this day. Thoughts and prayers.

But those images of children are nothing compared with the nightmare unleashed when Nancy Pelosi liberated the Kids ‘N Kages camps along what used to be America’s southern border (known today as “Newer New Mexico 2.0”) After being fed only expired Taco Bell products in what was assumed to be a failed humanitarian gesture by the Venezuelan Red Cross, the migrant children were each awarded H-1 visas posthumously.

Pelosi blamed herself and regularly called in to Maxine Waters’ late night comedy show to explain how after she impeached Tr*mp, Pence, Barr, Kavanaugh, several junior Senators, and Tucker Carlson she was briefly seated as America’s first woman president before her untimely accidental death at the hands of a meth-addled Hillary Clinton wearing a Joker mask.

The conservative last stand took place, appropriately, on the steps of the Supreme Court. Just before losing power, the final conservative government expanded the bench to 78 judges, all cloned from the last available saliva sample from Roy Cohn Tr*mp kept in a vial around his neck. No monument marks their abortive battle to prevent freedom, no plaque records their final words (“lower capital gains taxes”) and even their ashes were lost in the changeover from Obamacare to the Bidencare plan which provides unlimited free visits to a doctor but requires travel to Germany for appointments (“You can keep your own doctor as long as he speaks German”).

It is considered a step toward healing that once a year under the watchful eyes of the Greta Thunberg Youth Brigade a few old conservative men are allowed to observe a minute of unhinged ranting in honor of their fallen comrades before being forced to convert to Islam. A small group of survivors is rumored to exist deep in the jungle. Occasional broadcasts have been monitored, typically scraps of argument among libertarians and conservatives over the value of military intervention.

Events moved quickly once fighting ended. The Amulet of Democracy was restored as Chelsea Handler and Chelsea Clinton brought their halves together and matched perfectly. The Ancient One Biden returned. Don, Jr. and his siblings were granted political asylum at that new Walmart out by where the high school used to be before COVID. Their father, the former president, now earns a modest living on OnlyFans.

Reparations money (“Biden Bucks”) was mostly squandered on timeshares and everyone is still angry. The collapse of the National Bank of Venmo could not be prevented once it was revealed the app really did cheat the person who just had a salad when dividing up a check. The conversion to an all-Three Stooges marathon format allowed CNN to reclaim its title as “America’s Most Trusted New Source.”

Ken Burns is still waiting to get started on his documentary about the Second Civil War, explaining he is contractually bogged down with 11 more years of footage from Kandahar to review first. Three states are locked in a court battle to rename themselves “Obama.” Locally, a consortium of Chinese investors purchased The American Conservative, renamed it TicTAC and converted it into a dating app for people who are certain they know better then everyone else.

Microsoft went bankrupt when Windows 2025 proved so bulky it required the user to have a second computer. The creation of two Internets, one for porn and one no one uses, proved popular. The end of elections saved the nation trillions. The previous campaign process was replaced with a mass Zoom call, with the president being the last person to stay online after everyone else left early claiming “mic problems.” It mattered little; after 2020 presidents have simply serially been impeached and a new person sworn in who is immediately placed under investigation. The 25th Amendment was crowned “America’s Favorite” (pepperoni took second place) in a contest after the naming rights to our foundational document, now known as the Domino’s Pizza Constitution, were sold to pay for free college for everyone.

Of course every American remembers where they were when Secretary of Why-Is-She-Still-Around Kathy Griffin announced the gender transition of 97 percent of Americans had really screwed up the NFL. The subsequent rise in attendance at WNBA games was not foreseen. The musical Biden, translated from the original Ukrainian, replaced Hamilton on Broadway despite the controversial Obama nude scene. America’s largest industry remained Patreon accounts as Etsy devolved into a market for the wealthy to purchase human organs. The U.S. government is currently looking for a new place for a capitol building, because after the move out of Washington to a Brooklyn WeWork prices have really gone up. Negotiations to invite Canada in as a roommate to share the rent are underway.

The good news is the important things are still the same. Most decisions are still made by the heads of the intel agencies when they meet at Jeff Bezos’ house. American troops are still in Afghanistan. And the Rolling Stones have announced their for sure this time final tour. Even after a second civil war some things don’t change.

Peter Van Buren is the author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan, and Ghosts of Tom Joad: A Story of the 99 Percent.


Thank you for this insight, Peter...


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from the moral security experts...

There’s at least one good reason to support Donald Trump’s ongoing lawsuits challenging the election results in several states: the US foreign policy establishment doesn’t want you to.

As Newsweek reported last week, “A group of more than 100 national security experts” from Republican administrations have condemned the president’s challenges to some states' vote-counting process. These "experts" are claiming these legal efforts "undermine democracy" and "risk long-term damage" to the nation's institutions. The signatories include people like Michael Hayden, John Negroponte, and Tom Ridge. These are the usual sort of “deep state” technocrats—for example, James Comey and John Brennan—who chime in to defend the status quo in the United States and insist it is an outrage that anyone (i.e., Donald Trump) departs from the usual way of doing things.

This alleged devotion to “democracy” and “the nation’s institutions” rings a bit odd coming from people like Negroponte and Hayden. Hayden, after all, has supported a litany of spying programs, torture, and the wholesale destruction of the human rights of both Americans and countless foreigners. Negroponte was the first director of national intelligence and has long supported spying on American citizens without a warrant. He oversaw the US-funded terror campaigns against Hondurans during the Reagan administration. Negroponte also enthusiastically supported the US’s 2003 war in Iraq which failed to achieve any of the objectives sold to the Americans as the reasons the war was a necessity.

Through scandals like the Abu-Graib debacle, unconstitutional wiretapping, torture, and ceaseless paranoid calls for an ever larger national-security state, the American foreign policy establishment has done more to undermine American democracy and institutions than Trump could ever hope for.

Yet, these people are now speaking as if they are moral authorities on preserving the rights of Americans.

Given their clear disregard for basic human rights in recent decades, however, one suspects it is more likely that what really motivates the signatories’ denunciation of Trump’s election lawsuits is a desire to return to “business as usual.” This, after all, would make it easier for the regime to get back to dismantling the Bill of Rights, initiating new wars, and generally doing what it wants.

This becomes harder to do if millions of Americans begin to suspect that the regime isn’t as legitimate as has been long claimed, and that maybe the game is rigged against those who fail to be sufficiently friendly toward the permanent government in Washington and the so-called deep state.

But lest anyone think that investigating the integrity of American elections is a worthwhile endeavor, these national security bureaucrats resort to the usual, tired claim:

By encouraging President Trump's delaying tactics or remaining silent, Republican leaders put ... national security at risk.

The message is this: Dear Trump supporters, if you demand thorough legal proceedings and a careful look at this election’s outcome, then you support “America’s enemies.” We’ve heard a similar sentiment from these people before, when the Bush Administration declared “you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists.” The message now is: “either you’re with us, or you’re with the Chinese totalitarians.”

It’s the usual sort of ruse that’s been used by the US foreign policy establishment for decades, and this is only the latest illustration. This same impulse is why the Conservative movement’s longtime leader William F. Buckley called for “a totalitarian bureaucracy” in the United States so long as it served the interests of the American national security state.

What’s the Harm in Contesting the Election?

More reasonable people however, should see the value and necessity of a slow, thorough, and public legal examination of the election.

Regardless of how one feels about Donald Trump, anyone who values fair play, honesty, and the votes of legal voters should want thorough audits and investigations. The question: “how much was this election affected by fraud?” warrants serious consideration and serious investigation into how the election was conducted. After all, whenever political power is at stake, there is no reason whatsoever to assume honesty and integrity are guiding the actions of all involved.

Fraud occurs with every election, of course. Anyone who claims any election contains no fraud lives in a fantasy land, or is lying. Voter fraud exists anywhere that votes are cast. Anecdotes of fraud in this election are plentiful, from backdated ballots in Pennsylvania, to The question is whether or not this sort of thing is widespread enough to change the outcome. In a number of lawsuits, the Trump campaign has suggested that it has been widespread.

And there’s no harm in allowing the legal process to proceed. After all, in legal and constitutional terms, the US election process is still very much on schedule.

Contrary to what various reporters seem to think, it is not the case that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris “were declared the election's winners more than two weeks ago, after Fox News, the Associated Press and other television networks called” it. The outcomes of presidential elections aren’t declared by infotainment performers working at Fox News.

Rather, federal statutes and constitutional provisions stipulate that the Electoral College will meet in December, and the Congress will declare a winner shortly thereafter. This process is in no danger of being derailed. 

It’s too bad that people like Michael Hayden don’t respect this constitutional process, but that’s just par for the course coming from someone who has been director of the CIA.

For those who actually care about some measure of accountability and transparency from government institutions in charge of running elections, there should be no problem with any presidential candidate demanding a wide variety of legal challenges. This in itself won’t solve the problem of election fraud, and it won’t make the regime respect anyone’s human rights. This wouldn't make government by majority-rule any less problematic. But it would be helpful to gather more information on how much of a gulf lies between the perception of "free and fair elections" and the reality. And it is the very least that should be done in the wake of an election where the outcome is close, messy, and conducted by politicians who are very unlikely to have the average Americans’ interests at heart.




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