“(the Federalist authors) saw that government must rest upon the will of the majority, but they saw too that majority rule must be tempered by a system of checks and balances designed to safeguard fundamental liberties and give time for sober second thought. They saw…the important distinction between the jurisdiction of government and the area of government—between the power which government must have to be effective in its proper sphere, and the area to which government must be limited in order to preserve liberty.” – Henry Steele Commager
“I’d like to have more faith in human logic; Basin’ all the rules on the proof that you can show
But I can’t take my guesses back that I based on all those facts; That ain’t necessarily so.” – Willy Nelson
“A Fail Safe System destroys all others.” – Attr. to Murphy
“Your ways and your doings have brought this upon you. This is your doom, and it is bitter; it has reached your very heart.” – Jeremiah 4:18
“In the kind of world that I see in history, there is one sin that locks people up in all their other sins, and fastens people and nations more tightly in their predicaments, namely the sin of self-righteousness.” – Herbert Butterfield
“you should never chalk up to conspiracy what you can reliably attribute to stupidity. Because stupidity is a much more powerful force in the course of human events.” – Tim Weiner
“Wish I didn’t know now; what I didn’t know then.” – Bob Seger
“They say that Trumpty Dumpty had a fall
That hurt his ego at a tender age;
And that was fuel to feed his current rage
Against the servants at his beck and call.
It seems that Don has always felt the need
To ruin all who help him on his rise;
nd foil attempts to cut him down to size;
betting criminality and greed.
Alas, the jig is up. Don’s at the peak
With no where else to go except straight down;
And take along the many fools, who bet
They could appease the Donald, help him wreak
Democracy’s destruction. What a clown!
He’s screwed himself – them all – without regret.” Headless Horseman, The Fall of Trumpty Dumpty
There is an amusing, but chilling, true tale by the great Italian journalist, Luigi Barzini (The Italians) from his time of covering Benito Mussolini on the “campaign trail,” despite that dictator’s dispensing with democracy and inconvenient elections; chest thrust out and walking from village to village with his retinue of cabinet officials along. As European (and North Dakota) men will do, when Il Duce felt a call to nature, he simply moved to the side of the roadway to take a leak. Without missing a beat, his entire retinue went over to that side of the road, unbuttoned or unzipped, and did the same, whether they needed to or not. This imagery popped into my mind when Vice President Mike Pence, like his unmasked boss in the oval office, refused to wear a mask at the Mayo Clinic during our Covid-19 pandemic, while all the doctors there, attuned to science, were masked. As my KGB friends began to pee on my hill in Mandan, I inquired about this stupidity.
High Plains Reader: Hello dear friends! I see that you have someone new amongst you.
Putin: Allow me to introduce Corporal Mongrel America. His grandfather was a Cold War KGB plant among “Captain America” evangelicals. He eventually got busted at the Westminster Dog show for not being 100% purebred…and went rogue among the forebears of Chicago Dog.
HPR: I thought “Captain America” was a cartoon.
Corporal Mongrel America: To rational people it is, of course. But the Captain America Complex (Robert Jewett) is a form of zealous nationalism that goes back to biblical times and has infected whole groups of people with the self-righteousness virus. This virus, and its mutations of racism, misogyny and sectarian bigotry, has done major damage to gentler aspects of great religions like Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Mr. Swamp Fox: One of its recent U.S. mutations has been the birther virus, developed in this country by the Republican Tea Party movement and Donald Trump.
HPR: Is the self-righteousness virus like Covid-19, in that it kills a lot of people?
Corporal Kangaroo: Many more actually. World Wars I and II would be unthinkable without it. That is why it makes sense for journalists to compare U.S. deaths due to the covid virus to military encounters like the Presidents Bush I & II Iraq wars, and Presidents FDR/Truman/ Eisenhower/Kennedy/Johnson/Nixon Vietnam war.
HPR: But those Presidents weren’t morons like the present one. How could they and their advisers have been so stupid?
Señor Perro: It’s not easy. Former Defense Secretaries Donald Rumsfeld (George W. Bush and Iraq) and Robert McNamara (JFK/LBJ and Vietnam) are examples of the intelligence it takes to get real stupid in lying Americans into wars for which these geniuses had no exit strategy. Same goes for Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and CIA Director Allen Dulles (Eisenhower) with regard to overthrowing democracies in Iran and Guatemala: short term, fist bumping victories with long term headaches plaguing American taxpayers down to the present time.
Omar Khayyam: For example, The (Cuban) Bay of Pigs in 1961, following Guatemalan intervention; and the rule of the Iranian Khomenis in 1979, following reinstatement of the Shah.
HPR: We don’t seem to have learned very much from those mistakes. Now, Trump and his self righteous allies, despite railing against “stupid (shooting) wars” of the past, which is common, painfully acquired, knowledge, are waging economic and rhetorical war on Mexico, China, and our own allies, in defiance of common sense. Worst of all Trump, and his “Amen” Captain America Chorus are waging war against science itself, as well as against effective government and representative democracy. They’ve sort of succeeded. Trump can’t manage a piece of sh*t.
Rasputin: The war against science and democracy was put into high gear by Donald Trump in 2017, but it got its Cold War jump start in 1981, when incoming President Ronald Reagan took down the solar panels from the White House, put up by his predecessor, President Jimmy Carter. Reagan began his version of “Making America Great Again,” by making U.S. government twice as expensive and only half as efficient, while “privatizing” and downgrading heretofore effective public services like the Patent Office. But Covid-19 has changed things. Right wing rhetoric won’t make government work; only capable officials can do that, even if they are Democrats.
Chicago Dog: Trump’s assault on the U.S. Postal Service, because of a childish animus against Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and getting rid of President Obama’s pandemic response team, because of a childish and racist animus against a competent, black President who honors his wife, is the logical extension of such irresponsible behavior in the name of a “conservative ideology” and zealous, self-centered, self-righteous bullying. The slippery slope turned into a waterfall with Covid-19, but the turbulent rapids of this particular Niagara River were warning you for a long time. You didn’t pay attention, and now you are just paying. It’s America’s turn in the barrel.
Lena: Trump is a gangster in his heart and soul, with all of the instincts, but none of the balls, who has never wanted any kind of policing (ie. Regulation) of his actions or those of his shady friends, or of his ethically challenged son-in-law. He encourages a gangster Attorney General to turn a legal system meant to protect Americans against you. He encourages gangster Governors in Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere in Republican Voter Suppression land to bring back the “good old days” of Jim Crow fascism, and make it truly equal opportunity oppression.
Schickelgruber: 80 years ago, native born, white Americans fought fascism without really understanding it. The same with the Cold War fight against Communism. But your immigrants and naturalized Americans understand both of those horrible tyrannies. That’s why they fled to American shores, which used to welcome them up until 2017. Now that Trump, Putin, Erdogan, the Saudi Crown Prince, and Trump Republicans are giving you a taste of it in the here and now, even native born white Americans are starting to figure out that totalitarianism and dysfunctional dictators suck. Every time Stalin f*cked up, for example, he managed to blame it on his victims.
Corporal Mongrel America: Now that the Covid-19 virus has spread to the White House, however, the “unmasked one” is being unmasked by a real pandemic, and existential reality is invading his TV reality show as “a great leader who makes perfect calls.”
Headless Horseman: Trump doesn’t do actual reality. It does him. His life is built on lies, and these falsehoods flourished in a Presidency protected by a bodyguard of liars for three years and six months, until Covid-19 exposed their artful dodging.
HPR: Meanwhile, most Governors, Republicans and Democrats, perform well.
Rocinante: While there are 4 sets of Republicans, there is but one set of Democratic Governors: able and in touch, competently and sympathetically, with their constituents and their concerns.
Torquemada: Three quarters of Republican Governors are as competent and sympathetic as Democrats, but they do it covertly; half-dreading revelations of their caring about folks entrusted to their care. They dare not enrage Trump or his True Believers (TB’s) – Republican Governors, Senators, and remaining morons in the Tea Party voter base, pledging undying loyalty to “King” Donald. Such fools include Governors of Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska and Texas; as well as South Dakota’s Kristi Noem. She threatens Native Americans with a lawsuit for protecting the people in their corner of the State, like the Governor she isn’t, and won’t be.
Kim Dog Un: Governors Charlie Baker (R-MA) and Larry Hogan (R-MD) are (outed) RINOs (Republican in Name Only). Other competent and caring Republican Governors are TRINOs (Trump Republicans in Name Only), hoping that TB Senators in their states provide cover with Trump. Governor Doug Burgum (R-ND), for example, tests Native Americans in proportion to white North Dakotans, but is “blessed” with rabid Trump loyalist, Senator Kevin Cramer, who endorsed Trump’s recent denial of genocide of Armenians by the Turks over 100 years ago.
Rasputin: Then there is the third and largest group of Recovering Republicans (RRs) in Red, Blue and Purple States all over the country. Their attack ads on Trump put the Democrats to shame, and cause TRINO and RINO Governors to “fear and cheer” them more than Trump.
Putin: For example, when VP Mike Pence went into self quarantine, a closet RR staff member found a piece of paper stuck to his shoe sole from his Mayo Clinic visit, and handed it to us:
“When Donald Trump—to make us great again;
Proposed his genius for the folks to see,
That he had all the answers; so that we
Would scarcely need to question his “long” reign.
Alas, the Donald was a fraud; and worse,
He fired all the experts who could fix
His screw-ups, and the venal, dirty tricks
That henchmen used to rob the peoples’ purse.
The country will survive him, nonetheless;
Although we be diminished by the strain
That ignorance and arrogance hath wrought.
We must begin to face, and then confess
That we have sinned against ourselves; ‘Tis plain,
These lessons have with pain and death been bought.” – Chicago Dog, Captain Un-America