Detached from reality…

Donald Trump lost the 2020 election. It wasn’t a fact blatantly obvious at the close of election day, but one that became rapidly inescapable as absentee or mail in ballot totals were added to in person vote totals over the next few days. Certainly, by Friday of that week, the trend – and outcome was clear. I knew it. You knew it. The media knew it. The political class knew it. The overwhelming majority of American people knew it. 

Hard as Trump and his people might spin tales of election fraud, the claims were not reflected by the evidence – a fact that court after court found as one ruling was handed down after another, while other, wilder claims were thrown out as having no merit on their face. It seems that everyone except Donald Trump and perhaps his inner core of true believers was well aware of the state of play.

Bill Barr, in his testimony before the select committee appointed to investigate the January 6th insurrection, asserted that when then President Trump went before the cameras claiming theft and fraud, “he was detached from reality.” Let that phrase sink in. That’s a man who has twice served as Attorney General of the United States observing that the guy we’ve entrusted with the nuclear launch codes was having a hard time telling reality from make believe. 

I’m increasingly convinced that on January 6th we stood a hairs breadth from an American chief executive, gotten high on his own supply, refusing to leave office. How close we came to overwhelming the creaking, 200+ year old Constitutional safeguards that have always been more than enough to guide better men who held the office, is absolutely horrifying to behold. 

 If seeing these facts and patterns of behavior laid out now, when not caught up in the heat of the moment, doesn’t give you even a moment’s pause, I don’t have any idea what would. We got incredibly lucky that the American system, under incredible and unprecedent pressure, worked. We’d be well served to never run it that close to the red line ever again, because I fear being delivered safely out the other side had a lot more to do with luck than skill. 

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Allegany Busted. I joined a Facebook group a few months ago that shows who’s been arrested in my old home county. It gives you a picture, a name, some vitals, and then their arrest record. If anything has ever sent me into a rage about the American justice system it isn’t that it’s slow or biased, but rather that it’s possible for someone who’s 28 years old to have been arrested 20 times and was somehow free to move about the county and get himself arrested for the 21st time. Maybe three-strikes-and-out is a little too excessive, but can we not agree as a society that by about your 20th strike you’re not going to be rehabilitated and constitute a clear danger to the health and welfare of the community? How someone like this should ever been entitled to breath free air again is simply beyond me. We humanely euthanize dogs that are vicious and can’t learn to live with the pack. I feel badly when society has to put down a dog, though. I wouldn’t bat at eye if we gave a short drop and a sudden stop to members of this professional criminal class.

2. You’re Fired. Social media is rife with “well informed” “opinion leaders” trying to make an argument that President Trump can’t fire Attorney General Sessions. Given the Attorney General’s position as a political appointee, AG Sessions served, using one of the most delightfully flourished phrases in the language, “at the pleasure of the president,” and he can and was fired. Sure, you’re free to use “asked to resign” as a euphemism, but the end result is exactly the same. The Office of the President often has a Senate conformation hurdle for hiring, but has pretty sweeping powers when it comes to terminating someone from the ranks of the political appointee class. I can only assume what these amateur political scientists on social media mean is that President Trump *shouldn’t* have fired Mr. Sessions. Even with this broad interpretation, their accuracy remains to be seen based on the amount of political fallout that’s generated and how it settles out. It’s certainly not going to damage the president’s standing with his base and he’s pretty consistently displayed an abject disregard to the opinion of the opposition party so the whole thing could end up being just another day in the West Wing in 2018.

3. Jim Acosta. Jim Acosta, CNN’s White House correspondent, has taken to the airwaves and social media platforms, retweeting that “freedom of the press is under attack.” Whether revoking press credentials from one individual employee of a company that has a healthy population of other employees more than capable of picking up his slack is actual an “attack,” of course is subject to debate. That said, it seems he does not like to see his rights abridged or trifled with by the government. Personally, I welcome Mr. Acosta and his company at long last to the defense of constitutional liberties… but until as he takes up the banner to defend all of the other liberties so carefully enshrined by the founders, I’ll opt not to give one good goddamn about what Mr. Acosta thinks.

iPads for inmates…

So, I see that Attorney General Gansler wants to issue tablet computers to Maryland inmates. My initial response was that I couldn’t possible have read that article correctly. Surely the AG is pushing to restrict inmate’s access to the internet, email, and phone services that connect them to the outside world. After all, didn’t we just find a jail in Baltimore City where the inmates were quite literally running the asylum in part due to cell phones that had been smuggled in to them by members of the corrections staff? What in the name of high holy hell makes the AG think that giving everyone access to these devices would result in something different? Surely inmates with nothing but time on their hands would never conjure up a means of using these computers to communicate amongst themeslves as well as with the outside world. I can’t imagine how a prison full of inmates snapchatting with one another and their friends beyond the wall could possibly go wrong.

Sigh. The best part, the part that I really love, is that while I’m sitting here living with a 4-day a week paycheck, the esteemed Attorney General of Maryland and an assumed candidate for governor wants to spend $500 an inmate to give them these computers. Are you shitting me? Inmates get three meals a day, a bed, and a roof over their precious little heads. They get cable, a library, exercise equipment, and a host of other “privileges” if they’re not complete douchtards (by the standards of the corrections system). And now the AG wants me to think that spending another $500 a head is a good idea for these people who broke what I can only assume was some kind of major law – because let’s face it, if it was a minor infraction they’d have paid a fine or done 30-days and been out.

I’m a simple man. I really only want to hear about prisoners in a couple of contexts: 1) Making license plates; 2) Picking up trash along the highways and byways of the jurisdiction in which they are incarcerated; 3) Turning big rocks into little rocks; or 4) The news report where Inmate X was executed last night for rape, murder, or some other heinous crime. I don’t want to hear about their troubled childhood, or their anger management issues, or getting them the same computer that I’ve had to go out and earn an honest living to buy for myself. I want them to work demanding, physical jobs, so at the end of the day the only thing they can even thinking about doing is going to sleep.

That’s not how we roll here in the People’s Democratic Republic of Maryland. Oh no. We’d rather take money from the taxpayer and fund whatever half assed, bleeding heart program the sociological flavor of the day dreamed up to pass off as public policy.

This has been the first in an occasional series of posts where Jeff answers questions or opines on topics submitted directly by the readers.