the EXEGESIS of McCarthy on Collins

collinstrump

Chris Collins pleaded guilty in Federal Court to committing crimes. He was sentenced to prison.

Like starting up an old, garaged jalopy, Bob McCarthy took one more opportunity to just talk to Collins and then transcribe whatever he says. It was the stuff you’d expect to see in the lifestyles section of the paper. The Buffalo Spree is publishing more interesting political pieces than this nowadays, and it seems to me to be the yang to the yin that has been Jerry Zremski’s excellent reporting on the Innate Immunotherapeutics scandal that brought down the Collins crime syndicate.

For over a year – from the date of Collins’ August 2018 indictment, until he ultimately pleaded guilty in late 2019 – the people of the 27th Congressional district had no de facto representation – we had a liar purporting to represent us in Washington. We had a man in office who was distracted by his own illegalities and criminal defense strategies. When he resigned in disgrace, we then had no de jure representation until the special election in June and subsequent swearing-in of Chris Jacobs.

Chris Collins does not deserve anyone’s respect or sympathy. At least, not until he has satisfied his debt to society. Not until he has apologized to the constituents he conned and disrespected.

But when Chris Collins holds a pity party over the phone with Bob McCarthy, we get all of that in spades. Collins is still rich. He still lives in his Florida mansion. His wife and kids will be looked after. He will be serving his time at a Club Fed facility in Florida – 17 months if he’s a good boy, despite a sentence of 26. But he’s still got gripes.

And he is fearful. He does not want his 17-month incarceration – the time he expects to serve based on his imposed sentence of 26 months – to turn into a “death sentence.”

“I’m 70 years old with asthma and hypertension, and it’s senior citizens that we’re supposed to worry about,” he said while driving to Pensacola on Monday. “That’s me. 

“I’ve got to do it. But I do know I do not want to get this virus.”

There are thousands of convicted criminals in federal prisons who are trying not to catch Covid-19, and there is nothing in the eyes of the law that makes Chris Collins more special than them, or entitled to special treatment. And this is not going to be hard time.

Beginning at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Collins – a multimillionaire – reports to the prison camp in the Florida panhandle. He notes it has no hardened prisoners, no barbed wire and few guards.

“I’ll have some buddies to talk to in the morning, have a cup of coffee and read the paper – almost what you do in retirement,” he said. “You actually make good friends. Everyone there has made a mistake. They have regrets related to that mistake. But most everyone everyone has done good things in their lives, and I know I’ve done a lot of good things. 

“My family is with me. It’s not like I did something that made them destitute. My family is stronger now than it’s ever been.”

He should be counting his blessings. Any sympathy should be reserved for the victims who lost everything in the Innate Immunotherapeutics collapse and who did not have the benefit of inside information to try and minimize their losses. Any sympathy should be reserved for the people living in the 27th Congressional District, who were owed Collins’ bona fide representation and hard work but instead were lied to and cheated; cheated most importantly during that critical period from January through June of this year as the federal government learned about then lied about Covid-19 and then completely bungled the federal response.

This article was disgusting and tone-deaf, to put it mildly. Bob McCarthy always treats rich politicians with kid gloves. Maybe that’s bad.

This morning, I woke up in my house. I enjoyed a nice cup of coffee, free from direct government supervision. Then I went exactly where I damn well pleased. Chris Collins, who always had to be the smartest wiseass in any room, did not.

Jacobs Jettisons Trump

When Congressman Chris Jacobs first announced his candidacy for the House of Representatives, he posted a pretty racist video to his Twitter page that was just vicious towards Spanish-speaking economic migrants from Mexico and Central America. When Jacobs ran for the State Senate in 2016, he was publicly silent, never answering questions about whether he supported Donald Trump. Behind the scenes, he told union audiences that he did not support Trump. In 2019, however, the Erie County Republican Committee, which has various close ties to Trump, coordinated a Trump endorsement of Jacobs. That led to a congressional campaign where it almost seemed as if Jacobs was Trump’s running mate, or vice-versa.

Jacobs narrowly won a special election in June, and he is now running for his first full term in Congress. June, you’ll notice, was only four short months ago. Yet in that short span of time, Jacobs has gone from full MAGA TRUMP TRAIN to Trump who?

His latest TV ad makes no mention whatsoever about Donald Trump. Trump‘s name and image do not appear – not audibly or visibly. What a difference four months makes.

Look at him. He’s a “job creator” through his real estate investments. He gallivants about the district, maskless, pretending to “fight” to protect people from insurers discriminating against them due to pre-existing conditions. Donald Trump is nowhere. He is appealing to the people in the middle who are disgusted by Trump. It is amazing what the epic mishandling of a hundred-year pandemic can do.

Here’s an example of what Jacobs’ ads looked like before Trump caught the ‘vid and went crazy on Dexamethasone.

Big difference.

Chris Jacobs repeated the Trump Administration’s fraudulent lie that the New York Green Light Law justified the termination of Trusted Traveler status for New Yorkers. He deliberately backed Trump propaganda that was not only false, but represented an unprecedented punishment of a state’s residents by the federal government to which they pay taxes over a manufactured political issue.

Chris Jacobs is just another flaccid opportunist who has taken another step up the ladder of political power. He has no plan to better your life or the lives of the people hurting the most in this post-Covid reality.

Donald Trump has ruined this country. He has deepened class, racial, political, religious, and economic divisions that were already well-carved. Especially since his impeachment acquittal, which showed him he could engage in unprecedented conspiracies for political gain with impunity, he has carved out the closest thing this country has had to a strongman dictatorship in its history. Donald Trump is a disaster, and Chris Jacobs is part of that disaster.

He went so far as to vote “no” on a bill to strengthen the U.S. Postal Service, and I don’t think it was a mistake. When you surround yourself with brazen liars, why should we take you at your word?

What we can glean from Jacobs’ current propaganda is that Donald Trump is polling poorly enough in NY-27 that it’s best to not mention him, and that people like Obamacare insofar as it rendered illegal insurance company discrimination against people with pre-existing medical conditions. But Chris Jacobs would probably tell you he opposes Obamacare. The problem is he has no alternative plan available for review.

And that’s what really matters about the Republican Party – its only ideology now is belligerent lying and nihilism. It is only against things and people and groups. It has no plan except “whatever Trump says.”

The 27th has had enough of millionaires named Chris who are too timid to answer to – and serve – the people whom they purport to represent.

how it ends

Some have said that the United States is engaged in a cold civil war. I don’t think that’s true. The depth of Americans’ political divisions has ebbed and flowed since the founding of this country; there’s nothing new under the sun. Certainly social media and the manipulation of bad information has complicated matters, but I have faith in the numbers.

Let’s begin with this: Donald Trump is a fluke. He won in 2016 thanks to a lot of good luck and white grievance. But ever since January 2017, his approval has rarely approached 50%. Only about 40 percent of Americans can tolerate his antics, and really only about 1/3 of Americans are considered to be his base. That means 60-ish percent of Americans have had a negative view of Donald Trump throughout his Presidency, and it really hasn’t been all it was cracked up to be.

Fatigue has set in, sure. We are sick of worrying about the various ways in which the President and his entourage of malignant grifters, malcontents, fascists, and unqualified kin can embarrass themselves – and our country – seemingly minute by minute. On the night of October 1st, each successive news cycle lasted about 30 minutes as we learned in quick succession how Hope Hicks had Covid-19, Melania Trump had cursed out migrant children her husband had caged and also Christmas itself, and then that she and the Donald had also contracted Covid-19.

But good God, the fatigue – 2020 is the longest year and over 200,000 Americans have died from this virus. Many of those deaths were needless and preventable. The federal government’s response to Covid-19 has been weak and feckless, leaving states to fend for themselves. The problem with this strategy is that some states take it seriously and others don’t. If having a country means anything, it should mean that the health of someone in North Dakota is taken as seriously as the health of someone in Vermont. Covid-19 and its relentless path of destruction through America should, alone, disqualify the current administration from being re-elected. That’s before we get to literally everything else.

Are you better off today than you were four years ago? Are you more proud to be American today than you were four years ago? Do you think that the last four years have restored some long-lost greatness to America? Do you feel confident that the federal government is looking out for you?

Soon after Trump came down that escalator in Trump Tower to denounce Mexicans in 2015, I have referred to him and his movement as neo-fascist in nature. (Here, here, and here). He is not an ideologue or thinker – he is a huckster. He’s a snake oil salesman. Rather than offer a positive plan for a renewal of American greatness, he raised the black flag of aggressive nativism and used it as a sword to attack anyone not white and not Christian and not sufficiently loyal to him. If you want to know the genesis of the current state of unrest over black lives and police militarization and white supremacy, look no further than the White House. We like to think that government – even when it does things with which we do not agree – at least has our best interests at heart. Not anymore.

Does a Muslim in Trump’s America feel safer than she did in 2014, before he announced his candidacy? How about a black person? A non-Cuban Hispanic or Latino person? How about a gay kid or a Sikh physician? Rather than competently address real systemic economic and social problems, Trump and his coterie of bandits have plundered our treasure and pitted American against American in ways that are fundamentally sickening. He and his nativist, protectionist, racist, authoritarian brand of politics is weak and decent Americans reject it.

Trump isn’t unique to this country, however. There are mini-Trumps in power here and there. Poland, Hungary, Turkey, Brazil – they all have their own flavor of ultra-right anti-democratic nativism. But those are developing countries. Alas, so is the United States. Our economy is in shambles. Our health care system is broken and stupid. Our politics are disgraceful. Our discourse is poisoned by foreign interlopers and domestic trolls. Fake news gets international attention before the truth has gotten its socks on.

Trump cares about one thing: Trump. He is a wannabe dictator and a reflexive fascist. He is a last gasp, however, of boomer white grievance and history will look upon him unkindly.

In a way, the future of this country is really up to the sixty-ish percent of us who haven’t completely lost our minds. The future depends on those of us who know Q-Anon is utter garbage, and who cherish the notion that America isn’t a nationality so much as it is an idea, and that idea is subject to change from time to time. The America of 2020 is very different from the America of 1920, and one has to imagine, (or, at least, hope) that the chaos and turmoil of 2020 will lead to a reckoning of sorts.

We’re at a crossroads. If you want to simplify it all, you could say we can choose light or we can choose darkness. Right now, it’s dark out. Without getting deeply into it, many in 2016 saw our choice as one of differing shades of gray. But we know now. The differences are stark. We need to hit a hard reset; we need to unplug the country and plug it back in again. After that, we’ll need a truth and reconciliation commission of sorts to purge ourselves of our hateful and divisive binge.

We have a short attention span in this country, but don’t ever let anyone tell you that it’s going to be easy to lift this country up from the place it is now. This is going to be difficult, but it is the only way. America has always been an aspirational place – a place that believed in equality and freedom and opportunity even when those things were denied to significant swaths of her population. That sixty-ish percent of us who really believe in that, (rather than the Greenwood Americans who pay it mere performative lip service), recognize our past faults and want to move the country in the direction of those aspirational goals.

What I’m trying to say here is that we won’t get to the promised land by smacking marionette effigies of Andrew Cuomo with the butt end of a fake rifle. We won’t rediscover our unity of purpose by electing craven opportunists to office. Law and order without justice is fascism, and we need to be honest about that. Police should walk a beat, not beat peaceful protesters. Police need to be part of the community, not fighting a war against it from behind their tanks and shields. We’re better than Donald Trump, or at least we should strive to be. We’re better than Trumpism and its hatred of science, history, facts, and immigrants.

I am voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris not because they are the perfect antidote to Trump and his malicious reign, but because they are the hard reset that this country needs.

But beyond that, I am going to make sure that my memory of Trump is long, and that the people whose reactions to him ranged from apologia to toadyism pay for it politically, in perpetuity.

This country used to be, if not perfect, at least a place that was looked up to in the world. That is no longer the case. We are, at best, pitied. As Trump emulates his favorite dictators, our reputation in the world is embarassingly diminished. We have spent four years antagonizing our allies and cozying up to murderers. I’ve had enough, and 60-ish percent of you have, too.

In New York, you can vote early starting on October 24. Do it. Take advantage of it. Since Trump is threatening to foment a coup over mail-in voting, don’t give him the satisfaction and vote in person if you can. If you are voting by mail or absentee, don’t trust the defunded USPS and get your ballots out as soon as possible.

Let us toast our fellow Americans whom we have lost to war and disease. Let us toast to an America that can do and be better than all of this.