Sunday, February 14, 2021


or "The REAL Show is About to Begin."

by Gary Stamper, CPC, MSIP, DSPS

Let's cut the bullshit.

Trump may have been acquitted, but everyone knows he did the crimes and more. McConnell knows (he said as much), the GOP Senators who voted for acquittal know, the Capitol rioters know (they were there), his supporters know, you know... everyone knows.

And yet, he was acquitted, not once, but twice.

Even though I knew what the outcome was going to be (everyone knew, including the Democrats), when the vote was completed and Trump acquitted, I needed to take some time to let it - and what it meant - sink in. I decided not to write about it until today, the day after. 

He was acquitted by an incredibly broken system consisting of self-serving politicians on both sides of the aisle, many of whom care nothing about Democracy or justice, others who are also cowards (many are both), and by ordinary citizens who are incapable or unwilling to exhibit the slightest bit of critical thinking. But mostly by an entire nation of people who make up The Shadow of America, who are, in spite of glimmers of brilliance, caught up in the lie of American Exceptionalism that we never quite seem to live up to, primarily because we still believe that some Americans are more exceptional than others - especially if they're not white or at least rich, preferably both.

So where do we go from here?

In spite of the Senate voting that they had the right to complete the impeachment process that began while Trump was still President, the 43 GOP Senators abandoned their oaths of office in order to defend Trump and voted "no" to convict on a constitutional technicality that doesn't exist: that trump was supposedly ineligible for impeachment as an ex-officeholder, as opposed to not guilty of the crime — as one of Trump's lawyers graciously and conspicuously pointed toward the court system as a venue for further prosecution.

In other words, Trump was not found "guilty or not guilty." He was acquitted on a multi-faceted lie.

The ultimate accountability is through our criminal justice system where political passions are checked,” said Republican senator Thom Tillis, who voted not guilty, “No president is above the law or immune from criminal prosecution, and that includes former president Trump.”

Mitch McConnell, who likewise voted to acquit, announced, “Impeachment was never meant to be the final forum for American justice. … We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation. And former Presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”  - NY Mag Intellgencer

So the only recourse left is the judicial system and the GOP opened the door to it, no matter how hypocritical.

Of course, we already knew this. Brutus just doesn't want to be holding the knife that kills Caesar, as McConnell and Trump wrestle for control of what's left of the GOP.

The GOP's failure to show true faith and allegiance to the Constitution was not the only failure that occurred on Saturday.

"With their decision to shut down an effort by House impeachment managers to call witnesses in the trial of Donald John Trump, senators of both parties chose political pragmatism over constitutional duty."

“The decision not to call witnesses [was] indeed a victory for Trump,” said constitutional lawyer and presidential accountability advocate John Bonifaz, the co-author of the book, The Constitution Demands It: The Case for the Impeachment of Donald Trump. “It makes absolutely no sense.”      - The Nation

Moving forward

Trump is already the subject of two ongoing investigations in the state of New York. The first, by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, is criminal. The second, by Attorney General Letitia James, is currently civil, but could easily become a criminal case.

Third, both Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Fulton County prosecutor Fani Willis are investigating Trump’s campaign to pressure state officials to flip the vote there. Willis has suggested Trump might have committed either criminal solicitation to commit election fraud, or racketeering, by demanding they “find 11,780 votes,” an almost comically corrupt request he was caught making on tape.

Last for now, Trump’s role in inciting the riot, or refusing to take action to halt it once underway, could also be the subject of criminal investigation. There’s no known probe of this matter, which would require a Department of Justice that is no longer controlled by his lackey, Bill Barr. Testimony could easily produce more incriminating evidence that Trump not only incited a mob but refused entreaties by fellow republicans to call a halt to it, instead using the violent pressure to force them to participate in his scheme to overturn the election.

"But even as the trial spared Mr. Trump a conviction, the criminal cases against his supporters for their roles in the riot are building. Already, more than 200 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the attack, and investigators are only getting started." - The Washington Post


There will undoubtedly be more information that comes from the prosecution of the riot defendants and their desires to minimize their own prosecution.

So keep your eyes and ears open, folks. This is far from over. Trumps' biggest fears revolve around hundreds of civil suits already in progress and a growing number of criminal charges over the next few months. Civil and criminal prosecutors don't have the same kind of political axes either hanging over their heads or to grind, but you can already hear those axes being sharpened on stone wheels. 

The potential trials have the possibility of being the best things on TV in those coming months.

Shall I make popcorn?

Addendum, same day, 1pm

Yesterday, House managers for Donald Trump's impeachment trial tried to introduce witnesses based on revelations late last week that members of Congress heard Trump side with the rioters at the Capitol Building.

In retaliation, Senate Republicans threatened to block Joe Biden's entire agenda, with one saying, "They won't get their nom[ination]s, they won't get anything" (like we were getting something from them already...).

Yesterday's vote laid bare one irrefutable fact: Senate Republicans continue to put party loyalty above our democracy, no matter what the threat to our Constitution or the American people.

However, Democrats continue to ignore the easy way around this. The constitution says that the VP is the President of the Senate and that carries the power of presiding over the Senate, taking away McConnell's non-constitutional tradition of presiding over the Senate. 

Using this constitutional power, the President of the Senate (Harris), can determine what get's called to the Senate floor or not, and who gets recognized, or not, thereby ensuring what comes to the floor and forcing the GOP Senators to go public with their votes and taking away their ability to hide behind McConnell by forcing transparency.

Why are Harris and other Dems ignoring this? By not even threatening to use this power against GOP Senate members, they are repeating Obama's mistake of taking single-payer health care off the table before negotiations even begin.

Democrats now control Congress (the house and Senate) and the Executive Branch. What are they afraid of?

What are they hiding and why are they wimping out again? 

Thursday, February 11, 2021


or, Getting Into The Swing of Things

 by Gary Stamper, CPC, MISP, DPSP

Obviously, I knew - long before I got here - that life was going to drastically change in Bocas Del Toro. I mean, that was the whole point, right?

Some things I could anticipate.... some things not so much. What brings them together depends on one's ability to adapt to change and your attitude.

I knew I was going to miss my family and friends, the ease of access to whatever I might need, and that I  was basically moving into a third-world environment where my "lifestyle" would radically change.

Regular readers of my Facebook page may remember that I spilled water on my laptop about 10 days ago... after six days of drying it out, it still isn't working correctly, and while it's only the keyboard that's damaged, the laptop is almost impossible to use without a fully functional keyboard.

I initially looked for a computer repair service, but it looks like the virus has affected businesses across the spectrum. I found one who said they could fix it but they'd need 2 weeks and $130 plus parts to fix it. Since my desktop is still storage in Florida, I was unwilling to be reduced to using my Android phone and tablet to do what I need to do on a daily basis, so I decided to buy an external keyboard for my laptop. The computer guy said that's what he'd do if he were me... but try finding a U.S. keyboard in a tiny Spanish-speaking town! Four stores later and lots of walking, I finally found the one I'm typing on and it's working fine. At least until the $30 replacement keyboard pad for my laptop gets here from the U.S. (it arrived just now from Amazon and took 9 days and I will be replacing it myself).

Also, take grocery shopping...

To begin, I walk into town with my backpack looking for the items I want, knowing that what I bought last week at a particular store, may not be available this week. I still cannot find the delicious canned oysters I found earlier. Local markets often take what they can get, resembling a U.S. "dollar store" mentality, so in order to get what I want, I may have to visit a number of different stores.

In addition, there are very few organic food items available in any of the stores, and when they do show up, it was likely a one-time buy. You can't get artichokes or brussel sprouts anywhere. All of the stores are privately Chinese-owned and stock is controlled by someone else. It is said here that the private owners are assisted by the Chinese government in setting up the stores in exchange for using the stores for money-laundering.

Once I've loaded everything I can find and carry in my backpack, I begin the trek back home and the afternoon is pretty well shot (especially if I stop off at Tequila Republic for a "Tacorita" - two delicious tacos and a Margarita for $8 - before I begin the trek home). Since I was likely not able to get everything I needed - or could carry - on this trip, I repeat this process 2-3 times a week. This is pretty much the only time I miss having a car. Everything takes longer here.

What I am experiencing here is not so far removed from what first-world countries may soon experience

Plus, my pedometer app on my phone tells me I walk about 6,000 steps on these days, a great health benefit, si? My high for one day since I've been here is over 12,000 steps in a single day. While still in some pain, that's not bad while still recovering from hip and knee surgeries last year

I feel fortunate that I can pretty much walk everywhere I go and can get mostly whatever I need. This is one aspect of the collapse tenet of getting smaller and local, but I confess I want to buy an E-bike so I can get out on my own to other parts of the island.

All in all, I'm very comfortable in Bocas Del Toro, much more so than Panama City, which is just too big and too glitzy for my taste. I've just never been a big city kind of guy. People here in the stores (and a couple of the bars) and I are getting to know each other. I'm coming up on three months in early February and I'm liking it here more and more with each passing week.

Another telling point is that I'm beginning to feel safer here than in many places in the U.S., but here, too, there seems to be a sad unawareness of just how serious the collapse of multiple systems will be. Nobody talks about it, at least nobody I'm around, but most ex-pats I've run into are American conservatives.

Of course, in the event of a real-world multiple systems collapse, I recognize that I may one day be forced to move OFF the island. It's advised that one not drink the tap water on the island, but I can purify and remove contaminants from tap water now so that's not an issue. Keeping water flowing through the local water system or keeping power on may be something else altogether. Many people here use rain catchment systems for their water. Almost all food is shipped to the island with the exception of the vegetables that local people grow and largely sell at small farmer's markets and gatherings.

Further, change is almost always hard and uncomfortable, so people rarely implement changes until they have to. Let's face it, happy people rarely change... why should they? But change (and relationships!) forces growth to alleviate problems and the best time to implement change is when you don't have to and when you're not in an emergency. For instance, if the U.S. food delivery system breaks down, it's too late to start a garden. There's a saying in preparedness communities that states, "it's better to be prepared one year too early  than one day too late."

Every civilization eventually collapses... this time it will be global

We are headed for multiple system breakdowns that consist of political, economic, climate, population overshoot, soil degradation, rising and polluted oceans, dwindling freshwater, resource wars, climate caused mass migrations, species extinction, and more, with more and more scientists agreeing that we've already passed the point of no return and that the very best case future scenario at this point for humanity is looking very bad, indeed.

As bad as everything feels now, it's only going to get a lot worse for your children and your grandchildren.

Collapse now (get small, find your tribe),  avoid the rush, and find a way to bring peace and acceptance to yourself, your loved ones, and your community or tribe.