Try as I might, I cannot seem to keep the snarky at bay these days. I wake in the morning to an overflow of ‘breaking news’ on my phone, and it’s downhill from there … every story either causes my jaw to drop or an expletive to issue forth before I can stop it. It amazes me, as I sit here looking out the window, that the grass is still green, the birds are still flying about and stopping to help themselves to the bird seed on my patio, the flowers still bloom, children are out playing and laughing … everything appears to be ‘normal’, just as it was before, just as it has always been. But it is not … nothing is ‘normal’ in these troubled times. ‘Twould seem that snarky is my new ‘normal’, so …
Assault on the 1st Amendment …
During the protests that have resulted since the brutal murder of George Floyd in May, law enforcement officials have assaulted and arrested journalists who were reporting on the protests. When Trump sent unwanted and unneeded federal forces into Portland, the violence only escalated, as did the attacks on members of the press. This, as I see it, is a direct assault on the 1st Amendment right to a free press. U.S. District Judge Michael Simon agreed with me in his ruling this week that …
“When wrongdoing is underway, officials have great incentive to blindfold the watchful eyes of the fourth estate. The free press is the guardian of the public’s interests and the independent judiciary is the guardian of the free press.”
And with that, he issued a temporary restraining order not to arrest or assault journalists and legal observers for doing their jobs. Trump & Co have said they will appeal the order. This should concern us all, for if the press are stifled from reporting on such things as the brute force being used in Portland, Oregon, how do we know what is happening? Or, as Attorney Matthew Borden, representing the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, said …
“These are not accidents. These are not inadvertent shots. These are trained marksmen and these are the actions of a tyrant. They do not have a place in Portland, Oregon and they do not have a place under the First Amendment. If you do not have the press reporting on events first-hand, then you only have the version put forth by the government. And that’s what you have under a totalitarian state.”
If assaulting and arresting the press when they are doing their job, performing their duty to We the People, is allowed to become the ‘norm’, then we will no longer be a “free” nation, but as Mr. Borden said, a totalitarian state. What will follow will not be pretty, my friends.
Like a bad penny …
You’ve heard the expression about a bad penny that keeps turning back up? Sheriff Joe Arpaio is one such bad penny and yes, he’s back in the news and back on the campaign trail, this time running for Sheriff of Maricopa County once again. The ‘man’ is 88 years old, for Pete’s Sake … shouldn’t he just crawl off into the sunset and die or something?
In case you’ve forgotten, Sheriff Joe ran the most corrupt law enforcement department in the nation from 1993 until 2017 when he lost his re-election bid to a democrat, Paul Penzone. Thing is, Sheriff Joe was convicted of criminal contempt of court in 2017, but soon thereafter was pardoned by his partner in crime, Donald Trump. After losing his position as Sheriff, in 2018 he made an unsuccessful bid for U.S. Senate. He never got out of the starting gate on that one, came in with the lowest percentile in the primaries, and I thought surely that was the last we would hear from Sheriff Joe. But no …
And Joe Arpaio has not learned a damn thing despite having been the target of numerous lawsuits charging abuse of prisoners, entrapment, racism and much more. In his campaign announcement, he vowed to bring back things that the courts have either deemed illegal or his successor has done away with — immigration crackdowns, a complex of jail tents and other now-discarded trademarks.
“I’m telling you right now: I am going to do 90% of what I did during my 24 years. That’s the way it’s going to be.”
I don’t expect Arpaio to win … but let’s face it, we are living in strange times and if a television comedian can become president … need I say more?
Sinclair to do WHAT???
Most every city in the U.S. has a Sinclair Broadcasting channel, including my own. Here in Cincinnati it is WKRC, channel 12 … a station that was once among the most reputable but has apparently slunk to sleaze. This weekend, local television stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group are set to air a conspiracy theory that suggests Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top expert on infectious diseases, was responsible for the creation of the coronavirus.
This sort of broadcasting is beneath even Fox ‘News’, let alone what was once a reputable media company! This is something I would expect from Alex Jones or Breitbart. The baseless conspiracy theory is set to air on stations across the country in a segment during the program “America This Week” hosted by Eric Bolling.
Bolling, by the way, is a former Fox ‘News’ host … no surprise there, eh? I sincerely hope that Dr. Fauci files a libel suit against Sinclair, and perhaps Bolling personally.
Republicans wearing blinders?
It’s probably a good thing the Republican Party wasn’t in existence in the mid-1300s when the Bubonic Plague was around, else the entire human species might have died out then. On second thought, perhaps that might not have been such a bad thing. A recent PEW Research study shows that while 85% of democrats say the coronavirus pandemic is a major threat to the health of the U.S. population, only 46% of republicans see it as a major threat. WTF???
There are, as of this writing, 4.3 million cases reported and very nearly 150,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, and the majority of republicans don’t think it’s a major threat??? We have more deaths than any other nation on the planet, and more than double the number of every other nation with the exception of Brazil, who have just over half as many deaths as the U.S.
Were the republicans brainwashed in the spring when Trump told them it wasn’t a big deal – 15 cases and they would soon be gone? Or do they not see death as a threat to human survival? What if we had a government run by non-republicans who take such things as a pandemic seriously? Perhaps we would have had only 30,000 deaths and fewer than a million cases? We will never know, will we?