On Respect and Kindness – Redux

Yesterday, I received a comment on a post I had written waayyyy back in June 2015 (not this post).  It was so long ago that I had no idea what the post had been about and had to re-read the post to refresh my memory.  It was ironic how everything I wrote in that post had changed in the last 3+ years.  It made me start thinking, though, about what else I might have written ‘way back when’.  And as I took a brief stroll through past posts, I was reminded of the quote by 19th century journalist/novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” — the more things change, the more they stay the same.  The following is a post I wrote on 03 November 2016, 5 days before the 2016 presidential election.  Today, just over two weeks before the mid-term elections, this post is still as relevant as it was then.  

“This world of ours… must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“I’m not everybody’s cup of tea. But sometimes criticism can be hurtful. Be respectful. I’m a good piano player, I can sing well, I write good songs. If you don’t like it, fair enough. But give me a break.” – Elton John

sad-turltleI was plugging away, working on the post for runner up Idiot of the Year Ted Nugent, when something went SNAP in my mind and I knew I had to write this post for this afternoon.  No worries, you will read all about Mr. Nugent tomorrow, but for today I need to talk about respect and kindness, or lack of, as it were.

cracked-shellIt is only Thursday, and already this week I have, either directly or indirectly, been called ignorant, thin-skinned, dumb, uneducated, a freak, a f—ing liar, and more.  Now, admittedly I take a strong stand on certain issues, and pull few punches in my writing, so I expect a certain amount of rancor.  I have a pretty tough shell, but there is a straw that breaks even the sturdiest camel’s back, and I am increasingly disturbed by the extent to which some are allowing the rhetoric of this election drive their own behaviour.

At the end of the day on November 8th, long after the votes have been tallied and a winner declared, there will still be life on earth.  Our day-to-day routines will not change, we will still have our families to take care of, jobs to attend to, meals to cook and homes to clean.  We will still need our friends and neighbors.  But at the rate we are going, will we have friends left?  Make no mistake, this election is very important and it is understandable that people are vociferously defending the candidate of their choice.  But I think this can be done without name-calling, without slurs directed toward individuals.  If not then we are less humane than even I thought, and I tend to be cynical about human nature to begin with.

respect-1I know I am not alone in saying that I have lost friends over this election, friends whom I have known for years.  I can say ‘good riddance’, but my heart remains sad.  Are we truly such shallow beings that we are willing to directly insult others just to make our point?  Can we not find ways to explain why we support our candidate without calling the other person ‘stupid’?  Are we truly not the same people we were two years ago, or were these traits always there, merely lying dormant waiting for the right catalyst? If we cannot converse, cannot share ideas without being verbally assaulted, insulted, and screamed at, what does that say about us as human beings?

The ability to have a respectful, engaged, and informed conversation about politics is essential for a society that prizes the ideals of liberty and freedom. It was what the framers of the Constitution intended when they wrote the document to be short and understandable by farmers and tradesmen throughout the thirteen states.  But the conversations I see today, the screeching, name-calling, ugly talk is more reminiscent of 1930s Nazi Germany where neighbor turned on neighbor, friend on friend.

The candidates in this election, one in particular, appear to have ‘inspired’ Americans to act in this manner, to call people names, to insult others and hurt their feelings.  One of my great fears is that long after these candidates have left public office, long after you and I have left this earth, this attitude of cruelty and disrespect will remain, will, in fact, have become the norm.

I cherish my friends and family, and do not take them lightly.  That said, I have a greater need for self-respect than I do the respect of others. You do not have to agree with me for me to like you.  You do not have to vote as I do, like the same foods as I do, or even put your socks on the same way I do.  But the one thing you must do is treat me with respect, for when you call me ignorant, my self-respect will no longer allow me to be your friend.  It’s as simple as that.  And you know the funny thing about self-respect?  We each have to live with ourselves 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We have to listen to ourselves, our consciences, at 2:00 a.m. when we cannot sleep, and we need to be able to like and trust ourselves all day, every day.  Others, we only have to deal with for short periods of time.  So in the long run, our self-respect is more important than whether others respect us or not.  Think about it.


Stealing Voter’s Rights …

Early voting has begun in some states, one of which is Georgia.  Georgia … part of the deep south that still hasn’t quite gotten over the Civil War … typically votes republican.  This election, however, might be different, but not if state officials can prevent it, and they are doing their best to try to.

Let’s start with Gwinnett County, where nearly 10% of mail-in ballots have been … simply thrown in the trash.  According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution …

The county rejected 390 absentee ballots through Sunday, which represents 8.5 percent of all mailed ballots received in Gwinnett so far, according to state figures. Across Georgia, less than 2 percent of absentee ballots have been rejected. Gwinnett accounts for about 37 percent of all rejected ballots in Georgia.

Problems with rejected ballots are a “red flag” for racial minorities in Gwinnett, where more than 60 percent of residents are Latino, black or Asian, said Jerry Gonzalez, executive director for the Georgia Association of Latino Elected Officials. It wasn’t clear Monday exactly how many of the rejected ballots came from voters who are minorities.

And then there is the registration problem.  Some 53,000 voter registrations have been “put on hold” because of the state’s ‘exact match’ protocol.  Under this ‘exact match’ protocol, the transposition of a single letter or number, deletion or addition of a hyphen or apostrophe, the accidental entry of an extra character or space, and the use of a familiar name like ‘Tom’ instead of ‘Thomas’ will cause a no match result.

Before I go any further, it is important to note just who is overseeing the election process in Georgia.  That would be Brian Kemp, the current Georgia Secretary of State, who just happens to also be the republican candidate for Governor, running against democrat Stacey Abrams.  Does anybody see a problem with this?  This is not the first time that Kemp has come under the microscope.

  • In 2015, Kemp’s office erroneously distributed the Social Security numbers and dates of birth of registered Georgia voters. This tends to make people leery of registering to vote.
  • During the 2016 election, Kemp was the only state official to reject help from the Department of Homeland Security to guard against Russian interference.
  • From 2012 to 2018, Kemp’s office cancelled more than 1.4 million voter registrations.

You may remember Kemp from a post I wrote in August about his campaign ad …

Last week, civil rights groups including the Georgia NAACP filed a joint lawsuit against Kemp alleging the exact-match policy, which was signed into law last year, has been “shown to disproportionately and negatively impact the ability of voting-eligible African-American, Latino and Asian-American applicants to register to vote.”Louisville Georgia seniorsAnd then there was the incident yesterday in Louisville, Georgia.  A non-partisan group, Black Voters Matter, was preparing to take a group of about 40 senior citizens from their senior center to the polling place on the day early voting began. The seniors were ecstatic, eager to cast their votes.  But before the bus could pull out of the parking lot, they were ordered off the bus.  It seems that somebody had called the county commissioner and complained that the bus should not be taking voters to the polls.

LaTosha Brown, Black Voters Matter’s other co-founder, said there was nothing illegal about the group’s activity. The organization is non-partisan and the bus doesn’t endorse any particular candidate. She called it a clear-cut case of “voter intimidation.”

But it isn’t only Georgia that is trying to make certain only lily-white citizens vote.  Take a look at North Dakota …north dakota voter suppression.pngNorth Dakota is the only state in the U.S. without voter registration. Instead, voters have historically been able to verify their identity at a polling station by presenting a subset of many different types of identification showing a date of birth and home address, as documented by the U.S. District Court for North Dakota. These forms of identification included driver’s licenses (in- or out-of-state), a U.S. passport, a tribal ID, a non-driver’s license ID, a federal agency ID, a student ID, a military ID, a recent utility bill, and the like.

Then beginning in 2013 a series of stricter laws were passed, and the end result was that only three forms of ID would be accepted, a valid unexpired driver’s license, a tribal ID, or a state-issued ID card.  But the kicker was that said ID must contain a ‘residential address’, in other words a street address.  A large proportion of Native Americans living in North Dakota live in rural areas where there are no street addresses, only P.O. boxes.

In 2016, a group of seven Native American voters sued the State of North Dakota and, long story short, the case ended up on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Earlier this month, the Court upheld the North Dakota law, effectively disenfranchising thousands of Native Americans in North Dakota.  Justices Ginsburg and Kagan dissented, saying “the risk of disfranchisement is large”.  Some 70,000 North Dakota residents will be unable to vote in the 2018 mid-terms simply because they do not have a street address.

The 2018 mid-term elections are the most important mid-terms of our lifetime, but the states are playing games … costly games that may actually turn our entire election process into nothing more than a sham.


I seem to be hearing the word ‘civil’ or ‘civility’ bandied about a lot lately, but while the word pops up frequently, the action seems to be slow to follow.  The republicans are worried that the democrats are becoming increasingly ‘uncivil’ … gee, I wonder why, after 21 months of being verbally brutalized by a bully and his cohorts!  But let’s look at a few things here …

tom wolf

Governor Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf is the current governor of Pennsylvania, and from all indications is a good one, liked and respected by the people of Pennsylvania.  A man named Scott Wagner is running against Wolf this year on the republican ticket.  Here is the ‘civil’ tongue with which Wagner speaks: “Well, Governor Wolf, let me tell you what, between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”  Civility?

The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City recently hosted Gavin McInnes, founder of the white supremacist hate group Proud Boys.  After McInnes’ lecture on Otoya Yamaguchi, his ‘Proud Boys’ took to the streets, brutally beating and kicking several individuals while shouting “faggot” and “[expletive deleted].”  Civility?

Notable democrats are calling for their party to get tougher ahead of the mid-terms.

“It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are.” – Former Attorney General Eric Holder

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” – Former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton

Neither of these even remotely call for violence, they do not use foul or vulgar language, do not refer to stomping on someone’s face or encourage beatings.  They are simply calling on democrats to speak louder, to stand stronger.  And yet, here is what Donald Trump claims …

“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob and that’s what the Democrats have become. They would turn our country so fast into Venezuela. And Venezuela’s not doing too well, folks.”

“The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern.”

“Radical Democrats want to tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power, demolish our prosperity in the name of socialism and probably worse.”

“They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Let me show you a few pictures of Trump’s ‘base’ at some of his rallies …

angry trumpeter-1angry trumpeter-2angry trumpeter-3angry trumpeter-4

Who are extreme and dangerous people?  Who, I ask, are trying to ‘tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power’?  Who constitutes an ‘angry mob’?

Both democrats and republicans are angry these days.  This is a result of the ‘man’ who began 2016 by inciting violence in his campaign rallies, even offering to pay legal fees of any who would use physical violence against peaceful protestors.  This is a result of the ‘man’ who constantly taunts not only his political foes, but the free and legitimate press, and any who dare to question or disagree with him.  The divisiveness in this country, the lack of civility, didn’t just happen – it was manufactured with a purpose.  It was manufactured using lies, smoke & mirrors, and already-existing tensions that were prodded to an even higher level.

And now that same ‘man’ is trying to convince his base, some 30% of the nation, that the democrats are evil, that they are dangerous, that they seek to harm him and his through ‘mob rule’, and that they must be stopped at all costs.  He is turning the word ‘democrat’ into something that has horribly frightening connotations in the minds of his minions.  He has even convinced some part of them that men are the real victims in sexual assault cases!  The ‘man’ seems to almost hypnotize the previously sane.

The worst mistake that democrats can make today would be to play into his hands, to allow peaceful protests to end in violence.  Democratic candidates must not play Trump’s game of using rude, crude and vulgar language, or calling for violence, or of being so anti-Trump that they forget to tell the people what they stand for.  The stakes are high in just over three weeks. It is so important that we all keep our eye on the ball and not allow ourselves to be goaded into lowering ourselves to the level of today’s more radical republicans.  I still ascribe to what Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high”.

The most important things on the agenda of every candidate for the next three weeks must be: convincing people of the importance of their vote, maintaining civility under all circumstances, speaking loudly and clearly to communicate their platform as well as their values.  Democrats will not get the votes of avid, die-hard Trump supporters.  That is a fact, a foregone conclusion, so we need not even bother to try.  Tune them out and focus on those who may actually listen … and think. vote-animated

A Bit Of This And A Bit Of That …

Trump thinks Ivanka would be great to replace Nikki Haley.

“So nice, everyone wants Ivanka Trump to be the new United Nations Ambassador. She would be incredible, but I can already hear the chants of Nepotism!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.  He later re-iterated, saying she would be “incredible,” and that there is “nobody more competent”.  And just what, pray tell, are her qualifications?  Oh wait … Nikki Haley had no qualifications for the job, either. But at least she had government experience, having served six years each as Governor of South Carolina and a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, and until she drank the Trump Kool Aid, she had some good sense.  Ivanka has … well, let’s see … she owns a company that daddy bought her whereby she uses overseas sweatshop labour to manufacture ugly clothing that she sells for an outrageous price.  Oh, and she’s married to a shyster real estate ‘tycoon’ who doesn’t pay taxes.  Oh yeah … everybody must surely want her to represent us at the United Nations.Ivanka-toon.png

Ol’ Duncan Hunter … back in the news again.

Remember Duncan Hunter?  He’s been on my radar off and on for nearly two years, but the latest was last month when I wrote that he had been caught and indicted on charges of using a quarter of a million dollars in campaign funds for personal expenses.  And then he had the gall to blame it all on his wife!  Well, I guess when you’re caught with your hand in the cookie jar, one thing you can do is start pointing fingers at others.  But his latest antic is a real piece of work.  He has accused his Democratic challenger for the upcoming mid-terms, one Ammar Campa-Najjar, of being a Palestinian terrorist who is trying to “infiltrate” Congress.  No, I swear I’m not making it up!  My imagination isn’t that good!

He produced a television ad that claims …

“Ammar Campa-Najjar is working to infiltrate Congress. He’s used three different names to hide his family’s ties to terrorism. His grandfather masterminded the Munich Olympic massacre. His father said they deserved to die. … ‘He is being supported by CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood.’ ‘This is a well-orchestrated plan.’ Ammar Campa-Najjar: A risk we can’t ignore.”

And …

“He changed his name from Ammar Yasser Najjar to Ammar Campa-Najjar so he sounds Hispanic. … So his signs could actually say Joseph Campa or, or something. That is how hard, by the way, that the radical Muslims are trying to infiltrate the U.S. government. You had more Islamists run for office this year at the federal level than ever before in U.S. history.”

The Washington Post Fact Checker to the rescue:

  • Campa-Najjar is a Christian born and raised in San Diego
  • His grandfather died years before he was born
  • His father wasn’t around much and that Campa-Najjar was raised by his mother and her Mexican American family
  • Campa-Najjar obtained a security clearance for his past work in the Obama White House and the Labor Department

The conclusion:

This ad uses naked anti-Muslim bias in an effort to scare Californians into voting for an indicted Republican incumbent.

The Democrat on the receiving end of these attacks isn’t even Muslim. All the claims in the ad are false, misleading or devoid of evidence.

Hunter earns Four Pinocchios.

4 pinocchios

Mike Pompeo has a heart, but it’s very, very tiny.tiny heartThe policy of the United States has long been to grant visas to partners of foreign diplomats serving in the U.S., even when those relationships are not recognized by their home countries, such as is sometimes the case with LGBT couples.  In July, the U.S. mission to the United Nations informed foreign delegations that beginning Oct. 1, the State Department would no longer issue G-4 visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. officials who are not legally married.

There are 69 countries around the world that criminalize same-sex relationships, and in 10 countries, LGBT couples face the death penalty for their orientation.  Last week, 119 House Democrats sent a letter to Pompeo protesting the policy change.  Let’s hope he listens, though I’m not holding my breath.  This is a step backward in U.S. Civil Rights, not to mention Human Rights … and a loud statement of Pompeo’s views of the LGBT community.


Let’s rise up

I am very fortunate that among my male friends, there are very few misogynists, few who believe men are superior to women, or that women were put on this earth to be the playthings of men. Our friend Keith is among the most open-minded, fair men I know, and his post from two days ago is proof. As Keith points out, women are tired … of many things. And as he urges us … our vote must speak of our thoughts, of our tiredness, or our mindset. Thank you, Keith, for this caring post!


A terrific singer named Andra Day provided an anthem for women, but also forward thinking men as well. It is called “I’ll rise up.” Here is the final chorus which says let’s all rise up.

“Rise like the day
I’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
I will rise a thousands times again
And we’ll rise up
Rise like the waves
We’ll rise up
In spite of the ache
We’ll rise up.”

There has been a building crescendo worldwide, but especially here in the US, to say women matter. Women are tired of being taken advantage of by sexual predators, violent and controlling partners and men in power telling them what they can do with their bodies. Women are tired of people ignoring or demeaning them when they complain or accuse a violator. Women are tired of kitchen table issues like equal pay and healthcare gettimg ignored. Women are…

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President And GOP Busy At Work Gas lighting Public With Propaganda/ Fake News Campaign

I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting sick of the lies and bullying coming from the White House and the republican camp in general. It is old, tiresome and not even a little bit funny. Friend Gronda has written an excellent post de-bunking all of Trump’s and his minion’s claims about the women and democrats engaging in ‘mob rule’ … please take a few moments to read and absorb how we are being fed lies, lies, lies, and more lies by the bully at the helm of this nation. Many thanks to you, Gronda!

Gronda Morin

Dear Media and fellow Non Trumpian voters, please discount/ pay no attention to the republican President Donald Trump’s claims about the women protesting the confirmation of the SCOTUS nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh during the first week of October 2018, as the equivalent of mob rule. At his rallies and elsewhere, he has been describing these women as being out of control, creating conditions for violence. This contrived outrage is in the same category of all his other lies, with no basis in fact and reality, but designed solely to motivate his base to action.

In short, this is his way of grabbing added media attention, as even FOX TV is no longer televising his campaign rallies because the ratings for these events have dipped. But he never gives up. For example, on the 11th of October 2018, Kanye West, the rapper, with his mental illness in full display, was trotted out…

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He Who Would Be King

It must be galling to Donald Trump that he has to sit tight on the things he has planned.  He is one who filters neither his speech nor his actions.  If he thinks it at any given moment, it free-falls from either his mouth or his thumbs on Twitter.  If he wants to say it, he says it.  If he wants to do it, he does it.  Rarely in his life has he seen any lasting consequences for his speech or actions, so why stop now?  But now he is being strongly cautioned by his top advisors, lawyers, and the GOP that to act now would almost certainly doom the Republican Party on November 6th, and likely bring about the ultimate end of the Reign of Trump.  Democracy hangs in the balance, and if he wishes to defeat it, he must bide his time.

What are those plans he is being forced to sit on?  All the steps that would lead to ending the Mueller investigation, the last remaining impediment to his autocracy.  Plain and simple.  Listen to what he had to say on Fox and Friends this morning when asked if he is planning to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

“I’m not doing anything — I want to get the elections over with, we’ll see what happens. I’m very disappointed that we go through this witch hunt, this ridiculous witch hunt… there’s no collusion. There is no collusion. There’s no collusion. There is collusion with Hillary Clinton and the Russians, but there’s no collusion with the Republicans, and there’s certainly no collusion with Donald Trump. And everyone knows it, and they ought to get it over with and save a lot of money, and a lot of time.”

‘Everyone’ knows it?  Who, exactly, constitutes ‘everyone’?

More of what he’s been saying all along?  Sure, but … remember a couple of weeks ago when he had summoned Rod Rosenstein to the White House, everyone was certain he was about to fire him, then … nothing?  My best guess is that he had every intention of firing him that day, but people with functioning minds strongly warned against it so close to the mid-term elections.  The stakes are high next month for the GOP and they are not about to let Trump blow it if they can help it.

We already have enough evidence pointing to the Russians having intervened on behalf of Donald Trump in the 2016 elections.  Where there is smoke, there’s bound to be a fire.  Robert Mueller’s team is under the gun to make certain they can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that what they report is true, for their report will no doubt be subject to the highest scrutiny, held under the strongest magnifying glass and picked apart many times over.  The ‘I’s must be dotted and the ‘T’s must be crossed.  That takes time.  Trump’s goal is to make certain they don’t have that time.

What happens if Trump has his way, if the mid-term elections result in an ongoing republican majority in both the House and the Senate, if he fires first Sessions, then Rosenstein?  Trump does not have the legal authority to fire Rosenstein directly, although he thumbs his nose at the limits of his legal authority, and in many cases gets by with it.  Solicitor General Noel Francisco is next in the line of succession if Rosenstein were gone, and he would then have oversight of the investigation.

Trump could legally pursue a number of options from telling Francisco to stop Mueller from pursuing any avenue of inquiry that involves Trump’s financial records or other sensitive topics, or he could order him to fire Mueller and either allow the investigation to continue with a replacement (or without a special counsel at all) or shut it down entirely.  In the past 21 months, Trump has neatly skirted the law more than once, has taken the stance that he, as president, is above the law, that it simply does not apply to him, and, because of a consenting majority in Congress, has pretty much had a free reign.

The Mueller investigation is not a witch hunt, is not a hoax, and is very much a legitimate investigation that is expected to produce eye-opening results that should lead to some changes in our government.  If it is shut down, or Mueller’s hands tied tightly as the FBI’s were in the sham of a Kavanaugh investigation, then folks … we are in trouble.  Today we still have a voice … we can vote the sycophants who have given Trump free rein out of Congress in less than four weeks. We can work to convince others to vote to remove that boot-licking republican majority from Congress so that Congress can once again become what it was intended:  an oversight on the power of the executive branch.  I predict that if we fail in this mission, we may not have another chance in our lifetimes.  Many will argue that the Constitution will protect our freedoms, but I believe that the strength of the Constitution has already been chipped away and eroded by the current administration and it is only a matter of time before it is burned.

The moral of this long-winded story:  VOTE!!!King trump

Deep Dark Thoughts From A Bouncing Mind

It is Thursday, 11 October 2018 … oops … that reminds me … I’ve got to get daughter Chris’ birthday gifts ordered … just over two weeks now!  Anyway … as usual, my head is filled with bits of this and pieces of that, and the ol’ mind bounce has returned in full force, making it nigh on impossible to focus on longer pieces, so once again I share with you the latest causes of my angst …

Trump has been taking credit for a “great economy” that was largely in place before he came on the scene, and to which he and his policies have contributed very little.  However, one of his ignoble policies in particular is set to take that ‘great economy’ down more than a few pegs, as I have said for months now:  tariffs.

From an article in Fortune yesterday:

Ford is having a bad year in 2018. Its stock is down 29%, and the tariffs imposed by President Trump have reportedly cost the company $1 billion, as the company is in the midst of a reorganization. Now, the company is announcing layoffs.

While the company hasn’t said how many jobs will be lost, a report from Morgan Stanley estimates “a global headcount reduction of approximately 12 percent,” or 24,000 of Ford’s 202,000 workers worldwide.

The beginning … keep your eye on the ball of that ‘great economy’.

I read this headline to my daughter and her jaw hit the ground …

GOP House nominee: We can stop rape by ‘educating females’

In Virginia’s 5th congressional district, there was a debate between the two candidates, republican Denver Riggleman and democrat Leslie Cockburn, during which the candidates were asked about their proposals to address sexual assault in the military.  Riggleman replied …

“As far as what’s going on on campus … I think a lot of it comes to educating females, specifically in the fraternities and sororities that they’re a part of.”

There is so much wrong with that single sentence that I am left too speechless to even remark on it.

Steve King … no, not the author Stephen King … Steve King, the member of the House of Representatives from Iowa’s 4th congressional district.  Steve King is, like so many other members of the GOP (Grumpy Old Perverts, as Gronda has dubbed them), a rude, undisciplined, bigoted man who would be better suited to driving a truck than serving in Congress.

Steve King has earned an ‘A+’ rating from the NRA, and yet has a zero rating from the Humane Society, for he is against animal rights. He is also against immigration and multiculturalism … in other words, he is a gun-totin’ white supremacist who the people of Iowa have been voting for since 2002. Eight times, the people have gone to the polls and voted for a racist.  He has called for a ban on same-sex marriage, and predictably mocks and denies climate science, calling it a cult religion.  I have only one question for the people of the 4th district of Iowa:  What the Sam Hell is wrong with you???

But here is the really disturbing part … he doesn’t even bother to filter his bigoted comments.  He has called for an electrical fence along the southern border, saying he understands it works well for cattle.  He has blatantly stated that none of the “sub-cultures” had made contributions to civilization as the Caucasians have (where did this guy study history???).  King is no stranger to this blog, for in March 2017, he earned the coveted Idiot of the Week award  .  Donald Trump held a rally in Iowa a few days ago whereby he praised King.  That in itself should tell you something.  Iowans … please, for the sake of our nation, take your heads out of your patooties and vote this bigot out of Congress next month.  See … I even said ‘please’.

And speaking of Trump’s Iowa rally … that is where he made the following inane comment:

“The only reason to vote Democrat is if you are tired of winning.”

Winning?  WINNING???  Winning WHAT???  Thus far, since Trump took office I have won exactly nothing … nada … zip … zilch!  Oh wait … unless you count the permanent scowl etched into my face, the ulcers that wake me in the night, the shaking hands, the grey hair, the sleepless nights, the loss of friends, and depression.  That, folks, is what I’ve ‘won’.  What about you … have you any winnings to show for Bozo being in the White House?

I don’t like people who mock others.  I don’t like people who are rude and treat others shabbily.  Thus far, just off the top of my head, I recall Trump mocking a disabled reporter (Serge Kovaleski), , the parents of a soldier killed in action (Khizr and Ghazala Khan), a female reporter (Cecilia Vega), Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and most recently Senator Diane Feinstein.  After mocking Feinstein, he roused the crowd at whatever event he was attending to begin chanting “Lock her up!”, only this time Feinstein was the victim.

Now … I realize that I tend to be confrontational most of the time, but this time I am not.  This time I would like a serious answer to a serious question (I seem to find that extremely hard to get these days!!!).  Republicans … do you like this behaviour?  Does it not sicken you?  I remember when I first started school, I had leg braces and Coke-bottle-thick glasses, and I do remember the mockery.  I was called ‘four-eyes’ so many times that finally one day, I fought back.  I had a boy twice my size pinned on the ground and I was pummeling him.  I remember those days of being mocked and made fun of.  It is rude, it is vulgar, it is nasty, and it is immature.  Sure, I expect it of five-year-olds … but I do not expect it of a ‘man’ age 72 who is, whether legitimately or not, the president of a nation of 300+ million people.  Republicans … I ask again … are you proud?  How can you condone this?  How do you justify or tolerate it?  If you do … if you can … then I would seriously like to know how.

And that’s a wrap for this morning, folks.  Have a great Thursday.

The GOP Ain’t Atticus Finch!!!

In the past weeks, and especially the past few days, I have seen some of the most asinine comments come from the mouths of men and women who are supposed to be well-educated, reasonable human beings. Men and women who are paid a sizable chunk of money by us to represent us.  That would be … us … all of us … as in, We The People.  It isn’t bad enough that they are not doing their job, that they are playing games with our lives, gambling away the future of this nation, but on top of that, we have to listen to them spout ugly and stupid rhetoric!

Tonight I focus on one such fool, John Cornyn III, a United States Senator from the State of Texas.  A brief bio …

John_Cornyn_(cropped)Cornyn is a graduate from Trinity University and St. Mary’s University School of Law, receiving his LL.M. from the University of Virginia School of Law. Cornyn was a Judge on Texas’ 37th District Court from 1985 to 1991, until he was elected an associate justice of the Texas Supreme Court, where he served 1991 to 1997. In 1998, Cornyn was elected Attorney General of Texas, serving one term until winning a seat in the U.S. Senate in 2002. He was re-elected to a second term in 2008 and to a third term in 2014.

Cornyn was the subject of a number of controversies during his single term as Attorney General of Texas, involving deals with the Koch brothers, injecting religion into schools, and others that I wish I had the time and space to delve into, but for tonight I shall stay the course.  What has set me off now is his inane comment about the republican senators who shoved Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation through, despite at least five valid reasons not to do so.  He had the unmitigated gall to compare these jerks to the fictional character Atticus Finch, from Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill A Mockingbird.

atticus-finch-qoeAtticus Finch, you may remember, played by Gregory Peck, was a lawyer in a small fictional southern town of Maycomb, Alabama.  Finch was representing a black man, Tom Robinson,  falsely accused of raping a white woman, Mayella Ewell.  The character of Atticus Finch represents morality and reason.  He is soft-spoken, believes in fighting for justice and equality, and is a moral hero in every sense of the word.

John Cronyn and his bunch are definitely not Atticus Finch.

“Some commentators have called this our Atticus Finch moment. We all remember that Atticus Finch was a lawyer who did not believe that a mere accusation was synonymous with guilt. He represented an unpopular person who many people presumed was guilty of a heinous crime because of his race and his race alone. We could learn from Atticus Finch now.”

The comparison is 180° off base, for while Atticus Finch was defending a Black man from a white woman who had accused him of a rape he didn’t commit, in the Jim Crow South, the GOP are trying to ensure a privileged white judge gets an even more privileged position on the Supreme Court.

And while Cornyn’s is the most bombastic comment, others in the GOP, now that they have gotten their way and feel they have nothing to lose, have dropped the masks of decency and are showing their true colours.Mitch McConnell said that the allegations made against Kavanaugh were “uncorroborated mud” and that blocking his nomination would be a “fundamentally un-American precedent.”  Never mind, I suppose, that McConnell was the force behind blocking the nomination of Merrick Garland, a highly qualified candidate, under President Obama, for more than a year!

Lindsey Graham, meanwhile, has accused Democrats of spurring an “unethical sham”, and is insisting that democrat Amy Klobuchar apologize for the “smear campaign”.  Such nice language these so-called professional men use, eh?

It’s funny, isn’t it, that the republicans got their way, by hook or by crook … mostly crook, for the FBI investigation was not an investigation, but a farce, and many credible allegations were simply ignored … and yet they still feel a need to push conspiracy theories, lie, and denigrate innocent people.  At first I was confounded by this behaviour, but then I recalled that they are only talking to their own base, the minority, if you will, of the population of this nation.  Remember that, folks, when you are tempted to lose heart, when you feel like the guys in the black hats are winning the game.  They are only winning amongst about one-third of the country, for the rest of us are not buying their snake oil pitch.  The thing we must do is take away their rosy glow next month at the polls.  It’s our last, best hope … our only hope for a semblance of sanity, of decency to return to at least one branch of government.mlk quote

Farewell Last Bastion of Justice

Barring anything significantly changing, Brett Kavanaugh will likely be confirmed to the United States Supreme Court, despite having lied under oath, despite having taken off the mask and shown himself to be a man possessed of a whiny and cruel temperament, and despite the numerous allegations of sexual assault.  Even if the democrats win every possible seat in the Senate next month, and even if there is a democratic majority in the House of Representatives come January, Brett Kavanaugh will not be impeached in 2019.  That said, let us for a moment look beyond the three-ring circus that this confirmation process has become and address something even more significant:  The U.S. Supreme Court itself.

In February 2017 I wrote a piece titled The Supreme Court – Our Best Hope which I began with

“Now that Congress has ‘fallen into line’ and is pandering to Trump’s every whim, licking his boots and kissing his posterior, there is one last bastion of justice remaining:  the United States Supreme Court.”

This was a time just before Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation, when I hoped that the three oldest Justices, Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Anthony Kennedy would be able to hold on and keep working for a few more years.  It was a time when I still believed Donald Trump would be gone from office within a year.  It was a time when there was still hope that our nation would be turned around before any lasting damage took place.  It was a time, apparently, when I was still wearing my rose-coloured glasses.

The intention of the framers of the U.S. Constitution was that the Supreme Court would be above partisan politics.  Surely, they realized that every man, even Supreme Court Justices would have their own set of beliefs, their own ideologies, but when they are sitting on the bench, they are expected to set aside their personal feelings and make decisions according to their interpretation of the Constitution based on the facts at hand.  It is an idealist philosophy, and hasn’t always been strictly followed, but by and large it has worked well.  This is how we saw Roe v Wade passed in 1973 with only two dissenting opinions:  Byron White and William Rehnquist.  The court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, a ruling that has seen controversy since its birth, but that has not been successfully challenged, nor should it be.

This post is not specifically about Roe v Wade, but rather I use it as an example of how the Supreme Court is supposed to function.  A look at the justices in 1973:

Harry Blackmun – appointed in 1970 by Republican President Richard M. Nixon, became one of the more liberal justices on the court.

William Brennan – appointed in 1956 by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a recess appointment, became known as the leader of the Court’s liberal wing.

Lewis Powell – appointed in 1971 by Richard M. Nixon, was a conservative, but known for compromise and often was the swing vote.

Thurgood Marshall – appointed in 1967 by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson, was the first African-American appointed to the Supreme Court.  Marshall was a former Civil Rights activist, and expectedly his views were liberal to the extreme.

Warren Burger – appointed in 1969 by Richard M. Nixon, Chief Justice Burger was a conservative, but voted as a liberal when he felt it was right.

William Douglas – appointed by Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, Douglas was primarily a liberal and a strict literalist in terms of interpreting the First Amendment.

Potter Stewart – appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1958, was firmly a centrist, often a swing vote.

William Rehnquist – appointed in 1972 by Richard M. Nixon, was a strong conservative.

Byron White – appointed by Democratic President John F. Kennedy in 1962 was neither liberal nor conservative, but by his own admission was a fact-based justice.

Nixon, a republican, had appointed four of the nine justices on the court when Roe v Wade came up for consideration, and Eisenhower had appointed two.  It is worth noting that all nine justices were males. Six justices had been appointed by republican presidents, only three by democrats, and yet legalized abortion became the law of the land.  This is what is meant by a court that rises above partisanship.  This is how it is supposed to work.  This is how ‘justice’ happens, folks.  It does not happen when a president appoints justices solely because he expects them to vote according to his wishes every time!

The Supreme Court has most always been looked upon with respect and dignity.  Historically, it has been a place where a lay person feels they should whisper, so as not to waken the ghosts of the many great men who have passed through its halls.  Once Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, that dignity will be gone, for he brings baggage that will soil the landscape, that will remove much of the honour that was brought by some of the greatest judges the nation has known:

  • John Marshall, Chief Justice 1801-1835
  • Earl Warren, Chief Justice 1953-1969
  • Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice 1916-1939
  • William Brennan, Associate Justice 1956-1990
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Associate Justice 1902-1932
  • John Marshall Harlan, Associate Justice 1877-1911
  • Hugo Black, Associate Justice 1937-1971

And many other fine men and women.  The dignity, the non-partisan justice of the court will be another bastion of our democratic process gone.  When Senator Jeff Flake commented the other day that there is no value in reaching across the aisle to work toward compromise solutions, we knew Congress was no longer accountable to We The People.  If Brett Kavanaugh is allowed to take his place on the Supreme Court, then the court will no longer belong to We The People either.  Both Congress and the Court will have become a tool of the madman in the Oval Office.

You will find Fareed Zakaria’s column in The Washington Post to be of interest on this same topic.