An Overflow Of Snarky Snippets …

Today is your lucky day!  I have far more to do than I can possibly accomplish, nearly everything in the news sets me off on a grouse or a grumble, and my family has long since tired of listening to me, telling me to “go write a blog post or something”.  And so you are the beneficiaries of today’s snarkiness!  Thrilled, aren’t you?

I have lost count of how many times I have said we need to overturn Citizen’s United, need to remove money from the equation of elections.  The utterly obscene amounts of money that are spent by corporations and lobbyists to promote candidates come with a hefty price tag … one that We The People always pay.

On November 6th, Americans spoke loud and clear when we sent a number of women and minorities to the House of Representatives.  We said, “We are sick and tired of being left behind.  We are sick and tired of our voices not being heard, of only those people who have millions, or billions of dollars being listened to.  We are sick of our government representing only the top 1% and to hell with the rest of us.”  And so, we elected new blood, people who are not yet so jaded that they cannot see the forest for the trees.  And they will do the jobs they have been elected to do, despite pressure from others to ‘conform’ to the old ways.

On Tuesday, the incoming freshman lawmakers attended an orientation event sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.  The event was billed as a bipartisan event and on its website the school says the sessions are designed to help incoming House members “forge bipartisan relationships and learn practical skills of lawmaking just one month prior to taking the oath of office.” Uh-huh.

Who were the speakers at this event?  Corporate CEOs and Corporate lobbyist groups.  Guess who else was there?  Donald Trump’s former chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn.  Hold on to your hats … you’re going to love what he told the newbie members-elect …

“You guys are way over your head, you don’t know how the game is played.”

Say WHAT???  This, Mr. Cohn, is not a game … this is people’s f-ing lives!!!

Goldman Sachs, the financial behemoth where Cohn was CEO before joining Trump’s administration were at the event.  The heads of General Motors, Johnson and Johnson and Boeing were there. There was not a single labor leader or community activist, nobody who represented the average citizen.  Only people who represent that all-important upper echelon, the infamous 1%.  And we wonder why we have the most corrupt lawmakers ever in the history of the nation?  Wonder no more.

The FBI has changed its mind and decided that one of the currently most radical white supremacist groups in the nation is not, after all, an extremist group.  What, they’re just a bunch of kindergarten kids going around the country promoting political violence?

According to the Proud Boys website …

Proud boys.jpg

Lovely looking bunch of “proud boys”, don’t you think?

“The basic tenet of the group is that we are “Western chauvinists who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world.” Like Archie Bunker, we long for the days when “girls were girls and men were men.” This wasn’t controversial even twenty years ago, but being proud of Western culture today is like being a crippled, black, lesbian communist in 1953. Our group is and will always be MEN ONLY(born with a penis if that wasn’t clear enough for you leftists)!”

The group claims not to be white supremacist, however according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) …

“Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists. They are known for anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric. Proud Boys have appeared alongside other hate groups at extremist gatherings like the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville. Indeed, former Proud Boys member Jason Kessler helped to organize the event, which brought together Klansmen, antisemites, Southern racists, and militias.”

In November, the FBI categorized the group as an “extremist group with ties to white nationalism”.  That was actually fairly mild, if you ask me, for I would categorize them as a bunch of bigoted, chauvanistic, murderous white supremacists.  But yesterday, for reasons unbeknownst to anyone of good sense, the FBI recanted, saying they did not mean to designate the whole group, rather to characterize the potential threat from individuals within that group.  Would somebody please explain to me what the Sam Heck the difference is?  Nobody would join the group for any reason other than to follow their violent, bigoted ways, so … why is it only certain unnamed individuals and not the entire group that pose a threat?  Oh wait … perhaps one of Donnie Trump’s family is a member and that is why the designation had to be changed!  I call B.S.

On November 6th, We The People spoke.  We spoke loud and clear.  We made clear that we are not all a bunch of bigoted louts as some would like us to be, and we made clear that we value substance over form.  We elected to the U.S. House of Representatives two very qualified women who are of the Muslim faith.  Why?  Because they are the best qualified to make laws that are in the best interest of the people of this nation … that is, ALL the people, not just the wealthy few.

Ilhan Omar (left) and Rashida Tlaib

The two, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are both Democrats and both well-qualified for the jobs to which they were elected.

However, there is one man, Earl Walker Jackson a protestant minister and wanna-be politician, who doesn’t think these two women should be in Congress. Why?  Because he claims …

E.W. Jackson

E.W. Jackson

“Folks, I’m still trying to get over this whole issue of Nancy Pelosi allowing these women — these Muslim women — and apparently other women in Congress are now going to start, if this movement takes root, are going to start wearing the hijab on the floor of Congress. So what are we now gonna do? We’re going to turn Congress into an institution of Sharia law? I mean, folks, this stuff is just crazy … Lord help us. Floor of Congress is now going to look like a, it’s going to look like an Islamic republic.”

Mr. Jackson, by the way, is African-American and a disgrace to his race, for he has often made statements that were derogatory to gays, blacks, and Democrats and other minority groups.  However, he is outdone this time, for representative-elect Omar had the best imaginable response to Jackson’s bigoted statement …

“Well sir, the floor of Congress is going to look like America … and you’re gonna have to just deal.”

clappingYes indeed, folks, we’ve got some new blood coming into Congress!

And now I hope I have gotten enough of the snarky out of my system so that I can proceed with the weekend, for I have much to accomplish this weekend and little enough time and energy with which to do it.  Have a great weekend!

The Ugly Face of Racism …

Until a few days ago, the name Cindy Hyde-Smith had no meaning to me, but it has popped up on nearly every media outlet I’ve seen in the past several days.

Who is Cindy Hyde-Smith? 

Hyde-SmithCindy Hyde-Smith is the junior United States Senator from Mississippi, in office since April 2018.  A member of the Republican Party, she was previously the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce and a member of the Mississippi State Senate.  In 1999, Hyde-Smith was elected to the Mississippi State Senate as a Democrat. She represented the 39th district from 2000 to 2012. In 2010, Hyde-Smith switched parties and became a Republican, citing her conservative beliefs.

On March 21, 2018, Governor Phil Bryant announced his intention to appoint Hyde-Smith to the United States Senate seat being vacated due to the resignation of Thad Cochran due to health issues.  She ran in the November 6th mid-term elections to finish out Cochran’s term until 2021.  She was the front-runner, but as she did not receive 50% of the votes, there will be a run-off election between herself and the democratic candidate, Mike Espy, on November 27th.

Hyde-Smith is a lifetime NRA member, anti-abortion, opposed to same-sex marriage, and supports Trump’s unnecessary and costly wall … pretty typical republican, nothing out of the ordinary, right?  FiveThirtyEight, which tracks congressional votes, reported that as of October 2018 she had voted with Trump’s position 100% of the time.  Another boot-licker in the pocket of the NRA … yawn.

So why is she all over the news?

Because … on November 2nd, at a campaign stop, while posing with a supporter … a white supporter … she said …

“If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row.”

Say WHAT???  Have I mentioned that Hyde-Smith’s opponent, Mike Espy, is African-American?

Amid the hue and cry over her remark, at least five corporations asked for their donations back. AT&T, Leidos, and Walmart had donated a total of eight thousand dollars to her campaign but reversed that decision earlier this week. Smaller companies Union Pacific and Boston Scientific have also asked Hyde-Smith to return their donations.

And then, somebody dug up a photo that Hyde-Smith had posted to her Facebook account in 2014 that further inflamed the perception that she is a racist …Hyde-Smith-rifleA rifle and a confederate hat, and she wrote “Mississippi history at its best!”  Say WHAT???

Not surprisingly, Donald Trump jumped to her defense, saying …

“She made a statement, which I know she feels badly about it, and it was just sort of said in jest. She is a tremendous woman and it is a shame that she has to go through this.”

Excuse me, Mr. Trump, but there are some things that we do not joke about, and lynching, giving this nation’s shameful history, is one of those things.  I know you eschew political correctness and respect for others, but the majority of people in this nation are sensitive to the feelings of others.  This was not “in jest”, it was a cruel and racist remark from a woman who has no business representing the people of this nation in Congress.

On Tuesday, 18 days after her heinous statement, Ms. Hyde-Smith issued one of those meaningless ‘apologies’ that politicians are wont to do when they aren’t at all sorry for anything, but they’re taking some heat and … well, you know … elections?

“You know, for anyone that was offended by my comments, I certainly apologize. There was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements. I have worked with all Mississippians. It didn’t matter their skin color type, their age or their income. That’s my record. This comment was twisted, was turned into a weapon to be used against me, a political weapon used for nothing but personal and political gain by my opponent. That’s the type of politics that Mississippians are sick and tired of.”

And if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Hyde-Smith was at yet another campaign stop in Starkville, Mississippi, when she offered her view on voting rights:

“And then they remind me, that there’s a lot of liberal folks in those other schools who that maybe we don’t want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little more difficult. And I think that’s a great idea.”

For the third time, Say WHAT???

Ms. Hyde-Smith was maintaining a healthy lead in the polls over Espy until the beginning of November when she made her initial racist remark about lynching.  Since then, Espy’s numbers have come up and it is a very “tight race”.  It should not even be close, folks.  Anybody who would even consider casting a vote for this woman at this point cannot possibly be considered anything other than a racist, a bigot of the very worst sort.  If Hyde-Smith wins the election next Tuesday, it speaks volumes for the state of Mississippi and its people.  This is definitely NOT the sort of person we want to see in Congress!!!

Meanwhile, in the State of Washington …

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is not exactly known for having a great deal of intellect or common sense, so nothing that comes from them should surprise us.  However, I was a bit taken aback by their latest proposal … well, a proposal by at least one of their members … that the Eastern half of the State of Washington secede from the rest of the state.  Every time I think people cannot possibly get any more stupid, they stubbornly prove me wrong!Washington State mapHere’s what happened:

Early this year, Washington state introduced a package of gun control measures known as Initiative 1639, or I-1639 to be voted on at the 2018 mid-terms on November 6th.  The package is not earth-shattering, but it is a start and includes a ban on semi-automatic assault rifles for those under the age of 21, stricter background checks and a waiting period for those who do purchase them, and safe-storage requirements for all firearms.  Common sense measures and in my book it doesn’t go nearly far enough, but as I said, it’s a start.

Enter the NRA who in May filed suit against the State of Washington, claiming the initiative “seeks to further restrict the Second Amendment rights of Washington’s law-abiding citizens.”  Look again at what is included … banning assault weapon sales to those under 21 … seriously?  Is that what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd Amendment, hormonal teens running around with AR-15s?

The initiative would only be placed on the November 6th ballot if those supporting it could garner enough signatures … 259,622 to be exact.  They did get the required signatures and more … some 380,000, and in August, Chief Justice Mary Fairhurst of the Washington State Supreme Court rendered the decision that Initiative 1639 would, indeed, appear on November’s ballot and the NRA was left to cool its jets.  The NRA began an ad campaign, saying that I-1639, if passed, would “criminalize self-defense”.NRA poster.jpgOn November 6th, nearly 60 percent of the state’s voters rejected the gun group’s political arguments and voted in favour of common sense gun legislation.  Score one for common sense and thumbs up to 60% of the people in Washington state.

But, the NRA doesn’t know when to concede graciously.  Jim Lydigsen is the NRA’s official “Frontline Activist Leader” for the city of Selah, Washington.  After the election, he penned a letter to the editor of the Columbian, a Washington local newspaper, to demand secession for his part of the state.  Obviously, a knowledge of the U.S. Constitution is not a requirement for being an NRA official, nor is a modicum of intelligence.

Jim Lydigsen.jpg

NRA’s Jim Lydigsen

“Following passage of I-1639 it has become clear to me that now, more than before, Eastern Washington MUST separate from Western Washington. This means forming a new state ‘Liberty.’”

Now, Lydigsen isn’t alone in calling for the secession of the eastern half of the state.  He is joined by a representative in the Washington state legislature, one Matt Shea.  Although Matt’s reasons go far beyond just I-1639, he supports secession based on his “biblical” beliefs.  In the week before the election, Shea published a manifesto titled “Biblical Basis for War” in which he calls for a ‘surrender to biblical obedience’ and an end to abortion and same-sex marriage.  His manifesto is basically a demand for war.

Matt Shea-1.jpg

Representative Matt Shea

Under a section listing “Rules of War,” it dictates that an offer of peace must be made before declaring war, but no negotiation or compromise is acceptable. Only a surrender “on terms of justice and righteousness” is acceptable, which includes stopping all abortions, no same-sex marriage, no idolatry or occultism, no communism, and an obedience to Biblical law. “If they do not yield — kill all males,” it states.  Feeling a bit of a chill?  This guy is a nutcase, but yet he sits in the Washington State legislature, making laws for the State of Washington and its people.   Here are his top ten reasons for calling for secession …Matt-Shea-reasons.jpgShea, by the way, has an A+ rating from the NRA … bet that surprises you, doesn’t it?

This whole thing is rather ridiculous, for nobody has the right to split up a state in this manner, and if either of these “gentlemen” had bothered to read the Constitution, they would realize that.  So, why am I wasting my time on this ridiculousness?  Because these are men with power … much more power than somebody with so few brain cells ought to have.  These men are dangerous and sadly are a product of our current environment.  Whether it is populism or Trumpism that has opened the door to such outlandish ideas is arguable and I don’t claim to have the answer.  What I do know, however, is three-fold:  a) we need even stricter gun control laws that those passed by Washington’s I-1639; b) the NRA has entirely too much power and too much control over our elected officials; c) people like Matt Shea, who attempt to inject their own religious views into our secular government and impose them on the rest of us, have absolutely no business being in government.  Period.  I rest my case.

Fool On The Hill — Mitch McConnell

The date was 23 October 2010 — nearly two years into President Barack Obama’s first term and two weeks before the first midterm elections of his presidency. Speaking to the National Journal, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a now-infamous statement: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”  A statement that congressional republicans intended to do everything in their power to thwart President Obama could not have been any clearer.  But, listen to what McConnell had to say on Fox News earlier this week …

“Will Dems work with us, or simply put partisan politics ahead of the country?”

Say WHAT???

Here is McConnell’s OpEd, enhanced by Filosofa’s snarky comments in blue:

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.Last Tuesday I was proud to see that the American people voted keep Republicans in control of the U.S. Senate. But we also learned that, come January, the Republican Senate majority will be dealing with a House of Representatives under Democratic control. What goes around, comes around, Mitchie.

Needless to say, the past two years of unified Republican government will be remembered as a period of historic productivity.  Define productivity???  You haven’t done a damn thing worthwhile!

Both houses of Congress have taken swift action to right-size a bloated federal regulatory state. The Senate has shattered records in confirming the president’s well-qualified judicial nominees, including two outstanding jurists to serve on the Supreme Court.  Um… Mitchie … ever hear of a little thing called “climate change”?  Those regulations were in place in an attempt to save our earth.  And one of your “outstanding” jurists is a sexual predator!

And together, we passed the first comprehensive reform of the nation’s tax code in a generation. Already, Americans’ paychecks are growing, consumer confidence is high and unemployment has reached a near 50-year low.  Have you looked at the federal debt/deficit estimates lately?  And do you realize that your damn tax reform robbed from the poor and gave to the rich?  Rather a reverse Robin Hood!

After this prolific run, I was not surprised to be asked over the past week about just how much the American people can expect from the next Congress under divided leadership. What can we realistically accomplish?  Restoration of sanity and accountability is my hope.

I have good news: reports of the death of bipartisanship in Washington have been wildly exaggerated. In fact, some of the most significant accomplishments of this Congress have been delivered with overwhelmingly bipartisan support.  Eh?  Such as?  Name one, please?

Under bipartisan committee leadership, we took major steps toward restoring regular order to our appropriations process. The Senate passed more funding measures before the beginning of this fiscal year than at any point in the last two decades.  Funding for what?  Certainly not to help the poor, the homeless, the ill.  Nothing that I can see that benefits the people in any practical manner.

The measures included the largest year-on-year increase in defense funding in 15 years, which put an end to the Obama-era atrophy of our armed forcesGeez, Mitchie … the U.S. already had the largest military budget in the western world!  How is that “atrophy of the armed forces”???  Ever hear the term ‘guns or butter’?  We. Don’t. Need. More. F***ing. Military. Toys.  Get it?  We need help for the poor, we need healthcare!

Working closely with counterparts in the House, we found common ground on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure. In fact, America’s Water Infrastructure Act – designed to improve interstate commerce, water quality and flood safety – passed the Senate by a vote of 99-1.  Let me just pop over to Flint, Michigan and see how much help you’ve given them …

And in August, the Senate voted unanimously to expand Americans’ opportunities to receive technical and career-focused education.  Meanwhile, you’ve done nothing to improve our public schools, and have made a college education damn near out of reach for the average citizen!  There is much, MUCH more to education than technical and job training …

We’ve passed 22 pieces of legislation produced by the bipartisan work of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. From improving the efficiency of Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities to enhancing access to post-9/11 GI Bill educational benefits, each of these pieces of legislation was designed to help America keep its promises to returning heroes and their families.  Not what I’m hearing from the vets.  Have you talked to anybody from AMVETS lately?  I have.

And last month, the Senate passed a landmark package of targeted resources to combat the opioid epidemic. The legislation was produced by five bipartisan committees and included direct input from 72 different senators.  Whoopee.  Meanwhile, those of us who need medications such as insulin to stay alive, cannot afford them. 

Of course, these are just a few highlights of a Congress that has conducted as much serious, cooperative work as any in recent history.  Hah! Let me ask Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi if that’s true …

So make no mistake. The Senate has proven its ability to reach bipartisan solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our nation.  I think you mistake the meaning of “bipartisan”.  I’ve seen naught but infighting and chaos in the 115th Congress.

And looking ahead to the coming year, there will be no shortage of opportunities to continue this impressive record of cooperation across the aisle and across the Capitol.  Opportunities, yes.  But will you put aside your love of all things Trump and join the democrats in holding him accountable?  Will you put the 99% ahead of the 1% just for once?  Will you act with the interests of the nation in mind?

What we can make of those opportunities will depend on our Democratic colleagues. Will they choose to go it alone and simply make political points? Or will they choose to work together and actually make a difference?  Look in the mirror and ask that question, Mitchie.

Last week, the American people made it abundantly clear that they prefer that Congress focus on making a difference.  Is this a new concept to you?

That message may have been lost on a few House Democrats, who have made clear their preference for investigations over policy results. After years of rhetoric, it’s hardly news that some are more interested in fanning the flames of division than reaching across the aisle.  Not ‘fanning the flames of division’, Mitchie … it’s called ‘accountability’.  Look it up in the dictionary.

But however Democrats interpret the latest message from voters, Senate Republicans will continue our commitment to delivering results.  Continue???  When did you start?

We’ll keep working to lift the burden on American job creators and small businesses. We’ll stay focused on helping communities across the country seize new opportunities and realize greater prosperity. We’ll seek new ways to make life easier for working families.  “Lift the burden”???  WTF???  The burden is on the poor and middle-class, not the big corporations whose so-called ‘burdens’ you seek to ‘lift’.

Most importantly, in the face of whichever tactics the far left chooses to employ next, we’ll continue to stand for the rule of law. We’ll continue to confirm more well-qualified nominees to serve on our nation’s courts.  Rule of law?  Where is that, Mitchie?  Where was rule of law when Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath?  Where was rule of law when you and your cohorts refused to ban assault weapons because you are in the pocket of the NRA?  Where, indeed, is rule of law in Trumpdom?

This is what the Senate’s Republican majority was elected to do. And we’ll continue to get it done.  Bull. You’ll keep right on licking the boots of the fool in the White House.

It is obvious to me that McConnell was doing damage control, making it clear to the Fox viewers, which likely includes Trump’s & McConnell’s followers, that whatever goes wrong in the next two years will be the fault of those mean ol’ democrats.  Mitch McConnell has been in Washington far too long … time for him to retire!

A Shared Opinion …

There are a number of opinion writers who I read regularly, and Charles Blow of the New York Times is one.  His column on Sunday struck a chord, for much of what he says mirrors my own thoughts very closely, especially when he says, “I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.”  I initially intended to only provide a few snippets from this column, but after I studied and pondered it a bit, I decided to share the entire column after all.  Give it a read … I think you’ll be able to relate to much of what he says …

You Have a Right to Weariness

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Charles BlowBy Charles M. Blow, Opinion Columnist

Do we have a right to weariness in an era of animus? More precisely, can we afford it, or is exhaustion a luxury reserved for those whose wealth, privilege and status insulate them from the losses the rest of us could suffer? Does patriotic defense of country require perpetual, obsessive vigilance, or is it permissible to retreat occasionally for one’s own mental and spiritual health?

These are questions I ask myself regularly, and ones that are frequently asked of me, if not in those exact words. People are trying to figure out the proper posture to take in a world riven by deceit and corruption, a world in which the leadership of the country represents an assault on decency.

This is a conundrum, I must confess.

I, as much as anyone else, feel trapped by our current predicament. I would love nothing more than to write about other things, worthy things, more intellectually stimulating things. But for more than two years, I have written almost exclusively about Donald Trump.

I feel compelled by what I view as history, fundamental and consequential, playing out right before me with nothing short of the life of the republic at stake. And yet, at a certain point, words begin to fail, or the obvious has already been stated. Once you have pointed out that Trump is a liar, you can then note only that he is telling more lies. The same goes for his racism, bullying, anti-intellectualism, corruption and grift.

At some point, it becomes clear that the abnormal, outrageous and unacceptable have become a constant, and even the rolling boil of righteous folk’s indignation reduces to a simmer.

People often ask me, “When will it end? What can we do to get him out of there?”

My answer always is, “I doubt it will end soon, and there’s very little anyone can do to change that.”

I hate to bear that message, but it is the only one I can deliver if I wish to be honest rather than popular.

As much as there was to celebrate last week, with liberals winning control of the House of Representatives, and doing so with such a diverse slate of candidates, it was also clear that Republican control of the Senate means that any hope of removing Trump via impeachment has shrunk to nearly nothing. Even if the House impeaches Trump, the Senate remains highly unlikely to remove him.

Democrats are even debating how far they can take oversight in the House without turning off people politically.

The only hope is that the Robert Mueller investigation may deliver something so damning that some Senate Republicans view it as unacceptable. But there is no evidence as of yet that anything would sway them.

Trump is taking steps to severely hamper Mueller’s efforts. Last week, he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. The F.B.I. is currently investigating corruption at a company where Mr. Whitaker sat on the advisory board.

At this point, it may be more prudent to view what comes from the Mueller probe as fodder for the 2020 presidential campaign. It may not pave the way for an impeachment conviction by the Senate, but could well pave the way for an electoral “impeachment.”

It is very likely that we are stuck with Trump until the 2020 election, and even then the Democrats can take nothing for granted if they wish to defeat him.

That is the root of people’s distress. How can Republicans in Congress abide this behavior and use it for political positioning? How can so many of our neighbors condone open hostility to minorities, the press and the truth?

Or maybe the questions are for us. How could we not have registered fully just how hostile a substantial portion of America is to inclusion and equality? How could we not have registered the full depths of American racism and misogyny? How could we not remember that American progress has always been like a dance with a disagreeable partner, stumbling backward as well as moving forward?

I remember calling my mother when Trump was elected, and she was not nearly as distraught as I thought she’d be. Her stated reason: We’ve been through worse. She is an elderly black woman from the South. Her sense of history and heartbreak are long and fraught.

Recently, I’ve delved even more deeply into this line of thinking, reading about how black people positioned themselves during both Reconstruction and Jim Crow, when the political structures were largely arrayed against them.

I wanted to know how they survived and made progress against open hostility. The recurring themes are to never lose hope in the ultimate victory of righteousness; to focus your fire on the things you are most able to change; and to realize that change is neither quick nor permanent.

The struggle for goodness and decency is an eternal struggle, not a seasonal one.

Don’t beat yourself up if you need to tune out every now and then and take a mental health break. There is no shame in it. This is a forever fight. Once you have recharged, reapply your armor and rejoin the fight with even more vigor.

Just for a chuckle …

I’m sorely in need of a laugh … okay, I’ll settle for a chuckle … and figured perhaps you are too, so just for a laugh at the end of the day, I give you … Andy Borowitz …

Putin Loses Control of the House

In Case You Missed It …

Tuesday’s election was about more than the Senate, the House and the governorships.  Little attention was given to some of the ‘issues’ on that ballot, but a few are of major importance.

On gerrymandering …

Michigan, one of the most gerrymandered states in the Union, overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment which provides that future legislative maps will be drawn by an independent commission. At the peak of its effectiveness, in 2012, Michigan’s gerrymander allowed Republicans to win 9 of the state’s 14 U.S. House seats, despite the fact that President Obama won the state by over 9 points that year.  Granted, it is only one state out of fifty, but added to Ohio and Pennsylvania that have already made progress against gerrymandering, it is a start.  Remember that Rome was not built in a day, and racism in politics will not be defeated in a day, either.

On funding education …

Education funding has dropped drastically in recent years. Twenty-nine states were providing less total school funding per student in 2015 than in 2008!  In 19 states, local government funding also fell. In more than half of the states in the United States, the poorest districts — districts with the highest rates of poverty — get $1,000 less per pupil in state and local funding than districts with the lowest poverty rates.

On Tuesday, six education initiatives passed overall, in Seattle, Washington; Georgia; Maryland; Montana; and two in the state of Maine.  Four others were defeated in Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah.  Although Colorado is the 12th richest state in the United States, it ranks low in terms of its education spending. It ranked 42nd in spending on public education and 39th in per pupil spending.  The reason for its failure on Tuesday?  The funding for the initiative would have come from a corporate tax increase that was turned down flat.  Those investment portfolios are a lot more important than the education of our future leaders, yes?

On abolition …

Yep, you heard right.  The State of Colorado’s Constitution still had a clause left over from 1865 stating …

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The state tried to pass an amendment to remove this clause in 2016, but the amendment failed because the wording on the ballot was so confusing that people weren’t sure whether they would be voting for or against.  The state finally got it right this year with …

“Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution that prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude as punishment for a crime and thereby prohibits slavery and involuntary servitude in all circumstances?”

It passed with overwhelming bipartisan support … 65%.  Um … so 35% want to keep the potential for slavery?  Sigh.  Some things just die hard.  It’s Colorado, the state that turned down increased educational spending.

Tough on guns …

The voters in Washington State deserve a two-thumbs-up and an ‘attaboy’ from us all, for on Tuesday, they passed one of the toughest gun regulations in the country with a 60% margin.  The measure will raise the legal age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. To obtain such weapons, people will need to pass an enhanced background check, take a training course and wait 10 business days after a purchase.  In addition, they will enact a storage law. Gun owners who don’t secure their firearms with devices such as a trigger lock or safe could be charged with gross misdemeanor or felony “community endangerment” crimes for allowing prohibited people (such as children) to access and display or use the weapons.

A group funded by the NRA (go figure) called Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms has announced its intention to sue in an attempt to block the measure.  Let us hope there are some sensible judges in Washington State.

On restoring voter’s rights …

Florida voters have approved a ballot initiative which provides former felons with the right to vote, re-enfranchising 1.4 million people.  I applaud this one with all of my hands.  I know there are many of you who disagree with me on this issue, but my thoughts are that a person who commits a felony is nonetheless still a citizen of this nation … he or she should still have a voice in the way the nation is run and who does the running.  The ‘punishment’ for their crime is, as meted out by the courts, imprisonment or probation, but does not include revocation of citizenship.  Especially when you consider how many convicted felons’ only crime was drug-related.  So, I am thrilled that Florida took the initiative and hope to see more states follow suit.

Last but not least …

The State of Michigan passed Proposal 1, legalizing marijuana aka pot, making it the first state in the Midwest to legalize pot for both medicinal and recreational use.  The proposal passed by 56%.  Two other states, Utah and Missouri, legalized it for medicinal use only.

There were other issues, initiatives, proposals and measures covered in Tuesday’s election, some important, such as Florida’s constitutional amendment banning both offshore drilling and indoor vaping, and several states’ proposals to limit a woman’s right to choose in abortion cases, and I will have more about those at a later date.  These were all largely overlooked in the feeding frenzy over the House elections, but now we can step back and see what else was either fixed or broken by voters.

The Morning After …

Donald Trump claimed that this election, the 2018 mid-term election, was all about him.  He was right, but not, perhaps, in the way he meant it.  The very narrow taking of a majority in the House of Representatives was all about Donald Trump … it was a referendum by democrats … a statement that said, “We have had enough.”

Contrary to what many predicted, it was not a sweep, there was no ‘blue wave’.  And in fact, at several points it looked rather dim, and I had even written a morning post based on the assumption that the GOP maintained their control over the House — it was a glum post and I was happy to send it to the trash about 2:00 a.m.!  There were some mega-disappointments, albeit not unexpected:  Andrew Gillum, Stacy Abrams and Beto O’Rourke.  At this writing, there is still a slight chance for Stacy Abrams, for the margin is narrow enough that a run-off election might be called for … we can hope, although I suspect the odds are slim.celebration.jpgNow, we’ve had a moment of relief … some, no doubt, celebrated with champagne and noisemakers … it’s time to take stock, time to take a sobering look at the reality.  The newly elected 116th Congress will not be seated until January 3rd, 2019 … nearly two full months from now.  Have you considered what might happen during that two-month period?

I have no inside information and speak only as a decades-long observer of the political scene, and a more recent observer of Trump-antics.  As such, it appears to me that the main thing Trump would like to see put to bed before he is actually held to account for his actions in two months, is the Robert Mueller investigation into possible criminal interactions between Trump, his campaign, and Russian manipulators during the 2016 presidential campaign.  I will not be surprised to see some staffing changes at the Department of Justice in the next two months.

Trump, in his usual fashion, started the ‘morning after’ with threats …

“If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level. Two can play that game!”

“They can play that game, but we can play better because we have a thing called the United States Senate and a lot of questionable things were done between leaks of classified information and many other elements that should not have taken place.”

Whoa … wait just a minute … you don’t own the Senate, and they don’t even work for you, Donnie boy! Would somebody please inform him that this is not junior high school???

And later, this …

“According to NBC News, Voters Nationwide Disapprove of the so-called Mueller Investigation (46%) more than they Approve (41%). You mean they are finally beginning to understand what a disgusting Witch Hunt, led by 17 Angry Democrats, is all about!”

Funny, isn’t it, that the mainstream media of which NBC News is a part is “the enemy of the people” and “fake news” until they report something that suits his purposes?

Is there no work for Trump to do … has he nothing better to do than play childish games?  Or is he simply petrified of what investigations into his tax returns and his business’ finances since he took office would reveal?

Another sobering thought is that the Senate seats gained by the republicans last night may make a democratic majority in the Senate improbable anytime before 2022 … another four years.  It is true that the majority in the House has given democrats an opportunity to insist on some oversight, will put an end to the free ride he has had thus far and hold him accountable for his actions.  However, the importance of the Senate should not be downplayed.  First, it is the Senate that confirms or denies Trump’s cabinet choices and, even more importantly, Supreme Court nominees.  If the republicans hold the majority in the Senate for another four years, it is almost a certainty that Trump will place three more justices on the Court, making 5 of the 9, Trump picks.  For life.

Second, it is the Senate that must come up with a two-thirds majority in order to convict and remove Trump from office if the House were to vote to impeach.  I keep hearing people say that once there is a democratic majority in the House, Trump will be impeached.  He might be, but he will remain in office just as Bill Clinton did.  The difference is … consider Trump’s temperament … you think he’s abominable now?  Imagine if he were to be impeached, and yet still remain in power.

It is not my intent to spoil the party here, but just to remember that while last night’s win was a positive step, it is not the end of Trump’s reign of idiocy.

Election Night Observations …

I wasn’t sure what I could write tonight for my morning post, for the election is really the only thing on anyone’s mind, and the results won’t likely all be in by the time I need to have this post finished.  Watching the election results has been much like watching a ping-pong game, but knowing that the stakes were quite nearly a matter of life and death … the life or death of a nation.  But here, at the end of the day, I have decided to go with a couple of observations … probably snarky observations, given my current mood.

georgiaThe Georgia election is a sham and should be declared null and void.  Never in my life have I seen so much blatant corruption in one single state in a single election.  Brian Kemp should be on his way to the federal penitentiary for his tricks to suppress the vote, but instead he is likely on his way to the governor’s mansion in Atlanta.  While running for governor in this election, he was serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State, and thereby overseeing this farce of an election!  Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse!

So, under Mr. Kemp’s watchful eye …

  • Some 390 absentee ballots were thrown out in Gwinnett Country alone … a county that is largely comprised of African-Americans, Latinos and Asians. Thrown away!
  • Approximately 53,000 voter registrations were “placed on hold” for minor discrepancies between the registration and other form of voter I.D. such as a driver’s license or passport. The discrepancies were as minor as a missing hypen in a hyphenated name, or one letter off in the name of a street address.  Kemp insisted on every registration being an “exact match”.  Even an extra space was enough to disqualify the registrations.
  • There was the bus filled with about 40 African-American senior citizens being taken to the polls for early voting, but when they arrived, a county clerk forbade the elderly people from getting off the bus.
  • An African-American city commissioner who spent the day driving citizens to the polls one day during early voting, was arrested twice in one day on trumped-up charges.
  • On Sunday, with absolutely no evidence to support the claim, Kemp claimed there were hacking attempts and ordered an investigation … two days prior to the election and with zero evidence.
  • Yesterday morning, the lines to vote in Fulton County, Georgia, were long and the average wait time was three hours. Why?  Because somebody mistakenly sent only three voting machines to the polling place, when many more were required.  Fulton County covers a large portion of Atlanta.  Many voters left … you know how it is … they had jobs and had to get to work!  The idiot responsible for the mistake apologized.    Gee.
  • And back in Gwinnett County, where 60% of voters are minorities, somebody forgot to bring power cords for the machines, so once the batteries died, the voting machines were … dead. The lines stretched, people left to go to work, and there was a 4.5 hour-long wait for most voters.  Mostly African-American voters, that is.  Are you starting to see a pattern here?

There has been no integrity in the Georgia election for governor and I personally am declaring it null and void.  My solution is to send every single registered voter an absentee ballot and allow them 10 days to fill out the ballot and return it.  This process and the counting of the ballots should be overseen by either the Georgia Supreme Court, or else members of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).  Nothing less is acceptable.

Stacy AbramsThe candidate challenging Brian Kemp is Stacy Abrams, an African-American woman.  In addition to all the above shenanigans, she has had to put up with lies, lies, and more lies told by none other than Donald Trump.  Trump has claimed that Abrams plans to “get rid of” the second amendment (false) and also that she would turn the entire state of Georgia into a giant sanctuary city (both false and irrelevant).  Now, to those of us with a working brain, these are blatantly made up rumours by the ‘man’ who calls himself a president, but how many of the under-educated white people in Georgia believed him and cast a vote for the bigoted Brian Kemp?  Another blow against election integrity in the state of Georgia.

My second observation is that I think we need some rules here.  Why is the so-called president of this nation allowed to put his two-cents’ worth in?  The U.S. Congress is one of three branches of the United States government, and per the U.S. Constitution, is intended to be entirely independent of the executive branch and is supposed to serve as a check on the power of the presidency.  Isn’t that independence lost when the president is actively and avidly campaigning for specific candidates, those of his own party?  Isn’t this a matter of carrying partisan politics too far?  Donald Trump has not likely spent a full hour doing his job — the one we pay him to do — for the past two months, for all he has done is attend rallies on behalf of republican candidates where he spoke ignominious lies about the democratic challengers. voting toonElection reform is needed, for this has been a year of dirty pool all the way around, in the congressional races and governor races alike.  Can we not at least require honesty, if not integrity, from our candidates?  We have blatant white supremacists running, people who are affiliated with hate groups, and yet we have a president who is championing these abominable people.  Is this civil?  Is it even sane?  Is it fair?  Is it just?  The answer to all of these questions is that no, it is not.  The 2018 mid-terms, no matter the outcome, has been the dirtiest, most unfair, nastiest election in the history of this nation and it has left me with a terrible taste in my mouth, pain in my heart, and a feeling of deep shame for the country I once respected.

One result made me happy … the defeat of Mr. Voter Fraud, Kris Kobach by Laura Kelly for the Kansas governor’s race … Kobach is a Trump clone, filled with lies and dark toxins.

On the downside, I was deeply saddened by two losses in particular … Andrew Gillum in the Florida governor’s race, and Beto O’Rourke for the Senate seat held by Ted Cruz.  Both of these men would have been valuable additions to our government and both were defeated by two of the most corrupt the GOP has to offer.  As of this writing, there is still hope, albeit slim, for Stacy Abrams in Georgia, despite all of Kemps unconscionable manipulations.

And as I close up shop for tonight and head up to bed for a bit of shut-eye, it appears that the democrats have gained a majority in the House of Representatives!!!clip-art-wooo-clipart-4.jpg