Unaccountability

Keith, as always, has words of wisdom that need to be heard and heeded far and wide. Thank you, Keith, for reminding us of that oft-forgotten concept of “accountability”.

musingsofanoldfart

Parents have tended to emphasize to our children that they need to be accountable for their actions. When I see a child or adult accept accountability, it impresses.me, probably because it should be more commonplace than it is. “It is my fault, I messed up, and I will take care of it,” are words that need to be said more often.

Sadly, one of the worst examples of the lack of accountability is the former president. He has long avoided accountability which has contributed to his blaming others or avoiding blame for his mistakes. This is a key reason he remains an “enfant terrible” even into his 70s and is well known for his deceitful bent.

The latest example is the sycophants in Congress who are rationalizing his autocratic-like spying on people he perceives as his enemies – Democrats and the mainstream media. This is on top of only seventeen…

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4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

I was thrilled to read yesterday … or was it the day before? … that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland will be taking on the issue of voting rights, given that the U.S. Senate is almost certain to refuse to uphold and protect our civil rights.  Our friend TokyoSand has written about some of the details of Garland’s plan, and included a short video clip of his speech that I hope you’ll take time to watch.  Thank you, TS, for all your good work!


4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

It’s been rough on the voting rights front these last few months, but on Friday, a little sun broke through the clouds.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jurys verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Attorney General Merrick Garland made an important speech outlining some actions the the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice would be taking to combat the attack on voting rights. He specifically mentioned the 14 states that have passed laws that make it harder to vote. He even referenced the SCOTUS decision back in 2013 that invalidated a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that opened to the door to a renewed rush of discriminatory actions.

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Making A Mockery Of Our Lives …

Of late, the Republican Party, aka GOP, have done most everything in their power to make a mockery of this nation, of the democratic underpinnings in our very foundation, and of the U.S. Constitution.  They have tested the limits of lunacy and it almost seems as if their entire goal is to prove that nothing really matters, that people don’t matter, the environment doesn’t matter, our very lives matter little to them.  Now, it’s easy to brush off their lies, their conspiracy theories as being beneath our dignity to even discuss.  And in one sense that’s true, but in another sense … their constituents listen to them, hang on their every word, believe them, and in far too many cases, such as January 6th of this year, act upon their words.  This means that yes, we must pay attention, we must be prepared to tell the truth, to counter their ignorance.  I have a few recent examples to share with you …


Last month, before Mitch McConnell and his band of senatorial thugs killed any hope for a congressional investigation into the lead-up and events of January 6th, the uneducated Margie Greene posted her argument against such an investigation on her social media accounts.

“They’re only going to use the January 6 Commission to tear down Trump’s legacy, tear down and smear him if he runs for president again in 2024.  And it will be used to demoralize Trump supporters and people that loved attending rallies and loved the MAGA movement and love America First policies, and it will be used to demoralize them and paint them as if they’re horrible people that entered the Capitol — breached the Capitol on January 6.”

Excuse me, Margie, but they are horrible people, else they would not have hung a noose outside the Capitol, would not have busted windows, pooped on the walls and floors, destroyed property, chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence’, and killed a Capitol policeman while injuring 140 others.  If this isn’t the definition of ‘horrible people’ then I don’t know what is.


Climate change is no laughing matter … with every passing day, the hope for a continuation of human life beyond the end of this century grows dimmer.  Scientists are working diligently to find ways in which we can slow or reverse the damage that has been done by people in industrialized nations.  They have some, but not all of the answers.  Enter U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert who claims to have the only answer we need.

Mr. Gohmert attended a House Natural Resources Committee hearing a week ago where he posed the following to Jennifer Eberlien, an associate deputy chief of the Forest Service …

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM, you want very much to work on the issue of climate change. I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We know there’s been significant solar flare activity.  And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate.”

A lot of people found Gohmert’s remarks humorous … I did not.  They show a profound ignorance that should have disqualified him from holding a seat in the House of Representatives long ago.  He is an attorney and a former judge who has held a seat in the U.S. House, representing Texas, since 2005.  Listening to him, I would have guessed he had but a sixth-grade education.  Like Ms. Greene, he has made a mockery of a very serious issue.  And also like Ms. Greene, Gohmert is a follower of the conspiracy theory group QAnon.


And then there is the first-term U.S. House Representative from Georgia, Andrew Clyde, who along with Gohmert, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that having to pass through a metal detector each day like his 434 colleagues do, largely without complaint, is a violation of … something.  His civil rights, perhaps?

“Unconstitutional!” “Authoritarian conduct!” “An active ongoing attack on our democracy!”

Oh for Pete’s sake!  Grow up, Andy … grow a pair!

Although he has been in Congress for only six months, Mr. Clyde has already been fined some $15,000 for refusing to cooperate with Capitol Police’s efforts to ensure the safety of every member of Congress.  If he is such a crybaby that he cannot man up and walk through a metal detector without having a meltdown, he surely does NOT belong in the United States House of Representatives any more than his two aforementioned colleagues do!  Mr. Clyde is a former gun shop owner back in Georgia who wears a tie clip in the shape of an automatic weapon.  Nice … real professional.


This might all be humorous if it weren’t truly a threat to our way of life, to the government we rely on in so many ways.  Is this, then, the face of the new Republican Party?  I still shake my head in amazement to remember that GOP once stood for Grand Old Party.  No more can they claim that title, for they have sold us downriver a thousand times over in the past decade.  These three examples are but a small sampling of the sheer ignorance that now dominates the GOP, the mockery they are making of our lives.

Thoughts From The Mind of Filosofa

I seem to have a real knack for getting ‘punished’ by the great Tweety god, aka Twitter aka Jack Dorsey and his robocrew.  I find it hilarious that Margie Greene, Matt Gaetz, Don Junior, Lindsey Graham and the rest can say pretty much whatever they wish, but when I make what I consider an innocuous reply to a post, I am suspended.  Here’s what happened …

The two-faced toadie Lindsey Graham made a really stupid comment whereby he said that …

“If Trump was right about the lab leak, it would change the image the public had of President Trump regarding the Coronavirus …”

I nearly choked on my laughter when I saw that one, and immediately just had to respond with …

No, Stupid, Trump is still single-handedly responsible for the more than 600,000 U.S. deaths, as he kept telling us it was “no big deal” and would be gone, and to just drink bleach. Your ‘hero’ is a madman who deserves the death penalty that he gave to this nation.

Had I not been limited to the 270 character limit, I could have done even better!  Now, you’ll note that nowhere did I call for violence or for an insurrection as some have done.  However, in less than 20 seconds, I received the following notice …

Hi Jill Dennison,

Your account, @GrannieJ has been locked for violating the Twitter Rules.

Specifically for:

Violating our rules against promoting or encouraging suicide or self-harm.

You may not promote or encourage suicide or self-harm. When we receive reports that a person is threatening suicide or self-harm, we may take a number of steps to assist them, such as reaching out to that person and providing resources such as contact information for our mental health partners.

If you are having thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or depression, we encourage you to please reach out to someone and request help. Our Safety Center has a list of resources you can consult for a variety of reasons, including depression, loneliness, substance abuse, illness, relationship problems, and economic problems. You can find those resources here: https://about.twitter.com/safety/safety-partners.html#mental-health/us.

Please know that there are people out there who care about you, and that you are not alone.   

avatar                 

Jill Dennison

@GrannieJ

No, Stupid, Trump is still single-handedly responsible for the more than 600,000 U.S. deaths, as he kept telling us it was “no big deal” and would be gone, and to just drink bleach. Your ‘hero’ is a madman who deserves the death penalty that he gave to this nation.         

Please note that repeated violations may lead to a permanent suspension of your account. Proceed to Twitter now to fix the issue with your account.

Where in the Sam Hell did they get the idea that I was suicidal???  They didn’t even have time to read the f*cking message, let alone to ponder its meaning!  I took my comment down, but then when I tried to simply ‘like’ a post by Bro, it popped up the same message, saying that my account is suspended for 12 hours!  I don’t care, I think it’s funny and I was soon headed to bed anyway, but I DO care in the sense that many people have said much worse than I and not been ‘punished’.  This is my third suspension from these jackals … Jack Dorsey is now on my shit list … and as soon as my suspension is lifted, I shall let him know it!  Stay tuned!


Y’know, folks … I’ve said to more than one person of late that this nation has let me down, that I am so disappointed in the people of this nation, that it is no longer a country that I recognize.  Racism, guns, the Big Lie, and more have darkened my view of the country I’ve spent 70 years in.  My dilemma is whether to try to escape to either Canada or the UK, likely saving my life, or to stay and fight, to keep trying to wake the ignorant masses and inject just a spot of remorse into the politicos.  And then I remember the words of the late, great Maya Angelou.  I would like to share those words with you today, ask you to think about them, decide whether you will rise …

Still I Rise

Maya Angelou – 1928-2014

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops,

Weakened by my soulful cries?

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own backyard.

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

 

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

A Conundrum … No Easy Answers

Yesterday, I wrote with some annoyance about the Department of Justice continuing to support the previous administrations claims that … basically, the former guy could do no wrong and was above the law, no matter how many women he raped and then denigrated publicly.  Today, one of my favourite columnists, Eugene Robinson, has given me pause, caused me to perhaps look at it from a slightly different perspective.  One sentence says it all … “The meaning of the law does not change depending on who is in power.”  While I still do not support We the Taxpayers having to pay to defend a rapist madman, I now have a somewhat better understanding of why the Justice Department is doing what they are doing.  Like Mr. Robinson, I hope Trump, and by extension the U.S. Justice Department, lose the suit to Ms. Carroll, for she is deserving of retribution, but I now understand it better.  And I think it only fair that any restitution to Ms. Carroll come out of the former guy’s pocket, not mine and not yours.


Merrick Garland is right to be cautious about breaking with Trump’s Justice Department

Opinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

June 10, 2021 at 4:05 p.m. EDT

As frustrating and galling as it may be to see President Biden’s administration make anything less than a clean break with its predecessors, Attorney General Merrick Garland is right not to peremptorily reverse positions taken by the Justice Department during the Trump era. And his caution is appropriate even if those positions, such as continuing to represent a certain Mar-a-Lago resident in a defamation case, are clearly wrong.

The Justice Department never should have tried to defend Donald Trump in a civil lawsuit filed by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who says that Trump, back in his real estate mogul days, raped her in a department store dressing room. When Carroll made her rape allegation public, then-President Trump called her a liar. Carroll responded by suing Trump for defamation, seeking damages.

Trump was initially represented by private counsel. But his Justice Department intervened to have the case moved to U.S. District Court and argued that it should have been dismissed, saying that Trump was a government “employee” acting within “the scope of his employment” when he verbally attacked Carroll, and thus enjoyed immunity for his defamatory words.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled against those claims in October and ordered that Carroll’s lawsuit be allowed to proceed. But Garland’s Justice Department is continuing to defend Trump, even though Kaplan determined that the case should be seen as a private matter between two individuals.

I hope the Justice Department ultimately loses the case and Carroll gets her day in court. But Garland, by staying the course, is sending a powerful message: The Justice Department doesn’t “belong” to Trump or Joe Biden or any one president. The meaning of the law does not change depending on who is in power. We should all swallow hard and accept Garland’s general commitment to some measure of continuity, because the alternative can be much worse.

I know that from personal observation. I was The Post’s South America correspondent three decades ago, at a time when most nations on the continent were emerging from long, dark years of military rule and trying to rebuild their democratic institutions. They all found that once faith in those institutions is lost, it is not easy to regain.

I was based in Buenos Aires, and Argentina’s civilian leadership was still finding its bearings. After years of being lied to by the murderous ruling junta, citizens had little faith in what their elected leaders said. And they had even less faith in the ability of the court system to honestly ascertain truth and deliver justice.

One instructive case study was a brutal rape and murder in Catamarca, a province in the Andean foothills. On a Friday night in September 1990, a 17-year-old girl named Maria Soledad Morales went with some friends to a local dance and never came home. Her tortured and mutilated body was found the following Monday in a roadside ditch. The Catamarca police chief initially said only that she had died from cardiac arrest, but it was later found that she had been brutalized and possibly forced to ingest a lethal dose of cocaine.

Suspicion fell on a group of young men with ties to the Saadi family, a powerful dynasty that had been in control of the province since the days of strongman Juan Perón. But none of these men was arrested by local police, whose statements about the case no one trusted.

The Carmelite nun who ran the school Morales had attended began organizing marches calling for justice, and the demonstrations grew so large that the national government had to respond by sending in a strike force of supposedly “untouchable” investigators. But no one trusted anything they said about the case, either.

The problem was that the Saadis had been political allies of then-President Carlos Menem. The universal assumption was that with Menem in power, there would be no honest and thorough investigation that might hold the Saadis or other powerful people accountable.

Finally, eight years later, two men — one of them a well-connected scion — were convicted of involvement in the murder; they each served time in prison and were released. Many Argentines are convinced — as am I — that the justice system never got anywhere near the full truth of the murder. Ramón Eduardo Saadi, who at the time was the provincial governor, was removed from office in 1991 — but only because of how loud the outcry about the case became.

My point is not that Argentina is uniquely flawed, but that we do not want the United States to become a nation where the default assumption is that justice is always political. We don’t want to be a place where culpability and liability depend on who happens to be president.

So if Garland believes there are plausible reasons for the government to keep defending Trump in Carroll’s defamation suit, I’m glad he’s doing so. His job is to follow the law as he sees it — even when I think he’s dead wrong.

WHY???

If you thought I let off all the steam in this morning’s rants, you’d be wrong.  Two things are puzzling me at the moment … puzzling and annoying me … leading me to keep asking over and over — WHY???  The former guy needs to fade into oblivioun … he is, or at least ought to be, irrelevant now, yet he keeps popping back onto the radar.  Somebody please, put him somewhere, like a mental institution or better yet, a prison.


I don’t believe a word of it …

You remember June 1st 2020, right?  That was the day that the former guy, having seen his approval rating drop even lower than usual, decided a photo op was just the thing to boost his ratings.  So, he and his band of merry men (and women) walked from the White House to a church in Lafayette Park so he could hold up a bible and let the press take pictures of him doing so … pictures that would be splashed all over every major news outlet by that evening.  However, his walk was only accomplished after the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies cleared the path of peaceful protestors protesting the brutal police killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, a month prior.

The protests were peaceful, no violence until federal law enforcement officers showed up.  According to The Washington Post the following day …

“In a massive show of force, federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and chemical gas at peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday evening … Hundreds of protesters were pushed away from Lafayette Square, where they were protesting the police killing of George Floyd, by the National Guard, U.S. Park Police and Secret Service. The ambush began half an hour before the city’s newly imposed curfew of 7 p.m. went into effect.”

There were photos, videos … it cannot be denied.  And yet, yesterday a report by the Interior Department’s inspector general did just that … denied that law enforcement cleared area for the former guy’s ludicrous walk to church.  According to the report, the area was cleared of protestors in order to allow contractors to safely install some fencing.  BULLSHIT!  I believe that just about as much as I believe elephants can fly!

What I don’t understand is why this particular lie?  What is the purpose, one year later, of telling a lie covering up actions that occurred as a result of egomania by the former guy?  Does the inspector general who issued the report honestly think that We the People are so stupid that we don’t remember the scene from one year ago?  And what’s the point?  The former guy is gone, he surely isn’t still pulling strings in the Department of the Interior, is he?  Police do not use violent means to clear peaceful protestors from an area so that they can build a fence.  Period.  Give us credit for a little bit of intelligence!


Defending the indefensible

This week the Department of Justice led by Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that it would continue defending the former guy in the lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll.  A bit of a refresher for those who may not remember this situation …

Ms. Carroll has claimed, and for the record I believe her, that the former guy raped her in the 1990s.  More than a dozen others have made the same claim, most quite credible, and I remind you of that old saying, where there’s so much smoke, there’s a fire somewhere.  When Ms. Carroll made her claim, the former guy rudely denigrated her in public, calling her rude names, saying he had never met her (this despite the fact there are photos of Ms. Carroll and her husband with the former guy at a party) and that he couldn’t have raped her because she isn’t his ‘type’.  Ms. Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump for defaming her character and calling her a liar among other things.  At that point, then-Attorney General William Barr stepped in and said that the former guy was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and made statements assaulting her character, and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

Long story short, he lied and called her names, Bill Barr said he had a right to do that because he was the then-occupant of the Oval Office, and that We the Taxpayers should pay to defend him and prove that in his position at the time, he was above the law.

Today, William Barr has left the Justice Department, replaced by a man for whom I have a great deal of respect, Merrick Garland.  However, I am extremely disappointed in the decision by the DoJ to continue defending the former guy at our expense!  WHY???  Is this a democratic republic as stated in the U.S. Constitution, or is this a banana republic that supports egomaniacal dictators???

In 2020, Barr argued that the former guy was a federal employee whose statements were part of his employment duties and who was thus entitled to protection under the Westfall Act, which grants civil immunity to federal employees for actions that are part of their jobs.  Since when is calling a woman a ‘slut’ part of the president’s job?  So, by this standard, if a sitting president kills one of his staff with a knife or a gun, would that be defensible under the Westfall Act?  Where is the line … and when do We the People finally stand up and say, ENOUGH!

Again, I want to know why the current DoJ is still upholding the former guy’s actions.  I just need an explanation … We the People deserve an explanation.

Ulcer-Inducing Mini Rants

Tonight’s min-rants have me growling, my ulcer flared up, and I will probably need a few hours of winding down before I can sleep.  But, rather than jump straight into a rant, let’s start out with something I found at least mildly humorous …


A bit of humour …

One of my many daily newsletters had this paragraph in talking about the comparison between the former guy and the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, affectionately called BoJo in the UK …

There’s been talk about how Biden and Johnson — whom the President’s predecessor referred to as “Britain Trump” — won’t get on. After all, Johnson, like the 45th US President, is a populist who won power by courting blue-collar grievance, had an itinerant love life, a distant acquaintance with the truth and a blond edifice on his head that defies gravity. 

That last part about the hair especially made me laugh.  At least, though, Boris doesn’t wear ugly orange makeup!  And … he can speak in full sentences … I’ve HEARD HIM!


Where did she get her medical license?

Sherri Tenpenny is allegedly a medical doctor based in Cleveland, Ohio, though if she does, in fact, have a license to practice medicine it should be immediately revoked.  She is known for her anti-vaccination campaigns and conspiracy theories and in May she put out a video claiming that the Covid vaccine would cause infertility in males and birth defects in a fetus if the mother received the vaccine.  She claimed this is all linked to a conspiracy by “the globalists and the de-population eugenicists, the stated Satanists who are out to destroy the world”.  I wonder if she’s been hanging out with ol’ Margie Greene?  Why would a doctor … someone the public is supposed to be able to trust, tell her patients bald-faced lies?   But wait, you haven’t heard the latest.

For some reason that I will never understand, this fruitcake was invited to testify as an “expert” witness Tuesday to a hearing in the Ohio House Health Committee in regards to a bill that would prevent businesses or the government from requiring proof of vaccination.  Her testimony was bizarre, to say the least, as she claimed that the vaccine turns people into magnets …

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the Internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that.”

Gee … I scan the internet 12 hours or so every day and not once have I seen a person with keys or silverware attached to them!  In fact, having recently received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I decided to try this at home.  Nope, the butcher knife did not stick to me, though it did almost cost me a toe or two as it fell rapidly to the floor!  If you live in or around Cleveland, Ohio, please stay as far away from this quack as possible!  Meanwhile, I am writing to the State Medical Board to request that her license to practice medicine be immediately revoked … she’s a bigger nutcase than even Rand Paul!

Tenpenny also vaguely suggested that somehow the vaccine interfaces with 5G towers (those cellular towers that everyone seems to have some conspiracy theory about).  Now, you and I can blow this woman off, see her for the psycho that she is, but apparently Ohio legislators aren’t as intelligent as we are, for there was almost no pushback against her lunatic ramblings.  In fact, Representative Jennifer L. Gross, a nurse who co-sponsored the bill, told Tenpenny …

“What an honor to have you here.”

Say WHAT???  I’m moving out of this damn state!!!  My daughter’s company has its headquarters in New York … perhaps she can request a transfer!

It should come as no surprise to learn that Tenpenny is an anti-vaxxer who authored a book titled “Saying No to Vaccines” in 2008.  What does come as a surprise is that she’s still allowed to practice medicine.  And you wonder why I have a difficult time trusting the medical community?  Here we are trying to convince people to get the vaccine so that we can all be safer and freer, and this loon is perpetuating all these frightening lies to people who probably believe her and will continue being a walking germ tree.


What are they teaching their children?  What is this nation becoming?

People all across this nation and around the globe have found the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin to be a horrific crime.  We have all mourned Mr. Floyd’s death, it has led to massive rallies by Black Lives Matter groups, and there has been nothing even remotely humorous about it.  Until three high school boys … racist juveniles … thought it would be funny to re-enact the murder.

It happened at Mead High School in Longmont, Colorado when a trio of male students there published an image of them re-enacting Floyd’s murder in the school’s parking lot last month. Two of them had their knees on their classmate’s neck and back. The teen who was supposed to be Floyd was in blackface and lying motionless on the ground.  “Bye bye senoirs [sic],” the caption read, with a hand-waving emoji to the class of 2021.  They cannot even f*cking spell the word ‘seniors’ and they are in high school doing this disgusting, criminal sort of thing!

What the hell sort of values are we teaching our children?  Apparently in Longmont, Colorado, parents are teaching them to be racist jerks!  Just yesterday morning I wrote about young people seeing a need and reaching out, starting charities to help people, and now THIS!

To their credit, most students were sickened and outraged by the episode, and some claimed there has long been a culture of racism at the school.  The school’s principal of the last 12 years, Rachael Ayers, resigned as a result.

Folks … this story has literally made me ill.  I hold the parents of these three teens responsible for failing to even attempt to teach them values or kindness to others.  If we, as a nation, continue to allow these sort of incidents, then we are signing the death warrant of the nation.  The three students were each suspended from school for five days … big fat deal … they probably enjoyed those five days, rather than seeing them as punishment.  At the risk of sounding radical, I would like to see every parent of these three in jail for 50 days each and then forced to attend parenting classes, for they’ve obviously got it all wrong!


I’ll end as I began, with a bit of (dark) humour …

A ‘Statement Of Concern’

The actions of Republican state legislators to curtail absentee voting, limit days for early voting and seize control of local election boards have prompted 188 scholars to sign a “Statement of Concern: The Threats to American Democracy and the Need for National Voting and Election Administration Standards.” 

Their words are wise and prophetic …


Statement of Concern

The Threats to American Democracy and the Need for National Voting and Election Administration Standards

STATEMENT

June 1, 2021

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.

When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

State legislators supporting these changes have cited the urgency of “electoral integrity” and the need to ensure that elections are secure and free of fraud. But by multiple expert judgments, the 2020 election was extremely secure and free of fraud. The reason that Republican voters have concerns is because many Republican officials, led by former President Donald Trump, have manufactured false claims of fraud, claims that have been repeatedly rejected by courts of law, and which Trump’s own lawyers have acknowledged were mere speculation when they testified about them before judges.

In future elections, these laws politicizing the administration and certification of elections could enable some state legislatures or partisan election officials to do what they failed to do in 2020: reverse the outcome of a free and fair election. Further, these laws could entrench extended minority rule, violating the basic and longstanding democratic principle that parties that get the most votes should win elections.

Democracy rests on certain elemental institutional and normative conditions. Elections must be neutrally and fairly administered. They must be free of manipulation. Every citizen who is qualified must have an equal right to vote, unhindered by obstruction. And when they lose elections, political parties and their candidates and supporters must be willing to accept defeat and acknowledge the legitimacy of the outcome. The refusal of prominent Republicans to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, and the anti-democratic laws adopted (or approaching adoption) in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and Texas—and under serious consideration in other Republican-controlled states—violate these principles. More profoundly, these actions call into question whether the United States will remain a democracy. As scholars of democracy, we condemn these actions in the strongest possible terms as a betrayal of our precious democratic heritage.

The most effective remedy for these anti-democratic laws at the state level is federal action to protect equal access of all citizens to the ballot and to guarantee free and fair elections. Just as it ultimately took federal voting rights law to put an end to state-led voter suppression laws throughout the South, so federal law must once again ensure that American citizens’ voting rights do not depend on which party or faction happens to be dominant in their state legislature, and that votes are cast and counted equally, regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which a citizen happens to live. This is widely recognized as a fundamental principle of electoral integrity in democracies around the world.

A new voting rights law (such as that proposed in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act) is essential but alone is not enough. True electoral integrity demands a comprehensive set of national standards that ensure the sanctity and independence of election administration, guarantee that all voters can freely exercise their right to vote, prevent partisan gerrymandering from giving dominant parties in the states an unfair advantage in the process of drawing congressional districts, and regulate ethics and money in politics.

It is always far better for major democracy reforms to be bipartisan, to give change the broadest possible legitimacy. However, in the current hyper-polarized political context such broad bipartisan support is sadly lacking. Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his “Stop the Steal” crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread.

We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want. Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment.

Full list of signatories

Filosofa Is Snarking … AGAIN!

Just once I would like to wake up with a smile instead of a scowl on my face.  Just once I would like to get through an entire day without referring to certain of our ‘public servants’ as the scum of the earth pusilánime bastardos tirón con cara!  I thought that once we rid ourselves of the maniacal former guy, life would settle, but it seems that certain elements (whose salaries we pay) are determined to kill us with either ulcers or heart failure!  Hence I am still the Queen of Snark as my dear friend Ellen calls me, forever writing snarky snippets …


If you can’t trust the judge …

In my Sunday post titled “We Have Met The Enemy” I wrote about U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez who had struck down California’s 30+ year ban on assault weapons, comparing the AR-15 to a Swiss army knife.   There are a few extra details to that story, one that stands out for being a boldfaced lie.  In his 90-page opinion on this case, Benitez wrote …

“The evidence described so far proves that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event. More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California.”

Not, mind you, that more people have died from the disease, but that more people have died from the vaccine, which to put it bluntly, is NOT TRUE!  Such claims often come with citations to back them up, but Benitez offers none, probably because there isn’t one.  It’s bad enough that for the past four years we have had a president who lied to us at every turn, every day.  It’s bad enough that we cannot trust the people we send to Congress to be honest.  But when a f*cking federal judge out and out lies, then I’ve had ENOUGH!

A bit of history on Judge Benitez

When Benitez was nominated in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush, the American Bar Association deemed him ‘not qualified’.  California lawyer Richard M. Macias, writing for the committee, said …

“All too frequently, while on the bench, Judge Benitez is arrogant, pompous, condescending, impatient, short-tempered, rude, insulting, bullying, unnecessarily mean, and altogether lacking in people skills.”

The California Attorney General has promised to appeal Benitez’ ruling, and I hope the state wins on appeal.  But we do not need judges like Benitez!  We need judges who are fair and even-tempered … Benitez is neither of those things.


Dr. Fauci is NOT the enemy!

Dr. Anthony Fauci has dedicated his life to medical science and to the people of this nation.  In return, he is being vilified, his ouster from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an institute within the National Institute of Health (NIH), is being called for by numerous members of Congress, including my own ignoble representative Warren Davidson.  Why?  Because as a result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), Dr. Fauci’s emails have been made public.  Okay, no big deal … except that there are certain people in this country who would rather create a conspiracy theory by taking statements out of context and making up crap to try to eviscerate Dr. Fauci.

Among those are the right-wing conspiracy-based television networks such as Fox, OANN, and Newsmax, but also certain members of Congress such as Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and others … you might notice it is all on the Republican side, for they are the ones who simply cannot resist a good bedtime story with either a wicked witch or an evil wolf!

These networks and their ‘guests’ have concocted a brand-new conspiracy theory that almost tops Margie Greene’s fake story about space lasers setting last year’s California wildfires.  The newest one is that Dr. Fauci and President Barack Obama approved and funded a program whereby the coronavirus (Covid-19) was deliberately engineered to infect people.  To what end they haven’t said, but you know that the fools on the right side of the aisle in Congress have jumped right onto this bandwagon!  Hawley, Cruz, Rubio, Davidson and others who are a bit intellectually deficient have called for Fauci to be fired immediately but wait … it gets even worse.

Don Junior … you remember him, the hanger-on eldest son that Trump never much liked … has decided now that Fauci might be murdered … and he f*cking laughed about it!  Now, every damn Trump supporter in this country owns at least a few guns, probably assault rifles among their collection.  And you know damn good and well that at least a few of them will take Junior’s words to heart, take it as a ‘call to action’, so to speak.

Dr. Fauci is 80 years old, has served this nation valiantly, and even put up with Trump throughout the first year of the pandemic … a feat that should earn him a medal of valour!  I have the utmost respect for and trust in Dr. Fauci, unlike those congressional boobs who wouldn’t know a virus if it smacked them upside the head.  If anything happens to Dr. Fauci, I will personally contribute to his family to help with the lawsuit that they will no doubt bring against Junior and the members of Congress who lied so abominably.


And speaking of brainless Republican lawmakers …

… There’s Mo Brooks, representative in the U.S. Congress from the state of … you guessed it … Alabama.  Alabama and Mississippi are the two most backwater states in the nation, so it should come as no surprise that Mr. Brooks and his wife aren’t heavy in the intellect department.

Mo was one of Trump’s biggest boot-lickers, and when it became clear that Trump had lost the 2020 election ‘bigly’, Mo was among the first to jump on that “voter fraud” bandwagon.  Brooks was the first member of Congress to announce his objection to the certification of the Electoral College results on January 6th and harshly criticized other Republicans in Congress for not aiding him in his efforts to overturn the election.

Well … over the weekend, Mr. Brooks was served with notice of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell of California, charging Brooks with ‘instigating violence’.  In part, the complaint by Swalwell reads …

“The peaceful transfer of power is a sacrament of American democracy. Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his advisor Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, together with many others, defiled that sacrament through a campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric which led to the sacking of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Swalwell’s legal team had had difficulty serving Brooks and hired a private investigator to give him the papers, according to court filings.  Mo wasn’t home when the investigator showed up with papers in hand, so he left the papers with Mo’s wife, Martha.  Apparently, ol’ Mo wasn’t too happy ‘bout that and is going batshit crazy, claiming on Twitter …

“Well, Swalwell FINALLY did his job, served complaint (on my WIFE). HORRIBLE Swalwell’s team committed a CRIME by unlawfully sneaking INTO MY HOUSE & accosting my wife!”

Whoa, dude!  Accosting her?  Sneaking in?  I think not.  Long story short, nobody broke into Mo’s house or accosted his wife … why would they?

Mo & Wifey

Since the U.S. Senate, coerced by Mitch McConnell, has denied We the People the right to an investigation to determine exactly WHO was involved on the attack on our Congress on January 6th and in what capacity, We the People, at least those of us with functional brains, will support Eric Swalwell and others who are trying to get to the bottom of January 6thWe the People want (and have a Constitutional right) to know who helped fund and incite the attacks, we want to rid ourselves of the vermin still residing in the Capitol.  We know that Mo Brooks is one of the worst offenders and it is only right that he answer for his role in the events of that horrific day.

Stop trying to keep your job and start doing your job

I am brain-dead today, but fortunately our friend Keith is not and his thoughts here are well worth sharing. It often seems that while we dutifully pay our taxes, part of which goes to pay our elected representatives, we are not being represented. The politicos seem far more intent on keeping their power and enhancing their wealth than on doing their duty to We the People. Thank you, Keith, for putting this in perspective for us … now if only we can get the people in Congress to listen!

musingsofanoldfart

Too many legislators and elected incumbents focus on trying to keep their job rather than doing their job. As a result, things do not get done, as every issue becomes a wedge issue rather than one that needs to be solved. I have grown long past weary on this lack of leadership and stewardship.

In my career, I have consulted on and actually been a part of several mergers between organizations, both for-profit and non-profit entities. Effective mergers require due diligence, planning and diplomacy. It should not surprise people, but the majority of mergers fail to be as accretive to the cumulative value of the two separate entities as first envisioned. Some actually are dilutive to that combined value – in other words, they fail.

One of the reasons is people involved tend to focus on keeping their jobs or getting good money to leave. They get overly protective of…

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