DON’T Take It For Granted

The Republican Party lives in a fairy-tale world, one where reality has no place.  They don’t want to hear those realities that might awaken their sleeping consciences and make it uncomfortable for them to proceed with their platform of obstruction and lies.

The most recent example came yesterday when the 50 Republican senators voted against even discussing the For the People Act that would have ensured the right to vote for every eligible person in the U.S.  They wouldn’t even discuss it!  Why?  Because they might hear some valid reasons that this bill is the best thing for the people of the United States.  The bill is extremely popular among voters, even those in the Republican Party, but no no non nunca nyet!  What We the People need and want has zero relevance to the Republicans in Congress.  The fewer people vote, the more likely the Republicans can hold onto, or even increase, their power in Congress, thus their power to rule with an iron fist.

But this wasn’t the first time the Republican Party has interfered with our rights …

Last month, the Republican Party blocked the formation of a January 6th commission to investigate the events and what led up to the attack on Congress on January 6th of this year.  Wouldn’t you think they would want to know who the key players are, who put their lives and the very foundation of our government in danger?  But no, they do not want to be confronted with the evidence.  Why?  Because the truth will implicate some of them and will prick the conscience of others, making them look differently at their colleagues, perhaps even making them question the lack of values in their party.  Right, Kevin McCarthy?

Going back a few months further to February, the former guy was impeached by the House of Representatives a second time, this time for his role in inciting the attacks of January 6th.  When the Senate held a trial to determine if he should be convicted (typically, this trial would also determine whether to remove him from office, but as he had already been voted out, that was a moot point), the then-Republican-dominated Senate refused to allow the impeachment lawyers to call witnesses!  They refused to even hear the evidence – and yes, there was plenty of it – against the former guy because … then they might have to dust off those sleeping consciences and for once in their time in office, actually do the right thing.

Where does all this leave us?  The Republicans have a chokehold on Congress … nothing, I repeat NOTHING that helps shore up the democratic foundations of this nation and hold people accountable for their actions will be allowed.  Nothing that helps secure our constitutional rights, such as the right to vote and participate in our government, will be allowed.  Nothing that helps those in our nation who are struggling and need help will be allowed.

Last week, China raided the offices and froze the accounts of Hong Kong’s popular pro-freedom newspaper, Apple Daily.  They also arrested five of the paper’s top editors and warned the citizens of Hong Kong not to repost articles from the paper.  Today, with no choice left, the paper announced that it is closing.  I strongly suspect that the Republicans in the United States Congress look at China’s hold over Hong Kong and drool, for they lust after just such power and control.

Today in the United States, we still have a free press, and because we do, the events of January 6th are being investigated and eventually we will have the answers as to who participated in the planning of the attack.  Because we do still have a free press, we are almost immediately informed when the Republicans in the Senate do something unconscionable like refuse to even discuss a bill to fortify our voting rights.  And because we have a free press, those who would like to turn this into a nation that is ruled rather than governed must watch what they say and do.  Yes, we still have a free press … today.  But don’t … DO NOT take it for granted, because given enough power in certain places, it could be taken away someday — perhaps sooner than you think.

It is up to We the People to vote next year to remove the poison that is infecting our lawmaking body, the U.S. Congress.  Yes, we need two viable parties that can come to the table to discuss issues and compromise such that we end up with laws that, while not perfect, are in the best interest of the nation.  However, the Republican Party is no longer a viable party, but rather a party attempting to seize control for purposes that will not benefit us. The Republican Party has become dictatorial in nature and that is NOT in the best interest of anyone, except perhaps a few very wealthy people.

Open Letter To Every Republican Senator

Dear Republican Senator …

YOU had the unique opportunity to pass legislation that would have protected mine and others’ right to vote for the foreseeable future, and you stupidly passed up that opportunity for reasons that are completely incomprehensible to me and my fellow citizens.

When you took that Oath of Office and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, did you think it was a joke?  Did you think you were just saying words that had no meaning, that carried no responsibility?  Why did you even run for office if you had no intention of acting in the best interests of the nation and the people who live here, who work their asses off to survive and pay their taxes so that you can be paid every month?  It appears to me that you did not run for office because you wanted to help this nation or the people, but only so you could take donations from wealthy corporations to feather your own nest.

You, Senator, do not deserve the position you hold, the office you occupy.  The people who you have caused grievous harm to are people like me … the elderly, college students, Black and Hispanic people, and single working mothers.

I sincerely hope that one way or another, you are forced out of the United States Senate and soon, for you have let the people of this country down, you have been derelict in your duties, and you are a greedy, racist person who I have lost any respect I once had for.  I do not respect you or any of your republican cohorts in the United States Congress.  You failed miserably today, and you have no excuse … not a single one of you even voted to debate the bill!  Do you really hate the people you represent that much such that you will not even spend a few hours considering protecting our rights?

I expect a reply to this letter … it is the very least that you can do, since you have robbed me of my constitutional rights and made me wish I lived anywhere but this ‘shithole country.’

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, VOTER

R.I.P. Bipartisanship

I think most people see bipartisanship as the ideal way to get things done in our lawmaking branch of government known as Congress.  We’d all like to think that both Democrats and Republicans are acting in the best interest of the people of this nation and that they are taking their oaths to the Constitution seriously.  After all, we elected them and we pay their salaries, benefits and perks from our hard-earned money!  I, for one, have long felt that moderation and bipartisanship, working across the aisle, meeting halfway in the spirit of compromise was the best way to ensure that we are all served well by our elected officials.  Today, however, I honestly believe that bipartisanship is a mirage, that true cooperation between the two parties is dead, a relic of the past.  Whether or not it will ever be resurrected remains to be seen at some point in the future, but today, there is not a single Republican in either chamber of Congress who even understands the meaning of the word “compromise”.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow recently published an OpEd that addresses this and his thoughts parallel my own.  Sadly, this is the state of affairs in the United States Congress today.


Stop Hoping the G.O.P. Will Play Ball

June 20, 2021

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

I am truly baffled as to why Democrats continue to search for bipartisan support that has not only been illusory, but nonexistent — with the exception of a predictable few and only on a few issues with them.

Democrats: Republicans don’t want you to win. It’s that simple. They want no successes on your watch, and they certainly don’t want to participate in said victories.

And yet the reports keep pouring in of Democrats bending over backward and gutting their bills in a desperate effort to win Republican support.

It seems to me that this has all been a performance, a going through the motions, a checking of the boxes, so that Democrats could say that they tried, that they extended a hand but were rebuffed. Democrats always seem to want to win the moral advantage, to say that they played the game with honor.

But that is meaningless when Republicans no longer care about that form of morality, when they no longer want to play the game by the established rules at all. Democrats are playing an honor game; Republicans are playing an endgame.

Republicans are in win-at-all-costs mode. They don’t really care how they sound today or will be judged by history. The only thing that matters is winning and retaining power, defending the narrative of America that white people created and protecting the power and wealth they accrued because of it.

As The Washington Post reported Sunday, “the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alongside race, color, religion and national origin,” has stalled because of “sharpening Republican rhetoric, one key Democrat’s insistence on bipartisanship, and the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule.”

Last week, Senator Joe Manchin offered some changes and reductions to the voter rights bill called the For the People Act, changes that he could support and that he hoped would win some Republican support. His compromised stance was quickly rebuffed by Republicans. Manchin had also offered alterations to the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which seeks to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act.

But, as Talking Points Memo wrote, Manchin’s changes would basically gut the bill. As T.P.M. put it, “One of those proposed changes would decrease the attorney general’s ability to deem a voting practice discriminatory without a judicial finding.”

Politico reported on Friday that the White House will lean more on the bully pulpit as its voting rights bills grind to a halt. This includes engaging the public more, partnering with corporations and leaning on the Justice Department to challenge some state laws.

Politico is also reporting that Democrats are preemptively scaling back gun control legislation — pre-emptively taking the compromise position — to avoid a Republican roadblock that will most likely still remain. According to Politico:

“Democrats are preparing to vote on a scaled-down guns bill — most likely a curtailed plan to boost background checks for firearm buyers. The goal is to unite the party and pick up a limited number of Republican votes, even as their effort appears headed towards the same doomed fate as previous proposals to curb gun violence.”

Rather than continuing to peddle a false optimism that bipartisanship on most major legislation is truly possible with this Republican Party, Democrats need to tell their voters some uncomfortable truths.

First, the obvious: Even though Democrats have control of the House and Senate, not everyone in this caucus is fully committed to a liberal policy agenda. That means that the moderates, like Manchin, are the de facto leaders of the Democratic majority. Nothing passes without their approval.

It is these very same moderates who stand in the way of eliminating the filibuster.

And it is precisely for those reasons that very little is likely to get passed through this Senate that liberals will find satisfying. Democrats must brace for massive disappointment.

Furthermore, we are barreling toward midterm elections in which Republicans are optimistic about winning back the House and possibly the Senate.

I say dispense with the phony, wish-driven narrative Democrats are selling. Go down screaming and fighting. Much of the Democratic agenda may be stalled, but never stop reminding voters why it is: not because Democrats haven’t compromised enough, but because they could never compromise enough.

The current status quo is an unwinnable negotiation, because it isn’t a negotiation. This is a war. And in it, all is fair. Republicans have embraced a liar and racist in Donald Trump because their voters embraced him. They have excused and multiplied, in fantastical ways, the insurrection at the Capitol. They are rushing to write voter restrictions that also give them more say over how results are verified.

In the face of all this, Democrats need to stop talking about reaching across the aisle, compromise and common ground.

They need to go on the record and speak plainly: The Republican Party has given up on the idea of a true and full democracy. They are attempting to tear it down and erect in its place a system that reduces voter rolls and skews the will of the American people.

For the Republican Party, the success of democracy — that growing numbers of people could participate — is its failure.

Just Two Short Bits of Snarky

Yes, yes … Filosofa is still snarking and ranting … there is just so much wrong in this world, every bit of which could be so easily fixed with just the three ‘C’s – common sense, compassion, cooperation.  I did have more snippets than just these two short ones, but … I’m out of time, so I shall save them for later or tomorrow!  Gives you something to look forward to, eh?


Cosa Nostra rides again?

William Braddock is a Republican candidate from Florida who is hoping to be elected to fill the seat currently held by Democrat Charlie Crist, who is resigning to run for governor to (hopefully) replace the ignoble Ron DeSantis next year.  William Braddock is short on name recognition, but one thing he has plenty of is audacity.

Also running in that same GOP primary race is Anna Paulina Luna, an Air Force veteran who went on to become a conservative activist and won a crowded GOP primary in the state’s 13th Congressional District last year but lost the general election to Crist.

Apparently, Mr. Braddock has a unique plan for winning the Republican nomination next fall … kill off Ms. Luna!  Yes, you heard me right!  During a 30-minute call with a conservative activist, Braddock is heard saying the following …

“I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life for the good of the people of the United States of America. That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.”

And later in the conversation …

“I have access to a hit squad, too, Ukrainians and Russians. Don’t get caught out in public supporting Luna. … Luna’s gonna go down and I hope it’s by herself.”

And still more …

“My polling people are going to charge me $20,000 to do a poll right before the primary. And if the poll says Luna’s gonna win, she’s gonna be gone. She’s gonna disappear.  For the good of our country, we have to sacrifice the few. … For the better or the good of the majority of the people, we’ve got to sacrifice the few.”

My jaw dropped when I read this.  WHO THE HELL talks like that and hopes to win a seat to the U.S. Congress???  Does he fancy himself Don Corleone?  If so, he’s watched The Godfather a few too many times!  Even the mob don’t talk like that, especially in a phone call where they may be recorded!

This jackass belongs either in a mental institution or a prison cell, but definitely NOT in the U.S. House of Representatives!  Until reading this, I didn’t think it was possible to sink any lower than the likes of Margie Greene and Matt Gaetz, but obviously I was wrong!


DESTROY THE DAMN GUNS!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ve got another mass shooting here in the U.S., this time in Chicago.  I could give you the details, but you likely already know them, and … if you don’t, you can just Google “latest mass shooting”.  But, I will tell you that four human beings, people minding their own business, people who were husbands, wives, parents … are now dead, thanks to the gun culture in the not-so-United States.  Yesterday, I decided to check the local news for my own area, Cincinnati, Ohio.  I don’t often read the local news, but about once a week I try to catch up.

A few days ago, in a suburb a few miles from where I live, a little 6-year-old boy left his bicycle in a neighbor’s yard.  When he went back to retrieve it a while later, the neighbor shot him.  The little boy will be okay, the shot went straight through his arm, but WHO THE HELL SHOOTS A KID for nothing more than leaving his bike in their yard?????????

And on Sunday night, in another subdivision that is just a few miles from where I live, two children – a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old – were shot, as well as two teenagers.  Both of the younger children, last I heard, were in critical condition, while the teens suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  Again, the details are irrelevant, but what is relevant is that 4 young lives were nearly snuffed out, two may yet die, and FOR WHAT????

DESTROY THE DAMN GUNS, PEOPLE!!!  I’M SICK AND DAMN TIRED OF PEOPLE DYING BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO OWN A KILLING MACHINE.  THEY DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


A Handful of Mini-Rants

If we thought that with President Biden’s inauguration our troubles would disappear and peace would reign, we were dead wrong.  It appears to me that every Republican in any position of power, be it local, state, or federal, has taken an oath to make our lives a living hell and to destroy as much as possible of the nation.  If I could afford it, I would file a lawsuit against the Republican Party for costing me sleep, health, appetite and more!  As you read today’s snippets, you might conclude that I’m just a wee bit angry, but you’d be wrong.  I’m not a wee bit angry, I am livid.


I wonder if we could sell Texas to Mexico?

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is planning to spend the hard-earned tax dollars of the people of Texas and solicit donations from racists in order to ‘build that wall’ that the former guy kept touting but only actually built a few miles of.  Abbott learned from the earlier fiasco that there is no way in hell Mexico is going to pay for the wall, so instead he is going to commandeer taxpayer dollars to attempt to keep refugees out of his sorry state.  He said he would take $250 million from the state’s general revenue fund for a ‘down payment’ on his wall.  He also plans to coerce landowners on the border to allow the state to begin ‘immediate construction’ on their property.  In addition, he is asking for donations of both land and cash.  There are probably a few fools who will write him a check, but they’ll be throwing their money away, because Abbott’s wall isn’t going to happen (I hope).

Most people in the know say that Abbott’s proposed wall will meet its destiny, likely in the courts.  According to David Donatti, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas …

“If the governor wants to blow hot air on TV, he can do that. I truly don’t think he has thought this through. The governor is not a king. We have checks and balances in the state of Texas.”

As it happens, the governor does not have jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws, which are the sole responsibility of the federal government.  Apparently, Mr. Abbott needs to study the U.S. Constitution and his job description a bit longer.  He is up for re-election next year and … I would like to see him toppled, for he is an ass, but his likely primary opponent, Don Huffines, is just as big of an ass who also supports the idea of a wall, saying …

“The Biden Administration won’t secure our border, so Texas will.”

Sheesh, Republicans … do you not have anybody in your party with at least half a brain and a conscience???


Meanwhile …

Unlike the former guy, President Biden understands the seriousness of climate change and part of his campaign promise was to cut carbon emissions, cut back on fossil fuels, and expand renewable energy sources.  In way of keeping that promise, one of Biden’s first actions, his first week in office, was to issue a series of executive orders, one of which was to put a temporary ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land.  Thumbs up, I say, for I ascribe to the mantra “Leave it in the ground”, even if it makes life a bit inconvenient for some, or … GASP … reduces the profits of the big oil, gas and coal companies.

But, alas, if something makes sense and is good for the environment, good for the people, you can count on the damn republicans to nix it.  In this case, Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and attorneys general from 12 other states, all Republicans, filed suit in March to lift the White House executive order.

Judge Doughty

On Tuesday, Judge Terry Alvin Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana – a Trump appointee –  granted a preliminary injunction claiming that that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing.

DAMMIT Republicans!!!  The future of the human and many other species depends on switching to renewable energy, on leaving the damn fossil fuels where they belong … in the ground!  I don’t want your damned oil and frankly I don’t care if the CEOs of every fossil fuel corporation, who have been robbing us blind for decades now, all fall off of Wall Street and end up without a penny!  We have, for the first time in over four years, a president who cares about the future of the planet, who cares about We the People, our children and grandchildren, more than you the Rich Bastards!

As for Judge Terry Alvin Doughty … I wonder if he called the former guy to ask his advice on this one, for it reeks of trumpism.


Manchin’s “Compromise”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia … you know, that state that has no economy and thrives on ignorance … already said he would not support the For the People Act that would ensure our voting rights, among other things.  Our right to vote … our only voice in our lives, our future … and Manchin doesn’t care enough to support it.  But wait …

Just this week, Manchin drafted a memo stating that he would be willing to compromise.  He would support at least two weeks of federally mandated early voting and to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts.  Well, that’s a good start, though not nearly enough.  But wait …

Manchin has conditions!  Manchin’s compromise would require an ID requirement for all voters and the ability of local election officials to purge voter rolls using other government records.  NO NO NO NO NO!!!

One thing that keeps many poor people, Blacks and Hispanics away from the polls is that ID requirement and it is grossly unfair!  My granddaughter does not have a photo ID, she does not drive, and I don’t have the means to take her to obtain a state issued ID.  She is 26 years old and has been voting by mail since she was 18.  Under Manchin’s version of this bill, she would not be able to vote.  I know numerous Black people here in my own neighborhood who do not have a photo ID, but they pay taxes, they are citizens, and they have the right to vote, dammit!

And Manchin’s notion of allowing election officials to purge voter rolls is far too vague.  I can understand purging voters who have died or moved out of the state, but to give state and local election officials carte blanche to purge voter rolls at will?  Surely you jest!  Said Manchin …

“I’ve been sharing everything that I support and things I can support and vote with and things that I think is in the bill that doesn’t need to be in the bill, that doesn’t really interact with what we’re doing in West Virginia. We’ll have to see what changes are made.”

West Virginia is only one of fifty states, Manchin!  The rest of us matter too!  The bottom line, though, is it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference if Manchin supports the bill or not, for it will be subjected to the senate filibuster and we all know there are not ten republicans in the United States Senate who have a conscience.  Hell, I’m not sure there are ten republicans in the United States who have a conscience!  As far as I’m concerned, Joe Manchin can stick his ‘compromise’ where the sun doesn’t shine.

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.

View entire original post …

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 ‘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

A Brother’s response to Sen Manchin’s OpEd

I read Senator Joe Manchin’s OpEd in the Charleston Gazette-Mail and, like our friend Brosephus, under ordinary circumstances I would have agreed with most of what he said. However, these are anything but normal circumstances and even more so for Black people who are once again in danger of losing their rights. Please take a minute to read Brosephus’ post and think about what he says — it’s important! Thank you, Brosephus!

The Mind of Brosephus

Sen. Joe Manchin, I read your Op-Ed in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and I have a few questions for you. You are well within your rights and responsibilities as a member of the Senate representing West Virginia with your concerns over the filibuster. In a perfect world, I think your arguments would have merit. In case you haven’t been paying attention for the past decade or so, we don’t live in a perfect world. In fact, Black Americans have never been within an Apollo rocket shot reach of a perfect world in America.

You may or may not be aware of the particular struggles of Black Americans, but I can assure you life here for us is no Saturday morning picnic. Our right to vote in America was enshrined into the Constitution in 1870 by the Fifteenth Amendment. It wasn’t until the passage of the Civil Rights Act…

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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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