Beyond my Understanding.

You’ve all heard that expression “Can’t see the forest for the trees.” And to an extent, it’s true … here in the U.S. we are so bombarded with the latest horrors that happen on a daily … nay, an HOURLY basis now that it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. So, when someone from across the pond weighs in, it is often with more clarity and focus than we can have. Our friend David has done just that with a post he wrote in his sleepless hours last night, and it is well worth the read. He cuts to the chase, leaves aside the minutiae, and clarifies the main thing that needs to happen. Since David is still having trouble getting his comment section working, feel free to leave him your thoughts here and I’ll make sure he sees them. Thank you, David, for your well-stated views!

The BUTHIDARS

I’ve been reading about the disclosures made by the House Select Committee investigating Jan 6th and I confess that it’s blown my mind, In the past I’ve made mention that Trump is a con-man though on large scale with his Trump University Scam and his Trump Charity Scam. I can maybe see how a man with the Gift of the Gab could get away with things for so long but now, not to such a degree.

Donald Trump asked for donations to fund his ‘Official Election Defence Fund’ to pay legal fees to challenge and overturn the ‘stolen’ 2020 Election results. He received 250 million in donations for a fund that didn’t exist then….or since which means he committed Wire fraud. Of that money, 13 million went to pay court expenses. The rest went to organisations run by Trump staffers, The Trump Hotel Collections or to the fiancee of Donald…

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Some Food For Thought

I came across an OpEd written by David Brooks in the New York Times that I found to be both thoughtful and thought-provoking.  To be sure, Brooks is a conservative, but a far more moderate one than most these days.  He even supported Hillary Clinton in 2016, and is a vocal critic of Donald Trump.  While I don’t agree with everything he says, this is a speculative piece and he makes some valid points about where this nation is today and what path we may take in the next few years.  I think you’ll find it interesting … it certainly gave me some food for thought.


A 2024 Presidential Candidate Who Meets the Moment

By David Brooks

Opinion Columnist

July 14, 2022

I’d like you to consider the possibility that the political changes that have rocked this country over the past six years will be nothing compared with the changes that will rock it over the next six. I’d like you to consider the possibility that we’re in some sort of prerevolutionary period — the kind of moment that often gives birth to something shocking and new.

Look at the conditions all around us:

First, Americans are deeply dissatisfied with the way things are going. Only 13 percent of voters say the country is on the right track, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll published this week.

Second, Americans are deeply dissatisfied with the leaders of both parties. Joe Biden has a 33 percent job approval rating among registered voters. About half of Republican voters want to move on from Donald Trump and find a new presidential candidate for 2024.

Third, inflation is soaring. Throughout history, inflationary periods have often been linked to political instability. As the economist Lionel Robbins wrote about Weimar Germany, inflation “destroyed the wealth of the more solid elements in German society; and it left behind a moral and economic disequilibrium, apt breeding ground for the disasters which have followed.”

Fourth, the generational turnover is coming. The boomer gerontocracy that now dominates power is bound to retire, leaving a vacuum for something new.

Fifth, Americans are detaching from the two political parties. Far more Americans consider themselves independents than consider themselves either Democrats or Republicans, and independents may be growing more distinct. And there’s some research that suggests independents are increasingly not just closeted members of the two main parties but also hold different beliefs, which put them between parties. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe a third party is needed.

Sixth, disgust with the current system is high. A majority of American voters believe that our system of government does not work, and 58 percent believe that our democracy needs major reforms or a complete overhaul. Nearly half of young adult voters believe voting does not affect how the government operates.

If these conditions persist, the 2024 presidential primaries could be wild. Sure, conventional candidates like the Republican Ron DeSantis or the Democrat Gavin Newsom may run for the nominations. But if the hunger for change is as strong as it is now, the climate will favor unconventional outsiders, the further outside the better. These sorts of oddball or unexpected candidates could set off a series of swings and disequilibriums that will make the existing party systems unstable.

Furthermore, if ever there was a moment ripe for a Ross Perot-like third candidate in the 2024 general election, this is that moment. There are efforts underway to prepare the way for a third candidate, and in this environment an outsider, with no ties to the status quo, who runs against the establishment and on the idea that we need to fundamentally fix the system — well, that person could wind up winning the presidency.

These conditions have already shaken up the stereotypes we used to use to think about politics. We used to think of the Democrats as the party of the economically disadvantaged. But college-educated metropolitan voters continue to flock to it and reshape it more and more each year. In the Times/Siena poll of registered voters, white college graduates wanted Democrats to control Congress by 57 to 36 percent. For the first time in the survey’s history, Democrats had a larger share of support among white college graduates than among nonwhite voters. These white voters are often motivated by social policy issues like abortion rights and gun regulation.

The Republicans used to be the party of business, but now they are emerging as a multiracial working-class party. In the Times/Siena poll, Hispanic voters were nearly evenly split about whether they favored Republicans or Democrats in the midterms. That may be overstating how much Hispanics have shifted, but it does seem as if the Republicans are genuinely becoming a working-class white-brown coalition. These voters care about the economy, the economy and the economy.

In other words, we now have an establishment progressive party and an anti-establishment conservative party. This isn’t normal.

If I were a cynical political operative who wanted to construct a presidential candidate perfectly suited for this moment, I’d start by making this candidate culturally conservative. I’d want the candidate to show by dress, speech and style that he or she is not part of the coastal educated establishment. I’d want the candidate to connect with middle- and working-class voters on values and to be full-throatedly patriotic.

Then I’d make the candidate economically center-left. I’d want to fuse the economic anxieties of the working-class Republicans with the economic anxieties of the Bernie Sanders young into one big riled populist package. College debt forgiveness. An aggressive home-building project to bring down prices. Whatever it took.

Then I’d have that candidate deliver one nonpartisan message: Everything is broken. Then he or she would offer a slew of institutional reforms to match the comprehensive institutional reforms the Progressive movement offered more than a century ago.

I guess I’m looking for a sort of modern Theodore Roosevelt. But heck, I don’t know. What’s coming down the pike is probably so unforeseeable that I don’t even have categories for it yet.

A Path We Must Not Travel

I don’t think it is overreacting or hyperbole to tell you, my friends, that this nation is in grave danger of losing most, if not all of the democratic principles on which the nation was founded.  No, I’m not just talking about the former guy and his rambling ego, or the fledgling fools like Boebert, Gaetz and Greene who follow him faithfully with their wagging tongues just waiting to lick his boots on command.  They are a circus act.  But behind the curtain, I truly believe, there are people working to turn this nation away from democracy, away from freedom of such things as religion, press, and speech.

Remember back in May when the CPAC conference was held in Hungary and Hungarian autocrat Viktor Orbán was the keynote speaker?  That threw up red flags for me, especially in light of Orbán’s words …

Viktor Orbán

“We have to take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. We must find allies in one another and coordinate the movements of our troops. 

Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left. The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint. Those who taught reporters in universities already had progressive leftist principles. 

Of course, the GOP has its media allies but they can’t compete with the mainstream liberal media. My friend, Tucker Carlson is the only one who puts himself out there. His show is the most popular. What does it mean? It means programs like his should be broadcasted day and night. Or as you say 24/7.”

Now fast forward … the next CPAC will take place in Dallas, Texas, on August 4-7.  I don’t know how the hell many of these conventions the ‘Conservatives’ need, but this will be the third one this year.  And guess who’s coming to dinner?  None other than Viktor Orbán.  According to Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a nasty piece of work …

“CPAC is proud to host Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The fight against socialism is a global one.”

Matt Schlapp

Mr. Schlapp wouldn’t know socialism from communism from neopolitan ice cream if it schlapped him upside the head!!!  It was he who, during the protests against the murder of George Floyd, claimed that Black Lives Matter was “…hostile to families, capitalism, cops, unborn life and gender.”  I have no idea where he came up with such mumbo-jumbo, but suffice it to show that he is not a nice person, nor is his wife Meredith, both of whom are close allies to the former guy.

But back to Orbán and his invitation to August’s CPAC.  Since coming to power in 2010, Orbán has effectively silenced Hungarian independent media and now controls virtually all of the country’s television, newspaper, and online media outlets.  Within months of becoming prime minister, Orbán had taken control of the judiciary and attacked the few financial institutions not under the control of his far-right Fidesz Party.

So-called conservatives in the U.S. have increasingly fawned over Orbán’s achievements, which in recent years have included an attack on LGBTQ and gender equality—with some measures related to the teaching of gender and sexuality in schools that closely echo the “Don’t Say Gay” bill recently passed in Florida.

In my view, having the May CPAC in Hungary with Orbán as the main speaker, and now having him cross the pond to speak yet again at the August CPAC is chilling.  It tells me that the Republican Party is seeking to install an autocratic government here in the U.S.  It tells me that they will stop at nothing to end the democratic principles that have been the foundation in this nation since 1787.  Stopping them is going to require the Democratic Party to find their backbone, to stop whining, get off their asses, and DO SOMETHING to help ensure voting rights and to make people aware of just what is at stake in November.

Today I see very little unity within the Democratic Party … too much critique and back-stabbing, a lack of unity, is demoralizing for voters at this, the most crucial time in our lifetime.  Yesterday morning I read that the majority of Democrats are not happy with President Biden.  Frankly, their critiques are largely unfair, for he is receiving blame even within his own party for things that are and always have been outside of his control.  But frankly, I don’t give a damn if you like him or not … we need to support him at all costs!  Now, let me put it this way … would you like to have someone just like Viktor Orbán in the Oval Office on January 20th, 2025?  Because if the Democrats don’t get their shit together, that is exactly what we’re going to have.

Similar, But With Critical Differences

I have often noted the similarities between Boris Johnson of the UK and Donald Trump, starting with the creepy things each wear upon their heads, the mysterious way in which each has garnered an almost cultist following, the way each seems to think their office is created for their own personal gain, and more.  In all my comparisons, though, I have felt that Johnson was the less dangerous of the two, that he lacked the utter cruelty and vileness of Trump.  And now, I have been proven right.  While Trump has spent more than two years railing that his defeat was illegitimate, calling for violence by his followers, throwing the nation under the bus, and is by all accounts planning further demolition by throwing his hat in the ring yet again in 2024, Johnson did finally resign.  Max Boot, writing for The Washington Post takes the comparison further, looking at the difference in the systems as well as the two players.


Tories awaken to the cost of being led by an entertainer. The GOP still hasn’t.

Max Boot, Columnist

July 8, 2022

Every stage of Boris Johnson’s political progression has been utterly ludicrous and farcical — and that extended to his downfall, or “clownfall,” as the Economist dubbed it. Suddenly, in the past few days, there was a mass exodus from the British government among cabinet ministers who professed themselves to be shocked by the prime minister’s duplicity. “A decent and responsible Government relies on honesty, integrity and mutual respect,” thundered Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis in his letter of resignation.

Well, yes. But it’s hardly news that Johnson possesses none of those qualities. Dishonesty wasn’t a bug in the BoJo operating system, it was the system itself. “People have known that Boris Johnson lies for 30 years,” says Rory Stewart, a former Conservative member of Parliament. “He’s probably the best liar we’ve ever had as a prime minister.”

In this respect, Johnson was very much like former president Donald Trump. The difference, of course, is that while Trump continues to exercise an inexplicable hold on his political party, Johnson’s grip has finally been broken. The questions are: How could Conservatives have ignored for so long what was so blindingly obvious? And how can Republicans still stay in denial?

Until this week, the Conservative Party chose to overlook Johnson’s pathological mendacity because he was so popular. The secret of his popularity was that he was terrifically entertaining. Like a certain orange-tinted former U.S. president, he did not present as a normal politician. He made a virtue of his lack of seriousness to make it seem as if he was just a regular bloke despite his posh background. He bumbled his way to the top.

But the joke wore thin when Johnson actually had to govern. He promised to miraculously make Britain stronger and wealthier by exiting the European Union; he’s achieved just the opposite. Johnson’s management of the covid pandemic was no more successful. A House of Commons committee found that Johnson “made a serious early error” by flirting with the crackpot theory that allowing people to be infected would lead to “herd immunity.” The result was “many thousands” of avoidable deaths.

Eventually, Johnson instituted a strict lockdown, but he failed to abide by it. The result was the “Partygate” scandal, as evidence emerged of Johnson and his aides illegally partying at 10 Downing Street. Johnson was finally felled by one scandal too many. His chief deputy whip, Chris Pincher (a name straight out of Dickens), had to resign after being caught groping men in a bar. Johnson professed shock, until it emerged that he had been informed of similar misbehavior in the past when he had brought Pincher into the Foreign Office.

The lessons of Johnson’s rise and fall are simple and old-fashioned: Don’t treat politics as a branch of the entertainment industry; it’s too serious for that. Knowledge and competence are important in leaders; their lack is not a virtue. And character counts above all: Someone who can’t be trusted to tell the truth can’t be trusted to govern. It’s staggering that it’s taken the Tories this long to accept those basic home truths.

What’s even more staggering is that Republicans in the United States still have not, even though Trump’s political sins are far more serious. Johnson did not, after all, incite a mob to ransack Parliament in order to stay in power. His offenses are political misdemeanors compared to Trump’s major felonies.

Why, then, is the BoJo show closing while the Trump show rolls on? In part it’s because British politics is less populist and Tories are less radicalized than Republicans; there are Murdoch-owned newspapers but no Fox “News” Channel in the U.K. It’s also because British political parties are more powerful. While Tory parliamentarians don’t choose their leader, they do winnow the field down to two candidates for a vote by the party rank and file. Even if the winner becomes prime minister, that person can be, and often is, toppled by colleagues in the cabinet and the House of Commons.

If the United States had a similar system, with the Republican establishment in control of the primaries, the likely GOP nominee in 2016 would have been Jeb Bush, not Donald Trump. And if it were routine for Congress and the Cabinet to evict underperforming presidents, Trump might not have lasted long in office.

But our political parties are too weak and our standards for evicting an incumbent are too high: The president has to commit either “high crimes and misdemeanors” or be unable to discharge “the duties of his office.” Of course, Trump did commit high crimes and he was unable to discharge his duties. But Republicans feared the wrath of their rabid base if they were to make him the first president ever removed under either the Constitution’s impeachment clause or the 25th Amendment. (Richard M. Nixon resigned before being impeached.)

Now, despite everything, Trump could still make a comeback, because he retains a Svengali-like hold on the Republican base. It’s a tribute to the British political system that Boris Johnson is finally being removed from office, and a terrible indictment of the U.S. political system that Trump — who has done far worse — could still return to it.

“They may ring their bells now; before long they will be wringing their hands. –“ Robert Walpole 1739.

Wise words of warning from our friend Roger …

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

maga mob

I don’t suppose it occurs to any of them to read History

Nazi Germany Before

Germany Pre-World War II

Nazi Germany After Women

Germany 1945.

And finally warning from Old Testament:

Lamentations 2:2 V 18

The visions your prophets had on your behalf were delusive, tinsel things, they never pointed out your sin, to ward off your exile.  The visions they proffered you were false, fallacious, misleading.

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A Jaw-Dropping Two Hours

Yesterday afternoon, I spent just over two hours glued to my computer watching the latest of the January 6th committee hearings … one that had been called spontaneously just the day before.  Some of what we saw was not particularly surprising, in light of what we’ve already learned.  But some … was simply jaw-dropping.

The witness yesterday was Cassidy Hutchinson, who was an assistant to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.  She was in a position to see and hear a lot, and yesterday she told us some of what had transpired in the days leading up to and on January 6th 2021.  The first thing that really grabbed me was her testimony that before giving his speech at the Ellipse on January 6th, Trump looked at footage of the crowds and complained that there weren’t enough people.  He was informed that most people had declined to attend because it meant going through the magnetometers (called ‘mags’ for short) that would detect their weapons, and those weapons would then be confiscated.  Trump demanded that they remove the mags, let everybody in, for he said that “They’re not here to hurt me.”  He cared not one whit for anybody else’s life and was willing to let an angry mob carrying weapons of every sort from brass knuckles to AR-15s into the Ellipse.  Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and Trump did not get his way.

Then, Ms. Hutchinson testified that after his speech, he fully intended to go to the Capitol, but again the Secret Service intervened and told him no, they were going back to the West Wing of the White House, for they did not believe they could provide adequate security, given that there were already armed groups of rioters in trees outside the Capitol and an ever-growing armed crowd making its way toward the Capitol.  Trump again demanded, and again was refused, at which point he leaned forward and grabbed the steering wheel of the SUV he was riding in, saying, “I am the f*cking president, take me up to the Capitol now!”  Secret Service Agent Robert (Bobby) Engel, who was driving the vehicle, took Trump’s wrist and told him, “Sir, you need to take your hand off the steering wheel. We’re going back to the West Wing.,” at which time Trump went for Engel’s neck with his bare hand!  THIS, my friends, is NOT someone I want sitting in the Oval Office with the nuclear codes at his fingertips!  More and more I realize just how lucky we, as a nation, were to have survived four years under the rule of this madman!

One other thing, though, stood out in Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony and that was when he was so upset with former Attorney General William Barr for telling him the truth, that there was no evidence whatsoever of any election fraud that would change the outcome of the election, that Trump threw his lunch – dishes and all – against the wall!  But wait … worse yet, when Ms. Hutchinson was asked by Representative and Committee Vice Chair Liz Cheney if there had been other instances of Trump throwing dishes, she replied in the affirmative and also said that sometimes he would just jerk the tablecloth off the table, sending dishes and food flying to the floor.  Even a four-year-old child knows better than this!

C’mon, Republicans … if anyone would still vote to put this lunatic back into the Oval Office, that person seriously needs psychiatric help, as Trump himself obviously does!

At the close of the hearing, Ms. Cheney showed some messages that had been received by various people who were testifying before the committee … messages containing thinly-veiled threats to “do the right thing.”  The right thing, in this case, of course not being that which is in the interest of the nation, but rather is in the interest of one person only:  Donald Trump aka the former guy.  This shows us that there is still a contingent out there who would prefer a maniac in the Oval Office destroying this nation in every way possible.

We dodged the bullet last time, my friends.  I don’t think we’ll be so lucky if there’s a next time.  Please, let’s make sure there is no next time!

PLEASE, AG Merrick Garland … Do the Right Thing!

If we fail to hold Donald Trump, John Eastman, and all the members of Congress who played a role in the attempted coup of January 6th, then we are basically telling all future presidents that there will be no punishment for any criminal activities in which they might engage while in office.  Period.  Close your eyes and imagine a future president, say a President Gaetz, forcing himself on White House staff members, making sex with him a requisite of the job.  Imagine a President Cruz taking money under the table from the next Russian president in exchange for refusing to assist the next country Russia attacks.  Imagine President Manchin negotiating with the coal and oil companies to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, or … well, just let your imagination run wild for a few minutes.

Those of you who are parents … you give your kids a time out or some other humanitarian punishment when they knowingly do something wrong, yes?  Why do you do this?  Because you know they must learn that actions have consequences, that if you steal from a schoolmate or punch a younger kid, you will pay the price.  If you lie, you will pay the price.  People like Donald Trump were never disciplined and grew up thinking that they were somehow ‘special’, not accountable for their actions.  When one of these people gets into a public office, they assume that it’s their private play space, that they can do anything they please because they have “the power”, they assume they are untouchable, invincible.  If the courts and the Justice Department of the United States fail to charge or indict and convict Donald Trump and his co-conspirators for not only their role in the January 6th attempted coup, but the entire batch of underhanded attempts to overturn our election by subverting the Justice Department, seeking to corrupt states attorneys general and more, then they are complicit in creating the monster that will be the next person to sit at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office.

There are no grey areas here, no moral equivalencies, no doubts whatsoever.  Donald Trump and his minions attempted treason.  They failed … this time.  They, or whomever is the next president, will have learned from their mistakes and will not likely fail again.  No, my friends, I am not an alarmist, not being overly dramatic … I am stating facts based on a) common sense, b) logic, and c) what I can see and hear with my own eyes and ears.

I have heard numerous legal experts opine that to charge Trump would be to go down a road fraught with obstacles.  That there is no precedent for actually charging a former president for criminal activity seems to be a big stumbling block – it shouldn’t be, but apparently it is.  Now, these legal experts have far more knowledge than I do about the ins and outs of the law, but I am not completely witless, and I know that he cannot be allowed to get by with his crimes.  I know that NOW is the time we MUST prove to the world that NOBODY in the United States, not even the president, is above the law.  Failure to do so … is simply not an option.

There is also a concern among legal scholars, and likely within the Department of Justice, that in the current polarized political environment, Trump would be seen as the ‘victim of a witch hunt’ or a political voodoo doll.  Some of the legal scholars say he might have a valid defense by claiming that he lacked criminal intent because he truly believed that massive voter fraud had taken place.  Bullshit.  If nothing else, we have learned from various people testifying in the January 6th committee hearings that Trump was told repeatedly by every expert from then-Attorney General William Barr to various states’ Attorneys General that he spoke with, to his own lawyers and even his daughter that he lost.  Period.  He disregarded all but a drunken Rudy Giuliani and a cunning John Eastman not because he believed he won, but because he had a plan to stay in office by hook or by crook.  And if by some remote chance, despite all the evidence, he did still believe he won, then he is seriously deranged and unfit to remain in society, let alone run for any public office.

Attorney General Merrick Garland is in a tough spot, for he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.  For the sake of this nation, for the future of our children, the future of the world as we know it, he must do the right thing!

A Cautionary Vision

I woke to the sound of gunfire.  Looked at the clock — 4:17 a.m.  Waking to gunfire is nothing new here, but still, it took several cigarettes and about 25 pages of reading before I calmed down enough to get back to sleep, and it seemed like only minutes until my alarm clock awakened me.

The date is November 15th in the year 2030.

Today is an important day for me and my two children, Eddie and Beth.  Today is either the first day of the rest of our lives, or else it is the last day of our lives.  I do not know which it will be, but I know that I am willing to risk not only my own life, but that of my children to get us away from the living hell that has ensued since 2024 when a true madman took over the nation.  We have friends in Canada who have told us where to cross in order to avoid detection, and who will help us with shelter and food until I can find a job and we can get back on our feet.  What, you ask, has led me to such a dangerous and traumatic decision?  Let me tell you about the year 2025, the first year of hell.

The 2024 election was won by the Democratic candidate, but he and his family mysteriously disappeared less than three weeks after the election.  Six years later, and there is still no sign of him, his family, or his body, but it is believed that he and his family were murdered.  I still do not understand how the election results were overturned, but they were, and long story short, the Republican candidate took office … and he is still there today with no plans for any future elections.

What changed, you ask?  So many things have changed that I cannot even keep track, but a few of the most crucial things are the nightmares that invade my sleep each and every night.  First, the new ‘president’ was inaugurated on January 20, 2025, and he gave a lengthy speech thereafter, promising (warning) that ‘big changes’ were coming.  He was surrounded by ‘his people’ who applauded until I thought their hands must surely have blisters.  Among those ‘big changes’ that came in the first year were cuts to such things as Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, housing and food assistance for the poor, and programs that provided financial assistance for college students whose families couldn’t afford college.

But the next year was worse.  2026 would normally have been a mid-term election year, but as we neared November, something didn’t smell right.  I had a bad feeling, a bad vibe you might call it.  And sure enough, in late October, there were six school shootings resulting in the deaths of 223 students and the injuries of far more.  This led to protests in nearly every city across the U.S. as people demanded gun regulations.  But, instead of responding with any degree of empathy, even false empathy, the ‘president’ called out the National Guard and put the entire nation under a lockdown.  We were allowed to go only to work and back home, or to buy food, medicine, and absolute essentials, and even then we had to show ‘passes’.  What followed, of course, was that the president declared the nation to be in a ‘state of emergency’ and the election was cancelled.  When the state of emergency was finally lifted some seven months later, the ‘president’ had appointed the new members of Congress using ‘emergency powers’ that he created and the U.S. Supreme Court, such as it now is, supported.

Schools are now regulated, meaning the only science courses that can be taught are such things as Physics, Astronomy, and Oceanography.  Biology is taboo.  U.S. History is now a joke.  Our children are taught that white men brought Black people here to rescue them from the horrible conditions in their native Africa, and that white people treated them so well that they begged to live and work forever on white man’s plantations.  Indigenous People are no longer mentioned in the history books and such men and women as Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington are not found in any book in the schools or public libraries.  Such books are considered ‘contraband’ and possessing one can send a person to prison.

Legislation has been passed and signed into law making Blacks, women, Hispanics, Asians, Muslims and Jews basically 2nd class citizens.  If a white person is caught out in public with one of these people, they can go to jail.  The 2nd class citizens can only hold certain jobs, such as maintenance, auto repair, sales clerks, restaurant and factory workers.  They are not allowed to enroll in any college.  Colleges and high-level jobs, government positions, are all reserved for white males only.

There is a state religion that everyone is forced to become a member of and adhere to.  It is a very intolerant religion that praises white males, calls for subservience by the rest, and calls for the execution of LGBTQ people.  On August 20, 2027, more than 12,000 LGBTQ people were rounded up in every city around the nation and executed in a very public manner.  It was replayed on television endlessly for days.  I’ve never cried so much in my life, for my brother was one of those who was murdered so brutally before a firing squad.  I watched with tears rolling down my face, while the crowds applauded and cheered and said they were “making America great again.”  Perhaps my definition of ‘great’ differs from theirs.

We live under a brutal regime, our every move watched 24/7.  Our lives are not our own.  I cannot live like this any longer.  My children and I are so hoping for a better life north of the border, but if we fail, we will have no life and will fade into the annals of obscurity.  Either way, we will be free of these chains that bind us.  Our world is on fire and there is nobody to save us.


Fiction?  Yes, this is my nightmare of late, or some variation of it.  The things I wrote about above … well, my friends, those things or some semblance of them could come to pass if we don’t guard and protect our Constitution, our republic.  Today, there are so many in positions of power who are, at heart, autocrats and who have whatever it is that brings followers, ignorant souls who do not know history and cannot envision the future, to their cause.

Shall We Stop Educating Our Children?

Betsy DeVos served under the former administration as Secretary of Education.  Ms. DeVos brought no qualifications in the field of education to the position – her only qualification was the huge sum of money (reported to be in the multi-million dollar range) she and her husband, Dick, had donated to the former guy’s campaign in 2016.  Ms. DeVos was no more qualified than I for the position, and did an even worse job than I would have, but that is all water under the bridge, for she and her corrupt boss have left the federal government … or have they?

It seems these days that anybody and everybody who served in the former administration feels qualified to write a book, and they believe that we will pay money to read their first-hand experience, or drivel, which is what most of these books are.  There are a few exceptions, such as Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy by Jamie Raskin, which I am currently reading.  However others, like One Damn Thing After Another: Memoirs of an Attorney General by former Attorney General William (Bill) Barr are merely ego trips for the authors.  The latest in the batch, slated for release on June 21st, is Hostages No More: The Fight for Education Freedom and the Future of the American Child by none other than Betsy DeVos.

Apparently Ms. DeVos defines ‘education freedom’ differently than I do, and hopes for an entirely different future for today’s children than I would wish for.  During a tour this week to promote her upcoming book, Ms. Devos made this statement:

“I don’t think the Department of Education should exist.”

My jaw dropped … she was, after all, paid $199,700 per year from our hard-earned tax dollars to lead the very department she now claims should not exist.  I read two articles about her ideas, why she believes the Department of Education should be shut down, and in my view she didn’t make one bit of sense.  She drones on about how ‘children are political pawns’ and “how poorly the system is serving children,” but offers no facts upon which she bases her opinions.  She apparently does not believe that every young person should have the opportunity to go to college, for she said …

“There are millions of great jobs going unfilled that don’t require a college degree.”

And regarding President Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness program, she believes …

“It’s a horrible idea, and I don’t know how anyone can defend it. All you’re doing is buying a bunch of political goodwill.”

Way back in 2017, when DeVos was first made Secretary of Education, I posited that the goal she and Trump had was to ensure that only the children of the wealthy would ultimately be able to afford or qualify for a college education, that the other 99% of us would remain the proletariat, doing the heavy lifting for subsistence wages while those wealthy kids went into politics and managed their family’s multi-million dollar corporations.  Seems I was right.

Now, I consider her to be irrelevant and wouldn’t waste my time writing about her, except that … her ideas are becoming the ideas of the entire Republican Party that wants to diminish the education our kids are getting by failing to teach them facts, teach them history, teach them what they need to get into college and learn to think for themselves.  What if … perish the thought … the former guy somehow avoids the long arm of the law and is allowed to run for president again in 2024, and what if he were to win?  Would he follow DeVos’ advice and demolish the Department of Education?  And what would it be replaced with?  The Department of Christian Learning?  Will forced school prayer return to our schools, replacing such things as Biology, Literature, and History, all of which are seemingly being given the axe in many states today.

From banning books to refusing to teach about such things as slavery – the true cause of the Civil War – and the Tulsa Race Massacre, and the Civil Rights Era, and how white people treated the original owners of this land, we are turning education upside down and not in any good way.  I hope, I truly hope, that Ms. DeVos is never again in charge of anything in our government, but there are other equally noxious people in the Republican Party like Ron DeSantis who support the dumbing-down of our children.  What will this nation look like in 50 years if they succeed?

History Repeats Itself … If We Let It

As I so often say, and as many with better minds than mine have long said before me, if we fail to learn the lessons of history, then we are destined to repeat our mistakes.  In an article in The Guardian, Steve Philips writes about the lessons we need to have learned from the post-Civil War era and what our future holds if we fail to heed those lessons …


If America fails to punish its insurrectionists, it could see a wave of domestic terror

Steve Phillips

We must not repeat the mistakes of the years after the 1860s war for white supremacy that we call the civil war

The last time the United States failed to properly punish insurrectionists, they went on to form the Ku Klux Klan, unleash a reign of murderous domestic terrorism, and re-establish formal white supremacy in much of the country for more than 100 years. As the House select committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack begins televised hearings this week, the lessons from the post-civil war period offer an ominous warning for this moment and where we go from here.

It is often difficult to sustain the requisite sense of urgency about past events, however dramatic and shocking they may have been at the time. Memories fade, new challenges arise and the temptation to put it all behind us and move on is strong. On top of all that, Republicans quickly and disingenuously called for “unity”, mere days after failing to block the peaceful transfer of power. If we want to preserve our fragile democracy, however, Congress and the president must learn from history and not make the same mistakes their predecessors did in the years after the 1860s war for white supremacy that we call the civil war.

In 1860, many people believed that America should be a white nation where Black people could be bought and sold and held in slavery. The civil war began when many of the people who held that view refused to accept the results of that year’s presidential election. They first plotted to assassinate president-elect Abraham Lincoln (five years later, they would succeed). Then they seceded from the Union, and shortly thereafter started shooting and killing people who disagreed with them. By the end of the war, 2% of the entire country’s population had been killed, the equivalent of 7 million people being killed based on today’s US population.

Despite the rampant treason and extraordinary carnage of the war, the country’s political leaders had little appetite for punishing their white counterparts who had done their level best to destroy the United States of America. After Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Booth successfully assassinated Lincoln in 1865, Andrew Johnson ascended to the highest office in the land. Johnson, a southerner who “openly espoused white supremacy”, “handed out pardons indiscriminately” to Confederate leaders and removed from the south the federal troops protecting newly freed African Americans.

The historian Lerone Bennett Jr captured the tragedy of the moment in his book Black Power USA: The Human Side of Reconstruction, 1867-1877, writing: “Most Confederate leaders expected imprisonment, confiscation, perhaps even banishment. Expecting the worst, they were willing to give up many things in order to keep some. If there was ever a moment for imposing a lasting solution to the American racial problem, this was it. But the North dawdled and the moment passed. When the Confederates realized that the North was divided and unsure, hope returned. And with hope came a revival of the spirit of rebellion … this was one of the greatest political blunders in American history.”

With that revival of white supremacist hope came ropes and robes and widespread domestic terrorism. Mere months after the ostensible end of the civil war in April 1865, half a dozen southern young white Confederate war veterans gathered in Pulaski, Tennessee, in December 1865 to discuss what to do with their lives, and they decided to form a new organization called the Ku Klux Klan. The first Grand Wizard of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a Confederate general who had been pardoned by Johnson. In less than one year, Forrest would go on to orchestrate “336 cases of murder or assault with intent to kill on freedmen across the state [of Georgia] from January 1 through November 15 of 1868”.

The effectiveness of the domestic terrorism in crushing the country’s nascent multiracial democracy was unsurprising and undeniable. In Columbia county, Georgia, 1,222 votes had been cast for the anti-slavery party in April 1868, and after the reign of terror that year, the party received just one vote in November .

Lest we think this was all a long time ago, the House committee hearings are about to remind us all that we had an insurrection just last year. Not only did a violent mob attack the country’s elected leaders and attempt to block the peaceful transfer of power, but even after the assault was repelled, 147 Republicans – the majority of the Republican members in Congress – refused to accept the votes of the American people and attempted to overthrow the elected government of the United States of America.

And far from being chastened, the enemies of democracy in the Republican party have only become emboldened, like their Confederate counterparts of the last century. Just as happened in the years after the civil war when the prospect of large-scale Black voting threatened white power and privilege, the defenders of white nationalism have engaged in a legislative orgy of passing pro-white public policies – from trying to erase evidence of racism and white supremacy from public school instruction to laws making it increasingly difficult for people of color to cast ballots. As journalist Ron Brownstein has warned, “The two-pronged fight captures how aggressively Republicans are moving to entrench their current advantages in red states, even as many areas grow significantly more racially and culturally diverse. Voting laws are intended to reconfigure the composition of today’s electorate; the teaching bans aim to shape the attitudes of tomorrow’s.”

All of this is happening because the insurrectionists have not and believe they will not be punished. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Democrats control Congress and the White House, and they can take strong and decisive action to ensure appropriate consequences for people who seek to undermine democracy. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump in 2021 for incitement of insurrection, and Congress can still invoke the 14th amendment’s provision banning from office any person who has “engaged in insurrection”. All those who aided and abetted Trump’s insurrection should face the full force of the laws that are designed to protect the multiracial democracy that the majority of Americans want. The fate of democracy in America is quite literally at stake.