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.

A View From The Front Lines

Yesterday I came across an article written by journalist Dan Rather … you all remember him, right?  While the piece was written two months ago, in early April, it is as relevant today as it was then.  I ask that you read it and think about it for a minute or two.  This is rather a follow up to this morning’s post where I shared the view of Charles M. Blow on bipartisanship, but it also extends a portion of the blame, rightly I believe, to the press.  Mr. Rather’s words come from experience and they are thought-worthy.


The Press and the Party of No

Dan Rather and Steady Team

The Biden Administration is finding a familiar answer to everything it is trying to do from the Republicans on Capitol Hill. It is the same answer that Biden saw up close when he was Vice President in the last Democratic administration. No matter the issue or the topic, it seems that when it comes to legislating around the challenges that face this country, the Republican answer is simple, unequivocal, cynical, and final: No. 

Many have commented, myself included, on how broken and dangerous this system has become. I believe the American experiment in self government works best when it has two strong, principled political parties who come to the table with well-formed and well-intentioned solutions to the challenges of the nation. This has been demonstrated repeatedly throughout our history, and I have seen good ideas and good candidates come from both parties. I have supported Democrats and Republicans with my vote. And, however it may appear at any given time, as a reporter I try to pull no punches, play no favorites in covering the parties. What is happening now isn’t about policy it’s about whether we can have a functional government. 

There has always been a place for obstruction in politics. Sometimes it’s a matter of principle. Sometimes it’s a negotiating position. Sometimes it’s a seeking of momentum leading into an election cycle. But that an entire political party would stand in lock step trying to undermine an entire presidency just because that president was from a different party? Well not even Newt Gingrich tried that. It has been the scorched-earth political tactics pioneered by Mitch McConnell – power for power’s sake, norms and comity shattered, the needs of the country be damned.

All of this discussion leads to questions over the filibuster, voting patterns, gerrymandering, and all sorts of ugly histories around race, power, and representation in Congress. It is obvious that the Founding Fathers, despite their faults, intended to set up a system of government that had the power to solve problems. That’s why they did away with the Articles of Confederation. But now we have many members of Congress whose entire reason for being there is to gum up a system designed for action. They are showboats promoting a nihilistic brand that threatens the well-being of our nation and makes a mockery of the idea that we have a legislature. 

One sign of how broken this system is: even when Republicans held both houses of Congress and the White House in the first two years of President Trump’s administration, they passed almost no bills that addressed problems even they claimed to care about. The perpetual “Infrastructure Week,” turned onto a joke of inactivity – infrastructure “weak.” It appears that the modern Republican party can’t get to “Yes” on anything other than judges and tax cuts. I think part of the reason for this is that a lot of what the party believes at its elite levels is so unpopular that they dare not actually pass bills that give unfettered power to rapacious business interests. They would rather save that for executive actions and the guise of “de-regulation.” There is a lot more to say on this topic, and I plan to return to it later, but in the meantime, I think an understated component of this “politics of no” dynamic is the way the press covers it. 

When I first went to Washington as a reporter, to cover the White House in the Johnson Administration, it was in the immediate wake of the Kennedy assassination. We had no way of knowing that the new president would usher in one of the most consequential flurries of domestic legislation in American history. Johnson was of course a master of the Senate, and the old (to be candid, often ugly) ways in which power could be leveraged. But he was focused on results, and he got them on everything from civil rights to health care to education to the arts. 

Then, as the Nixon years began, I was there reporting on tides of power that were very different from before. But still, there was positive activity on Capitol Hill. Nixon, as we would come to learn, was driven by such hatred of his political opponents (and those he perceived as hostile in the press) that he would drive his own fortune into ruin. But even with that mindset, he was able to accomplish a great deal by working with Democrats–and principled Republicans– in Congress. And when it was time for him to go, the response was bipartisan as well. 

Now, it is easy to glorify the past. These Congresses that “worked” also worked to perpetuate systems of government and society that were unjust and unequal. Some of the horse-trading that was done back then bartered basic rights and societal provisions that we would recoil at today. And those who served in these Congresses were far less representative of the full diversity of the nation. All that said, if the spirit of action that drove them existed today, I suspect our progress on racial justice, voting, guns, the environment, education, and many other big issues would be far more robust. For starters, it would exist. 

And that brings me back to the press. It is impossible and I would argue irresponsible to try to cover Washington as we did in earlier eras. Every story, every reporting angle, must begin with the understanding that one of the two political parties doesn’t try, at least on the national level, to legislate solutions to our problems. The burden for asking why we don’t have bipartisanship to solve major problems shouldn’t be primarily on those making the legislative proposals. Negotiating doesn’t mean saying “no” and walking away. It means offering counter solutions or ideas. It means acting in the best interests of the nation, not in scoring political advantage often at the expense of those in need. [emphasis added]

I understand it is difficult for reporters to cover politics in this manner. Contrary to the politically-motivated attacks on the press, I do believe most reporters try to be as fair as they can. They are loathe to be seen as tools for particular political ends. But this instinct is being weaponized by those who want to break government, and the American system more generally. We have seen from those who delegitimize a fair election and seek to suppress the vote that they are eager to create scapegoats in the press for reporting on these outrages. And they are poised to do the same if they are called out as the party of no. 

But our hope is that journalists do not bend to the pressure. Rather than take every new issue or bill as a separate case, I would respectfully encourage my peers in the press to do more digging into the general systemic dysfunction. For example, when interviewing members of Congress don’t treat their opposition to the issue of moment as separate to their oppositions in the past – including to recognizing the results of the last presidential election. 

The optimist in me believes that the majority of the American public would like a government that works to solve problems. This does not mean giving up one’s own beliefs. And there are issues on which you will never find compromise. We need different approaches to battle in the marketplace of ideas. None of us has a monopoly on wisdom. Far from it. But for this system to work you need to be able to get to “Yes” on some things. You need to have a system that functions. And when that isn’t happening, when our political process is being crippled by cynical actors who have learned they can keep a grip on power by blowing up the government and then blaming failure on their political foes, we need to report on this reality. It is a story of incredible importance and in many ways the future of our nation is resting on getting it told.

—Dan

I Tried To Be Nice … It’s Hard!!!

Let me start by saying that today is National Say Something Nice Day.  I may struggle with this one … let me try, though … … … … … …  🤷

Well, okay, that one didn’t work out so well, did it?  Perhaps I’ll try again later, but for now I’ll stand by that old adage “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.”  Have a nice day!

Oh wait … that qualifies as saying something nice, doesn’t it?  I mean, it even has the word ‘nice’ in it!  So now, I’ve fulfilled my obligation to say something nice and I can carry on with my normal grumbling and grousing!


In case you hadn’t heard, QAnon, the conspiracy theory group, held a ‘conference’ in Dallas, Texas, over the weekend.  QAnon must surely require that its members have an IQ under 50 in order to join, for there was, from what I’ve read, not a single bit of intelligence uttered at any point.  Reporters were largely banned from the event.  For starters, there was the infamous Sidney Powell, the attorney who filed multiple phony lawsuits on behalf of the former guy attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election that President Biden won by over 7 million votes.  Ms. Powell lost every single one of those cases.

At the QAnon conference, wearing a leather biker vest covered in Trump stickers, she spouted more nonsense, saying of the former guy …

“He can simply be reinstated. A new inauguration date is set, and Biden is told to move out of the White House, and President Trump should be moved back in. I’m sure there’s not going to be credit for time lost, unfortunately, because the Constitution itself sets the date for inauguration, but he should definitely get the remainder of his term and make the best of it.”

She’s a lawyer???  She must surely have gotten her JD out of a box of Cracker Jacks, for any sane person who ever took a course in Constitutional Law knows that what she said is pure bullshit.  But she received lots of applause and cheering for her words … there were a whole lot of fools in Dallas this weekend!

And then there was there was Louis Gohmert, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas … a man who should be held to a higher standard than to attend a meeting of a bunch of fringe lunatics!  Gohmert spent his time on stage denigrating House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and claiming that the attack on Congress on January 6th was really no big deal, that no investigation is necessary, and that it wasn’t just right-wing extremists, but also the left – a theory that has been disproven multiple times.

Gohmert also suggested that the insurrection shouldn’t be a serious concern because the United States has weathered worse, including foreign attacks.

“Some of us think Pearl Harbor was the worst attack on democracy, some of us think 9/11 was the worst attack. Some of us think that those things were worse attacks on democracy.”

Pearl Harbour and 9/11 certainly took more lives than January 6th, however … they were not attacks from within, not attacks attempting to overthrow our government.  Gohmert has once again shown that he is not fit to be a member of Congress, perhaps not even fit to walk among us!

But perhaps the must heinous, most inhumane comments came from none other than Michael Flynn, the former National Security advisor who lasted only 22 days in the position before being forced to resign as a result of lying about his role in helping Russia interfere in our 2016 election.  Flynn is a former Lieutenant General in the U.S. Army and former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency … not someone you would expect to encourage a military coup, but that is precisely what he did at the QAnon conference last weekend.

During the Q&A session, Flynn was asked this question by a low-IQ attendee …

“I want to know why what happened in Myanmar can’t happen here?”

To which the traitorous Flynn replied …

“No reason. I mean, it should happen here.”

Michael Flynn would be in prison today if he had not been pardoned by the former guy.  Instead, he is spouting dangerous rhetoric to a group of people who are too stupid to have a clue what is happening in Myanmar.  Despite his response being recorded on video, Flynn later tried to weasel out and say it wasn’t what he said … or what he meant … or who knows what the man meant.

And lastly, what would a QAnon conference be without the deplorable Roger Stone?  Although I don’t think Roger showed up in person, his ‘social media advisor’, Jason Sullivan, made quite a stir.  Referring to Hillary Clinton as that “god-awful woman,” Sullivan then made a noose gesture around his neck, which was greeted with wild applause by the audience.

The real danger in all this lunacy is that there are a large number of people who actually believe the conspiracy theories.  A recent poll shows that 15% to 20% of Americans believe in tenets central to the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory movement — a minority, but not an insignificant number.  Fifteen percent of all Americans and 23% of Republicans said they agree that “the government, media, and financial worlds in the U.S. are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.”  As we saw on January 6th, these people are willing to act on their beliefs, to attempt to overthrow the government, to burn the Constitution, and fools like Sidney Powell, Mike Flynn and others are encouraging them, are pouring fuel on the fires of hatred.

America’s longest war

I wrote yesterday about the horrific Tulsa Race Massacre which has been largely buried in the history of this nation for 100 years. I was aware of some other similar events, but I have to admit that even I did not realize just how prevalent the attempt to cover up the darkest moments in our history is. And … it’s not only our history, but even today there are those who would bury the truth about the horrible racism in this nation. Our friend Brosephus has written of ‘America’s Longest War’ and he is quite right … Black people in this nation have been fighting for their survival since the nation’s founding. Please take a few minutes to check out his links, especially the partial listing of incidents where Black people were literally eradicated from governments, towns and cities. I hang my head in shame of what this nation has done to its OWN CITIZENS!!! Thank you, Brosephus, for bringing this to the forefront … we must ALL become more aware and we MUST stop this white arrogance NOW!

The Mind of Brosephus

Photo via CBS News/60 Minutes

May 31,1921 is a day that has lived in the minds of Black America for 100 years. Now, the rest of the world is beginning to come to grips with what it has been like to live Black in America. The Greenwood Neighborhood was one battle in what has been America’s longest war, the war against Black America.

I can already hear the huffing and puffing that I’m making this up, but if you’re not a Black American, the odds are that you’ve never heard of the following incidents linked here. This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the attacks that Black America has suffered. There are many that never get talked about and have been swept under the rug of revisionist history in America. As one former Attorney General said about history, “history is written by the winners, so…

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Remember These Names!

Yesterday, the following 44 republicans and two democrats flipped us the proverbial bird …

State

Senator

Party Affiliation

Alabama Richard Shelby Republican
Alabama Tommy Tuberville Republican
Alaska Daniel S. Sullivan Republican
Arizona Kyrsten Sinema Democrat
Arkansas John Boozman Republican
Arkansas Tom Cotton Republican
Florida Marco Rubio Republican
Florida Rick Scott Republican
Idaho Mike Crapo Republican
Idaho Jim Risch Republican
Indiana Mike Braun Republican
Indiana Todd C. Young Republican
Iowa Joni Ernst Republican
Iowa Chuck Grassley Republican
Kansas Roger Marshall Republican
Kansas Jerry Moran Republican
Kentucky Mitch McConnell Republican
Kentucky Rand Paul Republican
Louisiana John Neely Kennedy Republican
Mississippi Cindy Hyde-Smith Republican
Mississippi Roger Wicker Republican
Missouri Roy Blunt Republican
Missouri Josh Hawley Republican
Montana Steve Daines Republican
Nebraska Deb Fischer Republican
North Carolina Richard Burr Republican
North Carolina Thom Tillis Republican
North Dakota Kevin Cramer Republican
North Dakota John Hoeven Republican
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe Republican
Oklahoma James Lankford Republican
Pennsylvania Pat Toomey Republican
South Carolina Lindsey Graham Republican
South Carolina Tim Scott Republican
South Dakota Mike Rounds Republican
South Dakota John Thune Republican
Tennessee Marsha Blackburn Republican
Tennessee Bill Hagerty Republican
Texas John Cornyn Republican
Texas Ted Cruz Republican
Utah Mike Lee Republican
Washington Patty Murray Democratic
West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito Republican
Wisconsin Ronald Harold Johnson Republican
Wyoming John Barrasso Republican
Wyoming Cynthia Lummis Republican

These are the people who said to the citizens of this nation:

  • We do not value your lives
  • We do not honour our oaths to protect and defend the Constitution
  • We do not care about democratic processes
  • We care only for our own continuation of power
  • We are loyal lapdogs to the former ‘president’

It should also be noted that six Republicans did find their conscience and voted in favour of the commission.  My thanks go out to …

  • Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana
  • Senator Susan Collins of Maine
  • Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska
  • Senator Rob Portman of Ohio
  • Senator Mitt Romney of Utah
  • Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska

On January 6th, a mob of thugs, domestic terrorists, white supremacists attacked the U.S. Capitol.  Five people died that day, and 140 police officers were injured.  They were protesting a fair and honest election, attempting to stop the democratic process of certifying the results of that election.  Why?  Because they had been told by the former guy and by some number of members of Congress that the election was not fair, that President Biden was not the true winner, and that somehow, they should attempt to stop the process of certifying the election.  They were encouraged and instigated by not only the former ‘president’ but also by certain members of Congress who provided them with information about the tunnels under the Capitol, about who would be where, and other vital information.  They were instigated by a member of Congress who gave them a fist-bump to show his support for their criminal activities.

Those who attacked the Capitol must be punished to the fullest extent of the law, however those who operated behind the scenes from a position of trust must be punished even more severely.  Yesterday, members of the Republican Party in Congress and two members of the Democratic Party voted or showed by their lack of vote that they are arrogant assholes, cowards who are more afraid of the former ‘president’ than they are of the people of this nation.  We elected these asses, we pay their salary, and what do we get in return?  Not one damn thing.  They turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to our pleas, to our needs, to our very lives.

Were it in my power, I would expel each and every one of these asses from Congress tomorrow.  Sadly, it isn’t, but what IS in my power is to use my voice, such as it is, to wake up the people of this nation and ensure that these asses are voted OUT of office the very next time they come up for re-election.

The truth will come out … there will be investigations either by a special House committee or by the Department of Justice.  It is my fondest hope that before the 2022 mid-term elections, we have direct evidence of the roles in the attack by such as Matt Gaetz, Margie Greene, Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, Kevin McCarthy and others, not to mention the former ‘president’.  These people do NOT deserve their positions, they do NOT represent us, and frankly in my book they are wasting precious resources like air, food, and water by their very existence.

Yesterday was a dark day for the United States, perhaps the darkest in my lifetime, perhaps even darker than 9/11, for yesterday we were told in no uncertain terms that the Constitution is null and void and that our lives do not matter.  This country took a huge step backward in terms of democratic principles, of fairness, honesty and integrity.  Domestic terrorists have been given a green light for future endeavours.  Ultimately, the truth will come out and justice meted out to all guilty parties.  Meanwhile, our elected officials care more about their own fortunes than about our lives.  Remember that, my friends.  Remember the names at the start of this post, for every last one of those senators has something to hide … I’d bet my life on it.

The Danger of Collective Amnesia

Nearly five months after the attack on the Capitol on January 6th of this year, Republicans continue to downplay and naysay the attack.  Time seems to have diminished their memories of that fateful day, and they claim it was nothing more than a few ‘tourists’ or ‘patriots’ having a good time.  Never mind that five people were killed and 140 police officers injured, and never mind that if the attempt to overthrow an election had succeeded, we would be living in a very different country today, one ruled by a madman and his cronies.

Robert Reich explains the utter importance of investigating the attack and the events that led up to it, the people who may have played a role in instigating it.  If we fail to learn from the past, then we are destined to repeat it.  Listen closely to his words, for he speaks the truth.  We the People pay to sustain a government that operates in our best interest, yet nearly half of those in Congress have completely forgotten their oaths, forgotten their purpose, and their only goal is to cement their own positions of power.

Filosofa Stomps Her Feet

STAY BACK!!!!  Filosofa is in a horrid mood … approach at risk of life and limb!!!! 

I am in a horrid mood tonight.  I have expressed hatred toward my body, the country in which I live, and a number of politicos here.  Let me share just a few of the red-hot thoughts rambling through my mind tonight as I wish I were anywhere else but here …


Israeli arrogance

My father was a Jew.  My paternal grandparents narrowly escaped Hitler’s reach, and my great aunt Margaret and great uncle Rip (Rinehart) spent more than two years in Hitler’s death camps.  This was the legacy with which I grew up in a few short years after the Holocaust.  That said, I am not a fan of the Israeli land grab nor of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cruel brand of leadership.  After all this time, I am more empathetic to the Palestinians for what has been done to them than to the Israelis.  The Holocaust ended 76 years ago.  The Jews can only expect to play on the sympathies of the world for so long, and today they have become the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

Yes, both sides share fault, but Israel is greedy and arrogant and … the Palestinians are being/have been driven from their homeland.  Netanyahu deserves a life behind bars while other, less greedy, more functional minds attempt to sort this out.


Male/evangelical arrogance

I am a woman.  As such, there are some things that I consider to be nobody’s business but my own.  One of those things is my body.  If I were pregnant (never mind that, at age 70, it would be something for the record books) and could not afford in one way or another to raise a child, it is MY business, not Ted Cruz’ or Franklin Graham’s or anybody else’s!  If I decide to have an abortion, it is entirely MY business.  Unless, of course, you plan to take my child, raise it as your own, provide for its every need, including a college education?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  It’s a funny thing that those who call themselves “Pro-life” actually don’t give a royal fig about a child’s life once it is born, once their will is forced upon a woman.  At that point, when asked to contribute to that child’s welfare, the blonde airhead “pro-lifer” backs up a few steps, holding her hands out, saying, “Oh no … no no no … this isn’t my problem!”

Evangelicals and the rest can take their ‘right to life’ platform and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!  The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the case of a Mississippi law that, going against the ruling of Roe v Wade, seeks to ban most all abortions.  I realize that the people of Mississippi are not highly educated nor sophisticated, but damn them … they are NOT going to dictate to every woman in this nation!  None of the Justices on the Supreme Court have any idea what it is like to be a single working mom, struggling to raise your children with no damn help!  Listen to Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” sometime … think about those lyrics, so very real for so many of us!


Facebook ‘standards’

A few days ago, Facebook ‘chastised’ me for a comment I left on a post about the ignoble former guy.  They removed my comment several hours after I had posted it and after it had received a number of ‘likes’.  Facebook sent me no less than two messages explaining that my comment violated their ‘community standards’ and after a number of people had given a thumbs-up to my comment.  Frankly, I don’t give a royal shit, for I’ve been considering dumping Facebook for some time now.  But, I admit it galls me a bit that I am chastised for something that is far more mellow than other comments that have been allowed.

Then yesterday, I came across the daily Claytoonz cartoon/editorial, and noticed a note at the end of his post that said …

“I am appealing, but this cartoon has already been removed by Facebook and my account has been suspended for 24 hours. I’ll update if there is a change to that.”

This is the ‘toon that got him suspended …

Being a bit of a mischief maker, and not giving a royal fig if Facebook bans me for life, I copied the ‘toon to my own Facebook page to see how long it would take them to either chastise, or worse yet, ban me.  Twelve hours later, the ‘toon is still on my FB page and I’ve not yet received one of their nasty little notes.  Hmmmm … maybe I’ll have to try harder?


Nite nite …

I am going to bed now, hoping to sleep off this horrible mood that has taken over my psyche, that has made me want to yell at everyone, including my own self.  Buenas noches, amigos.

Looking Forward Doesn’t Mean Forgetting The Past

The attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th of this year are destined to become a notable part of the ongoing history of this nation.  We rely on the media to help us find answers to the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions, but instead the press, whose independence we cherish and protect, is turning a blind eye, has moved on without delving too deeply for answers.  The GOP prefers to simply ‘move on’ and the press is giving in to them, it seems.  Robert Reich’s piece in The Guardian yesterday speaks to this issue …


Republicans tried to overturn the election. We can’t just forget that

Robert Reich

Americans like to look forward but the effects of Trump’s lies about Covid and the 6 January insurrection are still with us

America prefers to look forward rather than back. We’re a land of second acts. We move on.

This can be a strength. We don’t get bogged down in outmoded traditions, old grudges, obsolete ways of thinking. We constantly reinvent. We love innovation and disruption.

The downside is a tendency toward collective amnesia about what we’ve been through, and a corresponding reluctance to do anything about it or hold anyone accountable.

Now, with Covid receding and the economy starting to rebound – and the 2020 election and the attack on the Capitol behind us – the future looks bright.

But at the risk of being the skunk at the picnic, let me remind you: we have lost more than 580,000 people to Covid-19. One big reason that number is so high is our former president lied about the virus and ordered his administration to minimize its danger.

Donald Trump also lied about the results of the last election. And then – you remember, don’t you? – he tried to overturn the results.

Trump twisted the arms of state election officials. He held a rally to stop Congress from certifying the election, followed by the violent attack on the Capitol. Five people died. Senators and representatives could have been slaughtered.

Several Republican members of Congress encouraged the attempted coup by joining him in the big lie and refusing to certify the election.

This was just over four months ago, yet we seem to be doing everything we can to blot it out of our memory.

Last Tuesday, the Washington Post hosted a live video chat with the Missouri Republican senator Josh Hawley, a ringleader in the attempt to overturn the results of the election. Hawley had even made a fist-pump gesture toward the mob at the Capitol before the attack.

But the Post billed the interview as being about Hawley’s new book on the “tyranny of big tech”. It even posted a biography of Hawley that made no mention of Hawley’s sedition, referring instead to his supposed reputation “for taking on the big and the powerful to protect Missouri workers” and as “a fierce defender of the constitution”.

Last week, CBS This Morning interviewed the Florida Republican Rick Scott, another of the senators who tried to overturn the election by not certifying the results. But there was no mention of his sedition. The CBS interviewer confined his questions to Biden’s spending plans, which Scott unsurprisingly opposed.

Senators Ted Cruz and Ron Johnson and the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, also repeatedly appear on major news programs without being questioned about their attempts to undo the results of the election.

What possible excuse is there for booking them if they have not publicly retracted their election lies? If they must appear, they should be asked if they continue to deny the election results and precisely why.

Pretending nothing happened promotes America’s amnesia, which invites more attempts to distort the truth.

On Monday, Trump issued a “proclamation” seeking to co-opt the language of those criticizing his falsehoods. “The Fraudulent Presidential Election of 2020 will be, from this day forth, known as the BIG LIE!” he wrote, repeating his claims that the 2020 election was stolen and that President Biden is illegitimate. Most Republican voters believe him.

Trump’s big lie is being used by Republican state legislatures to justify new laws that restrict voting. On Thursday, hours after Florida installed new voting restrictions, Texas’s Republican-led legislature pushed ahead with its own bill that would make it one of the hardest states in which to cast a ballot.

The Republican-controlled Arizona senate is mounting a private recount of the 2020 presidential election results in Maricopa county – farming out 2.1m ballots to GOP partisans, including at least one who participated in the 6 January raid on the Capitol.

The Republican party is about to purge one of its leaders, the Wyoming representative Liz Cheney, for telling the truth.

It is natural to want to put all this unpleasantness behind us. We are finally turning the corner on the pandemic and the economy. Why look back to the trauma of the 2020 election?

But we cannot put it behind us. Trump’s big lie and all that it has provoked are still with us. If we forget what has occurred, the trauma will return, perhaps in even more terrifying form.

Can’t Win Honestly? Then Cheat!

It’s a sad statement when one of the two political parties is so certain they cannot win in a fair and honest election that rather than change their ways, they do everything in their power (and some things that really are not in their legitimate power) to ensure half the people in the nation will not be able to cast a ballot in upcoming elections.  It is the equivalent of a child sneaking a cookie before supper, for he knows if he asks, he will be told “No, not until after supper.”  Only with much more serious and far-reaching consequences.

Today, Florida Governor and 2024 presidential hopeful, Ron DeSantis signed into law an extremely restrictive voter suppression law that he claims will place guardrails against fraud, even as he acknowledged there were no serious signs of voting irregularities last November.  But, DeSantis and the entirety of the Republican Party feel threatened by the fact that times are changing, people are becoming less tolerant of the bigotry that is the cornerstone of the Republican Party and … well, if you can’t win honestly, then you cheat, right?

The media, for the most part, was not allowed in to view the signing ceremony.  One exception:  Fox ‘News’.  Go figure.  DeSantis staged the signing on a live broadcast of Fox & Friends this morning, flanked by a small group of GOP legislators in Palm Beach County.  Other media organizations were shut out.  Freedom of press???  Or is that, like voting rights, being killed?

Look closely at the picture … see any Black faces there?  But it isn’t only Blacks and Hispanics the Republican governor and legislators are trying to disenfranchise.  According to Patricia Brigham, president of the League of Women Voters of Florida …

“The legislation has a deliberate and disproportionate impact on elderly voters, voters with disabilities, students and communities of color. It’s a despicable attempt by a one party ruled legislature to choose who can vote in our state and who cannot. It’s undemocratic, unconstitutional, and un-American.”

Do you remember when you were in school and each morning you had to stand and recite that ‘pledge of allegiance’ to the flag?  Being the rebel I am and have always been, I stopped doing that by about 2nd grade, and no matter what they threatened me with, I refused to stand or say the words that even back then rang false. I followed the example of Colin Kaepernick, before he was even born!  One line in that pledge calls the United States “one nation, indivisible …”.  Apparently, they were wrong.  I think they better be re-thinking that one and calling it “one nation, deeply divided”.

Within minutes of DeSantis signing the bill into law, lawsuits were filed.  The League of Women Voters of Florida joined the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, and others in assailing the new law in a federal lawsuit filed minutes after the signing.  A separate lawsuit by the NAACP and Common Cause alleges that the new law makes it more difficult for people who are Black, Latino or disabled to vote.

My hope is that the courts will strike down all these restrictive measures too many states are taking to try to disenfranchise us, to shove their will down our throats, but sadly I’m not as confident of that as I once was.