Reinforcement of why a person left the GOP

Today our friend Keith shares an article that clearly defines the major difference today between the two major parties in the U.S. This is a ‘must-read’ for those who would claim there is no difference between the two parties or for those who still believe the GOP is a viable, functional political party. Thanks, Keith

musingsofanoldfart

The following is an interesting article that furthers the message of my previous and earlier posts over my concerns for the Republican party called “I left the GOP because it seemed to be losing it way. Last week convinced me I was right” by Kurt Bardella of NBC News.

Here are few excerpts from the piece. The full article can be linked to below.

“I don’t think I’ve recently experienced a span of days that quite so neatly captures the difference betweenbeing a Democrat and being a Republicanin today’s America.

Last week began with the GOP’s wannabe standard-bearer,Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, using human beingsas political props for acraven publicity stuntdesigned to stoke right-wing outrage toward migrants.

Then, the current Republican Party standard-bearer found himself in even more legal hot water after theNew York attorney general’s lawsuitalleging Trump and his eldest children committed…

View original post 425 more words

Whatever Happened to the Constitution?

Sometimes I really don’t understand the ‘maga-movement’.  No, let me re-state that … I do not understand this maga-movement that proposes and supports an authoritarian regime, that has as its core ideology racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and every form of bigotry known to humankind.  If you listen long enough to the likes of Margie Greene, Mehmet Oz, JD Vance and others you will come to feel that you have been dropped into some alternate universe … or reading some crazy fiction where up is down, left is right, and nothing makes sense anymore.

With just 44 days remaining until election day on November 8th, I think it is more important than ever that people pay close attention to what the candidates are saying, what sort of government they are hoping to create if they are successful in their election bids.  Let’s start with a bit of insight from The Washington Post columnist, Dana Milbank …


How reactionary is MAGA? Try the first century B.C.

By Dana Milbank

7 September 2022

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears: They have come to resurrect Caesar.

MAGA Republican leaders take umbrage at being accused of “semi-fascism,” which is understandable: Twentieth-century dictators such as Mussolini and the German guy with the mustache gave fascism a bad name. But the MAGA crowd isn’t disavowing totalitarianism, per se. It’s just their taste in authoritarian figures skews toward the classics. They’re old-school — 1st century B.C. old. “Hail, Caesar” goes down so much easier than “Heil Hitler.”

J.D. Vance, the Republican Senate nominee in Ohio, is one resident of this newly platted Caesarian section, as a recent profile in the Cleveland Plain Dealer showed. It referred to a year-old interview Vance gave on a far-right podcast in which he spoke approvingly of Curtis Yarvin, a self-proclaimed monarchist who argues for an American Julius Caesar to take power.

“We are in a late republican period,” Vance said, referencing the era preceding Caesar’s dictatorship. “If we’re going to push back against it, we’re going to have to get pretty wild, and pretty far out there, and go in directions that a lot of conservatives right now are uncomfortable with.”

The podcast’s host, Jack Murphy, endorsed this sentiment, discussing possible “extra-constitutional” remedies to be taken “if we want to re-found the country.” (He told Vance he thought voting an “ineffectual” way to “rip out this leadership class.”)

Vance, who said he had been “radicalized” by the actions of “malevolent and evil” political opponents, described what “wild” actions he had in mind at another point in the podcast. He wants to “seize the institutions of the left” and purge political opponents with “de-Nazification, de-Ba’athification.”

Vance suggested that former president Donald Trump, once elected in 2024, should fire all civil servants and replace them with “our people,” defy court orders blocking such an illegal action, and then “do what Viktor Orban has done,” referring to the Hungarian dictator’s bans on certain topics from school curricula. Vance justified such “outside-the-box” authoritarian actions by reasoning that the United States is “far gone” and not “a real constitutional republic” anymore.

Hail, Caesar!

Vance is far from the only emperor-curious MAGA leader. Former Trump White House adviser Peter Navarro called Mike Pence a “traitor to the American Caesar of Trump” because the former vice president refused to help overturn the 2020 election. Another former Trump adviser, Michael Anton, hosted a Claremont Institute podcast with Yarvin about the desirability of an “American Caesar.”

Meanwhile, various tactics that would qualify as “extra-constitutional” have been proliferating on the MAGA right.

This week, Judge Aileen Cannon, a Trump appointee confirmed during the lame-duck Republican Congress after the 2020 election, turned the bedrock American principle of equal justice on its head. Cannon, granting Trump’s request for a “special master” to shield the government documents hoarded at his residence, said Trump’s need for protection from “stigma” was “in a league of its own” because of his “former position as president.” A judge granting extraordinary legal powers to the man who appointed her to spare him “reputational harm”? Hail, Caesar!

Last week, the House Jan. 6 committee wrote to Trump ally Newt Gingrich, outlining how the former House speaker encouraged Trump TV ads promoting false election-fraud claims, and how he suggested a “call-to-action” to intimidate election officials. “The goal is to arouse the country’s anger,” Gingrich wrote to Trump advisers, at a time when election officials desperately feared violence. Hail, Caesar!

Some MAGA Republicans have a novel solution to resolve pesky constitutional restraints: Rewrite the Constitution. As Carl Hulse reports in the New York Times, Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Tex.) introduced legislation seeking to compel Congress to call a constitutional convention — the first since the framers wrote it — to overhaul the United States’ founding document. The effort likely isn’t going anywhere, but it shows the contempt MAGA Republicans have for the constitutional order. Hail, Caesar!

Others in the MAGA movement simply reinterpret the Constitution to their own liking. County law-enforcement officials self-styling as “constitutional sheriffs” have assigned themselves power to decide what the law is, according to their own politics. One such sheriff in Michigan sought warrants in July to seize vote-counting machines to try to validate Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, Reuters reported last week. Armed lawmen going rogue to undermine elections? Hail, Caesar!

A few weeks from now, the Supreme Court will open its new term, in which it will decide whether to use a North Carolina case to allow state legislatures to redraw election maps — and potentially to overturn the outcome of elections and to disregard state constitutions — without any review by state courts. The high court blessing a radical legal theory that mocks the will of the voters? For MAGA Republicans, all roads lead to Roman imperialism.

Hail, Caesar!

GOP Cruelty Pleases Their Constituents

“Divide et impera” … Julius Caesar, circa a long time ago. In English, it is “Divide and conquer”. Control. A disunited people are far less likely to rise up and oppose a dictator or other authoritarian. Keep them hatin’. Our friend Jeff is angry and so am I …

On The Fence Voters

I’ve said it before, and I’ll repeat it. As it is presently constituted, the GOP represents a small minority of people in this country who think being cruel to people is a virtue.

We all know about the disgraced former president. We’ve seen the hatred he spewed as president and now as a private citizen. He is the standard-bearer for this type of behavior. He’s got a group in Congress who continue to support him no matter what. And, if he’s indicted, we know that support would continue. Many of those same GOP politicians mirror the personality of their dear leader, who relishes every chance he gets to insult and lie with impunity.

And they wouldn’t do it were it not for millions of people in this country who love every minute of it. And they do not cross the former president because they know the death threats and intimidation…

View original post 1,017 more words

Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

This week (September 18th – 24th) is Banned Books Week.  No, it doesn’t mean we should ban books this week … quite the opposite!  My plan (and we all know how easily my plans are waylaid) is to do a couple of posts this week about the recent spate of banning books of all sorts by schools and libraries.  But for today, I just want to start by bringing awareness of Banned Books Week … how it started and why, and what the significance is today in the culture where whitewashing of history seems to be a political football.

Banned Books Week was founded in 1982 by First Amendment and library activist Judith Krug. Krug said that the Association of American Publishers contacted her with ideas to bring banned books “to the attention of the American public” after a “slew of books” had been banned that year. Krug relayed the information to the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, and “six weeks later we celebrated the first Banned Books Week.”

The event is sponsored by a coalition of organizations (far too numerous to list here) dedicated to free expression, including American Library Association, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week receives support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.  And those are just a few of the organizations in support of Banned Books Week.

For the 2022 event, student activist Cameron Samuels was named the first Youth Honorary Chair for distributing banned books in the Katy Independent School District in Texas. In April 2022, PEN America released a report titled “Banned in the USA” revealing an increase in book banning in the United States since 2021. Student activism against book banning also increased.

Let’s look at one ludicrous example … an example of a banned book that most of us have read or had read to us in our childhood and read to our own kids:  Charlotte’s WebCharlotte’s Web, published in 1952, is a delightful children’s book written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams.

The book tells the story of a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur is in danger of being slaughtered by the farmer, Charlotte writes messages praising Wilbur in her web in order to persuade the farmer to let him live.  Innocent enough, yes?  However, Charlotte’s Web was banned in 2006.  WHY???  Because “talking animals are blasphemous and unnatural.”  Even crazier, in a few school districts, the Merriam-Webster dictionary has been banned!!!  WHY???  Because it contains “obscene words”.  Well duh … it’s a dictionary, for Pete’s sake!!!  Like it or not, ‘obscene’ words do exist!  Would you rather your kids get the definition of such words from other kids on the playground, or from a reliable source like the dictionary?

And that Mark Twain classic, Huckleberry Finn, was banned not for the fact that the n-word is used some 200 times throughout the book, but rather because “Huck not only itched but scratched, and that he said sweat when he should have said perspiration.”  Yes, my friends … some people are more offended by the word ‘sweat’ than they are by the racially hateful n-word.  Go figure.

The theme for this, the 40th annual Banned Books Week is “Books Unite Us.  Censorship Divides Us.” A perfect theme for this chaotic time in the U.S.  The vast majority of people do not want books banned …

… and yet this year alone, since January 1st, at least 1,651 books have been banned in various locales.  The biggest reasons for banning books historically have been that the material was ‘sexually explicit’, contained ‘offensive language’, or was simply considered unsuitable to any age group.  But today, books by Black authors or about racism, and books about the LGBTQ community or by LGBTQ authors are the most likely to be banned.

From an article by the American Libraries Association …

“This is a dangerous time for readers and the public servants who provide access to reading materials. Readers, particularly students, are losing access to critical information, and librarians and teachers are under attack for doing their jobs.”

What a shame that the narrow, closed minds of people result in the banning of books that open pathways to knowledge and imagination, that open the minds of the readers, that educate and entertain all at the same time.  I was lucky as a child … nothing was censored or banned from me.  In fact, I remember when I was 8 years old, during a cross-country car trip with my mother and my aunt, they took turns reading to me … whichever one wasn’t driving at the moment read and by the end of the journey, they had read the entire book, Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, to me!  I didn’t understand most of it, but nonetheless I enjoyed it and knew it must be funny for both of them were laughing uproariously!  Catcher in the Rye has been banned numerous times since then for “excessive vulgar language, sexual scenes, and things concerning moral issues.”

You’ve probably figured out by now that I am against book bans.  I think that there are far too many people with closed, bigoted minds today, and the path to an open mind is knowledge … knowledge of all kinds, knowledge about history, science, and about a wide variety of cultures.  How can we appreciate people who are different than us if we know nothing about them?  It is this ignorance that leads to the ‘fear of other’ that is causing so much chaos in this nation today.  No, banning books is the exact wrong solution!

LET’S ALL MAKE SURE WE PROTECT DEMOCRACY ON NOVEMBER 8TH (My attempt to create a helpful candidates guide)

Our friend Annie over at AnnieAsksYou has gone way above and beyond in her latest post that summarizes the mid-term election candidates for the most relevant and/or contentious races. Bookmark this post, for you may want to refer to it more than once in the next 51 days! Annie — I cannot imagine how many hours you put into the research for this post … I applaud your efforts and THANK YOU for all this valuable information!

annieasksyou...

Photo by Mikhail Nilov on Pexels.com

With the completion of the primaries on September 13 and the midterm elections less than two months away, it’s time to zero in on particular candidates who have been targeted by the Republicans, and/or those I feel are especially worthy of your votes, active support, and any dollars you can spare. My goal has been to cover as many of the key races as I can.

Wherever possible, I’ve linked to substantive information about the candidates. If you want to donate–and even a few dollars are helpful–many of them are linked to ActBlue.

This is a companion piece to my previous post, How to Be a Part of the Solution, which contains organizations working to protect democracy that can also use your support.

In view of rising reports of vote suppression campaigns already under way, please check your own situation soon—to make sure…

View original post 3,363 more words

A Powerful Question

Yesterday, our friend Nan posted a question asked by Robert Reich and this may well be one of his best pieces ever! I was impressed enough to want to share it. Thank you, Nan … and Robert! (I actually thought I had re-blogged this yesterday afternoon, and didn’t find out until late last night that I had it all set up but forgot to hit the “Reblog Post” button! Senility is setting in!)

Nan's Notebook

blue_question

OK … I’m doing it again. But this is something that NEEDS to be shared. It was written by Robert Reich (via Substack):

A personal question to powerful people who continue to deny the results of the 2020 election

What do you tell yourself in private?

I have a serious question for people who have power in America and who continue to deny the outcome of the 2020 election and enable Trump’s Big Lie: What are you saying to yourself in private? How are you justifying yourself in your own mind?

I don’t mean to be snide or snarky. I’m genuinely curious.

I’m not interested in Trump’s answer to this question. He is too far gone — lost in the depths of his own pathological ego. I’m also not asking the millions of Trump followers, Fox News viewers, and rightwing social media fans who have been fed the Big…

View original post 798 more words

Yet Another Weighs In

Between my own brief snippet, and the words of Charles Blow, I thought I had pretty much said all that needed to be said about President Biden’s speech last Thursday and the predictable backlash to it.  But then, I came across Dan Rather’s response and he made some additional points that I think have enough merit to be shared.


MAGA Meltdown

The aftermath of President Biden’s speech on American democracy

Dan Rather and Elliot Kirschner

03 September 2022

It is all so predictable, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t shocking.

    Bad faith stampedes across American democracy.

    Hypocrisy oozes and drips over our national discourse.

    False equivalence muddies the stark choices we face.

President Joe Biden had to know that when he gave a speech on Thursday bluntly and unambiguously delineating an undeniable truth (that Donald Trump and his legions of MAGA Republicans pose an existential threat to the governance of the United States) that the response would be fury, lies, and a convenient amnesia — indeed, outright gaslighting, over everything we have witnessed in American politics over the past six years.

It serves no purpose to list with specificity the talking points that Republican elected officials and their amplifiers in right-wing media have trotted out in the two days since. They can be categorized generally as: How dare he? How dare he say we are against democracy? How dare he use such tough language? How dare he single us out?

Biden’s response to that is the very rationale for the speech: How could I not?

    Complacency in the face of what we are confronting is not an option.

    Mincing words to appease a contorted view of “balance” and “fairness” when the other side long ago abandoned any pretense of those values means obscuring the truth.

    To not name the threat with crystal clarity — as Biden said, “you can’t love your country only when you win” — is to risk losing the country and what it represents completely.

    To remain silent is to jeopardize who the vast majority of Americans believe we are as a people and whom we aspire to become.

To see Republicans who support Trump complain about the language President Biden used to characterize them and their actions is laughable. Pick a Trump rally at random and just press play. The invective, the “othering” of anyone who thinks differently from the chanting red hat crowd, the lies about elections and their results, the winks and nods at violence, and so many other outrages are standard fare. They are indeed why his minions wait hours and drive thousands of miles to attend. They bask in the insults and bathe in the direct and personal attacks on their political enemies.

The meltdown from Republican elected officials should be considered in light of the upcoming midterm elections. These feckless politicians are witnessing their poll numbers go down and President Biden’s go up. Democratic candidates have overperformed in special elections. This fall was supposed to host a “Red Wave,” but it may be more of a ripple, or the tide could even turn “Blue.” Republicans may yet win, but they are on the defensive now.

On Thursday, they saw a president they had long tried to dismiss as old, low energy, even senile issue a blistering condemnation of Trump the demagogue and the movement he unleashed — and to which most of these Republican politicians have sworn complete fealty. You get a sense that deep down, they know Biden is right about what MAGA means for American democracy, but they are either too cowardly or calculating to care.

So they lash out and call the speech “political.” They are right. It was political. Because it had to be. It was Trump and his followers who turned American democracy into a political question. It is Republicans in races across the country who have made election lies the central rationale for their campaigns. That means our democracy is literally on the ballot. Its future, our future, as a nation of laws where the government is accountable to the will of the majority, will be decided by politics.

But President Biden was careful to differentiate between MAGA Republicans and the entirety of Republican voters and elected officials.

“Now, I want to be very clear, very clear up front. Not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology. I know, because I’ve been able to work with these mainstream Republicans. But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans. And that is a threat to this country.”

Biden is betting that there are many Republicans who do not like Trump or his assault on democracy. Even a small shift of these voters away from Trump-backed candidates could have profound electoral consequences. Contrary to what many Republican politicians and Fox News talking heads are saying, Biden didn’t attack half the country. The true zealots are a much smaller cohort, albeit one bent on dominating the governance of the rest of us. The fact that so many people heard Biden talk about MAGA Republicans and thought, “Hey, he’s talking about me,” is telling.

There has also been a lot of discussion in the wake of Biden’s speech about the press coverage. Much of the criticism has centered on whether in framing his remarks, too many reporters and especially pundits of various backgrounds descended into that dangerous quagmire of false equivalence and whataboutism. To be sure, there was some of that. There was also too much handwringing over whether the speech was “political” without enough explanation of why it had to be. It is difficult for many, inside and outside the press, to wrap their heads around how dangerous the threats Trump and those who have picked up his mantle are to this country.

Biden wanted to be clear that he sees this moment as one of the great junctures in American history. Which road will we take? At this historic turning point, there are only two directions. There is no middle ground, no way to muddle through.

The presidency, as we know, comes with a bully pulpit and the power to frame the discourse of the nation. Biden laid down a marker that will shape how Americans, including those in the press, see this moment. Where we end up going will depend on whether those who believe he is right — and we know that includes a wide swath of the American public, including many conservatives — refuse to be quiet and are mobilized to vote.

Heated discussion over what President Biden said will carry forward now. With the American public as judge and jury, a verdict comes in November.

Truth Doesn’t Require An Apology

I fully support civil discourse, compassion, tolerance, kindness, etc., but there comes a time when it is necessary to call a spade a spade.  President Biden did just that earlier this week … he called the far-right Republican movement a ‘threat to democracy’ and ‘semi-fascist’.  Those who are angered by his words should take a long, hard look at what their hopes for the future of this nation are and how they would like to see those hopes achieved.  Charles Blow’s latest OpEd in the New York Times addresses that outrage better than I could (that’s why he gets paid for his opinions and I don’t).


Biden Shouldn’t Apologize to Republicans

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

4 September 2022

Republicans are outraged — or possibly simply pretending to be outraged — that President Biden has, in recent speeches, warned that “MAGA Republicans” are a threat to democracy and, at one point, called the philosophy fueling Trumpism “semi-fascism.”

But there is no scandal here. Biden was simply calling a thing a thing. In fact, I would prefer that he be even more pointed and not try so hard to dodge the charge that he’s casting the net too widely.

Biden first used the term “semi-fascism” two weeks ago, at a Democratic fund-raiser in Maryland, saying: “It’s not just Trump; it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say, something, it’s like semi-fascism.”

Republicans quickly demanded that he apologize for insulting half the electorate. But those Republicans who voted for Donald Trump deserve to be called out for their actions. Trump has consistently exhibited fascist tendencies and espoused racism, misogyny and white nationalism. Republicans supported him, defended him and voted for him. They’ve been actively courting this condemnation.

And yet, ever since the initial brouhaha over his fascism comments, Biden has insisted on walking back his assertion, seemingly determined to distinguish more genteel Republicans from the rest of their party. At a rally in Maryland, shortly after his fund-raiser, Biden said: “I respect conservative Republicans. I don’t respect these MAGA Republicans.”

Personally, I have a very hard time splitting that hair. In 2020, 92 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters backed Trump. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week, 73 percent of Republicans still have a favorable opinion of him, and 72 percent want him to run for re-election in 2024.

The overwhelming majority of Republicans support Trump. The pool of respectable conservatives is shallow, and that’s assuming that they can be neatly defined as those not voting for Trump.

Still, it is clear that Biden is sensitive to the criticism, even as he charges ahead with this pointed assessment.

In Biden’s speech in Philadelphia on Thursday, he returned to the idea that “MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.” But he took pains to more clearly separate them from other Republicans, saying that “not every Republican, not even the majority of Republicans, are MAGA Republicans. Not every Republican embraces their extreme ideology.”

Still, he underscored that “there is no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans.”

Biden was twisting himself into a rhetorical knot when there was no reason to do so. When he said that not even a majority of Republicans are MAGA Republicans, it muddied the waters. What, to Joe Biden, is a MAGA Republican?

On Friday, Biden walked his comments back further still, telling reporters, “I don’t consider any Trump supporter to be a threat to the country.”

He went on to say, “I do think anyone who calls for the use of violence, fails to condemn violence when it’s used, refuses to acknowledge an election has been won, insists upon changing the way in which we rule and count votes — that is a threat to democracy.”

Make no mistake: A significant portion of Republican voters have done exactly what Biden has tried to exempt them from having done. A Public Religion Research Institute poll published in November found that nearly a third of Republicans agreed with the statement “Because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.”

Also, a later poll found that a quarter of Republicans were adherents of the internet conspiracy theory QAnon and believe that “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders” and that “a group of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who run a global child sex-trafficking operation” control America’s government, media and financial system.

As PolitiFact noted in June, citing a number of polls, roughly 70 percent of Republicans don’t see Biden as the legitimate winner of the presidency.

Furthermore, a July accounting by FiveThirtyEight found that “halfway through the primary season, we can say definitively that at least 120 election deniers have won their party’s nomination and will be on the ballot in the fall.” Republican voters delivered primary victories to those candidates.

Republicans have a knack for persuading Democrats to pull their punches. It was the same strategy they used against Barack Obama after he said some Americans were “bitter” and “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

He was absolutely correct, but in politics, telling the truth can be a sin.

It was the same strategy Republicans used against Hillary Clinton after she said: “You could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up.”

She was absolutely right. She may have even understated the number.

Democrats have to stop falling for the line that calling out the dangers that some voters present to the country is somehow a divisive, offensive, unfair attack on the innocent. No person who voted for Trump or supports him now is above being named and shamed.

Biden doesn’t owe Republicans an apology; they owe the country an apology.

Foot-Stomping MAD!

It’s been over a year-and-a-half since thousands joined forces to attack the U.S. Capitol in a failed, but nonetheless bloody coup attempt.  The violence on that day, the calls to ‘hang Mike Pence’, still makes me sick to my stomach.  The fact that the attempted coup was approved of by the ‘man’ who called himself ‘president’ still gives me nightmares.  Violence seems to follow Donald Trump wherever he goes, and he seems to incite a great deal of it.  Since that fateful January 6th, violence and calls for violence have increased … even more so in response to a search warrant that was executed to retrieve national security documents Trump illegally stole from us and possibly shared.

Threats of political violence and actual attacks have become a steady reality of American life such that some days I feel we’re living in Somalia instead of the United States.  And the violence isn’t all political … there have been 27 school shootings so far in the first 7 ½ months of 2022!  School children!!!  Yes, 27!  No, you haven’t heard about all of them, for the media only makes a big deal if a relatively large number of children are killed such as was the case in Uvalde, Texas in May, but in total, 83 people, mostly children, have been shot in those 27 school shootings this year.  Can’t blame these directly on politics, but you can sure as hell can blame the politicians who have consistently blocked any form of gun legislation such as banning assault weapons or far more stringent background checks.  So, their answer is to arm all teachers … put even more guns into the hands of people unqualified to have them!

The political violence, however, is out of control and the feeding frenzy isn’t helped by social media, certain mainstream media outlets, and the politicians who keep telling people that the ‘other’ party is the one responsible for all of our woes.

A man named Garrett Ziegler, a former aide to Donald Trump, posted the names and personal information of the FBI Agents who assisted in the execution of the search warrant to retrieve classified documents from the home of Donald Trump.  He even included the social media account of one of the agent’s children!  Within minutes, the families of these agents began receiving death threats.  DEATH THREATS … against the families of law enforcement agents who were merely doing their jobs!

After the brutal murder of George Floyd in 2020, there were numerous Black Lives Matter protest that were, for the most part, peaceful.  What little violence there was, was property damage, not lives threatened.  But people were up in arms because the protests existed.  Yet some of the same people who hated on Black Lives Matter protestors are the very ones cheering those who are threatening civil war, threatening to execute Merrick Garland!  So … apparently they aren’t against violence at all, but are just against Black people, against LGBTQ people, and against anyone who attempts to hold the ‘man’ they have put on a pedestal accountable for his actions.  And speaking of the LGBTQ community …

In late June, a former Marine stepped down as the grand marshal of a July 4th parade in Houston after a deluge of threats that focused on her support of transgender rights. A few weeks later, the gay mayor of an Oklahoma city quit his job after what he described as a series of “threats and attacks bordering on violence.”  A five-year-old girl was evicted from her kindergarten because her parents are gay.  As I reported a week or so ago, a town in Michigan will shut down its library because the library refuses to ban books by LGBTQ authors or about LGBTQ people or issues!

The judge who signed the warrant to search Trump’s home for the missing classified documents is now receiving death threats, as is his family after some on social media called for a “rope around his neck”.  Then Fox “News” exacerbated the situation by posting a photoshopped fake picture of the judge sprawled out with Ghislaine Maxwell giving him a foot massage.  These are the kinds of things that stir the masses and get people KILLED!!!

Political violence, racial violence, school shootings … what the Sam Hell has this nation turned into???  What are we humans turning into???  Have we sold our humanity downriver, traded it for bigotry, hatred and violence???

I don’t have any answers, my friends.  We can … we must … each do our part by controlling our own tempers, by shutting down any conversations where someone is speaking of or calling for a violent act, but that isn’t going to be enough to solve the problem.  We can report those we see on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, but that still won’t solve the problem.  I think the answer lies in a direction none of us particularly want to go, but that perhaps we must go, and that is to put some limitations on the 1st Amendment right to free speech.  I don’t like it anymore than you do, but as I’ve long said, every right comes with an accompanying responsibility, and the people of this nation have abused the right without accepting the responsibility.  It is highly irresponsible, criminal even, to call for violence, to call for someone’s ‘execution’ just because you don’t like what he says or does.  We absolutely MUST start holding social media outlets and mainstream news accountable to a higher standard than they currently observe.

And … I’m sure you’re tired of hearing me say this, but we must have some gun control laws that do something more than pay lip service!!!  Ban assault weapons altogether!  Deny a gun to anybody who has even a single incidence of violent behaviour.  Raise the gun ownership age to 25!  Yes, 25!  And make gun ownership a “one strike, you’re out” thing.  We have to do this!!!  And we must make the punishment for any violent act so harsh that it actually serves as a deterrent!  Every person who was in the Capitol on January 6th without authorization should automatically be serving a 5-year prison sentence.  Those who had weapons or harmed anyone should be in prison for 20 years, no exceptions.  If the price of violence is high enough, people will think before they mouth off or worse yet, grab their guns and go on a shooting spree!

I’ve said it enough times, but I’ll keep on saying it … VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER!!!  We are truly, and this is not hyperbole, turning into a third-world nation where random shootings are becoming the norm, where even children are targets, and where nobody is quite safe anywhere anymore.  Write to your Senators and Representatives and tell them that THEY have the power to make changes and they damn well better do it NOW!!!  I really don’t know what more we can do, but we better start doing something.

Still More Snark Keeps Rollin’

I’m sure you’re surprised to hear that I have still more angst that must be relieved in the form of snarky snippets, right?  I mean … what could possibly be causing me stress in these peaceful, calm, dog days of summer?  Well, let’s see … let me count the ways …  By the way, before I forget, a special thanks to Scottie of Scottie’s Playtime for the header image of the Aunty Acid meme … he sent it to me and it pretty much perfectly describes the ‘me’ I’ve become of late!  Thanks, Scottie!


ENOUGH!!!!

I remember when my children were little … the two eldest were only 16 months apart in age and a world apart in temperament, which could result in some pretty raucous battles!  What I see happening within the U.S. today is reminiscent of those battles, only on a much larger, more dangerous scale.

Violence, or the threat of violence, is NEVER the solution to problems!  NEVER!!!  And yet, I hear that right-wing groups such as the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters et al are telling people to “Pick up arms,” and they don’t mean the two that are attached to your body.  The culmination came with the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago on Monday, which those on the far right are claiming is justification for massive violence across the nation.  It isn’t, but these people are so blinded by their own hatred and prejudices that they cannot or will not see that.

I’ve read of some calling for the assassination of Attorney General Merrick Garland, and I’m told that the judge who signed off on the warrant to search Trump’s domicile has been receiving death threats. Others are calling for ‘civil war’, as if they knew the meaning of that phrase.  The most popular search term yesterday was “lock and load”, which means “lock your safety and load a magazine into your weapon.”  Welcome to America where there are more guns than people, and every nutcase owns an arsenal!

Politicians like Kevin McCarthy and Jim Banks who, without having knowledge of what the FBI was looking for at Mar-a-Lago, jumped immediately and began disparaging and not-so-subtly threatening Merrick Garland and President Biden, do a disservice to the very people they are supposed to represent.  Their voices matter, unfortunately, and some people will take their words, build on them, and claim they are “saving the nation” by taking up arms against … who?  The FBI?  The president?  Or perhaps you and I get caught in the crossfire some day as we go about the business of grocery shopping or taking our children to school.

I repeat, my friends … VIOLENCE IS NEVER THE ANSWER!!!


And I am not alone …

Richard Haass has been president of the Council on Foreign Relations since July 2003, prior to which he was Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State and a close advisor to Secretary of State Colin Powell in the George W. Bush administration.  In the preface to his upcoming (January 24, 2023) book, The Bill of Obligations, Haass writes that he’s often asked: “‘Richard, what keeps you up at night?’  Some suggest China?  Russia? North Korea? Iran? Terrorism? Climate change? Cyberattacks? Another pandemic?”  To which Haass replies …

“The most urgent and significant threat to American security and stability stems not from abroad but from within. The threat is from political divisions that for only the second time in U.S. history have raised questions about the future of American democracy and even the United States itself.”

Exactly.  Y’know … all living things have an expiration date, so to speak.  Nothing lives forever.  Nations are living things, and perhaps the United States, such as we have known it, is about to reach its expiry date.


Tell me why you want the job

When candidates begin throwing their hats in the ring for the 2024 presidential election, the one question I would pose to each and every one is:  Why do you want to be the next president?

Hmmmm … I can hear some of the answers now …

  • To find Hunter Biden’s laptop
  • To ‘make America great again’
  • To put ‘America first’
  • To make this a Christian nation
  • To defeat Democrats

And of course the unspoken answer in many cases would be:  To make this a white, Christian, male-dominated autocracy.

In my mind, the one correct answer would be:  To restore integrity and compassion to our nation, to our government.  To begin closing the gap between right and left, to heal the damage, the divisiveness, the bigotry, and the hatred that exists today.

Who, I wonder, would give that answer?


I leave you with just a few cartoons …