The Week’s Best Cartoons 7/24

I’m just now getting around to sharing TokyoSand’s cartoon post from Saturday … sorry for the delay!  As always she has scoured the Internet and found the cream of the crop!  The topics this week range from the strange Tokyo Olympics to the Republican’s about-face regarding the COVID vaccine to anti-vaxxers and much more!  Thank you, TS, for pulling these together for us!  Here is a sampling …

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons over at Political Charge!

Your Rights Or Mine?

When the pandemic hit the shores of the U.S., when non-essential businesses were ordered to close and mask mandates became widespread around the nation, I rebelled a bit against the restrictions. However at the time, I had no idea of the scope of this pandemic, no idea that some 16 months later we would still be in dire circumstances.  As I saw the new cases skyrocketing, saw the death toll rise to more than a thousand people a day, I made a conscious decision to stay out of public venues to the largest extent possible, and to dutifully wear a mask when I couldn’t avoid being in a public place.  I may be stubborn, but I’m not stupid!  Other folk, however, might just qualify as being a special kind of stupid and it annoys the hell out of me that they have so little regard for anyone, even their own children!


The Catholics vs the lives of children

I thought I had heard every excuse in the book for not wearing a mask.  They are all bullshit, for if I can wear a mask when out in public, I with severe breathing problems, then almost anybody can.  But those who choose not to don’t even claim to have health issues, they simply don’t want to and they view civil rights as basically being … whatever they want to do.  They are disgusting and crude, but I’ve gotten used to it and usually just tune them out or flip them a middle finger.  But it turns out that no, I hadn’t heard the worst of it.

Resurrection School, a Catholic school in Lansing, Michigan, and two parents are suing the State of Michigan for a mask mandate that was in effect for schools last year when they first filed the lawsuit.  The mask mandate, of course, was put in place in order to keep children, their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends safe from the coronavirus.  But the Catholic school and parents argue that Catholic doctrine holds that every person is made in God’s image …

“Unfortunately, a mask shields our humanity. And because God created us in His image, we are masking that image.”

OH For Pete’s Sake!!!

The school’s lawsuit argued that in addition to physically blocking God’s image, face coverings make people anti-social and interfere with relationships.  In addition, the school argued, wearing masks “conveys the message that the wearer has surrendered his or her freedom to the government.”

OH FFS!!!

In December, Judge Paul Maloney of the Western District of Michigan denied the school’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have banned enforcement of the state’s mask ordinance for kindergarten through fifth-grade students at religious schools. Resurrection School notified the court of its intention to appeal two days later, court records show.  That appeal was heard last week, but as of yet no verdict has been handed down.  Surely no court in their right mind would put a church’s vanity over the lives of the children!  Stay tuned …


Re-defining ‘Rights’

Humans.  Bah humbug!  Give ‘em an inch and they’ll take a mile.  Tell them they have the right to free speech and they will tell lie after lie after lie under the protective dome of the 1st Amendment.  Tell them they have the right to ‘bear arms’ so long as it is as a part of a well-organized militia, not some ragtag group of uneducated bozos, and they will demand that they be allowed to carry assault rifles, grenade launchers and any weapon known to mankind.  Tell them they have a right to free choice, and they will thumb their nose at you, will demand the right to kill their own children in the name of ‘freedom from being forced to be vaccinated or wear a mask’.

I treasure my constitutional rights, but I am not so stupid or unconscionable to try to assume they give me the right to do whatever the Sam Hell I want to, no matter who it puts in the path of danger.  See … I have this thing in my head called a brain, and some days it even kicks into gear and produces coherent thought processes!  Sadly, my late-ex-husband hit the nail on the head when he said that some people, when they were giving out brains, thought they said, ‘trains’ and answered, “No thank you”.

This seems to be the case with those who seem to believe they are immune to the ravages of the COVID pandemic.  In France, President Emmanuel Macron has put into place a mandate that people must show a “health pass”, similar to a vaccine passport being discussed here in the U.S.  The health pass would be required to show proof of vaccination against the coronavirus when entering cinemas, theaters, museums, restaurants, long train trips, bars and planes.  The French people are whining that the President is taking on powers with dictatorial overtones that crush basic freedoms.  Bullshit!  Connerie!

Here in the U.S., people are whining over everything everywhere.  They don’t want to have to be vaccinated, don’t want to have to show proof of being vaccinated, don’t want to wear a mask … wah wah wah.  Big bunch ‘o babies!  EVEN people in the healthcare industry!  Wouldn’t you think they would know better???  How the hell are they going to convince the populace to be vaccinated when they themselves are refusing???

Some areas are moving into a region of sanity.  The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and the State of California (CA) have made the vaccine mandatory for healthcare workers in their areas.  It only makes sense!  Do you really want to visit the doctor, knowing that his nurse and maybe even himself are walking covid breeders?

And at a time you might expect churches to take the high road, for the most part they have lowered the bar.  Churches have argued against forced closing back when all but the most essential services were shuttered.  And now, some are arguing against protecting their congregation by the requirement to limit attendance and wear masks.  One pastor, Greg Locke, says that mask-wearing is forbidden in his church and anyone entering wearing a mask will be ‘thrown out’.  He claims to be standing up for people’s ‘rights’.  Wait a minute … doesn’t forbidding the wearing of masks intrude on the rights of those who wish to protect themselves by wearing a mask?  Think on that one a minute!

Rights, folks.  Many people aren’t understanding them.  With rights come the responsibility of ensuring you use those rights wisely.  Your rights end at the point they step on mine or somebody else’s.  Rights.  They are enumerated in the U.S. Constitution … I would suggest it be on the mandatory reading list for every single person over the age of 12 in the U.S.  Read it, think about it, then tell me that you have a right to come into a restaurant, unvaccinated and sans mask with the pandemic once again skyrocketing in certain areas.


And then there is Basilico’s Pasta e Vino restaurant in Huntington Beach, California …

When restaurants across California halted indoor dining as the pandemic took hold in March 2020, Basilico’s Pasta e Vino in Huntington Beach continued to welcome patrons.

When officials issued an order for establishments to mandate face coverings to stem the spread of the virus, the Orange County eatery declared itself a mask-free zone and required that diners remove them before entering.

This week, the Italian restaurant issued another decree: Proof of being unvaccinated is required for entry.

We have seen a lot of ignorance, a lot of blatant stupidity, a lot of cruelty since the start of the pandemic, but … this one takes the cake.  I would love to see this restaurant shut down by the Department of Public Health and told never to re-open their doors again.


When Conservative became Noservative

Our friend Brosephus shares his thoughts on today’s Republican conservatives, or ‘noservatives’ as he so aptly dubs them. What, he asks, has happened to the Republican Party in the past decade or two? Where is the party that actually DID something instead of simply trying to put roadblocks up for the other party? Brosephus’ post is one well worth reading and pondering. Thank you, Brosephus!

The Mind of Brosephus

Cover of Time Magazine from March 21, 2016

There’s been several topics that have popped up that I haven’t had the time to write about. Most times, these topics usually get discussed in the comment section. I appreciate that because I don’t always have the time to post a new topic to address recent events to allow “on topic” commenting.

That said, I happened to come across the above Time Magazine cover, and I think it asks a very important question that we don’t discuss enough. What happened to the Republican Party? I’m talking beyond the personality cult it’s become with the sole intent on pissing off liberals. What happened to the ideas and guiding principles of conservatism?

For example, let’s discuss immigration for a minute. Conservatives will whine and bitch to no end about how immigration is a problem and there’s a border crisis going on. We’ve been hearing…

View original post 1,024 more words

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Was there ever a day when my head wasn’t about to explode from all the injustice and lunacy that we live with on a continual basis?  Was there ever a day when people just treated others right, when our government wasn’t being ripped apart by radicals?  Sigh.  I do remember a day when things were better than today in many ways, but let’s face it … there has never been a time that people were completely kind and compassionate toward all, never been a time when there weren’t arguments within the government – and among people – about how things ought to be done.  So, I suppose it’s what keeps me going, gives me the will to fight injustice and ignorance yet another day.


Selling children …

The headline that made my jaw drop read:

New York becomes sixth state in U.S. to ban child marriages

You mean to tell me that 44 states in this union still allow and/or support child marriages???

Last month, Rhode Island’s Democratic governor signed legislation barring minors from being married. Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware have enacted similar laws, as have the U.S. Virgin Islands and American Samoa.  It stands out like a sore thumb that not a single one of these states are south of the Mason-Dixon line.

The legality of child marriages varies widely across the other 44 states. In Wyoming, the minimum age of consent for marriage is 16, but a child of any age can be married with parental and judicial consent. In Virginia, the minimum age is 18 — but there is an exception for minors who have been legally emancipated.

Nearly 5,000 children were married in New York between 2000 and 2018, according to a study published in April by Unchained at Last, a nonprofit that advocates against child marriage in the United States.

Nationally over that period, nearly 300,000 children were legally married, the study found. Of that figure, 86 percent were girls, and most were married to adult men.  I’m sorry, but this isn’t marriage, this is child abuse, it is sex trafficking, it is … it is just WRONG!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Overstepping their bounds — the House Freedom Caucus

The House “Freedom Caucus” is a group of Republican representatives who claim to be representing We the People, but in truth they are a bigoted, homophobic lot.  It was formed in 2015 by members of the ‘Tea Party’ movement and its members are those conservatives who take conservativism so far to the right that it strains the definition of democratic principles.  The utterly despicable Jim Jordan is one of the founding members, which tells you just about all you need to know about the group.  The group was largely to blame for the resignation from Congress of then-House Speaker John Boehner in October 2015, a fellow Republican, though you’d never know it from the treatment he received from the radical right in his own party.

Today, the House Freedom Caucus is urging Kevin McCarthy to ‘do something’ to remove Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.  Mind you, the Speaker of the House is selected by the majority party, which as of today happens to be the Democratic, not the Republican Party, and thus it is not the Republican’s place nor their responsibility to determine the leadership role.  But, when has the Republican Party in the past ten years ever played by the rules?

In a letter Friday, the far-right group asked McCarthy to file and bring up a privileged motion by July 31 “to vacate the chair and end Nancy Pelosi’s authoritarian reign as Speaker of the House.”

“Speaker Pelosi’s tenure is destroying the House of Representatives and our ability to faithfully represent the people we are here to serve. Republicans, under your leadership, must show the American people that we will act to protect our ability to represent their interests.”

Bullshit!  They are annoyed that Pelosi rejected Jim Jordan and Jim Banks for seats on the select committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection, plain and simple.  McCarthy knew damn well that those two buffoons wouldn’t pass muster … he likely selected them for that very reason, setting the stage for his little temper tantrum saying he wouldn’t put any Republicans on the committee if he couldn’t have the two Jims on the committee for the purpose of turning it into a circus act.

It is a near certainty that their request will fail, but what it serves to do is further divide not only the House of Representatives, but the nation.  Remember Abraham Lincoln’s speech in 1858 where he spoke the now famous words … “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”  It’s a fact, and when I hear Republicans utter such inanities as “our ability to faithfully represent the people we are here to serve,” I want to punch somebody or something.  The current representatives in the Republican Party, with very few exceptions, don’t give a damn about the people they are supposed to represent!

Cut the bullshit, Republicans!  We’re not stupid and we can see right through you, especially since you are unburdened by such things as a heart, a conscience, and a functional brain!  You’re as transparent as a glass bottle.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Now Is The Time … Maybe The Last Chance

There was a time when I would have eschewed the very notion of socialism.  A time I didn’t understand the evil that humans are capable of.  A time I thought that ‘right’ would win out over ‘might’.  Over the years, the decades, the rose-coloured glasses have broken to pieces, and the naiveté eroded from my psyche.  Today, I see the human species clearly as it is, and as such, a true democratic socialist state holds much appeal for me.  Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont has, in my view, all the right ideas for what this … or any nation … should be.  Can we get there?  Bernie thinks so.  What follows is the column he wrote for publication in The Guardian on Wednesday … his words make a heck of a lot of sense, at least to me.


The biggest win for the working class in generations is within reach
By Bernie Sanders

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Now is the time.

At a time when the gap between the very rich and everyone else is growing wider, when two people now own more wealth than the bottom 40% and when some of the wealthiest people and biggest businesses in the world pay nothing in federal income taxes, the billionaire class and large profitable corporations must finally start paying their fair share of taxes.

Now is the time.

At a time when real wages for workers have not gone up in almost 50 years, when over half our people live paycheck to paycheck, when over 90 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured, when working families cannot afford childcare or higher education for their kids, when many Americans no longer believe their government represents their interests, the U.S. Congress must finally have the courage to represent the needs of working families and not just the 1% and their lobbyists.

Now is the time.

At a time of unprecedented heatwaves, drought, flooding, extreme weather disturbances and the acidification of the oceans, now is the time for the US government to make certain that the planet we leave our children and future generations is healthy and habitable. We must stand up to the greed of the fossil fuel industry, transform our energy system and lead the world in combating climate change.

As chairman of the U.S. Senate Budget Committee I fought hard for a $6 trillion budget which would address these and other long-neglected needs. Not everyone in the Democratic caucus agreed with me and, after a lot of discussion and compromise within the budget committee, an agreement was reached on a smaller number. (Needless to say, no Republicans will support legislation which taxes the rich and protects working families.)

While this budget is less than I had wanted, let us be clear. This proposal, if passed, will be the most consequential piece of legislation for working people, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor since FDR and the New Deal of the 1930s. It will also put the U.S. in a global leadership position as we combat climate change. Further, and importantly, this legislation will create millions of good-paying jobs as we address the long-neglected needs of working families and the planet.

Why is this proposal so significant?

We will end the days of billionaires not paying a nickel in federal income taxes by making sure the wealthy and large corporations do not use their accountants and lawyers to avoid paying the massive amounts that they owe. This proposal will also raise the individual tax rate on the wealthiest Americans and the corporate tax rate for the most profitable companies in our country. Under this proposal, no family making under $400,000 a year will pay a nickel more in taxes and will, in fact, receive one of the largest tax cuts in American history.

We will aggressively reduce our childhood poverty rate by expanding the child tax credit so that families continue to receive monthly direct payments of up to $300 per child.

We will address the crisis in childcare by fighting to make sure that no working family pays more than 7% of their income on this basic need. Making childcare more accessible and affordable will also strengthen our economy by allowing millions more Americans (mostly women) to join the workforce.

We will provide universal pre-kindergarten to every three- and four-year-old.

We will end the international disgrace of the United States being the only major country on Earth not to guarantee paid family and medical leave as a right.

We will begin to address the crisis in higher education by making community colleges in America tuition-free.

We will address the disgrace of widespread homelessness in the United States and the reality that nearly 18 million households are paying over 50% of their incomes for housing by an unprecedented investment in affordable housing.

We will ensure that people in an aging society can receive the home health care they need and that the workers who provide that care aren’t forced to live on starvation wages.

We will save taxpayers hundreds of billions by having Medicare negotiate prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and use those savings to cover the dental care, hearing aids and eyeglasses that many seniors desperately need.

We will rebuild our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, wastewater treatment plants, broadband and other aspects of our physical infrastructure.

We will take on the existential threat of climate change by transforming our energy systems away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

This effort will include a nationwide clean energy standard that moves our transportation system, electrical generation, buildings and housing and agriculture sector toward clean energy.

Through a Civilian Climate Corps we will give hundreds of thousands of young people good-paying jobs and educational benefits as they help us combat climate change.

We will fight to bring undocumented people out of the shadows and provide them with a pathway to citizenship, including those who courageously kept our economy running in the middle of a deadly pandemic.

In the midst of the many long-ignored crises that this legislation is attempting to address, we will not have one Republican senator voting for it. Tragically, many Republican leaders in Congress and around the country are just too busy continuing to lie about the 2020 presidential election, undermining democracy by suppressing voting rights, denying the reality of climate change and casting doubts about the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccines.

That means that the 50 Democrats in the US Senate, plus the vice-president, will have to pass this most consequential piece of legislation alone. And that’s what we will do. The future of working families is at stake. The future of our democracy is at stake. The future of our planet is at stake.

Now is the time.

Listen to Bernie, my friends … he has the right ideas to take this nation in a positive direction.

The GOP Madness … Doing Us A Favour?

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the Republican House members who had been appointed by Kevin McCarthy to sit on the committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection.  The two were Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Burns of Indiana, and Speaker Pelosi was well within her rights to reject them, for both had refused to certify the election results from the 2020 election, though there was no question whatsoever that President Biden had won by more than 7 million votes. Both attempted to stifle our votes, our voices.

McCarthy, who qualifies as one of the head clowns in the GOP circus, went ballistic and pulled the other three, the ones Pelosi had agreed to, off of the committee.  Fine by me, for his only goal was to be disruptive and ensure that the committee would be unable to conduct a full investigation as we need them to.  Why?  Why are Republicans so adamant that we not get to the bottom of an attack that threatened the democratic principles founded in the U.S. Constitution?  Because … they know the role that certain Republicans played in inciting and participating in the events of the day.  Some of those people carry the last name “Trump” and that is already a proven fact!  So, let’s cover it up … bury it so that they don’t have to try to justify their actions, justify their attempt to rob We the People of our voice … so that come November 2022, people will have forgotten the coup that almost was, and those who bear some responsibility for the events won’t have to answer awkward questions that might land them on the other side of the iron bars!

That said, Washington Post columnists Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman have collaborated on a piece that I think worthy of being shared.  For what little my opinion may be worth, I am 100% in agreement with these gentlemen …


How Kevin McCarthy is boosting the integrity of the Jan. 6 investigation

Opinion by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman

21 July 2021; 5:08 p.m. EDT

We should be thankful that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just pulled Republicans out of any involvement in the select committee to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection. In so doing, he ensured that the committee’s investigation will both have more integrity and be more likely to undertake a valuable accounting.

Which goes to a larger truth about this moment: Efforts at a real examination of arguably the worst outbreak of political violence in modern times — and efforts to protect our democracy more broadly — will not be bipartisan. These things will be done by Democrats alone.

McCarthy’s handling of the Jan. 6 committee illustrates the point. It comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she is nixing two of McCarthy’s picks to serve on it: Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

McCarthy mustered great outrage about this, railing that it was an “abuse of power” that had cost the committee “all legitimacy and credibility.”

In fact, precisely the opposite is true: By pulling out, McCarthy has boosted the committee’s legitimacy and credibility immeasurably. The less involved McCarthy is with this committee, the more likely it will be to undertake a genuine and comprehensive accounting.

McCarthy’s picks were expressly designed to prevent that accounting. This is not speculation or a mere guess at McCarthy’s motives. It is unavoidably clear from the public statements and conduct of Banks and Jordan themselves.

Banks’s first act on getting named by McCarthy was to release a statement declaring that the committee must investigate the “hundreds of violent political riots” in which “many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked.”

That’s an explicit declaration that the insurrection and Donald Trump’s incitement of it should not be the focus of the committee and is a less serious matter than those riots.

Similarly, after Jordan was picked, he immediately declared he wants to serve on the committee because “this is impeachment round three,” unwittingly revealing — or perhaps unabashedly declaring — that he saw his role as solely a means for working to exonerate Trump.

What’s more, Jordan had already played a prominent role in spreading the very lies about the 2020 election that helped inspire the insurrection the committee will be investigating. Given that the committee is charged with probing the causes of the violence — and that those lies are a major cause — any real accounting must also implicate Republicans such as Jordan.

On top of all this, remember that McCarthy could have exercised even more control over the investigation — yet declined. Back in May, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Homeland Security Committee chair, announced an agreement with the ranking Republican on an evenly divided 10-member bipartisan commission, with both parties having veto power over subpoenas.

Guess who voted against that commission? McCarthy, Banks and Jordan did.

All three also voted to object to President Biden’s electors, a vote that represented the culmination of the lies this committee will investigate as a cause of the violence.

There’s another hidden dynamic here, too: McCarthy and Jordan are very likely witnesses themselves. McCarthy made a frantic appeal to Trump to call off the rioters; he likely has firsthand experience of Trump’s truly sociopathic and insurrectionist intentions that day.

And Jordan was present in a Dec. 21 White House meeting with Trump and others, at which they discussed how to overturn Biden’s electors on the day of what would become the insurrection. What was said at that meeting will be of great interest to the committee.

“Anyone who is a material witness to the key events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection doesn’t really belong on the committee,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee, told us.

“The investigative inquiry is being shaped right now,” Raskin continued, “but those are likely to be key events in the chronology.”

Here’s the bottom line: By nixing Banks and Jordan, Pelosi actually protected the integrity of the committee’s investigation, from their openly advertised intention to misdirect, disrupt and sabotage it. By appointing publicly committed saboteurs, McCarthy openly advertised the same intention.

The conventions of political reporting are such that this basic and obvious truth will not be faithfully rendered in press accounts. But it follows from a straightforward interpretation of the statements and conduct of those Republicans themselves.

A Republican voter sent the following letter to the editor

We often make the mistake of categorizing people by their religion or political affiliation, and I’m as guilty as the next person. But our friend Keith has posted a letter to the editor that appeared in his local paper by a lifelong Republican, that makes so much sense, that shows us not every Republican is willing to follow their leaders off of a steep cliff. It is my hope that there are many more Republicans who feel this way and aren’t afraid to say so! Thank you, Keith, for sharing this!

musingsofanoldfart

The following letter by a “lifelong registered Republican voter” appeared in my newspaper’s Letters to the Editors. I agree with what is said by someone who is as disillusioned and concerned as I am about the direction of the Republican party. It was under a banner of “GOP Censorship.”

“I’m a lifelong registered Republican voter disturbed by the GOP’s elitist push for censorship. From the manufactured outrage over Critical Race Theory to tortured justifications for unconstitutional voter suppression legislation, Republican conservatives are showing themselves to be thin-skinned, intolerant and frankly ignorant about the basic ideas of what makes America great.

This reflexive obedience to elite authoritarianism by millions of Christian Republican conservatives didn’t start with the Trump administration. Sadly, it doesn’t look as it will end with it, either. The majority of patriotic Americans must stand vigil against this tide or repression and fear.”

I will leave his name off…

View original post 66 more words

Random Thoughts From A Bouncy Mind

Just a few thoughts from the bouncing mind inside my head …

I had to laugh when I read in a news aggregator that with both Senate and House back in chambers, we should prepare for what “… could be a frantic couple weeks of legislative action.”  Legislative action???  In today’s inert Senate???  Who do they think they’re kidding?  The most action we are likely to see from the United States Senate in the coming weeks are them posturing on various news shows and faux news shows to trash talk the other side.  If any meaningful legislation comes out of the Senate anytime soon, I will be in shock.

The Senate has been discussing the infrastructure bill for months now.  It is allegedly now a bi-partisan bill that the Republicans insisted be pared down from its original status, but even then, it doesn’t have enough Republican support to overcome the damn filibuster.  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is trying to move things along and asking for a cloture vote on Wednesday, and the Republicans want to know what his big hurry is!  As I said, they’ve been playing tiddly winks with it for months … meanwhile, roadways, bridges, water and sewage facilities and more continue to deteriorate.  WHAT THE SAM HELL do the Republicans think they’re doing?  Nothing … that’s what they’re doing.  Not one damn thing.  Oh wait … they ARE still collecting their paychecks, so I suppose that qualifies as doing something.  That amounts to a minimum, by the way, of $6,692 twice monthly.  Do any of you make that kind of money for sitting on your patooties all day?  No, I didn’t think so, but you ARE paying these jerks!

Meanwhile, the For the People Act seems to have been all but forgotten … I haven’t heard mention of it from any member of Congress recently.  FOR THE PEOPLE!  Even its name should stir some tiny shred of conscience among our elected officials, but what are they doing?  Playing games … with our lives!  How many of them have appeared on Fox News in the past month?  They have time to go preen their ugly mugs, but not time to give serious consideration to a bill that would protect this nation from autocratic bigots!

I read last night about some of the arguments that lawyers are using to attempt to keep their clients who infiltrated the Capitol on January 6th out of prison.  Leave it to high-paid lawyers to twist words and infer motives.  One guy’s lawyer says he shouldn’t be found guilty because his mother says he has “an amazing work ethic” and that he bought clothes and shoes for the residents of a nursing home where he worked as a nurse’s aide.  Never mind, I guess, that he is a member of the radical militia group the Three Percenters, and never mind that he entered the Capitol on January 6th wielding a baseball bat and a noxious chemical spray.

Overall, the lawyers are blaming everyone except their clients, the people who perpetrated the crimes.  Among those they blame are the media, naivete, trauma, unemployment, the pandemic, Washington elites, and their clients’ childhoods.  Sorry, fellas, it doesn’t pass the smell test.  These were people old enough to know better, so forget all the excuses.  They did what they did despite knowing that it was illegal, that it was likely to result in injuries or death … as in fact it did.  In my book, every single person who entered the Capitol without just cause that day should serve a minimum of five years in prison, no exceptions.  Those whose violence ended in property destruction or injury to others should serve 20 years in prison, no quarter given.  End of story.  Make an example of them so that next time, people will think long and hard before participating in an insurrection.

Nicholas Kristof is one of my favourite New York Times columnists, and I have shared his work more than once here on Filosofa’s Word.  A Pulitzer Prize winner, Kristof has written an op-ed column about international human rights and the disenfranchised for the New York Times for two decades.  Rumour has it that Kristof is now considering running for governor of Oregon, his home state, to replace the current governor, Kate Brown, who will reach her term limit in 2022.  So far, it’s just a rumour, but rumours have a way of becoming reality.  Kristof has the right sentiments, but I’m not sure he has the right temperament for the job.  Politics is dirty business, but … hey, it would be good to see a man of conscience, a man with an actual functioning brain and heart, in a position of power.

Thumbs up to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for rejecting two of the five Republicans chosen by Kevin McCarthy to participate on the committee that will be investigating the events of, and those leading up to, the January 6th attack on Congress and the Capitol.  The two she rejected are Jim (aka Gym) Jordan from Ohio and Jim Banks from Indiana.  Both voted against certifying the election on January 6th, which in my mind is reason enough to keep them off of this committee.  I know more about Jordan than I do Banks, but Jordan is a real piece of work that I wouldn’t trust to clean up the dog poop from my yard, let alone trust with something this important.  There is no doubt in my mind that McCarthy’s purpose in selecting these two Jims was obstruction.  Personally, I’d like to see him choose Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney … republicans that have shown they have a conscience, that they put country before party.

Well, I think I’ve shared enough of the thoughts from my bouncy mind for now.  Have a great afternoon!

It’s Only A Matter Of Time

This, from a press release by the Department of Justice, U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Northern District of California, yesterday, July 16th

According to court documents, Ian Benjamin Rogers, 45, of Napa, and Jarrod Copeland, 37, of Vallejo, began planning to attack targets they associated with Democrats after the 2020 Presidential election and sought support from an anti-government militia group. According to the indictment, the defendants planned to use incendiary devices to attack their targets and hoped their attacks would prompt a movement.

The indictment describes how Copeland and Rogers used multiple messaging applications and discussed the attacks on numerous occasions. For example, in late December 2020, Copeland told Rogers he contacted an anti-government militia group to gather support for the movement and in January 2021, Rogers told Copeland “I want to blow up a democrat building bad.” Copeland agreed, saying, “I agree” “Plan attack”.  The agreed to start with the Democratic Headquarters in Sacramento and to “see what happens.”  In one exchange, Rogers wrote to Copeland, “after the 20th we go to war,” meaning that they would initiate acts of violence after the inauguration on January 20, 2021.

According to court documents, on January 15, just four days after that exchange and five days before the trigger that Rogers and Copeland identified as the start of their campaign of violence, law enforcement officers searched Rogers’s home and business and seized a cache of weapons from Rogers’s home, including 45 to 50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs. Copeland allegedly also attempted to destroy evidence of the plan; after Rogers’s arrest, Copeland communicated with a leader of a militia group who advised Copeland to switch to a new communications platform and delete everything he had. Copeland agreed and when law enforcement obtained Copeland’s devices on January 17, Copeland’s communications with Rogers were missing.

Additional documents filed by the government argue that the defendants understood they would be viewed as domestic terrorists and hoped that their violent acts might start a movement to overthrow the government. In November of 2020, Rogers allegedly used encrypted messaging applications to tell Copeland that he would “hit the enemy in the mouth” by using Molotov cocktails and gasoline to attack targets associated with democrats, including the Governor’s Mansion and the Democratic Headquarters Building in Sacramento.

Rogers and Copeland are both charged with conspiracy to destroy by fire or explosive a building used or in affecting interstate commerce.

Rogers & Copeland

Prosecutors, national security officials and politicians have warned that after Trump and his allies ramped up his lies of a stolen election in November and after a mob of hundreds of Trump supporters attacked the US Capitol on January 6, their inflammatory rhetoric could lead to violence.  Gee, you really think???

I have questions …

  • How in the hell did Ian Benjamin Rogers acquire “40-50 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and five pipe bombs”??? Would you not expect that background checks would have red-flagged this somewhere along the line?  Oh wait … I forgot … you can buy a gun without a background check … apparently you can buy LOTS of guns without a background check.
  • How many more similar plots are out there that the federal authorities aren’t aware of? You know and I know that this was not the sole plan among Trump-supporting lunatics.  You’ll remember that Trump appealed to his supporters and told them to “… fight like hell, and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  These two got caught … how long until one doesn’t get caught in time?  It’s only a matter of time …
  • WHY isn’t the former guy in jail for inciting to riot with his words? Trust me, if I said the things that the former guy has said, my ass (and the rest of me) would be sitting in a jail cell awaiting trial for inciting violence at the very least.  Is he somehow … more special than you or I?

I sincerely hope that Rogers and Copeland spend the next 20 years, the maximum possible sentence for their crimes, in prison, but the odds are against it.  And one last question … if they had succeeded in their plot, would they be getting a fist bump from the likes of Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz and Margie Greene, and would they get an “Atta Boy” from the former guy and his cronies?  Think on that one when you go to bed tonight.

A Gross Miscarriage of Justice

Texas has been much in the news lately.  First you had the winter storms … people dying because of power outages that could have been avoided had it not been for the stubborn resolve of the state to be independent of the rest of the nation.  And off went ol’ Ted Cruz, one of two U.S. Senators representing Texas, to warm, sunny Cancun, Mexico.  Then there were the bills slashing women’s rights, and most recently the attempt to pass bills that would severely restrict about half the state from being able to vote in next year’s election.  It almost seems as if Texas doesn’t consider itself a part of the United States.  Oh wait … they don’t!  In February, State Representative Kyle Biedermann formally filed proposed legislation that would give Texans a chance to explore opting out of the union in a referendum. Biedermann began talking about the potential “Texit” in early December, saying it’s his response to a federal government that is “out of control and does not represent the values of Texans.” 

I say, let ‘em go!  Let the “great” State of Texas opt out of the union, let them figure out how to support their own economy, how to take care of their poor and elderly.  I would predict a mass exodus from Texas into places like Arizona and Oklahoma within a matter of weeks, especially if Texas keeps the ignoble Governor Abbott in charge!

But I’m not here to talk about the secession that isn’t going to happen because it isn’t legal … I’m here to talk about a ruling yesterday by a federal judge in Texas, Andrew S. Hanen of the United States District Court in Houston.  Judge Hanen ruled yesterday that President Barack Obama exceeded his authority when he created the program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), by executive order in 2012.  Nearly a decade after the fact, when thousands of young people who were brought to this country as children, some even still babies, have made this their home, have jobs, school, friends, homes … this judge rules that ultimately they must be sent back???

NO!!!!  NO NO NO NO NO, ‘Judge” Hanen!  I will fight you tooth and nail on this one, as will MOST of the rest of the nation … apart from those who are so white that they think their whiteness entitles them!  Take your Texas narrow-minded ego and shove it somewhere!

Under the judge’s ruling, immigrants enrolled in the program will for now retain the ability to stay and work in the country, though those protections could evaporate.  The Department of Homeland Security may continue to accept new applications and renewals for the program known as DACA but is prohibited from approving any of them.

Since its inception, DACA has enabled more than 800,000 immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States or fell into unlawful status when they were children to remain in the country, finish school, go to college, get jobs, buy homes, and start families.  The former guy often threatened to force the Dreamers as they are known to return to their countries of origin, even though most have no family or connections in those countries.  I thought that with the xenophobic former guy out of the White House, the Dreamers were safe from bigoted persecution.  Obviously, I was wrong.

President Biden has expressed an interest in extending a path to citizenship to the Dreamers, but the Texas ruling throws a wrench into that, though the Biden administration is almost certain to appeal the ruling.  The other option would be for Congress to pass federal legislation, but we’ve seen in the past months that the Republicans in Congress have zero intention of working with the Democrats and once any such bill reached the Senate, it would be subject to the filibuster and certain death on the Senate floor.

Texas is not alone in attempting to end the DACA program … it is joined by a number of other states … most in the South, not coincidentally:  Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Currently, about 650,000 immigrants are enrolled in the program. Among them are some 200,000 frontline workers who have performed essential jobs in health care, agriculture, food processing and education, among others, during the coronavirus pandemic.  About 250,000 U.S.-born children have at least one parent who is enrolled in DACA, and about 1.5 million people in the United States live with a beneficiary of the program.  Most of these people do not have family or friends in their country of origin and many do not even speak the language!  How cruel, how inhumane it would be to simply end the program and deport these people!

Ultimately, the case is likely to end up on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court.  I wish I had more confidence in the Court’s sense of justice than I have today.  The words at the base of the Statue of Liberty read, in part …

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.”

They do NOT say “as long as they are white people of Anglo-Saxon ancestry!!!”