DON’T Take It For Granted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Letter To Every Republican Senator

Dear Republican Senator …

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, VOTER

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

R.I.P. Bipartisanship

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

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


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

June 20, 2021

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting The Week With A Grrrrrrrrrrr

I can tell already that it’s going to be a great week for snarky snippets and mini rants!  This afternoon’s post is one of each …


One man’s ignorance …

I have no idea what Joe Manchin’s game is, but he seems to be trying to be a one-man wrecking ball.  First, he refuses to so much as alter a single hair on the head of the filibuster, let alone kill that toxic animal.  Then he refuses to support the For the People Act that would protect our voting rights.  And now, he has set his sites on climate change … apparently hoping to help hasten the end of human and other lifeforms on Planet Earth.  Way to go, Joe!

You might never guess that Manchin is a member of the Democratic Party, nor that he is the Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, given that much of the responsibility of that committee at this point is to find alternate sources of clean energy so that we can break our reliance on fossil fuels.  But then, Manchin does come from a state that is almost completely reliant on the coal industry to support its economy, so perhaps he’s been bought and paid for by the coal barons.

“I know there’s a change coming, OK?  But I’ve always been very, very cautious about this. I’m concerned that they’re setting a very aggressive timetable.”

The “very aggressive timetable” to which he refers is President Biden’s commitment to cut carbon emissions in half from 2005 levels by 2030.  Um … excuse me, Joe Manchin, but that is NOT what I call an aggressive timetable, especially given that we have known the problem for decades while we ignored it, happily driving our gas-guzzling SUVs, keeping our homes the perfect temperature, never bothering to turn off a light.  Rather like that old saying, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.”

Those of us who listen to the scientists, who understand that life on earth could very well be in its final stages if we don’t act quickly to start to reverse the damage we humans have done, know that we cannot delay.  Those of us with consciences care about what sort of world we are leaving behind for our grandchildren and their grandchildren.  And those of us with an IQ above 50 know that we can no longer dilly dally and play games with this.

Mr. Manchin … if you are so damn concerned about the people in your state and their economic future, then I suggest you get with the program and help them help themselves by promoting renewable energy, retraining coal miners in other jobs, rather than attempting to help the Republicans destroy our lives!  For your stupidity, your perfidy, I award you Filosofa’s double thumbs down!  👎👎


Guess how many?

Guess how many mass shootings occurred in the United States over the weekend?  No, not five … no, not seven … ELEVEN!  Yes, my friends, there were eleven mass shootings in this country from Friday evening thru Sunday night.  And the weekend before?  Ten mass shootings as defined by four or more people being shot.  To date, the U.S. has had 293 mass shootings since January 1st.

This weekend left 8 people dead and 49 injured, with at least 3 children among the victims.  Last weekend left 12 people dead. What the SAM HELL are people thinking???  Let’s take a closer look … make it just a bit more personal …

Friday

5 wounded in Minneapolis Friday night

A shooting in Minneapolis Friday night left five people wounded.

1 killed and three injured in Cincinnati, Ohio

A 16-year-old is dead and three other people were injured in a shooting Thursday night in Walnut Hills.

Saturday

2 dead, 4 injured in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Two people were killed and four others were injured in a shooting early Saturday morning in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

1 dead, 4 injured in Anchorage, Alaska

Police in Alaska are investigating an early morning shooting that killed one person and injured four more in Anchorage Saturday.

4 injured in a shooting in Newark, New Jersey

No details

1 dead, at least 6 wounded in Oakland

One person was killed and at least six others were wounded in a shooting Saturday evening near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California.

Sunday

2 children among 8 injured in Dallas shooting

Eight people were shot, including a 15-year-old and 10-year-old, after a gunfight broke out between partygoers at two separate celebrations in Dallas just after midnight Sunday.

4 injured in Richmond, Virginia

Four people were injured in a quadruple shooting in Richmond, Virginia, early Sunday.

1 dead, 4 injured at Indiana Juneteenth celebration

One person was killed and four others were injured during a Juneteenth celebration in Granger, Indiana early Sunday morning.

1 killed, 4 injured at Juneteenth Celebration in Colorado

Police responded to a shopping mall parking lot in the Denver suburb of Aurora after receiving at least 50 calls reporting shots fired at a Juneteenth celebration just after 4 a.m.

1 killed and 3 others injured in Atlantic City, New Jersey

One person was killed and three others were wounded in a shooting Sunday evening in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Am I the only person in this country who sees how utterly stupid it is for guns to be so easily obtained by any Tom, Dick or Harry?  NO, the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution does NOT give fools the right to own an assault rifle, it does NOT guarantee that fools can own an arsenal, and it does NOT give people the right to carry a gun around with them wherever they go!!!  Members of Congress and of the U.S. Supreme Court need to read the damn Constitution!  This is the stupidest interpretation of a part of the Constitution that I have EVER seen!  Get rid of the damn guns, get them out of the hands of people on the street!!!  But no, instead states are making it so easy to get a gun that before long you will see vending machines on street corners and in bars where for a $20 bill you can get a gun, and for another $10 you can get 10 rounds of ammo!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Sunday Afternoon Snark

Somebody said to me once that she thought I should try ignoring the news for a week or more, just think about positive things, and see if my mood wouldn’t improve.  Well, I didn’t bother to try her suggestion, for I’m a news junkie.  I think it’s our responsibility to stay on top of what’s happening, not only in our own country, but in the world.  Y’see … it’s not all about me … happiness and joy aren’t the end goal here, but rather, at least in my book, leaving a positive mark in the world we occupy, making a difference somehow.  And that’s why things like these two snippets make me growl, put a scowl on my face, and why I must share my growls and scowls with you, my friends.  Happy Sunday!


Murder by any other name …

Chris Craven, a 38-year-old NASCAR team worker, was having a mental health crisis last August 2nd and was threatening suicide.  His family called 911 for help.  Big mistake.  ‘Help’ arrived in the form of two police officers, Alexander Arndt and Christopher Novelli, apparently operating, under the philosophy of ‘shoot first, ask questions later’, and after shooting Mr. Craven 15 times with high velocity bullets, Chris Craven was dead.  The officers claim that Mr. Craven pulled a pistol on them, but Craven’s family disputes this and says he was complying with the orders the officers barked.

Last Friday, ten months after the murder of Chris Craven, the prosecutor assigned to the case, District Attorney Andy Gregson, decided not to file criminal charges in connection with the shooting.  He says that the two officers ‘reasonably feared for their lives’ when they opened fire.  Even if that is true, why did they fire their weapons 15 times and why did they shoot to kill?  They already knew that Mr. Craven was suicidal from the content of the 911 call … why did they decide to murder him rather than call for help?

The body cam footage has been kept secret and not released to the public.  Gregson claims that the body cam footage shows Craven pulling the gun, but the family says otherwise and they have not been allowed to see the body cam footage.  Craven’s wife, Amy, said in a statement that the District Attorney’s findings were …

“… a tale of twisted stories where unsubstantiated statements from the officers are mixed into the explanations of the video to create a story that suits the narrative the MPD wishes was the truth.”

The killing is one of more than 900 fatal shootings by U.S. law enforcement over the past year.  Don’t you think it’s time we changed the way law enforcement officers are trained to deal with such situations?  Don’t you think it’s time we hold police officers accountable for their actions?  I damn sure do!


Andrew Clyde once again crosses Filosofa’s radar

Freshman Representative Andrew Clyde from Georgia (the same state that sent Margie Greene to the House) has crossed my radar no less than three times in the past month.  First, he declared that the mob who attacked the Capitol on January 6th were just ‘normal tourists’ and that there was no insurrection.  Then he joined forces with the ignoble Louie Gohmert in filing a federal lawsuit claiming that the requirement to pass through a metal detector in the Capitol was in violation of his civil rights, or some such nonsense.  And third, he was one of the 14 racist members of the U.S. House of Representatives who refused to vote for the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act.  These newbies sure do know how to raise our hackles, don’t they?  They come into Congress, still wet behind the ears, and act like they know more than anybody else.

Anyway, Clyde has now set a new record by flying across my radar a fourth time in a period of a month.  This one is just downright disrespectful and as a human being, Mr. Clyde disgusts me.  Clyde voted against awarding police officers the Congressional Gold Medal for their bravery in protecting the U.S. Capitol against violent, pro-Trump rioters on January 6th, but it gets even worse than that.

Alexandria, VA – January 13: Michael Fanone, 40, is an officer with the Metropolitan Police Department that helped fend off rioters at the U.S. Capitol and was captured in a now viral video where he was dragged down stairs and beaten unconscious and suffered a heart attack. (Photo by Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Officer Michael Fanone was one of the more than 140 police officers who were injured that fateful day.  His injuries were severe – he was beaten unconscious and suffered a concussion and a heart attack.  Along with U.S. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn, Mr. Fanone came to Congress this week in an effort to meet with the 21 members of the House – all Republicans – who voted against awarding the officers the Congressional Gold Medal and tell their story about that day.  One of the first people Fanone ran into in the Capitol was Representative Andrew Clyde.  According to Fanone …

“I simply extended my hand and said, ‘How are you doing today, Congressman.’ I knew immediately he recognized me by the way he reacted. He completely froze. He just stared at me.  I said, ‘I’m sorry, you’re not going to shake my hand?  I’m sorry, sir, my name is Michael Fanone. I’m a D.C. police officer and I fought to defend the Capitol on Jan. 6.’  His response was nothing. He turned away from me, pulled out his cellphone and started thumbing through the apps.” 

What a disgusting piece of human flesh Mr. Clyde is!  Democrat or Republican, male or female, there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for such rudeness.  Georgia has sent to Congress at least two of the most disrespectful, horrible representatives that have ever walked the halls of the U.S. Capitol!  DO NOT send them back in 2022, Georgia!  And in the future, teach them some damn manners!

So, Andrew Clyde is now near the top of my list of the ten most horrible people in the Republican Party.

Juneteenth — Another Point Of View

While I have applauded the passage and presidential signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act and have chalked up most of the objections to both ignorance and racism, I did come across one thought-provoking OpEd.  This piece by a professor at Morehouse College, a historically Black liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, makes some very valid points.  Professor Robert A. Brown is not against the Juneteenth holiday, but reminds us that declaring it a federal holiday is not the end goal, that there is much work to be done in this country yet before Blacks have true freedom and equality.  The phrase, ‘Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words’ comes to mind as I read his words and ponder what he says …


Juneteenth As A National Holiday Is Symbolism Without Progress

June 19, 2021  6:00 AM ET

ROBERT A. BROWN

This week, President Biden signed into law the “Juneteenth National Independence Day.”

It is honoring the work of Black Americans, including people such as 94-year-old Civil Rights Activist Opal Lee, who had long advocated for the celebration that started in Galveston to be made a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the date when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865, bringing news that the Emancipation Proclamation had freed the enslaved population living in the Confederacy, albeit two years prior.

Yet the reaction amongst many African Americans, myself included, has been muted.

There is a growing discontent in the African American community with symbolic gestures that are presented as progress without any accompanying economic or structural change.

The vestiges of a shameful past continue

Though Juneteenth is a celebration of the people who endured slavery, the vestiges of slavery and the Jim Crow segregation designed to preserve it continue to this day.

As law professor Michelle Alexander notes, “There are more African American men in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850.”

The average white household holds almost 7 times more than the wealth of a Black household. Perhaps more concerning, education does little to close the Black-white wealth gap as white families headed by those without a college degree have more wealth than Black families headed by those with a graduate or professional degree.

And yet, in the face of these stark disparities, lawmakers have been more willing to engage in performative symbolism than passing laws to make substantive change.

We have seen federal lawmakers take a knee, draped in kente cloth, but we have seen no substantive change about reforming police brutality that inspired Colin Kaepernick’s initial protest.

Lift Every Voice and Sing” is sung across the country, while legislation for reparations for the horrors of slavery languish. Sports arenas and streets have the words “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned for all to see, and yet police reform and anti-lynching laws that were some of the initial goals of the Black Lives Matter movement remain unpassed.

What is needed are substantive steps

There are substantive steps that federal lawmakers could take to honor the historic debt owed to the descendants of the enslaved in addition to a federal holiday.

House Resolution 40 has called for a committee to study reparations. If advanced, it could ultimately begin a national discussion about cash reparations at the federal level.

Substantive reform to end the immunity police who brutalize our citizens should be enacted, as well as a reversal of the decades-long militarization of the police.

Historically Black colleges and universities, most of which were founded around the end of slavery, should receive substantial increases in federal funding.

In many ways, the history of Juneteenth and the end of U.S. slavery mirrors the uneven pace of progress for African Americans during the following 150 years.

I have celebrated Juneteenth at festivals that honor the culture and community of the descendants of those who had been enslaved. Those celebrations always featured a community singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” just like members of Congress did upon the signing of the Juneteenth holiday into law.

This year, while I’ll sing about being “full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” like many African Americans, I’ll be mindful that, as the song says, we must continue to fight on “till victory is won.”

Just Two Short Bits of Snarky

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


Cosa Nostra rides again?

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

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

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

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

And later in the conversation …

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

And still more …

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Unaccountability

Keith, as always, has words of wisdom that need to be heard and heeded far and wide. Thank you, Keith, for reminding us of that oft-forgotten concept of “accountability”.

musingsofanoldfart

Parents have tended to emphasize to our children that they need to be accountable for their actions. When I see a child or adult accept accountability, it impresses.me, probably because it should be more commonplace than it is. “It is my fault, I messed up, and I will take care of it,” are words that need to be said more often.

Sadly, one of the worst examples of the lack of accountability is the former president. He has long avoided accountability which has contributed to his blaming others or avoiding blame for his mistakes. This is a key reason he remains an “enfant terrible” even into his 70s and is well known for his deceitful bent.

The latest example is the sycophants in Congress who are rationalizing his autocratic-like spying on people he perceives as his enemies – Democrats and the mainstream media. This is on top of only seventeen…

View original post 154 more words

The Justices Have Been Busy!

The Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have been busy little beavers this week.  Their rulings are something of a mixed bag … more to raise my hackles than not, but let’s start with the good news.


ACA survives to save more lives

Once again, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was on the chopping block, and yet again, for the third time, the Court saved it from the Republican hatchet in the case of California v Texas.  The most interesting vote in my book was that of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas, who voted against ACA the first two times it came before the Court, voted in favour of it this time, saying …

“Whatever the act’s dubious history in this court, we must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”

He’s not exactly the head cheerleader for the Act that has allowed so many to have access to healthcare when they otherwise would not have, but a statement of fairness, at least.  I was also surprised that Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett voted in favour of ACA this time ‘round.  It is estimated that if the Court had struck down ACA, some 21 million people would have lost their access to healthcare.  There are still larger issues related to ACA that the Court has not yet addressed, but for now, it lives to see another day, to help people be able to take their sick children to a doctor.


The Court upholds bigotry

This one, Fulton v City of Philadelphia, involved the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic adoption agency who refused to work with same-sex couples.  Philadelphia had stopped placements with the agency, Catholic Social Services, after a 2018 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer described its policy against placing children with same-sex couples. The agency and several foster parents sued the city, saying the decision violated their First Amendment rights to religious freedom and free speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for six members of the court, said that the Catholic agency …

“… seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else.”

I understand his view, but I still think it is wrong to allow any public agency to discriminate on any basis.  It’s a slippery slope … what comes next?  Will they confine their selection of potentially adoptive parents to only those with white skin?  Or perhaps only those who identify as Catholics?  The ‘right’ to freedom of religion is sacrosanct, however it should never infringe on other people’s rights, especially the rights of children to be placed in a loving home.


Human Rights … depends on who’s asking

The third case, Nestlé USA v. Doe, was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor.  Note that the claim itself was not in dispute … it happened.  What was in dispute was whether the U.S. corporations involved in human rights violations outside the U.S. could be held accountable.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses.  And that was the end of that.  So, corporations can operate facilities to manufacture their product outside the U.S. using child labour, paying next to nothing, and the laws of the U.S. will support their activities.  Seems rather odd to me for a nation whose very foundation is built on human rights.  A nation who screams bloody murder when a [white] person is denied any right.  A nation that is a member of the United Nations, an organization dedicated to human rights around the globe.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah.  But then, what would you expect from a nation that is attempting to deny the poor, the elderly, Blacks and other minorities the right to vote?


June is the busiest month for the Supreme Court, the last in its annual term and quite often the most controversial cases are saved for June.  One that is on the docket is Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, a case concerning voting rights.  The Court will decide whether to uphold Arizona’s racist and restrictive voting laws that allow the state to a) discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and b) make ‘ballot harvesting’ a crime.

Next year will be especially confusing for some voters, as newly drawn district maps may change the location of their polling place.  So, if John Doe casts his ballot at the same place he did in 2020, not realizing there had been a change in the boundaries of his district, his ballot will be thrown out under the new Arizona law.  And if someone collects the ballots from residents of a senior care facility and takes 20 or 30 ballots to the drop box, that person would be in violation of the law and those ballots not counted.  Discriminatory as hell!

However, the larger question is whether the ruling will be so broad that it will also effectively endorse new voting laws that states have passed this year.  The Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has generally sided with Republican state officials when they have restricted voting access.  Keep your eye on this one, folks, for it may be the seed that determines whether We the People will continue to have a voice in our government, or whether our civil rights will be jerked out from under us.