A Hero’s Welcome For A Traitor?

So, let me ask a question here:  If a man attempts, but fails, to murder your daughter, causing her grievous personal injury from which she may never fully recover, when he gets out of prison after serving for only a few months, will you give him a hero’s welcome?  No, I didn’t think so.  And yet, when a man attempts to murder the democracy of your nation, to render your vote null and void, he gets the royal carpet treatment.  WTF is wrong with the people in this country???

Remember this asshole?

Jacob Angeli Chansley, commonly called the “QAnon Shaman”, was one of the Trump supporters who broke into the Capitol building on January 6th with the intention of overturning the 2020 election, scrapping President Biden’s electoral win, silencing the voices of the people, and installing Donald Trump as “president”.  In November 2021, after pleading guilty, he was sentenced to 41 months in prison for his role in the insurrection/attempted coup.  And then, he was released on May 25th, after serving only 18 months, two of them in a halfway house – less than half of his sentence.  And he arrived home in Arizona to a hero’s welcome.

According to AZ Central

A crowd of more than 150 people gathered at Reformed Living Bible Church in Scottsdale on Sunday to celebrate the homecoming of Jake Angeli, one of the most prominent figures at the raid on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

Angeli opted out of the painted face and shed the fur and horned hat that earned him a national spotlight. Instead, the man who has been nicknamed the “QAnon Shaman” addressed the crowd in a white suit and American flag tie. “Here I am saying hello, a couple years later, in a much more public way than I ever anticipated and it’s really surreal, almost like a dream,” Angeli said to the crowd.

An organizer of the event, Susan Wood of Scottsdale, told The Arizona Republic on Friday that the event would be a chance to reintroduce Angeli to the public.

Wood said she met Angeli at the various protests and marches he participated in during 2019 and 2020. “He was always just so happy and energetic and fun and nice,” she said. “We were like, what is he doing in prison? He’s not dangerous or anything.”

NOT DANGEROUS OR ANYTHING????  Seriously???  Ms. Wood needs to remove her head from her posterior and read the United States Constitution, if she is capable of reading at all, that is!  This man assisted in what could have resulted in the death of a nation and DID result in the deaths of at least five law enforcement officers!  NOT DANGEROUS???  I suppose she is a fan of Adolf Hitler, too!  He was, after all, just a kind, gentle man who happened to hate Jewish people, eh?  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr …

I ask again, WTF is wrong with the people of this nation???

Only. In. America.

I read this in The Guardian tonight with … sadness, horror, and rage …

Texas schoolchildren as young as four years old are being given Winnie-the-Pooh cartoon books, teaching them to “run, hide, fight” if a gunman enters their building.

Parents and teachers in the Dallas area have expressed alarm and concern that the Stay Safe book, produced by a law enforcement consulting firm in Houston, has been sent home in the backpacks of children in pre-kindergarten and elementary classes.

The book features the honey-loving bear created by AA Milne and illustrator EH Shepard instructing kids about how to react to a mass shooting. It is not an official production, Winnie-the-Pooh has been in the public domain since 1 January 2022.

The subtitle to the Stay Safe book is: “If there is danger, let Winnie-the-Pooh and his Crew show you what to do: Run Hide Fight.”

Only. In. America.  The land of milk and honey?  The land of opportunity?  Hardly.  The land of guns and death.

Texas has some of the most lax gun laws in the US. In 2021, after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa which killed 30 people, the Republican governor, Greg Abbott, enacted a law allowing Texans to carry concealed handguns in public without a license. 

But it isn’t only in Texas … it is the U.S. in its entirety.  We are not safe anywhere … not in school, not at the library, not in the supermarket, not in our workplace … not even walking to the mailbox. The U.S. has a lethal, rabidly-spreading virus … it’s called “ignorance.”  Rather than elect politicians who might actually govern, who might be willing to restrict guns in the interest of saving lives, we elect politicians who fight for more guns, who fight to take our human/civil rights away from us.  Why?  Because we truly do not understand … until it happens to one of our own.  Someday it will … and someday is closer than any of us think.

You can read the full article in The Guardian here.

The Hostage Situation Grows By Day

So, not only are the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives holding the nation at knifepoint in the debt ceiling drama, but they are bragging about it!  Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz and others have actually bragged about their efforts to attach ‘conditions’ to raising the debt ceiling … something that was not done during any of the three times the debt ceiling was raised under Donald Trump.  This, in and of itself, proves to me that the Republicans in Congress are not serious about governing, but rather are using the pretext of governing to run a three-ring circus with the likes of Marge Greene, George Santos, and Jim (Gym) Jordan as the top clowns and Kevin McCarthy as the ringleader.

One more time, for those who are Republicans and did not understand the first 50 times I said it:

The debt ceiling is NOT the budget … it is debt that we have already incurred and that MUST be paid in a timely manner! 

Please, Republicans, try to understand this!  You don’t sit at your kitchen table in the evening and say to your spouse, “Hmmmm … I won’t pay the electric bill unless you stop playing golf on Saturdays.”

Now, I have a suggestion to make.  If the United States defaults on its debt because the Republicans in the House of Representatives did not do their job, then one of the first things that should happen is that all congressional pay stops immediately!  The Capitol building should be closed, all offices locked, and no member of Congress allowed to enter the building nor access their office, computer, or other equipment.

Foolhardy, you say?  Is it any more foolhardy than holding the nation and its allies hostage to their whims … whims that are designed to hurt the poorest in the nation, while feeding the wealthy?  Any more foolhardy than sending the global economy into a tailspin?  Any more foolhardy than any of the other ‘policies’ that are spewed forth by the Republican Party for the sole purpose of making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer?

Kevin McCarthy is NOT a ‘Speaker of the House’ but rather a puppet of the other House Republicans like Comer, Greene, Jordan, Boebert, Scalise and others to whom he promised that which he could not deliver in order to obtain his current job … a job that he isn’t likely to be able to keep past summer.  Meanwhile, he and the other Republicans in Congress, most of whom apparently have never read the United States Constitution, are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette … with our lives.

I was going to recommend that everyone reading this contact their representative today and demand that they vote to raise the debt ceiling with NO STRINGS ATTACHED, however … Congress has already left the building for their Memorial Day holiday and the House will not return until June 5th, four days after the June 1 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for a possible default.  There was a time … a time when we had people of conscience in Congress, that they would have cancelled or shortened their break for the good of the country, but not this Congress.  Thanks, guys … I hope you have the lousiest Memorial Day you’ve ever had.

I also liked Robert Reich’s take on the debt ceiling hostage situation and would likely have reblogged his if I hadn’t already written this one … take a look.

Questions for Americans.

Have you ever wondered how people in other countries view the chaos that dominates our landscape here in the U.S.? Our friend David, from across the pond, has some questions … questions for which I can only shake my head, for I don’t know the answers, either! Thank you, David, for your wisdom and views! We could learn a thing or two from you guys!


I woke at an unearthly hour again this morning. Damndawnchorus o’clock. My watch read 4.15 am. The news on mny computer tells me that Ron DeSantis the Governor of Florida has declated for President at last. How can this man who spends his time banning books, deciding how women should be allowed to treat their own bodies, and worse still, enforcing a rule that no white person should be allowed to face the realities of the history of their own country. He wants to rewrite history so that no white person can be offended or shocked by what has gone before. Please someone explain to me , how can this man who is not even suitable to be a Governor declare an interest in the Presidency of the United States and have the backing of so many people, not least Elon Musk who has put the power of Twitter behind…

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Padre Steve on “‘Targeting’ Pride” …

One week from today will be the beginning of Pride Month, and I have grave concerns for the nation, especially for the LGBTQ community.  Pride Month is meant to be a time for celebration, a time of great joy for people who have been repressed and suppressed for centuries and are finally getting the respect we all deserve.  But this year … this year feels different, for there are threats of violence against the LGBTQ community … threats stoked by politicians like Ron DeSantis, fueled by religious leaders and media outlets such as Fox ‘News’.  There was that ludicrous “scandal” about Bud Lite beer, and more recently employees of Target stores nationwide have been threatened and harassed, ultimately causing Target to remove or relocate some of their Pride merchandise.  I am incensed … everybody should be!

There are two “men of the cloth” for whom I have great respect.  One is John Pavlovitz, whom most of you are familiar with, and the other is Padre Steve Dundas, a recently retired lifetime Army and Navy Officer and Chaplain.  This morning, Padre Steve posted the following on his Substack account, and his words simply must be shared.  He is angry, as am I, that humanity and caring for others seems to be taking a backseat in this nation to prejudice, hatred, and violence.

“Targeting” Pride

Steve Dundas

25 May 2023

It seems that emboldened Christian extremists in the South, read MAGA States are making headway in their efforts to force major retailers to remove LGBTQ+ merchandise from their stores. Their efforts are criminal. They have wrecked displays, damaged merchandise, and threatened employees at Target stores throughout the South. In response, Target has removed merchandise from some stores or relocated it to less visible places in their stores. See this article: https://apple.news/AK07RIGLTR3u1RTJNdp6wIA

The attacks are being driven by intentionally misleading reporting from Fox News, other Right Wing propaganda outlets, as well as Republican political leaders and Right Wing Christian Nationalist “Pastors”, and organizations like the American Family Institute.

My thoughts. First, I don’t think that Target or any other retailers should bow down to hate filled violent anti-LGBTQ+ persecutors. I think that they should call Law Enforcement and have those that damage property, and threaten or harm employees or other customers arrested, and press charges. Not to do so is to embolden them to commit more acts of violence and vandalism, in other words to precipitate an anti-LGBTQ+ version of the Nazi Kristallnacht. It is no different, it may be smaller in scope, and not yet back by the police power of the State, but in every State where these attacks are happening multiple laws are being passed to limit the civil rights of LGBTQ+ citizens.

Second, if the shoe was on the other foot, and people opposed to Christianity went into a Target and vandalized specifically Christian religious merchandise in seasonal Easter or Christmas sections, or went to the “Inspirational” books section and destroyed Bibles or books on the Christian life, what would happen?

Please click link to read the rest!!!

One Year After …

Yesterday marked one year since the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that killed 19 children and two teachers:

  • Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, 10
  • Jacklyn Cazares, 9
  • Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
  • Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10
  • Eliahna Garcia, 10
  • Irma Garcia, 48
  • Uziyah Garcia, 10
  • Amerie Jo Garza, 10
  • Xavier Lopez, 10
  • Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
  • Tess Mata, 10
  • Miranda Mathis, 11
  • Eva Mireles, 44
  • Alithia Ramirez, 10
  • Annabelle Rodriguez, 10
  • Maite Rodriguez, 10
  • Alexandria “Lexi” Rubio, 10
  • Layla Salazar, 11
  • Jailah Nicole Silguero, 10
  • Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10
  • Rojelio Torres, 10

Since that tragic event, what has happened?  Well, aside from the numerous and completely useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ that have been sent to nobody in particular, NOTHING.

In the year since Uvalde, there have been more than 650 mass shootings in the United States, and still, Congress, state legislators, state governors, and the courts have done naught but sit on their fat arses … or in some cases, even reversed what few gun laws that were in existence.

In the immediate aftermath of the Uvalde tragedy, Congress did manage to pass one milquetoast piece of legislation that …

  • included incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others
  • expanded an existing law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun to include dating partners rather than just spouses and former spouses
  • expands background checks on people between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun

Not many teeth in that law, but worse yet,  there is a new bill on the table in the House today that would repeal the law and what little it does.  So no, my friends, NOTHING is being done to prevent another Uvalde … or Parkland … or Sandy Hook … or Columbine.  No ban on assault weapons, no new training and licensing requirements … in fact, many states have recently eliminated any requirements for permits related to carrying a concealed weapon.

Is this why Republicans and religious groups are so hellbent and determined to keep women under their thumb, force them to become baby manufacturing plants, so that we can afford to have our children shot to death and still have a hefty population?  Does that offend you?  Well, then, don’t tell me … call or write to your members of Congress and tell them how you feel!

There is something deeply flawed with a country, a people, who value their right to own a killing machine more than they value the lives of their own children.

So Many Fools …

I’ve got a bit of a snarky buildup this morning and I thought I’d share some of the things that are weighing on my mind … why should I keep such fun to myself, right?

Three organizations have now issued warnings about travel to the state of Florida.  Last month, Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group issued a travel advisory for LGBTQ people, on Wednesday the League of United Latin American Citizens issued an advisory for people of Hispanic descent, and on Friday, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) issued a warning that it is no longer safe for Black people to travel to or within Florida.  This, in addition to all the other crap (book bans, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, discrimination, the Disney vs DeSantis feud, downgrading education, etc.) happening in Florida under their authoritarian governor, Ron DeSantis, has got to be a severe blow to the state whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

In part, the advisory by the NAACP reads …

“… the governor and the state of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the state of Florida.”

Ron DeSantis seems to want a straight, white state – well, it looks like he’s about to get his wish.  Only thing is that it will likely cut the state’s revenue by more than half.  Watch for unemployment numbers to go through the ceiling and the state to be unable to fund the programs to help people.  Way to go, DeSantis!  Perhaps at some point the people of Florida will look around and say, “Wha-what happened?  We thought he was gonna make Florida great again?”

The name of U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk has only crossed my radar one other time … when it was revealed that he had given an unofficial tour (tours were banned during that time because of the pandemic) of the Capitol the day before  January 6th, 2021 – a tour that included such areas as stairwells used only by members of Congress that are typically off-limits to the public.

A still from a video that shows a tour on 5 January 2021 led by Barry Loudermilk. Why is this guy taking a picture of a stairwell?  Photograph: US House of Representatives Jan/ZUMA Press Wire Service/REX/Shutterstock

Video of January 6th shows one of the men from that tour marching toward the Capitol on January 6th, saying: “There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you.”

But yesterday, Mr. Loudermilk came crashing back onto my radar and nearly cracked my screen!

Mr. Loudermilk is allegedly ‘investigating’ the events of January 6th, but in fact is investigating the Capitol Police and the members of the January 6th committee who did such an excellent job at folding back the layers and showing us the people involved at every level.  In March, he set up a portal for people to submit tips from “individuals with knowledge of the events of January 6th and the Select Committee” about the security of the Capitol, delay in support from the National Guard and more.

If Mr. Loudermilk wishes to know more about January 6th, all he has to do is read the 752-page final report by the January 6th committee that was published last December.  But no … he must play cloak-and-dagger games with taxpayer dollars.  Yet another Pennywise the Clown in the Republican House.

My representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Warren Davidson, sent out his usual weekly newsletter on Monday.  One part reads …

Freedom surrendered is rarely reclaimed, yet it must be restored to protect our constitutional Second Amendment rights. This week, I joined my friend and colleague Lauren Boebert by cosponsoring the Shall Not Be Infringed Act of 2023. This legislation repeals gun control measures passed under Democratic control and supported by Joe Biden last year. The Second Amendment is essential to defending our freedom. Read more about our legislation as reported by Newsmax here .

So damn much to stir the angst here!  First, it speaks volumes that the ignoble Lauren Boebert is his ‘friend’ and that they are co-conspirators in anything!  But more to the point, that he would seek to repeal the small amount of gun legislation that has been passed in the last year-and-a-half is simply unspeakable!  Children are getting killed by guns in schools, people are being killed by guns in the supermarkets, malls, in their neighborhoods and on the streets!  And this bastard wants to repeal the milquetoast legislation passed last year that did damn little to solve the problems to start with???  I hope his and Lauren’s bill goes down in flames, never to be seen again.  And the third thing that infuriated me was his take on the Second Amendment … has he not even read the U.S. Constitution???  Does he not understand that there is NO blanket right for the average Joe to own a gun???  And he associates himself with Newsmax, of all things???  This ‘man’ has no intelligence, no conscience, no common sense, and he does NOT belong in Congress!

Whew!  And on that note, I think I’ve shared enough angst for one morning, don’t you?  Happy Tuesday, my friends!

Bob Shepherd: Are Trump and His Allies Fascists?

I tread softly when it comes to making comparisons to Donald Trump & Hitler, to trumpism and fascism, for it can often sound like sour grapes, like hyperbole. But last Friday, Diane Ravitch dedicated the bulk of one post to Bob Shepherd, one of the wisest men I know of, and his post about the comparisons of Trump and his ideology, if he can be said to have one, vs that of fascist leaders in the past, primarily Hitler. I think he makes his point quite well. The post is a bit long, but fascinating and thought-provoking, so I really hope you’ll take the time to read it. Thank you, Diane and Bob!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Bob Shepherd is a polymath and a daily reader of the blog. He has been involved in every aspect of educational publishing, and most recently, he was a teacher in Florida. He graciously offered to help me with two of my books—The Language Police and Slaying Goliath—by carefully editing them before they were turned in to the publisher. And we have never met!

He wrote on his own blog:

A few years back, a friend, someone whom I respect, challenged me on Facebook, saying that Trump might be a lot of things, but he wasn’t an actual Fascist. Well, I beg to differ. If it steps like a goose, . . .

Here are a few of the clear signs that, yes, Fascist is precisely the term to describe Trump, his supporters, and those who wish to assume the orange mantle:

Alliance with other Fascists/Authoritarians. D.T. allied himself…

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Four Freedoms??? Hmmmmm … 🤔

On January 6th, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave his State of the Union Address.  This speech would come to be known as the Four Freedoms Speech, for he talked at some length about the four freedoms he believed that people “everywhere in the world” ought to enjoy:

  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of worship
  • Freedom from want
  • Freedom from fear

Today, the Republican Party has its own set of ‘four freedoms’ that are not nearly so noble as were those of President Roosevelt.  New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie explains …

The Four Freedoms, According to Republicans

Jamelle Bouie

19 May 2023

On Tuesday, Republicans in North Carolina overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto to pass a strict limit on bodily autonomy in the form of a 12-week abortion ban.

In addition to this new limit on abortion, the law extends the waiting period for people seeking abortions to 72 hours and puts onerous new rules on clinics. As intended, the net effect is to limit access to abortion and other reproductive health services to everyone but those with the time and resources to seek care outside the state.

North Carolina Republicans are obviously not the only ones fighting to ban, limit or restrict the right to bodily autonomy, whether abortion or gender-affirming health care for transgender people. All across the country, Republicans have passed laws to do exactly that wherever they have the power to do so, regardless of public opinion in their states or anywhere else. The war on bodily autonomy is a critical project for nearly the entire G.O.P., pursued with dedication by Republicans from the lowliest state legislator to the party’s powerful functionaries on the Supreme Court.

You might even say that in the absence of a national leader with a coherent ideology and agenda, the actions of Republican-led states and legislatures provide the best guide to what the Republican Party wants to do and the best insight into the society it hopes to build.

I have already made note of the attack on bodily autonomy, part of a larger effort to restore traditional hierarchies of gender and sexuality. What else is on the Republican Party’s agenda, if we use those states as our guide to the party’s priorities?

There is the push to free business from the suffocating grasp of child labor laws. Republican lawmakers in Arkansas, Iowa, Missouri and Ohio have advanced legislation to make it easier for children as young as 14 to work more hours, work without a permit and be subjected to more dangerous working conditions. The reason to loosen child labor laws — as a group of Wisconsin Republicans explained in a memo in support of a bill that would allow minors to serve alcohol at restaurants — is to deal with a shortage of low-wage workers in those states.

There are other ways to solve this problem — you could raise wages, for one — but in addition to making life easier for the midsize-capitalist class that is the material backbone of Republican politics, freeing businesses to hire underage workers for otherwise adult jobs would undermine organized labor and public education, two bêtes noires of the conservative movement.

Elsewhere in the country, Republican-led legislatures are placing harsh limits on what teachers and other educators can say in the classroom about American history or the existence of L.G.B.T.Q. people. This week in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans discussion in general education courses at public institutions of “theories that systemic racism, sexism, oppression and privilege are inherent in the institutions of the United States and were created to maintain social, political and economic inequities.” He also signed a bill that prohibits state colleges and universities from spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs beyond what is necessary to retain accreditation as educational institutions.

Nationwide, Republicans in at least 18 states have passed laws or imposed bans designed to keep discussion of racial discrimination, structural inequality and other divisive concepts out of classrooms and far away from students.

Last but certainly not least is the Republican effort to make civil society a shooting gallery. Since 2003, Republicans in 25 states have introduced and passed so-called constitutional carry laws, which allow residents to have concealed weapons in public without a permit. In most of those states, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, it is also legal to openly carry a firearm in public without a permit.

Republicans have also moved aggressively to expand the scope of “stand your ground” laws, which erode the longstanding duty to retreat in favor of a right to use deadly force in the face of perceived danger. These laws, which have been cited to defend shooters in countless cases, such as George Zimmerman in 2013, are associated with a moderate increase in firearm homicide rates, according to a 2022 study published in JAMA Network Open. Republicans, however, say they are necessary.

“If someone tries to kill you, you should have the right to return fire and preserve your life,” said Representative Matt Gaetz, who introduced a national “stand your ground” bill this month. “It’s time to reaffirm in law what exists in our Constitution and in the hearts of our fellow Americans,” he added. “We must abolish the legal duty of retreat everywhere.”

It should be said as well that some Republicans want to protect gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits. Gov. Bill Lee of Tennessee did just that this month — after a shooting in Nashville killed six people, including three children, in March — signing a bill that gives additional protections to the gun industry.

What should we make of all this? In his 1941 State of the Union address, Franklin Roosevelt said there was “nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy” and that he, along with the nation, looked forward to “a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.” Famously, those freedoms were the “freedom of speech and expression,” the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way,” the “freedom from want” and the “freedom from fear.” Those freedoms were the guiding lights of his New Deal, and they remained the guiding lights of his administration through the trials of World War II.

There are, I think, four freedoms we can glean from the Republican program.

There is the freedom to control — to restrict the bodily autonomy of women and repress the existence of anyone who does not conform to traditional gender roles.

There is the freedom to exploit — to allow the owners of business and capital to weaken labor and take advantage of workers as they see fit.

There is the freedom to censor — to suppress ideas that challenge and threaten the ideologies of the ruling class.

And there is the freedom to menace — to carry weapons wherever you please, to brandish them in public, to turn the right of self-defense into a right to threaten other people.

Roosevelt’s four freedoms were the building blocks of a humane society — a social democratic aspiration for egalitarians then and now. These Republican freedoms are also building blocks not of a humane society but of a rigid and hierarchical one, in which you can either dominate or be dominated.

‘Toons, ‘Toons, ‘Toons!!!

As always, the politics of the day are keeping the cartoonists busy, busy, busy!!!  While the situations may be dark and dreary, the cartoonists know how to brighten them up, to explain a situation with just a drip of humour.  So, without further ado, I give you some of the best political cartoons I’ve seen over the past week or so.

This last one isn’t a cartoon, but I still thought it fit in well!