A Handful of Mini-Rants

If we thought that with President Biden’s inauguration our troubles would disappear and peace would reign, we were dead wrong.  It appears to me that every Republican in any position of power, be it local, state, or federal, has taken an oath to make our lives a living hell and to destroy as much as possible of the nation.  If I could afford it, I would file a lawsuit against the Republican Party for costing me sleep, health, appetite and more!  As you read today’s snippets, you might conclude that I’m just a wee bit angry, but you’d be wrong.  I’m not a wee bit angry, I am livid.


I wonder if we could sell Texas to Mexico?

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is planning to spend the hard-earned tax dollars of the people of Texas and solicit donations from racists in order to ‘build that wall’ that the former guy kept touting but only actually built a few miles of.  Abbott learned from the earlier fiasco that there is no way in hell Mexico is going to pay for the wall, so instead he is going to commandeer taxpayer dollars to attempt to keep refugees out of his sorry state.  He said he would take $250 million from the state’s general revenue fund for a ‘down payment’ on his wall.  He also plans to coerce landowners on the border to allow the state to begin ‘immediate construction’ on their property.  In addition, he is asking for donations of both land and cash.  There are probably a few fools who will write him a check, but they’ll be throwing their money away, because Abbott’s wall isn’t going to happen (I hope).

Most people in the know say that Abbott’s proposed wall will meet its destiny, likely in the courts.  According to David Donatti, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas …

“If the governor wants to blow hot air on TV, he can do that. I truly don’t think he has thought this through. The governor is not a king. We have checks and balances in the state of Texas.”

As it happens, the governor does not have jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws, which are the sole responsibility of the federal government.  Apparently, Mr. Abbott needs to study the U.S. Constitution and his job description a bit longer.  He is up for re-election next year and … I would like to see him toppled, for he is an ass, but his likely primary opponent, Don Huffines, is just as big of an ass who also supports the idea of a wall, saying …

“The Biden Administration won’t secure our border, so Texas will.”

Sheesh, Republicans … do you not have anybody in your party with at least half a brain and a conscience???


Meanwhile …

Unlike the former guy, President Biden understands the seriousness of climate change and part of his campaign promise was to cut carbon emissions, cut back on fossil fuels, and expand renewable energy sources.  In way of keeping that promise, one of Biden’s first actions, his first week in office, was to issue a series of executive orders, one of which was to put a temporary ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land.  Thumbs up, I say, for I ascribe to the mantra “Leave it in the ground”, even if it makes life a bit inconvenient for some, or … GASP … reduces the profits of the big oil, gas and coal companies.

But, alas, if something makes sense and is good for the environment, good for the people, you can count on the damn republicans to nix it.  In this case, Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and attorneys general from 12 other states, all Republicans, filed suit in March to lift the White House executive order.

Judge Doughty

On Tuesday, Judge Terry Alvin Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana – a Trump appointee –  granted a preliminary injunction claiming that that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing.

DAMMIT Republicans!!!  The future of the human and many other species depends on switching to renewable energy, on leaving the damn fossil fuels where they belong … in the ground!  I don’t want your damned oil and frankly I don’t care if the CEOs of every fossil fuel corporation, who have been robbing us blind for decades now, all fall off of Wall Street and end up without a penny!  We have, for the first time in over four years, a president who cares about the future of the planet, who cares about We the People, our children and grandchildren, more than you the Rich Bastards!

As for Judge Terry Alvin Doughty … I wonder if he called the former guy to ask his advice on this one, for it reeks of trumpism.


Manchin’s “Compromise”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia … you know, that state that has no economy and thrives on ignorance … already said he would not support the For the People Act that would ensure our voting rights, among other things.  Our right to vote … our only voice in our lives, our future … and Manchin doesn’t care enough to support it.  But wait …

Just this week, Manchin drafted a memo stating that he would be willing to compromise.  He would support at least two weeks of federally mandated early voting and to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts.  Well, that’s a good start, though not nearly enough.  But wait …

Manchin has conditions!  Manchin’s compromise would require an ID requirement for all voters and the ability of local election officials to purge voter rolls using other government records.  NO NO NO NO NO!!!

One thing that keeps many poor people, Blacks and Hispanics away from the polls is that ID requirement and it is grossly unfair!  My granddaughter does not have a photo ID, she does not drive, and I don’t have the means to take her to obtain a state issued ID.  She is 26 years old and has been voting by mail since she was 18.  Under Manchin’s version of this bill, she would not be able to vote.  I know numerous Black people here in my own neighborhood who do not have a photo ID, but they pay taxes, they are citizens, and they have the right to vote, dammit!

And Manchin’s notion of allowing election officials to purge voter rolls is far too vague.  I can understand purging voters who have died or moved out of the state, but to give state and local election officials carte blanche to purge voter rolls at will?  Surely you jest!  Said Manchin …

“I’ve been sharing everything that I support and things I can support and vote with and things that I think is in the bill that doesn’t need to be in the bill, that doesn’t really interact with what we’re doing in West Virginia. We’ll have to see what changes are made.”

West Virginia is only one of fifty states, Manchin!  The rest of us matter too!  The bottom line, though, is it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference if Manchin supports the bill or not, for it will be subjected to the senate filibuster and we all know there are not ten republicans in the United States Senate who have a conscience.  Hell, I’m not sure there are ten republicans in the United States who have a conscience!  As far as I’m concerned, Joe Manchin can stick his ‘compromise’ where the sun doesn’t shine.

4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

I was thrilled to read yesterday … or was it the day before? … that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland will be taking on the issue of voting rights, given that the U.S. Senate is almost certain to refuse to uphold and protect our civil rights.  Our friend TokyoSand has written about some of the details of Garland’s plan, and included a short video clip of his speech that I hope you’ll take time to watch.  Thank you, TS, for all your good work!


4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

It’s been rough on the voting rights front these last few months, but on Friday, a little sun broke through the clouds.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jurys verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Attorney General Merrick Garland made an important speech outlining some actions the the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice would be taking to combat the attack on voting rights. He specifically mentioned the 14 states that have passed laws that make it harder to vote. He even referenced the SCOTUS decision back in 2013 that invalidated a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that opened to the door to a renewed rush of discriminatory actions.

View entire original post …

The National Registry of Exonerations Releases Grim, Eye-Opening Report — Wrongful Convictions Blog

I have long been against the death penalty and executions for a number of reasons, the foremost being that we have a dark history of wrongful convictions, sending innocent people to prison for crimes they did not commit. The National Registry of Exonerations recently released a report with some eye-opening statistics about wrongful convictions in the U.S. and blogging friend Xena has the scoop. It should be noted that while Blacks have always been a minority in the overall population, they have been the majority when it comes to wrongful convictions. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Thank you, Xena, for bringing this report to our attention. We, as a nation, really must try to do better!

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

This month our nation exceeded 25,000 years lost to wrongful convictions. The human suffering associated with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of 2,795 innocent people is incalculable. Without the research and reporting of the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), we likely would not know of or comprehend the truth or implications of this horrific milestone.

The report, “25,000 Years Lost to Wrongful Convictions” released today quantifies the reality of a justice system making its most egregious error: convicting an innocent person. The NRE defines an exoneree as a “person who was convicted of a crime and later officially declared innocent of that crime, or relieved of all legal consequences of the conviction because evidence of innocence that was not presented at trial required reconsideration of the case.”

The NRE has focused on exonerations since 1989. Here are a few highlights from the report:

• On average, each exoneree spent…

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Making A Mockery Of Our Lives …

Of late, the Republican Party, aka GOP, have done most everything in their power to make a mockery of this nation, of the democratic underpinnings in our very foundation, and of the U.S. Constitution.  They have tested the limits of lunacy and it almost seems as if their entire goal is to prove that nothing really matters, that people don’t matter, the environment doesn’t matter, our very lives matter little to them.  Now, it’s easy to brush off their lies, their conspiracy theories as being beneath our dignity to even discuss.  And in one sense that’s true, but in another sense … their constituents listen to them, hang on their every word, believe them, and in far too many cases, such as January 6th of this year, act upon their words.  This means that yes, we must pay attention, we must be prepared to tell the truth, to counter their ignorance.  I have a few recent examples to share with you …


Last month, before Mitch McConnell and his band of senatorial thugs killed any hope for a congressional investigation into the lead-up and events of January 6th, the uneducated Margie Greene posted her argument against such an investigation on her social media accounts.

“They’re only going to use the January 6 Commission to tear down Trump’s legacy, tear down and smear him if he runs for president again in 2024.  And it will be used to demoralize Trump supporters and people that loved attending rallies and loved the MAGA movement and love America First policies, and it will be used to demoralize them and paint them as if they’re horrible people that entered the Capitol — breached the Capitol on January 6.”

Excuse me, Margie, but they are horrible people, else they would not have hung a noose outside the Capitol, would not have busted windows, pooped on the walls and floors, destroyed property, chanted ‘Hang Mike Pence’, and killed a Capitol policeman while injuring 140 others.  If this isn’t the definition of ‘horrible people’ then I don’t know what is.


Climate change is no laughing matter … with every passing day, the hope for a continuation of human life beyond the end of this century grows dimmer.  Scientists are working diligently to find ways in which we can slow or reverse the damage that has been done by people in industrialized nations.  They have some, but not all of the answers.  Enter U.S. Representative Louie Gohmert who claims to have the only answer we need.

Mr. Gohmert attended a House Natural Resources Committee hearing a week ago where he posed the following to Jennifer Eberlien, an associate deputy chief of the Forest Service …

“I understand, from what’s been testified to the Forest Service and the BLM, you want very much to work on the issue of climate change. I was informed by the immediate past director of NASA that they’ve found that the moon’s orbit is changing slightly and so is the Earth’s orbit around the sun. We know there’s been significant solar flare activity.  And so, is there anything that the National Forest Service or BLM can do to change the course of the moon’s orbit or the Earth’s orbit around the sun? Obviously, that would have profound effects on our climate.”

A lot of people found Gohmert’s remarks humorous … I did not.  They show a profound ignorance that should have disqualified him from holding a seat in the House of Representatives long ago.  He is an attorney and a former judge who has held a seat in the U.S. House, representing Texas, since 2005.  Listening to him, I would have guessed he had but a sixth-grade education.  Like Ms. Greene, he has made a mockery of a very serious issue.  And also like Ms. Greene, Gohmert is a follower of the conspiracy theory group QAnon.


And then there is the first-term U.S. House Representative from Georgia, Andrew Clyde, who along with Gohmert, has filed a federal lawsuit claiming that having to pass through a metal detector each day like his 434 colleagues do, largely without complaint, is a violation of … something.  His civil rights, perhaps?

“Unconstitutional!” “Authoritarian conduct!” “An active ongoing attack on our democracy!”

Oh for Pete’s sake!  Grow up, Andy … grow a pair!

Although he has been in Congress for only six months, Mr. Clyde has already been fined some $15,000 for refusing to cooperate with Capitol Police’s efforts to ensure the safety of every member of Congress.  If he is such a crybaby that he cannot man up and walk through a metal detector without having a meltdown, he surely does NOT belong in the United States House of Representatives any more than his two aforementioned colleagues do!  Mr. Clyde is a former gun shop owner back in Georgia who wears a tie clip in the shape of an automatic weapon.  Nice … real professional.


This might all be humorous if it weren’t truly a threat to our way of life, to the government we rely on in so many ways.  Is this, then, the face of the new Republican Party?  I still shake my head in amazement to remember that GOP once stood for Grand Old Party.  No more can they claim that title, for they have sold us downriver a thousand times over in the past decade.  These three examples are but a small sampling of the sheer ignorance that now dominates the GOP, the mockery they are making of our lives.

Post-Weekend Snarky Snippets

Jill is the name, snark is the game!


Shoot the monkeys into space!

Hey folks … do you happen to have an extra $28 million lying around somewhere?  If so, guess what … you could be shot into space with none other than the world’s wealthiest man, Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos!  Oops … never mind … scratch that, for someone has already paid da price for this … er … opportunity of a lifetime.

That’s right … apparently there was an auction on Saturday hosted by Bezos’ Blue Origin company, and an anonymous bidder topped the bidding at $28 million for the “opportunity” to join Bezos in space.  The fool’s bidder’s name is to be announced soon, according to Blue Origin.  I will only say that … I see this entire thing as a huge waste of time and money.  Mr. Bezos and this ‘anonymous bidder’ could give every dime spent on this useless venture to starving children around the globe and I would have far more respect for them than I have under present circumstances.  Happy space travels and I don’t really care if you return or not.


C’mon man … ride da bike

Now, I’ll grant you that UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson looks as if he could really use two things:  a haircut and some exercise.  But I had to laugh when I read that President Biden gifted Boris with a bicycle during the G7 summit this past weekend.

And he even threw in a helmet …

And in return, Boris gave President Biden a framed picture of a mural showing the US anti-slavery campaigner Frederick Douglass.

And here we were afraid the two wouldn’t get along!


Bye-Bye Bibi!

Israel’s Prime Minister for the past 12 years, Benjamin Netanyahu, is officially out of power.  In his place is Naftali Bennett who was sworn in as Israel’s new prime minister on Sunday, after winning a confidence vote with the narrowest of margins, just 60 votes to 59.

What this will mean remains to be seen.  Over the past 12 years, Netanyahu has dominated Israeli politics. He’s not only successfully implemented a series of right-wing policies, such as entrenching Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but also consolidated a dangerous amount of power in his own hands. He is currently on trial for corruption charges stemming from, among other things, his attempt to buy off media outlets.

The new government is a coalition of eight parties coming from right, left and center, with the only thing bringing them together being to oust Netanyahu.  I see bumpy roads ahead!

Bennett, of the far-right Yamina Party, will serve as prime minister — a job he’ll keep for two years while Yair Lapid, of the centrist Yesh Atid Party, serves as foreign minister. After two years, they will rotate, with Lapid taking the top position and Bennett in the cabinet. During the whole period, both of them will have veto power over policy — so even while Bennett is nominally Lapid’s boss, the latter will be able to block the former’s moves at will.  If you think the U.S. Senate is a stalemate, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!

Perhaps the single most important … nay, crucial issue at the moment is the conflict with the Palestinians.  On this issue, Bennett supports annexing much of the West Bank and opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, while Lapid supports a two-state solution negotiated with the Palestinian leadership.  All of which leads me to believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue for at least the next two years, likely much longer.  More lives, mostly Palestinian, will be lost, more tension will rise in the Middle East, and very little will have changed.  I could be wrong.  I hope I am.


Gonna be a long, hot summer

The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been on edge since the brutal murder of George Floyd by a police officer, Derek Chauvin.  Chauvin was tried and convicted on numerous charges and now awaits sentencing. Then on June 3rd, Minneapolis police shot and killed yet another Black man, Winston Smith.  Last night just after 11:30 p.m., a group of peaceful protestors were holding a vigil against police brutality in Minneapolis when suddenly a man drove a car into the group, killing one woman and injuring three other people.

Recently, the state of Oklahoma passed a bill into law that effectively allows drivers to hit people with a car under certain very vague circumstances.  Florida recently passed a similar bill.  Fortunately, at this time Minnesota does not have one … the driver of the car has been arrested and will likely be charged with, at the very least, vehicular manslaughter.

It’s going to be a long, hot summer, folks, not only in Minneapolis, but across the nation.  The very last thing we need in this country are states telling people that it’s okay to run over people with a car, that there won’t be any repercussions, no price to pay.  Welcome to the new United States, a country where right is wrong, up is down, and the law is only on your side if you’re white, Christian, straight, and a male.

Five Years Later …. “ 🏳️‍🌈 ‘It Still Hurts! Gone Too Soon’ – #OrlandoUnited 🏳️‍🌈 …. “!!

Due to circumstances largely beyond my control, Part II of my “Celebrating Pride Month” post has been delayed by a day until this afternoon. However, as my friend Larry points out, PRIDE Month is about more than parades and celebrations, it is about history and heartbreak as well. Five years ago, 49 people were murdered and 53 others injured in a mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. My dear friend Horty Rex is looking back at that night, remembering those people, and I think her post is as important to honouring PRIDE Month as are the parades and celebrations. Thank you, Horty, for this beautiful tribute to those people.

It Is What It Is

~~June 12, 2021~~

PULSE NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

Five years ago today, I remember waking up to the horrific reality, perpetrated on my local LGBTQ+ community in Orlando.

#OrlandoUnited

Gone but not frogotten!!

The majority of the victims were Latin/Hispanic … that was another blow to one of my demographics. It’s something that can’t never, ever be fogotten!!

#49Angels

… who will live in our hearts and memories for all eternity!!

HortyRex©

ORLANDO

~REMEMBERING THE PULSE 49~

Five years ago, 49 families learned their mothers, fathers, siblings and friends would not be coming home after a gunman opened fire on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Each one of the 49 people killed, now known as the 49 angels, on June 12, 2016, left behind a legacy.

Before they were victims, the 49 were mothers, fathers, recent graduates, veterans, breast cancer survivors, dreamers, artists and so much more.

~~Published April 28, 2017~~

On…

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A Conundrum … No Easy Answers

Yesterday, I wrote with some annoyance about the Department of Justice continuing to support the previous administrations claims that … basically, the former guy could do no wrong and was above the law, no matter how many women he raped and then denigrated publicly.  Today, one of my favourite columnists, Eugene Robinson, has given me pause, caused me to perhaps look at it from a slightly different perspective.  One sentence says it all … “The meaning of the law does not change depending on who is in power.”  While I still do not support We the Taxpayers having to pay to defend a rapist madman, I now have a somewhat better understanding of why the Justice Department is doing what they are doing.  Like Mr. Robinson, I hope Trump, and by extension the U.S. Justice Department, lose the suit to Ms. Carroll, for she is deserving of retribution, but I now understand it better.  And I think it only fair that any restitution to Ms. Carroll come out of the former guy’s pocket, not mine and not yours.


Merrick Garland is right to be cautious about breaking with Trump’s Justice Department

Opinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

June 10, 2021 at 4:05 p.m. EDT

As frustrating and galling as it may be to see President Biden’s administration make anything less than a clean break with its predecessors, Attorney General Merrick Garland is right not to peremptorily reverse positions taken by the Justice Department during the Trump era. And his caution is appropriate even if those positions, such as continuing to represent a certain Mar-a-Lago resident in a defamation case, are clearly wrong.

The Justice Department never should have tried to defend Donald Trump in a civil lawsuit filed by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who says that Trump, back in his real estate mogul days, raped her in a department store dressing room. When Carroll made her rape allegation public, then-President Trump called her a liar. Carroll responded by suing Trump for defamation, seeking damages.

Trump was initially represented by private counsel. But his Justice Department intervened to have the case moved to U.S. District Court and argued that it should have been dismissed, saying that Trump was a government “employee” acting within “the scope of his employment” when he verbally attacked Carroll, and thus enjoyed immunity for his defamatory words.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan ruled against those claims in October and ordered that Carroll’s lawsuit be allowed to proceed. But Garland’s Justice Department is continuing to defend Trump, even though Kaplan determined that the case should be seen as a private matter between two individuals.

I hope the Justice Department ultimately loses the case and Carroll gets her day in court. But Garland, by staying the course, is sending a powerful message: The Justice Department doesn’t “belong” to Trump or Joe Biden or any one president. The meaning of the law does not change depending on who is in power. We should all swallow hard and accept Garland’s general commitment to some measure of continuity, because the alternative can be much worse.

I know that from personal observation. I was The Post’s South America correspondent three decades ago, at a time when most nations on the continent were emerging from long, dark years of military rule and trying to rebuild their democratic institutions. They all found that once faith in those institutions is lost, it is not easy to regain.

I was based in Buenos Aires, and Argentina’s civilian leadership was still finding its bearings. After years of being lied to by the murderous ruling junta, citizens had little faith in what their elected leaders said. And they had even less faith in the ability of the court system to honestly ascertain truth and deliver justice.

One instructive case study was a brutal rape and murder in Catamarca, a province in the Andean foothills. On a Friday night in September 1990, a 17-year-old girl named Maria Soledad Morales went with some friends to a local dance and never came home. Her tortured and mutilated body was found the following Monday in a roadside ditch. The Catamarca police chief initially said only that she had died from cardiac arrest, but it was later found that she had been brutalized and possibly forced to ingest a lethal dose of cocaine.

Suspicion fell on a group of young men with ties to the Saadi family, a powerful dynasty that had been in control of the province since the days of strongman Juan Perón. But none of these men was arrested by local police, whose statements about the case no one trusted.

The Carmelite nun who ran the school Morales had attended began organizing marches calling for justice, and the demonstrations grew so large that the national government had to respond by sending in a strike force of supposedly “untouchable” investigators. But no one trusted anything they said about the case, either.

The problem was that the Saadis had been political allies of then-President Carlos Menem. The universal assumption was that with Menem in power, there would be no honest and thorough investigation that might hold the Saadis or other powerful people accountable.

Finally, eight years later, two men — one of them a well-connected scion — were convicted of involvement in the murder; they each served time in prison and were released. Many Argentines are convinced — as am I — that the justice system never got anywhere near the full truth of the murder. Ramón Eduardo Saadi, who at the time was the provincial governor, was removed from office in 1991 — but only because of how loud the outcry about the case became.

My point is not that Argentina is uniquely flawed, but that we do not want the United States to become a nation where the default assumption is that justice is always political. We don’t want to be a place where culpability and liability depend on who happens to be president.

So if Garland believes there are plausible reasons for the government to keep defending Trump in Carroll’s defamation suit, I’m glad he’s doing so. His job is to follow the law as he sees it — even when I think he’s dead wrong.

WHY???

If you thought I let off all the steam in this morning’s rants, you’d be wrong.  Two things are puzzling me at the moment … puzzling and annoying me … leading me to keep asking over and over — WHY???  The former guy needs to fade into oblivioun … he is, or at least ought to be, irrelevant now, yet he keeps popping back onto the radar.  Somebody please, put him somewhere, like a mental institution or better yet, a prison.


I don’t believe a word of it …

You remember June 1st 2020, right?  That was the day that the former guy, having seen his approval rating drop even lower than usual, decided a photo op was just the thing to boost his ratings.  So, he and his band of merry men (and women) walked from the White House to a church in Lafayette Park so he could hold up a bible and let the press take pictures of him doing so … pictures that would be splashed all over every major news outlet by that evening.  However, his walk was only accomplished after the Secret Service and other federal law enforcement agencies cleared the path of peaceful protestors protesting the brutal police killing of an unarmed Black man, George Floyd, a month prior.

The protests were peaceful, no violence until federal law enforcement officers showed up.  According to The Washington Post the following day …

“In a massive show of force, federal law enforcement officers fired rubber bullets and chemical gas at peaceful protesters outside the White House on Monday evening … Hundreds of protesters were pushed away from Lafayette Square, where they were protesting the police killing of George Floyd, by the National Guard, U.S. Park Police and Secret Service. The ambush began half an hour before the city’s newly imposed curfew of 7 p.m. went into effect.”

There were photos, videos … it cannot be denied.  And yet, yesterday a report by the Interior Department’s inspector general did just that … denied that law enforcement cleared area for the former guy’s ludicrous walk to church.  According to the report, the area was cleared of protestors in order to allow contractors to safely install some fencing.  BULLSHIT!  I believe that just about as much as I believe elephants can fly!

What I don’t understand is why this particular lie?  What is the purpose, one year later, of telling a lie covering up actions that occurred as a result of egomania by the former guy?  Does the inspector general who issued the report honestly think that We the People are so stupid that we don’t remember the scene from one year ago?  And what’s the point?  The former guy is gone, he surely isn’t still pulling strings in the Department of the Interior, is he?  Police do not use violent means to clear peaceful protestors from an area so that they can build a fence.  Period.  Give us credit for a little bit of intelligence!


Defending the indefensible

This week the Department of Justice led by Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that it would continue defending the former guy in the lawsuit brought by E. Jean Carroll.  A bit of a refresher for those who may not remember this situation …

Ms. Carroll has claimed, and for the record I believe her, that the former guy raped her in the 1990s.  More than a dozen others have made the same claim, most quite credible, and I remind you of that old saying, where there’s so much smoke, there’s a fire somewhere.  When Ms. Carroll made her claim, the former guy rudely denigrated her in public, calling her rude names, saying he had never met her (this despite the fact there are photos of Ms. Carroll and her husband with the former guy at a party) and that he couldn’t have raped her because she isn’t his ‘type’.  Ms. Carroll filed a lawsuit against Trump for defaming her character and calling her a liar among other things.  At that point, then-Attorney General William Barr stepped in and said that the former guy was acting in his official capacity as president when he denied ever knowing Ms. Carroll and made statements assaulting her character, and thus could be defended by government lawyers — in effect underwritten by taxpayer money.

Long story short, he lied and called her names, Bill Barr said he had a right to do that because he was the then-occupant of the Oval Office, and that We the Taxpayers should pay to defend him and prove that in his position at the time, he was above the law.

Today, William Barr has left the Justice Department, replaced by a man for whom I have a great deal of respect, Merrick Garland.  However, I am extremely disappointed in the decision by the DoJ to continue defending the former guy at our expense!  WHY???  Is this a democratic republic as stated in the U.S. Constitution, or is this a banana republic that supports egomaniacal dictators???

In 2020, Barr argued that the former guy was a federal employee whose statements were part of his employment duties and who was thus entitled to protection under the Westfall Act, which grants civil immunity to federal employees for actions that are part of their jobs.  Since when is calling a woman a ‘slut’ part of the president’s job?  So, by this standard, if a sitting president kills one of his staff with a knife or a gun, would that be defensible under the Westfall Act?  Where is the line … and when do We the People finally stand up and say, ENOUGH!

Again, I want to know why the current DoJ is still upholding the former guy’s actions.  I just need an explanation … We the People deserve an explanation.

Ulcer-Inducing Mini Rants

Tonight’s min-rants have me growling, my ulcer flared up, and I will probably need a few hours of winding down before I can sleep.  But, rather than jump straight into a rant, let’s start out with something I found at least mildly humorous …


A bit of humour …

One of my many daily newsletters had this paragraph in talking about the comparison between the former guy and the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, affectionately called BoJo in the UK …

There’s been talk about how Biden and Johnson — whom the President’s predecessor referred to as “Britain Trump” — won’t get on. After all, Johnson, like the 45th US President, is a populist who won power by courting blue-collar grievance, had an itinerant love life, a distant acquaintance with the truth and a blond edifice on his head that defies gravity. 

That last part about the hair especially made me laugh.  At least, though, Boris doesn’t wear ugly orange makeup!  And … he can speak in full sentences … I’ve HEARD HIM!


Where did she get her medical license?

Sherri Tenpenny is allegedly a medical doctor based in Cleveland, Ohio, though if she does, in fact, have a license to practice medicine it should be immediately revoked.  She is known for her anti-vaccination campaigns and conspiracy theories and in May she put out a video claiming that the Covid vaccine would cause infertility in males and birth defects in a fetus if the mother received the vaccine.  She claimed this is all linked to a conspiracy by “the globalists and the de-population eugenicists, the stated Satanists who are out to destroy the world”.  I wonder if she’s been hanging out with ol’ Margie Greene?  Why would a doctor … someone the public is supposed to be able to trust, tell her patients bald-faced lies?   But wait, you haven’t heard the latest.

For some reason that I will never understand, this fruitcake was invited to testify as an “expert” witness Tuesday to a hearing in the Ohio House Health Committee in regards to a bill that would prevent businesses or the government from requiring proof of vaccination.  Her testimony was bizarre, to say the least, as she claimed that the vaccine turns people into magnets …

“I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures all over the Internet of people who have had these shots and now they’re magnetized. They can put a key on their forehead. It sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think that there’s a metal piece to that.”

Gee … I scan the internet 12 hours or so every day and not once have I seen a person with keys or silverware attached to them!  In fact, having recently received my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, I decided to try this at home.  Nope, the butcher knife did not stick to me, though it did almost cost me a toe or two as it fell rapidly to the floor!  If you live in or around Cleveland, Ohio, please stay as far away from this quack as possible!  Meanwhile, I am writing to the State Medical Board to request that her license to practice medicine be immediately revoked … she’s a bigger nutcase than even Rand Paul!

Tenpenny also vaguely suggested that somehow the vaccine interfaces with 5G towers (those cellular towers that everyone seems to have some conspiracy theory about).  Now, you and I can blow this woman off, see her for the psycho that she is, but apparently Ohio legislators aren’t as intelligent as we are, for there was almost no pushback against her lunatic ramblings.  In fact, Representative Jennifer L. Gross, a nurse who co-sponsored the bill, told Tenpenny …

“What an honor to have you here.”

Say WHAT???  I’m moving out of this damn state!!!  My daughter’s company has its headquarters in New York … perhaps she can request a transfer!

It should come as no surprise to learn that Tenpenny is an anti-vaxxer who authored a book titled “Saying No to Vaccines” in 2008.  What does come as a surprise is that she’s still allowed to practice medicine.  And you wonder why I have a difficult time trusting the medical community?  Here we are trying to convince people to get the vaccine so that we can all be safer and freer, and this loon is perpetuating all these frightening lies to people who probably believe her and will continue being a walking germ tree.


What are they teaching their children?  What is this nation becoming?

People all across this nation and around the globe have found the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin to be a horrific crime.  We have all mourned Mr. Floyd’s death, it has led to massive rallies by Black Lives Matter groups, and there has been nothing even remotely humorous about it.  Until three high school boys … racist juveniles … thought it would be funny to re-enact the murder.

It happened at Mead High School in Longmont, Colorado when a trio of male students there published an image of them re-enacting Floyd’s murder in the school’s parking lot last month. Two of them had their knees on their classmate’s neck and back. The teen who was supposed to be Floyd was in blackface and lying motionless on the ground.  “Bye bye senoirs [sic],” the caption read, with a hand-waving emoji to the class of 2021.  They cannot even f*cking spell the word ‘seniors’ and they are in high school doing this disgusting, criminal sort of thing!

What the hell sort of values are we teaching our children?  Apparently in Longmont, Colorado, parents are teaching them to be racist jerks!  Just yesterday morning I wrote about young people seeing a need and reaching out, starting charities to help people, and now THIS!

To their credit, most students were sickened and outraged by the episode, and some claimed there has long been a culture of racism at the school.  The school’s principal of the last 12 years, Rachael Ayers, resigned as a result.

Folks … this story has literally made me ill.  I hold the parents of these three teens responsible for failing to even attempt to teach them values or kindness to others.  If we, as a nation, continue to allow these sort of incidents, then we are signing the death warrant of the nation.  The three students were each suspended from school for five days … big fat deal … they probably enjoyed those five days, rather than seeing them as punishment.  At the risk of sounding radical, I would like to see every parent of these three in jail for 50 days each and then forced to attend parenting classes, for they’ve obviously got it all wrong!


I’ll end as I began, with a bit of (dark) humour …

A ‘Statement Of Concern’

The actions of Republican state legislators to curtail absentee voting, limit days for early voting and seize control of local election boards have prompted 188 scholars to sign a “Statement of Concern: The Threats to American Democracy and the Need for National Voting and Election Administration Standards.” 

Their words are wise and prophetic …


Statement of Concern

The Threats to American Democracy and the Need for National Voting and Election Administration Standards

STATEMENT

June 1, 2021

We, the undersigned, are scholars of democracy who have watched the recent deterioration of U.S. elections and liberal democracy with growing alarm. Specifically, we have watched with deep concern as Republican-led state legislatures across the country have in recent months proposed or implemented what we consider radical changes to core electoral procedures in response to unproven and intentionally destructive allegations of a stolen election. Collectively, these initiatives are transforming several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections. Hence, our entire democracy is now at risk.

When democracy breaks down, it typically takes many years, often decades, to reverse the downward spiral. In the process, violence and corruption typically flourish, and talent and wealth flee to more stable countries, undermining national prosperity. It is not just our venerated institutions and norms that are at risk—it is our future national standing, strength, and ability to compete globally.

Statutory changes in large key electoral battleground states are dangerously politicizing the process of electoral administration, with Republican-controlled legislatures giving themselves the power to override electoral outcomes on unproven allegations should Democrats win more votes. They are seeking to restrict access to the ballot, the most basic principle underlying the right of all adult American citizens to participate in our democracy. They are also putting in place criminal sentences and fines meant to intimidate and scare away poll workers and nonpartisan administrators. State legislatures have advanced initiatives that curtail voting methods now preferred by Democratic-leaning constituencies, such as early voting and mail voting. Republican lawmakers have openly talked about ensuring the “purity” and “quality” of the vote, echoing arguments widely used across the Jim Crow South as reasons for restricting the Black vote.

State legislators supporting these changes have cited the urgency of “electoral integrity” and the need to ensure that elections are secure and free of fraud. But by multiple expert judgments, the 2020 election was extremely secure and free of fraud. The reason that Republican voters have concerns is because many Republican officials, led by former President Donald Trump, have manufactured false claims of fraud, claims that have been repeatedly rejected by courts of law, and which Trump’s own lawyers have acknowledged were mere speculation when they testified about them before judges.

In future elections, these laws politicizing the administration and certification of elections could enable some state legislatures or partisan election officials to do what they failed to do in 2020: reverse the outcome of a free and fair election. Further, these laws could entrench extended minority rule, violating the basic and longstanding democratic principle that parties that get the most votes should win elections.

Democracy rests on certain elemental institutional and normative conditions. Elections must be neutrally and fairly administered. They must be free of manipulation. Every citizen who is qualified must have an equal right to vote, unhindered by obstruction. And when they lose elections, political parties and their candidates and supporters must be willing to accept defeat and acknowledge the legitimacy of the outcome. The refusal of prominent Republicans to accept the outcome of the 2020 election, and the anti-democratic laws adopted (or approaching adoption) in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Montana and Texas—and under serious consideration in other Republican-controlled states—violate these principles. More profoundly, these actions call into question whether the United States will remain a democracy. As scholars of democracy, we condemn these actions in the strongest possible terms as a betrayal of our precious democratic heritage.

The most effective remedy for these anti-democratic laws at the state level is federal action to protect equal access of all citizens to the ballot and to guarantee free and fair elections. Just as it ultimately took federal voting rights law to put an end to state-led voter suppression laws throughout the South, so federal law must once again ensure that American citizens’ voting rights do not depend on which party or faction happens to be dominant in their state legislature, and that votes are cast and counted equally, regardless of the state or jurisdiction in which a citizen happens to live. This is widely recognized as a fundamental principle of electoral integrity in democracies around the world.

A new voting rights law (such as that proposed in the John Lewis Voting Rights Act) is essential but alone is not enough. True electoral integrity demands a comprehensive set of national standards that ensure the sanctity and independence of election administration, guarantee that all voters can freely exercise their right to vote, prevent partisan gerrymandering from giving dominant parties in the states an unfair advantage in the process of drawing congressional districts, and regulate ethics and money in politics.

It is always far better for major democracy reforms to be bipartisan, to give change the broadest possible legitimacy. However, in the current hyper-polarized political context such broad bipartisan support is sadly lacking. Elected Republican leaders have had numerous opportunities to repudiate Trump and his “Stop the Steal” crusade, which led to the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Each time, they have sidestepped the truth and enabled the lie to spread.

We urge members of Congress to do whatever is necessary—including suspending the filibuster—in order to pass national voting and election administration standards that both guarantee the vote to all Americans equally, and prevent state legislatures from manipulating the rules in order to manufacture the result they want. Our democracy is fundamentally at stake. History will judge what we do at this moment.

Full list of signatories