Missing Words …

I simply cannot find my words today.   I don’t remember where I left them when I went to bed last night … er, this morning … and I’ve called and whistled for them, but no words are forthcoming.  However, John Oliver does not have any problem finding his, and he has graciously agreed to fill in for Filosofa today with words that are wiser and more informed than mine would have been, even if they had come out of hiding.

Seriously, though … this clip, while it is nearly 18 minutes long, is well worth watching as he assesses the current situation here in the U.S. and quite effectively puts to rest the rumours and conspiracy theories that are being spread by Trump and his nasty cohorts even faster than the coronavirus pandemic.  I do hope you’ll take the time to watch this from start to finish … it is well worth the time … plus there is a glint of much-needed humour.

Welcome to America, Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

Yesterday, I wrote of my frustration with this nation’s apparent inability or unwillingness to unite — left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.  Today, Robert Reich’s column in The Guardian shows us that the divide is a calculated one, a manipulation by those with billions of dollars in their portfolio, aided and abetted by the GOP.  Reich proposes that the real division is the 1% vs 99% and that a middle ground no longer exists, nor can it.  Take a look …


Trump’s refusal to concede is just the latest gambit to please Republican donors

Robert Reich-4by Robert Reich

Millions who should be ranged against the American oligarchy are distracted and divided – just as their leaders want

Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons – the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds – whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Their heist started four decades ago. According to a recent Rand study, if America’s distribution of income had remained the same as it was in the three decades following the second world war, the bottom 90% would now be $47tn richer.

A low-income American earning $35,000 this year would be earning $61,000. A college-educated worker now earning $72,000 would be earning $120,000. Overall, the grotesque surge in inequality that began 40 years ago is costing the median American worker $42,000 per year.

The upward redistribution of $47tn wasn’t due to natural forces. It was contrived. As wealth accumulated at the top, so did political power to siphon off even more wealth and shaft everyone else.

Monopolies expanded because antitrust laws were neutered. Labor unions shriveled because corporations were allowed to bust unions. Wall Street was permitted to gamble with other people’s money and was bailed out when its bets soured even as millions lost their homes and savings. Taxes on the top were cut, tax loopholes widened.

When Covid-19 hit, big tech cornered the market, the rich traded on inside information and the Treasury and the Fed bailed out big corporations but let small businesses go under. Since March, billionaire wealth has soared while most of America has become poorer.

How could the oligarchy get away with this in a democracy where the bottom 90% have the votes? Because the bottom 90% are bitterly divided.

Long before Trump, the GOP suggested to white working-class voters that their real enemies were Black people, Latinos, immigrants, “coastal elites”, bureaucrats and “socialists”. Trump rode their anger and frustration into the White House with more explicit and incendiary messages. He’s still at it with his bonkers claim of a stolen election.

The oligarchy surely appreciates the Trump-GOP tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks and the most business-friendly supreme court since the early 1930s. But the Trump-GOP’s biggest gift has been an electorate more fiercely split than ever.

Into this melee comes Joe Biden, who speaks of being “president of all Americans” and collaborating with the Republican party. But the GOP doesn’t want to collaborate. When Biden holds out an olive branch, McConnell and other Republican leaders will respond just as they did to Barack Obama – with more warfare, because that maintains their power and keeps the big money rolling in.

The president-elect aspires to find a moderate middle ground. This will be difficult because there’s no middle. The real divide is no longer left versus right but the bottom 90% versus the oligarchy.

Biden and the Democrats will better serve the nation by becoming the party of the bottom 90% – of the poor and the working middle class, of black and white and brown, and of all those who would be $47tn richer today had the oligarchy not taken over America.

This would require that Democrats abandon the fiction of political centrism and establish a countervailing force to the oligarchy – and, not incidentally, sever their own links to it.

They’d have to show white working-class voters how badly racism and xenophobia have hurt them as well as people of color. And change the Democratic narrative from kumbaya to economic and social justice.

Easy to say, hugely difficult to accomplish. But if today’s bizarre standoff in Washington is seen for what it really is, there’s no alternative.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: “You’re Fired!”

This past week has provided so much fodder for the political cartoonists to work with … I wonder if they’ll be bored once Trump is gone?  As she always does, TokyoSand scoured the ‘Net looking for the best of the best, cream of the crop, and she did a fine job!  Thank you, TS, for finding these and for permission to share.

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View Original Post: The Week’s Best Cartoons: “You’re Fired!”

Musings From The Rabbit Hole — Unity

Joe Biden, who will take the Oath of Office in just 67 days, has promised to try to unify the people of this country … unlike the current occupant of the Oval Office who has done nothing but divide us.  I applaud that effort, and until yesterday I naively thought it might just be possible.  I still hope that it can be done … certainly if anybody can, Biden is among the best candidates to do so.  But today I have my doubts.  I don’t want to be negative or a naysayer, for we all need all the hope we can find, but I am nothing if not a pragmatist, a realist. Yesterday as I perused the news, considered what was happening, it occurred to me that a large number – about half – of the people in this nation do not want unity, but rather thrive on division and chaos.

Certainly, there have always been political divisions in this country and always will be, for we are a nation of humans, but what we are experiencing now goes beyond ideological differences and into the arena of personal hatred.  This “Reign of Cruelty” as I term the past four years, has changed us, has made us more willing to accept things that we once abhorred.  It has made us less human.

I hate that it has boiled down to Republican vs Democrat and the language of hate, the finger-pointing, the blame game is always … always the fault of everyone who identifies with one party or another.  I, too, have been guilty of saying, “The republicans only want …” or “The republicans are the cause of …”, and it’s not something I’m proud of, but admittedly it will likely happen again, for I am human.

Today, thousands of people are gathered in Washington to … what?  I’m not sure what they hope to accomplish, but they are protesting the results of the election, results that clearly prove Joe Biden will be the next president of the United States. They are parroting Trump’s false claim that the election has been ‘stolen’, that there was massive voter fraud, even though this has been disproven.  They’ve brought their guns, they’ve brought their Proud Boys, their maga hats, their Trump banners, and while so far nobody has been killed, I won’t be surprised if there is violence and death before the day is done.

I am neither a democrat nor a republican, but for the past twenty years or so, I have found nothing particularly valuable in the republican platform, while I do support the same sorts of things the Democratic Party supports, things like providing affordable health care for everyone, women’s rights, equal rights for the LGBT community, equal opportunities for people of all colours and religions in such areas as housing and employment.  I support raising the minimum wage, workplace safety, and perhaps most importantly, taking care of the planet that we have long neglected.

The pandemic perfectly highlights the differences between the two ‘sides’ in this nation.  We cannot even agree to protect each other from a deadly virus, cannot agree on something so simple as wearing a mask in public, else staying home.  If we cannot agree on even that, how can we possibly come to terms on such things as environmental regulations, universal health care, and ending systemic racism?

This nation was founded on freedom of religion, which also means freedom from religion, and yet today a growing portion of the population believes that their religious beliefs ought to be the basis of the laws that we must all live under, even those of us who do not share their beliefs.  This only further divides us … wars have been fought over this very thing, but we fail to learn the lessons of history.

The effort to unify will require compromise, and I just don’t see a willingness among the people of this nation to budge so much as an inch, let alone meet the other side at the halfway mark.  What will it take to bring the people of this nation together, united in a common goal?  Will it take bombs being dropped on us by an outside entity?  Will it take the deaths of half the people in the nation before we open our eyes and realize that we cannot keep killing each other?

Can we possibly set aside our vitriol and hate for a moment and think about the things we have in common?  Or do we still have anything in common?  I think we do … we all love our families and want the best for them, we just don’t agree on what is the best or how to achieve it.  We all have certain basic needs such as food, water, shelter, and breathable air … we just don’t agree on how to achieve those things.  We all want our children to have a good education … we just don’t agree on what, exactly, that is.  So yes, we have much in common, but we view it from different perspectives.  All of which would be fine, if we respected each other, respected others’ viewpoints and agreed to compromise.  Instead, we try to shove our views down the throats of others.

If you’re waiting for me to tell you how we can fix this … don’t hold your breath, for I have no idea.  I only hope that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are far wiser than I and can make decisions and policies that will help narrow what I refer to as the Great Divide.

Filosofa’s Frustrations …

Several things crossed my radar this morning that I find relevant … I’m defining relevant as rant-inducing here.


A brief update about the pandemic

Two days ago, Thursday November 12th, the U.S. set yet another record, with 161,541 new cases and 1,190 deaths in a 24-hour period.  Yesterday, Friday November 13th, we broke even that record with 183,527 new cases and 1,395 deaths.  To all those fools who still believe Trump when he says it’s going away … I’ve got a lovely bridge in Brooklyn I’ll sell you really cheap.


Hazards of the job?

When a person applies to become a Secret Service agent, they obviously accept that they will sometimes be in danger, might even be in the literal line of fire, as Special Agent Tim McCarthy was when he stepped in front of President Ronald Reagan during the assassination attempt of March 30, 1981, and took a bullet to the chest.  What they do not expect, however, is that they will recklessly be exposed to a potentially lethal disease.

It was reported yesterday morning that more than 130 Secret Service officers who help protect the White House and the president when he travels have recently been ordered to isolate or quarantine because they tested positive for the coronavirus or had close contact with infected co-workers.  This amounts to roughly 10% of the agency’s core security team, and the infections are believed to have stemmed from the series of campaign rallies that Trump held in the weeks prior to the election.

Now consider that not only are the agents themselves affected, but most have families – spouses and children – who are now also at risk. Donald Trump owes every single one of these agents and their families an apology, yet he has not so much as mentioned the pandemic for days now.  I guess he still thinks it just … went away.  Way to go, Donnie – kill the very people who risk their lives every day to protect your sorry life.


And justice for all???

Justice Samuel Alito has been on the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court since January 31, 2006 when he replaced Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.  Alito is a textualist, meaning he takes the words of the Constitution literally, not allowing for the events that have changed the times over the past two centuries.  He is also a conservative thinker, but until yesterday, I did not realize the extent to which he refuses to consider any opinion that does not fall in line with his own.

Alito delivered an unusually inflammatory public speech Thursday night to the Federalist Society where he said that liberals pose a growing threat to religious liberty and free speech.  Say WHAT???  What has this man been smoking?

His premise was, in a nutshell, that liberal support for LGBT rights such as the right to marry as confirmed by the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges in 2015, was a direct assault on religious freedom, for some religions insist that marriage be defined as being between a man and a woman.  Okay, welcome back to the 19th century, Mr. Alito.


The never-ending election

Yesterday evening, the results for the last two states were announced:  North Carolina for Trump, and Georgia for President-elect Joe Biden.  This brings the total electoral votes for Biden to 306 over Trump’s 232 … a comfortable margin.  Biden also leads in the popular vote … by more than 5.2 million.  And yet … Trump and his cronies such as Mike Pompeo and Kayleigh McEnany continue to claim that it will be Trump who is inaugurated on January 20th.

I said a few days ago that we should, and I would to whatever extent possible, ignore his rhetoric … pay no attention to what he says, but focus on actions.  Trouble is that his continual tweets and threats are doing significant damage to the people of this nation … perhaps irreparable harm.  A PEW Research survey shows that 70% of republicans believe the election was not fair.  All of us are on pins and needles, and the U.S. is a tinderbox waiting for just the right spark to set it off.  I am surprised that there has been no major violence in the streets, but how long can that last, with the tension and vitriol that abound?

A top committee made up of officials from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and its election partners refuted Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in a statement Thursday, calling the election “the most secure in American history.”  And still he throws his tantrum, saying the election was ‘stolen’ from him.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Every other president since George Washington has had more respect for We the People than Donald Trump has.  My proposal, if I had the ear of people like Mike Pence, is that he needs to be removed NOW, not in 67 days.  It could be done using the 25th Amendment, and frankly if Pence or Trump’s ignoble cabinet members had a conscience, it would have already been done.  Instead, they will drag the uncertainty and planned chaos out all the way up until noon on January 20th, by which time I and many like me will already be dead from either stress-related illness or from jumping off a tall building.


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A Most Dangerous Game

Blogging friend Brosephus has put into words what, I think, the majority of us are thinking right now. Thank you, Brosephus.

The Mind of Brosephus

The election is over, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are president-elect and vice president-elwct respectively. Even after the dust around the recounts and lawsuits settle, those two will still retain those titles. America has spoken, and it is done.

Nonetheless, Republicans are playing a very dangerous game or should I say games. Let me explain. I may ruffle some feathers with this post, but this needs to be said.

There was no voter fraud in 2020 enough to affect the outcome of the election. Unlike 2016, there was more attention being paid to security efforts, and that attention appears to have paid off.

Yet, we have Trump and his syncopants going on Fox News with alleged evidence of fraud. Fortunately for America, Fox News is not a court of law. When these allegations are made in court, they have been shown the door all across the country.

So, we…

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Who Is The Republican Party?

E.J. Dionne is a columnist for The Washington Post, but he is also a government professor at Georgetown University, a visiting professor at Harvard University, a senior fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution and a frequent commentator on politics for National Public Radio and MSNBC.  Needless to say, he is well-qualified to opine on the current situation in Washington.  This morning, I found his latest column in my inbox, and I found it well worth reading … and sharing. If we thought that the Republican Party would pull away from Trump as he throws his juvenile tantrum after losing the election, we were wrong … they are sticking to him like glue.  Mr. Dionne reminds us that this is not new behaviour …


Of course Republicans are doing this. It’s who they are.

Opinion by

DionneE.J. Dionne Jr.

Columnist

November 11, 2020 at 4:19 p.m. EST

No. Not this time. Not again.

We knew that President Trump had no respect for democracy or the Constitution. So we’re not surprised that he’s lying, and lying, and lying again to claim he prevailed in the election that President-elect Joe Biden won decisively, fair and square.

What we did not know for certain was whether the Republican Party would once again bow before Trump’s corruption and his indifference to the fate of our republican institutions.

Well, the GOP has turned out to be as despicably ready to validate Trump’s falsehoods and authoritarian behavior as its worst critics feared. With precious few exceptions, Republican leaders are quite happy to be complicit in Trump’s subversion.

Some innocent souls still want to see the GOP as a normal party ready to work with Biden to solve the nation’s problems.

Sorry, but that party disappeared long ago, and we should not, in retrospect, have expected anything else. After all, this is not the first time that Republicans moved immediately to discredit a Democrat who won the presidency. It’s not even the second time. The practice of hamstringing a new Democratic president by suggesting that his victory wasn’t genuine goes all the way back to Bill Clinton.

Recall that in 1992, Clinton won an overwhelming 370-to-168 electoral college majority over then-President George H.W. Bush. Clinton beat Bush in the popular vote by 5.8 million. But the businessman Ross Perot ran a serious campaign as an independent and won 18.9 percent of the popular vote. As a result, Clinton’s share was 43 percent.

That was all the Republicans needed to assert that even though Clinton won, he was actually a loser. Then-Republican Senate leader Bob Dole declared the day after the election that Clinton had no “mandate” because “57 percent of the Americans who voted in the presidential election voted against Bill Clinton.”

Dole added: “I intend to represent that majority on the floor of the U.S. Senate.” Presto: A drubbing becomes a triumph.

To this day, many Republicans believe, because they have said it so often, that Perot was the reason Bush lost. But the data showed conclusively that this was not true.

The Voter Research & Surveys exit poll that year found that 38 percent of Perot voters listed Clinton as their second choice, and 38 percent listed Bush. The rest said they wouldn’t have voted if Perot hadn’t run.

Thus, a reallocation of Perot’s second choices showed that even if Perot hadn’t run, Clinton would have led Bush by roughly the same popular vote margin. And, at most, only Ohio would have flipped to Bush, leaving Clinton with a still-robust 349 electoral vote haul.

But the truth never caught up with reality. Clinton was hobbled right out of the gate.

In 2008, Barack Obama defeated John McCain by such an overwhelming margin (9.5 million popular votes, 365 to 173 in the electoral college) that even the most creative Republicans couldn’t spin that outcome into a defeat. But along came “birtherism,” the false charge (touted most notably by a guy named Trump) that Obama was ineligible to be president because he had not been born in the United States.

We forget how powerful a hold birtherism had on Republicans and how long it has hung around. The lie was ridiculous, outrageous and racist all at once. Obama kept hoping that the claim’s self-evident absurdity would discredit it. When that didn’t happen, he finally — more than two years after he was inaugurated — released his long-form birth certificate proving he had been born in Hawaii.

Even then, Trump wouldn’t give it up. For example, he tweeted on Aug. 6, 2012: “An extremely credible source has called my office and told me that @Barack-Obama’s birth certificate is a fraud.”

This is the man Republicans are backing up as he makes equally ludicrous claims about our election. They are doing it to make sure Trump voters in Georgia turn out for two Republican senators in a January runoff election. They are doing it because they fear Trump. But they are also doing it to weaken Biden and make it harder for him to govern.

And notice how Republicans have escalated their level of irresponsibility over the years. They started with a phony election analysis in 1992; by 2008, they were allowing a wild lie to poison the consciousness of their base. Now, they are willing to do something even worse. As Daniel Ziblatt, co-author of “How Democracies Die,” said in an interview, the GOP could “damage the legitimacy not just of Biden but of our democracy as a whole.”

Biden keeps telling us: “We are not enemies. We are Americans.

That’s decent and honorable. But enemies or not, the Republican Party’s leaders are behaving like a nest of vipers. Be wary, Mr. President-elect.

Snarky Snippets Volume MMXX

I cannot help wondering if my built-in snark-o-meter will spin as wildly a year from now as it does today?  It takes so little … sometimes just a single word … to set it off.


Humorous snark …

Some days, you look at the political news, and you’ve just gotta laugh.  This one comes from a state legislator named Price Wallace in the state of Mississippi.

Price-Wallace

That’s right, folks … Mr. Wallace is 58 years old, a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives since 2018, and he has yet to find his brain.  Judging by most of the comments, I think Mr. Wallace may be voted out next time ‘round!

  • Yeah, because that worked out so well last time. For future reference, it’s “secede”.
  • You’re the poster boy for improving our education system in Mississippi Price.
  • Making slavery vogue again
  • Do it!! It really worked great the last time! Tell that Trump is moving into the Governor’s Mansion. He will rule as Emperor of Trumpistan. Reeves can be in charge of his McDonald’s orders.
  • If Mississippi wants to secede (again), I don’t know anyone who would object. The rest of the country would love to be rid of us. At the rate our young people are fleeing, soon the only residents will be our two senators and one remaining congressman.
  • Seeing that we are a welfare state that receives more money from the federal government then we contribute, who is going to be the person in charge of begging for foreign aid? And people wonder why the state has been at the bottom so long. Look at the type of people whites elect.

And then there was Eric Trump, one of Trump’s two dumb-as-a-tin-can sons, who urged the people of Minnesota to ‘get out and vote’ … only one problem …

Eric-Trump

Check the date of his tweet … one week after election day.  Um, if Trump is looking for voter fraud, perhaps he needs look no further than his own nest?

Turns out that Eric had written the tweet some time before the election and scheduled it to go on Tuesday but wasn’t quite smart enough to double check the date.  And this is the family that has been in charge of this country for the past four years?


Transition from chaos to sanity …

And on a more serious note, with just 69 days left until Joseph Robinette Biden takes the Oath of Office and is officially sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, time is of the essence in preparing for a smooth transition.  However, Trump is refusing to concede that he lost the election, he has ordered that no federal agency is to work with Biden’s transition team, nor to provide any information to them.

Political appointees have told their staffers, including career civil servants, not to respond to outreach from the Biden team, if there is any. No formal briefings on agencies’ projects, budgets, trouble spots or day-to-day operations — crucial building blocks that help an administration form a new government — are taking place.  This should not surprise anybody, for Donald Trump’s level of maturity is somewhere around that of a grasshopper, but it is detrimental to the health of this nation.  The incoming administration needs to have access to the resources and knowledge of the outgoing administration, plain and simple.

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However, Joe Biden is not scratching his head and letting grass grow under his feet.  Remember, he spent 8 years as Vice President, and built a network of contacts during that time … contacts he can fall back on now, his team working through informal channels to learn what’s going on in the government, talking with think tanks, labor and nonprofit groups and those who previously served at federal agencies.

Emily-MurphySince Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration (GSA) is refusing to sign paperwork that releases Biden’s $6.3 million share of nearly $10 million in transition resources, the vast majority of the Biden team members will volunteer their time.  These are people who are dedicated to their jobs, dedicated to making the transition as smooth as possible, even under adverse circumstances, and We the People owe them a debt of gratitude.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Trump continues to play his shell game of lawsuits, false claims of voter fraud, and temper tantrums.  Won’t it be nice to have a grown man leading the nation in just 69 days?


Another new record-setting day

And in even more serious news, the U.S. broke yet another record … actually two new records yesterday:  142,808 new cases of the coronavirus in a 24-hour period, and 1,478 deaths in the same period.

At the federal level, there is nothing being done to try to stem the spread of the virus, however many states are taking new measures such as mask mandates and requiring restaurants and bars to close at 10:00 p.m.  It will not be enough.  We were warned … for months, the medical experts have been telling us that with colder weather would come a new surge, but our government chose to ignore the experts, allowing Trump to spread his false rhetoric that the virus was “going away”, and that we had “turned a corner”.

With just over 4% of the world’s population, we have 20.4% of the global cases, and 19.2% of the global deaths.  This, my friends, is not a record we should be proud to hold.  Our friends and families are dying, and our federal government is doing exactly nothing.

On Monday, it was announced that drug company Pfizer has produced an experimental coronavirus vaccine that appears to be more than 90% effective.  Cynic that I am, I distrust anything that comes out of a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company, but in any event, this is positive news, though far from being a cure-all.  Trump, however, despite the fact that he has been promising a vaccine for months now, lashed out in anger, claiming that Pfizer withheld their announcement until after the election in order to sabotage his re-election bid.  I believe he referred to it as the “medical deep state.”  Obviously, his rant is bullshit, but … it proves one thing that we should all realize:  to Trump, we are pawns, and our lives are worth less than nothing to him.


69 more days, my friends.  Yes, chaos is likely to reign during that time, but just think … on the night of January 20, 2021, we will be able to go to bed and actually sleep without nightmares, without wondering to what abomination we will wake in the morning.

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President-elect Joe Biden-Rising to the Occasion

Our friend Jeff reminds us today to focus on Joe Biden, on the fact that we have elected a president who is a good and decent man, who will give his best to this nation and the people — ALL the people. I couldn’t have said it better — thank you, Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Since the inception of this blog in May of 2018, I’ve spent a good part of my time detailing the defeated current president’s misconduct and criminality. Not today.

I’ve also spent some time lamenting how Democrats are sometimes their own worst enemy, biting and sniping at one another instead of relishing victory, which we’re starting to see play out as we speak. But not today.

No, today is about Joe Biden and how, despite incredible odds and massive voter suppression, managed to achieve a resounding victory to become the 46th President of the United States.

And let’s not undersell this, folks. When it’s all said and done, Biden will most likely have 306 electoral votes in his column, as well as winning the popular vote by 5 million. We should give him his due and celebrate this victory to the fullest extent.

But perhaps more than anything else, what’s…

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Just Two Tidbits

Just a couple of tidbits I wanted to weigh in on today sans snark … well, okay, maybe there’s just a tiny bit of snark …


Has Fox found a conscience?

I’m not sure what is going on over at Fox ‘News’, but it almost seems as if they are trying to become a legitimate news network!  First, they were the first of all the major networks to call Arizona in Joe Biden’s favour at 11:20 p.m. on Tuesday – election night.  Needless to say, Trump was not happy, and Jared Kushner actually called Rupert Murdoch to complain.

And yesterday evening, Fox actually cut away from a news conference with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because she claimed without evidence that Democrats were inviting fraud and illegal voting.  WHOA!  This sounds like the work of an actual news station!  Has Fox fallen off the Trump bandwagon?

Fox’ anchor Neil Cavuto said, as the network cut away …

“Whoa, whoa, whoa … I just think we have to be very clear that she’s charging the other side as welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting. Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this.”

Cavuto is the same one who earlier this year found a backbone and said …

“Mr. President, we don’t work for you. I don’t work for you. My job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you — just report on you.”

Another Fox anchor, Bret Baier, has also declined to fall in line with Trump’s claims of massive voter fraud, saying …

“Listen, we are not seeing any evidence of widespread fraud. We want to look into everything as well. But we just haven’t seen it. You know, it hasn’t been presented. There’s all kinds of stuff flying on the Internet. But when we look into it, it doesn’t pan out.”

Of course, Cavuto and Baier are on the news side of Fox.  The opinion people still play the game, with Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro, and Sean Hannity claiming, without a shred of evidence, that Trump is right about massive voter fraud, and continuing to fawn over him.  If Rupert Murdoch intends to improve the credibility of Fox, then he needs to shut down the opinion side, or at least hire people who are not witless pawns.

It disappoints and disturbs me that some of the Fox staff have been receiving threatening calls and emails from people because they aren’t falling in with the Trump line of false rhetoric.  I always thought that the people of this nation were better than that, but over the past decade I’ve come to realize that a significant portion are not.


ACA – on the chopping block?

Maybe not.  I am pleased and somewhat surprised today to read that both Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Chief Justice John Roberts might not be so eager to strike down the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka Obamacare.

As you will remember, the penalty for the individual mandate requiring every individual to have at least a basic healthcare insurance plan, was reduced to zero in December 2017, when Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which eliminated the individual mandate penalty, effective January 1, 2019.  The mandate itself has remained but is not enforceable without the penalty.  At issue is whether the mandate is constitutional or not, and if not, then does that render the entirety of the Act unconstitutional.  Some, such as the newbie Justice Amy Barrett, have been hyper-critical of the previous Court rulings that upheld the ACA, but today, as the Supreme Court is reviewing the case, it seems possible that ACA may weather yet another storm.

“It does seem fairly clear that the proper remedy would be to sever the mandate provision and leave the rest of the law in place.” –  Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh

“I think it’s hard for you to argue that Congress intended the entire act to fall if the mandate were struck down when the same Congress that lowered the penalty to zero did not even try to repeal the rest of the act.” – Chief Justice John Roberts

Along with the three-remaining liberal-leaning justices – Justice Stephen Breyer, Justice Elena Kagan, and Justice Sonia Sotomayor – it appears likely that ACA will remain, saving tens of thousands of people from suddenly finding themselves left without health insurance.

That there is such a deep partisan divide in the Court goes against what the Founding Fathers intended when they wrote the Constitution in 1787.  The goal was to have a non-partisan Court with moderate, fair justices who decided cases based on constitutional law, not their own ideologies.  Today, we are about as far from that as imaginable, and yet sometimes it still works properly.