Ignorance is Bliss

Our friend Jeff from On the Fence Voters has written a thoughtful post about the current state of affairs in the U.S., or rather the ignorance that created the monster who created that state of affairs. There is much food for thought here, and I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider his words. Thank you, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

The dumbing down of America began long before the current president rose to power. It’s easy to blame the man, but in this case, he’s merely jumping on the bandwagon and taking the ignorance to new and immense heights.

For all of his faults, and there are too many to list here, recognizing the stupidity of so many Americans and capitalizing on their failure to reach even the bare minimum of intellectual curiosity might be his most significant and long-lasting contribution to America’s decline.

All you need to do is scan the news every day for examples of how far we’ve gone from being the envy of the world to a country ultimately coming apart at its seams, flailing and hurtling head-first into a world of conspiracy theories, lies, racial division, and absurdity…

*Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas tests positive for Covid-19 and claims that it was the mask itself…

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The Voice Of Reason — From A Republican

Of late, I’ve taken to doing something I had not done, but should have, before – reading opinion pieces by conservative writers.  Not all of them, of course, for some I find to be simply too odious to read more than a paragraph, but those conservative writers who take a more moderate stance, who aren’t so far to the right as to be moronic, have something to say and I want to listen.  I want to understand what makes them tick, why they think as they do.  Yesterday, I came across an opinion essay in the New York Times by Stuart Stevens, a long-time Republican political consultant.  Mr. Stevens joined the Lincoln Project earlier this year. This essay resonates, it helps explain some things, maybe answer some questions we’ve been asking, and I think it is worth sharing here.  I hope you’ll take a minute to read Mr. Stevens’ words.


I Hope This Is Not Another Lie About the Republican Party

But it might be lost forever.

stuart-stevensBy Stuart Stevens

After Mitt Romney lost the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus, commissioned an internal party study to examine why the party had won the popular vote only once since 1988.

The results of that so-called autopsy were fairly obvious: The party needed to appeal to more people of color, reach out to younger voters, become more welcoming to women. Those conclusions were presented as not only a political necessity but also a moral mandate if the Republican Party were to be a governing party in a rapidly changing America.

Then Donald Trump emerged and the party threw all those conclusions out the window with an almost audible sigh of relief: Thank God we can win without pretending we really care about this stuff. That reaction was sadly predictable.

I spent decades working to elect Republicans, including Mr. Romney and four other presidential candidates, and I am here to bear reluctant witness that Mr. Trump didn’t hijack the Republican Party. He is the logical conclusion of what the party became over the past 50 or so years, a natural product of the seeds of race-baiting, self-deception and anger that now dominate it. Hold Donald Trump up to a mirror and that bulging, scowling orange face is today’s Republican Party.

I saw the warning signs but ignored them and chose to believe what I wanted to believe: The party wasn’t just a white grievance party; there was still a big tent; the others guys were worse. Many of us in the party saw this dark side and told ourselves it was a recessive gene. We were wrong. It turned out to be the dominant gene.

What is most telling is that the Republican Party actively embraced, supported, defended and now enthusiastically identifies with a man who eagerly exploits the nation’s racial tensions. In our system, political parties should serve a circuit breaker function. The Republican Party never pulled the switch.

Racism is the original sin of the modern Republican Party. While many Republicans today like to mourn the absence of an intellectual voice like William Buckley, it is often overlooked that Mr. Buckley began his career as a racist defending segregation.

In the Richard Nixon White House, Pat Buchanan and Kevin Phillips wrote a re-election campaign memo headed “Dividing the Democrats” in which they outlined what would come to be known as the Southern Strategy. It assumes there is little Republicans can do to attract Black Americans and details a two-pronged strategy: Utilize Black support of Democrats to alienate white voters while trying to decrease that support by sowing dissension within the Democratic Party.

That strategy has worked so well that it was copied by the Russians in their 2016 efforts to help elect Mr. Trump.

In the 2000 George W. Bush campaign, on which I worked, we acknowledged the failures of Republicans to attract significant nonwhite support. When Mr. Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative,” some on the right attacked him, calling it an admission that conservatism had not been compassionate. That was true; it had not been. Many of us believed we could steer the party to that “kinder, gentler” place his father described. We were wrong.

Reading Mr. Bush’s 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention now is like stumbling across a document from a lost civilization, with its calls for humility, service and compassion. That message couldn’t attract 20 percent in a Republican presidential primary today. If there really was a battle for the soul of the Republican Party, we lost.

There is a collective blame to be shared by those of us who have created the modern Republican Party that has so egregiously betrayed the principles it claimed to represent. My j’accuse is against us all, not a few individuals who were the most egregious.

How did this happen? How do you abandon deeply held beliefs about character, personal responsibility, foreign policy and the national debt in a matter of months? You don’t. The obvious answer is those beliefs weren’t deeply held. What others and I thought were bedrock values turned out to be mere marketing slogans easily replaced. I feel like the guy working for Bernie Madoff who thought they were actually beating the market.

Mr. Trump has served a useful purpose by exposing the deep flaws of a major American political party. Like a heavy truck driven over a bridge on the edge of failure, he has made it impossible to ignore the long-developing fault lines of the Republican Party. A party rooted in decency and values does not embrace the anger that Mr. Trump peddles as patriotism.

This collapse of a major political party as a moral governing force is unlike anything we have seen in modern American politics. The closest parallel is the demise of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union, when the dissonance between what the party said it stood for and what citizens actually experienced was so great that it was unsustainable.

This election should signal a day of reckoning for the party and all who claim it as a political identity. Will it? I’ve given up hope that there are any lines of decency or normalcy that once crossed would move Republican leaders to act as if they took their oath of office more seriously than their allegiance to party. Only fear will motivate the party to change — the cold fear only defeat can bring.

That defeat is looming. Will it bring desperately needed change to the Republican Party? I’d like to say I’m hopeful. But that would be a lie and there have been too many lies for too long.

Let’s Embrace The Lincoln Project-For Now

Our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written an excellent post about the Lincoln Project, their work, and how they are helping to oust the current Madman-in-Chief. Please take a look, and especially be sure to watch the videos … especially the first one! Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

Many of you may not know who The Lincoln Project is, or what they’re all about. But the fact is, the group is currently producing some of the most scathing political ads now airing against the current president. It’s gotten his attention, as well as the rest of the Republican hierarchy.

For some background, the group consists of former Republicans who are self-described “Never Trumpers.” Many of the individuals in the group include former Republican campaign operatives like Steve Schmidt and Rick Wilson. They cut their teeth in the political world, working for previous candidates such as John McCain and George W. Bush. George Conway, an attorney who’s married to White House advisor Kelly Anne Conway, is also a group member.

Anyone who has seen Schmidt or Wilson on the various talk shows know that they are two of the most anti-Trump spokespersons. Schmidt, for one, is perhaps the most…

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John Lewis’ Final Words …

John Lewis knew he had few days left on this earth, and he left a powerful message to us all to be published on the day of his funeral, today.  I let his words speak for themselves …


John-Lewis

While my time here has now come to an end, I want you to know that in the last days and hours of my life you inspired me. You filled me with hope about the next chapter of the great American story when you used your power to make a difference in our society. Millions of people motivated simply by human compassion laid down the burdens of division. Around the country and the world you set aside race, class, age, language and nationality to demand respect for human dignity.

That is why I had to visit Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, though I was admitted to the hospital the following day. I just had to see and feel it for myself that, after many years of silent witness, the truth is still marching on.

Emmett Till was my George Floyd. He was my Rayshard Brooks, Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor. He was 14 when he was killed, and I was only 15 years old at the time. I will never ever forget the moment when it became so clear that he could easily have been me. In those days, fear constrained us like an imaginary prison, and troubling thoughts of potential brutality committed for no understandable reason were the bars.

Though I was surrounded by two loving parents, plenty of brothers, sisters and cousins, their love could not protect me from the unholy oppression waiting just outside that family circle. Unchecked, unrestrained violence and government-sanctioned terror had the power to turn a simple stroll to the store for some Skittles or an innocent morning jog down a lonesome country road into a nightmare. If we are to survive as one unified nation, we must discover what so readily takes root in our hearts that could rob Mother Emanuel Church in South Carolina of her brightest and best, shoot unwitting concertgoers in Las Vegas and choke to death the hopes and dreams of a gifted violinist like Elijah McClain.

Like so many young people today, I was searching for a way out, or some might say a way in, and then I heard the voice of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on an old radio. He was talking about the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. He said we are all complicit when we tolerate injustice. He said it is not enough to say it will get better by and by. He said each of us has a moral obligation to stand up, speak up and speak out. When you see something that is not right, you must say something. You must do something. Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself.

Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.

You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, though decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.

Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe. In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.

Pandemic Of Stupidity

I’m not a fan of name-calling and don’t much like applying the term ‘stupid’ to people.  But there are times that no other word will fit, times when you just have to ‘call a spade a bloody shovel’, as my friend Mary says.  Of late, there seems to be a pandemic of stupidity in the United States.  A few examples …


louie-gohmertU.S. Congressman Louie Gohmert, a republican from Texas, has contracted the coronavirus.  Now, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise, for ol’ Louie has steadfastly refused to wear a face mask or observe the precautions that most of us are following.  Louie, though, doesn’t think he contracted the virus from breathing in other people’s germs, or from picking up the germ on some surface he may have touched.  Nope, ol’ Louie thinks he got the virus from … wait for it … wearing a mask!

“It’s really ironic because a lot of people have made a really big deal out of my not wearing a mask a whole lot, but in the last week or two, I have worn a mask more than I have in the whole last four months.  I can’t help but wonder if by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, if I might have put some germs, some of the virus on the mask and breathed it in.” 

Well, there’s a new one for the record books, eh?  But Louie’s stupidity doesn’t stop there.  On Wednesday morning, after being informed that he had tested positive for the virus, he returned to his Capitol Hill office and told staff he wanted to inform them ‘in person’ instead of them finding out from news reports.  WHAT … a phone call or an email wouldn’t have worked just as well?  And this man has a Juris Doctor degree from Baylor Law School and has held a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2005 – fifteen years!  How did he manage all that with so little intelligence?


vince-ginnThen there’s Vance Ginn, another Texan.  Vance is the chief economist for the Texas Public Policy Foundation.  In Texas, as in most states, minorities make up a disproportionate number of the deaths from the coronavirus, as do the elderly.  Mr. Ginn, citing the demographic data of the coronavirus deaths, tweeted this …

“Why not #openschools, end universal mandates, target vulnerable & check those from #Mexico?”

First of all, while the elderly may be more susceptible to the illness and more likely to die, and while the Hispanic population may not have access to the same level of medical care, therefore more likely to die, the total number of deaths also includes non-Hispanics and young people.  Second of all, is he saying, then, that Hispanics and the elderly are expendable?  And third, of course, is the fact that children bring the virus home to parents and elderly relatives such as grandparents.  Ginn has since taken the tweet down after a hue and cry, but … how do people as utterly stupid as him get into such high-level positions in the first place???


At the North Dakota state GOP convention earlier this month, Republican delegates voted on a package of 53 resolutions that “determine the group’s values and stances on various political and moral issues”.  Among them was Resolution 31 which advances the common Republican position that marriage should only be defined as a union between one man and one woman, but it also includes a rejection of any laws that ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, often referred to as “SOGI.”

  • “SOGI bills grant protection to voyeurs who wish to prey on members of the opposite sex.”
  • “Research has shown that causes of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) compulsions are primarily developmental and not genetic as in color and gender.”
  • “SOGI laws empower those practicing LGBT behaviors to assume positions of mentorships of minors often over objections of parents, influencing their emotions and thereby recruiting for their lifestyles.”
  • “Many LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large.”

The final line of the resolutions says the party “opposes the passage of legislation which adds sexual orientation and gender identity to our Century code as protected classes.”

Party Chairman Rick Berg said Wednesday, July 22, that the resolution relates to an individual’s religious liberty and protecting business owners from lawsuits such as the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission suit from 2017.  North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued a statement denouncing the resolution last Thursday …

“As I’ve long said, all North Dakotans deserve to be treated equally and live free of discrimination. There’s no place for the hurtful and divisive rhetoric in the NDGOP resolutions.”

Y’know, folks … the Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, and everyone in this nation has the right to choose what to believe, what, if any, religion to follow.  HOWEVERnobody has the right to impose their own religious beliefs on others.  Nobody has the right to insist on discriminatory laws based on their own religious values.  It is the same with abortion.  If you don’t wish to have an abortion or hang out with LGBT people, then fine … don’t.  But don’t shove your bigotry and narrow-mindedness down the throats of the rest of us who believe that everyone has a right to be who they are!

A Presidential Tribute To John Lewis

The incumbent in the White House chose not to honour the late John Lewis as he lay in state in the U.S. Capitol, but that incumbent is irrelevant in this case.  More relevant are the words of former President Barack Obama who wrote a beautifully touching tribute to Mr. Lewis, and so I share President Obama’s words with you today …


My Statement on the Passing of Rep. John Lewis

ObamaWRITTEN BY

Barack Obama

Dad, husband, President, citizen.

America is a constant work in progress. What gives each new generation purpose is to take up the unfinished work of the last and carry it further — to speak out for what’s right, to challenge an unjust status quo, and to imagine a better world.

John Lewis — one of the original Freedom Riders, chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, leader of the march from Selma to Montgomery, Member of Congress representing the people of Georgia for 33 years — not only assumed that responsibility, he made it his life’s work. He loved this country so much that he risked his life and his blood so that it might live up to its promise. And through the decades, he not only gave all of himself to the cause of freedom and justice, but inspired generations that followed to try to live up to his example.

Considering his enormous impact on the history of this country, what always struck those who met John was his gentleness and humility. Born into modest means in the heart of the Jim Crow South, he understood that he was just one of a long line of heroes in the struggle for racial justice. Early on, he embraced the principles of nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience as the means to bring about real change in this country, understanding that such tactics had the power not only to change laws, but to change hearts and minds as well.

In so many ways, John’s life was exceptional. But he never believed that what he did was more than any citizen of this country might do. He believed that in all of us, there exists the capacity for great courage, a longing to do what’s right, a willingness to love all people, and to extend to them their God-given rights to dignity and respect. And it’s because he saw the best in all of us that he will continue, even in his passing, to serve as a beacon in that long journey towards a more perfect union.

I first met John when I was in law school, and I told him then that he was one of my heroes. Years later, when I was elected a U.S. Senator, I told him that I stood on his shoulders. When I was elected President of the United States, I hugged him on the inauguration stand before I was sworn in and told him I was only there because of the sacrifices he made. And through all those years, he never stopped providing wisdom and encouragement to me and Michelle and our family. We will miss him dearly.

It’s fitting that the last time John and I shared a public forum was at a virtual town hall with a gathering of young activists who were helping to lead this summer’s demonstrations in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Afterwards, I spoke to him privately, and he could not have been prouder of their efforts — of a new generation standing up for freedom and equality, a new generation intent on voting and protecting the right to vote, a new generation running for political office. I told him that all those young people — of every race, from every background and gender and sexual orientation — they were his children. They had learned from his example, even if they didn’t know it. They had understood through him what American citizenship requires, even if they had heard of his courage only through history books.

Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders — to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise.

Good People Doing Good Things … This ‘N That

I hope you’re in the mood for a few ‘good people’ this morning, for it just so happens that I’ve found a few!  Most of what I write for this blog is on the dark side, but we need balance in our diets … our emotional diets as well as our nutritional diets.  Good people serve to remind us that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow.


A win-win

In March, when restaurants in most every state in the U.S. closed down due to the coronavirus pandemic, farmers immediately lost their restaurant contracts and many ended up having to plow their crops under, taking a huge loss for the year.  On the other side of the coin were people who had lost their jobs due to the shutdown and were unable to earn the money to buy food.  But in the State of Washington, there was George Ahearn …

When George Ahearn heard that farmers in Washington state were giving away onions and potatoes they suddenly couldn’t sell, his instinct for goodwill kicked in and George went to work.  Thinking of the food banks in Seattle that were overwhelmed, George asked on Facebook to borrow someone’s truck or trailer for the day, to haul around 2,000 pounds of restaurant-grade onions and potatoes. The response to his altruistic post was dramatic, and soon 4 trucks and 2 trailers had hauled 9.3 tons of crops grown in the east to feed hungry people in the west.

On that first inaugural run, Ahearn learned that food banks originally couldn’t accept a semi-truck load of ‘loose’ potatoes.  Enter Zsofia Pasztor, a farmer and fellow nonprofiteur who began donating crates and boxes for transporting the crops.  As these things tend to do, the movement grew and became a nonprofit organization called EastWest Food Rescue. Ahearn-1One person who donated a truck on that first day, Nancy Balin, is now one of the program’s directors, as is Zsofia Pasztor.  Says Balin …

“The whole thing was extremely organic and took on a life of its own almost immediately.”

Thus far, EastWest Food Rescue has saved over 2.4 million pounds of food from fields and brought it to those who really needed it, while also amassing enough donations to help compensate farmers for their loss.  The goal is to rescue 10 million pounds of food, for which Ahearn is trying to raise $250,000. Ahearn says one of the most important priorities is to get refrigeration capacity for fruit and other produce, as well as for milk and eggs.  Ahearn had originally planned to shut down the operation after they reached 70 tons, so he could spend more time with his family, but that was long ago, and he accepts that in this moment he “can’t stop.”Ahearn-2What a good man … and so many others … yes?


Kind hearts start young

Bike Planet of Memphis donated a bike to celebrate the grand opening of Covington Parks and Recreation Bike Park.  A young boy named Chase was the winner of the bike.  Only one thing, though … Chase already has a bike.

His neighbor and friend Daniel, however, didn’t have a bike, so … you can guess what’s coming, right?  Yep … Chase gave the brand-new bike to Daniel! chase-danielMethinks he’s been taught well!  Good job, Chase!

And then there’s 11-year-old Cartier Carey, a young entrepreneur.  Cartier has a lemonade/snack stand, like so many kids his age, but his is just a little bit different.  You see, rather than trying to earn money for that new toy or a puppy, Cartier is raising money for single moms to buy such things as diapers and other essentials.  So far, he has raised close to $5,000 through the stand and donations and all proceeds go directly to the single moms.

cartier-carey

“I wanted to help mothers who were struggling.”

And this isn’t Cartier’s first foray into altruism.  Earlier this year, Cartier created care packages called “Carti packs,” filled with deodorant, soap and tissues to give to the homeless population.cartier-carey-2He founded his own non-profit organization called Kids 4 Change 757 about a year ago. Cartier says he was motivated to create the movement so he “could help the community and make the community better.”

Chase and Cartier are our reason to hope for a brighter future, my friends!


Welcome to Ontario …

Maurice Ellis, his wife Caroline Leslie-Ellis, and their daughter, Amara, immigrated to Ontario, Canada from Jamaica to create a better life for their family.  Maurice works two jobs to support his family and put his wife through college. Caroline has earned top marks in the hospitality and tourism management program at Fanshawe College, but the expenses are tough for the family to manage.

Shortly after they moved to Ontario, in an effort to become a part of their new community, Maurice joined Dad Club London, a club for fathers and pending fathers, where they can network with other like-minded dads, give and receive help, and become more involved in their community.  One day, Dad Club London founder and president, Jeremy McCall, posted a Black Lives Matter message on the group’s Facebook page that started a conversation, and Maurice admitted that he was the target of a number of racial slurs at his second workplace.

McCall didn’t just commiserate or offer words of sympathy … he leapt into action to show the Ellis family that those who directed racial comments at Maurice were not representative of their community.  He organized a secret fundraiser to show Ellis and his family how much the community supported them.

Contributions came in from the local police union, 70 families, and numerous businesses. The group was able to raise nearly $7,000, and McCall arranged a get-together last month to surprise the family.

First, their daughter Amara was given a gift—the biggest LEGO set the club could find, and then Maurice was given a prepaid Mastercard to help with family living expenses. Finally, smiles turned to disbelief when Caroline unfolded the check for her college tuition.  Said McCall to the gathered ensemble …

“What happened to you doesn’t represent this community. We don’t stand for that. When you said, ‘I guess that’s the way the world is,’ it broke our hearts because it can’t be that way, and we won’t let it … We, together, stand as a community against racism.”

maurice-caroline-ellisNeedless to say, there was no shortage of tears all around.  What good people, yes?


good-people

The State Of The Nation …

A number of serious issues are deeply concerning in the U.S. today, and obviously the coronavirus pandemic is at the top of the list.  Well, it’s obvious to some of us, at any rate. Trump’s horrific bungling of the pandemic has caused the U.S. to have the absolute worst record on the globe, with now 27% of the world’s cases, while we only account for over 4% of the world’s population.  With less than 100 days until the November election, Trump apparently decided it would be easier  to draw public attention away from the virus, than to try to allow the experts to take over and fix the problem.  His distraction?  Attack the cities and the people who live in them. Today, I would like to share the esteemed Robert Reich’s Sunday column from The Guardian on this topic …


Trump can’t shift public attention from coronavirus to the streets of America

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

Donald Trump has said he has “no responsibility” for the coronavirus pandemic, fobbing it off on governors and mayors whose repeated requests for federal help he’s denied. Yet he’s now sending federal troops into cities he says are controlled by the “radical left”, whose mayors and governors don’t want them there.

The president wants to shift public attention from the virus, which he can’t “dominate”, to the streets of America, which he and his secret police can.

It’s an especially cynical re-election strategy because coronavirus deaths are rising again. More Americans are on track to be hospitalized with the virus than at any other point. Rates of new infections repeatedly shatter single-day records. As a result, the US economy is backsliding.

Trump has never offered a national strategy for testing, contact tracing and isolating those who have the disease. He has provided no standards for reopening the economy, no plan for national purchasing of critical materials, no definitive policy for helping the unemployed, no clear message about what people and businesses should do. He rushed to reopen without adequate safeguards.

The hapless White House “coronavirus taskforce” is in perpetual disarray. Trump has downgraded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). His Department of Labor hasn’t even put out standards for workplace safety.

Trump won’t use the Defense Production Act to secure supplies to perform tests – swabs, chemicals, pipette tips, machines, containers – so public health officials can’t quickly identify and isolate people who are infected and trace their contacts.

It’s been an abominable, chaotic mess – which is why the virus is back.

Yet when it comes to assaulting Americans, Trump has been asserting strong leadership. He’s deploying unidentified federal agents against protesters in Portland, Oregon: attacking them, pulling them into unmarked vans, detaining them without charges.

Trump is also sending troops to Kansas City, Albuquerque and Chicago. He says he’ll send them to New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore and Oakland as well – not incidentally, all cities with Democratic mayors, large black populations and no violent unrest.

Trump can’t find federal personnel to do contact tracing for the coronavirus but has found thousands of agents for his secret police, drawn from the departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Trump doesn’t want to know about the coronavirus but he’s keeping careful track of the battles in the streets, demanding up-to-the-minute briefings from the front.

Public health authorities don’t have adequate medical equipment to quickly analyze coronavirus tests but Trump’s police have everything they need to injure protesters, including armored vans, teargas, and tactical assault weapons – “the best equipment”, Trump boasted last week.

There is no legal authority for this. The founders denied police power to the national government. The local officials in charge of keeping public order reject Trump’s troops. The mayor of Portland was teargassed this week. The mayor of Kansas City calls them “disgraceful”. Albuquerque’s mayor announced: “There’s no place for Trump’s secret police in our city.” Chicago’s mayor does “not welcome dictatorship”.

The one encouraging note – analogous to Sherlock Holmes’ dog that didn’t bark – is the absence of the US military. Unlike Trump’s lapdog attorney general, William Barr, the generals don’t want any part of it.

The Trump campaign is running fictitious ads portraying cities as overrun by violent leftwing mobs, and Trump’s shameless Fox News lackeys are depicting protesters as “rioters” and the “armed wing of Democratic party”.

At the same time, Trump is trying to suppress the truth about the coronavirus. The White House is instructing hospitals to report cases to the Department of Health and Human Services rather than to the CDC. Trump has muzzled the federal government’s most prominent and trusted virologist, Dr Anthony Fauci, while the White House tries to discredit him. In the upcoming coronavirus relief bill, Trump doesn’t even want to fund more testing and tracing, or the CDC.

After railing against the CDC’s guidelines for reopening schools as “very tough [and] expensive”, Trump this week pressured the CDC to issue more lax guidelines, some of which were written by White House officials instead of CDC experts.

Yet Trump won’t be able to shift public attention from the virus to the streets of America. The violence he’s trying to fuel and exaggerate is far less frightening to average voters than the virus, which is worsening by the day, especially in Texas, Florida, and other states that went for Trump in 2016. His blatant failure to contain it is causing people to die.

Short, Not-So-Sweet, And To The Point

Tonight’s post is short … I have a single rant and a poem, and then I am going to bed, for I am tired, angry, sad, and my left eye is swollen shut (no, I didn’t get punched — I petted the cat, then rubbed my eye).  I’ll be back later with renewed energy (I hope).


Gross misuse of OUR MONEY!!!

In the United States today, we have a rising national debt that is currently at $24.95 trillion.  We have a raging pandemic taking a thousand lives a day.  We have high levels of unemployment unequaled since WWII.  We have people being evicted from their homes.  We have people who cannot afford to buy food to feed their families.  We have so many needs in this nation right this very minute.  Meanwhile, Melania Trump is planning to spend OUR money to … wait for it … remodel the f**king Rose Garden!  With only 100 days left until the election, odds are she won’t be there to ‘enjoy’ it for long, and what is this going to cost us?

According to the New York Times

The project, which includes electrical upgrades for television appearances, a new walkway and new flowers and shrubs, is meant to be an “act of expressing hope and optimism for the future,” according to a set of prepared remarks Mrs. Trump will deliver to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House later Monday morning.

“Our country has seen difficult times before, but the White House and the Rose Garden have always stood as a symbol of our strength, resilience and continuity.”

Bullshit!  ‘Hope and optimism for the future’???  If Trump gets re-elected, there will be NO hope and NO optimism and NO future for this nation!

If Trump wants the Rose Garden renovated for the purpose of enhancing his campaign for re-election, let him pay for it!  The people of this nation cannot eat the flowers and new electrical system in the Rose Garden!!!  It will not provide much-needed equipment to hospitals to help with the overflow caused by the coronavirus!!!  It will not pay the rent, so a family won’t be thrown out on the streets!!!  Get your priorities straight, Donald and Melania, else get the hell out of the White House altogether!  Go back to Mar-a-Lago and redecorate as much as you like on your own dime and your own time!


First Trump Came …

You’ve all heard the famous Martin Niemöller poem, “First They Came …” many, many times, right?  The following poem is a modern version of that, written by Gideon Lichfield, MIT Technology Review’s editor in chief.  This is Niemöller’s poem rewritten for Donald Trump’s America, and published in Quartz in June 2016, even before the election that ushered Mr. Trump into the White House.  I think it speaks volumes today, more than four years later.

First Trump came for the women
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a woman.

Then Trump came for the people with disabilities
And I did not speak out
Because I did not have a disability.

Then Trump came for the African Americans
And I did not speak out
Because I was not African American.

Then Trump came for the Mexicans
And I did not speak out
Because I was not Mexican.

Then Trump came for the Muslims
And I did not speak out
Because I was not Muslim.

Then Trump came for the gay, bi, and trans people
And I did not speak out
Because I was not gay, bi or trans.*

Then Trump came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew.**

Then Trump came for the journalists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a journalist.***

Then Trump came for the judges
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a judge.

And now Trump is coming for the Constitution of the United States
And if I do not speak out, what am I?

* Actually I am one of those, and I didn’t speak out about that.
** And one of those, and didn’t speak out about that either.
*** Ditto.

I think he summed it up fairly well, don’t you?  Think about it.

Time For Snarky Snippets!

I’m full of snark from a variety of items in yesterday’s news.  What’s new, right?


A step too far …

We’ve all heard about the ridiculous level of federal force being used in Portland, Oregon, where troops – largely unidentified and unidentifiable – dressed in riot gear and heavily armed, are abducting protestors off the streets, shoving them into unmarked vans without even telling them why they are being arrested or by what authority.  These forces are also using tear gas, rubber bullets, stun grenades and other weapons on protestors and any innocent bystanders who happen to be nearby.  One such person was, in fact, the Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler!federal-troops-portlandAs Mayor Wheeler stood at a fence guarding a courthouse during another night of protest, watching the carnage these federal troops were inflicting upon his city, he was suddenly sprayed with tear gas.  This, my friends, is far too much.  The presence of federal troops was not called for, and in fact last Friday, Mayor Wheeler told Trump to, “keep your troops in your own buildings or have them leave our city.”

Portland was, as most of us feared, only the beginning of Trump’s attempt to impose a form of martial law, for Trump announced on Wednesday that he will deploy more federal troops to both Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Is this really the nation we want to live in?  What’s next?  Your city?  Mine?


The judge is right …

Earlier this month, Michael Cohen, Trump’s former attorney and personal ‘fixer’, was returned to prison, allegedly because he violated the terms of his home confinement.  He didn’t violate any such terms, but the real reason was that Cohen is writing a book.  Yes, another book is in the making, this one about Cohen’s time working for Trump, and given his closeness to Trump, the number of times he paid off prostitutes and whatever other messes he bailed Trump out of, this one should be fascinating!

It is beyond concerning that Trump and his royal henchmen can have a person sent to prison on a lie.  U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein agreed and ordered that Cohen be released from an upstate federal prison by 2 p.m. Friday after being tested for coronavirus at the facility, where he’s been held in a solitary setting since being rearrested July 9th. He will then return to home confinement in Manhattan.


About time …

On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol Building.  I applaud this movement … in fact, I applaud it until my hands have blisters!  The one statue residing in the Capitol that has always made me grind my teeth is that of former Chief Justice Roger B. Taney who authored the Dred Scott decision in 1857, which declared African Americans couldn’t be citizens.  Taney’s bust would be replaced with a statue of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.

Other statues the House voted to bring down include Charles Aycock, John C. Calhoun, and James Paul Clarke.  Now, before some … or one in particular … get on their high horse, this is NOT about what you call “cancel culture” … the history remains, sadly un-erasable … but there is no purpose to be served by honouring these ‘men’ with a notable place in the Capitol.  They were not honourable men and while they will always have a place in the history books, they do not deserve a place anywhere else.

But, before you get too excited, it is highly unlikely that this House bill, even though passed by members of both parties, will make it into law.  You see … Mitch McConnell holds the power of life and death over bills coming in from the House, and it’s unlikely he will even allow it onto the floor of the Senate.  In the unlikely event that he did, and that the Senate passed it, it is even more unlikely that the imposter in the Oval Office would sign it into law.  Still … my fingers are crossed.


More corruption???

Ever notice that when you hear of political corruption, it’s usually tied to the name of a republican?  Take ol’ Duncan Hunter … you remember him, right?  He’s the one who used campaign funds to pay for his children’s school tuition, their school lunches, sports equipment, and to pay to take his pet bunnies on a plane with his family.  By the way … he was sentenced to 11 months in federal prison in March.

House Votes

Well, two more are on the radar this week.  There’s one who I’d love to see brought down, for he has been a juvenile pain-in-the-rear ever since he first came to Congress from the state of Florida.  He is none other than Matt Gaetz, who is accused of sending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to a limited liability company linked to a speech-writing consultant who was ousted from the Trump administration, in direct conflict with House ethics rules.  He also used taxpayer money to set up a television studio in his father’s home in Niceville, Florida, which Gaetz uses when he appears on television. Taxpayers foot the bill to rent the television camera, and the private company that built the studio — which Gaetz refuses to identify — takes a fee each time he appears on air.  No estimate on what this has cost us yet.

Larry-HouseholderAnd then there is the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Larry Householder, who was arrested by the FBI in a $60 million bribery scheme!  Ol’ Larry is also a republican, not surprisingly.  Prosecutors accused Householder and four others of spinning up a “criminal enterprise” that collected $60 million in dark money from a struggling energy company.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, one of the few republicans for whom I have a modicum of respect, has called on Householder to resign.

Mind you that I’m not saying there aren’t corrupt democrats in our government, for surely there are.  But the worst of the stench seems to emanate from the Republican Party of late, starting at the very top and working its way down through the ranks.