Senator Rick Scott’s Narrow Mind

Speaking of Republicans … I do seem to do that a lot lately, don’t I?  They just give us so much fuel for the fires!  Republican Senator Rick Scott from Florida crosses my radar at least once a week, but I’ve largely learned to ignore him just as I have so many others.  He does, however, manage to make my antennae twitch when he goes all-out riding the bigot train as he did recently.

Last week, Scott was doing a radio interview (seems to me some members of Congress spend more time on the media circuit than they spend in the Capitol) when the host, Martha Zoller, brought up the topic of immigration.  Now, you might think that Scott, being an ultra-conservative Republican in this, the 21st century, would be completely against immigration, but you’d be wrong.  Oh no … Scott has a proposal:

“Why don’t we have a legal immigration system for the people that want to come and live our dream, that want to live, that believe in our Judeo-Christian values? Alright? Why don’t we want more? If we’re going to have more immigration, alright, let’s do that.”

Wow … I dunno, maybe some people would be happy living in a nation that only welcomes Christians, but … I personally value diversity.  Our closest friends are a family of immigrants from Iraq who came to the U.S. seven years ago and almost immediately we began learning from each other, became best friends, and still today remain so. Last year after my 11 days in the hospital, they cooked dinner for us every night for over a month!   I cherish what I have learned from them and our exchange of cultures.  I have tried and loved some Arabic foods, have picked up a few words of Arabic, though with my failing memory my attempts to say something in Arabic usually end in resounding laughter!  No, their skin is not lily-white, and no, they are not Christians, they are of the Muslim faith, but … so what???  They are wonderful people and my life is richer for knowing them!  And yet Mr. Rick Scott would shun them?

The United States was founded in part on freedom of religion.  That gives me the right to be a non-believer, that gives Rick Scott the right to be a Christian, and it gives my neighbors the right to be Muslim.  If this country tilts toward Rick Scott’s vision, then we are no longer the United States of America that was established by the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787.  And if we allow this abominable sort of discrimination, then we are depriving ourselves of a myriad of opportunities to learn more about the world, to open our minds and our hearts. I have zero desire to live in a country of bigoted, narrow-minded people who think everyone must conform to their ways, their beliefs.


One last thing … I came across this a few days ago and found it so apt

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ~Jimi Hendrix

Who Will It Be????

Well, folks, it’s that time of the year again.  No no … not the ‘holiday season’ … well, yeah, it is that too, but I was referring to Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Tomorrow, Time will announce this year’s person.  I looked at the list this afternoon and the first name stunned me … China’s Xi Jinping … the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.  Okay, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, considering they nominated the former guy as recently as 2020.  But still … shouldn’t Person of the Year be an honour held for people who have done and/or are doing something good in the world?  Yes, I do realize that they don’t necessarily award it to ‘good’ people, but rather those who were the biggest newsmakers of the year, but still …

And it gets even better …

The U.S. Supreme Court in all their “glory” is also on the list because, according to Time, it is “incredibly influential this year due to its conservative supermajority.”  Time seems to applaud their decisions that have set women’s rights back to the last century and taken authority to try to save the planet from disaster away from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Elon Musk and Ron DeSantis both made the list, as well.  Elon because he “has garnered controversy surrounding his takeover of Twitter” and Ron because a) he won his election, and b) his little stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard that gained him lots of attention.

Others on the list include MacKenzie Scott (Jeff Bezos ex-wife), Liz Cheney, and Janet Yellen … all decent sorts who have done some good, but not Person-of-the-Year sort of good.  I suppose we should just be thankful that Kanye West, Stuart Rhodes or Nick Fuentes aren’t in the running!

There is really only one person on the list who I consider worthy of the honour of being named “Person of the Year” and that is Volodymyr Zelenskyy (and Time didn’t even spell his name right!)  He is fighting the Russian bear on behalf of the people of Ukraine and has never once wavered, never considered backing down.  He is truly a man of courage and convictions, and if I had a vote on the Time Person of the Year, my vote would be for President Zelenskyy!

A Few Thoughts From The Bouncing Mind

I don’t know if it’s the weather, the holidays or what, but I cannot seem to concentrate on any single topic long enough to write a more in-depth post for the past few days.  I need to have a heart-to-heart talk with my brain, I think.  Or would that be a heart-to-brain talk?  Is the brain even available for a chat, or is it out to lunch?  For now, though, I will share with you just a few of the thoughts that bounced around in my brain last night!


Today’s the big day!!!

The runoff election in Georgia will determine whether Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock or Republican challenger Herschel Walker will take their seat in the United States Senate on January 3rd. My fingers are so tightly crossed that they’ve lost all feeling in hopes that the people of Georgia are smarter than the Republican nominee and will vote for a man who has a proven track record in the Senate, a man with integrity and values.  Let Mr. Walker go back to his vampire movies while Senator Warnock helps make the laws that will govern us all.


Will the Court do the right thing?  Don’t hold your breath

Will they rule for or against the LGBTQ community?  It seems to me that if you own a business, you welcome customers … all customers.  What savvy business owner would turn away a paying customer because of the colour of his skin or his religion?  Or his gender identity?  Remember the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in 2018 where a Colorado bakery refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple because the owner of the cakeshop thought same-sex marriage was a sin?  What is it with Colorado, anyway?  The latest case before the Supreme Court is about whether a Colorado web designer, a woman who creates websites for a living, can refuse to create a website for a same-sex couple simply because their life choices go against her narrow-minded religion.  

I have little trust of today’s Supreme Court, which is tragic in itself.  It has been hijacked by rigid right-wing partisans who are more likely to rule in favour of the web designer.  Since the additions of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Barrett, a number of unjust rulings have been issued, not the least of which was the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v Wade and set women’s rights back 50 years or more.  So, I will be shocked … pleasantly so … if the Court tells the web designer that she cannot discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. 

For what it’s worth, here’s my two cents.  If you own a business that is open to the public, it is open to ALL the public, including LGBTQ+ people.  To decide otherwise would be to throw wide open the doors of discrimination in every venue across the U.S.  Imagine, if you will, a nation where Black people are banned from Kroger or Safeway grocery stores, or where Jews are not welcome in certain clothing stores or restaurants.  If you are in business, you serve one and all.  Remember the days, not all that long ago, when in the South there were signs on doors, “Whites Only”?  Do you want to see signs on doors that read, “Straight White Christians Only”?  If your prejudices are so severe that you cannot open your mind and the doors of your business to people who are different, then you have no business being in business.  Full Stop.


It’s all relative

There was a time when Florida’s Ron DeSantis would have been viewed as terrible material for a presidential candidate.  And now … he seems to be garnering support from some in the GOP, as well as the voting public on the right.  What changed?  Did DeSantis become more ‘acceptable’ through some actions of his own?  No.  He became more ‘acceptable’ as an alternative to the madman who once occupied the Oval Office and who is running once again.  If you have no other points of comparison, and you put Trump and DeSantis side-by-side, then yes, DeSantis looks pretty damn good.  But then, compared to Trump, Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie The Shining looks pretty good!

I firmly believe that Donald Trump’s name will not be on the final ballot in November 2024, but even so, I would also hate to see DeSantis as the GOP nominee.  Like Trump, DeSantis is a bigot in most every way, but unlike Trump, he is relatively intelligent and knows how to obtain what he wants.  And, for some reason that escapes me, he has gained a significant amount of popularity, though none of my Floridian friends have any use at all for him.  Fortunately, 2024 is almost two years away and a lot can happen in two years, so I’m not going into panic mode yet, and neither should you.


The price we pay for declining education

I’ve written many times of late about the efforts, primarily by evangelicals and Republicans to whitewash the history of the United States.  I have argued that we need to keep that history — the good, the bad, and the ugly parts — in the forefront of our children’s education so they can ensure we NEVER return to the days of slavery, of Jim Crow, of the KKK.  I’ve also argued against book bans, yet today school districts are banning more and more books, further narrowing the minds of the next generations!  I think the following chart makes my point perfectly …

Need I say more?


And now for just a few ‘toons that highlight the news of the day …

 

Too Dangerous To Ignore

I have, over the course of the past 24 hours, tried to write about the latest abomination by the former guy, but anger takes over my fingers and I pound the keyboard, look back at what I’ve written, and hit ‘delete’.  It serves no purpose to write words filled with venom, and yet the story needs to be told, the seditious … nay, treasonous … behaviour needs to be highlighted, the dangers duly noted.  Fortunately, some are more clear-headed and self-disciplined than I am at the moment.  One such is Ruth Marcus, deputy editorial page editor for The Washington Post, who has echoed my own thoughts in her latest piece …


Trump’s call for suspending the Constitution is too dangerous to ignore

Ruth Marcus, Deputy editorial page editor

4 December 2022

There was a time, in the naive spring and summer of 2015, when I deemed Donald Trump beneath my notice and refused to write about him: Why soil myself, I thought, and also: Surely he will fade away.

I finally caved, in July 2015, with this prescient sentence: “Do not worry about Donald Trump becoming president.

There was a time, in the increasingly appalling months and years that followed, that I deemed Trump too dangerous to disregard and I could not stop calling out his never-ending, ever-escalating outrages against American democracy. Mexican judges. Enemies of the state. Fake news. Muslim bans.

Even a columnist gets tired of repeating herself. And so, during his final stretch in office, and in the years since, I mostly averted my gaze. I called out Trump last August, when he warned darkly of “riots in the streets” after the Justice Department’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence and before that, in December 2020, when he released a 46-minute video rant assailing the election.

But I mostly thought: Why bother? Shaming targets and convincing readers are the columnist’s goals. With Trump, no minds will be changed, and neither will his behavior.

And yet, there are times when attention must be paid — if only to lay down a marker, if only (grandiose as this may sound) so historians will understand: This went too far. This cannot be allowed to stand without being denounced.

I might have made this choice in the aftermath of Trump’s dinner with antisemites and Nazi sympathizers Ye (formerly known as Kanye West) and Nick Fuentes. Who could have imagined, in the time before Trump, that a former president of the United States and declared candidate for president would so sully himself and the office?

But I am moved, now, to write about Trump’s latest post, on his Truth Social network, because it is at least equally dangerous and even more insidious.

“So, with the revelation of MASSIVE & WIDESPREAD FRAUD & DECEPTION in working closely with Big Tech Companies, the DNC & the Democrat Party, do you throw the Presidential election results of 2020 OUT and declare the Rightful Winner, or do you have a new election,” Trump posted. “A massive Fraud of this type and magnitude allows for the termination of all rules, regulations, and articles, even those found in the Constitution. Our great Founders did not want, and would not condone, False & Fraudulent Elections!”

And, he followed up, “UNPRECEDENTED FRAUD REQUIRES UNPRECEDENTED CURE!”

Pause to take this in. The former and would-be future president has suggested suspending the Constitution in support of his deranged belief that he won the election and that its results are subject to change. A man who took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend” the Constitution now has hijacked “our great Founders” in the service of his megalomania.

No.

This is insurrectionism by social media. Nothing — and certainly not imaginary “Fraud,” capitalized or not — “allows for the termination” of constitutional guarantees. Trump is laying the groundwork for a coup.

We can dismiss the post as just the latest Trumpian bluster, something he will never be capable of implementing. Yet the mere willingness to entertain and encourage extra-constitutional action is alarming coming from a man who is seeking to return to office.

Which is why Trump’s words must be highlighted — and called out. I’m past expecting Republican leaders to speak out. We know that, for most, their spines have collapsed and their courage reduced to a shrunken kernel.

Trump “says a lot of things, but that doesn’t mean that it’s ever going to happen,” was the most that Rep. David Joyce (Ohio), chair of the Republican Governance Group, could choke out in response to questions by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

The White House was right to rebuke Trump. “Attacking the Constitution and all it stands for is anathema to the soul of our nation and should be universally condemned,” spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement. If anything, the words should have been issued in the name of the president himself.

Others made more puzzling choices. For a full day, the New York Times, so far as I can find, made no mention of Trump’s post. I assume this was not an oversight but a deliberate decision not to let Trump hijack its product for his unpatriotic purposes.

I get it, but I’m glad the Times relented with a news report Sunday afternoon. The episode embodies the paradox of dealing with Donald Trump. We do not want to give him oxygen, yet there are times we dare not ignore him. This is one. It should be neither excused nor forgotten.

A few interesting headlines

Keith’s post today is a compilation of just a few of the latest headlines that prove just how low the once “Grand” Old Party has sunk. This is a big 10 on the growl-meter in my book! Thanks Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

From John L. Dorman of Business Insider yesterday – “Georgia GOP Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan says Herschel Walker will ‘probably go down as one of the worst candidates in our party’s history'”

From The Guardian yesterday – “Brexit has fueled surge in UK food prices, says Bank of England policymaker: Britons need to be kept aware of the cost of leaving the EU, says Swati Dhingra

From Francine Prose of The Guardian yesterday: “Trump had dinner with two avowed antisemites. Let’s call this what it is: A 2024 candidate broke bread with Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist, and Ye, who has praised Hitler. Don’t normalize this”

From Newsweek yesterday – “Kari Lake lawyers sanctioned by judge over frivolous election lawsuit”

Taking these four headlines in order, let me offer these frank assessments. First, a party must police itself if it intends to serve our country. Republican Lt. Governor Duncan’s…

View original post 397 more words

The Week’s Best Cartoons 12/3

I don’t want to write about Elon Musk/Twitter, don’t want to write about Kanye West & Nick Fuentes, don’t want to write about Kevin McCarthy or the Georgia runoffs … in short, I think I’m on ‘bad news’ overload.  Lucky for me it’s Saturday and I can count on TokyoSand over at Political Charge to have spent time finding the best of the week’s political ‘toons for us!  Thank you once again, TS!!!


Per TokyoSand …

Honestly, I really don’t want to talk about what’s been trending all week on social media. I hate that we’re living in a world where Nazis are a regular part of the conversation. Alas, editorial cartoonists react to the the news of the hour, and so here we are. Here’s some of the most effective cartoons I saw this week. 

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons here!

Friday JohnKu – AKA -TGIF – FRI-Yay/Good News

No, today is not Wednesday, not yet time for a ‘good people’ post, but I think we could all use a little break from the crises and disasters – both at home and around the globe – as we head into the weekend. My friend John Howell tells the story of an entire community of good people that warmed my heart as I think it will yours. Thank you, John!

Fiction Favorites

100 Farmers, Neighbors Help Harvest Iowa Farmer’s Crops After He Died Suddenly From Cancer

BYLOUISE CHAMBERSTIME NOVEMBER 26, 2022

Paul Baker, courtesy of Melissa Baker

Today’s good news story was brought to my attention by blogger and author Noelle Granger. It comes from the Epoch Times Newsletter, and here it is in its entirety. Thanks so much, Noelle, for submitting this one.

When an Iowa farmer died suddenly and unexpectedly from lung cancer, his neighbors rallied together within days to reap the corn crops he left behind. His family, deeply humbled, are grateful for the tight-knit community that showed their love and saved their harvest.

Born and raised in Creston, Iowa, Paul Baker farmed around 500 acres of land, raising beef cattle, soybeans, and corn. Nobody, including Paul and his wife of 46 years, Lynn Baker, had any idea Paul was battling cancer.

After he became seriously ill…

View original post 751 more words

Rights And Freedoms — Part I — Freedom of Speech

1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, 15 December 1791


Throughout the centuries, very few limitations have been placed on the First Amendment even as people pushed the envelope using it as cover for everything from child pornography to outright threats of violence.  Let’s make something perfectly clear up front here, since today all I hear is people proclaiming their ‘rights’:  Your freedom, your ‘right’ stops where it crosses the line of another person’s freedom or rights.  Period.

You have a right to exercise your freedom of religion by holding a religious ceremony for whatever purpose you see fit, but you cannot hold it on my lawn.  You have a right to tell me what you think of me, but not to threaten me or my family with bodily harm.  And I have a right to set limits in my own home, such as you do NOT have a right to bring a gun into my home. 

Two of my overseas friends last week, David in the UK and Andrea in Australia, both made essentially the same comment, that the United States has too many of the wrong sort of freedoms.  I didn’t have to think about it long … about 15 seconds, I think … to realize that they are both right and that I fully agree.  Our Constitution gives us a number of rights, but we have abused them, for we seem not to remember that with rights come responsibilities.  You have a right to say what you think, but also a responsibility not to cause harm.  You have a right to worship as you please, but also a responsibility to recognize and honour the fact that others have the same right and may not share your same views.

I was a teen during the Vietnam War years when protesting was almost a career for some, and yet I never saw the same sort of hatred, the incitement for violence, the outright lies that I am seeing in our country today.  Sure, young people were angry in the 1960s that our government was sending our young men – brothers, boyfriends, husbands – to fight a war halfway across the world that we knew could not be won.  But we didn’t threaten to kill.  We knew better than to cross certain lines of decency.

Not long ago, the Republican Party issued an edict of sorts claiming that the seditious attempted coup on January 6th 2021 was “Legitimate Political Discourse”.  My jaw still drops when I hear that.  NO, IT WAS NOT!  Police officers died defending the Capitol and democracy on that day. Property belonging to We the People was damaged, there were threats to the lives of Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi. And the goal was to overturn the will of the people, to deny our voices, to essentially overturn the United States government and the Constitution. It was not discourse, it was not civil, and it was NOT what the framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind back in 1787. 

I cannot condone, nor should anyone condone, the use of foul language or threats of bodily harm … that is not ‘freedom of speech’, that is incitement of violence.  When people condemn or threaten those in the LGBTQ+ community, that is NOT freedom of speech … that is robbing someone else of the freedom to live in safety, being who they are.  Again … your freedom STOPS at the point where it infringes on mine or another person’s.  You do NOT have the right to dictate who a person should marry, whether a woman should have a child or not, what religion – if any – a person observes, where they live, or what they believe.

We are a nation of rights and freedoms, but we have historically abused them, never more so than in this, the 21st century.  If we continue to abuse them, we will lose them.  No, that is not hyperbole … at some point, we will lose the freedom to say what’s on our mind if we cannot do so within the confines or decency and respect.  Perhaps James Madison, the chief author of the First Amendment, gave people too much credit for humanity, compassion, and human decency.  Perhaps they did not realize that at some point, destruction and inciting violence would be classified as ‘free speech’, else they might have put some constraints on that ‘right’.  Or, perhaps people then were kinder, more deserving of a nearly unlimited freedom of speech.


We hear a lot these days about individual ‘freedoms’ and ‘rights’ but very little about the responsibilities that accompany those freedoms and rights.  Over the course of the next week or two, I plan to do another post or two on other of our rights such as freedom of the press and the 2nd Amendment, the ‘right’ to bear arms.  Please feel free to make suggestions if there are other ‘rights’ you would like to see discussed.

DeSantis Is No ‘Golden Boy’

It seems that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is on the path to becoming the Republican Party’s next ‘golden boy’, now that the former guy has perhaps placed the final straw on the camel’s back with multiple losses in the mid-terms and then his meeting with the ignoble white supremacist Nazi, Nick Fuentes.  But make no mistake … DeSantis is not worthy, perhaps no more so than the former guy.  One of my favourite columnists, Frank Bruni, tells us why.


He’ll be sold as a paragon of reason. Don’t buy it.

By Frank Bruni

01 December 2022

Elon Musk is a geyser of gibberish, so it’s important not to make too much of anything he says. But a recent Twitter thread of his deserved the attention it got, if not for the specific detail on which most journalists focused.

They led with Musk’s statement that he would support a Ron DeSantis candidacy for the presidency in 2024. That obviously disses one Donald Trump, though it should come as no surprise: Magnates like Musk typically cling to the moment’s shiniest toys, and DeSantis, fresh off his re-election, is a curiously gleaming action figure.

But how Musk framed his attraction to the Florida governor was revealing — and troubling. He expressed a desire for a candidate who’s “sensible and centrist,” implying that DeSantis is both.

In what universe? He’s “sensible and centrist” only by the warped yardsticks of Trump, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Kari Lake and the like. But those yardsticks will be used frequently as various Republicans join the 2024 fray. And therein lies real danger.

Trump’s challengers will be defined in relation to him, casting them in a deceptively flattering light. They’ll be deemed steady because he’s not, on the ball because he’s out to lunch, enlightened because they don’t sup with Holocaust deniers. They’ll be realists to his fantasist, institutionalists to his nihilist, preservationists to his arsonist.

None of those descriptions will be true. Some will be persuasive nonetheless.

That dynamic is already doing wonders for DeSantis as he flies high over a very low bar. “Look!” say Republicans eager to take back the White House. “It’s Superman!” Hardly. But his promoters are hoping that the shadow of Trump produces such an optical illusion.

“Plenty of Americans across the partisan divide would have good reason to root for him,” Jim Geraghty, the senior political correspondent for the conservative journal National Review, wrote in a recent essay in The Washington Post that praised DeSantis. Parts of it made DeSantis sound consensus-minded, conciliatory. That’s some trick.

Geraghty added: “Given the bizarre state of American politics during the Trump era, DeSantis would represent a return to normality.” The “given” in that sentence is working overtime, and “normality” fits DeSantis about as well as “sensible” and “centrist” do.

It is not normal to release a campaign ad, as DeSantis did last month, that explicitly identifies you as someone created and commanded by God to pursue the precise political agenda that you’re pursuing. Better words for that include “messianic,” “megalomaniacal” and “delusional.”

It is not sensible to open a new state office devoted to election crimes when there is scant evidence of any need for it. That is called “pandering.” It is also known as a “stunt.”

It is not centrist to have a key aide who tweeted that anyone who opposed the “Don’t Say Gay” education law in Florida was “probably a groomer or at least you don’t denounce the grooming of 4-8 year old children.” Those were the words of Christina Pushaw, who was then DeSantis’s press secretary and “transformed the governor’s state messaging office into a hyperpartisan extension of his political efforts,” as Matt Dixon noted in Politico, adding that she “used the position to regularly pick public fights with reporters on social media, amplify right-wing media outlets and conservative personalities and attack individuals who oppose or challenge DeSantis.”

DeSantis’s response to her derisive and divisive antics? He made her the “rapid response director” for his re-election campaign. Because that’s the normal, sensible, centrist thing to do.

DeSantis used his power as governor to punish Disney for daring to dissent from his political views. He used migrants as political pawns and sent two planes full of them to Martha’s Vineyard. He pushed for an extreme gerrymander in Florida that marginalized minority voters. He’s a darling of the National Rifle Association.

And the signature line from his stump speech is that Florida is “where woke goes to die.” I’m with him on the destructiveness of peak wokeness, but base-camp wokeness has some lessons and virtues, which a sensible centrist might acknowledge and reflect on. Can’t Florida be where woke goes to decompress in the sun and surf and re-emerge in more relaxed form?

DeSantis himself might currently reject the labels that Musk gave him: It’s the right-wing-warrior side that promises to propel him most forcefully through the primaries, should he enter them. But he or any nominee not named Trump would likely segue to the general election by flashing shades of moderation.

In DeSantis’s case, there’d be chatter galore about his 19-point re-election victory as proof of his appeal’s breadth. But another Republican, Senator Marco Rubio, won re-election in Florida by sixteen points, suggesting that forces beyond DeSantis’s dubiously pan-partisan magnetism were in play. And Florida is redder than it used to be.

The extremists and conspiracists so prevalent in today’s Republican Party have distorted the frame for everyone else, permitting the peddling of DeSantis as some paragon of reason. Be savvier than Musk. Don’t buy it.