Orbán Is Teaching, Republicans Are All Ears

On Thursday, the Republicans began their annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) meeting … in the nation of Hungary, not here in the U.S.  Not even in a democratic nation, but in one ruled by an authoritarian, Viktor Orbán.  One might ask why they would go to the extra trouble, extra expense, and spend the extra time holding their meetings more than 4,000 miles away.  And I might answer that it is their goal to model the United States on Orbán’s example, to establish the same sort of country that Hungary is today.  Need proof?

The unconscionable Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and organizer of CPAC, told NPR this week that he was bringing his event to Hungary because it “represents Christian conservative values” and American conservatives want to replicate this in the U.S. by learning from the country’s ultra-right-wing authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

The conference’s program shows exactly what topics are important to the Trump wing of the Republican Party, with sessions entitled: “Western civilization under attack,” “In God we trust,” “The father is a man, the mother is a woman,” and “Culture wars in the media.”  Joining Schlapp and the rest of the KKK Republicans will be the truly nasty Candace Owens and her current hubby, Parler CEO George Farmer.  Oh, and guess who else will be making an appearance via video message?  The ignoble Tucker Carlson of Fox ‘News’ and Mark Meadows, former chief of staff for the twice-impeached former guy.  What a lineup, eh?  So much filth all in one place!  They may have to burn the building just to get rid of the stench.

But the ‘star’ of the show is Orbán himself, the main reason the convention is being held in Hungary to begin with.  In his opening remarks on Thursday, he said …

  • “We need to take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. We need to find friends, and we need to find allies. We need to coordinate the movement of our troops, because we have a big challenge ahead of us.”
  • “Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left. The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint. Those who taught reporters in universities already had progressive leftist principles. Of course, the GOP has its media allies, but they can’t compete with the mainstream liberal media. My friend, Tucker Carlson is the only one who puts himself out there. His show is the most popular. What does it mean? It means programs like his should be broadcasted day and night. Or as you say 24/7.”

The press at CPAC is mostly home-grown, from state-run Hungarian media. Independent European and U.S. outlets were largely denied access, and CBS News was one of a small number allowed access to the conference.  Journalists from international media outlets, including the New Yorker, Vox Media, Vice News, Rolling Stone, and the Associated Press, were denied access to the event despite months of requests.

Are you starting to feel the chills going up your spine yet?  I do.

Let me tell you just a bit about Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.  He is a white supremacist authoritarian. He’s restricted Muslim immigration and LGBTQ rights while building a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The former guy was a big fan of Orbán, saying …

“Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways — highly respected, respected all over Europe — probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK.”

I rarely repeat the words of the former guy, for in my book he is completely irrelevant, but I do so this time to give you an idea of the sort of person Orbán is … and believe me, he is not a good person and he is definitely NOT highly respected throughout Europe.

All of the international democracy rating agencies agree that Hungary is no longer a democracy.  During his 12 years in power, Orbán has chipped away at the foundations of Hungarian democracy. It has been replaced with an authoritarian regime that wields a cynical interpretation of the law as a weapon; the country is governed by rules like the border journalism permits, regulations that can seem reasonable on their face but actually serve to undermine essential democratic freedoms.

Elections there are free, in the sense that the vote counts aren’t nakedly rigged. But they are unfair: The government controls the airwaves and media companies to such a degree that the opposition can’t get their message out.

Viktor Orbán is an autocrat, he does not govern but he rules … and yes there is a difference, a BIG difference.  Orbán is, by any reasonable definition, a fascist, although some would argue he is merely a ‘soft fascist’.  Fascism … it’s a scary word, isn’t it?  The former guy made no attempt to hide the fact that he wanted to rule rather than govern, and he chipped away at the restraints that kept him, to an extent at least, from doing so.  He plotted not one, but three attempts to overthrow the will of the people in the 2020 election, to install himself as an unelected autocrat for … how long?  4 years?  6 years?  A lifetime?

The fact that CPAC chose to hold their annual convention in Hungary and more to the point to have Orbán as their main speaker should tell you all you need to know about the course being plotted by Republicans aka conservatives for the United States.  It’s an ugly picture my friends.  I’m not a scaremonger or a conspiracy theorist, but the Republican Party has been overtaken by a wanna-be dictator and they are falling all over themselves trying to lick his boots, to please him.  What does that say for the future of this nation?

Beware The Snarky

You know how some days you just wake up in a mood?  Well, far too many days lately I wake up with a head full of sarcasm and snark that needs a vent, needs to be let loose and shared.  So, lucky for you, I’m sharing it with you, dear friends!


Teaching them young

Last night I was literally sickened when I read that some teens in a local high school, Colerain High School, a school about 15 miles from my home and attended by some of my own friends’ children, had done this …

And meanwhile in West Palm Beach, Florida, kids at Hidden Oaks Middle School did this …

In both instances, I am told the kids were punished, but with what … a slap on the wrist?  A soft-voiced “Now that wasn’t very nice, little Johnnny.”  And what about the parents?  The kids weren’t born knowing how to be grade-A assholes … they learned it somewhere, most likely at home!  And these are not isolated incidents.  According to The Washington Post

“Last month, a student at a Chicago-area high school wrote a racist comment about picking cotton on a “prom-posal” sign. In the past few months, student-athletes in several states, including Georgia, Washington, Vermont, Minnesota and California, have reported hearing competitors or spectators yelling racial slurs at them during or after games.”

Damn it, people … 🛑STOP IT!  Republicans, evangelicals, and whoever else is playing the racist game, just effing STOP IT!  You’re causing untold grief and sooner or later you’re going to get somebody killed, maybe your own kid!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr


A really bad idea

I’ve said it often enough – I do not like the Electoral College.  The idea of the Founders was that it would keep the people from electing some really unqualified madman at some point, but instead, it has worked in the opposite way and caused a madman who was NOT elected by the people to slither into the Oval Office in January 2017.  The Electoral College is one of the worst conventions in our Constitution, second only to the 2nd Amendment, and it needs to go.  Fortunately, at least it only applies to the presidential election, not elections for members of Congress or state offices.

But a Republican candidate for governor in the state of Colorado wants to change that.  Greg Lopez says Colorado should create an electoral college system for electing candidates to statewide office, which would be the first of its kind on the state level and would give far more voting power to Coloradans in rural, conservative counties and dilute the voting power of Coloradans in more populous urban and suburban areas, heavily favouring Republicans.  Surprise.  It’s doubtful his plan will gain momentum, but just the fact that it is being proposed is enough to make my skin crawl.


Kellyanne wrote a book?  I didn’t know she could even read!

You all remember Kellyanne Conway, right?  She was advisor, if you can call it such, to the former guy, despite the fact that her hubby, George Conway, was a full-blown anti-Trumpeter and co-founder of the Lincoln Project, an organization “dedicated to the preservation, protection, and defense of democracy.” Remember how I used to muse about how their dinner table conversations might go, given they were politically and ideologically 180° apart?  Well, next Tuesday, May 24th, for the price of $21 for a hardcover or $14.99 for the ebook, you can read her new book and find out about those supper table conversations!

In a brief excerpt, she writes …

 I had already said publicly what I’d said privately to George: that his daily deluge of insults-by-tweet against my boss—or, as he put it sometimes, “the people in the White House”—violated our marriage vows to “love, honor, and cherish” each other. Those vows, of course, do not mean we must agree about politics or policies or even the president. In our democracy, as in our marriage, George was free to disagree, even if it meant a complete 180 from his active support for Trump-Pence–My Wife–2016 and a whiplash change in character from privately brilliant to publicly bombastic.

“Whoop-de-do, George!” I said to him. “You are one of millions of people who don’t like the president. Congrats.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got better ways to spend $21, not to mention my time than reading her drivel.  Now, if George writes a book, I might consider it.


Wifey is back in the news

Virginia Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is back in the news.  You’ll remember that she was in communication with the former guy’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, after the 2020 election attempting to convince him to illegally overturn the election, to render the people of this nation voiceless.  Well, new information shows that Ms. Thomas also sent emails to at least two Arizona legislators urging them to overturn the election in that state and choose their own ‘clean slate’ of electors, completely disregarding the vote of the people.

Fortunately for the nation, the two lawmakers chose not to break the law and violate their position of trust, but the fact remains that Ms. Thomas attempted in more instances than one to destroy this nation, to rob We the People, the taxpayers who ensure her cushy lifestyle, of our voices!  It is my hope that when all is said and done, Ms. Thomas will see the inside of a prison cell, for what she did was in fact criminal, felonious, and We the People are the victims of her crime.

At this point, I see no option other than for Justice Thomas to step down from his position on the Court.  He may or may not have been directly involved with his wife’s treason, but his integrity is certainly questionable, to say the least.


And just to give you a smile after all the snark …

The Anti-Democracy Movement Run Amok

As I lay in bed at 5:30 this morning seeking that elusive thing called sleep, I received an email with Robert Reich’s latest newsletter.  Despite my better judgment, I started reading the piece and there went any hope for sleep.  Peter Thiel’s name has crossed my radar before … he is a billionaire with a net worth of about $4.7 billion who has bankrolled some pretty nasty political candidates, most notably the former guy.  I didn’t know a lot about him, though, and Mr. Reich took care of filling in some gaps … some rather disturbing ones.  Please take a minute to read his piece, for it is well worth your time — just don’t read it at bedtime.


What you need to know about the anti-democracy movement

Who’s funding it, why it’s inspired by Viktor Orban, and what it aims to achieve

Robert Reich

May 19, 2022

Decades ago, America’s wealthy backed a Republican establishment that believed in fiscal conservatism, anti-communism, and constitutional democracy. But today’s billionaire class is pushing a radically anti-democratic agenda for America — backing Trump’s lie that the 2020 election was stolen, calling for restrictions on voting, and even questioning the value of democracy.

Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech financier who is among those leading the charge, writes “I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.”

Thiel is using his fortune to squelch democracy. He donated $15 million to the successful Republican Ohio senatorial primary campaign of J.D. Vance, who alleges that the 2020 election was stolen and that Biden’s immigration policy has meant “more Democrat voters pouring into this country.” And Thiel has donated at least $10 million to the Arizona Republican primary race of Blake Masters, who also claims Trump won the 2020 election and admires Lee Kuan Yew, the authoritarian founder of modern Singapore.

The former generation of wealthy conservatives backed candidates like Barry Goldwater, who wanted to conserve American institutions. Thiel and his fellow billionaires in the anti-democracy movement don’t want to conserve much of anything — at least not anything that occurred after the 1920s, including Social Security, civil rights, and even women’s right to vote. As Thiel wrote:

The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women — two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians — have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron.

Rubbish. If “capitalist democracy” is becoming an oxymoron, it’s not because of public assistance or because women got the right to vote. It’s because billionaire capitalists like Thiel are drowning democracy in giant campaign donations to authoritarian candidates who repeat Trump’s big lie.

Not incidentally, the 1920s marked the last gasp of the Gilded Age, when America’s rich ripped off so much of the nation’s wealth that the rest had to go deep into debt both to maintain their standard of living and to maintain overall demand for the goods and services the nation produced. When that debt bubble burst in 1929, we got the Great Depression.

It was also the decade when Benito Mussolini and Adolph Hitler emerged to create the worst threats to freedom and democracy the modern world had ever witnessed.

If freedom is not compatible with democracy, what is it compatible with?  

On Tuesday night, Doug Mastriano, a January 6 insurrectionist and Trump-backed Big Lie conspiracy theorist, won the Republican nomination for governor of Pennsylvania (the fourth largest state in the country, and the biggest state that flipped from 2016 to 2020). Mastriano was directly involved in a scheme to overturn the 2020 election by sending an “alternate” slate of pro-Trump electors to the Electoral College — despite the fact that Trump lost Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes. If Mastriano wins in November, he will appoint Pennsylvania’s secretary of state, who will oversee the 2024 election results in one of the most important battleground states in the country.

Meanwhile, the major annual event of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) — the premier convening organization of the American political right — starts today in Budapest. That’s no accident. The Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban and his ruling Fidesz party have become a prominent source of inspiration for America’s anti-democracy movement. Stephen Bannon, Trump’s former adviser, describes Orban’s agenda as that of a “Trump before Trump.”

Orban has used his opposition to immigration, LGBTQ rights, abortion, and religions other than Christianity as cover for his move toward autocracy — rigging Hungary’s election laws so his party stays in power, capturing independent agencies, controlling the judiciary, and muzzling the press. He remains on such good terms with Vladimir Putin that he’s refused to agree to Europe’s proposed embargo of Russian oil.

Tucker Carlson — Fox News’s progenitor of white replacement theory — will be speaking at CPAC and broadcasting his show from Budapest. Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows will also be speaking (although he refuses to speak to the House committee investigating the January 6 assault on American democracy).

If America and the world should have learned anything from the first Gilded Age and the fascism that began growing like a cancer in the 1920s, it’s that gross inequalities of income and wealth fuel gross inequalities of political power — which in turn lead to strongmen who destroy both democracy and freedom.

Peter Thiel may define freedom as the capacity to amass extraordinary wealth without paying taxes on it, but most of us define it as living under the rule of law with rights against arbitrary authority and a voice in what’s decided.

If we want to guard what’s left of our freedom, we’ll need to meet today’s anti-democracy movement with a bold pro-democracy movement that protects the institutions of self-government both from authoritarian strongmen like Trump and his wannabes, and from big money like Peter Thiel’s.

Wednesday wanderings in mid-May

As always, our friend Keith puts into words what many of us are thinking and feeling. Please pay special attention to his final paragraph, for these are the questions we need to be asking, and the issues on which we need to hold our elected representatives accountable. As always, thank you Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

We should have another warm day here, so walking may make us “glisten,” a word my wife uses for perspiration. So, as we glisten on our walk about, let me share a few of my wandering thoughts.

The votes from yesterday’s mid-term primaries are being tallied, so I will save commentary for another day, with two exceptions. With almost 100% of the votes counted, it looks like Rep. Madison Cawthorn will be unseated in his first election as an incumbent. His failure to: realize on three occasions a driver needs a driver license, understand he cannot carry a weapon onto a plane on two occasions, appreciate claiming your Republican colleagues are having orgies and coke parties is not the way to make friends, and recognize that not doing much of anything other than abet the former president’s Big Lie and insurrection of Congress is not conducive to good governance. It…

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Let’s Upgrade The Job Requirements!

Back in 1787 when the Founders were drafting what would become the U.S. Constitution, the put in place very few requirements for the office of president and also for seats in the U.S. Congress.  This made sense in 1787 because few, if any, had formal college educations and given that this nation was in its infant stages, none had experience in our nascent government.  But that was 235 years ago and since that time much has changed.  As I look at some members of this, the 117th Congress, and as I look at the former president [sic], I firmly believe the time has come to update the requirements for these highest offices in the land!

Let’s take a look at those requirements.

President

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 lays out the requirements for the office of President of the United States:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

That’s it … three qualifications … a natural born citizen, age 35 or older, and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

House of Representatives

Article I, Section 2 specifies the requirements for a member of the House of Representatives:

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Senate

Article I, Section 3 defines the requirements for a member of the Senate:

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Again, this made a good bit of sense in 1787, but today?  Not so much.  The last person who occupied the Oval Office had never even read the U.S. Constitution, had no relevant college education, no prior government experience or legal experience, unless you count his thousands of lawsuits.  How could this happen?

So, what would I add to the qualifications listed in the first two Articles of the Constitution?  For starters, I would add an educational requirement, that candidates for the presidency, vice-presidency, or Congress must have, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree in either law, history, or political science.  Also, I would like to see them required to pass a test on their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.  Do you know that immigrants to this nation, in order to qualify for citizenship, must pass a civics test to evaluate their knowledge of U.S. history and government?  In essence, it is harder to become a citizen than to become president!  The oath of office for the president states:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Now, just how can you swear to preserve, protect, and defend a document you’ve never read?  C’mon, folks, the Constitution in its entirety is just under 8,000 words long.  The original, before any amendments, is 4,400 words.  This isn’t exactly War and Peace, my friends!  I have read it more than a few times, often in a single sitting!

I would require a background check and any credible accusations of sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or financial improprieties would automatically disqualify that person.

And one last thing I would like to see is a wealth cap.  I don’t want either a president or senator or representative who was born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth and has no idea what it means to have to budget, to sometimes have to forego a purchase because money is tight.  I don’t want someone sitting in Washington with millions … or billions … of dollars to his name that allow him to live in an Ivory Tower so high up that he/she does not even see We the People.  And I don’t want a president or member of Congress who can buy his/her seat, nor do I want one so obsessed with money that they are willing to sell their future votes to the highest bidder for campaign donations. The Citizens United v FEC decision destroyed the integrity of politicians in this nation, and I would love to see it overturned, but we all know it won’t happen.

If my suggestions had been implemented some time ago, we would not have such corrupt and trashy people in our Congress today as Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Elise Stefanik, Madison Cawthorn and more.  The Constitution was always intended to grow with the nation, to be a flexible and dynamic document that would meet the needs of today but also of tomorrow.  The framers of that document would be horrified to see today’s corruption in every branch and at every level, completely disregarding the needs of the people of this nation … the people who pay their salaries, benefits, travel, and other perks.

Texas Paul REACTS to New Leaked Eastman Emails Outlining Coup Attempt

I had never heard of ‘Texas Paul’ until I saw this video Scottie posted last night. He sums up all the major events perpetrated by Trump & his cronies that very nearly overturned our government from November 2020 ’til January 2021, the failed coup that nearly succeeded, and he does so in a clear, understandable way that … well, take a look for yourself …

Scottie's Playtime

Please watch this!  I know some people wont like his style of talking, but he is clear easy to follow on the methodical way Eastman and tRump tried to get the states to throw out the voters electors to install fake ones.  Even just to sow doubt.  I know everything he says, I have read it many times in documents and reports.  But his easy way of putting it together and laying it out is a great listen.   We need to get people to understand how close the coup came and how deeply so many people were involved.   If you think that DeathSantis or Ted Cruz or any Republican wouldn’t try this if they got the presidency you are mistaken.  This is the Republican goal.   Well I can only ask you to listen and share.  Hugs

Newly leaked emails show Trump Attorney John Eastman urging Republican legislators in Pennsylvania to…

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Think Smaller — Protect Your Right To Vote!

We place far more emphasis, spend far more energy & time, on the big elections – president and members of Congress – than we typically do on local and state elections, but I read an OpEd article in the New York Times this morning that made me stop and think … made me realize that perhaps we need to shift our focus, or at least widen it.  Heck, I don’t even know who is on the ballot for Secretary of State in my own state … time to do some research!  Ms. Barbara McQuade, teaches law at the University of Michigan, and oversaw voting rights suits as U.S. attorney for Michigan’s Eastern District, so she knows of what she speaks …


The Most Pivotal Elections in 2022 Are Not the Ones You Think

By Barbara McQuade, May 12, 2022

The fate of our democracy doesn’t hinge on the battle for the House or the fight for control of the Senate, but on state elections for a once sleepy office: secretaries of state.

No elected officials will be more pivotal to protecting democracy — or subverting it — than secretaries of state. While their responsibilities vary from state to state, most oversee elections, a role in which they wield a tremendous amount of power. Secretaries of state own the bully pulpit on voting, and they control the machinery of elections.

They also have a platform to spread disinformation, such as false claims that voting by mail is not secure. A Republican secretary of state could reduce the number of ballot boxes or polling places in Democratic areas and limit staffing to create long lines that dissuade potential voters. They can also refuse to certify the results in particular counties or even the entire state. In a close presidential race, if even one secretary of state in a swing state were to put his thumb on the scale, we could see an election that really is stolen.

This has happened before. In 2000, Katherine Harris, Florida’s secretary of state, halted the recount process and certified George W. Bush, for whom she served as a campaign chairwoman, as the winner of Florida’s electoral votes. But our current political moment is even more fraught, as Donald Trump casts doubt on the last election, whipping his supporters into frenzy while Republican field generals quietly maneuver conservative hard-liners into positions of power.

Twenty-seven states will choose a secretary of state this fall, and in 17 of those states, at least one of the Republican candidates for the office actively denies that President Biden won the 2020 election. Fourteen candidates have formed the America First S.O.S. Coalition, which aims to “reverse electoral fraud” by eliminating mail-in ballots, requiring single-day voting and committing to “aggressive voter roll cleanup,” measures that could suppress thousands of Democratic votes. If they win office, Republicans will control the voting process in these five crucial swing states where the 2024 election may be decided:

One closely watched race will be in Georgia, where the Republican incumbent, Brad Raffensperger, is fighting for his political life in the May 24 primary after having refused Mr. Trump’s demands to “find” the 11,780 votes he needed to overturn Mr. Biden’s victory in that state. Although Mr. Raffensperger withstood Mr. Trump’s efforts in 2020, he has now joined the crusade warning against the threat of voter fraud, supporting Georgia’s restrictive new voting laws and citing “voter confidence” as the “No. 1 issue” American voters face.

His main primary opponent goes even further. Representative Jody Hice, a former pastor endorsed by Mr. Trump, is an election denier who has said that “I believe with all my heart” that the will of Georgia voters was subverted in 2020. Republicans have held this office since 2006, so most likely, one of these two men will be in control in 2024.

In Michigan, the Democrats are in a stronger position. The Democratic incumbent, Jocelyn Benson, will face Kristina Karamo, a community college instructor endorsed by Mr. Trump, this fall. Ms. Benson, a former election law professor, literally wrote the book on the role secretaries of state play in protecting the democratic process and resolutely withstood challenges to Michigan’s 2020 election.

Her opponent, on the other hand, has made debunked claims that she witnessed election fraud while observing poll workers in Detroit in 2020 and said that the Capitol riot was conducted by “antifa posing as Trump supporters.” Mr. Trump has been stumping for Ms. Karamo for a reason: “This is not just about 2022,” he said at a recent rally. “This is about making sure Michigan is not rigged and stolen again in 2024.” Recent polling shows Ms. Benson with a 14-point lead over Ms. Karamo, but that margin is small considering Ms. Benson’s greater name recognition.

In Pennsylvania, the secretary of state is appointed, so the tossup governor’s race will decide who ends up overseeing elections. While the Democratic contender for governor, Josh Shapiro, the state attorney general, has made voting rights a cornerstone of his campaign, some of the Republican candidates seem determined to undercut them. Recent polling shows State Senator Doug Mastriano, a retired Army colonel with a Ph.D. in history, leading the rest of the Republican candidates.

Mr. Mastriano has embraced Mr. Trump’s claims of a stolen election; according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, he spoke with the president in the days after the election and pushed for a new slate of electors to be sent to Congress. Videos show him and his wife wandering through the barricades after rioters — some of whom he’d paid to send to Washington — breached the Capitol. His election as governor is a strong possibility in a state that tends to seesaw between Democrats and Republicans.

Other candidates for secretary of state include Mark Finchem in Arizona and Jim Marchant in Nevada. Mr. Finchem, a state representative who attended the Stop the Steal Rally in Washington last year, has introduced a resolution to decertify the results of the 2020 election in three big counties and a bill to empower the Arizona Legislature to reject election results. As of the end of the first quarter, Mr. Finchem led all the other candidates in the race in fund-raising, making him the most likely to win the Republican primary and a strong candidate in the general election.

Mr. Marchant has followed the same campaign playbook in Nevada. A former state legislator, he has not only called it “almost statistically impossible that Joe Biden won” the state, but also said he would not have certified Nevada’s slate of electors had he been secretary of state in 2020; indeed, he pushed for his state to submit an alternative slate. While Nevada has gone to the Democratic candidate in the past four presidential elections, three of its past four secretaries of state have been Republicans, and this race could go either way.

For Democrats to fend off the America First slate, they will need to invest in these races, helping candidates build the name recognition they need to combat the onslaught from the right. That will take time, money and a strategy to raise awareness about the crucial role these offices play in protecting our democracy. A nationwide effort like the “SoS Project,” which was started by a group of Democrats following the 2004 election and folded several years later, could help. Individuals can also help by volunteering for secretary of state candidates and by talking to their neighbors and on social media about the importance of these positions.

Races for other offices may attract bigger names, but elections for secretary of state may bring about the most significant shifts in power in 2022. As Mr. Trump has said, sometimes the “vote counter is more important than the candidate.”

I Thought We Were Better …

In countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and many others, one man or group of men (it’s always men, never women) control the people, their actions & behaviours.  But in a democracy, a true democracy, it is the voice of the majority that determines the laws of the land.  The United States was founded as a Democratic Republic, which is somewhat different than a pure democracy.  In a pure democracy, laws are made directly by the voting majority leaving the rights of the minority largely unprotected. In a democratic republic, laws are made by representatives chosen by the people and must comply with a constitution that specifically protects the rights of the minority as well as those of the majority.

Today in the United States, it is the will of the minority that is trampling all over the rights of the majority.  The majority of people (60%) in the U.S. are for stricter gun regulations, yet there is no movement in this direction.  The majority of people (54%, with only 28% wishing to overturn it, with 18% who don’t care one way or the other) are in favour of maintaining Roe v Wade, supporting women’s rights, yet the Supreme Court is fully poised to overturn Roe.  The majority of the people (66%) in this country support Biden’s ‘Build Back Better’ program to help people who were financially affected by the pandemic, yet Congress trashed it.  70% of all voters were in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act last year, yet Congress also trashed both of those.  So … we can only conclude that the minority is dominating the majority and that is NOT in keeping with ANY form of democratic principles!

A few weeks ago, I reblogged Brosephus’ post titled America Is Dead.  At the time, I qualified my view of it, saying that I still had hope for this nation to rebound and that I would continue fighting with renewed resolve to restore the rights and will of the people – the majority of the people.  But yet again, I am discouraged, for it seems that the people in this nation today are so divided that there is no longer a UNITED States of America, but that we should change the name to the DIVIDED States of America.  In truth, it is almost as if there are two completely separate sub-species of humans living here.  We laud Abraham Lincoln for ending the Civil War, for bringing the nation back under one umbrella, but today we are as divided as we were in the 19th century.

Our friend Keith, who is among the most reasonable men I know, suggests we do more to open the lines of communications between the two sides, initiating dialogue, calmly asking those with opinions different from our own why they think as they do, and finding common ground, areas where we can compromise.  I agree with Keith’s premise, but is there so much as a square inch of common ground remaining these days?  It seems to me that the common ground was the first casualty of the great divide.  My concern is that there will be many more casualties of that great divide in the future.

Every day it seems that more and more schools and communities are banning certain books, even classics such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, or To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  WHY?  I first heard the claim that such books made white children ‘feel bad’ about how Blacks were treated back in the day, but of late, it is said that the books are being banned because they make Black children feel bad about themselves.  Either one is naught but an excuse for the reality which is that white supremacists do not want the next generation to be taught about the racism that has been a part of this country since before its founding.  Do they honestly think the children won’t learn about it anyway?  Isn’t it far better to have a compassionate teacher explain what happened, why it was wrong, and how we have worked throughout the past century to rectify it?  How can you simply cut a piece of history out of the history books?  How will they explain what Dr. Martin Luther King, John Lewis, Rosa Parks, Malcom X and others were fighting for when those who are children today reach high school and college?  So, I argue that books cannot be banned in schools and libraries, except perhaps books like Fifty Shades of Grey.

But my voice is not heard, more books are being banned daily, and if I were independently wealthy, I would mail a copy of Maus by Art Spiegelman to every child under the age of 12 in the nation.  Maus is a nonfiction graphic novel that depicts Spiegelman interviewing his father about his experiences as a Polish Jew and Holocaust survivor, yet the book is banned in a number of places.  Are we also, in addition to trying to erase our racist past, trying to erase the Holocaust, or anti-Semitism, or even World War II???  Are people really so narrow-minded that they believe our children won’t learn these things, one way or another.  And even more to the point, do they seek a return to those things such as extreme racial hatred, anti-Semitism, and violence against any who don’t fit into their own views?  For that is exactly where we are headed if we hide the reality of the past from the next generation.  It’s almost as if some have looked at the steps forward of the past 50-70 years and decided it was too much, that they wanted a ‘reset’ button to take them … take us all … back to the 1950s, the days of Happy Days television show, the days of segregated diners, segregated schools, and school prayer forced upon every child.

America’s claim to fame has been that it was a nation of immigrants, a diverse nation, but today it seems we want to erase that, to become a homogeneous country where everyone thinks, looks, and acts exactly the same.  How terrible, how boring, and how surreal that would be.

Those who wish for more, rather than fewer civil rights, who wish to keep Roe, Obergefell, Brown, and other Court rulings that have given rights to those who were once without, are not trying to force their way on others.  For example, and I’ve said this many times, if you don’t believe that abortion is right, then you are free not to have an abortion!  If you do not like same-sex marriage, then marry someone of the opposite sex!  Nobody, but nobody is forcing anyone to have an abortion or marry someone of their same gender.  But it is those with narrow minds and shallow views who would force the rest of us into their very small, dark box.  I don’t wish to live in that small, dark, terrible box, nor would I wish it on anyone else.

I thought we were better than this.  Obviously, I was wrong.

The End Of “Liberty and Justice for All”

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court voted to take away a substantial portion of the rights of women when they voted in private to strike down the 1973 landmark Roe v. Wade decision.  We all saw it coming, but I think we all had our fingers tightly crossed that the Court wouldn’t opt to go down this perilous path.  That hope is gone.  What’s next?  Will we lose our right to “equal pay for equal work”?  Will our voting rights be further restricted (working women are already among the groups for whom voting has been made significantly more difficult)?  Will the Court ultimately also strike down Obergefell v Hodges and take away the rights of same-sex couples to marry?  Just how far is this ignominious Supreme Court willing to push We the People?  And perhaps the bigger question is … how far will we allow them to push us before we push back?  It’s only a matter of time, my friends … only a matter of time.

One line of Justice Samuel Alito’s draft of the decision reads …

“Roe was egregiously wrong from the start …”

Ah yes … anything that allows a woman to have a degree of control over the path her life takes must be considered ‘egregious’, for we all know that Alito and his ilk still believe women to be the inferior gender, unable or incapable of rational thought, of logical decision-making even when it comes to her own body.

My suggestion to all the women in this nation is unless you actively want to get pregnant, make your guys have a vasectomy, else lock the bedroom door and tell him to sleep on the sofa.  Yes, I am serious!  Sex might be fun for both parties, but then we women are left to pay the price for the rest of our lives!

And don’t let those pseudo-Christian evangelicals who fought so hard to make this happen fool you with their “right to life” spiel!  It’s a damn lie.  They claim they are concerned because the fetus might have a chance to become a living, breathing human being.  But you know what happens once the woman gives birth to that little human being?  Those “right-to-life” people disappear.  The mother needs financial help because the sire has disappeared, but where are the “right-to-lifers”?  They bitch and moan about people on welfare and how a few of their measly tax dollars are helping to support single mothers AND those children they were so concerned about back when they were a fetus!  Where is their concern for those little living, breathing human beings now?

And when that little child grows up, graduates from high school with good grades, and wishes to go to college … where are the “right-to-life” folk?  They are busy complaining that some of their tax dollars might go to help pay for his/her education!

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, the sire has moved on, has a continuing prescription for Viagra so that he can go impregnate still more women without accepting either responsibility or consequence.  And the mother?  Well, she has been working two, sometimes three minimum-wage jobs to try to provide the best possible life for that child and has had zero opportunity to improve her own lot in life.

Or maybe, since mom was so busy trying to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, the youngster didn’t have enough parental supervision, fell in with the wrong crowd, got into drugs and either died of an overdose or else ended up in prison.  Right to life, did you say?  Define life?  Is it simply breathing and having a heartbeat, or is there something about ‘quality of life’?

Or consider the very likely alternative in some cases … back alley abortions will resume and I’d buy stock in wire coat hangers today, for no doubt there will be a run on them soon.  Women will die or be permanently damaged … what was that about “right to life”?

This decision by the Court is the last bit of evidence we needed that the Court has been taken over by partisans … right-wing partisans to be specific.  The three Justices who were appointed under the previous administration were cleverly chosen for both their bigotry and their relative youth, meaning each of the three could conceivably serve for several decades.  Although I have not been in favour of it in the past, I think the time has come to expand the Supreme Court, to level the playing field, to ensure a return to JUSTICE instead of a pandering to the religious fanatics and bigots in the nation.

As it stands now, “Liberty and Justice” for all is a farce … liberty and justice are only for white, straight males.  R.I.P. America … it was nice knowing you, however briefly.

Cartoon Bully

Clay Jones of Claytoonz is more than just a cartoonist … he is also a sharp political analyst and his posts are often as astute as any of the OpEd columnists. The battle for the 2024 GOP nomination for president has already begun and from all indications, it will be a bloodbath with neither candidate qualified for the office, but heck … in this day, who cares about pesky little things like qualifications, right? Anyway, thank you, Clay, for putting pen to paper on this one!

claytoonz

Ron De Santis is a bully. Republicans LOVE bullies. It’s why they love Donald Trump so much. Republicans believe bullying people weaker than you is a sign of strength. It’s also why they love Putin. But, bullying is just like it was in school. The bullies are cowards. They only pick on whom they believe they can beat up.

Remember when Donald Trump tried to bully Nancy Pelosi? Remember him crawling up his own bunghole when they were in the same room together and then Pelosi walked out of the White House putting on her shades like a boss? Remember when Donald Trump shut down the government until Congress would fund his racist border wall? Remember when Pelosi kicked his ass so hard that he reopened the government and the great dealmaker walked away with less than he started with? Remember when he tried to bully Hillary Clinton at the…

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