Just Two Snippets This Morning …

I just have two tidbits of snark tonight … well, in truth I have a bunch more than two, but two is all I feel up to imparting tonight, for I am tired.


The 51st state? 

Yesterday, the House passed a bill to make Washington D.C. the 51st state of the union, but that bill is almost certain to fail in the Senate.  Not one single House Republican voted for statehood, and that is likely to be the case in the Senate, where the filibuster will demand 60 votes to pass.

At present 714,153 people live in Washington D.C.  With only 61 square miles of land, DC has the highest population density in the U.S.  Yet, the people who live in DC have no political representation, and the Republicans in Congress would like to keep it that way.  Why?  Primarily because DC has a majority Black population, and it is the goal of the Republican Party to keep as many Blacks as possible from voting, since they typically vote for Democrats.  If you don’t believe me, just look at the 250+ voter suppression bills in process in 43 states at present — all aimed at keeping people of colour and the poor from having a voice.  Republicans may give you a dozen excuses for their obfuscation, but when you cut through the bull, it boils down to the fact that if the people of DC had the ability to elect two senators, they would most likely elect Democratic senators and the Republicans don’t want that.  Simple.

Of course, Republican lawmakers have come up with a multitude of excuses, such as Representative Glenn Grothman, who claims the district does not qualify for statehood because it does not have manufacturing, agriculture or natural resources.  Or another who said it couldn’t qualify for statehood because it doesn’t have a landfill.  But, at the end of the day, it doesn’t qualify because it has a Black majority.  Apparently those excuse-seeking members of Congress have never actually read the U.S. Constitution.

Imagine those residents of the district … they live, they work, they pay taxes, they serve in the military … with no representation in Congress.  I think the people of the district have been remarkably patient … and they deserve better than they’re getting.


One less racist cop

William Kelly was a Lieutenant in the Norfolk, Virginia, police department until he was fired earlier this week.  The reason for his firing?  He contributed to the legal defense fund of that teenage punk, Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two people last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter protest.

But, Kelly not only contributed financially, he also left a message for Rittenhouse on the GiveSendGo crowdfunding site, saying …

“God bless. Thank you for your courage. Keep your head up. You’ve done nothing wrong. Every rank and file police officer supports you. Don’t be discouraged by actions of the political class of law enforcement leadership.”

Did nothing wrong?????  WTF???  The boy, at the time 17 years of age, wasn’t even old enough to own a gun … in fact didn’t own a gun, but he borrowed an AR-15 from a friend and ended up killing two and seriously injuring another!  And a high-ranking police officer is applauding his actions???  Tell me again that we don’t need police reform in this country!

Chip Filer, Norfolk’s city manager, issued a statement …

“His egregious comments erode the trust between the Norfolk Police Department and those they are sworn to serve. The City of Norfolk has a standard of behavior for all employees, and we will hold staff accountable.”

And from the city’s police chief, Larry D. Boone …

“A police department cannot do its job when the public loses trust with those whose duty is to serve and protect them. We do not want perceptions of any individual officer to undermine the relations between the Norfolk Police Department and the community.”

So, there’s one less racist officer on the streets of Norfolk, Virginia tonight, but how many more in cities across this nation?

Will They Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is?

When Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola objected to Georgia’s new voter suppression laws, Mitch McConnell said that corporations should stay out of politics … except, of course, they should continue to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican campaigns.  This is, perhaps, the greatest hypocrisy of the 21st century … “give me your money, but don’t tell me what to do”. 

Interesting, isn’t it, how the Republican Party, in particular Mitch McConnell, danced for joy in 2010 when the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Citizens United v FEC that corporations are people too and should be allowed to have a voice in politics, to donate to the candidates of their choice (in other words, the ones that will vote for profit over people)?

Now, before you go crediting Delta and Coke with being companies with a heart, understand that they were looking out for their own profits, for in recent years We the People have begun using their purchasing power to make a statement.  For example, many of us who support LGBT civil rights, no longer shop at Hobby Lobby or eat at Chick-Fil-A, both of whom have employment policies that discriminate against LGBT people.  With the public outrage over states attempting to take away our voting rights, it only makes fiscal sense for companies to speak out against the new Jim Crow laws if they want to keep their customers happy.  

But talk is cheap … will they put their money where their mouth is?

From an article in today’s New York Times

Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing “any discriminatory legislation” that would make it harder for people to vote.

It was the biggest show of solidarity so far by the business community as companies around the country try to navigate the partisan uproar over Republican efforts to enact new election rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, have called for companies to stay out of politics.

The statement was organized in recent days by Kenneth Chenault, a former chief executive of American Express, and Kenneth Frazier, the chief executive of Merck.

Last month, with only a few big companies voicing opposition to a restrictive new voting law in Georgia, Mr. Chenault and Mr. Frazier led a group of Black executives in calling on companies to get more involved in opposing similar legislation around the country.

Since then, many other companies have voiced support for voting rights. But the new statement, which was also signed by General Motors, Netflix and Starbucks, represented the broadest coalition yet to weigh in on the issue.

“It should be clear that there is overwhelming support in corporate America for the principle of voting rights,” Mr. Chenault said.

Mr. Frazier emphasized that the statement was intended to be nonpartisan, arguing that protecting voting rights should garner support from Republicans and Democrats alike.

“These are not political issues,” he said. “These are the issues that we were taught in civics.”

Coca-Cola and Delta, which condemned the Georgia law after it was passed, declined to add their names, according to people familiar with the matter. Home Depot also declined, even though its co-founder Arthur Blank said in a call with other business executives on Saturday that he supported voting rights. Another Home Depot co-founder, Ken Langone, is a vocal supporter of Mr. Trump.

They talk a good talk, but can they walk the walk?  Will they stop donating to the political campaigns of those who would take away our rights to vote, or will they talk out of one side of their mouth, while at the same time talking out of the other side of their wallet?

I have a general mistrust of large corporations, for most are narrowly focused on profit rather than people.  Time will tell whether these corporations are acting with conscience or only paying lip service, but if they truly put their money where their mouth is, I will give them a thumbs up. 

You can view the statement and signatories here.

The Dems in Disarray Media Narrative Continues

I was so exhausted last night that I missed Jeff’s spot-on post. The media is condemning the Democratic Party for putting its shoes on the wrong feet, while turning a blind eye to the Republican Party who is trying to steal others’ shoes, even if it means chopping off their feet! Great post, Jeff! Thanks!

On The Fence Voters

One of the more prevailing narratives over the past several years by the mainstream media is how the Democratic Party is always in disarray. To hear some of them, you’d think Democrats can never agree on anything.

A recent article by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post drives home the idea by pointing out that there are differences in opinion between Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on how Democrats should move forward on health care.

Sanders has been a vocal advocate of Medicare for all, a government-run health care system where every citizen in the country is covered from birth to death. Pelosi is advocating for an expanded version of The Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Pelosi would like to make the ACA subsidy enhancements included in the American Rescue Act permanent. Sanders, for his part, would like to lower the Medicare eligibility age requirement…

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Same Tune They’ve Been Playin’ Forever

Fox ‘News’ has some of the slimiest people in the industry working for them … ol’ Rupert Murdoch sure does know how to pick ‘em.  The only credible journalist at Fox is Chris Wallace, son of the long-esteemed Mike Wallace, and I often wonder why he doesn’t get a job at a more reputable network.  Among the worst of the lot is Tucker Carlson, a man who would argue with a tin can if it were marked “Democrat” or contained lima beans.

Charles M. Blow has written an editorial for the New York Times that I think bears reading if you want to try to understand the current white supremacist movement by the Republican Party to disenfranchise Black, Hispanic, Asian and immigrant voters.  The current push is nothing new, merely an upgrade of what white supremacists have always tried to do.


Tucker Carlson and White Replacement

This racist theory is rooted in white supremacist panic.

Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson caused an uproar by promoting the racist, anti-Semitic, patriarchal and conspiratorial “white replacement theory.” Also known as the “great replacement theory,” it stands on the premise that nonwhite immigrants are being imported (sometimes the Jewish community is accused of orchestrating this) to replace white people and white voters. The theory is also an inherent chastisement of white women for having a lower birthrate than nonwhite women.

As Carlson put it:

“I know that the left and all the gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots, with new people, more obedient voters, from the third world. But, they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it: That’s true.”

Carlson continued, “Every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.”

The whole statement is problematic. First, what is the third world? This label originated as a way to categorize countries that didn’t align with Western countries or the former Soviet bloc. It’s now often used to describe poor countries, or developing countries, and by extension, mostly nonwhite majority countries.

When Carlson worries about immigrants from the third world, he is talking about Hispanic, Asian and Black people who he worries will outnumber “current” voters. Current voters, in this formulation, are the white people who make up the majority of the American electorate.

Second, and revealingly, he is admitting that Republicans do not and will not appeal to new citizens who are immigrants.

But although white replacement theory is a conspiracy theory, the fact that the percentage of voters who are white in America is shrinking as a percentage of all voters is not. Neither is the fact that white supremacists are panicked about this.

White supremacists in this country have long worried about being replaced by people, specifically voters, who are not white. In the post-Civil War era, before the current immigrant wave from predominantly nonwhite countries, most of that anxiety in America centered on Black people.

Judge Solomon Calhoon of Mississippi wrote in 1890 of the two decades of Black suffrage following the Civil War, “Negro suffrage is an evil.”

Calhoon worried that white voters had been replaced, or outnumbered, by Black ones, writing: “Shall the ballot remain as now adjusted, the whole country in the meantime taking the chances of the rapid increase of the blacks, and leaving, in the meantime, the whites as they now are in those localities where they are outnumbered?”

Calhoon would go on to become the president of the state’s constitutional convention that year, a convention called with the explicit intention of codifying white supremacy and suppressing the Black vote. States across the South would follow the Mississippi example, calling constitutional conventions of their own, until Jim Crow was the law of the South.

The combination of Jim Crow voter suppression laws and the migration of millions of Black people out of the South during the Great Migration diluted the Black vote, distributing it across more states, and virtually guaranteed that white voters would not be outnumbered by Black ones in any state. The fear of “Black domination” dissipated.

Indeed, as extension of the 1965 Voting Rights Act was being debated in 1969, The New York Times made note of the fact that Attorney General John Mitchell, a proponent of a competing bill, was well aware that even if all the unregistered Black people in the South were registered, their voting power still couldn’t overcome the “present white conservative tide” in the South. As The Times added, “In fact, Mr. Mitchell is known to believe that Negro registration benefits the Republicans because it drives the Southern whites out of the Democratic Party.”

A reporter at the time asked an aide of a Republican representative, “What has happened to the party of Lincoln?” The aide responded, “It has put on a Confederate uniform.”

But now, in addition to Black voters voting overwhelmingly Democratic, there is a wave of nonwhite immigrants who also lean Democratic. And tremendous energy is being exerted not only by white supremacists in the general population, but also Republican office holders, to attack immigrants, curtail immigration, disenfranchise Black and brown voters and assail abortion rights.

One of the surest ways of preventing a Black person from voting is to prevent them from living. As The Times reported in 1970, Leander Perez, a man who had been a judge and prosecutor and “led the last stand against integration” in Louisiana’s Plaquemines Parish, once famously linked Black birth control to racial dominance, stating: “The best way to hate a [expletive] is to hate him before he’s born.”

I would even argue that the bizarre obsession with trans people is also rooted in part in white anxiety over reproduction.

The architects of whiteness in America drew the definition so narrowly that it rendered it fragile, unsustainable, and in constant need of defense. Replacement of the white majority in this country by a more multiracial, multicultural majority is inevitable. So is white supremacist panic over it.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/10

People like Matt Gaetz and Mitch McConnell give the political cartoonists much material to work with these days!  It’s almost impossible not to mock them … it’s almost as if they’re begging us to!  Our friend TokyoSand found some of the very best ones last week, as she always does.  Thank you, TS!

See All The ‘Toons!

The States Racing to Copy Georgia

Our friend TokyoSand reminds us that Georgia isn’t the only state that has passed a restrictive voting law this year.  Some 43 states are working on or have already passed voting laws that will strictly restrict voting by minorities, the poor, the elderly and the young.  In other words, they only want fat, old men to vote!  Read Tokyo’s post to learn which states are coming up on Georgia’s heels …


The States Racing to Copy Georgia

I’m happy that the media is covering the travesty that is the new Georgia law that restricts all kinds of voting rights for its citizens. But, that coverage is drowning out other, similarly important stories.

First and foremost, the media barely covered the Iowa governor signing a voter suppression bill a few weeks before the Georgia bill was signed. The Republicans in the state House and state Senate pushed their bill through, using the tired, old GOP talking point that it was all about “guarding against voter fraud,” even as they admitted that “Iowa has no history of election irregularities and that November’s election saw record turnout with no hint of problems in the state.”

Continue reading …The States Racing to Copy Georgia

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/3

Once again, TokyoSand has found the best selection of political cartoons from the hundreds out there.  This week’s biggest topics have been Matt Gaetz (who, in my book, deserves to be consigned to the annals of idiocy and forgotten), the trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd, and the horrendous voter suppression bill signed into law in Georgia by Governor Kemp.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work putting these weekly cartoon posts together!

See All The ‘Toons!

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I have only two snippets tonight … one is great news, the other a horrid example of man’s inhumanity to man.  One warms my heart, the other breaks it.


Let me begin with the good …

While Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was signing a bill into law that would effectively disenfranchise over half the population of Georgia so that they will find it almost impossible to vote in next year’s election, just two states to the north, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was preparing to sign into law a bill that does the exact opposite … ensures that every person over the age of 18 is able to vote.

The Voting Rights Act of Virginia aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state. Virginia is the first state to enact its own version of the federal Voting Rights Act, while 43 other states are working diligently to keep minorities and the poor away from the polls.  Says the governor …

“At a time when voting rights are under attack across our country, Virginia is expanding access to the ballot box, not restricting it. With the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, our Commonwealth is creating a model for how states can provide comprehensive voter protections that strengthen democracy and the integrity of our elections. I am proud to support this historic legislation, and I urge Congress to follow Virginia’s example.”

The legislation would require local election officials to get feedback through public comment or pre-approval from the attorney general’s office in order to make any changes in voting regulations, according to a release from Northam’s office.

It also requires that local election officials provide voting materials in foreign languages as needed. Individuals who experience voter suppression will also be allowed to sue, where any civil penalties awarded will go toward a newly established Voter Education and Outreach Fund.

The bill comes after Northam restored voting rights to 69,000 former felons through executive action earlier this month.  I realize this is a controversial topic, but in my view, the former felon has paid his dues with a prison sentence, and once he gets out, he is a taxpayer and a citizen just like you or me.  If he’s going to pay taxes in this country, then he must have a voice, a vote.

My hat is off to the Virginia State Legislature and to Governor Ralph Northam for doing everything they can to protect the U.S. Constitution and the people of Virginia.  THIS is a fine example of democratic principles at work.


Now for the bad and the ugly …

Byong Choi died on February 24th at the age of 83 as a result of bone marrow tuberculosis.  He had been a hard-working accountant and restauranteur in Orange Country, California for most of his life.  Due to coronavirus restrictions, his funeral was delayed until March 19th.

The following Monday, Byong Choi’s wife, Yong, 82, received a handwritten, cursive letter at her Leisure World Seal Beach retirement community home postmarked the same date as the funeral …

Read that letter again, please … go ahead, I’ll wait.  What do you feel when you read those hate-filled words?  Broken-hearted?  Enraged?  I felt both, as I’m sure most people with an ounce of human kindness did.

The Seal Beach Police Department in the county has launched an investigation into what it calls an anti-Asian hate crime, but I have doubts the letter-writer will be caught, and if he or she is, they’ll get naught more than a slap on the wrist.  I have no doubt that this was written by one of those white people with a false sense of entitlement who believes their ugly white skin makes them somehow superior, more deserving.

This letter came just days after the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, where 8 people were murdered, six of them women of Asian descent.  And why … why all of a sudden have fat white people taken a dislike to those of Asian heritage?  Because one person called the coronavirus the “China virus” and the “Kung Flu”, thinking he was being cute or funny.  What he did with those words were to set off a chain of events that has targeted Asian-Americans such as the Choi family, the women in Atlanta, and many others.  What he did was criminal.

People … read the damn words on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty …

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

And yet today, hate crimes against those of Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent are at an all-time high.  Those people are vilified by a portion of the country’s white population.  Why?  What the hell makes them think they are better than the rest of us?  I regret to inform you that the United States is no longer the nation it once was, is no longer a port in the stormy sea for those seeking asylum or refuge.  It is time we send the Statue of Liberty back to France, for we no longer deserve it.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 3/27

As she does each week, TokyoSand scoured the internet for the best of last week’s political cartoons.  Needless to say, mass shootings and guns led the way, followed by the attempts to overthrow the right of We the People to vote, to have a say in our government, who runs it and how.  These days I wish I had some shred of artistic talent, for I would love to be able to opine in a ‘toon!  But alas, a cracked egg shell is about the extent of my talents!

toon-1toon-2toon-3toon-5

See All The ‘Toons!

Just A Few Thoughts …

I frequently write about the income disparity in this nation.  I’m not a fan of great wealth, see it as unnecessary hoarding while others do without, and I do support government-funded programs that help people in need.  One person often comments on these posts with his opposing view, saying the wealthy earned it, let them keep it … all of it.  Of course, there is a fallacy in that the majority of very wealthy people actually inherited most of their wealth and have not done much to earn it at all, apart from hiring wise people to advise them in their investment strategies to increase their wealth.  Recently this person, whose comments I largely ignore, said that if people simply learned to “invest more wisely”, there wouldn’t be poverty.

Wisely, I did not respond to his comment, for at that moment my answer would not have been calm and reasoned.  Obviously, this person has zero understanding of poverty.  WHAT is there to invest, if you cannot even afford to pay the rent, utilities, and have some left over to buy food???  Even for the average mid-range earner, investment opportunities are largely limited to an employer’s 401(k) plan, for at the end of the month there is little left over.

It is the ignorance born of wealth and entitlement that bothers me the most.  The wealthy don’t even attempt to understand the other 99% of the world … they live in ivory towers, sheltered and shielded from poverty, from the homeless, and even from the very people who are, by their labours, helping the rich get richer.  They oppose a substantial increase in the minimum wage rate, for that might cut into their own profits just a bit.  They oppose helping the poor, falsely claiming that they are poor because they are too lazy to work.  They oppose such healthcare programs as Medicare for All because they have access to the finest medical care available and don’t understand what it’s like for the family who cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor this week.

Yesterday, I read that President Biden will soon unveil his promised infrastructure plan, the first part based on repairing roads, bridges and railways, and the second part focused on families and children.  Already, however, Republicans are calling it useless and a waste of money.  Why?  Because they don’t live in Flint, Michigan where the water is still not safe to drink.  Because they don’t, as a rule, drive over the unsafe bridges and on the highways filled with potholes … instead they travel by private jet or helicopter.  There can be no mistake … the Republican Party, once called the “Party of Lincoln”, is a party that exists solely for the wealthy and that is largely funded by the wealthy.  Lincoln would be appalled by what the party has become today … a bigoted, corrupt organization that is doing everything in its power to keep the poor “in their place” and to return Blacks to the days of Jim Crow.

The Republican Party claims to be in favour of ‘smaller government’, but this is a nation of 330 million people … just how small do they think the government can be, and yet serve those people?  Given that most every Republican in Congress is either well on their way to being a millionaire, or is already one, is it really any surprise that they have no comprehension how the rest of us live?  What does it take?  We pay their salaries out of our meager incomes, and in return we get … NOTHING.  They do not represent us, they represent the heads of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Kraft Foods, AT&T, and so many others.  They represent people who have more money than you or I can even imagine, who have never struggled to pay the bills, buy food, or seek medical attention a single day in their lives.  And now, as they see their ship may soon run aground, they are doing everything in their power to take away our voice, our right to vote them out of office.  Rather than consider altering the party’s platform, becoming more humanitarian, supporting policies that help people and the environment, they cling to their old ways, cling to the plutocracy, and rob us of our right to participate in the government that we fund.

Rather than pay taxes that could fund such things as infrastructure, feeding the poor, building renewable energy facilities and more, the wealthy spend their money to buy politicians who will do their best to ensure none of these things that would help people can happen.  “Whatever it takes” to keep the poor from rising out of the ashes, to keep the working people from seeing a brighter future, the wealthy and the Republican Party will support it.  There are notable exceptions such as those who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Those born into wealth cannot understand what they have never known and it is easier to turn a blind eye than to see how the rest of us struggle.

I am against great wealth … it is the hoarding of money that could ultimately make so many lives so much better.  I make no apologies for my views, for I have experienced that which almost no wealthy person ever has … I have been without a home, I have had my electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill, and I have been denied medical care when I hadn’t the money to pay.  Perhaps the Republican Party should have to live that way for a while and perhaps they would find a bit of humanity within their shriveled little hearts.  Until something changes, this nation cannot realistically be called the “United” States because we are not.