Republican Party … The Party Of Bigots

I have said for several years now that the Republican Party has become the party of bigotry:  they despise the LGBT community, treat Blacks like second-class citizens, and would, given half a chance, impose the will of the narrow-minded Christian evangelicals on us all.  You just can’t get much more bigoted than all that.  I am not alone in my assessment, for Eugene Robinson’s most recent column in The Washington Post concurs with my thoughts …


The Republican Party is making Jim Crow segregationists proud

Eugene-RobinsonOpinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

March 1, 2021 at 5:18 p.m. EST

The Republican Party’s biggest problem is that too many people of color are exercising their right to vote. The party’s solution is a massive push for voter suppression that would make old-time Jim Crow segregationists proud.

The Conservative Political Action Conference circus last week in Orlando showed how bankrupt the GOP is — at least when it comes to ideas, principles and integrity. Some might argue that the party, in buying into the lie that last year’s election was somehow stolen, is simply delusional. I disagree. I think Republican leaders know exactly what they’re doing.

The GOP may have lost the White House and the Senate, but it remains strong in most state capitols. So far this year, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, Republicans in 33 states “have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 165 bills to restrict voting access.” The thrust of virtually all these measures is to make it more difficult for African Americans and other minorities to vote.

These efforts at disenfranchisement are more numerous, and more discriminatory, in several of the swing states President Biden carried narrowly: Arizona, Pennsylvania and Georgia. That should come as no surprise. GOP officials who had the temerity to follow the law and count the November vote honestly, such as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have been all but excommunicated by their state Republican Party organizations.

In Georgia — where not only did Donald Trump lose to Biden by 11,779 votes, but also two incumbent GOP senators were defeated by Democratic challengers — Republicans are using their control of the statehouse to try to eliminate all early voting on Sundays. That would put an end to “Souls to the Polls,” a popular Sunday get-out-the-vote initiative in which Black churches help parishioners get to polling places and cast their ballots.

“Souls to the Polls” eliminates barriers to voting that thousands of Black Georgians otherwise might face, such as transportation for the elderly or finding time during the workweek for others. Georgia Republicans want to put those barriers back up — and raise them even higher.

Other proposals being pushed by Georgia GOP state legislators include getting rid of no-excuse absentee voting, which has been allowed for decades; eliminating the use of convenient drop boxes for casting absentee votes; and abolishing automatic voter registration at the Department of Driver Services offices where Georgians go to renew their driver’s licenses and vehicle registrations.

Trump’s wild and false claims of election fraud aren’t the only things driving these efforts; Republican efforts to restrict voting are hardly new. Republican officials in Georgia know the state’s electorate at a granular level and are capable of performing basic addition and subtraction. They see how the populous suburbs around Atlanta, once GOP strongholds, have been steadily trending Democratic. They may not be able to halt that process. But perhaps they can compensate by suppressing the African American vote in economically disadvantaged areas of Atlanta proper; in the wide “Black Belt” stretching southwest across the state, roughly from Augusta to Columbus; and in the heavily African American area around Savannah.

In strongly Hispanic Arizona, which Biden won by 10,457 votes and where the Brennan Center tallies 19 voter-suppression bills filed since the election, the state Senate has rejected — for now — a Republican measure that would have stricken roughly 200,000 names from a list of voters who automatically receive mail-in ballots. That courtesy is considered the primary reason most Arizonans cast their votes by mail.

But another still-pending measure would require early ballots to be hand-delivered to a polling place rather than returned by mail, negating the benefits of mail voting. And another proposed bill would simply disregard the will of the voters altogether, allowing the GOP-controlled state legislature to appoint its own slate of presidential electors. Democracy, after all, can be so inconvenient.

Elsewhere across the country, Republican legislators are trying to tighten voter-identification laws that are already too restrictive. And they are trying to find ways to disqualify more mail-in ballots — perhaps for future occasions when GOP candidates need to “find” enough favorable votes, or lose enough adverse ones, to deny victory to a Democrat.

It amounts to an outrageous and shameful attempt to establish and perpetuate minority rule in a nation in which the Republican candidate for president has won the popular vote only once in the past eight elections.

At the state level, Democrats must fight these efforts relentlessly. And at the federal level, they should use any means necessary — including eliminating or suspending the Senate filibuster — to pass H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” which would invalidate much of the most anti-democratic legislation the GOP is trying to enact.

And voters of color must resolve not to be deterred. This is not a “Whites only” democracy. Not anymore.

A disgusting lack of leadership

Keith has expressed my own views, only so much better than I typically do. Thank you, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The following are the views of a former Republican and now Independent voter. I did not vote for the former president either time and remain puzzled why people would vote for such a well-documented untruthful, egomaniacal bully.

On Friday, I read that Senator Mitch McConnell would support the seditious former president if he were the 2024 presidential nominee. Note, this is after McConnell denounced the former president for his role in the insurrection against a branch of government, which of course, put McConnell and his colleagues in danger. And, unsurprisingly, Mr. McConnell chose not to vote to convict the former president before he admitted said person was guilty.

This is a disgusting lack of leadership in a country that needs this party to help offer some form leadership. But, as of this writing, people who voted as leaders to impeach or convict the seditious former president, have been vilified, censured…

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Freedom Summer Project – those who braved Mississippi burning (a reprise)

Keith has reprised one of his old posts, one that resonates today as much as at any other time. As we wind down Black History Month, this is an important lesson for us to remember. Thanks, Keith!

musingsofanoldfart

The following post is a reprise of one I wrote in the summer of 2014. I felt the story needed a new telling during Black History Month.

Fifty years ago this summer, over 700 students from across the country, joined in the Civil Rights battle in Mississippi, where African-Americans had been demonstratively and, at times, violently denied their basic civil rights, especially the right to vote. These students joined together with the Student Nonviolent Coordination Committee (SNNC) under the guidance of Bob Moses, who had been slowly organizing SNNC since 1960. These students, were predominantly white, but included all races and ethnic groups.

The fact that many were white helped bring further attention to the ongoing tragedy going on Mississippi, perpetuated by those in power as the young students lived within the African-American community, taught through Freedom Schools young students about African-American history, literature and rights, items that had been…

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Two Thumbs Up For Supreme Court Today!

Score one … no wait, score two … for justice today!  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on two separate cases this morning that I’ve been watching.


The first is the case brought by District Attorney Cyrus Vance of New York, seeking access to eight years of Donald Trump’s financial and tax records.  This case has been tied up in the courts for years now, often hindered by U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, who served as Trump’s lapdog and protector.  But today, the Court denied the motion by Trump’s attorneys to keep his tax records hidden in a one-sentence order with no recorded dissents.

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.

Music to the ears!  What this means is there are no further appeals and the accounting firm Mazar’s will turn over the subpoenaed tax records to Cyrus Vance’s office within a matter of days.  Last year, the New York Times obtained more than two decades of tax return data of Trump and his companies and published a series of articles about them.  Trump, the articles said, sustained significant losses, owes enormous debts that he is personally obligated to repay, has avoided paying federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years the Times examined and paid just $750 in both 2016 and 2017.

The scope of Mr. Vance’s inquiry is not known. It arose partly from an investigation by his office into hush-money payments to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, relationships the president has denied. But court filings by prosecutors suggested that they are also investigating potential crimes like tax and insurance fraud.

Vance responded to the court decision with a three-word tweet: “The work continues.”


The second Supreme Court ruling that gets a thumbs-up is in what should be the next-to-last case challenging the 2020 election results.  This one sought to throw out a portion of the postal votes in the state of Pennsylvania, based on the fact that some were received and accepted in the three-day period after election day.  Never mind that this was Trump’s own fault, for placing Louis DeJoy in the position of Postmaster General with the sole goal of slowing the mail to a snail’s pace so that postal votes would be delayed.  The Court basically told Trump to sit down and shut up, and even Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Thomas acknowledged that the number of ballots received after Election Day would not have been enough to threaten President Biden’s victory margin over Trump.

The next and final case challenging election results will be heard on March 5th, challenging the use of ballot drop boxes in the state of Wisconsin.  I have no idea why these cases have not been dropped, for all claims of widespread voter fraud have been disproven time and time again over the past four months, and there is no case that would have changed the outcome of the election.  It’s a complete waste of both time and money when the Court has more important things to concern itself with.


And in upcoming legislation …

You may remember the Equality Act, a bill that would significantly expand LGBTQ protections.  The bill was passed by the House in 2019, but languished in the Senate where then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to even bring the bill to the floor.  Last week, Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island re-introduced the bill, which is expected to pass in the House, but may face an uphill battle in the Senate.

The bill, if passed and signed into law, would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to include LGBTQ Americans, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity for housing, education, employment and in other areas.  A no-brainer, right?  But … well, the congressional republicans claim it will interfere with religious freedom!

None other than Marjorie Taylor Greene, a freshman representative who has already stirred up trouble more than a few times since taking her oath of office last month, opposes the bill calling it “an attack on people of faith.”  BULLSHIT!  If “people of faith” are so bigoted that they would deny equal rights to people in the LGBT community, then I suggest they re-evaluate their ‘faith’.  Greene tweeted earlier today …

“Just to make myself clear, I WILL BE VOTING NO TO THE DISGUSTING, IMMORAL, AND EVIL #EqualityAct!!! It has nothing to do with stopping discrimination against the LGBT community, that could be done easily without this. It has everything to do with attacking God & believers.”

My own representative, Warren Davidson, made the same claim on Twitter just this morning.  Are all republicans homophobes, then?  Are they all bigots?  Perhaps they should have a big “B” tattooed on their foreheads, ala The Scarlet Letter.

If the Senate refuses to pass this one (it will require a 60-vote majority to avoid a filibuster), then I suggest that every single senator who votes against it be shown just what discrimination feels like.  Let them be denied service next time they go to a restaurant.  Let them be shunned in public.  Cross to the other side of the street to avoid them.  Give them just a taste of what it’s like to be discriminated against.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

It should be noted that members of Congress represent ALL the people in their district/state, not only straight, white, Christian males!

Martin Luther King’s advice on avoiding violence – a reprise

Our friend Keith has written a thoughtful and thought-provoking post for the day, for the times we are living through. He quotes Dr. Martin Luther King, one of the wisest men of our times. Thank you, Keith, for this perfect post!

musingsofanoldfart

The following post was written about nine years ago, but still resonates today.

Martin Luther King once said,“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very things it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, it merely increases the hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

These aspirational words ring true even today. A historian made a comment on the news the other day, saying the only thing man has been very good at since the…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Daisy Bates

I’m going to do something a little bit different today.  My usual Wednesday ‘good people’ posts feature people who are doing good things for others, or for the planet, in recent days or weeks.  Today, though, I’m going to highlight a single good person who has been dead for 22 years now, but who, in her day, would certainly have made my ‘good people’ list.

February is Black History Month in the U.S., and while I typically would have done a few pieces by now on people from the past who have made positive contributions to our world, I’ve been so wrapped up in impeachment and other political issues that I’ve been remiss.  So today, I am combining Black History with Good People!

Daisy-Bates-1Her name was Daisy Bates, born in 1914.  When Daisy was three years old, her mother was raped and murdered by three local white men, and her body thrown into a millpond.  Soon after, her father abandoned her and she was left to be cared for by her mother’s close friends.  Her mother’s murderers, though known to law enforcement, were never prosecuted, and thus began Daisy’s rage toward white people.  That rage might have consumed Daisy, but on his deathbed, her adoptive father had some wise words that helped then-teenager Daisy turn her rage into activism …

“Hate can destroy you, Daisy. Don’t hate white people just because they’re white. If you hate, make it count for something. Hate the humiliations we are living under in the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the South. Hate the discrimination that eats away at the soul of every black man and woman. Hate the insults hurled at us by white scum—and then try to do something about it, or your hate won’t spell a thing.”

Daisy Bates took his words to heart and would spend the rest of her life ‘doing something about it’.

In 1942, Daisy married L.C. Bates and the couple moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, where they started the Arkansas State Press, a weekly statewide newspaper.  The paper became an avid voice for civil rights even before a nationally recognized movement had emerged.  Daisy became president of the Arkansas State Conference of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP), as well as continuing her work on the newspaper.

A year after it started, the State Press published a story covering the killing of a Black man by a white police officer. This local case gave details about how a Black soldier on leave from Camp Robinson, Sergeant Thomas P. Foster, was shot by a local white police officer.  Sound familiar?  Some things never change.

Daisy-LC-BatesAlthough Black Americans praised this groundbreaking newspaper, many white readers were outraged by it and some even boycotted it.  In August of 1957, a stone was thrown into their home that read, “Stone this time. Dynamite next.” More than once, members of the Ku Klux Klan demanded that the Bates “go back to Africa” and burned crosses in their yard.  But none of that stopped Daisy Bates.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v Board of Education that segregated schools were illegal, however the State of Arkansas refused to acknowledge the ruling and Black students continued to be kept out of schools.  Daisy and L.C. used their newspaper to find a reasonable solution to the situation, editorializing …

“We feel that the proper approach would be for the leaders among the Negro race—not clabber mouths, Uncle Toms, or grinning appeasers to get together and counsel with the school heads.”

And later, when Governor Orval Faubus and his supporters were refusing even token desegregation of Central High School …

“It is the belief of this paper that since the Negro’s loyalty to America has forced him to shed blood on foreign battle fields against enemies, to safeguard constitutional rights, he is in no mood to sacrifice these rights for peace and harmony at home.”

In 1957, Governor Faubus, still refusing to allow Black children to attend all-white schools, brought in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent a group of nine Black students, later to become famous as the Little Rock Nine, from entering Little Rock High School.  In response to this defiance as well as to protests already taking place, President Eisenhower sent in federal troops to allow their entrance. On September 25, 1957, the nine students were escorted by Army soldiers and Daisy Bates into Central High amid angry protests. The next month, Bates and others were arrested on trumped up charges, but were soon after released on bail.

Bates regularly drove the students to and from school, hosted them in her home after school and worked tirelessly to ensure they were protected from violent crowds. One of her most successful protection strategies was to get local ministers to escort the students to school, daring the white Christians protesting and hurling threats to attack men of the cloth. Bates’ plan worked, but she started to receive threats herself. Rocks were thrown into her home, crosses were burned on her property, and bullet shells were sent to her in the mail. White advertisers boycotted her newspaper and eventually she and L.C. had to shut it down.

Daisy-Bates-2

Daisy Bates with the Little Rock Nine

Bates received support from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who assured her, “World opinion is with you. The moral conscience of millions of white Americans is with you.” Bates was also elected to the executive committee of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).  Bates was also the only woman who spoke at the 1963 March on Washington during the official program, pledging that women would fight just as hard and long as the men until all Black people were free and had the vote.

Bates later served in the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson and worked on anti-poverty programs. In 1968 she moved to the rural black community of Mitchellville, Arkansas and worked there to improve the lives of her neighbors by establishing a self-help program which was responsible for new sewer systems, paved streets, a water system, and community center.

The city of Little Rock eventually honored Bates by opening Daisy Bates Elementary School and by making the third Monday in February George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day an official state holiday.

Daisy Bates died at the age of 84 on November 4, 1999 in Little Rock, Arkansas, after suffering numerous strokes. Her body was chosen to lie in state in the Arkansas State Capitol building, on the second floor, making her the first woman and the first Black person to do so. Governor Orval Faubus, who had opposed integration during the Little Rock Crisis and throughout his political career, had an office on this floor.  Her house became a National Historic Landmark in 2002 and in April 2019, the Arkansas governor signed into law a bill that designates Daisy Bates and Johnny Cash as the two representatives of the State of Arkansas in the U.S. Capitol’s National Statuary Hall Collection.

This woman didn’t just do a single good thing, or a few good things, but she dedicated her life to doing good things.  If Daisy Bates wasn’t a ‘good people’, then I don’t know who is.

Hank Aaron – quiet dignity, quiet strength

I had planned to write a tribute post to baseball’s legendary Henry (Hank) Aaron this afternoon, but as often happens when great minds think alike, Keith was on the same page, only he beat me to the punch and did it every bit as well as I could have. Thank you, Keith, for this lovely tribute to a man who was not only a great baseball player, but also a great human being.

musingsofanoldfart

A great baseball player passed away yesterday. His name was Henry Aaron, but he went by Hank. He was a very quiet man growing up in the south in the middle of the Jim Crow era. But, arguably he is on a very short list of the greatest baseball players ever.

Rather than bore non-baseball fans with endless statistics indicating how great he was, let me focus on how poorly this African-American was treated as he chased records set by white ball players. He received multiple death threats and family kidnapping threats and was openly called the N word both aloud and within the many letters of vicious hate mail.

Like Jackie Robinson before him, he took all of this with quiet dignity and a heavy dose of quiet strength. Racism and bigotry was dumped on this man like garbage. But, he stood strong.

When he chased the greatest of…

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Republican Senator warns against being the party of conspiracy theory and talk show hosts

With no less than two newly-elected Republican members of Congress being followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory group, one wonders what the Republican Party is becoming. Turns out, at least one Republican Senator has an answer and it doesn’t bode well for the future of the GOP. Our friend Keith tells us the story …

musingsofanoldfart

One of the three key reasons I left the Republican Party over twelve years ago is its tendency to make things up. Aided and abetted by radio talk show hosts and the Fox prime time line-up, whose primary mission was misinformation not news, the party became more distasteful to me. I have noted before that the outgoing president did not create this untruthful bent, but he has certainly shown how to use to leverage it more.

Now, with social media allowing less fettered information to proliferate, conspiracy theories have found an accepting home. This is not just my opinion. In an article in Business Insider by T. Porter called “GOP Senator Ben Sasse warned that the QAnon conspiracy theory movement is destroying the Republican Party,” he rakes the now-Trump Party over the coals. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link below.

“Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has warned in…

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Republican Congressman slams Trump loyalists

Won’t you all be glad when (if) the day comes that we have better things to write about than Trump? I know I will, but for today … sigh. Our friend Keith writes of yet another Republican member of Congress who has stepped off of the Trump train … now if only the rest would consider the fate of the nation rather than their own … Thanks, Keith, for keeping us informed!

musingsofanoldfart

An article entitled “GOP Lawmaker Slams Republican Trump Loyalists, Calls MAGA Base ‘Anti-American,’ Says He’s ‘Damn Sick of It'” by Christina Zhao of Newsweek reveals that more Republicans are saying the obvious about their party leader and silent colleagues. Here are the first three paragraphs:

Outgoing Republican Congressman Denver Riggleman of Virginia on Saturday unleashed a barrage of criticism againstDonald Trump, his allies and ‘anti-American’ supporters, as the president continues to cast doubt on his election loss.

Riggleman is among the few Republicans who have acknowledged President-electJoe Biden‘s victory over Trump. Most media outlets called the election for the Democrat, who has secured 306 Electoral College votes, over two weeks ago, but Trump has refused to concede.

In an interview withForbes, Riggleman condemned his fellow Republicans for remaining quiet amid Trump’s attempts to cast doubt on the election process by claiming a ‘rigged and stolen”…

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 “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: A Look Back at my Prediction for 2020

The usual Wednesday ‘good people’ post is delayed this week, but worry not … it will be here. Meanwhile, I would like to share with you Padre Steve’s latest post, a look back at his predictions from a year ago and some truths we need to ponder about the lessons of history. Thank you, Padre — excellent analysis, as always. I, too, wish you had been wrong way back in December 2019. Sigh.

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I wrote this article on 13 December 2019. It was pretty pessimistic even then without the Coronavirus 19 Pandemic which has killed over a quarter of a million Americans and infected over 11 million more, over a million in the past week. Over course that was not included in this article. The title then was  “So the Old World Slipped Away Never to Return Again…”: the Coming Disorder of 2020. Damn I hate being right, and we still have 49 days left in the year and President Trump seems intent on destroying the country using a scorched earth policy and attempting to provoke violence as the Proud Boys and other White Supremacist and self-proclaimed “militias” which are nothing more than heavily armed right wing vigilante and terrorist groups unrecognized by any law and operating outside of the Constitutional understanding of militias. Now we are…

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