On Fire, Once Again …

Just like last year and the year before, wildfires are raging out of control in the Western states such as California, Oregon, and to a lesser extent, Washington.  One such in Oregon has been named the Bootleg Fire, presumably for the shape of the path of destruction it is leaving.

By now, there can be no doubt … NO DOUBT … that these fires are as a result of humans’ complete disregard of the environment for more than a century, leading to what we now know as ‘climate change’. However, the people in a swath of towns along the fire’s likely trajectory remain deniers of man-made climate change.  Though urged by fire officials to evacuate the area, despite having to spend days and nights under a thick blanket of smoke, water down their yards and watch the wind for signs that the flames may be shifting, they are adamant that their god is protecting them and will continue to do so.  I am reminded of that age-old joke …

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Says one resident of Sprague River, Oregon, a young pastor named Matt Wolff …

“We prayed a lot, ‘Lord, just keep it away.’ And so far it stayed that way.”

According to an article in The Washington Post

The West has been beset by historic drought and heat waves this year exacerbated by climate change, but among the small towns that have been threatened by the Bootleg Fire — Sprague River, Beatty, Bly — there is little talk of global warming. Instead, residents vent about the federal government’s water policies and forest management. They blame liberal environmentalists for hobbling the logging industry and Mexican marijuana farmers for sucking up the area’s water.

A classic case of “Shoot the messenger”?  Another local, Jim Rahi, opines …

“Now the top end of the Forest Service are a bunch of flower children. That’s what the real problem is. It’s not that much hotter. It’s environmentally caused mismanagement.”

Oh yeah, blame the people trying to fix the problem, trying to save lives.

Scientists agree that climate change driven by the human burning of fossil fuels has raised the Earth’s temperature an average of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, a warming that has led to more frequent and extreme natural disasters. Some 800 people died in the recent record-breaking heat waves in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

About 70 percent of Klamath Count where the Bootleg Fire is raging voted for the former guy last year, and residents often echo his skepticism on the topic.  The thing that puzzles me is … these aren’t bad people … many have volunteered their days at community centers and fairgrounds packing up produce and canned goods to distribute to those displaced and now sleeping on cots or inside churches.  No, they are not bad people, not evil, but ever so close-minded, unwilling to consider facts that may be beyond what they know of the world thus far.  It is one thing to be ignorant, meaning not to have or know the facts, but quite another to be stupid, to deny the facts even when the evidence is singeing your back door and likely to take the lives of your family while you point fingers at all the wrong people.

With over 220,000 acres burned thus far, the Bootleg Fire is the largest in North America at the moment, though fire season lasts another two months.

On Wednesday evening, a few dozen Sprague River residents gathered at the community center for an update on the situation, as the arrow on the fire meter outside pointed to “extreme.” Men and women openly carried pistols on their belts; one man wore a cutoff T-shirt that read “Protected: The Right to Bear Arms.”  So … WHAT???  Do they think they can shoot the fire out??? Or maybe they will find somebody else to blame and shoot them?  I shake my head in disgust that now, at a time when their homes and livelihood, their very lives are endangered, they’re more concerned about their guns and their “right” to carry them wherever they go, to use them to intimidate others.  Welcome to the United States of America, a nation I once thought I knew but now realize I never did.

My heart goes out to all the people in the areas that are affected or threatened by wildfire this year, and I hope they all keep safe, but I would urge them to use those brains for something other than keeping their skull from caving in and heed the warnings to evacuate.  And for the rest of us … not just in the U.S., but around the world … it’s obviously well past time for us to take the environment seriously, to stop driving gas guzzling cars wherever we go, to turn the thermostat down, to turn off the lights, and to support government policies and politicians who are working to protect and repair the planet rather than those who are still living in a state of denial.  If we don’t, we may live to see the world burn down around us.

Trump’s Legacy: The Right to be a First Class Jerk

As always, our friend Jeff over at On the Fence Voters is spot on … take a look for yourselves! Thanks, Jeff! As always, you da man!

On The Fence Voters


Boorish, idiotic, and rude behavior didn’t begin with the election of the disgraced former 45th president. In my nearly six decades on this earth, I’ve run across several of these types — present company excluded. However, what we see these days when it comes to a lack of basic decency and etiquette, I will lay a considerable, if not primary, blame at the feet of the failed blogger/president. When historians take a look back at his failed presidency, surely this will stand near the top of his already disastrous legacy.

Ever since the infamous ride down the golden escalator, we’ve been subjected to his insults, lies, and politically incorrect behavior. His command of the daily narrative, usually starting early in the morning before most of us had started sipping our coffee, ruled the media throughout his four years in office. They, and many in public, couldn’t wait to hear what he’d…

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Filosofa Is Snarking … AGAIN!

Just once I would like to wake up with a smile instead of a scowl on my face.  Just once I would like to get through an entire day without referring to certain of our ‘public servants’ as the scum of the earth pusilánime bastardos tirón con cara!  I thought that once we rid ourselves of the maniacal former guy, life would settle, but it seems that certain elements (whose salaries we pay) are determined to kill us with either ulcers or heart failure!  Hence I am still the Queen of Snark as my dear friend Ellen calls me, forever writing snarky snippets …


If you can’t trust the judge …

In my Sunday post titled “We Have Met The Enemy” I wrote about U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez who had struck down California’s 30+ year ban on assault weapons, comparing the AR-15 to a Swiss army knife.   There are a few extra details to that story, one that stands out for being a boldfaced lie.  In his 90-page opinion on this case, Benitez wrote …

“The evidence described so far proves that the ‘harm’ of an assault rifle being used in a mass shooting is an infinitesimally rare event. More people have died from the Covid-19 vaccine than mass shootings in California.”

Not, mind you, that more people have died from the disease, but that more people have died from the vaccine, which to put it bluntly, is NOT TRUE!  Such claims often come with citations to back them up, but Benitez offers none, probably because there isn’t one.  It’s bad enough that for the past four years we have had a president who lied to us at every turn, every day.  It’s bad enough that we cannot trust the people we send to Congress to be honest.  But when a f*cking federal judge out and out lies, then I’ve had ENOUGH!

A bit of history on Judge Benitez

When Benitez was nominated in 2003 by then-President George W. Bush, the American Bar Association deemed him ‘not qualified’.  California lawyer Richard M. Macias, writing for the committee, said …

“All too frequently, while on the bench, Judge Benitez is arrogant, pompous, condescending, impatient, short-tempered, rude, insulting, bullying, unnecessarily mean, and altogether lacking in people skills.”

The California Attorney General has promised to appeal Benitez’ ruling, and I hope the state wins on appeal.  But we do not need judges like Benitez!  We need judges who are fair and even-tempered … Benitez is neither of those things.


Dr. Fauci is NOT the enemy!

Dr. Anthony Fauci has dedicated his life to medical science and to the people of this nation.  In return, he is being vilified, his ouster from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), an institute within the National Institute of Health (NIH), is being called for by numerous members of Congress, including my own ignoble representative Warren Davidson.  Why?  Because as a result of a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA), Dr. Fauci’s emails have been made public.  Okay, no big deal … except that there are certain people in this country who would rather create a conspiracy theory by taking statements out of context and making up crap to try to eviscerate Dr. Fauci.

Among those are the right-wing conspiracy-based television networks such as Fox, OANN, and Newsmax, but also certain members of Congress such as Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and others … you might notice it is all on the Republican side, for they are the ones who simply cannot resist a good bedtime story with either a wicked witch or an evil wolf!

These networks and their ‘guests’ have concocted a brand-new conspiracy theory that almost tops Margie Greene’s fake story about space lasers setting last year’s California wildfires.  The newest one is that Dr. Fauci and President Barack Obama approved and funded a program whereby the coronavirus (Covid-19) was deliberately engineered to infect people.  To what end they haven’t said, but you know that the fools on the right side of the aisle in Congress have jumped right onto this bandwagon!  Hawley, Cruz, Rubio, Davidson and others who are a bit intellectually deficient have called for Fauci to be fired immediately but wait … it gets even worse.

Don Junior … you remember him, the hanger-on eldest son that Trump never much liked … has decided now that Fauci might be murdered … and he f*cking laughed about it!  Now, every damn Trump supporter in this country owns at least a few guns, probably assault rifles among their collection.  And you know damn good and well that at least a few of them will take Junior’s words to heart, take it as a ‘call to action’, so to speak.

Dr. Fauci is 80 years old, has served this nation valiantly, and even put up with Trump throughout the first year of the pandemic … a feat that should earn him a medal of valour!  I have the utmost respect for and trust in Dr. Fauci, unlike those congressional boobs who wouldn’t know a virus if it smacked them upside the head.  If anything happens to Dr. Fauci, I will personally contribute to his family to help with the lawsuit that they will no doubt bring against Junior and the members of Congress who lied so abominably.


And speaking of brainless Republican lawmakers …

… There’s Mo Brooks, representative in the U.S. Congress from the state of … you guessed it … Alabama.  Alabama and Mississippi are the two most backwater states in the nation, so it should come as no surprise that Mr. Brooks and his wife aren’t heavy in the intellect department.

Mo was one of Trump’s biggest boot-lickers, and when it became clear that Trump had lost the 2020 election ‘bigly’, Mo was among the first to jump on that “voter fraud” bandwagon.  Brooks was the first member of Congress to announce his objection to the certification of the Electoral College results on January 6th and harshly criticized other Republicans in Congress for not aiding him in his efforts to overturn the election.

Well … over the weekend, Mr. Brooks was served with notice of a lawsuit filed by U.S. Representative Eric Swalwell of California, charging Brooks with ‘instigating violence’.  In part, the complaint by Swalwell reads …

“The peaceful transfer of power is a sacrament of American democracy. Donald Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., his advisor Rudy Giuliani, and Congressman Mo Brooks, together with many others, defiled that sacrament through a campaign of lies and incendiary rhetoric which led to the sacking of the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021.”

Swalwell’s legal team had had difficulty serving Brooks and hired a private investigator to give him the papers, according to court filings.  Mo wasn’t home when the investigator showed up with papers in hand, so he left the papers with Mo’s wife, Martha.  Apparently, ol’ Mo wasn’t too happy ‘bout that and is going batshit crazy, claiming on Twitter …

“Well, Swalwell FINALLY did his job, served complaint (on my WIFE). HORRIBLE Swalwell’s team committed a CRIME by unlawfully sneaking INTO MY HOUSE & accosting my wife!”

Whoa, dude!  Accosting her?  Sneaking in?  I think not.  Long story short, nobody broke into Mo’s house or accosted his wife … why would they?

Mo & Wifey

Since the U.S. Senate, coerced by Mitch McConnell, has denied We the People the right to an investigation to determine exactly WHO was involved on the attack on our Congress on January 6th and in what capacity, We the People, at least those of us with functional brains, will support Eric Swalwell and others who are trying to get to the bottom of January 6thWe the People want (and have a Constitutional right) to know who helped fund and incite the attacks, we want to rid ourselves of the vermin still residing in the Capitol.  We know that Mo Brooks is one of the worst offenders and it is only right that he answer for his role in the events of that horrific day.

FACTS Matter And Ignorance Is NOT Bliss

Truth is not subjective!  Truth is based on facts.  Period.  Fact:  the sugar bowl on my kitchen counter is in the shape of a strawberry.  That is not disputable by any reasonable mind who has ever seen my sugar bowl … or a strawberry.

Today, however, there are people who will argue any point, even when a thousand facts have been presented by credible, well-respected experts.  Take, for example, climate change.

97% – 98% of all climate scientists worldwide support the consensus on human-caused climate change, and yet there are people who will tell you it’s all a hoax.  A HOAX???  For some, it is a matter only of ignorance, for they do not understand the difference between climate and weather.  For others, it is a matter of Terminal Stupidity for they believe what their favourite politicians tell them despite all the facts to the contrary.  Those favourite politicians take their marching orders from the heads of such companies as Exxon Mobil (oil company) and Murray Energy (coal company) because those are the CEOs that are lining the politicians’ pockets.  As of 2020, 88% of Democrats believe that climate change presents a major threat, while only 31% of Republicans believe it. The facts are there for all to see … melting icecaps, rising sea levels, rising temperatures, prolonged droughts, more severe and frequent tropical storms, and more.  How can anybody deny the science here?

And speaking of science, conspiracy theories and lies abound in Republican circles about the coronavirus pandemic and the vaccine.  Even though it is a fact that more than 600,000 people have died in the U.S. alone and 3.5 million have died worldwide as a result of the coronavirus, there are still those who thumb their nose, refuse to wear a mask, and are refusing the vaccine, saying it infringes on their ‘right’.  And yes, once again, the majority of those are Republicans.  A poll taken last month shows that 45% of Republicans say they will not be vaccinated.  One of the leading Republican conspiracy theories making the rounds is that the coronavirus pandemic is a cover for a plan to implant trackable microchips via the vaccine, and that the Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is behind it.  This one ranks right up there with the Pizzagate conspiracy theory that claimed Hillary Clinton was running a sex trafficking ring in the basement of a pizza parlour. That one almost got people killed … the vaccine refusal will absolutely get people killed, perhaps innocent (not Republican) people.

And then there is that Big Lie that says the former one-term, twice-impeached guy actually won the election for president in 2020, despite the fact that not one single shred of evidence exists to support that lie.  In fact, every bit of evidence proves that President Biden won the election by more than 7 million votes!  And, if you want to talk about election facts, that former guy was never the legitimate president of the United States, for he LOST the 2016 election by nearly 3 million votes!  But, due to a little thing known as the Electoral College and gerrymandering, that really boils down to racist cheating, he was allowed access to the Oval Office and spent four years there tearing down instead of building up.  A national poll conducted just last week shows that fully 53% of Republicans still believe that the former guy is the “true president” now.  61% of Republicans believe the election was “stolen” from the former guy.  My jaw drops every time I see these figures … how in the Sam Hell can anybody be so bloomin’ stupid???

For more than four years, I have made every effort not to paint Republicans with a broad brush, not to lump them all in together, and not to label them, but I can no longer continue that effort.  Every single thing I am seeing today tells me two things:  Republican politicians are as corrupt as they come, they would rather rob us of our rights than lose their power; and the majority of Republican voters are just plain ignorant, not bothering to dig a bit for a few facts, but instead content to believe everything they hear on Fox ‘News’ and out of the mouths of such blathering idiots as Margie Taylor Greene, Kevin McCarthy, Ted Cruz, and others.  They say that ‘ignorance is bliss’ … and it may well be for the ignorant, but their bliss is quite literally killing the rest of us. Sorry, Republicans, but respect is earned and you have lost my respect by your ignorance, by the danger you are putting us all in with your ignorance.  If you want respect, get up off your arses and educate yourselves, try studying a few facts, and using your brain.  Earn that respect.

They Walk Among Us …

Some days I wake up and wonder if I dreamed all the lunacy that is part of the United States today.  And then I pick up my phone, check the news, and … nope, not a dream, just a horrible reality.  And then I wish I could just stay in bed, not ever get up again.  I have a feeling that the founders of this nation would be deeply ashamed of some of the people who inhabit it today.  More than a few times I’ve thought perhaps we would have been better off to remain under British rule, for obviously we are not capable of self-governance today.  Just a few examples …


Unfit

Marge Green, aka Marjorie Taylor Greene, ought to be sent back home to Georgia until she can learn to act as an adult.  She seems to believe that the way to get her point across is to run after people shrieking like a banshee.  I mentioned once before that back in 2019, before she was erroneously elected to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, she ran after young David Hogg, a teen survivor of the Parkland school shootings, screaming questions at him and ultimately calling him a coward.  Hogg, more mature than Greene, kept walking and did not acknowledge her harassment, later saying “I was told growing up, it’s just better not to respond to bullies and just walk away.”  Which proves that at 19, he was more mature than Ms. Greene is today at 46.

The latest is that yesterday, Ms. Greene did the exact same thing to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, familiarly known as AOC.  Representative Ocasio-Cortez left the committee chamber slightly ahead of Greene, and Greene began shouting at her, yelling her name, and when AOC did not slow down or turn around, Greene became belligerent, speeding up and screeching that AOC was supporting terrorists (she specified that she was referring to Black Lives Matter), and screaming …

“You don’t care about the American people. Why do you support terrorists and antifa?”

Members of Congress are not going to always agree, they will have differences of opinion, and we always hope they will find common ground for compromise.  But this behaviour on the part of Marge Greene is simply unacceptable.  This is not professional, it is disrespectful, rude, and borders on criminal harassment.  I read an article last night that called Ms. Greene’s behaviour “extreme anti-leftist”.  No, it is not … it is juvenile, it is disrespectful, it is immature and the sign of a mind that is incapable of coherent thought.  Greene has never been qualified for her position and I suspect the people in her district in Georgia thought they were being funny when they elected her, but there is nothing funny about this – Greene is a threat and a danger to this nation.  GET.  HER.  OUT.


Lunatic

If you look up L. Lin Wood on Wikipedia, the first line tells you most of what you need to know:

“Lucian Lincoln “Lin” Wood Jr. (born October 19, 1952) is an American attorney and conspiracy theorist.”

Among his most famous conspiracy theories to date is that of The Big Lie, as Wood claims, despite mounds of evidence to the contrary, that “Trump had won the election with 70% of the vote, and that a secret cabal of international communists, Chinese intelligence, and Republican officials had contrived to steal the election from Trump.”

On Tuesday, Wood stood in front of a crowd in South Carolina and said …

“Donald J. Trump has never conceded…because he won the [2020] election. So be cool—it’s all going to be good in time. Donald J. Trump is still the guy the military will call for the code if they need a first strike. Joe Biden is not the President of the United States.”

Somebody needs to lock this man away before he causes irreparable harm to his family and himself!  Perhaps he and Marge Greene could share a padded room together!

He went on to say that Trump secretly invoked the Insurrection Act of 1807 before leaving office and can begin “cleaning things up” in the United States whensoever he desires. Per Wood, Trump will be the instrument of “God” when he does so.

No, Lin, the military will not call on the former guy for a nuclear code, and in fact, the former guy doesn’t have access to the nuclear codes anymore!  And if he is an ‘instrument of god’, then your god is evil incarnate!  Surely people aren’t so stupid as to fall for this bullshit?  And no, your former guy is naught more than an instrument of a deranged set of minds, people who cannot separate fact from fantasy.


Murderers

On January 6th, thousands of white supremacist and other potential murderers stormed the Capitol as the Congress prepared to certify the election results of 2020.  They erected a noose outside the Capitol, they went in chanting “Hang Mike Pence”, and it was later said they planned to drive all members of Congress into the underground tunnels and gas them to death.  These are the facts.

On Wednesday, a number of people testified about that day before Congress, including Representative Andrew Clyde from the state of Georgia, who said …

“Let me be clear, there was no insurrection. You would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

NO, YOU ONE-MAN FREAKSHOW!!!  No, nobody with a conscience and a brain would have thought that was a “normal tourist visit”.  There was a noose.  There were 140 police officers injured.  There were guns.  There was violence.  There were five people killed that very day.  There was a noose.  There was death and destruction.  These were jackfaces who had been encouraged by the asshole of a then-president to destroy the normal processes of law and silence our voices, overturn our election where WE THE PEOPLE voted for sanity, for compassion, for a president who had a fucking brain and the capability to speak in complete sentences!

The Republican Party can go down in flames for all that I care.  Mr. Andrew Clyde can hang himself in his own noose for all I care.  They are a lot of hypocritical jackasses and I hope they every one get what they deserve!


And speaking of those who attempted to commit treason on that fateful day … I loved this Randy Rainbow clip about none other than the empty-headed Josh Hawley …

Laughable Lies

Sometimes you just have to laugh at the ignorance perpetuated by the Republicans and their megaphone, Fox News.  The lunacy is incredible and laughable, but what’s not quite as funny is that some 40% of the people in this nation don’t bother to assess what they hear, don’t take a minute to look for some facts to back up the opinions of the Republicans and their minions.  Perhaps the Republican Party would do better, have a bit of legitimacy, if they spent more time on developing a platform and less time on making up lies and conspiracy theories.  Anyway … Paul Krugman, writing for the New York Times, has written a piece mostly about the latest lie/fallacy/made-up story by Republicans attempting to discredit President Biden, and it’s well worth the read.


Beer, Brussels Sprouts, Bernie Madoff and Today’s G.O.P.

By Paul Krugman

Opinion Columnist

On Friday Larry Kudlow, who was Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, told Fox News viewers that Joe Biden’s climate plans would force Americans to stop eating meat. On July 4, he declared, you’d have to “throw back a plant-based beer with your grilled brussels sprouts.”

Kudlow’s remarks raise several questions. What, exactly, does he think beer is made from? Also, doesn’t he know that grilled brussels sprouts are, in fact, delicious?

More important, why would anyone believe this assertion about Biden’s plans, or expect anyone else to believe it? Why were Kudlow’s claims echoed by many Republicans, from Donald Trump Jr., to members of Congress, to the governor of Texas?

To answer this question, it helps to think about Bernie Madoff, the infamous fraudster who died April 14. Seriously.

About Biden and burgers: The administration has, in fact, said nothing at all about changing America’s diet. Furthermore, anything along those lines would be very much at odds with Biden’s whole approach to climate change, which is to rely much more on carrots than on sticks, to provide positive incentives to invest in low-emission technologies rather than discouraging emissions with taxes or regulations.

Whether that approach will prove sufficient is debatable, but it is the approach the administration is taking, and telling people to stop eating meat would be completely out of character.

So where is this coming from? Kudlow took his cues from a sleazy article in The Daily Mail, a right-wing British tabloid. The article didn’t actually assert that Biden is proposing to restrict meat consumption; instead, it offered a series of speculations about what might happen. Among other things it took the most extreme scenario from a University of Michigan study of how reduced meat consumption could affect greenhouse gas emissions — a study released in January 2020 that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Biden plans. The Daily Mail also used a deceptive graphic to make it seem as if this was an actual administration proposal.

American right-wing pundits and politicians then ran with it. Did they actually believe the nonsense they were spouting? Well, Kudlow’s apparent belief that beer is made with meat is arguably a point in his favor, an indication that he’s genuinely clueless rather than merely cynical.

What’s clear, however, is that neither Kudlow nor other Republicans touting an imaginary war on meat saw any need to check out their story, felt any concern that their audience — Fox News viewers, Republican voters — would find the claim that Joe Biden is coming for their red meat implausible.

Why not? That’s where Bernie Madoff comes in.

The revelations about Madoff’s immense Ponzi scheme and how he pulled it off introduced many of us to the concept of affinity fraud: scams that prey upon people by exploiting a sense of shared identity. Madoff defrauded wealthy Jews by convincing them that he was just like them.

A similar approach has long been an essential part of the Republican political strategy. As the party’s economic policies have become ever more elitist, ever more tilted toward the interests of the wealthy, it has sought to cover its tracks by running candidates who seem like regular guys you’d like to have a (meat-based?) beer with.

The flip side of this strategy is a continual attempt by the G.O.P. to convince voters that Democrats, who represent a much more diverse set of voters than Republicans, aren’t people like them; call it disaffinity fraud.

The goal is to portray Democrats as woke feminist vegetarians who don’t share the values of Real Americans. Hence the right’s obsessive focus on “cancel culture” and Democratic women of color, and the continual assertions that the white male senior citizen who leads the party is somehow a passive puppet.

Right-wing media are pushing this narrative nonstop. According to a Morning Consult poll last month, more Republicans said they’d heard “a lot” about the move to withdraw some Dr. Seuss books than said the same about Biden’s huge Covid-19 relief bill.

It doesn’t matter that Joe Biden isn’t actually trying to ban hamburgers or — to take another false claim right-wing pundits and politicians keep repeating — that he hasn’t “taken down” the border with Mexico. Republicans have pretty much given up even trying to make a case against Biden’s actual policies, let alone proposing serious policies themselves.

Instead, it’s all smears. Democrats, declared Kudlow, are “ideological zealots who don’t care one whit about America’s well-being.” That’s pretty rich coming from a man famed for his unwavering commitment to the doctrine that cutting taxes on the wealthy solves all problems, no matter how often his predictions fail.

But never mind; the point is that Kudlow and others consider it OK to throw out wild claims about what Democrats are up to, because those are the kinds of things woke liberals would do, aren’t they?

Will the public go along? The Biden administration thinks not, betting it can overcome the power of affinity fraud with policies that offer real benefits to working Americans. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that this strategy will work.

We Need to Talk About Arizona

Just when you think the 2020 election is finally over, just when you think the Big Lie is finally put to rest, just when you think that things can’t get any crazier … they do get crazier.  Our friend TokyoSand tells us about the Republican-fueled craziness happening in Arizona …

We Need to Talk About Arizona

The Big Lie won’t go away. And now we have Republicans in Arizona who want to give the conspiracy theory new life.

You may have heard about an “audit” that is happening in Arizona. First off, I’ve put the word in quotes because there is nothing official about what is happening. As you will see, this is a partisan effort by the Republicans to cast doubt on the 2020 election.

The Arizona Republicans in the legislature are paying a Florida company named Cyber Ninjas (yes, seriously) to manually recount all of the ballots for Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest county. They are only looking at the presidential and Senate races, which we all know were won by Democrats. Cyber Ninjas is owned by Doug Logan, who posted multiple tweets, hashtags, and memes spreading conspiracy theories about the 2020 election before deleting his account.

Read more …

A Sensible Republican — Last Of A Dying Breed

The day of the sensible, reasonable, intelligent Republican seems to be long gone.  Way back when, I’ve even voted for Republicans, but I cannot picture ever doing so again, for the party has devolved into something ugly … a bunch who would rather burn down this nation than compromise, than meet Democrats on some middle ground.  John Boehner was one of the last Republicans for whom I had a great deal of respect, though I often disagreed with him.  He has written a book, due out on Tuesday, April 13th, that I have pre-ordered and plan to read.  What follows is an excerpt from that book, and I think you’ll be surprised when you read some of his words.

In the 2010 midterm election, voters from all over the place gave President Obama what he himself called “a shellacking.” And oh boy, was it ever. You could be a total moron and get elected just by having an R next to your name—and that year, by the way, we did pick up a fair number in that category.

Retaking control of the House of Representatives put me in line to be the next Speaker of the House over the largest freshman Republican class in history: 87 newly elected members of the GOP. Since I was presiding over a large group of people who’d never sat in Congress, I felt I owed them a little tutorial on governing. I had to explain how to actually get things done. A lot of that went straight through the ears of most of them, especially the ones who didn’t have brains that got in the way. Incrementalism? Compromise? That wasn’t their thing. A lot of them wanted to blow up Washington. That’s why they thought they were elected.

Some of them, well, you could tell they weren’t paying attention because they were just thinking of how to fundraise off of outrage or how they could get on Hannity that night. Ronald Reagan used to say something to the effect that if I get 80 or 90 percent of what I want, that’s a win. These guys wanted 100 percent every time. In fact, I don’t think that would satisfy them, because they didn’t really want legislative victories. They wanted wedge issues and conspiracies and crusades.

To them, my talk of trying to get anything done made me a sellout, a dupe of the Democrats, and a traitor. Some of them had me in their sights from day one. They saw me as much of an “enemy” as the guy in the White House. Me, a guy who had come to the top of the leadership by exposing corruption and pushing conservative ideas. Now I was a “liberal collaborator.” So that took some getting used to. What I also had not anticipated was the extent to which this new crowd hated—and I mean hated—Barack Obama.

By 2011, the right-wing propaganda nuts had managed to turn Obama into a toxic brand for conservatives. When I was first elected to Congress, we didn’t have any propaganda organization for conservatives, except maybe a magazine or two like National Review. The only people who used the internet were some geeks in Palo Alto. There was no Drudge Report. No Breitbart. No kooks on YouTube spreading dangerous nonsense like they did every day about Obama.

“He’s a secret Muslim!”

“He hates America!”

“He’s a communist!”

And of course the truly nutty business about his birth certificate. People really had been brainwashed into believing Barack Obama was some Manchurian candidate planning to betray America.

Mark Levin was the first to go on the radio and spout off this crazy nonsense. It got him ratings, so eventually he dragged Hannity and Rush to Looneyville along with him. My longtime friend Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, was not immune to this. He got swept into the conspiracies and the paranoia and became an almost unrecognizable figure.

I’d known Ailes for a long time, since his work with George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s. He’d gone to college in Ohio, and since we had that connection, he sought me out at some event and introduced himself. Years later, in August of 1996, when I was in San Diego for the Republican National Convention, I ended up having dinner with Ailes and a veteran broadcasting executive named Rupert Murdoch. At that dinner they told me all about this new TV network they were starting. I had no idea I was listening to the outline of something that would make my life a living hell down the line. Sure enough, that October, Fox News hit the airwaves.

I kept in touch with Roger and starting in the early 2000s, I’d stop in and see him whenever I was in New York for fundraisers. We’d shoot the breeze and talk politics. We got to know each other pretty well.

Murdoch, on the other hand, was harder to know. Sometimes he’d invite me to watch the Super Bowl in the Fox box, or he’d stop by the office. Wherever he was, you could tell he was the man in charge. He was a businessman, pure and simple. He cared about ratings and the bottom line. He also wanted to make sure he was ahead of any political or policy developments coming down the line. He was always asking who was up, who was down, what bills could pass and what couldn’t. If he entertained any of the kooky conspiracy theories that started to take over his network, he kept it a secret from me. But he clearly didn’t have a problem with them if they helped ratings.

At some point after the 2008 election, something changed with my friend Roger Ailes. I once met him in New York during the Obama years to plead with him to put a leash on some of the crazies he was putting on the air. It was making my job trying to accomplish anything conservative that much harder. I didn’t expect this meeting to change anything, but I still thought it was bullshit, and I wanted Roger to know it.

When I put it to him like that, he didn’t have much to say. But he did go on and on about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, which he thought was part of a grand conspiracy that led back to Hillary Clinton. Then he outlined elaborate plots by which George Soros and the Clintons and Obama (and whoever else came to mind) were trying to destroy him.

“They’re monitoring me,” he assured me about the Obama White House. He told me he had a “safe room” built so he couldn’t be spied on. His mansion was being protected by combat-ready security personnel, he said. There was a lot of conspiratorial talk. It was like he’d been reading whacked-out spy novels all weekend.

And it was clear that he believed all of this crazy stuff. I walked out of that meeting in a daze. I just didn’t believe the entire federal government was so terrified of Roger Ailes that they’d break about a dozen laws to bring him down. I thought I could get him to control the crazies, and instead I found myself talking to the president of the club. One of us was crazy. Maybe it was me.

I have no idea what the relationship between Ailes and Murdoch was like, or if Ailes ever would go off on these paranoid tangents during meetings with his boss. But Murdoch must have thought Ailes was good for business, because he kept him in his job for years.

Places like Fox News were creating the wrong incentives. Sean Hannity was one of the worst. I’d known him for years, and we used to have a good relationship. But then he decided he felt like busting my ass every night on his show. So one day, in January of 2015, I finally called him and asked: “What the hell?” I wanted to know why he kept bashing House Republicans when we were actually trying to stand up to Obama.

“Well, you guys don’t have a plan,” he whined.

“Look,” I told him, “our plan is pretty simple: we’re just going to stand up for what we believe in as Republicans.”

I guess that wasn’t good enough for him. The conversation didn’t progress very far. At some point I called him a nut. Anyway, it’s safe to say our relationship never got any better.

Besides the homegrown “talent” at Fox, with their choice of guests they were making people who used to be fringe characters into powerful media stars. One of the first prototypes out of their laboratory was a woman named Michele Bachmann.

Bachmann, who had represented Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District since 2007 and made a name for herself as a lunatic ever since, came to meet with me in the busy period in late 2010 after the election. She wanted a seat on the Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in the House. There were many members in line ahead of her for a post like this. People who had waited patiently for their turn and who also, by the way, weren’t wild-eyed crazies.

There was no way she was going to get on Ways and Means, the most prestigious committee in Congress, and jump ahead of everyone else in line. Not while I was Speaker. In earlier days, a member of Congress in her position wouldn’t even have dared ask for something like this. Sam Rayburn would have laughed her out of the city.

So I told her no—diplomatically, of course. But as she kept on talking, it dawned on me. This wasn’t a request of the Speaker of the House. This was a demand.

Her response to me was calm and matter-of-fact. “Well, then I’ll just have to go talk to Sean Hannity and everybody at Fox,” she said, “and Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, and everybody else on the radio, and tell them that this is how John Boehner is treating the people who made it possible for the Republicans to take back the House.”

I wasn’t the one with the power, she was saying. I just thought I was. She had the power now.

She was right, of course.

She was a conservative media darling and, by then, the conservative media was already eyeing me skeptically. She had me where it hurt. Even if I wanted to help her, and I sure as hell didn’t, it wasn’t a decision I had the power to make on my own. That power belongs to a little-known but very important group called the Steering Committee.

I knew there was no way the Steering Committee would approve putting Bachmann on Ways and Means. The votes just weren’t there. If I even pushed the issue, they wouldn’t have let me leave the meeting without fastening me into a straitjacket. But then, Bachmann wouldn’t go on TV and the radio to explain the nuances of House Steering Committee procedure. She’d just rip my head off every night, over and over again. That was a headache I frankly didn’t want or need.

I suggested the House Intelligence committee to Bachmann as an alternative, and mercifully, she liked it. It would be a good perch for anyone wanting to build up their foreign policy chops for a run for president, which she was already considering— Lord help us all. None too pleased was the man preparing to take up the gavel as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers from Michigan, an army veteran who had also served in the FBI. So I took my lumps from Rogers, and Bachmann took her seat on the committee.

The funny thing is, Michele Bachmann turned out to be a very focused, hardworking member—even though she spent a few months later in 2011 on a short-lived campaign for president. She showed up to the committee, did her homework, and ended up winning over her fellow members with her dedication. Mike Rogers was impressed—and I have to admit, so was I. The whole situation ended up working out well for everyone. As one of those old Boehnerisms goes, “Get the right people on the bus, and help them find the right seat.”

In January 2011, as the new Republican House majority was settling in and I was getting adjusted to the Speakership, I was asked about the birth certificate business by Brian Williams of NBC News. My answer was simple: “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.” It was a simple statement of fact. But you would have thought I’d called Ronald Reagan a communist. I got all kinds of shit for it—emails, letters, phone calls. It went on for a couple weeks. I knew we would hear from some of the crazies, but I was surprised at just how many there really were.

All of this crap swirling around was going to make it tough for me to cut any deals with Obama as the new House Speaker. Of course, it has to be said that Obama didn’t help himself much either. He could come off as lecturing and haughty. He still wasn’t making Republican outreach a priority. But on the other hand—how do you find common cause with people who think you are a secret Kenyan Muslim traitor to America?

Under the new rules of Crazytown, I may have been Speaker, but I didn’t hold all the power. By 2013 the chaos caucus in the House had built up their own power base thanks to fawning right-wing media and outrage-driven fundraising cash. And now they had a new head lunatic leading the way, who wasn’t even a House member. There is nothing more dangerous than a reckless asshole who thinks he is smarter than everyone else. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Senator Ted Cruz. He enlisted the crazy caucus of the GOP in what was a truly dumbass idea. Not that anybody asked me.

A Closer Look At Senator Ron Johnson

There are a number of nasty people in the U.S. Senate today, people who willfully obstruct the people’s business, people who are racist, homophobic, misogynists … but one stands out among the crowd, especially for his behaviour over the past 3 months.

ron-johnsonUntil recently, I had not heard of Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin except in passing.  And then came the 2020 election, followed by the Big Lie, followed by the attack on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th as Congress was certifying the election results, and suddenly Ron Johnson got his name in lights.  Mr. Johnson perpetuated the Big Lie, that the former guy had actually won the election and it had been stolen from him.  Mr. Johnson was one of the many Republicans who voted to overturn the election, to throw out our votes … our voices.  Ron Johnson says he wasn’t afraid that day, when Nazis and white supremacists … terrorists … broke into the Capitol, destroying public property, chanting “Kill Mike Pence”, injuring more than 140 police officers and killing more than one person.  Ron Johnson said he wasn’t afraid because …

“I knew those are people that love this country, that truly respect law enforcement, would never do anything to break the law, so I wasn’t concerned.”

BULLSHIT.  bullshit

They were destroying property, breaking windows, pooping on the floor, killing people!  They would never break the law???  Their very presence there was in violation of the law, and what they did once they got in was not just illegal, but seditious, treasonous, and their intent was to overturn this country’s government and install a dictator.  But Ron Johnson thinks these … these heathens … are “good people”.  But, it should be noted that Johnson further qualified his remark by saying he would have been concerned if the invaders had been Black.  Get that man out of Congress!!!

So, now that Ron Johnson has shown his proverbial ass, I decided to look back at his past … people don’t just turn into goats overnight, so I was fairly certain he’s been one for a long time.  I was right.

Johnson is everything that is wrong in the Republican Party.  First elected to the Senate in 2010 with no prior experience in government, and no relevant education, having only a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Minnesota.  He was a businessman, CEO of a plastics company.  He objected to the stimulus plan of 2009 under the Obama administration, yet he applied for stimulus money for an education council he led.  Yeah, scratch your head over that one!

He is not overly popular … in 2010 he won with 52% of the vote, and only 50.2% in 2016.  He is up for re-election next year … PLEASE, people of Wisconsin, vote this asshole OUT!

He is a climate science denier, having called scientists who attribute global warming to manmade causes “crazy,” saying the theory is “lunacy,” and attributed climate change to causes other than human activity.  Hmmmm … I didn’t see any science degrees or experience listed on his CV.

He is a strong advocate of gun rights (but you already figured that, didn’t you?) and has co-sponsored a bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloging the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.  In April 2013, Johnson was one of 12 Republican senators to sign a letter threatening to filibuster any newly introduced gun control legislation. That month, Johnson joined 45 other senators in defeating the Manchin-Toomey Amendment, which would have required background checks on all sales of guns, including between individuals.  Sure … just let anybody and everybody have as many guns as they wish and do with them as they will, right?

Healthcare?  Hah!  He was one of only 8 senators to vote against the $1,200 stimulus checks last year.  He is against the Affordable Care Act, has voted to repeal it, and when John McCain famously turned his thumb down on the effort to repeal ACA, Johnson basically blamed it on McCain’s brain tumour and said he wasn’t in his right mind.

And then there were the conspiracy theories he spread about the FBI and Trump–Ukraine scandal, promoted false claims of fraud in the 2020 election, suggested that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was at fault for the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a pro-Trump mob.  And I could go on, but in the interest of time and sanity, I won’t.

Suffice it to say that Ron Johnson is one of the faces of the new Republican Party – a man without intellect and without conscience.  Let us hope that in November 2022, the people of Wisconsin use their intellect and conscience to get this goat out of the United States Senate.

CPAC: The Mysticism Makeover

Earlier today, I shared Keith’s post regarding the future of the Republican Party, aka GOP. Keith was once a Republican, but left the party some years ago to become an Independent. Another friend, Jerry (aka Grumpy of Grumpy’s Grumblings) was also a Republican, and he left the party during the reign of the former guy to become a Democrat. Grumpy has written a very enlightening post about his vision of the Republican Party today vs what it once was, that Jeff has re-blogged. Thanks to both you guys, Jeff & Jerry, for this post and for allowing me to share it!

On The Fence Voters

Our friend Jerry at Grumpy’s Grumblings has another excellent post out today. Here is an excerpt, with a link at the end to continue reading. Thanks Jerry!

There was a time—not too long ago, I’m now ashamed to admit—when I frequently chanted this cheeky, “conservative” mantra: “If you’re a Republican before age 18, you have no heart. If you’re a Democrat past age 18, you have no brain.” I switched from Democrat to Republican shortly before my 20th birthday, so I suppose my brain was a bit late to develop. I switched back to Democrat at age 66, so I suppose I have no loyalties. I don’t; that is, not to a political party.

Anyway, back to the above adage. The point was, of course, that Democrats, being less mature in their reasoning, lead with their heart, their emotions. Democrats, Republicans often allege, fail to outgrow their empathetic side and…

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