A Chilling Tweet

There are probably no more than five Republicans sitting in Congress today who are deserving of the honour of representing We the People, and of the new ones currently seeking a seat in Congress, not a single one is qualified.  And yet, their lies and wild conspiracy theories have gained them a following and there is a possibility that Republicans will gain a majority in one or possibly both chambers of Congress next year.  That, in and of itself should make intelligent people of good conscience more determined than ever to overcome the barriers and get out to vote, take their neighbors to the polls, volunteer as a poll worker … whatever it takes to keep Republicans out of Congress.  I have never been a member of either party, have always been an Independent, but I’ve never felt as affiliated, even if unofficially, with a party as I do the Democrats today.

This morning, the following text by Kevin McCarthy sent a distinct chill down my spine …

And the first thought that came to my mind was … they plan to impeach President Biden!

For what?  For nothing.

The article he refers to in the New York Post was written by none other than McCarthy himself and the ignoble Jim (Gym) Jordan, neither of which are known for being truthful or men of good conscience.

Let’s be clear here … I neither know nor particularly care what Hunter Biden did or didn’t do when he worked for Burisma Holdings.  Hunter Biden is not the president of the U.S.  Hunter Biden does have a drug problem, but that does not make him a criminal, and frankly I think we all … each and every one of us … have a family member with a drug or alcohol problem … I know I do.  But more to the point, we don’t blame people for the sins of their family members … if we did, nobody could ever be elected to any public office.  If we did, Justice Clarence Thomas would have been ousted from the Supreme Court already.

In fact, McCarthy himself does not have a clean nose.  He dropped out of the race for Speaker of the House in 2015 after his affair with a congresswoman from North Carolina was made public, and … his brother-in-law owns a construction company that has suspiciously received more than $7.6 million in federal contracts since 2000.  All of which is irrelevant, but points to the old saying that “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

Think about this one for a minute … if the Republicans gain a majority in the House and Senate, and if the Republicans are stupid enough to vote for McCarthy to be the Speaker of the House following November’s election, then they could indeed begin investigations and could indeed dig up or make up something about some member of the President’s family, could embellish it to the point of making it sound like a smoking gun, and vote to impeach.  See, here’s the thing … the Republican Party of today is one without values, without integrity, without a conscience.  The Constitution no longer means anything to them … We the People no longer mean anything, except to be manipulated and used as a tool for their own benefit. It is a party that is in the fearsome grip of a madman who hopes to become the dictator of this nation two years hence.  So, even without any viable or legitimate evidence, there is no doubt that the Republicans in both chambers of Congress would fall in line, be in lockstep with McCarthy’s plot.

So, what if they impeach Biden?  Kamala Harris would be the only thing standing in the way of a “President Kevin McCarthy”.  Are you chilled yet?  And we can bet money that a “President McCarthy” would be a puppet of the evil ‘man’ currently residing at Mar-a-Lago.

We the People have the power to stop this plan in its tracks, but WE MUST ALL VOTE!!!  That is, literally, the ONLY way to preserve what is left of the democratic foundations of this country.  VOTE McCarthy OUT, for Pete’s Sake!  Vote them all out!!!  The Republican Party is no longer one of decency, of conscience, of integrity or values.  Their only goal is power … absolute power … and they will lie, cheat, and steal to obtain that goal.  And that, my friends, should scare the hell out of you.

Opal Lee — Grandmother Of Juneteenth

I first discovered this amazing woman last year, and … well, no story of Juneteenth is complete without Ms. Opal Lee!


Look at this beautiful woman …

This is Opal Lee, age 94, and on this, the first time Juneteenth is being celebrated as an official U.S. holiday, I want to tell you a little bit about Ms. Lee who is known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth.  While yesterday I wrote a bit about the negativity of some racists toward the new holiday, Juneteenth, today I want to put aside the negative and focus on the positive … and the voice of Ms. Opal Lee.


When Opal Lee was growing up in Texas, she would spend Juneteenth picnicking with her family, first in Marshall, where she was born, then in Sycamore Park in Fort Worth, near the home she moved into at age 10.  Ms. Lee’s paternal grandmother was born into bondage in Louisiana, and while Ms. Lee, born in 1927, was not a slave, she felt the cruel edge of racism at a very early age.

She and her family lived in a predominantly white neighborhood in Fort Worth. On Juneteenth 1939, when Ms. Lee was 12, a mob of 500 white supremacists set fire to her home and vandalized it. The structure was destroyed, and no arrests were made.  Says Lee of that time …

“People gathered. The papers say that it was 500 strong, and that the police couldn’t control them. My dad came home with a gun, and the police told him if he busted a cap, they’d let that mob have him.  If they had given us an opportunity to stay there and be their neighbors, they would have found out we didn’t want any more than what they had – a decent place to stay, jobs that paid, to be able to go to school in the neighborhood, even if it was a segregated school. We would have made good neighbors, but they didn’t give us an opportunity. And I felt like everybody needs an opportunity.”

And that incident was the spark that lit Ms. Lee’s subsequent decades of activism.  Ms. Lee earned her college degree and became a teacher.  She joined the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, which oversaw local Juneteenth celebrations. But she said that after more than 40 years as a community activist, she “really doubled down in 2016” by “going bigger.”

At the tender age of 89, she decided to start with a walking campaign in cities along a route from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a straight line. Over several weeks, Lee arrived in cities where she’d been invited to speak and walked 2½ miles to symbolize the 2½ years that it took for enslaved people in Texas to learn they were free.  She made the entire 1,400-mile trek from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington D.C.

“I knew I just had to spread the word about Juneteenth to everybody.  I was thinking that surely, somebody would see a little old lady in tennis shoes trying to get to Congress and notice.”

Since then, Ms. Lee has become known far and wide as the Grandmother of Juneteenth.  So, it only made sense that on Thursday when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Ms. Opal Lee was invited to attend the signing.

Not only that, but the President himself called her “a grandmother of the movement to make Juneteenth a federal holiday” and got down on one knee to greet her in the audience.  During his speech before the signing, Biden asked the audience to give Lee, who was seated in the front row, a standing ovation.  And after he signed the bill into law, he gave Ms. Lee the first pen he used to sign it.

“I have to say to you, I have only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as president – not because I did it, you did it, Democrats and Republicans. It’s an enormous, enormous honor.”


What follows is a part of an interview between Ms. Lee and the New York Times last year on Juneteenth:

What is your first memory of celebrating Juneteenth?

It was in Marshall, Texas, where I was born. We’d go to the fairgrounds to celebrate. It was like going to Christmas or Thanksgiving, we had such a good time.

Some people still compare Independence Day to Juneteenth. How would you explain the type of freedom and community that comes from celebrating Juneteenth?

The difference between Juneteenth and the 4th of July? Woo, girl! The fact is none of us are free till we’re all free. Knowing that slaves didn’t get the word for two and a half years after the emancipation, can’t you imagine how those people felt? They’d been watching — that’s what they call Watch Night services — every New Year’s, thinking freedom was coming. And then to find out they were free, even two and a half years after everybody else.

So, the 4th of July? Slaves weren’t free. You know that, don’t you? And so we just celebrate the hell out of the 4th of July, so I suggest that if we’re going to do some celebrating of freedom, that we have our festival, our educational components, our music, from June the 19 — Juneteenth — to the 4th of July. Now that would be celebrating freedom.

How do you think the protests for Black lives that are happening around the country have shaped the way that people understand Juneteenth?

We have simply got to make people aware that none of us are free until we’re all free, and we aren’t free yet. There’s so many disparities. You know, we need some decent education and some decent jobs that pay money, and we need health care and all kinds of things and if people would just get together and address these disparities, we’d be well on our way to being the greatest country in the world.

Right now lots of companies are making Juneteenth an official holiday. How does it feel to see your vision coming to fruition?

Ooh girl, I could do a holy dance. I’m so happy to see things coming to fruition and the fact that we are almost there making it a holiday. We started out talking about 100,000 signatures and now we’re saying let’s take a million signatures to Congress to let them know that it’s not just one little old lady in tennis shoes.

I hope they understand that we’re talking about a holiday like Presidents’ Day or Flag Day. We’re not talking about a paid holiday. However, I’m delighted to have the big companies give their employees the day off with pay.

What changes do you hope to see in our country beyond having Juneteenth recognized on a national level?

If we would unify, if we would get together and do something about homelessness, and do something about people having decent housing, and decent food, and they would have not only a place to stay but a decent education.

If we could just love one another, you know? If you could get past the color of my skin and love me like you do that boy next door to you.


And those, my friends, are words for us all.  If Ms. Lee has one message for us it is that one – get past the colour of people’s skin and just love them!  Stop the hate, the violence, the petty bickering and … just love one another.  Life is too short to waste it with bigotry of any sort.  And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy Juneteenth!

Only In ‘America’

Yesterday afternoon, just as I was beginning to work on a good people post for this morning, the breaking news update jumped onto my screen …

Texas school shooting leaves at least 2 dead

I stopped what I was doing and went in search of information … turns out that, as you all know by now, 19 students and one teacher, Eva Mireles, were killed … or let’s call a spade a spade … they were brutally murdered while in school, the one place our children should be able to feel safe!  The death toll may yet rise if some of the students taken to the hospital don’t survive, or if students still missing are later reported to have died.  Plus, the 18-year-old shooter shot his grandmother, who is in critical condition in the hospital, before setting out for Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

This, my friends, is what Texas Governor Greg Abbott proudly said just one year ago …

No license or training is needed. 🙄 YOU, Greg Abbott, have the blood of these children on your hands and you will never be able to wash it off!  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA), claims to be “horrified and heartbroken” and yet time and time and time again he has had the opportunity to pass meaningful gun legislation that might have prevented the 18-year-old shooter from getting his hands on a gun.  YOU, Mitch McConnell, and every other Republican legislator who has blocked gun regulations, also have blood on your hands!!!  And U.S. Senator from Texas, Ted Cruz, sent thoughts and prayers and said he disdains any discussion on gun legislation.  YOU, Cancún Cruz, also have blood on your hands!!!

Days like today, I am so very thankful for a President who is compassionate and caring.  President Biden gave a speech yesterday evening where he said …

“Another massacre at a Texas elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, fourth graders. As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen? Where in God’s name is our backbone, the courage to do more and then stand up to the lobbies? It’s time to turn this pain into action. I am sick and tired of it. We have to act. And don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage. For God’s sake, we have to have the courage to stand up to the industry.”

And former President Barack Obama issued a statement …

“Nearly 10 years after Sandy Hook — and 10 days after Buffalo — our country is paralyzed, not by fear, but by a gun lobby and a political party that have shown no willingness to act in any way that might help prevent these tragedies. It’s long past time for action, any kind of action. And it’s another tragedy — a quieter but no less tragic one — for families to wait another day.”

I cannot help but share the pain of the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends of those 19 children tonight.  Picture being a parent at work, getting that phone call …

Eleven days ago, ten people were murdered in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York.  Yesterday, 20 people, 19 of them children, were murdered in school, just two days before the end of the school year.  Where are all those ‘pro-life’ people???  Probably out there carrying signs that read “You can’t take my guns!” or some such drivel.  My granddaughter, when I told her about the school shooting, asked what kind of country this has become.  Not a very nice one, I’m afraid.

Just as I was finishing this post, I saw one from John Pavlovitz that I hope you’ll take a moment to read, for he said it far better than I ever could.  I hope you can understand why this post replaced today’s ‘good people’ post.  I will try to get one out later this week, but if not, there’s always next Wednesday.

Meet The New Press Secretary!

I will miss Jen Psaki.  After the 4 years of the previous administration with such reprobates as the bumbling Sean Spicer, the nasty Sarah Huckabee Sanders, silent Stephanie Grisham, and the grand bimbo Kayleigh McEnany, Ms. Psaki has been as a breath of fresh air.  I shall miss her compassion and her intelligence, as well as her uncanny ability to put an antagonist in his place without missing a beat.  Would that we could make her position a lifelong appointment …

But Ms. Psaki said early in her tenure that she would not stay for the entire 4-year term of the Biden presidency, and in fact she expected to stay only a year or so, but a series of crises – the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuation of the pandemic, among other issues – convinced her to stay longer.  However, she has other fish to fry, and we owe her a debt of gratitude for bringing intelligence, humour and dignity back into the White House pressroom.

And now, it’s time to move on.  But my sadness over Psaki’s leaving is offset by my joy at her chosen replacement!  Allow me to introduce Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre.  Jean-Pierre has been White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary since 2021 and served as the chief of staff for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on the 2020 United States presidential campaign.  Prior to that, she was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. She is also a former lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.

Ms. Jean-Pierre’s educational background makes her a fine fit for the office of press secretary:  She is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology. She received her MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics.

She brings a combination of education and experience that far exceeds any of the four from the previous administration.  Oh yes, and she adds something else to the Biden administration:  diversity.  You see, Ms. Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve in this position.  Now, I’m thrilled about the diversity, happy to see that President Biden is keeping his promise to diversify the executive branch, but I don’t want that to be the sole focus, for Ms. Jean-Pierre is more than that.  It would be unfair to assume that she only got the job because of her skin colour or gender identification.  She is a well-qualified woman who will do an excellent job … and she has a big pair of shoes to fill!

In making the announcement, President Biden said …

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.

Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

Ms. Jean-Pierre and her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, are the parents of one daughter.  As she said of her work in the Obama White House …

“What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT. Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”

Welcome aboard, Ms. Jean-Pierre … we look forward to seeing you in action!  And Ms. Psaki – you will be missed, and yours will be a long-lived legacy, for you restored so much to the position.  Thank you for all that you did.

Jen Psaki (right) getting ready to hand over the reins to Karina Jean-Pierre

Time To WAKE UP ⏰ Democrats!!!

Listen up, Democrats!  It’s past time to stop this “Oh woe, Oh woe, Oh thrice times woe” bullshit (thanks, Roger!)  The Republicans cannot be handed a majority in the House of Representatives or the Senate in November, but it seems that is exactly what the lily-livered wusses of the Democratic Party plan to do!  If you believe your party is destined to take a walloping in November, and if you keep wringing your hands and whining instead of doing something about it, then yeah … that is precisely what will happen!  Check out Blake Hounshell’s latest column.

If, on the other hand, we get off our fat arses and get out there, make our voices heard, campaign like the life of the nation depends on it (because it does!), and make sure the names of the contenders in November are heard so loudly and so often that they are burned into people’s minds, then we stand a chance of keeping a democracy.  In fact, we should stand a damn good chance of keeping the current majorities in both chambers of Congress, given that the Republican Party is so damn screwed up they can’t even keep their stories straight!  A few examples:

  • Margie Greene, a freshman House Representative from Georgia, played a role in the January 6th violent white nationalist insurrection and as such, should not be eligible to run for re-election in November. She testified at a hearing on Friday, and it seems that … ol’ Marge isn’t too bright, for her answer to everything was “I don’t remember” or some variation of that theme.  For me, the kicker was when she was asked whether she urged President Donald Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power.  Her response?  “I don’t recall.”  I really think something that damn important would not just … slip her mind.  She’s a liar, just like Kevin McCarthy …
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose dream is to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House after the mid-term elections, told people after the January 6th attempted coup/insurrection that Trump was responsible for what happened and should be held accountable. He went so far as to tell people that he was planning to ask Trump to step down, and he did some research to investigate whether Amendment 25 was an option for removing Trump.  But then, when that was made public, he denied it … vehemently!  But then, lo and behold, there was an irrefutable recording.  Apparently, Trump Republicans are now saying that McCarthy will never be Speaker of the House.
  • And then there’s Mark Meadows, who was once Trump’s Chief of Staff, and who, it was recently disclosed, was registered to vote in three states at once! And … who is it crying “voter fraud”???  But Meadows is in even deeper than that, for it was also recently discovered that he was warned that violence was part of the plan for the events of January 6th, and he … did nothing.
  • It’s almost too easy these days to pick on U.S. House Representative Madison Cawthorn from North Carolina. He has been the subject of much consternation and many jokes as he claimed his colleagues invited him to a drug party, but the latest … well, a picture speaks louder than words, yes?

Cawthorn did not deny that the pictures were real, but referred offhandedly to them as “goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress)”.  Okaaaaaaayyyy, Maddy!

So look, Democrats … the Republican Party is truly a bloomin’ mess!  I cannot think of many in the upper echelons of the party who have not lied repeatedly and worse yet, been caught in their lies.  Yes, the maga crowd seems to still be rah-rah-rah-ing Trump and his boot-lickers, but I think the maga crowd is growing smaller in light of some of these more blatant transgressions, and some, at least, are beginning to realize that this sort of trickery is not the way to run a country. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I think I have more enthusiasm for Democrats to hold, or even increase their majority in both chambers of Congress in November!  Where’s the spice, Democrats?

The only reason the pundits, even those who lean toward the left, are so pessimistic this year is that President Biden’s approval numbers are low.  They are low, in large part, because of things happening that were out of his control, and in part because the press seems determined to highlight his mistakes and ignore his many successes.  Historically, the midterms go in favour of whichever party does not sit in the Oval Office, and historically congressional elections will follow the approval ratings of the incumbent president.  But history has its exceptions, and this year could well be one of those exceptions.  We better work to make that happen!

President Biden is not perfect … he is human (which is much more than I can say for the former guy).  Sure, he has made mistakes … every president who has ever served has made mistakes.  But, Biden has done a heck of a lot of good that he gets far too little credit for in the press.  They prefer to focus on the economy, but what they leave out is the fact that the U.S. economy is in no worse shape than any other western nation and the causes are global issues, not unique to the United States!

So, let’s put some energy into this campaign!  Our friend rawgod suggested that the Democrats need a ‘fiery slogan’ … and maybe he’s right!  Something that speaks of determination, of democracy, of PEOPLE over profit!  Something that speaks to the average Joe, struggling to pay his bills and feed his family.  Just think how effective the Trump campaign’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” was – and still is!  MAGA is now synonymous with GOP!!!

And we need to start holding the press’ feet to the fire, calling them out on their lukewarm attitude toward the President, his Cabinet members, and Democrats in Congress.  Put a bumper sticker on your car showing your support for your local candidates!  Attend a rally or two by your preferred candidates if you can … show the world that the Democratic Party ain’t dead yet!  Because my friends … if the Democratic Party is dead, then the very basis of the nation is dead, the U.S. Constitution will be shredded.  If we leave the managing of the nation to the likes of Greene, Trump, McCarthy, Boebert, Cawthorn, Cruz, Vance, Oz and the like, then we can damn well kiss democracy, kiss the Constitution “good-bye”.

Words …

President Biden gave a speech yesterday in Warsaw, Poland, before heading home.  The speech has been hailed by many, comparing it to two of what are considered the greatest speeches of the Cold War by U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.  While I have not listened to the speech, I have read the transcript … here are a few parts that caught my eye:

  • “A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never erase a people’s love for liberty. Brutality will never grind down their will to be free. Ukraine will never be a victory for Russia, for free people refuse to live in a world of hopelessness and darkness.”

  • “Let me say this if you’re able to listen: You, the Russian people, are not our enemy. I’m telling you the truth: This war is not worthy of you, the Russian people.”

  • “For generations, Warsaw has stood where liberty has been challenged and liberty has prevailed. In fact, it was here in Warsaw when a young refugee who fled her home country from Czechoslovakia was under Soviet domination, came back to speak and stand in solidarity with dissidence. Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright. She became one of the most ardent supporters of democracy in the world. She was a friend with whom I served. America’s first woman Secretary of State. She passed away three days ago. She fought her whole life for central democratic principles. And now in the perennial struggle for democracy and freedom, Ukraine and its people are in the front lines.”

  • “My message to the people of Ukraine is a message I delivered today to Ukraine’s foreign minister and defense minister, who I believe are here tonight. We stand with you. Period!”

  • “President Zelenskyy was democratically elected. He’s Jewish. His father’s family was wiped out in the Nazi Holocaust. And Putin has the audacity, like all autocrats before him, to believe that might will make right.”

  • “And earlier today I visited your national stadium, where thousands of Ukrainian refugees are now trying to answer the toughest questions a human can ask. My God, what is going to happen to me? What is going to happen to my family? I saw tears in many of the mothers’ eyes as I embraced them. Their young children, their young children, not sure whether to smile or cry.”

  • “I didn’t have to speak the language or understand the language to feel the emotion in their eyes, the way they gripped my hand, little kids hung on to my leg, praying with a desperate hope that all this is temporary. Apprehension that they may be perhaps forever away from their homes. Almost a debilitating sadness that this is happening all over again.”

  • “I also want to thank my friend, the great American chef Jose Andres, and his team for help feeding those who are yearning to be free. But helping these refugees is not something Poland or any other nation should carry alone. All the world’s democracies have a responsibility to help. All of them.”

But in keeping with the way this nation is today, the media and others seized on one of President Biden’s last lines …

  • “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.”

He uttered the heartfelt words that so many of us are thinking … one way or another, Putin cannot remain in power for if he does … if he does, it is a near-certainty that the world will see another massive war that will touch every nation, every person on the globe.  But immediately people jumped to the conclusion that the president was calling for regime change and that he was willing to be the one to make that happen.  NO, people, that is not what he said nor what he meant!  A statement was issued by the White House to clarify the president’s remarks …

“The president’s point was that Putin cannot be allowed to exercise power over his neighbors or the region. He was not discussing Putin’s power in Russia, or regime change.”

I hate it when people try to ‘interpret’ what someone has said.  If I say I’m not hungry right now, that’s precisely what I mean.  I do not mean I am not feeling well, I do not mean that what you’re offering does not appeal … I simply mean I’m not hungry.  Every word President Biden utters is picked apart ad nauseam by those on the right side of the aisle, by the media, and by people who don’t even understand the situation.  Sometimes it’s okay to take a person at their word, to take what they say at face value.  Why on earth would people let 9 short words colour their view of a 30-minute, 3,097-word speech, one of the best Biden has ever given in my view?  Because the free press jumped like a pack of hungry dogs on a bone.  I support freedom of the press to the fullest extent, however with freedom comes responsibility — in this case, the responsibility to speak with conscience, not to put words into the mouth of another, not to twist and turn words into something they were not meant to be.

We, as a nation, really need to get over the finger-pointing, the seizing on every word a member of the opposing political party utters, the lies, the hatred, the divisiveness.  There is much work to be done, but we cannot do it as long as the nation remains so divided that we cannot even listen to one another.

YO SENATORS!!! Remember Those Oaths???

Today my thoughts (and snarky side) turn to two of President Biden’s nominees … one who was likely doomed from the start, and another who will likely succeed, although not before being run through the grist mill.


Sarah Bloom Raskin

Once again, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has put his own self-interests above the interests of the nation.  This time, he has said that he will not vote to confirm President Biden’s nominee for the Federal Reserve vice chair of supervision, Sarah Bloom Raskin.  Why?  In a nutshell, because she “has written in the past in support of the Fed increasing its attention to financial risks from climate change.”  Manchin, you see, has vested interests in the production of coal, one of the worst offenders to our environment.  He has holdings valued at between $1 million and $5 million in Enersystems, Inc., the coal brokerage business he founded.

Thus ends Ms. Raskin’s nomination for the position, as Republicans have made it clear that as a block they intend to oppose the nomination.  It’s not about what’s best for the country, y’know, but about “loyalty” to the ‘Party’.  In fact, the Republican senators successfully blocked her nomination from advancing to the Senate floor for discussion and a vote.  Yesterday, after Manchin’s self-important, bloated announcement that he would not vote in support of her, Ms. Raskin sent a letter to the White House asking to withdraw her name from consideration.  President Biden then announced that he would withdraw her name.

When a member of Congress puts his own financial self-interest ahead of the best interests of not only the nation, but the entire world, that person has long since forgotten that Oath of Office he took and should be expelled from Congress.  But, of course, if we expelled every member of Congress who has blatantly shredded his or her Oath of Office, we would have very few legislators left in the Capitol.


Ketanji Brown Jackson

And then there’s Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Stephen Breyer’s retirement.  Jackson is well-qualified and well-respected, even by those in the Republican corner, but you’d never know it to hear them.  Mitch McConnell complains because of her history as a public defender, saying “the soft-on-crime brigade is squarely in Judge Jackson’s corner.” 

One line of attack by Republicans appears to be that Jackson tried too hard when representing terrorism suspects. The Republican National Committee said Jackson’s “advocacy for these terrorists was ‘zealous,’ going beyond just giving them a competent defense.”  Um … ‘scuse me but … isn’t that what a public defender is supposed to do?  According to D.C. Bar’s rule of professional conduct, “a lawyer shall represent a client zealously and diligently within the bounds of the law.” It seems to me that Judge Jackson did precisely what she was supposed to do.

Then of course there was that time that she wrote in a ruling against Donald Trump, “Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.” Although the Republicans cannot afford to admit it, this simple and truthful statement might actually be the second biggest reason the Republicans will give Jackson a hard time during the confirmation process, for they are irrevocably tied to the coattails of the former guy.  The first reason, you ask?  Her gender and the colour of her skin, of course.  Did you really even need to ask?

I think that despite the hassle Judge Jackson will no doubt endure from Republicans during the confirmation hearings, she will be confirmed, for her credentials are excellent.  That is, of course, unless she speaks about clean energy and disengaging from fossil fuels, in which case Senator Manchin might refuse to vote for her!

Thoughts On Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Nomination

It was just over a week ago that President Biden nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson to the seat on the U.S. Supreme Court being vacated by retiring Justice Stephen Breyer.  I fully intended to write this post sooner, but the war in Ukraine distracted me and pulled my attention in another direction.  However, I do think it’s important that we take a look at Ms. Brown Jackson prior to her confirmation hearing that is scheduled to begin in just over two weeks on March 21st.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been around for 232 years, and during that time 115 justices have served on the Court.  Care to guess how many have been white males?  Go on … take a wild guess.  Let me give you a hint … only 7 … SEVEN … have been either female or Black, and none have been both female and Black.  It’s about damn time, don’t you think?

left to right: Sandra Day O’Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Elena Kagan (not shown is Amy Barrett)

left to right: Thurgood Marshall, Clarence Thomas

However … I would not be applauding the nomination of a Black woman solely based on her gender and ethnicity, but she must also be well-qualified.  Ketanji Brown Jackson is very well-qualified to sit on the highest court in the nation and I support her nomination enthusiastically!

Jackson has a B.A. in Government, and a Juris Doctor, both from Harvard, both with honours.  She began her judicial career clerking for three federal jurists, including a district court judge in Massachusetts, an appellate judge in the 1st Circuit and Breyer himself.  Later she would serve as an assistant federal public defender in Washington, D.C., where she worked on appellate cases, and served as vice chair of the U.S. Sentencing Commission for several years.

President Barack Obama nominated Jackson for a district court judgeship in D.C. near the end of his first term as president, and she was confirmed in early 2013. He also interviewed her as a potential nominee after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.  President Biden nominated her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in March 2021 as a replacement for Merrick Garland who became U.S. Attorney General and she has been serving in that position since last summer.

As you can see, her qualifications are equal to any other member of the Supreme Court including Chief Justice John Roberts.  It is widely believed that she will be confirmed by the Senate, but that doesn’t stop some on the right-hand side of the aisle.  Their complaints?  Well, let’s see …

  • Since she served as a public defender, she must be ‘soft on crime’
  • She refuses to commit to opposing the expansion of the Supreme Court
  • She is being promoted by so-called “dark money” groups

At least part of the real reason for the opposition, of course, is that she is a woman, and she is Black.  Let’s call a spade a spade here … we’ve ALL seen the prejudice among many Republicans … it’s nothing new, but rather old and tiresome.  Another bottom-line reason for Republican opposition to Jackson is that during her time on the District Court, she wrote a number of opinions that were not favourable to the whims of Donald Trump.  In one such ruling, she ordered Trump’s former White House counsel Donald McGahn to comply with a legislative subpoena, writing that “Simply put, the primary takeaway from 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings.”.  Truer words were never spoken, but needless to say those who have clung to Trump’s coattails will consider that a strike against her.

At the end of the day, I believe that Ketanji Brown Jackson will be confirmed by the Senate in part because the Republican contingent has little to lose.  There are already five conservative judges on the Court – some would say six, counting Chief Justice Roberts, though I consider him to be more non-partisan than, say, Brett Kavanaugh or Amy Barrett.  The confirmation of Jackson would not change the overall balance … or rather, ‘unbalance’ … of the Court, and the senators know this.  Any objections to her confirmation would be for show, to be able to say to their constituents that they ‘tried to keep a Black woman off the Court’.

What I find more disturbing than the stated objections to Ms. Jackson’s nomination is the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court has become just another partisan branch of the federal government, which is NOT what was intended when the framers wrote the Constitution.  Impartial justice – is it no longer important to the people of this country?  Are partisan politics, is “winning”, the only thing that matters anymore?

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due!

President Biden is doing the best he can, folks, given what he has to work with!  No one man can solve all the nation’s problems … he needs the help of others, but the only thing President Biden is getting from others is obstruction and criticism.  Thus far, I think he’s done a pretty damn good job, considering that not one single Republican in Congress has found their conscience in the pile of dirty laundry they left lying about the floor of the Capitol.  But it’s not only the Republicans … even members of Biden’s own party are wringing their hands and saying he “should do this …” or “shouldn’t have said that …” instead of supporting his efforts.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick and damn tired of the media focusing on what President Biden didn’t accomplish, calling his first year in office a ‘dismal failure’, and blaming him for everything from the price of sugar to the high rate of Covid cases/deaths.  The reality is that he has accomplished a lot and would have accomplished much more, had it not been for the obstruction of the Republicans in Congress.  The media … ALL of it … needs to stop and think, needs to be more honest and give credit where credit is due!  Bill Press is an author, journalist, and radio talk show host who I’ve highlighted here a few times before.  His latest column is spot on regarding the painting of President Biden with a very dark media brush …


Bill Press: Biden lays blame where it belongs

BILL PRESS JANUARY 20, 2022

One year ago, Joe Biden took the oath of office as the 46th president of the United States. So, it’s only fair to ask the question, on Jan. 20, 2022: “How’d that first year work out?” And, indeed, that was the entire focus of Biden’s news conference on January 19.

President Joe Biden speaks during a press conference in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

Take your partisan hat off for the moment. Whether you like his politics or not, you have to agree that Biden proved once and for all – despite relentless smears by Donald Trump – that he’s more than up for the job. He not only gave the longest news conference in presidential history, but he also proved knowledgeable and up to date on the widest possible range of topics: from Ukraine to Yemen, from COVID-19 to voting rights, from inflation to the supply chain.

You probably also agree that the big show dragged on far too long and, at times, Biden talked too much, especially when he mused about how the West might respond differently to a “minor” invasion of Ukraine by Russia vs. a “major invasion.” When, in fact, the only correct answer is that “any” invasion of Ukraine by Russia is unacceptable and will be dealt with severely.

Not surprisingly, Biden walked into the East Room facing a skeptical, if not hostile, group of reporters. With few exceptions, in the days leading up to Biden’s press conference, news outlets had basically already written off his first year as a total disaster. You heard it over and over again: Biden promised to do big things, he promised to deliver on voting rights, he promised to work with Republicans and restore national unity – and he’d failed at all three.

Yet, by the time the news conference ended, in his own plain-spoken, and sometimes plodding style, it was Biden who’d proven the media wrong about all three.

Getting big things done. Did Biden achieve everything he set out to do? Heck, no. What president ever has? In four years, let alone one? But, as Biden was quick to point out, he could, and did, brag about “enormous progress” on several fronts: record economic growth; 6 million new jobs created; unemployment down to 3.9 percent; new business applications up 39 percent; record investment in rebuilding America’s ports, bridges, and highways; from 2 million to 210 million Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and from zero to 1 billion home test kits available. Yes, Biden admitted, he faced “a job not yet finished,” but he’d still accomplished a great deal in his first 12 months. And he wisely said he’s willing to break up his “Build Back Better” bill into smaller pieces to add that to his list of accomplishments. Score One.

Voting rights. Biden admitted that failure to pass voting rights legislation is the biggest disappointment of his first year, but you can’t blame him for not trying. He endorsed both bills, lobbied senators for their passage, and even supported ending the filibuster to make it happen. But there are limits to what a president can do. Blame Senate Republicans, 16 of whom, including leaders McConnell, Grassley, and Cornyn – previously voted for the Voting Rights Act, but refused to do so again for fear of alienating Donald Trump. And blame especially two stubborn, blockheaded Democrats, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Score Two.

Unity. The reality is, it takes two to tango. And, in the past, Biden’s always found Republican tango partners. No longer. “Did you ever think,” he asked, “that one man out of office could intimidate an entire party?” Biden acknowledged that times have changed: “I did not anticipate that there would be such a stalwart effort to make sure that the most important thing was that President Biden didn’t get anything done.” National unity is impossible when one political party always says no. Score Three.

On this point, Biden was at his best. All-out Republican opposition, he noted, raises the question: “What are you for?” The truth is, we know what Republicans are for. For eight years, they were for nothing but stopping President Obama. For four years, they were for nothing but whatever Donald Trump wanted (which turned out to be nothing). Now they’re for nothing but stopping President Biden. For 13 years, they have not put up one new idea. They stand for nothing. They’re the party of nothing.

Perhaps unwittingly, Biden has given Democrats a strong argument to take into the midterms, by challenging every Republican opponent: “What are you for?” Other than making Donald Trump happy, they have no answer.

UNCONSCIONABLE!!!

The Republicans have crossed that line in the sand, they have gone too far, and it’s high time to stop them, even if it requires emergency procedures that defy their “constitutional rights”.  They are costing us our lives and I for one am sick and damn tired of it!  Jamelle Bouie writing for the New York Times sums it up in his most recent column … guaranteed to make you growl and stomp your feet.


Do Republicans Actually Want the Pandemic to End?

Aug. 31, 2021

By Jamelle Bouie

Opinion Columnist

President Barack Obama promised unity. In his 2008 campaign, he said he would heal the nation’s political divides and end more than a decade of partisan rancor.

To keep this promise, Obama needed allies, or at least partners, in the Republican Party. But they said no. If they could block Obama — if they could withhold support on anything significant he planned to do — then they could make him break his promise. Republicans would obstruct and Obama would get the blame. Which, you might remember, is what happened. By the 2010 midterm elections, Obama was a divisive president.

Joe Biden, in his 2020 campaign for president, promised to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. With additional aid to working families and free distribution of multiple effective vaccines, he would lead the United States out of its ongoing public health crisis.

I think you can see where this is going.

Rather than work with him to vaccinate the country, Biden’s Republican opposition has, with only a few exceptions, done everything in its power to politicize the vaccine and make refusal to cooperate a test of partisan loyalty. The party is, for all practical purposes, pro-Covid. If it’s sincere, it is monstrous. And if it’s not, it is an unbelievably cynical and nihilistic strategy. Unfortunately for both Biden and the country, it appears to be working.

Naturally, some of the loudest vaccine-skeptical Republicans are in Congress. “Think about what those mechanisms could be used for,” Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina said of the Biden administration’s plan for door-to-door vaccine ambassadors. “They could then go door-to-door to take your guns. They could go door-to-door to take your Bibles.”

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has similarly criticized the president’s effort to reach the unvaccinated. “People have a choice, they don’t need your medical brown shirts showing up at their door ordering vaccinations,” she tweeted. “You can’t force people to be part of the human experiment.”

Cawthorn and Greene are obviously fringe figures. But these days, the fringe is not far from the center of the Republican Party (if it ever was to begin with). Their rhetoric is not too different, in other words, from that of their more mainstream colleagues in the Senate.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has attacked vaccine mandates — “There should be no mandates, zero, concerning Covid,” he said in a recent interview with the Fox News host Sean Hannity — while Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has urged Americans to “resist” efforts to stop the spread of the virus. “It’s time for us to resist,” Paul said in a video posted to Twitter. “They can’t arrest all of us. They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. They can’t keep every government building closed, although I’ve got a long list of ones they might keep closed or ought to keep closed.”

Republican rhetoric in Washington, however, is a sideshow to the real fight over Covid, in states like Florida and Texas.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis rejected vaccine passports and launched an aggressive campaign against mandatory mask-wearing in schools. “It is very important that we say, unequivocally, no to lockdowns, no to school closures, no to restrictions and no to mandates,” he told a gathering of conservative activists in Utah last month. DeSantis has suspended city and county emergency orders, put limits on future mitigation efforts and signed a law that “shields nursing homes, hospitals and businesses from legal liability if employees and patrons contract the virus on their premises.”

All of this, even as the state has been ravaged by the Delta variant of the virus. Florida has been reporting more than 20,000 new infections a day and has averaged 262 Covid deaths — the most of any state, at least in absolute numbers. More than 16,000 people are hospitalized and thousands have been taken to intensive care units. Who does DeSantis blame for these outcomes? Biden.

“You know, he said he was going to end Covid. He hasn’t done that,” the Florida governor told the Fox News host Jesse Watters last week. “At the end of the day, he is trying to find a way to distract from the failures of his presidency.”

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has banned mask mandates, signed legislation that would deny state contracts or licenses to businesses that require proof of vaccination and — after recovering from a breakthrough Covid infection himself — barred local governments from requiring the vaccine for any public agency or private institution. In a statement, Abbott said that this was to avoid a “patchwork of vaccine mandates across Texas.” But in a message to the state legislature, the governor appeared to be asking lawmakers to consider an outright ban on vaccine mandates. On Aug. 25, the day Abbott sent his message, Texas reported more than 23,000 new cases of Covid, along with 14,000 hospitalizations and 245 deaths.

Abbott and DeSantis are not alone. Earlier this month, the Republican governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey, created two new grant programs that would give funds to families and school districts that rejected mask mandates. And in South Dakota, Gov. Kristi Noem once again cheered the Sturgis motorcycle rally, a year after it contributed to a Covid outbreak throughout the region and into the Midwest. This year, health officials have already linked the rally to cases in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

The effect of all of this for the country is a pandemic that won’t die. The effect of it for the Republican Party is a substantial part of its base that won’t take the vaccine. According to data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Republicans lag behind most of the rest of the country in vaccine uptake; 54 percent said they had received at least one dose at the time of the survey, compared with 67 percent of all adults. And the effect of this for Biden is a sharp drop in his approval rating; a Reuters poll conducted mid-month found the president down 21 points among all Americans for his handling of the pandemic.

What amounts to a Republican effort to prolong the pandemic shows no sign of abating. It may even get worse, as powerful conservative media personalities spread vaccine skepticism and embrace dubious miracle cures like ivermectin, a drug typically used to treat parasitic worms in livestock, not viruses in humans.

If Biden does not want the kind of backlash that his Democratic predecessor faced, he needs to act aggressively to push the United States off its vaccination plateau. Republicans might be setting him up to break his promise to stop Covid, but the president should understand that he’s not actually at their mercy.