Note to politicians (and so-called news people) – STOP THE NAME CALLING AND LABELING

Our friend Keith tends to be more even-tempered than I am, and his voice is always the voice of reason. With that said, I am sharing Keith’s post from earlier today, for he makes excellent points that our governing bodies, the media, and even we bloggers should consider. Thanks, Keith!

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The United States and the world have a lot of problems that need elected officials to address. The problems are multi-faceted in causes, so they require holistic thinking, educated and civil discussion and multi-faceted solutions. Our problems are hard enough to solve when we focus on the facts and issues, but nigh impossible when we listen to name calling and labelling as a substitute for discourse.

So, politicians, here is a simple piece of advice. If you cannot understand the first paragraph, and what you need to do, please resign. We don’t need people who decide not to add value and name call opponents. That is not civil discourse, that is childish playground talk. If you cannot add value with your commentary, please keep your thoughts to yourself. At least this citizen will not be listening to you, nor should others. That includes all politicians, not just the ones who…

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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.

Same Tune They’ve Been Playin’ Forever

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

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


Tucker Carlson and White Replacement

This racist theory is rooted in white supremacist panic.

Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

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

As Carlson put it:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Bit Of Snark In Da Snippets

I still haven’t run out of things to be snarky about and it isn’t looking like I will anytime soon!  I am greatly relieved to have a real president, one whose tweets are few and are always positive, never whiny or ranty.  I am happy to wake in the morning knowing that we haven’t likely started a war somewhere.  And I’m pleased with Joe Biden’s performance as president these past 30+ days.  However, the racists still exist and many of the loudest ones languish in Congress, so yes, I still have my snarky cap on!


Oust DeJoy!

louis-dejoyThe United States Postal Service (USPS) is in the news again this week as Postmaster General Louis DeJoy is testifying before Congress about the dire failures of the postal service to meet the nation’s needs.  The mail … at least important mail … has been so slow that the Pony Express could have delivered it faster (funny how the junk mail and advertisements always get through, though), but then DeJoy was hired for one reason only:  to slow the mail to a snail’s pace prior to last November’s election in order to interfere with our mail-in ballots arriving in a timely manner.  He succeeded in slowing the mail, but we managed to get our ballots in on time despite his efforts to lose or delay them.

Democrats in Congress have called for his resignation, his ouster, and I fully agree.  He did not come to the job with any relevant experience, and he did not come with the intention of helping us, only of harming us.  But DeJoy says he has a plan that he will unveil soon, to restore the USPS.  Details of his plan thus far are sketchy, but what we do know is that he plans to slow the mail (what, it isn’t already slow enough???), while charging us more (what, $80 to mail a bloomin’ package isn’t already too high???) to mail letters and packages.  This, in and of itself, is unacceptable, but add to it the fact that with higher postal rates, the Consumer Price Index will leap skyward as companies are forced to pay more for the shipping of materials and finished products, and will naturally pass their increased cost on to We the Consumers.

It’s a lose/lose situation for We the People, and the only winner would be Mr. DeJoy himself who would get to keep his job … not that he needs it, with a net worth of $110 million.  Unfortunately, as I have written before, President Biden does not have the ability to directly fire Mr. DeJoy, but he can fill the vacant seats on the Board of Governors that does have the ability to fire DeJoy.  The USPS needs a strong leader who understands the workings of the organization and whose goal would be to restructure it for maximum efficiency while restoring customer service.  DeJoy ain’t that person!


Stephen Miller rears his ugly head … again

I’m told that I shouldn’t consider republicans to be racists, but I go by the old adage if it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.  That said, I do know a few republicans who aren’t racist, so I stop short of saying “all”.  I’ve long said that the biggest appeal of the former guy to republicans was the fact that he created in their minds a supreme danger of all immigrants and promised that ‘he alone’ could and would fix the problem.  As a result, thousands of children were taken from their parents, put in cages, denied basic healthcare and hygiene, and often were abused in a variety of ways by those in charge of their welfare.  As a result, those seeking asylum from life-threatening situations were denied entry into the country.  As a result, billions of taxpayer dollars were wasted constructing a few miles of a hideous ‘wall’ at the southern border that would serve no purpose.

President Trump Speaks On Immigration With 'Angel Families'

Stephen Miller

President Biden is attempting to repair the U.S. immigration policy, but the GOP is not onboard with his vision.  Thus, they have hired America’s chief racist, Stephen Miller, along with two other supreme racists, Tom Homan and Mark Morgan, to advise the conservative House members as they organize their opposition to Biden’s planned changes as laid out in his recently unveiled blueprint for comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  Miller, you may remember, was largely the architect for the hateful separation policy that brought so much grief to so many, especially children.

The meeting between Miller, Homan, Morgan, and House Republicans was organized by the 147-member Republican Study Committee, a group of traditionalist conservative lawmakers that also has met recently with other officials from the former administration, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Fox News host Tucker Carlson.  WTF does Tucker Carlson have to do with any of this, other than he is a racist to the very core?

The recently unveiled Biden bill would provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants, and incorporates many provisions supported by Republicans in the past as well as by business groups today.  The chief argument by republicans seems to be that it leaves out funding to complete the ridiculous ‘wall’ at the southern border … a wall which has been proven unworkable and uber-costly by numerous experts.  The U.S. is currently in debt to the tune of some $27.9 trillion, and people around the nation are starving, are in danger of losing their homes, so we damn sure don’t need to spend billions of dollars on a white elephant that benefits nobody!

Republicans who would consult and listen to Stephen Miller cannot deny their racism, for Miller is the very definition of the term white supremacist.  But, it seems they are determined to attempt to block anything and everything that President Biden tries to do, simply because … because he isn’t a republican.  Not much other reason, when you peel away the layers of excuses.

liz-cheneyInterestingly, Representative Liz Cheney, one of ten republicans in the House who voted to impeach the former guy and who has taken considerable flack from the Republican Party as a result, gave a speech yesterday at the Reagan Institute in Washington, where she said …

“It’s very important, especially for us as Republicans, to make clear that we aren’t the party of white supremacy. You certainly saw anti-Semitism, you saw the symbols of Holocaust denial, for example, at the Capitol that day. You saw a Confederate flag being carried through the Rotunda. And I think we as Republicans in particular have a duty and an obligation to stand against that, to stand against insurrection.”

I would hope that most people in the Republican Party would listen to Ms. Cheney rather than Mr. Miller and Tucker Carlson, but … sigh … I know the reality is not what I would wish.  The GOP is greatly diminished, and it’s due to the racism and people like the former guy and Stephen Miller, among others.

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Prove Me Wrong — PLEASE!

Joe Biden has promised to do everything in his power to heal the wounds that divide the people of this nation, to bring unity where there is only separation and hate.  I fully believe he will try, but we all have to do our part … he cannot do it alone.  And today, it seems to me that nearly half the nation does not want unity, though they claim they do.  Perhaps they are defining ‘unity’ as everyone bending to their own views.

In an early morning text from a friend, there was this …

“… the “new” President call 74 MILLION Americans…. white suprematists. He’s off to a great start. Unity? I think not a chance in hell now.”

And that was only the beginning.  Senator Rand Paul said in a morning interview with Fox News …

“If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo. Calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book. Calling us people who don’t tell the truth.  ‘And going forward we’re not going to have manufactured or manipulated truth.’ That’s another way of saying ‘All of my opponents manufacture or manipulate the truth and are liars.’”

And speaking of Fox, ol’ Tucker Carlson just had to throw a bucket of fuel on the fire, saying …

“Now that we’re waging war on white supremacists. Can somebody tell us in very clear language what a white supremacist is? Biden has now declared war. So, we should know specifically and precisely who exactly he has declared war on. We have a right to know that innocent people could be hurt in this war. They usually are.”

Joe Biden offered an olive branch, and some republicans are determined to destroy it rather than accept it.  It’s almost as if they take great pleasure from the current atmosphere of hate and divisiveness.  Biden wasn’t looping Republicans generally in with white supremacists and extremists. Carlson is doing that. Paul is doing that.

I’m sure there is a large contingent of republicans who are hopeful that Biden can, in fact, lessen the tensions, find common ground on the issues that divide us, and helps us find the path to mutual respect, but they aren’t speaking loudly enough, if at all.  The only republican voices I’m hearing are those who aren’t even willing to give peace a chance.

From an OpEd by Philip Bump writing for The Washington Post …

It’s important to note that this is clearly not what Biden was talking about. He was talking about the rise of white nationalist extremism and violence of the sort that has been manifested occasionally in recent years and which the Department of Homeland Security (under Trump) identified as the most significant terrorism threat in the country. He was talking about the sort of extremism that contributed to what happened at the Capitol.

There is some undercurrent of sympathy among Republicans generally for what happened there. Most Americans reject the mob’s actions in storming the Capitol, though, as a Washington Post-ABC News poll found, 15 percent of Republicans at least somewhat support the storming of the Capitol itself. A HuffPost-YouGov poll taken shortly after the attack found that most Republicans viewed the mob’s actions as being mostly right or simply having gone too far in pursuit of a valid point.

I remember a time when being a republican or a democrat was not a divisive feature.  Sure, there have always been ideological differences – hence the reason for two distinct political parties.  But it wasn’t the thing that defined us, as it appears to be today.  This nation is split in half, though not by any physical boundaries, but rather by prejudice and intolerance.  President Joe Biden wants to start to put us back together, but it can only work if people on both sides of the issues are willing to make it work.  Taking his words, twisting them to mean something entirely different, then spewing hateful remarks is not the answer, people!

I call on every person, whether democrat, republican, or independent, to give Joe a chance, for Pete’s sake!  Within twelve hours of him taking his Oath of Office, people were already denigrating and swearing that they would not even listen to his actual words, would not be open to trying to help make his attempts at healing the Great Divide work.  Do these people actually crave violence, want a damn civil war?  I’ve said many times in the last four years that this is no longer a country I recognize.  I was hoping that would change under a President Biden, but it can only change if we all want it to.  Do we still have any shared values in this country?  Today, I have my doubts.  PLEASE prove me wrong!

No Sympathy For A Cold-Blooded Killer

A 17-year-old punk leaves his home in Illinois, travels to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where there are protests against the police brutality that left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down, and walks up and down the street carrying an assault rifle.  Seventeen years old.  He should be home studying, or working at the local McDonald’s to save for college, but instead he is about to become a cold-blooded killer.  He did not have a permit for the gun, and in fact was too young to obtain one … he was not legally allowed to have that weapon in his possession.

As Kyle Rittenhouse walked down the streets of Kenosha with another armed man, a police officer in an armoured vehicle asked him if he needed some water, then tossed him a bottle of water, saying, “We appreciate you guys, we really do.”  A short time later, Kyle Rittenhouse used his AR-15 to shoot three people, two of whom died.  Since police were all over the place, it only makes sense that he was arrested on the spot, right?  But no … even though at this point, people were shouting to the police that he was the shooter, and even though he walked right up to the police, police officers simply waved him away and told him to get off the streets!  He returned to his home in Antioch, Illinois, a short time later, without any interference from law enforcement in Wisconsin.  He was arrested by Antioch police the following afternoon.

Kyle Rittenhouse would have been shot dead on the spot by police if he had been a black teenager instead of a white one.  But wait … for it gets even worse.

It may have started with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson when, rather than condemning a 17-year-old killer, he attempted to justify it …

“So, are we really surprised that looting and arson accelerated to murder? How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would? Everyone could see what was happening in Kenosha. It was getting crazier by the hour.”

Or perhaps it started with the Facebook post by Arthur Love, a member of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s staff, sympathizing with Rittenhouse, saying in one post …

“I’m grateful that conservatives are rallying behind this kid. He genuinely seems like a good person.”

A “good person”???  Good people do not even own assault weapons, let alone go looking for an excuse to kill!!!  Mr. Love was fired on Saturday, and rightly so.

Wherever and however it started, there is growing support for this 17-year-old murderer, and funds have even been started to help pay his legal fees!  One fundraiser, on a Christian crowdfunding website called Give Send Go, raised more than $65,000 as of last Thursday evening. People have donated $7,460 to the teen through a site called Free Kyle Rittenhouse.

GoFundMe, one of the most popular and widely used crowdfunding websites, has taken down multiple fundraisers for Rittenhouse. GoFundMe spokesperson Angelique McNaughton said Thursday the platform removed the fundraisers because they violated GoFundMe’s terms of service which specifically forbids people from using the platform to raise money for “the implicit or explicit purpose of or involving for the legal defense of alleged crimes associated with hate, violence, harassment, bullying, discrimination, terrorism, or intolerance of any kind relating to race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, serious disabilities or diseases, financial crimes or crimes of deception.”

And, according to an article in The Guardian

“Fundraisers, messages of support and celebratory memes for the alleged Kenosha, Wisconsin, mass shooter are being shared widely on Facebook and Instagram, despite the company’s assurance on Wednesday that it was working to enforce its policy banning content that “praises, supports, or represents” mass shooters.

One fundraiser for Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, was shared more than 17,700 times on Facebook, including by 291 public groups and pages with more than 3.9m aggregate followers, according to data from CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned data analytics tool. A second fundraiser garnered 1,698 shares on the platform, including by an additional 17 pages and groups with nearly 400,000 followers.”

I encourage you to read the entire article, for it is truly shocking.

This, perhaps more than anything else, defines what is wrong in this nation today.  That people have empathy for a young punk using an assault weapon to kill people is … well, it just blows my mind.  Personally, I would like to see him tried, convicted, and spend the rest of his life in prison.  I would also like to see his parents pay a price, for it is obvious to me that they failed miserably in raising this child.  Since he was only seventeen, he was legally still under their guardianship, and it seems to me they must share some of the blame.

Rittenhouse claims it was self-defense, but he went there looking for trouble, so the self-defense argument simply does not fly.  How can people support this punk?  How can anyone justify what he did?  Those who can, it seems obvious to me, are people who value their guns more than human life, people who believe in vigilante justice, and people who are, at the core, white supremacists.  They are part of what is wrong in this nation today, and is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Senator Tammy Duckworth Speaks … We Must Listen!

The ignominious Fox personality, Tucker Carlson, is known for his hateful rhetoric.  The most recent target of his foul mouth is Senator Tammy Duckworth, a wheelchair bound Purple Heart veteran who lost both legs in the Iraqi War.  For further information on this, please see Keith’s post on the subject.  Today, in the New York Times, Senator Duckworth responds in an OpEd that I think is well worth sharing.duckworth-obama


tammy-duckworth-2A little over 240 years ago, two of my ancestors put on the uniform of George Washington’s Continental Army and marched into battle, willing to die if it meant bringing their fledgling nation inches closer to independence. Centuries later, in 1992, I followed in their footsteps and joined the Army.

Even knowing how my tour in Iraq would turn out, even knowing that I’d lose both my legs in a battlefield just north of Baghdad in late 2004, I would do it all over again. Because if there’s anything that my ancestors’ service taught me, it’s the importance of protecting our founding values, including every American’s right to speak out. In a nation born out of an act of protest, there is nothing more patriotic than standing up for what you believe in, even if it goes against those in power.

Our founders’ refusal to blindly follow their leader was what I was reflecting on this Fourth of July weekend, when some on the far right started attacking me for suggesting that all Americans should be heard, even those whose opinions differ from our own. Led by the Fox News host Tucker Carlson and egged on by President Trump, they began questioning my love for the country I went to war to protect, using words I never actually said and ascribing a position to me that I do not actually hold.

Mr. Carlson disingenuously claimed that because I expressed an openness to “a national dialogue” about our founders’ complex legacies, people like me “actually hate America.” One night later, he claimed that I called George Washington a traitor even though I had unambiguously answered no when asked whether anyone could justify saying that he was. Then he argued that changes to monuments of our founders “deserve a debate,” which, somehow, was different and more acceptable to him than the “national dialogue” that led him to question my patriotism just 24 hours earlier.

Setting aside the fact that the right wing’s right to lie about me is one of the rights I fought to defend, let me be clear: I don’t want George Washington’s statue to be pulled down any more than I want the Purple Heart that he established to be ripped off my chest. I never said that I did.

But while I would risk my own safety to protect a statue of his from harm, I’ll fight to my last breath to defend every American’s freedom to have his or her own opinion about Washington’s flawed history. What some on the other side don’t seem to understand is that we can honor our founders while acknowledging their serious faults, including the undeniable fact that many of them enslaved Black Americans.

Because while we have never been a perfect union, we have always sought to be a more perfect union — and in order to do so, we cannot whitewash our missteps and mistakes. We must learn from them instead.

But what I actually said isn’t the reason Mr. Carlson and Mr. Trump are questioning my patriotism, nor is it why they’re using the same racist insults against me that have been slung my way time and again in years past, though they have never worked on me.

They’re doing it because they’re desperate for America’s attention to be on anything other than Donald Trump’s failure to lead our nation, and because they think that Mr. Trump’s electoral prospects will be better if they can turn us against one another. Their goal isn’t to make — or keep — America great. It’s to keep Mr. Trump in power, whatever the cost.

It’s better for Mr. Trump to have you focused on whether an Asian-American woman is sufficiently American than to have you mourning the 130,000 Americans killed by a virus he claimed would disappear in February. It’s better for his campaign to distract Americans with whether a combat veteran is sufficiently patriotic than for people to recall that this failed commander in chief has still apparently done nothing about reports of Russia putting bounties on the heads of American troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Trump and his team have made the political calculation that, no matter what, they can’t let Americans remember that so many of his decisions suggest that he cares more about lining his pockets and bolstering his political prospects than he does about protecting our troops or our nation.

They should know, though, that attacks from self-serving, insecure men who can’t tell the difference between true patriotism and hateful nationalism will never diminish my love for this country — or my willingness to sacrifice for it so they don’t have to. These titanium legs don’t buckle.

The hateful vision for America parroted by Mr. Trump and Mr. Carlson will not win. Their relentless efforts to drive wedges between us will not work forever. We are too resilient a nation, too diverse a people, to let them.

In his farewell address, George Washington not only recognized his own imperfections, he also urged Americans to “guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism” and be wary of excessive partisanship. In the generations since, too many patriots, including many in my own family, have sacrificed too much to let our guard down now.

So when Tucker Carlson questions the patriotism of those willing to sacrifice for his freedom, or when Donald Trump promotes those smears — after having threatened to veto a pay raise for our troops to try to ensure the military continues honoring Confederate traitors who took up arms against our Union — remember Washington’s words.

Remember that part of what has always made America not just great but good is that every American has the right to question those in charge. Anyone claiming to stand up for “patriotic” values should recognize that, because, without it, the country these impostor patriots claim to love so much would not exist.

Our nation deserves leaders mature and secure enough not to race-bait or swift-boat anyone who dares disagree with them. After these past four years, and especially after these past four months, it’s clearer than ever that we must choose public servants who will focus on the serious issues facing our country — from the spread of the coronavirus to systemic racism to foreign adversaries threatening our troops’ lives — rather than cynical bullies who use schoolyard tactics to distract from their own shortcomings.

So while I would put on my old uniform and go to war all over again to protect the right of Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump to say offensive things on TV and Twitter, I will also spend every moment I can from now until November fighting to elect leaders who would rather do good for their country than do well for themselves.

America Needs Integrity, Not BS

Just the title of this one says it all … integrity … the thing that is most missing in our government today. Even Trump’s own sycophants cannot deny it, cannot justify or excuse it, so their latest tactic is to simply tell us to “get over it”. B.S. Thanks, Jerry, for the reminder of what we’re missing. I still say somebody must’ve drugged ol’ Tucker! 😉

On The Fence Voters

“Donald Trump is a salesman. He’s a talker. He’s a boaster, a booster, a compulsive self-promoter. At times, he’s a full-blown BS artist.” If you assumed a liberal or even a conservative “never-Trumper” made that statement, you’d be wrong. Tucker Carlson, one of President Trump’s most loyal and vocal supporters, said that on his Fox TV show in late November of 2019. Carlson openly admitted what everyone knew, but that 35 percent of Americans still deny.

Carlson also admitted, “One of the reasons progressives say they hate Donald Trump is because he lies a lot.” Whether progressives hate Trump or not could be debated, but that Trump is a liar is now a settled fact, as attested to by one of his most-dedicated defenders. In that same broadcast, Carlson further acknowledged that Trump’s boast that his inaugural crowd was the largest in history was a lie: “The crowd at the…

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The Wife Of A Supreme Court Justice …

This story began with something that crossed my radar last night and set off red flags and warning bells.  But, as sometimes happens, the story didn’t begin or end with that one story, but has an even deeper, darker understory.  I want to warn you that some of this is going to sound a bit far-fetched, but I assure you, I have double-checked and verified everything I’m about to tell you, so hold onto your hats, folks.

Clarence-thomasJustice Clarence Thomas has had a seat on the United States Supreme Court since 1990 when he replaced one of the most-respected Justices in the history of the nation, Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Thomas’ confirmation was sticky, to say the least, with a less-than-stellar ranking from the American Bar Association, his reticence to answer many questions, and lastly allegations of sexual misconduct, but still he was confirmed.  He leans to the right … a bit too far for my tastes, but nonetheless, I’ve had no truck with him.  His wife, however, is another matter.Ginny-ThomasGinny Thomas, it appears, has played a significant role in the recent purges within the Trump administration … purges not based on incompetence, but rather on not being considered to be ‘loyal’ enough to Trump.  Loyalists, or close allies of Trump, provided him lists of names of those who were perceived as not being 100% on board with Trump, and Ginny Thomas was one of the leaders of the pack.

Before I proceed, let me just state for the record that the Supreme Court is expected to be completely independent from the president.  The Justices do not work for, nor answer to the president.  It seems to me that this is a gross conflict of interest, for the wife of one of the justices to be serving as an unofficial advisor to the president, bringing about the firing of staff for no reason that would pass the smell test in a court of law.

Ginny Thomas and a Republican Senate staffer, Barbara Ledeen, have been compiling lists of all those they felt lacked sufficient loyalty to Trump.  One of the casualties of Ms. Thomas’ lists was Jessie Liu.  Liu was a U.S. Attorney for the District Columbia, a position she resigned earlier this month, apparently at the request of U.S. District Attorney William Barr.  She had been nominated by Trump to a high-level position at the U.S. Department of Treasury and had planned to resign her position with the DC U.S. Attorney’s office soon anyway, so not much notice was taken.

Then, suddenly, Trump rescinded Ms. Liu’s nomination.  It turns out, the reason was a list compiled by Ginny Thomas and Barbara Ledeen listing at least three reasons she felt Ms. Liu was not loyal enough.  One reason Ginny questioned Liu’s loyalty was that she failed to charge former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, for she found he had committed no crimes.  Another was that she had recommended jail time for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who pled guilty and was convicted of “willfully and knowingly” making “false, fictitious and fraudulent statements” to the FBI regarding conversations with Russia’s ambassador in the matter of Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 election.  Trump felt Flynn’s conviction was unfair, even though Flynn had pled guilty, so Liu’s recommendation that he serve time in prison made her, in Thomas & Ledeen’s book, disloyal.

The third, and perhaps most disgusting reason on the infamous list was that Ms. Liu refused to press criminal charges against certain of the women who came forward to accuse Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during his confirmation hearing in 2018.  To the best of my knowledge, none of those women had done anything that would warrant criminal charges, and obviously that was Ms. Liu’s conclusion as well.  And a fourth reason Thomas & Ledeen apparently felt Ms. Liu had failed the loyalty test, is that she dismissed charges against “violent inauguration protesters who plotted to disrupt the inauguration.”

The compilation of these lists has been going on for some 18 months, but it was only after his acquittal by the Senate last month that Trump suddenly felt emboldened and invincible enough to act upon the information he had been given.  Ms. Thomas, however, has been a right-wing political activist since at least 2013, in conjunction with a number of journalists from Breitbart and other right-wing organizations.  Thomas has also been a columnist for the Daily Caller (a right-wing news and opinion website founded by none other than Fox News’ half-witted Tucker Carlson) and a tea party consultant and lobbyist.

I have no evidence that Justice Thomas has done anything wrong, but … by his wife acting in this capacity, advising Trump of who should be fired, of who is sufficiently loyal … there is the appearance of possible involvement where there should be none.  The role of Supreme Court Justice is a very high honour that comes with an expectation that the wearer of that black robe will be above the fray, above suspicion.  I’m afraid I no longer have faith that Justice Thomas is, in fact, above corruption.  What his wife is doing is, in itself, disgusting, but that she is also the wife of a Supreme Court Justice is highly improper.

Short, Snarky Snippets

If you think that the fact that it’s Thanksgiving, the fact that I have a turkey to roast, stuffing to make, potatoes to cook, and all the other stuff is going to keep me from being a snarky you-know-what today, then you don’t know me well.  Last Thanksgiving, I managed my usual two posts plus a music post, and while I may or may not have a second post today, I at least have some short snarky snippets to share with you!  I consider it my civic duty … it’ll give you something to discuss over your turkey & gravy!


Who knew …

… That those of us whose humanitarian values have led us to be called “liberals”, as well as some other less savoury names, were trying to change the name of the holiday presently known as “Thanksgiving”?  Funny, but I hadn’t heard that one until this morning when I was reading that in Trump’s rally yesterday, he claimed …

“But now we’re going to have to do a little work on Thanksgiving. People have different ideas why it shouldn’t be called ‘Thanksgiving,’ but everybody in this room I know loves the name ‘Thanksgiving,’ and we’re not changing it.”

And the crowd cheered.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been no movement to change the name of Thanksgiving.  There were numerous humorous responses on Twitter, but one of the responses to his foolish remark was spot on:

“Well, many Natives, like myself, call it #nationaldayofmourning & as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t like it, grab a ship back home and shove some crumpets up your bum and let us repair this land.”

He also returned to one of his favourite themes, what he refers to as “the war on Christmas”.  He claims that he has now “made” everyone say “Merry Christmas”, rather than “Happy Holidays”.  Bullshit.  I typically go for the “Have a great holiday” line, though sometimes I may say “Merry Christmas”.  Thing is, see … not everyone celebrates Christmas as a religious holiday.  Many of us celebrate it as a secular holiday, a way to begin the long, dark winter season with light and festivity.  If you choose to celebrate it according to your religion, fine.  If you don’t, then that’s fine also.  Once again, Trump has overstepped his boundaries.


And about that rally …

Not surprisingly, Trump used much of his time at his aforementioned campaign rally in Sunrise, Florida, talking about his pending impeachment.  He cast the impeachment inquiry as a desperate effort by democrats to win back the White House in 2020. He went so far as to call the impeachment proceedings ‘bullshit,’ prompting a new audience chant containing the expletive. And he put those proceedings in the same category as the Mueller investigation, labeling all of it a ‘scam’ and a ‘hoax.’

“They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people.”

Say WHAT???  I’m still speechless and have steam coming out of my ears over that blatant, bald-faced lie!

“The radical Democrats are trying to overturn the last election because they know that they cannot win the next election. It’s very simple.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr 👿


Tucker said WHAT???

tucker-carlsonTucker Carlson of Fox News fame is a grade-A jerk.  No surprise there, we’ve known that for years.  But, he may have crossed a line this time.

“Why do I care … what is going on in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia? And I’m serious. Why do I care? Why shouldn’t I root for Russia, which I am?”

After the predictable backlash from those who remember that Russia is a domineering, bullying nation that is seeking to restore an ‘empire’ ala the Soviet Union, ol’ Tucker said, halfheartedly, that he was only joking.  Right, Tuck.


Spencer speaks …

Funny, isn’t it, that Trump who dodged the draft back during the Vietnam War, who has never served a single day in the military, is now micromanaging the military of which he knows absolutely nothing?  Ousted Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer, has written an OpEd in response to his firing.  The thing he wrote that struck me as being 110% true is that Trump …

 “… Has very little understanding of what it means to be in the military, to fight ethically or to be governed by a uniform set of rules and practices.”

Can’t argue with that … Trump has no clue what the words “ethically” and “rules” mean.  Commander-in-Chief???  Hah!  The most unlikely of candidates for that job.


For the love of animals?  Doubtful

In December 2010, President Obama signed into law a bipartisan bill, H.R.5566 – Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, that banned videos that show animals being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to other forms of torture.  On Monday, Trump signed into law another bill, H.R.724 – Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act, that is essentially an expansion of the original.  This one makes such cruelty to animals a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Since the bill had bipartisan support in Congress, and since it is basically a no-brainer, there would have been absolutely no justification for Trump to not sign it, but some have found a morsel of redemption for Trump in the signing of this bill, saying, “See … he did something good!”  We are, it would seem, desperate for him to have one little redeeming quality.  But wait …

Do you see the irony here?  Trump’s two elder sons are both big game hunters who have killed numerous beautiful animals for sport.  No contest, they are guided by experts, they have big guns, the animal is in a preserve and has no guide, no gun.  Senseless slaughter, pure and simple.  Sorry, folks, but this bill does not apply to people who slaughter animals for food or to those who hunt, trap and fish.  Too little … far too little.


And now, I leave you to enjoy your Thanksgiving with friends and family.  Have a great one, my friends!