Open Letter To All Republicans In Congress

Dear Sir or Madam,

Never in my 70 years have I been as disgusted with the Republican Party as I am today.  You have taken politics to an all time low, completely disregarding the will of the people and the best interests of the nation.  Your only goal seems to be to take over the nation and hand the reins of power to a cruel and evil dictator.

Note that your party is in the minority, both in Congress and in the nation, yet rather than trying to develop policies that would help people and thereby attract new members, you push people away with your hateful, guttersnipe rhetoric.  One example, Margie Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who sits in the House of Representatives.  Just since returning from her Twitter ban, she has said that she will personally spend money to ensure that every one of the 19 senators who voted for the infrastructure bill will face a primary candidate next year.  Why?  Only because they worked across the aisle in an attempt to do their jobs.  And then, she claimed that she is drawing up impeachment papers against President Biden … no reason given.

And speaking of the infrastructure bill, there’s Ron Johnson who tells us that he hasn’t even read it and doesn’t plan to … he just knows he plans not to vote for it no matter what is or isn’t in it.  This is obstructionism to the nth degree.

Politics is a career intended to be peopled by educated people who understand how government works and who are dedicated to the principles enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.  Instead, what we get from your side of the aisle is gibberish that makes less sense than a kindergarten child on the playground.  Those of us who have even a basic knowledge of the Constitution and understand a bit about how government is supposed to work are appalled by your actions of the last decade or so, and especially the past year.

We elect you to act in our best interests, to put our welfare ahead of your own personal wealth and lust for power, but thus far you have not done that.  We elect you, then pay you a fair salary, and in return we expect you to show up for work every day, to read every bill you are asked to consider, to give those bills due consideration, debate them, and then make a decision based on whether this bill will be good for the nation and its people.  That’s really all we ask of you!  We don’t ask you to flit about the country holding rallies in which to spew a message of hate.  We don’t ask you to visit the former guy to help him work up his campaign strategy for the next election that is more than three years away.  In fact, that is a conflict of interest and We the People would be well within our rights to call for the resignation of those who have done so.  We don’t ask you to tweet condemnation of every single thing the president says or does – that’s not in your job description.

We the People are your employers, not Mitch McConnell, not Kevin McCarthy, and for damn sure not Donald Trump!

In 1854, your party was founded for a very noble purpose:  to stop the spread of slavery.  Throughout the years, the Republican Party has made some positive contributions to this nation.  But today?  You contribute only to the angst of the people who need help, who need you to put on your grown-up underwear and step up to the plate, do the right thing.  You have an opportunity to make vast improvements in the Republican Party, but instead you are more concerned about increasing your own power and wealthy at the expense of the very people to whom you owe your jobs.

For far too long now, the Republican Party, once known as the Grand Old Party, has been the “party of ‘no’”, the obstructionist party with no relevant goals or policies other than to naysay any legislation that is proposed by the Democratic Party.  Well, guess what … at least they have ideas!

It is time for the Republican Party to reassess their values, to step back and ask yourselves exactly what are you contributing besides chaos?  With all the challenges that face us today, I would think this would be the time to set partisan politics, greed and arrogance aside and work toward fixing the problems, toward making this a safer, more equal nation.  Instead, you are doing the exact opposite.

Think about it.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, independent voter, taxpayer, citizen

A Bombshell That Few Noticed

Last week, we found out that the former guy had instructed then-acting-attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.”  I saw this headline in numerous news sites that I visit daily, and like most of the rest of you, I growled a bit, called him a few choice names, then moved on to other stories.  But as Robert Reich points out … that was the wrong move.  This is THE story that is most important in its implications.  I’ll let Mr. Reich explain …


A Trump bombshell quietly dropped last week. And it should shock us all

Robert Reich

A newly released memo shows that Trump told the acting attorney general: ‘Just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen’

We’ve become so inured to Donald Trump’s proto-fascism that we barely blink an eye when we learn that he tried to manipulate the 2020 election. Yet the most recent revelation should frighten every American to their core.

On Friday, the House oversight committee released notes of a 27 December telephone call from Trump to then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, in which Trump told Rosen: “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.” The notes were taken by Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, who was also on the call.

The release of these notes has barely made a stir. The weekend news was filled with more immediate things – infrastructure! The Delta strain! Inflation! Wildfires! In light of everything else going on, Trump’s bizarre efforts in the last weeks of his presidency seem wearily irrelevant. Didn’t we already know how desperate he was?

In a word, no. This revelation is hugely important.

Rosen obviously rejected Trump’s request. But what if Rosen had obeyed Trump and said to the American public that the election was corrupt – and then “left the rest” to Trump and the Republican congressmen? What would Trump’s and the Republicans’ next moves have been? And which Republican congressmen were in cahoots with Trump in this attempted coup d’état?

Make no mistake: this was an attempted coup.

Trump knew it. Just weeks earlier, then attorney general William Barr said the justice department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.

And a few days after Trump’s call to Rosen – on 2 January – Trump told Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, to “find” votes to change the election outcome. He berated Raffensperger for not doing more to overturn the election.

Emails released last month also show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the justice department to investigate totally unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud – forwarding them conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed with the supreme court.

Some people, especially Republican officeholders, believe we should simply forget these sordid details. We must not.

For the first time in the history of the United States we did not have a peaceful transition of power. For the first time in American history, a president refused – still refuses – to concede, and continues to claim, with no basis in fact, that the election was “stolen” from him. For the first time in history, a president actively plotted a coup.

It would have been bad enough were Trump a mere crackpot acting on his own pathetic stage – a would-be dictator who accidentally became president and then, when he lost re-election, went bonkers – after which he was swept into the dustbin of history.

We might then merely regret this temporary lapse in American presidential history. At best, Trump would be seen as a fool and the whole affair an embarrassment to the country.

But Trump was no accident and he’s not in any dustbin. He has turned one of America’s two major parties into his own cult. He has cast the major political division in the US as a clash between those who believe him about the 2020 election and those who do not. He has emboldened state Republicans to execute the most brazen attack on voting rights since Jim Crow. Most Republican senators and representatives dare not cross him. Some of his followers continue to threaten violence against the government. By all accounts, he is running for president again in 2024.

Donald Trump’s proto-fascism poses the largest internal threat to American democracy since the civil war.

What to do about it? Fight it, and the sooner the better.

This final revelation – Trump’s 27 December call to the acting attorney general in which he pleads “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” – should trigger section 3 of the 14th amendment, which bars anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection” against the US. The current attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, should issue an advisory opinion clearly stating this. If Trump wants to take it to the supreme court, fine.

The United States: A SECULAR Nation! Let’s Keep It So

The United States of America is, by definition, a democratic republic.  It is also, by definition, a secular nation.  A secular nation, not one ruled by religious dogma, but by laws that are just and that benefit all citizens.  This nation is not a theocracy!  Please allow me to define these terms for you:

  • Secular – not subject to or bound by religious rule.
  • Democratic Republic – A democratic republic is a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy.
    • Republic – A state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.
    • Democracy – A system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.
  • Theocracy – a form of government in which a deity of some type is recognized as the supreme ruling authority, giving divine guidance to human intermediaries that manage the day-to-day affairs of the government.

For the past several years, certain religions, particularly evangelical Christians, have been attempting to change the structure of this nation in such a way that would force the 330 million inhabitants of the U.S. to live by the narrowly defined rules of a single sect.  Now if, say, the evangelicals constituted a vast majority of the people in this nation – at least 98% — then this might be almost acceptable.  But they do not.  They are a minority.  Evangelicals comprise approximately 25.4% of the people in this nation.  By any standard, any way you choose to cut the pie, 25.4% is NOT a majority!  In addition, nearly as many, some 22.9% ascribe to no religion at all.

I try extremely hard to never criticize a person’s religion or religious beliefs, even though I do not share them.  I believe that we each have a right to believe as we wish, as we see fit, and that it is only right to respect others’ beliefs.  None of us know what is or isn’t, what may or may not be our future. That doesn’t mean that I give anybody the right to attempt to convert me or to shove their beliefs down my throat, and in return, I don’t ask them to listen to me expound on why I don’t believe as they do.  Rather a truce … believe as you will, just don’t expect me to believe as you do.  But today, I am seeing a threat to our secularity, a threat to the very principles on which this nation was founded.

What, you may ask, has lit my fuse?  A ‘man’ named Landon Schott, a ‘pastor’ at a church, ‘Mercy Culture Church’ in Fort Worth, Texas.  This church has become a beacon, as it were, for the new Republican Party, the one that is under some spell by the former guy and hopes to demolish the concept of ‘separation of church and state’.  This ‘man’ had the unmitigated gall, on the day after the attack on Congress and the Capitol in January, to stand in front of the Capitol and say, “Father, we declare America is yours.”  WHO THE HELL gave him the keys to the kingdom, the right to hand over our lives???

But it isn’t only Mr. Schott … he is only one of many who happened to cross my radar at the exact wrong moment.  There is an entire network of evangelical churches in this nation, with followings in the hundreds of thousands, who are on a mission not just to transform individual lives but also to turn civilization itself into their version of “God’s Kingdom”: one with two genders, no abortion, a free-market economy, bible-based education, church-based social programs and laws such as the ones curtailing LGBTQ rights now moving through statehouses around the country.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees religious freedom.  What that means is it guarantees that you can belong to any church you wish, or no church at all.  It means you can believe in any deity you choose to believe in, read any religious tomes you wish, and the United States government will not interfere – unless, of course, you engage in human sacrifices or some other illegal ritual.  What it does not mean is that you can impose your will on others. Period. In this nation there are people of many different religions:  Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Jain, and others.  There are also those of us who do not believe in a deity at all but believe that people control their own destiny.  How, then, can one single religion with very narrow views that would exclude some 75% of us, hope to control the laws of the land?

The simple answer is that they cannot and that the U.S. Constitution prohibits a theocratic government, so that’s that, right?  But is it?  Look at the Supreme Court, the branch of government that is the last best hope for interpreting and applying Constitutional Law.  Look at the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision, a blow to LGBTQ rights.  Most people expect the Supreme Court to overturn the previous Roe v Wade decision that was a boost to women’s rights.  How many states have either passed laws or have pending legislation to rob women of the right to make their own decisions regarding their health, their body?

My point is that this nation was founded on principles you will find if you read the Constitution – it’s only just over 8,000 words and easily readable in a couple of hours.  Nowhere in the U.S. Constitution will you find that religion, certainly not a single specific religion, should be the guiding principle for the laws of the land.

Y’know … it’s funny that a few years back the conservatives in this country were all up in arms saying that the Muslims who had migrated to the U.S. were trying to impose Sharia Law on the citizens of the U.S.  Now, not a single one of those people understood what the term even meant, and they had no basis in fact for their claims, but … since when did that ever stop people from making fools of themselves?  But now, they are suggesting essentially the same thing … that we impose ‘Christian Law’ upon the citizens of this nation.  We are NOT all Christians and we don’t all believe the same.  I repeat what I said in the beginning … believe and worship as you will, but this is a SECULAR nation, NOT a Christian nation!!!

If I have offended any with this post, I apologize, for it was not my intention to do so.  I respect your right to believe as you wish, and ask only that you also respect mine.

What if…

Last night, I read Brosephus’ latest post shortly before going to bed — warning: do NOT make this post your bedtime reading! Brosephus paints a chilling scenario, one that ten years ago I would have laughed off as fiction, but one that today … I’m no longer laughing. We must do everything in our power to ensure that there is no possibility of this happening, and the first step is to protect voting rights … hear that, Congress???

The Mind of Brosephus

Screenshot of the WSBTV app @ 3:21pm 7/11/21

After watching the GOP evolve (devolve depending on your perspective) into a hard right authoritarian party, I’ve convinced myself there are two types of conservatives. There are the puppeteers consisting of groups like the Federalist Society, Fox News and others. Then, there are the puppets which is basically everyone else. This specific grouping is a topic for another post, but kinda relevant to the scenario that just popped into my head.

While sitting on my back deck and enjoying a summer breeze, I logged into the app pictured above, and that’s the image that greeted me. Notice the top 3 stories AND the red banner? Yeah, I did to. That got the gears in my head to spinning at about 12,000rpm, well beyond the redline of 10,000rpm. *(Just glad that I didn’t burn my brain down in the process…)

Anyway, travel with…

View original post 746 more words

Bang!!! Bang!!!

A few of yesterday’s headlines …

  • At least 150 people fatally shot in more than 400 shootings over the Fourth of July weekendCNN
  • More than 90 shot in Chicago on Fourth of July weekendChicago Tribune
  • Shootings at two Indianapolis shopping malls over July 4 weekendWTHR News
  • Chicago weekend shootings: 92 shot, 16 fatally in Chicago since Friday nightChicago Sun-Times
  • At least 140 people died in shootings across the US over Fourth of July weekendBusiness Insider
  • At least 150 killed in nationwide shootings this July 4th weekend: dataNew York Post

There are more, but … you get the picture, right?  In case you don’t quite get it, let me paint it for you.  In the

Most of the

Think their right to own a

is greater than our right to

I’M SICK AND DAMN TIRED OF THIS, FOLKS!!!  Give the fucking guns up … throw them in the ocean for all I care but get them out of the hands of ordinary people who tend to be fools and idiots from time to time, and as my mother-in-law used to say, “Ain’t got no sense.”

Take your 2nd Amendment and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine!  For that matter, you can put your guns there too!

{Filosofa takes 10 deep breaths}

Okay, let’s talk about this calmly now that I’ve gotten my fury out of my system.

Fact:  guns outnumber people in the United States

Fact:  humans sometimes get angry and act out of emotion rather than coherent thought

Fact:  guns kill people … or rather, people kill people WITH GUNS

Fact:  the 2nd Amendment does NOT guarantee that every person has the right to own a gun and carry it in public, nor does it address such things as automatic weapons that have the capacity to kill hundreds within minutes

Fact:  gun violence in the United States surpasses that of any other nation on earth

We can no longer feel safe going to the grocery store, much less a shopping mall on a holiday weekend.  We cannot feel safe in a movie theater, restaurant or bar.  We are not safe walking down the street, even in broad daylight.  We are not even safe in our own homes.  Something needs to change and it needs to change NOW!

Republican members of Congress, who are largely owned by the National Rifle Association (NRA), have long resisted even the most moderate legislation that would affect gun ownership, such as expanded background checks.  They have absolutely refused to even discuss a ban on assault weapons such as the AR-15 and AK-47.  I think the family of every single victim of gun violence from this point forward should file a federal suit against every Republican legislator who has naysaid gun legislation.

A favoured talking point of the NRA is that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”  Yes, but to the stupid who buy into that phrase, might I remind you that people kill people WITH GUNS!  Rare in the U.S. is the killing with fisticuffs or Swiss army knives.  Almost every damn murder is committed with … a gun!  Just how damn hard is it to understand that people who don’t have guns generally don’t kill?

Yes, I know I’m spitting in the wind, preaching to the choir, and the gun nuts will go on being just that … NUTS.  But I cannot be silent on this issue!  This is one of the three biggest issues that is threatening to destroy this nation from within, the other two being racism and money in politics.  And yes, I know that I’ve already said all of this before, more than a few times.  But PEOPLE!!!  WAKE UP AND SMELL THE GUNPOWDER!!!  It’s right outside your door!  Two of the fatalities this past weekend happened within a few miles of my home, likely a couple happened near you, too.  Our children are not safe in their classrooms, and we are not safe even in our workplaces.  How can the gun nuts even begin to justify this?  More to the point, how can our elected officials, men and women who are supposed to have our best interests at heart, justify taking bribes from the NRA and refusing to even discuss laws that might save lives?  Does anybody have an answer?  Hell no, for there is no logical answer.  It’s all about profit … profit for the gun industry, corporations such as Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, Remington et al, and profit (money + power) for our not-so-illustrious elected officials whose salaries, I might remind you once again, WE PAY!

The right of a person to own a gun is about as far down on the priority list in my mind as anything could ever be.  And yet, it is the defining ‘right’ of far too many fools in this country.  The next holiday weekend will be the three-day Labour Day weekend, September 4th thru 6th.  Anybody want to make any bets how many of us will end up dead by guns at the end of that one?

We Will NOT Forget!

Y’know … if someone breaks into my home or place of business, causes massive damage, and threatens my life, I am going to find that person or persons and they are going to pay a hefty price.  It’s that simple.  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, no harm done, it was just a normal day.”  No, I’m not going to say, “Oh well, what’s done is done and now I need to just move on with my life.”  No, I am going to say, “Let’s find the sons of bitches that did this and make sure they never see the light of day again except from behind steel bars, never have the opportunity to do this to somebody else again.”  For at the end of the day, criminals who are not captured, not punished, not even pursued, gain strength, gain momentum and confidence, and their next crime – make no mistake, there will be a next one – will be even more heinous than the last.

Yes, of course I am referring to the attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th, attacks that were fully intended to overthrow our votes and what democratic foundations remain in our government.  Now, you may say that more than 500 people have been arrested in connection with the attack, but I would argue those people, for the most part, were pawns.  They were masses of largely uneducated, ignorant people who were looking for a fight, who had been riled into a feeding frenzy by others in positions of power.  Yes, they should pay for their crimes, for their participation with both prison time and fines, but the people I want to see arrested and made to pay most are those who had any role, no matter how small, in masterminding the plot.

Thus far, even before the House investigation has begun, before the FBI or Department of Justice have completed their investigation, we know of certain key people who were involved, including Rudy Giuliani, Michael Flynn, Don Junior, Ali Alexander and others who met on January 5th at the Willard Hotel in D.C. to coordinate and work out the final details.  Why are they walking around free?  Lock ‘em up!!!

The Republicans would like this to just go away, would like to sweep it under their proverbial very dirty carpet, but we will not forget!  We will not let the “American” public forget!  You may get sick and tired of reading about this on Filosofa’s Word, and for that I apologize, but this is too important not to keep up the momentum, to keep it fresh in the minds of the people of this country all the way up through November 8th, 2022 – the date of the mid-term elections when members of Congress, some of whom are guilty of having a role in plotting or encouraging the insurrection, will be seeking votes in the mid-term elections. The media must also do its job and keep the pressure up on those investigating, must keep the events of that day fresh in the minds of the public.

Josh Hawley, representative from the “show-me” state of Missouri;  Lauren Boebert, representative from the state of Colorado; Margie Greene, representative from Georgia; Kevin McCarthy, House Minority Leader from the state of California; Paul Gosar, representative from the state of Arizona;  Louie Gohmert, representative from the state of Texas – all these people must surely be under investigation for their roles, no matter how seemingly insignificant, in the attempted overthrow of the 2020 election and by extension, our very foundation.

How can we simply forget about what happened and what might have been had it not been for the poor planning of the fools who stormed the Capitol, and the actions of the Capitol Police and others?  How can we simply shrug our shoulders and move on?  If somebody attempted to murder your daughter, would you forget about it?  No, and neither can we forget that many ‘somebodies’ tried to murder our nation.   No, this is not an exaggeration … had the insurgents accomplished what they set out to do, President Biden would not likely be sitting in the Oval Office today, certain key legislators would likely be dead, and this nation would likely be under strict martial law.

So no, Kevin McCarthy, Mitch McConnell … we will not forget!  We will not sit down and shut up!  We the People demand answers!  We demand that we receive a full briefing of every single person who had any involvement at any level!  As we said after 9/11:  We Will NOT Forget!

Understanding Our Past — CRT: Part I

Okay, folks … it seems that there is much confusion surrounding the concept of Critical Race Theory or CRT.  The confusion is twofold:  genuine confusion by people who truly do not understand the theory, and fake outrage by racists and Republicans (largely one and the same) who are trying to make a point to their mostly white base.

Today’s post, the first in a two-maybe-three-part series, looks at what Critical Race Theory is … and what it isn’t, and the evidence to support it.  Then, I hope to deconstruct the outright lies that are being told by the politicians and the likes of Fox News that are creating a furor in this nation … mainly among racists and bigots, but also among those who simply don’t understand what it is and why the theory is accurate.  This is by no means intended to be an academic work, but merely a layman’s view of what CRT is and how it is affecting this nation today.

Let’s start with a simple explanation of Critical Race Theory.

The simplest explanation is that racism has been a part of this nation since its founding, and today, even in the 21st century is systemic, meaning it is built into our institutions such as law enforcement, schools, the courts, etc. in an attempt to maintain the dominance of white people in society.  Sometimes it is blatant, but since the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s, more often it is subtle or implied, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

CRT does not, as some would have you believe, posit that all white people are racists, but rather that this nation’s history of racism lives on in many today, even though some may not realize it, and that it is imbedded in our laws, our society, our system.  Think about it … from the earliest days of white people coming to these shores, racism has been cruelly executed.  Think about what the white European settlers did to the indigenous people who had been here for thousands of years before the white people showed up and literally imprisoned them and kicked them off their land … killed them.  Read Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation by John Ehle.

And then, in 1619, the first slaves were imported from the African continent to do the hard work.  White men owned those dark-skinned men and women … owned them like they might own a painting or a cow.

More than 200 years later, at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation came into effect and declared enslaved people in the Confederacy free—on the condition that the Union won the war.  Still, slavery remained constant until the war was won by the Union troops and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1865 …

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

President Lincoln did not live to see final ratification: Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, and the necessary number of states did not ratify the 13th Amendment until December 6th of that year.

Then came the Black Codes1, Jim Crow laws2, and … the Ku Klux Klan3 (KKK).

  1. Black Codes were strict local and state laws that detailed when, where and how formerly enslaved people could work, and for how much compensation. The codes appeared throughout the South as a legal way to put Black citizens into indentured servitude, to take voting rights away, to control where they lived and how they traveled and to seize children for labour purposes.
  2. Jim Crow laws existed for about 100 years, from the post-Civil War era until 1968. They were meant to marginalize African Americans by denying them the right to vote, hold jobs, get an education or other opportunities. Those who attempted to defy Jim Crow laws often faced arrest, fines, jail sentences, violence and death.
  3. The Ku Klux Klan was born in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, as a private club for Confederate veterans. The KKK grew into a secret society terrorizing Black communities and seeping through white Southern culture, with members at the highest levels of government and in the lowest echelons of criminal back alleys.

Under Jim Crow, segregated waiting rooms in bus and train stations were required, as well as water fountains, restrooms, building entrances, elevators, cemeteries, even amusement-park cashier windows. Laws forbade African Americans from living in white neighborhoods. Segregation was enforced for public pools, phone booths, hospitals, asylums, jails, and residential homes for the elderly and handicapped. Some states even required separate textbooks for Black and white students. New Orleans mandated the segregation of prostitutes according to race. In Atlanta, African Americans in court were given a different Bible from white people to swear on. Marriage and cohabitation between white and Black people was strictly forbidden in most Southern states. It was not uncommon to see signs posted at town and city limits warning African Americans that they were not welcome there.

And no, my friends, this wasn’t hundreds of years ago … Jim Crow laws were still in effect when I was young, and only legally ended in 1968.  Less than fifty years ago.  But … in many ways they are still being practiced, just not quite as openly or blatantly.

And what of the KKK?  A relic of past history?  Guess again.  Some 42 different Klan groups were active in 22 states as of June 2017, a slight increase from early 2016, according to a report from the Anti-Defamation League.

Now, sit down for a minute and take a few deep, calming breaths, for this is some disturbing information I’ve just laid on you.  None of it was likely news to you, but … seeing it all in print, realizing that yes, Virginia, racism is alive and well in the United States today, can take the wind out of your sails.  Racism in the U.S. is not a thing of the past, not something we’ve overcome.  Sure, we’ve made some progress, there are anti-discrimination laws on the books to protect minorities from being denied jobs, education, and housing … but that doesn’t mean that people don’t find a way around it.  Racism is, like it or not, part of our past and our present … the goal here is to ensure it is NOT part of our future.

My goal is two-fold:  to clear up some of the misconceptions floating around today, perpetuated by the uneducated or those who have ulterior motives, and to show why and how we, as a nation, can be so much better than we are today.  I will have Part II to this series in the next day or two and will try to tie it all up in Part III by the end of the week.  But folks, don’t let anybody tell you that this is not a racist nation … hell yes, it is.  Many of us are not racist, don’t understand those who are, but sadly the racists are often the ones calling the shots, making the laws, setting the rules, teaching our children – hence, systemic rasicm.

The Good, The Bad, And The … Funny!

I vaguely remember the days, back before the year 2016, when I went to bed at night feeling safe and secure.  I can almost remember the days when I didn’t automatically associate the word “Republican” with hatred, racism, greed, cruelty, cheating, lying, and obnoxious.  Ahhhhh … those were the good ol’ days!  Long story short, I have more snark built up since my last snippets post, so … let me share just a few with you!


Kiran Ahuja has a new job!

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on President Biden’s nominee for the Office of Personnel Management, Kiran Ahuja.  Ultimately Ms. Ahuja, a civil rights lawyer and veteran of the Obama administration, was confirmed, but only after Vice-President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, because not one single Republican was willing to vote to confirm her.  Why?  Well, for one thing she is an Indian-born immigrant.  According to Josh Hawley – you remember him, the guy who did a fist pump in a show of solidarity with the terrorists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th

“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s H.R. director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies that seek to divide rather than unite the American people. She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training.”

GASP!!!  She could … require sensitivity training by those who make hiring decisions for the federal government!  Oh, wouldn’t it be awful to teach people that it is wrong to discriminate!  She could actually insist that hiring decisions be based on the skill level of the applicants rather than the colour of their skin!

Apparently, the congressional Republicans want an all-white cabinet, and the difficulty of Ms. Ahuja’s appointment was not the first sign of trouble.

Shortly after taking office, President Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Ms. Tanden is also Indian American, and this time, Biden pulled her nomination once Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (yes, he of filibuster and voter suppression fame) made it clear he would not vote to confirm her.  However last month, the President appointed her to be a senior White House advisor, a position for which no senate confirmation is necessary.  Take that, Republicans … and Republican wannabe Manchin!

And then, there was Deb Haaland, a Native American who was chosen to be Secretary of the Interior, a department that has a long history of being used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples.  Ms. Haaland was ultimately confirmed in March, but only after being grilled at length as Republicans tried to paint her as a radical.  Said Republican Senator Steve Daines from Montana …

“I’m deeply concerned with the congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America.”

Um, Mr. Daines … the population of Montana is less than 1% of the population of this country … put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I am very thrilled that the Biden cabinet looks much different than that of the former guy, that there is diversity and qualified people with experience making the everyday decisions that affect our lives.  I sincerely hope that I never see the day when there is a Republican president and a Republican majority in the Senate again, for all this progress would likely be undone within a matter of a few weeks.


But there was a big, bright spot today!

Judge Peter A. Cahill sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd.  This sentence will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, but … it is consequential, and I am very pleased.  This is very nearly the longest sentence any police officer has received in this country for unnecessary killing in the line of duty and it is long past due.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, the longest sentence given to an officer for the murder of an unarmed Black person.

Shortly after reading the sentence from the bench, Judge Cahill issued a 22-page memorandum about his decision, writing, “Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect.’” But Mr. Chauvin, the judge wrote, had instead “treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”

The maximum sentence possible would have been 40 years, and the presumptive sentence would have been 12.5 years.  I think the main thing to take away from this sentencing is that it sends a strong message to police officers that the blanket concept of ‘qualified immunity’ isn’t going to protect you when you use excessive force, that times are changing and police, just like anybody else, can be held accountable for their actions.

In the end, Judge Cahill said two “aggravating factors” had affected his decision to sentence Mr. Chauvin to more than 22 years: Mr. Chauvin had acted with particular cruelty, the judge said, and had abused his authority as an officer of the law.  This needs to become the rule, not the exception!  Mr. Chauvin, who is currently 45 years of age, will likely be eligible for parole after serving 2/3 of his sentence, or in about 15 years.


For the People … yeah, right

I am still furious over the Senate Republicans’ unanimous vote to deny even debate on the For the People Act that would have ensured our rights to vote, despite nearly every state in the nation attempting to suppress that right.  But yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting law, saying that the controversial measure is intended to restrict ballot access to Black voters.  In his news conference yesterday, AG Garland said …

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Thumbs up to the Attorney General!  👍 👍

The bill, SB202, has already passed the Georgia State Legislature and been signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.  In effect, it makes sweeping changes to the state’s absentee voting rules, adds new voter identification mandates and nearly cuts in half the amount of time for voters to request a mail-in ballot.  It also outlaws passing out food or drinks to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or too close to voters waiting in line.

These voter suppression tactics, while aimed largely at Blacks, will also negatively impact Hispanics, working mothers, the elderly, college students, and the poor.  I sincerely hope that the Justice Departments case wins the day, thereby sending messages to other states, but my best guess is that more lawsuits will be required.

Y’know … We the People have a lot of rights per the U.S. Constitution, but I think perhaps there is none more important than our right to vote, to have a voice in our government.


Late night host/comedian Stephen Colbert talked a bit about the travesty of justice regarding the For the People Act, as well as a number of other issues I’ve written about recently, and his monologue actually brought a laugh gurgling up from my throat, so I hope you’ll check it out and maybe you’ll laugh too!

Open Letter To Every Republican Senator

Dear Republican Senator …

YOU had the unique opportunity to pass legislation that would have protected mine and others’ right to vote for the foreseeable future, and you stupidly passed up that opportunity for reasons that are completely incomprehensible to me and my fellow citizens.

When you took that Oath of Office and swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution, did you think it was a joke?  Did you think you were just saying words that had no meaning, that carried no responsibility?  Why did you even run for office if you had no intention of acting in the best interests of the nation and the people who live here, who work their asses off to survive and pay their taxes so that you can be paid every month?  It appears to me that you did not run for office because you wanted to help this nation or the people, but only so you could take donations from wealthy corporations to feather your own nest.

You, Senator, do not deserve the position you hold, the office you occupy.  The people who you have caused grievous harm to are people like me … the elderly, college students, Black and Hispanic people, and single working mothers.

I sincerely hope that one way or another, you are forced out of the United States Senate and soon, for you have let the people of this country down, you have been derelict in your duties, and you are a greedy, racist person who I have lost any respect I once had for.  I do not respect you or any of your republican cohorts in the United States Congress.  You failed miserably today, and you have no excuse … not a single one of you even voted to debate the bill!  Do you really hate the people you represent that much such that you will not even spend a few hours considering protecting our rights?

I expect a reply to this letter … it is the very least that you can do, since you have robbed me of my constitutional rights and made me wish I lived anywhere but this ‘shithole country.’

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison – citizen, taxpayer, VOTER

R.I.P. Bipartisanship

I think most people see bipartisanship as the ideal way to get things done in our lawmaking branch of government known as Congress.  We’d all like to think that both Democrats and Republicans are acting in the best interest of the people of this nation and that they are taking their oaths to the Constitution seriously.  After all, we elected them and we pay their salaries, benefits and perks from our hard-earned money!  I, for one, have long felt that moderation and bipartisanship, working across the aisle, meeting halfway in the spirit of compromise was the best way to ensure that we are all served well by our elected officials.  Today, however, I honestly believe that bipartisanship is a mirage, that true cooperation between the two parties is dead, a relic of the past.  Whether or not it will ever be resurrected remains to be seen at some point in the future, but today, there is not a single Republican in either chamber of Congress who even understands the meaning of the word “compromise”.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow recently published an OpEd that addresses this and his thoughts parallel my own.  Sadly, this is the state of affairs in the United States Congress today.


Stop Hoping the G.O.P. Will Play Ball

June 20, 2021

By Charles M. Blow

Opinion Columnist

I am truly baffled as to why Democrats continue to search for bipartisan support that has not only been illusory, but nonexistent — with the exception of a predictable few and only on a few issues with them.

Democrats: Republicans don’t want you to win. It’s that simple. They want no successes on your watch, and they certainly don’t want to participate in said victories.

And yet the reports keep pouring in of Democrats bending over backward and gutting their bills in a desperate effort to win Republican support.

It seems to me that this has all been a performance, a going through the motions, a checking of the boxes, so that Democrats could say that they tried, that they extended a hand but were rebuffed. Democrats always seem to want to win the moral advantage, to say that they played the game with honor.

But that is meaningless when Republicans no longer care about that form of morality, when they no longer want to play the game by the established rules at all. Democrats are playing an honor game; Republicans are playing an endgame.

Republicans are in win-at-all-costs mode. They don’t really care how they sound today or will be judged by history. The only thing that matters is winning and retaining power, defending the narrative of America that white people created and protecting the power and wealth they accrued because of it.

As The Washington Post reported Sunday, “the Equality Act, which would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the protected classes of the 1964 Civil Rights Act alongside race, color, religion and national origin,” has stalled because of “sharpening Republican rhetoric, one key Democrat’s insistence on bipartisanship, and the Senate’s 60-vote supermajority rule.”

Last week, Senator Joe Manchin offered some changes and reductions to the voter rights bill called the For the People Act, changes that he could support and that he hoped would win some Republican support. His compromised stance was quickly rebuffed by Republicans. Manchin had also offered alterations to the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, which seeks to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act.

But, as Talking Points Memo wrote, Manchin’s changes would basically gut the bill. As T.P.M. put it, “One of those proposed changes would decrease the attorney general’s ability to deem a voting practice discriminatory without a judicial finding.”

Politico reported on Friday that the White House will lean more on the bully pulpit as its voting rights bills grind to a halt. This includes engaging the public more, partnering with corporations and leaning on the Justice Department to challenge some state laws.

Politico is also reporting that Democrats are preemptively scaling back gun control legislation — pre-emptively taking the compromise position — to avoid a Republican roadblock that will most likely still remain. According to Politico:

“Democrats are preparing to vote on a scaled-down guns bill — most likely a curtailed plan to boost background checks for firearm buyers. The goal is to unite the party and pick up a limited number of Republican votes, even as their effort appears headed towards the same doomed fate as previous proposals to curb gun violence.”

Rather than continuing to peddle a false optimism that bipartisanship on most major legislation is truly possible with this Republican Party, Democrats need to tell their voters some uncomfortable truths.

First, the obvious: Even though Democrats have control of the House and Senate, not everyone in this caucus is fully committed to a liberal policy agenda. That means that the moderates, like Manchin, are the de facto leaders of the Democratic majority. Nothing passes without their approval.

It is these very same moderates who stand in the way of eliminating the filibuster.

And it is precisely for those reasons that very little is likely to get passed through this Senate that liberals will find satisfying. Democrats must brace for massive disappointment.

Furthermore, we are barreling toward midterm elections in which Republicans are optimistic about winning back the House and possibly the Senate.

I say dispense with the phony, wish-driven narrative Democrats are selling. Go down screaming and fighting. Much of the Democratic agenda may be stalled, but never stop reminding voters why it is: not because Democrats haven’t compromised enough, but because they could never compromise enough.

The current status quo is an unwinnable negotiation, because it isn’t a negotiation. This is a war. And in it, all is fair. Republicans have embraced a liar and racist in Donald Trump because their voters embraced him. They have excused and multiplied, in fantastical ways, the insurrection at the Capitol. They are rushing to write voter restrictions that also give them more say over how results are verified.

In the face of all this, Democrats need to stop talking about reaching across the aisle, compromise and common ground.

They need to go on the record and speak plainly: The Republican Party has given up on the idea of a true and full democracy. They are attempting to tear it down and erect in its place a system that reduces voter rolls and skews the will of the American people.

For the Republican Party, the success of democracy — that growing numbers of people could participate — is its failure.