The Good, The Bad, The Hopeful

A few days ago, my dear friend Ellen sent me Maureen Dowd’s column from the New York Times.  She says so much that the topic of the column rather defies description, but her vision of where this nation is today is spot on.  She also gives us hope in a more positive, yet realistic assessment of President Biden’s policies and actions than we’re used to hearing these days.


Drowning Our Future in the Past

By Maureen Dowd

Opinion Columnist

It isn’t a pretty picture.

One coast is burning. The other is under water. In between, anti-abortion vigilantes may soon rampage across gunslinging territory.

What has happened to this country?

America is reeling backward, strangled by the past, nasty and uncaring, with everyone at one another’s throats.

Post-Trump, we let ourselves hope that the new president could heal and soothe, restore a sense of rationality, decency and sanity. But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be just a firefly.

We feel the return of dread: We’re rattled by the catastrophic exit from Afghanistan; the coming abortion war sparked by Texas; the Trumpian Supreme Court dragging us into the past; the confounding nature of this plague; the way Mother Nature is throttling us, leaving New Yorkers to drown in their basements. And now comes Donald Trump, tromping toward another presidential run.

It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.

We’re choking on enlightened climate proposals but the disparity between the disasters we see, and what’s being done in Washington, makes it feel as though nothing is happening except climate change. We’re so far from getting a handle on the problem, the discussions around it seem almost theoretical.

Joe Manchin, tied to the energy industry, balks at climate change provisions in the reconciliation bill. He should be looking for ways to get West Virginia in touch with reality rather than living in the past.

“Manchin’s claim that climate pollution would be worsened by the elimination of fossil fuels — or by the resolution’s actual, more incremental climate provisions — is highly dubious, if not outright false,” The Intercept reported, noting that the truth is that Manchin’s personal wealth would “be impacted.” Since he joined the Senate, The Intercept said, he has grossed some $4.5 million from coal companies he founded.

With its new abortion law, sending women back to the back alley and encouraging Stasi-like participation from the citizenry, Texas now becomes the capital of American unreason. The law “essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

There were medieval fiefs more enlightened than the Lone Star G.O.P.

Between putting women in danger by pushing that law and putting children in danger by imposing his anti-mask mania on school districts that want to mask up, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has become a scourge of the first rank.

A cynical slice of the Republican Party — and this includes Trump — privately denigrates anti-abortion activists as wackos, but publicly moves in lock-step with them in order to cling to that base and keep power.

But the anti-abortion forces were somehow clever enough to hijack the Supreme Court and Republicans will have to contend with the backlash when the court tosses Roe v. Wade aside.

As botched as the withdrawal from Afghanistan was, at least Joe Biden was trying to move into the future and do triage on one of America’s worst mistakes.

And unlike other presidents — J.F.K. with the Bay of Pigs, L.B.J. with the Vietnam War and Barack Obama with the Afghanistan surge — Biden did not allow himself to be suckered by the generals, the overweening Ivy Leaguers and the Blob, the expense account monsters who keep this town whirring and always have a seat at the table, no matter how wrong they were, and are.

The Afghanistan tragedy, as James Risen wrote in The Intercept, was just two decades of Americans lying to one another, and it “brought out in Americans the same imperial arrogance that doomed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.”

Unlike his three predecessors, Biden risked Saudi ire by directing the Justice Department and other agencies on Friday to review and declassify documents related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into 9/11. Families of 9/11 victims had been pushing for the release of the secret files to learn more about the role the Saudis played in the attacks.

The enablers of our misbegotten occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been shrieking like banshees at Biden, trying to manacle him to their own past mistakes as he attempts to lift off.

With peerless chutzpah, Tony Blair called Biden’s decision to depart cynical and driven by an “imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars.’”

But Biden knew enough not to spend more lives and treasure to prop up a kleptocracy. He oversaw some bad weeks in Afghanistan but George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld should be blamed for 20 bad years.

Remarkably, as Jon Allsop pointed out in The Columbia Journalism Review, the word “Bush” was not mentioned once on any of the Sunday news shows the weekend Kabul was falling.

“He looks like the Babe Ruth of presidents when you compare him to Trump,” Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, told The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, for a story this past week on Bush nostalgia.

With a memory like a goldfish, America circles its bowl, returning to where we have been, unable to move forward, condemned to repeat a past we should escape.

Outraged!!!

There are so many competitors for my anger these days that I am often simply overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin.  This one, however, robbed me of a night’s sleep and nearly wrote itself in my head last night as I tried counting sheep, counting backward by 2s from 200, and played countless games of Sudoku on my phone.

The target of my acerbic tongue today?  Women’s rights … women’s rights that in the last two days have been set back by 100 years or more in the not-so-great state of Texas.  No, folks, this isn’t just about abortion as many would have you believe … this is about women’s rights.  Now that we are told we cannot decide for ourselves whether we are financially and emotionally ready to have a child, the rest of our rights will be as a house of cards.

The Texas legislature passed a draconian bill that was signed into law by the clown of a governor, Greg Abbott (the same man who is trying to kill the children of Texas by banning vaccine and mask mandates).  This bill prohibits abortion after 6 weeks … many, if not most women do not even know they are pregnant before six weeks!  And, long story short, if a woman has an abortion and a friend or neighbor report it, the reporter is eligible for a reward of up to $10,000 and the woman and the abortion provider can be sued by the state.

Worse yet … there are no exceptions in the cases of incest or rape.  Imagine this scenario …

16-year-old Chloe comes home late one night from a party dressed … well, rather scantily.  Her father, who has been tippling a few drinks, sees her, says he’s going to teach her a lesson, rips her clothes off of her and brutally rapes her on the living room sofa.  Chloe screams for her mother, but the mother claimed she heard nothing.  Chloe misses her next period but doesn’t think too much of it.  By the time she misses the second and seeks a medical consultation, it is too late for Chloe to seek an abortion.  With advice from her friends, she invests in a few packs of gauze and a pack of wire coat hangers, for she is not going to carry her half-brother or half-sister in her body for the next nine months.  Long story short, Chloe is now dead.

Variants of Chloe’s story will play throughout the state of Texas in the coming months/years.

The United States Supreme Court, our last bastion of hope for protecting our rights, has refused to block the Texas law.  Late last night, the Court announced it would not block the new Texas law while the legal challenge made its way through the federal courts. Amazing, even for this conservative court. It’s a sad day for women, but also for the rule of law.  I was pleased that Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the rights of women, even though he is not a fan of Roe v Wade.  But the other five – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Clarence Thomas, Amy Barrett, and Samuel Alito – took an axe to women’s rights, ultimately throughout the nation.

This is a dark day for women in the United States.  If you think other states, emboldened by Texas’ easy success, won’t follow suit, then think again.  What’s next on the chopping block?  Our right to equal pay for equal work?  Our right to vote?  Our right to own property in our own name?  Our right to divorce our husbands?  All of these rights have come as a result of long, hard fights, and even today … the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) that was first proposed in 1923, has not passed!  This amendment would solidify women’s rights in many areas including healthcare, housing, and the workplace, but … it seems doomed to fail.  WHY???

In 1972 Congress passed the ERA and it was sent to the states for a vote.  Simple, right?  Of course … 1972 … the world is enlightened, women have contributed in every area imaginable … a no-brainer!  HAH!  What happened?  In a word, the dishonourable Phyllis Schlafly.  A wolf in sheep’s clothing, Schlafly mounted a campaign to stop states from passing the ERA.  She warned women that if equal rights were enshrined in the Constitution, the heterosexual world order would collapse. Morality would fall by the wayside and women would be at risk of losing their femininity and the opportunities presented by marriage.

If the amendment passed, she wrote, women would be forced to go to war, would lose their right to child support and alimony, and society would fall apart. “The women’s libbers are radicals who are waging a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children,” she said.

Eventually, the now-expired ERA will come back into the limelight and someday it may even become a Constitutional amendment, but likely not in my lifetime or yours.  Meanwhile, there is Texas and other states will follow.  My response to the draconian law in Texas is this:  Okay, fine, but no longer can a male walk into a doctor’s office and walk out with a prescription for Viagra.  No longer will men be given penile implants to extend their pleasure at our expense.  In fact, women should be much more discriminating about letting a man within 15 feet of her body!  Keep your wee willy winkies to yourself … buy yourself an inflatable doll!

The Texas law and the Supreme Court’s refusal to block it are the first step in what I predict will be a major setback for women’s rights across the nation.  What is it that makes us inferior in the eyes of so many – both men and women?  Is it that we weren’t born with that all-important anatomical part?  Is it that we don’t have deep voices and chest hair?  Or is it just that all that testosterone makes the male of the species need to feel superior over someone?  Either way … look out, guys, ‘cause one of these days we’re gonna rise above all this.

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…

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Boom 🧨

Just what pleasure do people get from setting off obnoxiously loud fireworks for hours on end?  I’ve never understood it.  I am sitting here at just after midnight, and every few seconds comes another loud BOOM!  This is an apartment complex of 180 townhouses, most occupied by working class families with children and pets.  Some actually go to bed and sleep at night, but obviously not tonight. My own cats are cowering under the sofa.  There are a number of fireworks shows in and around this city with fireworks that are actually pretty, that light up the night sky with colour, so why don’t these fools attend one of those?  No, they would rather set off fireworks that only make loud noise and cause my heart to literally jump with every single one.  I am too old for this crap.

The reason for the fireworks?  Today is the 4th of July 2021.  Here in the United States it is a federal holiday commemorating the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.  There was a time when this day meant something to me. Today, I find it difficult to feel any particular loyalty to a nation that is so divided we seem to be two distinctly separate countries, only without geographic boundaries.  There is no middle ground anymore … you are either a liberal or conservative, Democrat of Republican, human or racist, thinker or follower.  There have, of course, always been such divisions, but until about a decade ago, there was a middle ground, some things that we could all agree on.  Today, that middle ground is gone, replaced by a wide chasm, a desolate wasteland where neither side will venture.  Worse yet, civility and respect have also flown the coop such that if one person disagrees with another, they will call each other vulgar names and hurl accusations, maybe even threats.

We are on a path that is taking us far from the ideology that this nation was once based on, that of “all ‘men’ being created equal.”  Racism is on the rise around the nation, promoted by many of our elected officials.  Our right to participate in our government via our vote is on the chopping block and was dealt what may turn out to be a death blow last Thursday by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court.

Inflation is >5% just in the past year, and many families who lost income during the pandemic are struggling to survive while state governments are cutting unemployment benefits.

Gun violence is beyond words … anybody can buy and own a gun … as many of them as they want.  They can buy automatic weapons that can kill everyone in the room within a minute or two.  Shootings at grocery stores, mosques, on the streets, in theaters and bars have become commonplace and one half of the nation would protect their right to own a gun before they would protect their own children.

The U.S. is the #1 per capita emitter of the carbon that is literally killing us all with melting icecaps, rising sea levels, deadly heat, water shortages, ruined crops and more and the people of this nation rebel at any suggestion that they make certain lifestyle changes to try to turn things around.

No, I’m afraid there really isn’t a whole lot to celebrate this holiday.  The one bright spot is that we do, after four long years, finally have a president who is intelligent and compassionate, who cares about the needs of the people, but even that bright light is dimmed by those who would put up obstacles at every turn to slow or halt any progress he might make.

So no, I’m not celebrating this holiday … this is just another Sunday to me and frankly I’ll be glad when this long weekend is over and the fireworks stop so the kitties can come out from under the sofa, we can stop worrying about a fire here in da hood, and my heart can settle back into my chest.

Blackness is a constant fight

Yesterday, the Supreme Court dealt a crippling blow to voting rights across the nation. The case involved a voter suppression law in Arizona, and the court ruled in favour of the state, allowing the voter suppression and disenfranchisement to remain law. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for We the People, for it may well be considered to have set a precedent for the other 40+ states that are passing or have passed voter suppression laws. Our friend Brosephus is angry, and I don’t blame him … I’m angry too! This Court decision takes us another step closer to a return to the days of Jim Crow laws. Please take a minute to read Brosephus’ take on this. Thank you, Bro, for sharing this … you’re right … we have fewer voting rights now than before the VRA of 1965!

The Mind of Brosephus

Imagine waking up to the realization above. That’s how my day has been so far. Last night was a pretty uneventful night at work with the usual routine at play. Everything was pretty unremarkable until I woke up this afternoon to the news about the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Arizona voting law case.

Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court’s six conservatives, said Section 2 requires equal openness to voting, not equal outcomes.

“It appears that the core of [Section 2] is the requirement that voting be ‘equally open.’ The statute’s reference to equal ‘opportunity’ may stretch that concept to some degree to include consideration of a person’s ability to use the means that are equally open. But equal openness remains the touchstone,” Alito wrote.

“Mere inconvenience cannot be enough to demonstrate a violation of [Section 2],” he added.

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-upholds-arizona-restrictions-major-voting-rights/story?id=78182724

After taking the time to read through analysis of…

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First Thing In The Morning Grousings!

I actually wrote another post for this morning, but I decided to push it back to this afternoon’s post, for it seemed just a little too weird for first thing in the morning!  And so, you get the joy of listening to me grumble & grouse first thing in the morning instead!  Aren’t you guys lucky?  Stay tuned for weird this afternoon!


Score one for free speech!

Brandi Levy was a 14-year old cheerleader on the Junior Varsity team at Mahoney Area High School in Pennsylvania in 2017 when she tried out for the Varsity team … a step up the ladder.

She wasn’t chosen for the Varsity team, and expressed her disappointment and frustration on social media in a moment of anger, writing, “Fuck school. Fuck cheer. Fuck softball. Fuck everything.”  Okay, so not the most appropriate language, but she was 14, hurt and angry.  Who of us didn’t use that F-bomb to express ourselves when we were 14?  And who expects a 14-year-old kid to always be calm and rational when angry?  Think about it … when most of us were 14, there were no cell phones, no computers, and no social media, so under similar circumstances we would likely have called our best friend and cried on his/her shoulder for a bit, ranting and cursing.  We certainly weren’t going to get penalized by the school for it!

Well, apparently the administrators at Brandi’s school thought they had a right to oversee her off-campus activities, and she was suspended from the Junior Varsity team for one year.  Long story short, Brandi, represented by lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the school for its decision and in 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia ruled that the First Amendment did not allow public schools to punish students for speech outside school grounds.  The logical answer, in my book, and end of story, right?  Wrong.  The school district took the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled 8-to-1 yesterday in favour of Brandy Levy, the lone dissenter predictably being Justice Clarence Thomas.

Justice Stephen Breyer, writing for the majority, said …

“Our representative democracy only works if we protect the ‘marketplace of ideas.’  Schools have a strong interest in ensuring that future generations understand the workings in practice of the well-known aphorism, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’.”

Breyer also said, though I don’t think it was part of the formal written decision, that if simply using swear words off campus met the bar for substantially disruptive speech, then … “my goodness, every school in the country would be doing nothing but punishing.”

Ms. Levy, now a college student, said of the ruling …

“The school went too far, and I’m glad that the Supreme Court agrees. I was frustrated, I was 14 years old, and I expressed my frustration the way teenagers do today. Young people need to have the ability to express themselves without worrying about being punished when they get to school.”

As for the ACLU, an organization that I support in spirit, though not monetarily, is not missing a chance to make a buck or two, for they are now selling t-shirts …

“If you’d like to show your support for our fight for free speech rights – including our young client’s right to express herself – you can do so in style with our new “Fuck Everything” Tee, available for pre-order today.”  🙄


I do not care, okay?

Would somebody please … PLEASE tell the mainstream media that We the People do not give one royal shit about Britney Spears???  I do not care about her, her father, or her money!  If I get one more “breaking news” update about this single braincell twit, I’m going to turn off my phone for the rest of this month!  The one this evening by the New York Times was to inform us that the poor little rich girl just wants her life back.  Sorry, folks, no sympathy here!  People are being shot in supermarkets, people are going to bed hungry, living on the streets, our voting rights are being butchered, our Congress is a roadblock to progress, the Delta strain of the coronavirus threatens to take still more lives, and racism is running rampant.  Little Britney Spears just wanting her life back, wanting her father to stop controlling her purse strings, is Irrelevant with a capital ‘I’.  ‘Nuff said.


At least one judge gets it

I have two thumbs up 👍 👍 for U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth.  The case he was hearing yesterday was that of Anna Morgan-Lloyd, who had pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of demonstrating inside the Capitol on January 6th.  Personally, I think the charges are far too mild, especially since this woman told friends that the attack on the Capitol and Congress and her participation in it was “the most exciting day of my life.”

She sang a different tune in court yesterday, however, saying …

“I went there to support … President Trump peacefully. I’m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day … It was never my intent to be a part of something that’s so disgraceful to our American people and so disgraceful to our country. I just want to apologize.”

Personally, I do not accept her apology and would like to see her sentenced to federal prison for the next ten years, but … that’s just me.  I suppose these lunatics should be glad I’m not a judge, eh?  But back to the judge …

He gets the kudos from me for a single, short statement he made before sentencing Ms. Lloyd …

 “I’m especially troubled by the accounts of some members of Congress that January 6 was just a day of tourists walking through the Capitol. I don’t know what planet they were on … This was not a peaceful demonstration. It was not an accident that it turned violent; it was intended to halt the very functioning of our government.”

He is exactly right, and there is now evidence to that effect … and more.  I hope that those who are charged with more serious crimes than Ms. Lloyd was, also come before Judge Lamberth, for he has shown significant knowledge and understanding, and I don’t think he’s going to let the worst offenders slide because either they don’t like the food in prison or their back hurts!

Ms. Lloyd, meanwhile, got 36 months, 3 years, of probation with a stern warning from the good judge that if she violated the terms of her probation in any way, she will go to jail, no ifs, ands, or buts. Prosecutor Joshua Rothstein called probation appropriate because Morgan-Lloyd had no known ties to extremist groups, did not plan to enter the Capitol, stayed inside one hallway for only about 10 minutes and did not commit any violence or destruction while there.

The Justices Have Been Busy!

The Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have been busy little beavers this week.  Their rulings are something of a mixed bag … more to raise my hackles than not, but let’s start with the good news.


ACA survives to save more lives

Once again, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was on the chopping block, and yet again, for the third time, the Court saved it from the Republican hatchet in the case of California v Texas.  The most interesting vote in my book was that of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas, who voted against ACA the first two times it came before the Court, voted in favour of it this time, saying …

“Whatever the act’s dubious history in this court, we must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”

He’s not exactly the head cheerleader for the Act that has allowed so many to have access to healthcare when they otherwise would not have, but a statement of fairness, at least.  I was also surprised that Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett voted in favour of ACA this time ‘round.  It is estimated that if the Court had struck down ACA, some 21 million people would have lost their access to healthcare.  There are still larger issues related to ACA that the Court has not yet addressed, but for now, it lives to see another day, to help people be able to take their sick children to a doctor.


The Court upholds bigotry

This one, Fulton v City of Philadelphia, involved the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic adoption agency who refused to work with same-sex couples.  Philadelphia had stopped placements with the agency, Catholic Social Services, after a 2018 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer described its policy against placing children with same-sex couples. The agency and several foster parents sued the city, saying the decision violated their First Amendment rights to religious freedom and free speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for six members of the court, said that the Catholic agency …

“… seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else.”

I understand his view, but I still think it is wrong to allow any public agency to discriminate on any basis.  It’s a slippery slope … what comes next?  Will they confine their selection of potentially adoptive parents to only those with white skin?  Or perhaps only those who identify as Catholics?  The ‘right’ to freedom of religion is sacrosanct, however it should never infringe on other people’s rights, especially the rights of children to be placed in a loving home.


Human Rights … depends on who’s asking

The third case, Nestlé USA v. Doe, was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor.  Note that the claim itself was not in dispute … it happened.  What was in dispute was whether the U.S. corporations involved in human rights violations outside the U.S. could be held accountable.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses.  And that was the end of that.  So, corporations can operate facilities to manufacture their product outside the U.S. using child labour, paying next to nothing, and the laws of the U.S. will support their activities.  Seems rather odd to me for a nation whose very foundation is built on human rights.  A nation who screams bloody murder when a [white] person is denied any right.  A nation that is a member of the United Nations, an organization dedicated to human rights around the globe.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah.  But then, what would you expect from a nation that is attempting to deny the poor, the elderly, Blacks and other minorities the right to vote?


June is the busiest month for the Supreme Court, the last in its annual term and quite often the most controversial cases are saved for June.  One that is on the docket is Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, a case concerning voting rights.  The Court will decide whether to uphold Arizona’s racist and restrictive voting laws that allow the state to a) discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and b) make ‘ballot harvesting’ a crime.

Next year will be especially confusing for some voters, as newly drawn district maps may change the location of their polling place.  So, if John Doe casts his ballot at the same place he did in 2020, not realizing there had been a change in the boundaries of his district, his ballot will be thrown out under the new Arizona law.  And if someone collects the ballots from residents of a senior care facility and takes 20 or 30 ballots to the drop box, that person would be in violation of the law and those ballots not counted.  Discriminatory as hell!

However, the larger question is whether the ruling will be so broad that it will also effectively endorse new voting laws that states have passed this year.  The Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has generally sided with Republican state officials when they have restricted voting access.  Keep your eye on this one, folks, for it may be the seed that determines whether We the People will continue to have a voice in our government, or whether our civil rights will be jerked out from under us.

Filosofa Stomps Her Feet

STAY BACK!!!!  Filosofa is in a horrid mood … approach at risk of life and limb!!!! 

I am in a horrid mood tonight.  I have expressed hatred toward my body, the country in which I live, and a number of politicos here.  Let me share just a few of the red-hot thoughts rambling through my mind tonight as I wish I were anywhere else but here …


Israeli arrogance

My father was a Jew.  My paternal grandparents narrowly escaped Hitler’s reach, and my great aunt Margaret and great uncle Rip (Rinehart) spent more than two years in Hitler’s death camps.  This was the legacy with which I grew up in a few short years after the Holocaust.  That said, I am not a fan of the Israeli land grab nor of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cruel brand of leadership.  After all this time, I am more empathetic to the Palestinians for what has been done to them than to the Israelis.  The Holocaust ended 76 years ago.  The Jews can only expect to play on the sympathies of the world for so long, and today they have become the oppressor, rather than the oppressed.

Yes, both sides share fault, but Israel is greedy and arrogant and … the Palestinians are being/have been driven from their homeland.  Netanyahu deserves a life behind bars while other, less greedy, more functional minds attempt to sort this out.


Male/evangelical arrogance

I am a woman.  As such, there are some things that I consider to be nobody’s business but my own.  One of those things is my body.  If I were pregnant (never mind that, at age 70, it would be something for the record books) and could not afford in one way or another to raise a child, it is MY business, not Ted Cruz’ or Franklin Graham’s or anybody else’s!  If I decide to have an abortion, it is entirely MY business.  Unless, of course, you plan to take my child, raise it as your own, provide for its every need, including a college education?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  It’s a funny thing that those who call themselves “Pro-life” actually don’t give a royal fig about a child’s life once it is born, once their will is forced upon a woman.  At that point, when asked to contribute to that child’s welfare, the blonde airhead “pro-lifer” backs up a few steps, holding her hands out, saying, “Oh no … no no no … this isn’t my problem!”

Evangelicals and the rest can take their ‘right to life’ platform and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine!  The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on the case of a Mississippi law that, going against the ruling of Roe v Wade, seeks to ban most all abortions.  I realize that the people of Mississippi are not highly educated nor sophisticated, but damn them … they are NOT going to dictate to every woman in this nation!  None of the Justices on the Supreme Court have any idea what it is like to be a single working mom, struggling to raise your children with no damn help!  Listen to Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” sometime … think about those lyrics, so very real for so many of us!


Facebook ‘standards’

A few days ago, Facebook ‘chastised’ me for a comment I left on a post about the ignoble former guy.  They removed my comment several hours after I had posted it and after it had received a number of ‘likes’.  Facebook sent me no less than two messages explaining that my comment violated their ‘community standards’ and after a number of people had given a thumbs-up to my comment.  Frankly, I don’t give a royal shit, for I’ve been considering dumping Facebook for some time now.  But, I admit it galls me a bit that I am chastised for something that is far more mellow than other comments that have been allowed.

Then yesterday, I came across the daily Claytoonz cartoon/editorial, and noticed a note at the end of his post that said …

“I am appealing, but this cartoon has already been removed by Facebook and my account has been suspended for 24 hours. I’ll update if there is a change to that.”

This is the ‘toon that got him suspended …

Being a bit of a mischief maker, and not giving a royal fig if Facebook bans me for life, I copied the ‘toon to my own Facebook page to see how long it would take them to either chastise, or worse yet, ban me.  Twelve hours later, the ‘toon is still on my FB page and I’ve not yet received one of their nasty little notes.  Hmmmm … maybe I’ll have to try harder?


Nite nite …

I am going to bed now, hoping to sleep off this horrible mood that has taken over my psyche, that has made me want to yell at everyone, including my own self.  Buenas noches, amigos.

The Republican Party’s End Goal

This afternoon, the Senate actually managed to pass the pandemic relief bill, with no help from the Republicans.  Not a single Republican voted in support of the bill, which passed, 50-49, after an hours-long impasse over competing partisan proposals for the massive bill’s boost to weekly unemployment benefits for those affected by the pandemic.  This, it seems, is to be the state of affairs for the foreseeable future … Democrats vs Republicans, bills taking ten times longer to pass through Congress than they should, especially those that help real people, not tailor-made to make the wealthy wealthier.  What is the end goal of the Republican Party, I’ve often asked?

Dana Milbank, writing for The Washington Post, summarized the Republican’s end goal quite well.  Take a look …


Republicans aren’t fighting Democrats. They’re fighting democracy.

Dana MilbankBy Dana Milbank

MARCH 5, 2021

On the conservative Bulwark podcast this week, two admirable never-Trumpers marveled at what has become of the Republican Party since President Donald Trump’s attempt to overturn the election.

“I am a little amazed by the willingness to go just authoritarian, to really go anti-democratic,” Bulwark editor-at-large Bill Kristol said.

Columnist Mona Charen was likewise puzzled. “The attraction of authoritarianism, I don’t know, Bill,” she said. “I’m really at a loss.”

And I’m at a loss to understand their confusion. The Republican Party’s dalliance with authoritarianism can be explained in one word: race.

Trump’s overt racism turned the GOP into, essentially, a white-nationalist party, in which racial animus is the main motivator of Republican votes. But in an increasingly multicultural America, such people don’t form a majority. The only route to power for a white-nationalist party, then, is to become anti-democratic: to keep non-White people from voting and to discredit elections themselves. In short, democracy is working against Republicans — and so Republicans are working against democracy.

You don’t have to study demography to see that race is at the core of the GOP’s tilt toward the authoritarian. You need only look at what happened this week.

On Monday, the Georgia state House passed a bill brazenly attempting to deter Black voters. The bill proposed to scale back Sunday voting — taking direct aim at the longtime “Souls to the Polls” tradition in which Black voters cast their ballots after church on Sundays. The bill also would increase voter I.D. requirements — known to disenfranchise Black voters disproportionately — and even would make it illegal to serve food or drinks to voters waiting in long lines outside polling places; lines are typically longer at minority precincts.

Georgia Republicans clearly are hoping they can suppress enough Black votes to erase the Democrats’ narrow advantage that gave them both of the state’s Senate seats and Joe Biden its electoral votes. But Georgia is just one of the 43 states collectively contemplating 253 bills this year with provisions restricting voting access, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s majority signaled it would be open to more such voting restrictions. In oral arguments, the conservative justices indicated they would uphold two Arizona laws that would have the effect of disproportionately disqualifying the votes of non-White citizens. One law throws out ballots cast in the wrong precinct, a problem that affects minority voters twice as much as White voters because polling places move more frequently in minority neighborhoods. The other law bans the practice of ballot collection — derided by Republicans as ballot “harvesting” — which is disproportionately used by minority voters, in particular Arizona’s Native Americans on reservations.

Representing the Arizona Republican Party in Tuesday’s argument, lawyer Michael A. Carvin explained why the party supports laws tossing out ballots: “Politics is a zero-sum game.”

It was a stark if inadvertent admission that Republicans have abandoned the idea of appealing to new voters.

Then, on Wednesday, House Republicans mounted lockstep opposition to H.R.1, a bill by Democrats attempting to expand voting rights. The bill would, among other things, create automatic voter registration, set minimum standards for early voting and end the practice of partisan gerrymandering.

In the House debate, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), sounding like Trump, made unfounded claims of “voter fraud” and asserted that the law would mean “future voters could be dead or illegal immigrants or maybe even registered two to three times.”

“This,” McCarthy said, “is an unparalleled political power grab.”

So, in the twisted reasoning of this white-nationalist incarnation of the Republican Party, laws that make it easier for all citizens to vote are a power grab by Democrats.

The foundation of a white-nationalist GOP has been building for half a century, since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, through Ronald Reagan’s welfare queen and George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton. But Trump took fear of non-Whites and immigrants to a whole new level.

Researchers have repeatedly documented that racial resentment is the single most important factor motivating Republicans and Republican-leaning voters. They have also shown that White evangelical Christians, a huge part of the GOP base and Trump’s most reliable supporters, are highly motivated by appeals to white supremacy. By contrast, Democratic voters — White and non-White — are primarily driven by their favorable views toward a multiracial America.

President Biden’s victory reveals the obvious political problem with the Republican move toward white nationalism: When voters turn out in large numbers, Democrats win. And the odds will only get worse for Republicans as racial minorities become the majority and the young, overwhelmingly progressive on race, replace the old.

This is why Republicans aren’t really fighting Democrats. They’re fighting democracy.