Winning Over White Supremacists–One Hater at a Time

In the wee hours this morning, as I was trying to catch up and visit a few friends’ blogs that I had not visited recently, I came across one that gave me pause. Since the attack on the Capitol on January 6th, extremist white supremacist groups have been much on our mind. It is easy to lump them together and think of those who perpetrate such crimes as something less than human, but … sometimes they just need somebody to show them that love is better than hate. Please take a few minutes to read Annie’s excellent post … you won’t regret it! Thank you, Annie, for the time and effort you spent on this … very thought-provoking!

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Image from American Progress.org

I am writing this piece with images of the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol still very fresh in my mind. It is a huge stretch to think of those brutal, sadistic, remorseless thugs and imagine summoning an iota of compassion for them. But others of their ilk–and many psychologists and researchers–say that’s precisely what’s needed.

They call themselves the “formers”: former Klansman, neo-Nazis, or generic white supremacists or other racial extremists who are now devoted to guiding those who’d followed similar paths to come to a better life.

Christian Picciolini is one of them. As a 14-year-old, he’d joined a violent group of white power adherents who became the “Hammerskin Nation.” As he described his feelings to Dave Davies in an NPR interview, the group threw him a “lifeline of acceptance…I felt a sort of energy flow through me that I had never felt before—as…

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Filosofa Is Grrrrrrrrowling

Some days, you look at the news and you just want to punch something.  The ‘grrrrrrrrrr’ started this morning when I read that we the taxpayers are paying $3,000 per month for the Secret Service people protecting Ivanka and Jared to rent a bathroom in the house next door, because Jared & Ivanka don’t want them dirtying their house!  My first thought was that then they don’t deserve the protection of the Secret Service … and they don’t, for they are a couple of entitled snobs.  And then, the ‘grrrrrrrrrrr’ got louder as the day progressed.


Has he learned nothing?

rittenhouse-3You remember Kyle Rittenhouse, right?  He’s the young white supremacist punk who killed two and wounded a third with a gun at a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  As I wrote a while back, some influential people with more money than sense posted Rittenhouse’s $2 million bail last November.  Rittenhouse was arraigned January 5th on two felony charges of homicide in the deaths of two men and a felony attempted homicide charge in the wounding of another man.  Pretty serious stuff, yes?  You’d think a 17-year-old kid would be on his best behaviour, quaking in his boots at the thought of what could happen to him.  But not Kyle!

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Just 90 minutes after leaving the arraignment, Kyle and his mother were seen in a bar where he was drinking beer (the legal age limit in his home state of Illinois is 21) and flashing white supremacist hand signals to other people in the bar. What kind of mother takes her underage kid who has murdered two people to a damn bar???  Prosecutors have asked the Kenosha County Circuit Court to modify Rittenhouse’s bond conditions. 

rittenhouse-1The office is requesting that Rittenhouse be prohibited from possessing or consuming alcohol or being in any establishment that serves it; be prohibited from making any public display of any “white power” or “white supremacy” signs, symbols, or hand gestures; and not have any contact with any known militia members or members of any violent white power/white supremacist groups including the group identified as the “Proud Boys.”

This kid needs to be locked up for life, and his mother along with him!  And yet, to some he is considered a ‘hero’ … oh yeah, folks, don’t tell me racism isn’t alive and well in the United States … you need look no further than this little punk and those who applaud him.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


Franklin Graham once again proves his lunacy

More than a few times, I have criticized (that’s putting it mildly) various evangelical leaders, and Franklin Graham is the one who seems to cross my radar most often.  Now, let me state in advance that I am not a Christian, not religious at all, however I respect other people’s right to their beliefs as long as they don’t try to inflict them on others.  Franklin Graham is an idiot extraordinaire, and once again he seems intent on proving my point.

In a Facebook post yesterday, Graham wrote, in part …

graham“Shame, shame on the ten Republicans who joined with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in impeaching President Trump yesterday. After all that he has done for our country, you would turn your back and betray him so quickly? We have never had a president like him in my lifetime. He gave us lower taxes, a strong economy, and low unemployment. He made NATO take notice and pay their own way. He had the guts to take on North Korea and meet with their leader personally. He didn’t let China walk all over us. Just his Mideast peace initiatives in the last couple of months deserve a Nobel Peace Prize. He has defended religious liberty like no president before him, and that matters to all people of faith. He has worked to bring prison reform and secured our southern border. He defeated the ISIS caliphate in Syria, and he strengthened our military. He was also the most pro-life president we have ever had. But the House Democrats impeached him because they hate him and want to do as much damage as they can. And these ten, from his own party, joined in the feeding frenzy. It makes you wonder what the thirty pieces of silver were that Speaker Pelosi promised for this betrayal.”

Well, I wonder if Mr. Franklin has been living in some alternative universe?  The hell of it is, though, that with over 9.5 million followers on Facebook, some will undoubtedly buy into his trash talk and some will no doubt join the planned insurrection next week, fully believing that they are doing ‘god’s work’.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.


And speaking of religious freaks …

brandon-burdonBrandon Burdon, pastor of Kingdom Life church in Frisco, Texas is less well-known that Franklin Graham, but no less a lunatic.

During a long rambling sermon just days after the Capitol coup, he told his (maskless) congregation to stock up on weapons, celebrated a God-ordained siege of Washington, spoke in tongues to give his statements added oomph, claimed Apple would create a national blackout, railed against FOX News and Mitch McConnell for not being conservative enough, urged everyone to stock up on generators and food, and said with absolutely certainty that Donald Trump would be president for eight straight years.

“We are locked and loaded at the Burden house.  We have an executive order — not from Congress or D.C., but from the desk of the CEO of heaven, the boss of the planet. He said from his desk in heaven, this is my will; Trump will be in for eight years.”

Is it any wonder that I often say religion is the cause of most wars and most hatred in the world?  I wonder how many people from Frisco, Texas will be among the gun-toting nuts planning to converge on D.C. next week?

Filosofa Snarks Again!

One of these days I’m gonna surprise you guys with positive news, good news, cheer and joy — and you’ll wonder what I’ve been smoking!  Methinks, though, that it is unlikely to happen anytime soon, so do me a favour and don’t hold your breath, okay?  And meanwhile, I’m back with more grousing and grumbling about the state of affairs in this nation.


Da prez is bored

Ladies and Gentlemen … the president of the United States of America has nothing to do.  That’s right … despite a pandemic that is raging in most areas of the nation, with three thousand or more people dying every day, and despite the fact that chaos reigns and violence is barely simmering beneath the surface, Donald Trump had nothing to do yesterday.  So, he ranted for a bit on Twitter about the fact that Attorney General William Barr stopped licking his boots last week, the fact that even his three hand-picked Supreme Court Justices told him to sit down and shut up, and ended with a threatening message, though he has run out of options.  And then, he headed out on the presidential helicopter (we paid for it) to Andrews Air Force Base where he boarded Air Force One (we paid for it) to fly to West Point so he could occupy space at the Army-Navy football game (we paid for that, too).  Y’know … if this is really all the ‘man’ has to do, then … why do we need him?  Why not cut him loose now and inaugurate Joe Biden 38 days ahead of time so that this nation can have a real president?  And before he can do any more damage or spend more of our money.  Just a thought.


Who the hell is Joseph Epstein?

I don’t know who Joseph Epstein is, but I know what he is.  He is a misogynistic asshole!  In the Wall Street Journal, he wrote an OpEd that I found to be disrespectful, condescending, and obnoxious as hell.  Here is a part of it …

“Madame First Lady—Mrs. Biden—Jill—kiddo: a bit of advice on what may seem like a small but I think is a not unimportant matter. Any chance you might drop the “Dr.” before your name? “Dr. Jill Biden ” sounds and feels fraudulent, not to say a touch comic. Your degree is, I believe, an Ed.D., a doctor of education, earned at the University of Delaware through a dissertation with the unpromising title “Student Retention at the Community College Level: Meeting Students’ Needs.” A wise man once said that no one should call himself “Dr.” unless he has delivered a child. Think about it, Dr. Jill, and forthwith drop the doc.”

First of all … Dr. Jill Biden earned that doctoral degree and it was hard work … I know because I still haven’t completed mine, though I’ve been working at it since 2008!  She has every right in the world to be proud of her accomplishments and to wear her title proudly!  But even more to the point … would Mr. Epstein have made such a comment if he had been talking to a man?  Would he have dared to call a man ‘kiddo’ as if naught but an errant teenager?  I hardly think so.  This is male chauvinism at its finest … grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The writer of this piece admits that he, himself, has only a B.A. though he doesn’t tell us in what.  After some self-promoting rambling, he ends with this condescending garbage …

“As for your Ed.D., Madame First Lady, hard-earned though it may have been, please consider stowing it, at least in public, at least for now. Forget the small thrill of being Dr. Jill, and settle for the larger thrill of living for the next four years in the best public housing in the world as First Lady Jill Biden.”

Furious, I did a bit of research into the heinous Mr. Epstein and found this is not the first time his bigotry brought him into the public view.  In September 1970, Harper’s Magazine published an article by Epstein called “Homo/Hetero: The Struggle for Sexual Identity” that was criticized for its perceived homophobia. Epstein wrote that he considered homosexuality “a curse, in a literal sense” and that his sons could do nothing to make him sadder than “if any of them were to become homosexual.”

But, in a real twist of irony, in 2003, he was awarded a National Humanities Medal by the National Endowment for the Humanities!  WTF???


Violence coming soon to a city near you

Saturday brought Trump supporters en masse to Washington D.C. and other cities around the nation.  And wherever there are avid Trumpeters, there are likely to be members of white supremacist groups.  And wherever there are white supremacists, there is likely to be violence.  Yesterday was no exception, though thankfully nobody was killed … yet.

Although every court thus far, including the Supreme Court, has either declined to hear Trump’s cases of alleged voter fraud or flat out said there was no credible evidence presented and tossed the case.  Trump has lost, at last count, 58 or 59 cases in the courts.  Attorney General William Barr, a Trump uber-loyalist, has said there is no evidence of widespread or significant irregularities.  Chris Krebs, former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in the Department of Homeland Security said there was absolutely no evidence of any widespread or organized voter fraud.  He was fired for doing his job and speaking the truth.  And yet, because Trump continues to shriek like a banshee claiming that he won the election, that it was ‘stolen’ from him, his not-so-bright supporters are on a train bound for nowhere, thinking that they have the power to overturn an election their ‘hero’ lost by over 7 million votes … legitimate votes.

proud-boys-2It doesn’t help that republican members of Congress, republican state’s attorneys general and others jumped onto the Trumptanic in the form of the now-failed Texas lawsuit implemented by Ken Paxton, a man who has been indicted on federal securities fraud.  It doesn’t help that the republican members of Congress, in addition to joining the aforementioned lawsuit trying to overturn the election, are largely refusing to acknowledge that Joe Biden won the election.  Tomorrow, the Electoral College will meet and barring something absurdly illegal, they will confirm that Joe Biden won the election.

proud-boys-1And so now those who either don’t read the news or don’t understand it are riled and they are out to cause mayhem and mischief, perhaps even death.  They believe, erroneously, that the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives them this right. It doesn’t.

Yesterday, four people were stabbed, and one was shot.  How many will it be next weekend, or the weekend after that?  And on January 20th, the day of Joe Biden’s inauguration, how many will be out in the streets with their guns, aiming to take the law into their own hands?

violence-1If people die because Trump’s followers are being encouraged by not only Trump but his sycophants in Congress, then Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, Matt Gaetz, Lindsey Graham, and many others will have blood on their hands.  They could put a stop to at least part of the madness right this minute by assuring their constituents that the election was fair and honest, that President-elect Joe Biden won by honest means, and that the American people have had their say.  But no … they won’t … because their own political futures may yet depend on Trump and his big-money donors.  Yep, folks … money speaks louder than our voices.

Telling It Like It Is — Reality

I remember 2015-2016 when I would ask friends and acquaintances what, exactly, they saw in this clown named Trump who was running for president.  Their answer was often an enigma: “he tells it like it is.”  Now, I was never able to pin them down on just what “it” was, but in their minds, they were convinced that whatever ‘it’ was, Trump told ‘it’ like ‘it’ was.  Well, we now know that he fed these people a bucket of bullshit, that honesty is not in his vocabulary, and that there is no ‘it’ that he understands well enough to talk about, but rather talks at the issues.  However, journalist Charles Blow is one who actually does ‘tell it like it is’, especially in his latest column in the New York Times


America Shocked Itself and the World

Charles BlowCharles M. Blow

29 October 2020

How could we have been so blind? How could we have been so naïve? How did we not believe that the worst was possible until we plummeted into it?

We didn’t believe that a demagogic tyrant-worshiper could rise to the presidency.

The founders of this country worried obsessively about the rise of a demagogue, and the power of foreign influence on our democracy. And yet somehow, over the years, after centuries of American presidents behaving in ways that at least demonstrated a fealty to the country and its institutions and the power of precedent and legacy, those fears waned to a whisper.

Having a demagogue, partially installed by a Russian disinformation campaign no less, who exalted our enemies in the world and hammered our friends, was somewhat unthinkable. This was America. We would only go so far. We might race up to the precipice, but we would never hurl ourselves into the abyss. Wrong.

With the election of Donald Trump, America did the unthinkable, shocking itself and the world: It put the most powerful country in the world under the control of a lying, grifting, shady carnival ­­­­­conductor. He had no experience in governance and no expertise. His entire life was a game of smoke and mirrors, double talk and double-dealing.

Even Trump, not a student of history or much else, didn’t seem to grasp the awesome power he possessed until he systematically started to test all the fences supposedly restraining him, only to realize that the only thing holding many of them up was customs and conventions. Most could be run through or pushed down.

It was like a scene in the film “Jurassic World” where the scientist created a hybrid, Frankenstein dinosaur because people got bored of the conventional ones. Well, the dinosaur was clever enough to break out of its cage and run through the park, killing everything in sight. As one of the scientists said: “You made a genetic hybrid. Raised it in captivity. She is seeing all of this for the first time. She does not even know what she is. She will kill everything that moves.” He continued, “She is learning where she fits on the food chain and I’m not sure you want her to figure that out.”

Trump realized the power of the presidency, that it was uniquely at the top of the food chain, and so began his rampage.

We didn’t believe that in this era we could have a president who could be so regressive on issues of white supremacy, white nationalism and xenophobia.

To be sure, there have been other presidents more racist than their predecessors.

Andrew Johnson assuming the presidency after Abraham Lincoln comes to mind. Although Lincoln had professed his white supremacy during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, he led the nation to emancipation and into Civil War in part over the issue of slavery. Johnson’s racist reconstruction plan after the war excluded Black electoral and governing participation, led to the rise of the Black Codes and led to his impeachment.

Lyndon B. Johnson being followed by Richard Nixon comes to mind. As a senator, Johnson had shepherded the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and as president he pushed through the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. In addition, he nominated the first Black justice to the Supreme Court: Thurgood Marshall. Nixon on the other hand, was different. As Tim Naftali, an associate professor of history at N.Y.U., wrote last year in The Atlantic: “Nixon believed in a hierarchy of races, with whites and Asians much higher up than people of African descent and Latinos. And he had convinced himself that it wasn’t racist to think Black people, as a group, were inferior to whites, so long as he held them in paternalistic regard.”

But, in some ways, Americans came to see these occasional regressions as more minor — a hiccup, a stutter step in which the country took a small step back among much greater strides forward. We were not prepared for what Trump delivered: a generational retreat into darkness.

We had not seen a modern president so openly and blatantly court and even defend racists and xenophobes. We had not seen one refuse to clearly condemn white supremacist hate groups, instead retreating to a position of false obliviousness when condemnation was demanded. We have not seen a recent president who would stoop so low as to separate immigrant children from their parents, apparently with no plan to reunite them, as a matter of unwavering policy.

These are but two examples. But the list is legion. I could enumerate them until my fingers blistered. But they would all illustrate the same point: We, America, let our guard down for a campaign cycle, believing, surely, that the most qualified woman to ever run would defeat the least qualified man to do so. We didn’t vote with the intensity the emergency required. And in doing so, we allowed the country to be dragged to the brink of ruin.

We are now living the reality that the founders feared and that women, minorities and immigrants hoped was an artifact of former times.

“Un-American Propaganda”??? Seriously???

Just a few short years ago, this nation seemed like a sane place.  Sure, we had problems … plenty of them.  But we always thought there were systems and safeguards in place to keep any single person or any branch of government from overstepping their bounds.  Never did we dream, say back in 2010, ten years ago, that one person could make such a power grab that the norms would all be shattered within a single administration.

Today, we realize what fools we were … or at least the majority of us realize it.  A madman was elected with a minority of the vote, and nothing has been right ever since.  The Constitution that every president and member of Congress takes an oath to uphold has been shredded by a president who knows no boundaries, who has been enabled by his sycophants in Congress, in his administration, and yes, even in the Courts.  Where are those ‘checks and balances’?  They are only as good as the people who are tasked with enforcing them.

The latest thing to send me into a fit of temper is Trump’s order to Russell Vought, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to cease the government’s racial sensitivity training.  Trump calls such training “un-American propaganda”.  That’s right, folks … it is un-American to try to teach people not to discriminate, to try to remove the systemic racism that exists within our government and law enforcement community.  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  🤬

Does this man understand that Black people are citizens of this nation with the same rights accorded to white people???  Does he understand that we have a huge problem in this nation with racism running rampant throughout our police departments?  Does he realize that we are on the brink of a race war that he will have been responsible for starting?

Trump’s former attorney and ‘fixer’, the man who, for a price, made Trump’s problems such as sexual liaisons just disappear, testified under oath to Congress in February 2019 …

“I am ashamed that I chose to take part in concealing Mr. Trump’s illicit acts rather than listening to my own conscience. I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat.”

gettyimages-1127745618

He is a racist.  Was there ever any doubt?  Cohen went on to cite some examples …

“He once asked me if I could name a country run by a black person that wasn’t a ‘shithole.’ This was when Barack Obama was president of the United States. While we were once driving through a struggling neighborhood in Chicago, he commented that only black people could live that way. He told me that black people would never vote for him because they were too stupid.”

Four decades ago, Trump and his father were sued by the federal government, which accused the Trumps of discriminating against people of colour trying to rent the Trump company’s apartments. Donald Trump was also sued for his mistreatment of black workers in his casinos and, according to a former hotel executive, once said “laziness is a trait in blacks.”

Then there was the Central Park Five case.  A group of African American and Hispanic teens named Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Kharey Wise happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time back in 1989 when a white female jogger was attacked and raped.  The five teens were arrested, tried and convicted on false evidence and coerced confessions, and they served prison sentences until 2002 when the real assailant confessed to the crime.  Donald Trump spent $85,000 placing the ads in local papers calling for the five teens to be executed.  Even though the five young men were exonerated, Trump has since repeatedly reiterated the guilty verdict of the men and has refused to back down or admit his mistake.  What if the teens had been white and the victim Black?  I don’t think Trump would have had a word to say about it.

Yes, Donald Trump is a racist, but are we going to allow him to make this nation even more racist than it already is???  How many more George Floyds, Breonna Taylors, Botham Jeans, Atatiana Jeffersons, and Jacob Blakes do we want?  How many more will it take until the thus-far peaceful Black Lives Matter protests turn into an all-out race war?  We have a serious problem with all forms of bigotry in this nation, but particularly racism, and the very person who should be dealing with it, trying to find solutions for the problem and bring the people of this nation together,  is instead pouring fuel on the fire.  It should NOT be his decision to cancel the training that might … just might be a start toward a better understanding between the people of this nation.

Trump has assembled a long record of comment on issues involving African Americans as well as Mexicans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Muslims, Jews, immigrants, women, and people with disabilities.  He is not only a racist, but a misogynist, a homophobe, an Islamophobe, and more.  This is a diverse nation with people of every nationality, religion, and ethnicity.  That the nation is led by a person who cannot tolerate any who aren’t white, Christian and male is the ultimate hypocrisy.  Will the people of this nation give him another four years to further our global reputation as a racist nation?  Remember, my friends, we will all carry the stigma of that label, not just those who voted for Trump.  Is this really how we want to be viewed?  Is this really a nation we even want to live in?

Grumpy

Don’t you just love it when you wake up grumpy?  Good thing I wrote Saturday Surprise last night, else it wouldn’t have been written.  So, how about I share my ill humour so you guys can be grumpy, too?


Personae non grata …

European Union (EU) officials have compiled a list of countries whose residents can visit the EU when it reopens its borders next week and guess what?  The U.S. is not on that list.  Nothing political about the decision, simply common sense.  The United States has failed to get a handle on the coronavirus, new cases are surging, and the EU doesn’t welcome us because of the high risk involved.  Russia and Brazil are also excluded.

Despite Mike Pence’s assurances that everything is under control, the daily new case tally keeps breaking records.  Yesterday’s new case total was 47,341 … nearly 50,000!  Until the past week or so, the death toll in the U.S. was over 1,000 people daily.  It has dropped slightly to around 600 per day, but it is only a matter of days before it is back in the thousand range.

Foolishly, Trump demanded that businesses re-open, even against the advice of the experts, and equally foolishly, the people of this nation felt their right to go out and have fun superseded safety.  This is the result … we are now banned from traveling to the EU, and if Boris Johnson & Co in the UK have any sense, we will also be banned from travel to the UK.  We have already been banned from traveling to Canada.  We are, essentially, stuck in this virus-infested, fool-driven nation with a clown running the show, a ship of fools controlling our well-being … or lack thereof.


And the real terrorists are …

A new study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) last week titled “Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States”, determined that the problem of domestic terrorism in the U.S. is primarily from the far right.  The report says “the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of rightwing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years”, with the far right launching two-thirds of attacks and plots in 2019, and 90% of those in 2020.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.  All that talk about ‘antifa’ is just that … talk.  Or perhaps an effort to distract from the real threat of white supremacy.

The report also shows the far left has been an increasingly negligible source of attacks since the mid-2000s.  Those of us on the left fight our battles with our voices, not our guns.

In February, a report by the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism reported that cases of circulated propaganda by white supremacist groups in 2019 had more than doubled from the previous year, and the 2018 figures were 180% higher than 2017.  About two-thirds of the total propaganda incidents in the new report were traced back to a single white supremacist group, Patriot Front, which the ADL describes as “formed by disaffected members” of the white supremacist organization Vanguard America after the Charlottesville rally in 2017.

Is it purely coincidence that these groups have expanded only since Donald Trump took office?  I think not.


Justice?  We’ll see …

Well finally ol’ Roger Stone is going to prison … or is he?  Stone, convicted on charges of repeatedly lying to Congress and intimidating a witness to impede the House’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, was sentenced to 40 months back in February.  Stone had already received one delay on reporting to prison when he was first sentenced, and last week he requested yet another delay … until September 3rd.  He cites the coronavirus as his reason.  However, Judge Amy Berman Jackson has had enough of the Stone/Trump show and ruled that Stone must report to the federal correction institution in Jesup, Georgia, on July 14th.

But, unfortunately for the cause of justice, Donald Trump appears to have his pardon pen fully inked and ready to go.  Just this morning, he tweeted …

“IT’s TIME TO #PardonRogerStone”

So, if I had to lay odds, I’d say that Stone will, just like another corrupt Trump crony Michael Flynn, be a free man by the middle of July.  Stone has been a nasty piece of work since he was a very young man and has only gotten more insidious as he grew older.

Sadly, ‘justice’ is no longer defined in the United States as it once was.  Today it does not matter if you are guilty or innocent, corrupt or not … it only matters what Trump thinks of you.  I never thought I’d live to see the day when the United States became a banana republic, but that day is here.


Y’know … it’s really hard to stay grumpy when there is an adorable little squirrel just outside your window eating the bird seed and every now and then looking right at you.  It’s funny, but the birds don’t seem bothered by him in the least … they just go right on eating, perfectly willing to share their food, even though he doesn’t quite look the same as them.  Is there a lesson for us in that?squirrel

And Still More …

Yes, folks, I am back with another dose of snarky snippets to get your day started right!snarky


Awwww … Donnie got his feelings hurt

Never before in my memory has a president of this nation attempted to manipulate polling data in such a way.  Until Trump, of course, but then he has demolished most of the things we thought to be normal.

On Monday, CNN released poll results showing Biden leading by a staggering 14-point margin, one of many polls showing Trump down by high-single-digit to low-double-digit margins.  Is it any wonder, given his horrendous actions of the past two weeks since the May 25th murder of George Floyd?

So, Trump took to his favourite venue, Twitter, and said that he hired conservative pollster McLaughlin & Associates to “analyze todays CNN Poll (and others),” which he said is “FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving.”  Incredible enthusiasm???  I’ve seen none, but if there is any, it’s from the white supremacist element.  He then sent a letter to CNN’s president, Jeff Zucker, asserting that the poll is “designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling.”

It should be noted that all polls have a margin of error, some are more misleading than others, based on who’s doing the polling and the tone of the questions.  The most reliable polls are neither conservative nor liberal, but ask questions in a neutral tone.  McLaughlin is not among the most reliable, and in fact earns a C/D rating in FiveThirtyEight’s poll ranking.

The letter also ‘demanded’ that CNN retract the poll and apologize to the whiney toddler in the White House.  Not gonna happen, folks.  Donald Trump needs to learn that he does not control the nation, and damn sure has no special hold over the press.  Facts is facts, though Trump seems to believe otherwise.  The larger issue here, though, is that Trump believes he should be able to control the free press, which opens a whole new can o’ worms to be discussed another day.


Guess who’s writing Trump’s speech?

Remember on Tuesday I told you that Trump is considering addressing the nation sometime this week on the topics of race and national unity?  Well, guess who’s writing the speech for him?  None other than the biggest white supremacist in the administration, Stephen Miller.  This makes as much sense as me trying to write a piece about what it’s like to be a tilapia fish in the ocean!!!  I had to laugh, though, for any speech by Trump is bound to be so filled with lies and self-promotion that it’s more or less stand up comedy.President Trump Speaks On Immigration With 'Angel Families'Miller was a chief architect of Trump’s travel ban, the administration’s reduction of refugees accepted to the United States, and Trump’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents. He has prevented the publication of internal administration studies that showed that refugees had a net positive effect on government revenues.

The people of Iowa finally had the good sense to reject their white supremacist representative in Congress, Steve King, by voting him out in the primaries.  Unfortunately, it isn’t so easy for We the People to have a voice in ejecting a cabinet member.  We will get rid of Miller when we get rid of Trump … and not likely a minute before.  Meanwhile, Trump’s Miller-concocted speech should be good for a few eyerolls and will likely gain widespread approval from Trump’s white supremacist supporters.


A thumbs up to FedEx … 👍

FedExFormer FedEx employee James DeMarco staged an exhibition on Monday during a Black Lives Matter protest in New Jersey.  His behaviour was a disgrace … he is shown kneeling on a friend’s neck, mocking the brutal murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin on May 25th, and as protesters passed by his display of inhumanity, he yelled at them, “He’s dead because he didn’t comply.”

DeMarco

Notice the pickup truck in the background with the U.S. flag and a Trump banner prominently displayed.  White supremacists are coming out of the woodwork, it seems, and our ultra-liberal 1st Amendment gives them the right to make an ass of themselves and offend people possessed of consciences.  But, while the Constitution might protect DeMarco’s right to be a jerk, FedEx does not.  On Tuesday, they issued the following statement …

“FedEx holds its team members to a high standard of personal conduct, and we do not tolerate the kind of appalling and offensive behavior depicted in this video. The individual involved is no longer employed by FedEx. A diverse and inclusive workforce is at the heart of our business, and we stand with those who support justice and equality.”

One man who participated in DeMarco’s little stunt turned out to be a correction officer … his bosses recognized him on the video and he has since been suspended pending a “thorough investigation”.

2nd Amendment Run Amok

You’ve most likely heard about the big gun rally planned at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond on Monday, but perhaps you don’t know all the who, why, and what-for of it.

Why?

You mean, apart from the fact that a handful of gun nuts care more about their right to own an arsenal than they care about their own children?  Well, pull up a chair, my friends.  After the 2018 elections when both chambers of the Virginia legislature flipped from a republican majority to a democratic one, one of the priorities was to pass some meaningful gun legislation.  Now, it wasn’t as if they were banning assault weapons, or taking away people’s guns.  The proposed legislation has only three parts:

Two things should be noted … First, 80% of the people in this country support gun regulations such as these, and Second, these are only common-sense measures … nothing that requires gun owners to give up their currently-owned guns, nothing that stops people from buying guns … simple, common-sense measures that might actually save a few lives.

But …

A group calling themselves ‘Virginia Citizen’s Defense League’, a misnomer if ever I’ve heard one, has taken umbrage.  And thus, they are planning a rally at the State Capitol that has attracted the riff-raff and gun-toting scum in and outside of the state.  The rally has drawn the attention of militia groups from as far away as Nevada and Oklahoma, including those tracked by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League.

Others vowing to attend include individuals associated with the Light Foot Militia, some of whom were banned from Charlottesville after the “Unite the Right” rally in 2017, which ended in the death of a counterprotester. Richard B. Spencer, a prominent white nationalist who is among 24 defendants in a lawsuit over the rally in Charlottesville, also said he might attend.

So far, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has declared a ‘state of emergency’ and banned guns from the capitol building and grounds, and the FBI has arrested three neo-Nazis linked to the ‘Base’, a group that aims to create a white ethnostate.  Chatter picked up on Facebook and in chat rooms by the FBI indicates that various extremist organizations are calling Monday’s rally the “boogaloo.” In the lexicon of white supremacists, that is an event that will accelerate the race war they have anticipated for decades.

These people, folks, do NOT represent the population of the United States.  They are an extreme minority, and yet …

“They are fanning the flames for this event.  They want chaos.”

The three bills will almost certainly pass the legislature, and Governor Northam has already promised to sign them into law, and yet these gun-loving people (and I use the term ‘people’ loosely here) are determined to bring chaos into the capitol.  If I had to guess, I would guess there will be violence and there will be injuries, if not deaths.

Let me quote for you the text, word for word, of that 2nd Amendment they so love …

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Twenty-seven words.  Nowhere does it say that every household should have the right to own a gun.  Nowhere does it say that people have the right to own high-powered, automatic weapons that can mow down hundreds within minutes.  Nowhere does it say that people have a right to keep an arsenal in their garages.  The framers’ language was vague, but their intent was not.  Their intent was not for John Doe to have the right to carry a gun into the grocery store and start shooting, nor for a family in the suburbs to keep a loaded pistol in their home.  People have so broadly interpreted this that any law that has the word “firearm” in it automatically riles the gun-lovers.  If I were given the task of making revisions to update the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment and the electoral college would be on the chopping block.

Now, to add insult to injury, the fool that sits in the Oval Office felt a need to ring in on the subject.  Now, as president, he might have used his office to call for calm, to call for the rally to be canceled, or to urge people to keep the protest peaceful, right?  But noooooo … he tweeted …

“Your 2nd Amendment is under very serious attack in the Great Commonwealth of Virginia. That’s what happens when you vote for Democrats, they will take your guns away. Republicans will win Virginia in 2020. Thank you Dems!”

This from the so-called “president” of a nation of 330 million people.  Keep your eye on Virginia tomorrow, my friends, because this may well be a harbinger of things to come.

Civility???

I seem to be hearing the word ‘civil’ or ‘civility’ bandied about a lot lately, but while the word pops up frequently, the action seems to be slow to follow.  The republicans are worried that the democrats are becoming increasingly ‘uncivil’ … gee, I wonder why, after 21 months of being verbally brutalized by a bully and his cohorts!  But let’s look at a few things here …

tom wolf

Governor Tom Wolf

Tom Wolf is the current governor of Pennsylvania, and from all indications is a good one, liked and respected by the people of Pennsylvania.  A man named Scott Wagner is running against Wolf this year on the republican ticket.  Here is the ‘civil’ tongue with which Wagner speaks: “Well, Governor Wolf, let me tell you what, between now and Nov. 6, you better put a catcher’s mask on your face, because I’m going to stomp all over your face with golf spikes.”  Civility?

The Metropolitan Republican Club of New York City recently hosted Gavin McInnes, founder of the white supremacist hate group Proud Boys.  After McInnes’ lecture on Otoya Yamaguchi, his ‘Proud Boys’ took to the streets, brutally beating and kicking several individuals while shouting “faggot” and “[expletive deleted].”  Civility?

Notable democrats are calling for their party to get tougher ahead of the mid-terms.

“It is time for us as Democrats to be as tough as they are, to be as dedicated as they are, to be as committed as they are.” – Former Attorney General Eric Holder

“You cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about.” – Former Secretary of State and 2016 Presidential Candidate, Hillary Clinton

Neither of these even remotely call for violence, they do not use foul or vulgar language, do not refer to stomping on someone’s face or encourage beatings.  They are simply calling on democrats to speak louder, to stand stronger.  And yet, here is what Donald Trump claims …

“You don’t hand matches to an arsonist and you don’t give power to an angry left-wing mob and that’s what the Democrats have become. They would turn our country so fast into Venezuela. And Venezuela’s not doing too well, folks.”

“The Democrats have become too extreme and too dangerous to govern.”

“Radical Democrats want to tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power, demolish our prosperity in the name of socialism and probably worse.”

“They want to destroy people. These are really evil people.”

Let me show you a few pictures of Trump’s ‘base’ at some of his rallies …

angry trumpeter-1angry trumpeter-2angry trumpeter-3angry trumpeter-4

Who are extreme and dangerous people?  Who, I ask, are trying to ‘tear down our laws, tear down our institutions in pursuit of power’?  Who constitutes an ‘angry mob’?

Both democrats and republicans are angry these days.  This is a result of the ‘man’ who began 2016 by inciting violence in his campaign rallies, even offering to pay legal fees of any who would use physical violence against peaceful protestors.  This is a result of the ‘man’ who constantly taunts not only his political foes, but the free and legitimate press, and any who dare to question or disagree with him.  The divisiveness in this country, the lack of civility, didn’t just happen – it was manufactured with a purpose.  It was manufactured using lies, smoke & mirrors, and already-existing tensions that were prodded to an even higher level.

And now that same ‘man’ is trying to convince his base, some 30% of the nation, that the democrats are evil, that they are dangerous, that they seek to harm him and his through ‘mob rule’, and that they must be stopped at all costs.  He is turning the word ‘democrat’ into something that has horribly frightening connotations in the minds of his minions.  He has even convinced some part of them that men are the real victims in sexual assault cases!  The ‘man’ seems to almost hypnotize the previously sane.

The worst mistake that democrats can make today would be to play into his hands, to allow peaceful protests to end in violence.  Democratic candidates must not play Trump’s game of using rude, crude and vulgar language, or calling for violence, or of being so anti-Trump that they forget to tell the people what they stand for.  The stakes are high in just over three weeks. It is so important that we all keep our eye on the ball and not allow ourselves to be goaded into lowering ourselves to the level of today’s more radical republicans.  I still ascribe to what Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high”.

The most important things on the agenda of every candidate for the next three weeks must be: convincing people of the importance of their vote, maintaining civility under all circumstances, speaking loudly and clearly to communicate their platform as well as their values.  Democrats will not get the votes of avid, die-hard Trump supporters.  That is a fact, a foregone conclusion, so we need not even bother to try.  Tune them out and focus on those who may actually listen … and think. vote-animated

Take A Knee …

1st amendment Today, the National Football League (NFL) took it upon itself to slash the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The owners implemented a new rule that teams and therefore players will be fined if they take a knee on the field during the national anthem.  Now, they are allowed to remain off the field during the playing of the anthem, but they cannot show their protest as Colin Kaepernick did in August 2016.  Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne said it well …Dionne-tweetCommissioner Roger Goodell had this to say …

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.

The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress.

It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.

This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.

We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”

People of conscience who are fortunate enough to have a wide platform want to use that voice to rally against injustice, and they will be fined if they do so.  What’s wrong with this picture?  How did we get so out of sync here?

kneelingPatriotism?  Loyalty to country?  The flag is a piece of cloth and the anthem is a song.  Nothing more.  They are symbols, but symbols of what, exactly?  What is patriotism?  Does patriotism require that we sit down and shut up when we would speak out against an unarmed black man being killed by a cop for no reason other than that he was black?  Does being loyal to our country mean that we cannot speak out when people are being discriminated against because they are gay?  If that’s what patriotism and loyalty mean, count me out!

POLICY STATEMENT
The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.
The membership also strongly believes that:
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
6. The commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.

You know what I would like to see?  I would like to see every single player on every team take a knee during the anthem in the first games of the season.  At least one team owner had some cojones.  Christopher Johnson, the chairman and C.E.O. of the New York Jets, said the team would not punish players who choose to kneel during the anthem, despite the cost.

“There will be no club fines or suspensions or any sort of repercussions. If the team gets fined, that’s just something I’ll have to bear.”

Mike Pence, a known bigot and Trump sycophant, tweeted thisPence tweetStunning. Victory. For. Trump. That, folks, is what this is all about. If Trump speaks out against the NFL, they are afraid they will lose fans and thus lose some of those billions they rake in every season. Gotta keep the madman at the helm happy.

There may be some hope for a reversal, as the NFL and the team owners failed to consult with the players union.  The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) issued the following statement:

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,’ ” the NFLPA said in a statement. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.

Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

I hope they find the entire policy to be inconsistent.  This is a slap in the face to the 1st amendment, to the right of free speech, the right to protest.  Football players cannot take a knee, but white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK can shut down entire cities and create an atmosphere of chaos and violence?  Trump denigrates the football players for a peaceful, calm, silent protest, while he calls the violent bigots and racists from the Charlottesville rally ‘very fine people’. Trump nfl vs kkk.jpgThink about this one for a while, folks.  Trump is cherry-picking the U.S. Constitution.  He likes to always be “the winner”.  And who, then, is the loser?  We The People.