Friday, May 17, 2024

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today.

I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now.

I'm a writer with no words to properly describe the current chaos.

The growing conviction that we're in the end times for our constitutional democracy and the republic we created 240 years ago, is hardening into a reality as the MAGA cult keeps expanding.

The journalist in me wants to document these terrible times but the Vietnam veteran with PTSD is telling me to back off for a while to stave off depression so deep I might never recover.

This is a personal decision made out of necessity. I'm not giving up on America, but I have to distance myself the next six months until we know who wins the election.

I wish I could just write about other things, but I'm too overwhelmed by the grave situation we're all in to do a decent job.

In over 20 years of publishing this blog I've taken breaks before for a variety of reasons, but none as long as this one will be.

As it Stands, I hope you understand, my dear readers, that I do intend to come back this winter. God willing.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Whose Justice? The Interruption Changes from State to State

It just depends on what state you're in these days whether you have a chance of getting justice in the courts.

If you are in Texas, it's okay to kill a black protestor according to Gov. Greg Abbott who pardoned Daniel Perry, a former US Army sergeant who was convicted of murdering a protestor at a Black Lives Matter rally in 2020.

Perry faced between five and 99 years in prison for fatally shooting 28-year-old Air Force veteran Garret Foster at an Austin, Texas, racial justice rally two months after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But he's free today because of a racist MAGA governor.

If you're a woman who needs to get an abortion, you are out of luck in 14 states that have abortion bans based on gestational duration. There are 41 states that have abortion bans in effect with only limited exceptions.

A woman is hard pressed these days to find any justice when it comes to their bodies. Unless they go to one of the following 15 states, they won't be able to safely get an abortion.

They are Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.

There are 30 states where Stand Your Ground Laws are in effect. Basically, the law is called "shoot first" for a good reason. If you live in one of these states don't expect justice if you accidently step on someone's property or scare them because your brown or black. 

In the other 20 states you may be prosecuted for killing someone if you could have safely walked away from the confrontation. Your chances of justice improve in these states.

As it Stands, looking at the overall picture, living in a red state or blue state is like living in two Americas.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

What Would You Do If Trump Was Re-Elected?

Seriously... I've heard people talking about leaving the country if Trump gets back in the Oval Office.

That would be deserting our Constitutional Democracy if you ask me. The last thing the nation needs is to fully buckle under to the orange blob's authoritarian regime.

There has to be resistance. The millions of Americans that would suffer in Trump's proposed fascist state must not give up fighting for their freedoms which he intends to take away.

Like any bully, Trump is a coward and if you stand up to him, he'll eventually wither.

Instead of giving up hope if Trump is re-elected, we need to do everything we can to stand up to him in the courts and Congress during his administration.

Yes, Trump will be further infecting both of them but if people rally and vote them out and hold them accountable in the next election America will defeat him and his cult members.  

I made a decision to stand up to Trump during his four disastrous years as president. There was no way that I was going to let the orange leech go unchallenged. Millions of Americans felt the same way and kicked Trump out of office in 2020.

As a Vietnam veteran I've served this country in my youth. I've always believed America is special. Freedom is more than just a word to me.

At 73-years old I'm just as determined to serve my country and preserve the freedoms that were hard-earned from the blood of patriots throughout America's history. 

Despite Trump's criminality - he's been convicted in two civil cases and indicted in four criminal cases involving 88 felonies - the political pundits say this year's election is going to be close. That Trump could win it.

Once upon a time such a candidate would have been inconceivable. Not today. That's our reality. 

As it Stands, what would you do if Trump wins? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

GOP House Members Humiliate Themselves... Again

This is getting old.

GOP members of the House never seem to tire of being humiliated by their master Trump.

No bar too low. No shame too great.

The 118th Congress with its Republican majority has been making history for all the wrong reasons since they kicked out their own speaker of the House to start off the term.

Here's some of their magic moments that will forever enshrine what will be hereafter known as the worst Congress in history.

Latest stunt:

-- The Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson and reps J.D. Vance and Tommy Tuberville all attended Trump's trial to support him. They sat in the court to show their loyalty like good little minions.

When was the last time a House speaker and members attended a criminal trial to back a former president who tried to overthrow the government?

Oh wait! NEVER.

And yet here we are. All moral boundaries and laws breeched by a cult that has infected Congress since Trump slithered into office in 2017.

-- Mike Johnson is not really in charge. Trump is the Speaker of the House and if anyone doubts it look at Johnson's pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago when he was elected speaker. He went there to kiss the ring. He brags about talking to the Donald every week. Translation: he gets new orders every week.

-- Since the GOP became a majority in the House it has been a three-ring circus with lots of infighting and sham hearings attacking President Biden and his son.

They've passed less legislation than any other House in history. The own members admit it's been a hot mess, and a record number are retiring early to get away from the swamp they created.

-- No past Congress has had members who violate their own laws to defend outright criminality in civil cases like Jim Jordan's interference in Trump's fraud case where he went to New York to hold a kangaroo court of MAGA politicians who worship Trump.

-- In 240 years, we've never had a House of Representatives actively spend the majority of their time attacking the current president of the United States. Their sustain siege is unprecedented.

As it Stands, what we see as humiliating (when a person debases themself) is considered loyalty in the MAGA cult.

Monday, May 13, 2024

American Soap Opera: The Trials and Tribulations of Trump

Soap operas are a good example of Americana and have been around since the late 1940s. 

Days of our Lives and All My Children were just two of the ongoing daytime dramas that millions of people tuned in to daily.

The best thing about soap operas, which are still immensely popular, is that they are fiction. Regardless of how real the characters and situations, we always knew we could turn off the TV and they would go away.

Today the whole nation is tuned into a scary soap opera that could result in fascist state if the most corrupt president in our history gets re-elected president.

Following a former presidents felony trial (one of four cases he has been indicted in) every day in a New York courthouse has been a surreal experience covered by the mass media and the right-wing media.

We can't just turn the TV off and be done with Trump's ongoing criminal trial. Every form of media - from print to podcasts - is covering this real-life soap opera, breathlessly reporting every ridiculous detail.

Trump sleeping in court. 

Trump farting in court. 

Trump texting in court. 

Trump disrupting the court. And on and on...

Just like standard soap operas there's a cast of ever evolving characters. The witnesses have ranged from a porn star to Trump's former fixer. They've been fascinating and disgusting.

The courtroom itself is controversial. Trump whines about it being too cold when he's not attacking the judge or witnesses. 

When it comes to soap opera villains like Peter August in General Hospital, or Kristen DiMera in Days of Our Lives, they're not even close to being as evil as Trump really is.

As it Stands, the Trump trial is a soap opera from hell and we're all participants, like it or not.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Public Discourse: Here's How Far Americans Have Sunk

After seeing a video of people eating chocolate ice cream out of a standard size toilet in a midwestern restaurant, I was finally convinced this country is metaphorically going down the crapper.

Also, on that menu there's Orange Turd sorbet served in a golden shitter, according to one wit on X where I saw the video.

If the Italians are known for having bad tempers, then Americans should be known for being course and rude in our conversations.

Especially when it comes to politics. There are no barriers in a war of words where loathsome nicknames and hateful accusations are hurled every day.

Even normal conversations in public and social media are often so crude and rude they get out of hand and result in violence.

We have a presidential nominee who's in court for paying hush money to a porn star (while married) and being known for his infamous quote about "grabbing pussies whenever he wants."

In Congress a female GOP member of the House brought in and displayed fully nude photos of the president's son during a public hearing.

At some point numbness kicks in.

As the conversations continue to grow increasingly disgusting Americans are turning blind eyes to stories like a female member of Congress caught groping her date and vaping during a performance of a Beetlejuice musical.

The presence of course language starts early. Children mimic what their parents say and how they say it.

In fairness, people also have different opinions about which terms are okay and which are offensive.

What's not complicated is the fact that people just don't seem to care anymore. Taking the high road to a conversation and not using foul language is becoming a casualty in our culture.

As it Stands, it's sad that this is how far we've sunk as a civilized society.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Trump's Repeat of a Quid-Pro-Quo Offer Might Get taken Up This Time

         It wasn't that long ago that Trump approached Ukraine's president Zelensky with an offer to send military supplies in exchange for finding dirt on Joe Biden.

Apparently, it's one of Trump's favorite ways of doing business. You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.

This time Trump is offering oil industry executives the deal of a lifetime (when he's re-elected) if they come up with a billion dollars to fund his cash-strapped campaign.

"This deal perfectly captures what's wrong with our big money campaign finance system," Erin Chlopak, former Federal Elections Commission attorney, told Politico in a recent interview.

The solicitation reeks of corruption but isn't illegal, given that Trump reportedly didn't tie the donation to exact policy actions.

The oil industry has already put together numerous executive orders for Trump to sign if he wins in November. Such policies include reversal of a Biden-administration pause on natural gas export permits and new drilling expansions.

The thing to keep in mind about this MAGA proposal is it will be a blueprint for how he does business when he slinks back into the White House.

Trump was impeached the first time he tried to pull off a quid-pro-quo with Zelensky. This time he won't have to worry about repercussions because he's planning on a complete overhaul of government by remaking it into his dystopian dream.

It's still unclear if the oil industry is going to pony up and boost Trump's campaign. A billion dollars is a lot of money. But if any group could pull it off it would be them.

The meeting was held last month when Trump passed the hat around to invited executives at Mar-a-Lago.

As it Stands, "Fighting corruption is not just good governance. It's self-defense. It's patriotism." - Joe Biden

Friday, May 10, 2024

I Never Thought I'd See the Day that I Couldn't Afford Fast-Food Prices

The last decade has seen a steady increase in the costs of fast food, according to FinanceBuzz, a personal finance site.

The good news is I eat at home more often. The bad news is while my disposable income remains the same (I'm retired) and the cost of eating fast foods keeps climbing.

My earliest fast-food memories start with McDonald's when my family of six went there before going to the drive-in movies on Friday nights.

Hamburgers were only 15 cents and every item on the menu cost less than 25 cents. It was a guilty pleasure to eat fast food and go to the movies. 

As the years went by, I can remember eating fast foods because it they were cheaper than restaurants. For the poor McDonalds was a haven for the only warm food they could afford.

It was just a matter of time before the prices began a steady climb and we're now at a crossroads. Inflation gone wild.

In the last ten years the price of a McDonald's Quarter Pounder with Cheese meal more than doubled in price from $5.30 in 2014 to $11.99 this year. 

Other restaurant chains have also been jacking their prices up. Popeye's, Jimmy John's and Subway hiked their prices from 2014 to 2024 86%, 62% and 39%, respectively.

I haven't been to a Subway for a long while and when my wife and I went to one in Arcata, California. a couple of days ago I was stunned. It cost $32 for two-foot-long meatball sandwiches. My eyes bugged out.

For the record fast food prices can vary wildly from state to state. While prices are set at the corporate lever for some fast-food restaurants, they are determined by individual franchise owners at others.

Across the country there's 22 states that have raised their minimum wages in January, although the federal baseline pay remains at $7.25 an hour.

In California fast-food chains with 60 or more locations nationwide are now required to pay their workers a minimum wage of $20 an hour.

The rising labor costs account for driving the food prices according to the corporations, but that's just a smoke screen according to the Roosevelt Insitute who noted the industry's record profit margins.

Which brings me back to the fact that fast foods have become too expensive for retirees (and poor people) to buy. We're a significant segment of customers that the fast-food industry has always counted on in their sales predictions and that's changing.

As it Stands, I suppose there will always be a reason for people wanting fast food. Regardless of the price.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Blog Break: Taking Time to Exhale


Sensory overload.

Too much Trump, Stormy Daniels, MAGA Mike Johnson, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Lindsey Graham.

Too many Trump trials being held up by MAGA judges and the Supreme Court where the rule of Trump applies.

Too much antisemitism. Too much hate. Chaos every day. Christain Nationalism. Fascists. Traitors.

I'm checking out.

I'll be back Friday May 10th.

May I suggest you take some time off and turn off all those negatives and do something positive for yourself.

Check the right side of the page for past posts. 

Do you like fiction and poetry? Take a visit to my other blog The Creative Chronicles of Dave Stancliff

Have a great day.

As it Stands, we all need a break now and then.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

13 Trump Appointed Judges Try Bullying Columbia University Law Students ...Just Because

      A group of Trump appointed judges are vowing to not hire Columbia University law students or undergraduates because they don't approve of the way the school handled pro-Palestinian demonstrators recently.

A dissatisfied collection of conservative judges primarily from Texas (why aren't I surprised?) sent a letter to Columbia President Minouche Shafik and the dean of Columbia's law school Gilliam Lester on Monday.

In the letter they outlined their position accusing the campus of being "ground zero for the explosion of student disruptions, antisemitism and hatred for diverse viewpoints on campuses across the country." 

One of the MAGA loving judges, Matthew Kacsmaryk, is best known for issuing an order blocking broader access to the abortion pill mifepristone. The case has gone to the Supreme Court and will be tried in July.

Kacsmaryk, like other Trump appointed judges are the vanguard of a movement to completely corrupt our judicial system. 

Judge Aileen Cannon who is presiding over Trump's stolen documents case in Washington DC, is another scary example of how Trump's vile influence has spread in the court system.

So, in summary we have a disgruntled bunch of Trump judicial minions who want to punish a college with a rich history of protests because they didn't like the way things went down there recently.

While scolding the administration in the letter they called out for a system that would identify student protestors and punish them so "employers can avoid hiring them.

Is it just me, or does that sound like gestapo tactics?

Trying to justify their ban the judges wrote that they are protecting employers, "who are forced to assume the risk that anyone they hire from Columbia may be one of those disruptive and hateful students."

This won't be the end of Trump judges bullying universities because they don't like the way they're run. Depending on what happens with Columbia there could soon be more quasi-judicial assaults against upper education in America.

Trump appointed judges carrying out his agenda, need to be held accountable for their unjust service to the public. 

Judge Cannon has been repeatedly smacked down by the 11th Circuit for unconstitutional rulings, but she continues to be on the case and helping Trump out in any way she can.

As it Stands, conservatives have traditionally been at odds with colleges because they present diverse viewpoints, something they hate. Add Trump Judges and you can see where our judicial system is heading... over a cliff!




Monday, May 6, 2024

Ceasefire? Hamas Accepts Proposal to End the War - Waiting for Israel's Response


Don't hold your breath, but it looks like the fighting might stop between Hamas and Israel soon. 

The militant group has accepted a ceasefire proposal by Egypt and Qatar.

The fly in the ointment is if Israel accepts the proposal. The government is reviewing the plan, but the prime minister's office has refused to comment at this stage.

It's not clear if the original framework for the deal (which Israel helped craft) but has not fully agreed to or if there's been modifications.

The original deal called for the release of between 20 and 33 hostages over several weeks in exchange for a temporary ceasefire and the release of Palestinian prisoners.

CIA Director William Burns has been working with middle eastern leaders to accept the proposal which the United States considers a good plan.

Now it's up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the deal to go through. Despite worldwide pressure to stop the fighting Netanyahu's hard right coalition has resisted all efforts this far.

The announcement of a ceasefire deal came just hours after Israel ordered Palestinians living in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza. to "Evacuate immediately."

So, what happened to open the door (however briefly) to a deal? It's not entirely clear.

For starters, it's not a deal until both sides agree to it. Israel has given every indication that the military would continue ongoing operations. The fact that they didn't come right out and accept the deal is telling.

Large parts of the Israeli public want a deal. They've been protesting the ongoing war for months. They're tired of the slaughter and just want peace. 

Families and supporters of the hostages blocked the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv last week, holding a banner that reading "Rafah or the hostages - choose life."

The problem is the far-right Religious Zionism Party doesn't want a ceasefire. Israel's national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, said Netanyahu has "promised that Israel would enter Rafah," and assured them that the war would not end, and also pledged that there would be no "reckless deal."

Comments like that doesn't exactly bode well for an agreement.

Earlier this morning, President Biden spoke with Netanyahu for about 30 minutes before Hamas publicly said it had accepted a deal.

The question is how hard is Biden pushing for this ceasefire? There's been reports of withholding military assistance circulating around Washington for weeks. 

Did Biden drop the hammer this morning?

If so, we'll find out soon enough when the Israeli government announces its position on this latest ceasefire proposal.

As it Stands, let's hope the ceasefire works out for the sake of thousands of innocent people.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...