Friday, April 29, 2022

Blog Break: Stress Has Me on The Ropes

I'm not going to be posting anything for a while.

I've had this blog for nearly 20 years, through thick and thin times. But I really hit the wall this time.

What's happening in our country - the ongoing coup attempt and no accountability for traitors - is hitting me hard. I see democracy slip-sliding away every day.

To add to that my PTSD is flared up. It happens once a year - my anniversary date of being ambushed in Cambodia (while serving in the Army in 1970) and watching my best friend die next to me is here.

Some years are better than others. This is a bad one.

Needless to say, it's been difficult writing lately.

I've been doing my readers an injustice by turning out increasingly negative posts in recent days. The fact that I'm under a dark cloud tells me I need time to mentally heal.

Thank you for reading this. I'll be back again someday. I'm just not sure when.

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Let's Cut Through All of the Bulls**t: There's 3 Groups of People 'Above the Law' in America

If there's one worn-out trope that bugs me it's the claim that "No one is above the law."

I don't know how anyone with eyes, ears and a functioning brain can claim such an absurd assumption.

The statement comes from a mythical past in America where all men were equal... despite the contrary reality of each generation.

Who is Above the Law in America?

Let's start with Supreme Court justices. They're appointed for life and accountable to no one. It baffles me why we ever gave them such unstoppable power.

The biggest ethical offender on today's court is Clarence Thomas, the senior associate justice who has ruled from his extreme conservative post for 30 years.

The House held a hearing on Supreme Court Ethics yesterday where they explored the relationship of his wife Ginni who worked with Trump and his minions to overthrow the duly elected president, Joe Biden.

Members examined Clarence Thomas's refusal to recuse himself from cases surrounding Jan. 6th, despite his wife's involvement in the attack. 

Ginni Thomas has been a regular presence in conservative circles for decades, but Clarence never recused himself if she was involved in a case brought before his court.

I'll cut to the chase.

Don't bet on new ethical standards for corrupt judges, and don't think for a moment Clarence will be held accountable and impeached.

He is truly above the law.

Next.

The second group of Americans above the law are Congressional politicians. Over 100 Republicans participated (in one way or another) in the Jan. 6 riot, and still follow the Big Lie - Trump's alternative reality for his attempt to steal the election.

How many do you think will be held accountable for their treasonous attempt against the very foundation of our democracy? Nothing short of a miracle will make them accountable.

The Third group of Americans above the law are the wealthy. Americans have suspected as much since the Constitution was signed, but each generation likes to pretend the uber wealthy are all good Samaritans. 

In fact, the super-rich still pull the strings of political power today. Billionaires and millionaires openly tout their political agendas with impunity. Kingmakers are a dime a dozen.

The scary part of this new generation of ultra-rich activists is they support sedition. It's so popular they pour their money into the coffers of the most extreme politicians and political activist groups actively seeking to overthrow our government.

Let's be real. Laws in this land are a guidepost to inequality. They only apply to someone outside of the three groups I mentioned here.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

DeSantis Got His Election Police: His Political Opponents Better Beware

Prologue:

Prior to starting W.W. II Hitler appointed a special group to intimidate his political opponents.

They were called the SA, or Sturmabteilung, meaning "assault division." The group was also known as the Brownshirts or Storm Troopers. They paved the way for Hitler's takeover of Germany.

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It appears Florida governor Ron DeSantis has taken an historical approach similar to Hitler's Storm Troopers in 1935 Germany.

DeSantis has crowned himself the Ruler of Florida and is running roughshod over non-Republicans in the state. He even bullies his fellow Republicans that hold the legislative majorities in both houses.

The man who would be the next president of the United States in 2024 stands unopposed in his unconstitutional assaults on the Sunshine State.

His specialty has been cultivating cultural myths and conspiracies to please Trump's base. His new police force will be the next step towards voter suppression. He's already passed a redistricting bill to disenfranchise Black voters.

Having his own Brownshirts to harass Democrats, Independent voters, and politicians who run against him will give DeSantis another advantage beyond holding on to his current job. 

With two more years of absolute authoritarian rule, he'll be in a better position to run for president in 2024. 

No other state has created its own election police. However, Texas and Georgia may get inspired by DeSantis and try to get their own Storm Troopers.

It's no exaggeration to say America is moving toward becoming a Fascist government thanks to Trump, and his minions like Ron DeSantis.

I'm a baby boomer who's never seen a bigger threat to our Republic. It's no wonder that I have trouble sleeping at night. I don't know what I'm going to wake up to someday.

I'll close with this short story:

Philadelphia, 1787. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention are just leaving Independence Hall, having decided on the general structure for the new United States.

A crowd gathered on the steps of Independence Hall, eager to hear the news. A sturdy old woman (sometimes referred to as "an anxious lady"), wearing a shawl approached Benjamin Franklin and asked him, "Well, Doctor, what do we have, a republic or a monarchy?"

Franklin sagely replied, "a republic, if you can keep it." 

What do you think America? Can we keep it?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

The Jan. 6 Committee Members Are Afraid of GOP Lawmakers

So much for going after the top-level coup plotters when it comes to uncovering the Jan. 6 attempt to overthrow a valid election.

What has become apparent in the last few months is the committee has a ton of evidence against GOP lawmakers participating in Trump's insurrection efforts, and it isn't going to charge them. Period. 

I doubt they will recommend Trump be charged despite the fact he was the number one (and still is) instigator of the attempt to cripple our democracy.

The reason for this display of craven cowardice is political.

The Democrats are afraid they're going to lose in the midterms and the Republicans are going to take a terrible revenge by going after House members and Senate members that dared to speak truth about what happened on Jan. 6.

Just a thought, but do the Democrats really believe the GOP will have any legitimate grounds for charging their colleagues for any crimes? 

The Democrats worry about setting a president for seeking justice when lawmakers go bad.

My reply to that weak narrative is if they don't, we can expect another (perhaps successful) assault on Democracy if the Republicans don't win the 2024 presidential election.

The thought of no real accountability for the biggest threat in the nation's history is simply disgusting.

It's disheartening to know millions of Americans are aware of how big a threat Trump and his minions are, and that no justice will come as they openly push the Big Lie.

There's only one path that may change this.

When the committee turns over their findings to the Department of Justice's Attorney General Merrick Garland, he sets up a special prosecutor to pursue the traitorous lawmakers who participated in trying to steal the 2020 election.

This tactic would take some of the pressure off the craven Democrats who could claim they only shared their findings and weren't responsible for penalizing their colleagues.

There's only one flaw that I can see.

Garland doesn't appoint a special investigator(s) to pursue those corrupt Congressmen, or he just decides the political fallout would be disastrous and let's Trump and his cronies off the hook.

Politics over our democratic government? That's a hell of a choice.

If that happens it'll be a fatal blow to our Republic. No consequences, no hope. Democracy will be so damaged that we'll sink into an authoritarian state in the next couple of years.

Monday, April 25, 2022

I'm Not Sure Biden Should Go for a Second Term

To be clear, I like President Joe Biden and I voted for him in 2020.

Setting that aside, I think Biden, at 78 years-old (and 80 in 2024) should consider stepping down and supporting a new Democratic candidate for president in 2024.

It's not that I think Biden is doing a bad job, it's his age that concerns me. He could be opposed by someone half his age. Make no mistake, he's accomplished a lot in just under two years. 

*Biden signed the biggest infrastructure bill in American history.

*He appointed the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. 

*He signed 17 executive orders in his first 100 days. 

*He supported the CDC in the battle to get all Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 and relied on science (unlike the previous administration) to fight the deadly virus.

*He rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement after Trump dumped it.

*He got America out of the endless war in Afghanistan.

*By the end of 2021, 40 of Biden's appointed judges to the federal judiciary had been confirmed, more than any president in their first year in office since Ronald Regan.

He's united NATO for the first time in years to stand against a common enemy - Russia.

I could go on, but I think I made my point. Joe Biden is a good man whose done good things for America. 

However, age is slowing him down. It's only natural. He's a low-key guy who'll never appear on The Masked Singer. But I suspect he'll do well enough in the next two years. Beyond that and it's a stretch.

I know the Democratic Party has already said Joe is going to run in 2024. They kind of had too. There is no other Democratic presidential candidate that currently looks like potential presidential material.

That is going to have to change soon. FYI - I don't believe vice president Kamala Harris is the answer. It's going to have to be someone with a lot of charisma to motivate younger voters and still entice the older generation.

Keep in mind Americans are increasingly voting for the most entertaining candidates and aren't too concerned about the fine details of running a government or understanding the Constitution. 

Maybe voters ought to consider electing a comedian. Ukraine hasn't done too badly with their guy Zelenskyy who told jokes until he was elected to lead the country. Democrats better find someone soon... time is running out.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

The Losers Guide to a Shadow Government

There is a shadow government in America. 

It's located in Palm Beach, Florida. 

It's run by the loser of the 2020 presidential election. He thinks he can defy reality. 

Donald Trump, aka Don the Con, the Grifter-in-Chief, and Putin's lapdog, is the head of the newly created shadow government lodged in the bridal suite of his Mar-a-Lago resort.

News agencies and visitors have described Donny's special room as a mock Oval Office, right down to a duplicate Resolute desk. This elite seat of his quasi government/Republican Party is where an extremist goes to advance their career.

Be advised. It's not easy seeing his Highness. The first layer involves bribing some Trump associate for the pleasure of personally seeing the self-appointed kingmaker.

Then there's a matter of extreme credentials and proof of undying loyalty to Trump. Next what are you there for? Money? An endorsement? Both?

Once these layers are peeled away the supplicant gets to prostrate themselves in front of Stump's desk. 

Then they're allowed to ask for money (whatever) while flattering the hell out of Thump and saying they've always been a bigly fan. The longer the asker stays on the ground the chance of having their request granted increases.

No one knows for sure how long this bridal suite was the center of Lump's make- believe presidency, but some suggest it was just before Kevin McCarthy flipped from telling the truth about the coup attempt to suddenly defending Trump and minions who tried to steal the election after he was summoned to appear before His Orangeness a week later.

I would warn morons going to see Hump for an endorsement that it'll be the kiss of death for their campaign.

Take a moment and check out this article that ran in The Atlantic titled, Trump's Endorsements Might Be the GOP's Kryptonite 

One more reminder for the lost souls going to get cash from Donny; it's not going to turn out well for you based upon his history of throwing people under buses. You'd do better if you made a deal with the devil.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Who Has the Worst Memory in Congress? You May Be Surprised

You may have heard the rumor that 88-year-old Sen. Diane Feinstein's memory is turning into mush.

It could be true, or her enemies have come up with a novel way to get her to retire.

Determining whose memory is in-fact toast, can only be confirmed by a doctor. But a person can get a good idea by listening to what someone says when asked to recall events.

By that standard 46-year-old Marjorie Taylor Greene has the worst memory in Congress with a two-year black-out.

Court observers on Friday watched her testify about her relationship to the Jan. 6 insurrection to determine if she should be on the ballot for the GOP May primary in Georgia.

The fact that she couldn't remember her tweets when shown they advocated overthrowing the 2020 election for nearly two years is a good indication of memory loss.

Shown videos of her urging people to descend upon Washington DC, didn't spark any recognition from the conspiracy activist who stared straight ahead with a grim look on her face claiming she couldn't remember.

Same for audio tapes of her incendiary speeches. She simply couldn't remember stirring up the Big Lie before and after the coup attempt. 

I think the prosecution should have asked her if she remembered anything about her first term in Congress.

Seriously. MTG's memory appears worse than Sen. Feinstein who can tell you - with a possible slip now and then - what she was doing while MGT was trying to overturn the government.

Friday, April 22, 2022

What's the Most Important Thing in Your Life?


                            Quiz time!

What's the most important thing in your life?

I've asked this question hundreds of times during my career as a journalist and certain responses tend to come up more often than others.

You probably could guess what the most common reply was - my spouse (and other variations such as significant other or soulmate.)

It's followed by family, staying healthy, being Wealthy, Power, Status, and Being Happy.

After that the responses got a bit more interesting.

"Being famous.

"Being stronger than everyone else."

"Having a child."

"My cat."

"My dog."

"Seeing Madonna before I die."

"Going to Europe someday."

"Finding the Meaning of Life."

"Leaving behind a legacy of love."

and so forth...

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Carp Diem means "seize the day" in Latin. It's probably the most popular Latin phrase of modern times. And don't forget the Carpe Noctem variation which literally translates to 'seize the night."

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Quotes about what's important in life:

"I've learned through the years that it's not where you live, it's the people who surround you that make you feel at home."

-J.B. McGee

"Family is not an important thing. It's everything. 

-Michael J. Fox

Thanks for dropping by today. Stay safe and watch comedies!

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Conservative Power Brokers Are Spreading Lies Because They Can

Conservative power brokers range from deranged preachers and doctors to corrupt wealthy businessmen.

The one thing they have in common is refuting reality and replacing it with the Big Lie and other crazy conspiracies.

For instance, a conservative power broker, Dr. Steven Hotze, unsuccessfully sued to stop the extension of early voting in Texas for this year's election.

Hotze also sued officials in Harris County to limit in-person and absentee voting, making allegations without evidence that Democrats were engaged in "ballot harvesting" by gathering votes from individuals who are homeless or elderly.

This week Hotze has been charged with unlawful restraint and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon over an October incident involving a contractor he hired.

Hotze was indicted over allegations against a former police officer, Mark Aguirre, who worked for him.

It turns out that Aguirre had been retained to pursue a voter fraud investigation on behalf of his nonprofit organization, Liberty Center for God and Country.

Aguirre was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after a man accused him of running him off the road and holding him hostage at gunpoint in an effort to prove what authorities have called a bogus voter fraud scheme.

According to court records Aguirre claimed that an air conditioning repairman's truck was filled with fraudulent ballots. 

The police report said that Aguirre and some friends had set up a "command post" at a Marriotte hotel in suburban Houston that conducted a 24-hour surveillance on the repairman for four days.

Aguirre went so far as to contact the Texas Attorney General's office to see if he could conduct a traffic stop for his investigation and "make a citizen's arrest," according to the affidavit.

He was told "not to do it," at which point he decided to run the man's truck off the road, pointed a gun at him, forced him to the ground and put a knee on his back.

When the police responded to the incident, they searched the truck and found only air conditioning parts and tools. After a lengthy investigation the police found no evidence of illegal ballots.

For the record, Aguirre was paid $266,400 by Liberty Center for God and Country.

The whole sordid affair - from a non-profit paying someone to do dirty work, to the Big Lie pushed from a so-called doctor is just one example of how a conservative power broker spreads lies because they can.

The Harris County District Attorney indicted Hotze this week for his scheme. A trial date has not been announced yet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Guest Column: 'Bullying Mickey Mouse: Rejected by the public, Republicans take their anger out on Disney'

On rare occasions I like to run a guest column for some variety. The opinion expressed here is the author's Amanda Marcotte, who is a senior writer for Salon.

"There's no surer sign that Republicans have given up on trying to appeal to moderates and swing voters than declaring war on Disney.

Things were already getting dicey when GOP leaders and Fox News pundits went all-in on this strategy of accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being child molesters. 

Flinging such risible and obviously false accusations at innocent people tends to backfire on the accusers, as demonstrated by the way Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson saw her approval ratings rise after enduring three days of charisma-free Republicans falsely implying she had some affection for pedophiles. 

But you know they've lost the plot when they're running around trying to argue that Disney, which most Americans view as the gold standard in family-friendly entertainment, is covertly converting the nation's children into perverts.

I'm just saying: if your idea of championing "family values" is delaying parents who are trying to get their kids into Disney World, you need some remedial classes on how to win friends and allies."

Read the full article here.

Editor's Note: For historical context on using pedophiles to defame people look up Putin's tactics to gain power by accusing government employees and state prosecutors of being child molesters. It worked so well he was able to become dictator for life.

There's nothing new under the sun. Enjoy your day, and I hope you enjoyed this column.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Take Heart! Trump and his Supporters Aren't Going to Destroy Our Democracy

I don't see one man destroying our democracy.

What I clearly see is that Trump has built a cult that cuts through the heart of our nation and divides us like the Civil War once did.

The Civil War was the first great threat to our Republic, and we turned it back, but at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. 

The Party of Trump has eviscerated the modern Republican Party, replacing it with mindless minions who willingly believe his lies. The way things stand now, the Party of Trump may regain the majority in Congress.

That doesn't spell the end of our freedoms, however. When oppressed modern day Democrats push back hard. The 2020 election proved that.

Yes, Trumpies are showing more enthusiasm to vote this fall with the possibility of owning the libtards in Congress.

Consider this; the general public loathes Congress right now. So, they might vote for Trumpies to take over in the midterms and discover that Trump's Looney Tune cronies are actually WORSE than the current occupants.

In addition, the two years would give time for Democrats to get energized enough to elect the next president in 2024. After two years of fruitless revenge investigations, the Trumpies are not going to have much of legislative track record to run on.

In turn, the Democrats will be seething and really motivated to turn out in record numbers.

One more thing.

Political dynamics can suddenly shift the landscape. Think about the Jan. 6 Committee on National TV this summer laying out - in minute detail - how Trump and his enablers tried to steal the 2020 election.

If justice catches up to Trump and the Department of Justice does its job it will be a major blow to Trumpism.

America has been around for far too long to fall to a cult of traitors. Take heart. We're greater than that.

Blog Break: Stress Has Me on The Ropes

I'm not going to be posting anything for a while. I've had this blog for nearly 20 years, through thick and thin times. But I reall...