Saturday, March 19, 2022

Republican Revisionism About Ukraine Ignores Reality

Reality Check: Trump was impeached in 2020 for trying to bribe Ukrainian president Zelenskyy by withholding an arms shipment to his country until he dug up some dirt on then-presidential candidate Joe Biden.

In an alternate reality the GOP are now claiming that the Russian invasion of Ukraine was brought on by the Democrats impeaching Trump. 

The fact that pro-Russian Republicans in the House and Senate refuse to acknowledge what Trump did to Zelenskyy is proof of their duplicity.

The reality is Trump's ploy put Ukraine into a worse position against their totalitarian neighbor looking to expand its borders.

The resulting front-page scandal threw Zelenskyy into the middle of a political cage match. It certainly emboldened Putin who believed the West would fracture if he launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Trumps attacks against NATO's very existence encouraged Putin who must have decided the alliance was splintering and would not stand up to his aggression. 

That might have happened, but for the fact Joe Biden won the 2020 election and quickly united the shaky alliance into a firm wall of resistance against Putin's naked aggression.

Biden also re-assured the European Union that the U.S. was a good ally to have after Trump's animosity threatened to drive a wedge between Western democracies. 

The United States of America is by far the biggest contributor of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the world under Biden's leadership.

Recently Biden called upon Congress to provide more aid for the embattled nation. Most - but not all - of the lawmakers supported the desperately needed assistance.

The exception was 31 Senate and 69 House Republicans who voted against giving military aid to Ukraine.

Congress couldn't even get a unanimous bipartisan vote to sign a resolution to support Ukraine. Three House Republicans voted against it.

It's apparent to me that we have an enemy within; the Trump part of the rapidly dissolving Republician party. Their ongoing coup attempt is fueled by dangerous lies designed to weaken our democracy.

The Republican hypocrites who continue to hamper relief efforts to an endangered democracy, and who continue to push the Big Lie need to be held accountable.

If there is any justice in the land when the Jan. 6 Committee turns over its findings (this summer) to the Department of Justice, the perpetrators of the insurrection will be tried in a criminal court and convicted as traitors.

Starting with the biggest criminal of them all... Trump.

Voters in November will also have the opportunity to oust any other traitors that may have eluded the DOJ.

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Confederacy Lost. It's Time Traitors Stopped Being Honored: 9 US Army Bases to Be Renamed

I think we can all agree history is written by conquerors. The winners of wars weave their narrative into their country's history.

Triumphant generals become national heroes and are publicly honored in different ways. From statutes to buildings their names destined to be carried on for future generations to admire.

Which brings us too today.

U.S. Army bases have a tradition of being named after famous generals.

However, something happened over the years (You guessed it - racism) and some military bases were named after traitorous generals.

In other words, Confederate generals from the Civil War were honored, instead of Union generals. The Lost Cause of the South was being honored in nine military bases. The irony was as thick as a brick.

That's changed.

The congressional commission overseeing the removal of Confederate names from military bases released a list of potential new names on Wednesday. 

The commission received over 34,000 recommendations during a public comment period to rename the nine Army bases.

That list has been narrowed down to 87 potential names. The commission, Army base leaders, and the local communities will send their recommendations to Congress by Oct.1.

The Pentagon will have until early 2024 to carry out the commission's suggestions.

It's never too late to right a wrong.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Reconnaissance or Tours? What's With GOP Lawmakers Guiding Right-Wingers to Capitol Walks?

You may recall those fateful days leading up to the failed coup attempt on Jan. 6 when Republican lawmakers gave tours of the Capitol to right-wing activists.

Those "tours" were more like reconnaissance missions and are being investigated by the Jan. 6 committee. As for the lawmakers involved, they have gone uncharged... thus far.

The investigation is ongoing.

There was no lack of targets for those tour groups leading up to the insurrection. Top on the list (with Mike Pence) was Nancy Pelosi's office. She actually had two offices.

The scary thing is the office she used the most was broken into and vandalized. The unregistered tours (none were entered in the White House guest records) had undoubtedly produced some information. 

What would the attackers have done had she been there? There were chants of "Kill Pelosi" and "Where is she?" It's a sobering thought.

----------------------------------------------

Related: House Democrats call on Justice Department to address 'insider threats' posed by candidates who believe election fraud claims

----------------------------------------------

Capitol tours are rare these days because of COVID restrictions. Two small public tours a week are allowed in a limited area on the Senate side.

Last week Capitol Hill police prepared for a so-called "Freedom Convoy," a group of right-wing activists, to descend upon the Capitol in big rig trucks to protest a litany of grievances.

The National Guard was put on high alert. No one wanted to see a repeat of Jan. 6. Needless to say, tensions were high.

It was in this atmosphere that a Republican senator from Kansas, Roger Marshall, decided it would be a good idea to give members of the Freedom Convoy a guided tour of the Capitol.

If not for a senior congressional aide who alerted the Department of Justice about the truckers' presence, this little tour would have gone unreported.

The aide - rightly so - was concerned that the protestors might have been planning an entry into the building. 

That convoy is still circling around a freeway in the Washington DC area because trucks are illegal on the city streets.

It appears that since Jan. 6 Republican lawmakers who gave tours and aided the insurrectionists with rhetoric and cash flows are not going to suffer any consequences for their traitorous behaviors.

Perhaps that's why Sen. Marshall was comfortable with guiding those right-wing truckers and hangers-on through the Capitol. He knew he would get away with it and it would also polish his crazy credentials.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Where's the Weed? I Thought Democrats Wanted Cannabis to be Legal

Two-thirds of American voter's support legalization — including half of Republican voters and 83 percent of Democrats. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

I'm still waiting Chuck Schumer...

Remember when you gained control of Washington in 2020 and promised to end the federal prohibition on marijuana?

It's been 14 long months. I can be a patient guy, but I still have my limits. 

This is the 21st century and states, cities, and big corporations are making billions off of high-grade Skunk, but it's still considered illegal. Can someone explain that to me?

Every time I hear a rumor that marijuana is going to be legal and that politicians are ready to pull their heads out of their asses - nothing happens.

With utter disgust I read that the new government spending package released today continues to prohibit Washington, D.C. from establishing a cannabis marketplace.

Despite the fact that District voters overwhelmingly backed legalization more than seven years ago the provision was left on the cutting room floor.

The new spending bill also fails to protect state-regulated recreational cannabis markets, nor did it expand medical marijuana research or protect veterans who use cannabis.

I just don't get it. Those are issues that have widespread bipartisan backing. Why were they unceremoniously dropped?

I have another bone to pick with Mr. Schumer.

What the hell happened earlier this year when you led Democrats in removing language from the National Defense Authorization Act that would have made it easier for the industry to access banking services?

It doesn't make sense. That legislation twice cleared the House with huge majorities, including more than 100 Republicans. 

So. Where's the legal weed?

Rumors of legalization are still circulating in the halls of Congress. Sen. Cory Booker and Sen. Ron Wyden released draft legislation to decriminalize and regulate marijuana, but no formal bill has surfaced.

Schumer is whispering about introducing a legalization bill in April, but that ship has almost sailed with time running out before the end of the year.

If the Republicans seize Congress in November, any chance for legalization will wither and die a quiet death.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

The Ides of March: On This Day in 1970

I was 19 years-old and in Vietnam on March 15th, 1970. (Photo right)

To sum up my experiences I used the music from back then while writing the following poem
 -1970 Diary - to capture what was going on in my young skull.

1970

“Let it be” – words of wisdom from The Beatles that spoke to me

I lusted for an “American Woman”

Crossed the Song Bay Bridge under fire listening to

“Bridge over Troubled Waters”

wishing young men back home

would “Walk a Mile in My Shoes”

and know about a grunt’s blues

too many villages on fire

“Somethings Burning by a ghostly choir

Smoky Saigon opium dens wistfully playing

“House of the Rising Sun”

     Helicopters in the sky playing "That'll be the Day I Die."

1970

long range patrols in the night

“Travelin’ Bandplaying in the USA

going into hostile territory every day

wondering what’s “Up around the Bend”

living in a hot humid climate

“In the Summertime” that seemed like it would never end

Taking “The Long and Winding Road,” in country

dreaming of “Lookin Out My Back Door” at home

trying not to Spill the Wine because I’ve seen

“Fire and Rain” and will never be the same again

Monday, March 14, 2022

Searching for Reason in a Savage Society

Definition of reason:

a) a statement offered in explanation or justification

b) a rational ground or motive

c) the thing that makes some facts intelligible

d) a sufficient ground of explanation or a logical defense

As a wit once said, "There's nothing common about common sense." The same holds true for reason. It comes in small quantities in our combative society.

A lot of people today have the attitude that reason is a form of weakness. Much like compromise.

"Ours not the reason why, ours but to do and die!" - Alfred Lord Tennyson

The best example of this attitude is Trump's cult followers. Like sheep they are content to follow their master by re-bleating everything he has to say.

In TrumpWorld, reason is a ruinous runaway to reality. Something loyal subjects would prefer to avoid. 

People are often driven by passion, but it's only those that use reason as a rein that become successful in life.

The line between reason and madness grows thinner during these days of internal chaos in America. 

It's reasonable to say our democracy has never faced a bigger threat than Trump's ongoing assault against it.

Marya Mannes once said, "The sign of an intelligent people is their ability to control their emotions by the application of reason."

Reason can come in one form or another. As the Dalai Lama preached, "The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual's own reason and critical analysis."

As Lord Byron argued, "Those who will not reason, are bigots, those who cannot, are fools, and those who dare not, are slaves."

In our savage society it's hard to stay grounded and happy. I leave you with a quote from Wilkie Collins, "Peace rules the day where reason rules the mind."

Sunday, March 13, 2022

Daylight Savings Time Started out As a Joke - It's Time for It to End

Historians will tell you that Benjamin Franklin had a sense of humor. 

Proof lies with the joke essay he wrote in 1784 that appeared in a letter to the editor of The Journal of Paris as "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light."

In the essay he concluded that Parisians could save more money on candles by getting out of bed earlier in the morning and utilizing more natural light for longer.

It was meant more as a joke than a serious proposal, so nothing was done about it at the time.

The modern Daylight Savings Time was first officially enacted in Germany by Kaiser Wilhelm during the first world war as a fuel-saving measure.

It didn't take long before Europe and eventually the United States got on the bandwagon. Americans can thank President Woodrow Wilson for making it a reality in 1918.

Daylight Savings Time withered away after the war. The average American rejected it and it was officially dumped.

That wasn't the end of it, however.

The energy-saving measure was resurrected again in WW II by President Roosevelt who dubbed it "War Time" and that was that. On February 9, 1942, Daylight Savings Times was once again deemed the official standard.

It was a messy process that required each state to accept the new time standard. The American working class has groaned ever since.

It's time to move on. We're in the 21st century and have long since lost the need to artificially mess with our days. It's just a habit now that needs to be put to rest.

Guess what? Science is backing up the idea of getting rid of Daylight Savings Time. Scientists say our natural circadian rhythm moves in sync with the flow of the earth and thus the universe. The artificial standard messes with that.

By correcting our clocks we'll be back in sync with the flow of the day, which is a good thing according to the experts.

It's been proven the chaos of the small-time change - springing forward - causes a higher jump in heart attacks and workplace accidents due to the lack of sleep during this period.

I'm told some people are grateful for the "extra" hour of sleep in the fall. I've yet to meet one. 

I'd suggest bringing up the subject in Congress but that's akin to taking the subject to the round file to be latter hauled out to the trash heap.  

Unfortunately, it's still the law of the land so if you grudgingly forgot to push your clock forward last night it needs adjusting today... after taking a long nap!

Are You Extremely Proud to be an American? Then You're in the Minority

Just 36% of Americans   recently told Gallup pollsters they were extremely proud to be an American.  That's the lowest percentage   sinc...