Saturday, March 26, 2022

An Unlikely Hero for Democracy: Biden Thrust into Greatness

President Joe Biden delivers a speech at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland on March 26. (Evan Vucci/AP)

Straight up.
I never considered Joe Biden a "great leader" based upon his decades in Congress and as President Obama's vice president.

As a matter of fact, I remember being pissed off at him for his part in the Clarence Thomas fiasco where Anita Hill was disrespected by Biden. 

The thing about Biden is he doesn't have the kind of charisma that often marks a politician that attracts and inspires millions.

He's soft-spoken and has a stuttering challenge that sometimes makes people think he's not too sharp. But they'd be wrong. Biden is a deep thinker and cannier than his detractors give him credit for.

Biden's empathy and compassion has always been his strongest points. Joe is real. He cares about people and has defended democracy throughout his career.

Still, I never suspected that he would not only assume the mantle as the leader of the free world but would be the uniter in bringing NATO and the European Union together against an old foe... Russia.

His speech in Poland today will go down as an historic address to the free world. It was the best speech I ever heard him give.

It appears Biden has grown as a president and is now at the apex of his career, accepting challenges that few other presidents in our history have faced.

To once again see the world rally against an authoritarian regime intent on conquering other countries is heartening. Even more heartening is seeing Joe Biden thrust into greatness.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Justice is a Dirty Joke: Take Ginni and Clarence Thomas for Example

Our judicial system is so polluted by politics that most Americans simply don't trust it anymore. 

Look no further than our former president who has avoided accountability for nearly every crime he's ever committed by tying courts up like pretzels. 

There's been a couple of instances - Trump's University and a charity ripping off veterans - where Trump has been forced to pay fines. But as far as personal accountability... Teflon Don has managed to avoid getting his due thus far.

As we wait to see what the Jan. 6 Committee reveals there's still no sense that Trump is going to be held accountable for trying to overthrow the 2020 election.

Even more troubling is the growing evidence that partisan jurists have become commonplace in ALL the court systems.

The latest, and most worrisome, example of crooked judges has surfaced this week after a report released by the Jan. 6 Committee about Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Trump's chief of Staff Mark Meadows, conspiring to overthrow the 2020 election results.

Despite the Thomas's claim they don't talk about their work at home, the opposite has been discovered by the committee.

Proof that Ginni Thomas was colluding with Mark Meadows in a scheme to overturn the results of the 2020 election is in the 29 text messages the committee discovered between the two plotters.

As for Clarence Thomas, he was the lone dissenter against turning over White House records to the committee. The same records that exposed his wife and Meadows seditious planning.

A person would have to be naive and stupid not to see the connection. He was covering for his wife's traitorous efforts to steal the election from Biden.

Who really believes the Thomas's aren't on the same conspiratorial page? Look at all the conservative functions they attend together.

It's obvious Clarence isn't worried about being held accountable for his partisan involvement against the Democratic party.

Like Trump, Clarence thinks he's above the law because he's in a position of power.

No matter what chief justice Roberts likes to claim about the court being neutral, it's obviously not. Justice has become a dirty joke. 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Republicans Running for Midterms Employing Hate Campaigns Against LGBTQ+ Community

Republicans running for office in November have decided one of the ways they'll get elected is by attacking the LGBTQ+ community.

Two states in the vanguard of the homophobic attempts to marginalize the LGBTQ+ are Florida and Texas. No surprise. They're red states.

The latest example of this unwarranted war on people's choice of gender, comes from Texas where the Attorney General Ken Paxton declared a school district's celebration of LGBTQ+ students "sex education" and in violation of Texas law.

The question is why is Paxton is suddenly going after a school district that's held a Pride Week for eight years right now?

The answer is simple. He thinks his base hates gays as much as he does. Maybe they do. The attacks are part of a GOP trend this election season.

Paxton was politically motivated because he's in a tough primary in May with another Republican who he hopes isn't as Trumpy as he is.  

Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis has led the way in attacking the LGBTQ+ community.

With the help of the Republican majority in the state House and Senate, DeSantis pushed a bill - Parental Rights in Education - or what's more commonly known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill.

The bill effectively bans classroom instruction of sexual orientation or gender identity for school children.

Sadly, there are nine more states considering similar measures, including Arizona and Tennessee.

In Arizona, lawmakers are proposing legislation that would prohibit transgender youth from receiving gender-affirming health care and limit to express their gender identity in school bathrooms, school classrooms and other sports.

In Tennessee, legislators are pushing different bills seeking to ban materials that "promote, normalize, support, or address lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender issues of lifestyle."

The bottom line is Republicans are using fear tactics about gays to get elected. Fear tactics are big in the GOP where scaring people gets votes. Regardless of the subject.

This time it happens to be fear about the LGBTQ+ community that is trending thanks to a massive disinformation campaign from dark money donations.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Why Senate Confirmation Hearings for Supreme Court Candidates is a Farce

(Photo of GOP senators who are putting on a performance for their base)

Don't think for a moment that the confirmation hearings going on for our next Supreme Court judge is a serious affair where the most qualified person is elevated to the highest court in the land.

It's a farce. And has been for years.

First, we already know Ketanji Brown Jackson (right) is going to get the appointment because the Democrats have the majority (barely) in the Senate.

It's just like when Trump's three appointments to the Supreme Court where "fast tracked" because the Republicans were a majority in the Senate, and they voted as a block.

No matter how you slice it, the Senate has taken over the once neutral court (some might argue it was never neutral) and molded it into a partisan battle ground where ideology is increasingly poisoning the once august body.

For example, every judge seated on the Supreme Court that was put there by the Republicans was groomed by the Federalist Society. For the record it's a conservative clearinghouse for GOP judges and politicians.

The result.

American's opinions of the Supreme Court have worsened in the last year. The high court's current approval rate of 40% is the lowest it's ever been. That's down from 49% last July.

It's apparent the American public no longer trusts the system. The blatant partisanship of the current conservative court majority has been on display for years.

Despite the fact that Americans oppose overturning Roe v. Wade the Supreme Court will be looking at the landmark decision this year, even though it's settled case law.

Republican dominated states have filed challenges to the law that have crawled through the lower courts and finally goaded the Supreme Court into taking some action on an established law. The outlook doesn't look good for a women's right to her own body.

Back to today.

The hearings are like watching an act from the theatre of the absurd. Especially the Republicans grandstanding where they try to push Jackson into an ideological corner.

To what end? That's simple. They're playing to the base and using the airtime to trot out all of their grievances from past hearings.

Again, it's all a farce.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Trumpies at Your Doorstep: New Voter Suppression Tactic is Illegal but They Keep Coming Anyway

The Roots of Voter Suppression in America
Imagine someone knocks on your front door as your eating dinner with your family. 

You get up and walk to the door open it... and there's a group of white men wearing sidearms and the leader asks you if you voted in the last election?

You wonder who these men are and what right do they have to ask about your personal business? One of them flashes a badge and claims he's asking you questions on behalf of your county election board.

Again, you wonder why this is happening now after several decades of voting? What do these men really want? A chill runs down your back. As a black man you know this group of armed white men could spell trouble for you and your family.

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

The above scenario is playing out in Colorado right now.

A pro-Trump group has been going door-to-door in search of evidence to support voter fraud allegations that have already been debunked and rejected by courts.

The leader of the group - U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP) - is Shawn Smith an ally of Steve Bannon and MyPillow boy Mike Lindell.

The group's real mission is voter intimidation because they send armed members into areas with large numbers of voters of color, questioning them about how they voted and taking photographs of their homes.

What these Trump minions are doing is illegal. They're violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a post-Civil War law aimed at preventing white vigilantes from terrorizing Black people to stop them from voting.

Officials in Colorado warned the general public about the unofficial canvassing efforts and urged residents to report the members to local law enforcement and the Justice Department.

The state chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and Mi Familia Vota filed a lawsuit against the group.

As the case drags through the courts the pro-Trump group's website says they are planning to expand to other states, including Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire.

The group's training materials are already being used by conspiracy theorists in Utah who call themselves the Utah Voter Verification Project.

Members of the group, who refused to identify themselves, showed up at houses in Hurricane last December with personal voter information, according to Washington County officials who had been alerted by local residents.

Even though these Trump voter suppression groups are knowingly breaking the law they just keep popping up like toxic mushrooms.

The interesting thing is other Trump-supporters have tried similar door-to-door audits like the one by Cyber Ninjas, and they were forced to stop after the Justice Department warned them that they were violating federal laws against voter suppression.

Still another group - the New Mexico Audit Force - sent their members door-to-door recently. Much to my surprise, the House Oversight Committee announced a probe into the group's activities last week.

One last thing I just can't pass up. It appears USEIP has a volunteer vetting problem. 

A message on the group's website said leaders had learned (roundaboutly) that there were a "couple of people" in the group who had a criminal history of sexual misconduct.

The message apologized and said, "...it's unfortunate that we must check volunteers for pedophilic leanings."

I have one question. Has anyone notified QAnon yet?

Monday, March 21, 2022

What Keeps You Going Every Day?

"Your every day is an act in an eternal play.

You're every move choreographed.

Every word recorded.

Unseen Cameras follow you relentlessly. Silently. 

How you react to daily challenges determines what direction your day will take."

-From the Creative Chronicles of Dave Stancliff

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

What keeps you going every day?

What gets you out of bed when you know it's a shitty world because bad things happen daily?

Some people's faith in God helps them bound out of bed with a smile and ready to face whatever challenges that lay ahead.

They are truly blessed.

In this era of a global pandemic, war between Russia and Ukraine, political polarization in America, severe global climate change realities, and democracies under assault here and abroad, human stress levels are off the hook.

Not everyone believes in God, however.

For those of us who don't believe in Allah, the Christian God, or Buddha, other options exist. Lone wolf types like myself, tend to believe in self-determination and the power to lead, rather than follow.

In moments of humor, I like to think there is a Superior Being (who looks like a Gary Larson cartoon version of an alien from another universe) playing puppet-master in a celestial soap opera.

My reality at 71 years-old, is pain the moment I awaken. Arthritis in both hands, knees, and other assorted bones greet me like old enemies ready to rumble at a moment's notice. 

The good news is the pain is a sign that I'm still alive. Lying in bed only makes it worse. So, I'm usually up long before the sun rises.

After drinking prodigious amounts of coffee and popping some Ibuprofen and Tylenol, I'm able to lumber about during the day.

It takes more than that, however. I plan little missions - from emptying the cat box to weeding the yard - to divert my attention from the harsh realities of the world around me.

Diversion is the key. As long as I'm occupied watching a Laker game (even though the team stinks this season) or writing for my two blogs, the day flows on without too many incidents.

Variety is the spice of life, so I try to think outside the box when it comes to my daily activities.

In the end there's no guarantee we'll be around for another day, so my best advice to you is enjoy each day like it's your last one. It could very well be.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Conservative Push to Strip a Woman's Right to Her Own Body is Picking Up Steam

When is it okay to say, "It's my body so back off!"

According to the Republician party the rights to a woman's body are limited. Conservatives tell them when and what part of their body is independent, and what part is subject to their radicalized ideology.

When it comes to wearing safety face masks and taking the vaccine to fight the spread of COVID, conservatives scream "My body - my choice!"  

That same sentiment doesn't hold for abortions, however.

Suddenly a woman's body becomes a political football. Women are threatened with fines and jail time for doing what they think is best for their own body and mind.

Red states across the country have been passing more draconian anti-abortion laws meant to criminalize women, and anyone who helps them get an abortion.

Republician dominated states are getting bolder every day now that the Supreme Court has been taken over by right-wing jurists.

Just when you thought it was bad enough that these red states are penalizing anyone that helps a woman get an abortion, it gets worse.

States like Texas are offering a $10,000 bounty to anyone who turns a woman in for seeking an abortion. The bounty includes anyone who assisted the woman in any way.

That would include an Uber driver taking the woman to a location where she could get an abortion. Family and friends that aided a woman could be fined too.

For the record: the abortion bounty hunters will have fun collecting their money as there is no state department or fund for them to collect the loot from. Apparently, the lawmakers didn't think about that.

Still, it isn't enough for those rabid conservatives in Missouri who are now attempting to sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident have an abortion in another state!

That's right. Missouri lawmakers have taken the next step in suppression of a woman's rights by restricting them from getting an abortion in another state.

There's more. Anyone living in Missouri can sue anyone who helps a Missouri resident in another state to get an abortion. From the physician to whoever transfers her there can be fined.

This blunt attempt to regulate out-of-state conduct by one of their citizens has no clear precedent according to law scholars.

It's the first time an anti-abortion proposal of this kind has gone this far and if it succeeds there'll be a major escalation in the national conservative push to restrict the procedure.

This latest hypocritical attempt to strip a woman's rights to her body is the vanguard of a new round of action in state capitals where conservatives are rushing to enact legislation ahead of an anticipated Supreme Court ruling that sharply limits or overthrows Roe v. Wade.

The Missouri proposal could be voted on any time before the session ends in May.

Crazy Talk: The Latest Conversations from the Lunatic Fringe in Politics

Let's get this party started. The leading conversation  today among the lunatic fringe in politics involves the former TV host and twice...