Saturday, November 4, 2023

Why Trump's Washington DC Election Subversion Case Won't be Televised

There's never been a more important trial in American history than the one taking place in March 2024 when a former president will be tried for trying to overthrow a legal election.

But it won't be televised. 

News organizations and the Trump team, and the general public are calling on a federal judge to allow cameras in the court. U.S. District Judge Tanya S. Chutkan doesn't want to make an exception to the long-standing rule barring cameras from federal courtrooms.

Courts have long upheld the rule's constitutionality, and the federal judiciary reaffirmed the policy in criminal cases as recently as September.


Prohibiting cameras in the courtroom dates back to the television age when they were wary of feeding what the Supreme Court in a 1966 decision called a "carnival atmosphere" of publicity that could intimidate witnesses, sway jurors, prompt grandstanding by attorneys or judges or deprive criminal defendants of their due process.

One of the things that exacerbated the court's fears happened thirty years ago when a nine-month televised criminal trial and acquittal of retired football star O.J. Simpson on state murder charges in California.

For those that remember that trial it was a theater of the absurd with O.J. trying to pull a glove over his hand and his lawyer calling out, "If it doesn't fit, acquit!" The majority of Americans felt O.J. got away with murder and lost their confidence in the judicial system.

So, I get it. That doesn't mean I like this recent decision not to have cameras in the courtroom.

As a journalist it goes against my grain not to have open transparency for what will probably be called the trial of a century. I can't agree with the rule in this case. 

This is the 21st century and we've had leaps in technology with the recent coronavirus pandemic emergency and increasing experimentation by federal courts with live or recorded streaming of oral arguments have led some lawmakers and advocates to ask whether Trump's case might mark a fresh tipping point in the debate. 

Or at least provide the impetus for incremental changes such as the archiving of video or the prompt release of audio recordings.

It's also worthwhile to note that Trump's impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, coup attempt on the Capitol, and hearings of the House Select Committee that investigated events surrounding the rioting were both nationally televised.

It drew open-day television audiences averaging more than 11 million and 20 million, respectively, not counting online viewers.

Look at it this way, Trump has already made his four indictments into a seamless shit show. It's just going to happen no matter what people want. The former grifter in charge doesn't believe any rules apply to him.

I argue that it's extremely important for the public to fully accept the outcome of the trial by viewing it. It would go a long way towards providing evidence and the credibility of witnesses for all to see and hear.

If Americans do not have confidence that Trump is being treated fairly by the justice system, there is a very real chance they will reject the verdict (whatever it is).

We have to keep in mind that Trump's base is never going to accept a guilty verdict. They are a cult and being reasonable is not part of their DNA.

As it stands, I find it interesting that all parties, including the Trump team, want cameras in the courtroom. Democrats and Republicans have both advocated for cameras along with the national media.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Are You Kidding Me? Trump to Create 'American Academy'

Trump Academy 2.0 may be coming our way, as the twice-impeached former president is talking about starting another college.

It wasn't that long ago Trump University was sued for defrauding students and using high-pressure tactics to sell seminars (often called retreats).

After winning the presidency in 2016 Trump had to pay $25 million for his massive educational scam. The clincher was the university was not an accredited university or college.

It's Deja vu all over again.

Now Trump is touting a federally funded, "anti-woke," free university. 

In the name of "massive higher-education overhaul," Trump says he will create the "American Academy" by "taxing," fining, and suing excessively large private university endowments" and then creating an endowment from which to fund this new institution, which will make a "world-class education available to every American free of charge."

Trump promises the academy will be strictly nonpolitical, and there will be no "wokeness" or jihadism allowed."

Wait a minute! Non-political? Then what's this talk about wokeism and jihadism all about? It's the height of folly to believe he can fix these problems by creating a government-run school.

It's just not possible to have a values-free politics-free education. You can't provide much of an education without advancing or at least discussing one or more world views. Plus, the worst thing you can do is put a politician in charge.

Especially a corrupt one like Trump. His track record with an educational institution is a story of complete failure and a grift that went on for years before being busted.

Let's face it. This is another typical Trumpian scam, like funding a wall by "making Mexico pay for it."

The good news is that there's no way either political party would go for Trump's "American Academy" for a multitude of reasons. First among them is that Trump's a con man with no conscience.

As it stands, the thing that amuses me about Trump's gall is that he doesn't think Americans remember, or care, about his last corrupt attempt in the education field.

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Why Doesn't the New Speaker of the House Have a Bank Account?

Everyone has a bank account today. 

My 16-year-old granddaughter has a bank account. 

I have friends and family that have opened bank accounts for their children when they were in elementary school.

Everyone except the new Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, who apparently doesn't have a bank account. 

It gets stranger every day. Johnson hasn't filed any financial disclosures dating back to 2016, the year he joined Congress. He never reported having a savings or checking account in his name, his spouse's name, or in the name of any of his children. He doesn't have a retirement account and neither does his wife.

What's more he hasn't listed any assets. How is that possible? Didn't anyone notice this in the last seven years?

Consider this, he made more than $200,000 last year - in addition to his wife's salary. So, where the hell did that money go?

Some theories I've run across:

1. He hides his money in his mattress and other odd places throughout the house. Think Sen. Bob Menendez's house where agents found more than $480,000 in cash stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing.

2. He lives paycheck to paycheck. What money he has is in a bank account with under $1,000 in it so it doesn't have to be reported to any financial institution.

3. His money goes to offshore bank accounts under an alias.

4. He is terrible at managing the money he makes, and he may be in massive debt.

How common is it for members of Congress to not have a bank account - let alone no assets?

Brett Kappel who is a government ethics expert recently answered that question.

"It's very unusual for a member not to have to disclose at least one bank account."

Jordan Libowitz, communications director the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington had an even more blunt assessment, "If Johnson truly doesn't have any assets, it raises questions about his personal financial wellbeing."

To Libowitz's point that could mean he's ripe for influence buying. It doesn't take a genius to suspect there's something rotten in Denmark the House of Representatives.

The fact is Johnson does owe a lot of money. Every year, he has listed two mortgages on which he owes hundreds of thousands of dollars and a personal loan on which he owes tens of thousands. In 2019, he opened up a home equity line of credit, also worth tens of thousands of dollars.

No matter how you look at it something financially shady has been going on for years. 

Suddenly this unvetted politician and little-known Republican with seemingly no money has been vaulted into a speakership in Congress. Just one step away from the presidency.

To top it all off they call him MAGA Mike because he idolizes Trump and has a track record of going after the LGBTQ community and seeking to abolishing abortion rights for women across the country.

As it stands, so what could go wrong? We'll find out soon enough if he shuts the government down on November 17th.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Shame on Us! Americans are Letting One Man Destroy Democracy

Shame on Us!

Millions of Americans have joined a cult where one man wants to rule like an emperor. There's no excuse for what's happening other than populist mind control.

Donald Trump represents all that is wrong in politics today. His control of Republican lawmakers makes him a shadow Speaker of the House which makes it easier to subvert Congressional rules and norms.  

I keep hearing that no one is above the law, but Trump keeps proving that's not true. He gets the kid glove treatment in courts where judges are afraid to put him in jail for violating gag orders. Despite 91 felony charges in four jurisdictions political pundits still don't think he'll do jail time.

Trump literally gets away with lying every day as he seeks to rewrite the reality around him and his supporters. 

I've never seen one man with so much power able to create chaos and polarize an entire nation. As an avid fiction reader and writer, I wouldn't have attempted a plot this crazy because readers wouldn't have bought into it.

Unfortunately, it's all too real. America is struggling to shed the biggest threat to democracy since the Civil War.

There's not a news organization or social media platform that doesn't bring up Trump's name daily. His every lying angry rant gets picked up and recirculated regularly.

The rest of the world is baffled about how America - the greatest modern democracy - has embraced a psychopathic malicious narcissist with the mental IQ of a fourth grader.

The Trump plague has spread like the black plague in medieval times affecting other countries with fascist-minded individuals attacking other democracies.

To be clear, Americans really blew it when they allowed Trump to enter their lives and threaten their freedoms. Now we're paying the price.

But getting justice is harder these days with lots of Trump-appointed judges willing to protect him at all costs. That includes the Supreme Court justices he appointed while in office.

Some credit is due because he is currently being tried for his criminal activities in multiple courts. Sadly, many Americans don't believe he'll ever be held accountable for trying to overthrow an election and stealing top secret documents.

The fact that criminally indicted Trump is running to be re-elected president is something straight out of The Twilight Zone. If jailed for violating gag orders he still plans on running his campaign from behind bars.

As it stands, I hope Americans finally realize how important their vote is and how it'll affect their own future. Freedom depends upon it. 

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

To Some Americans Happiness is a Warm Gun

      Happiness is a warm gun (Bang, Bang, shoot, shoot)

     Happiness is a warm gun momma (Bang, bang, shoot, shoot)

When I hold you in my arms (ooh, oh, yeah)

and I feel my finger on your trigger (ooh, oh, yeah)

I know you can do me no harm (ooh, oh, yeah)


Mother Superior jumped the gun...

Happiness is a Warm Gun - by the Beatles' John Lennon

The photo above is real. I checked it out on Snopes. It's authentic.

In October of 2023, an image gained nearly one million views on X (formerly Twitter), allegedly showing an American family and their large collection of guns.

An Italian photographer Gabriele Galimberti took the photo as a part pf his "The Ameriguns" project. for which he won the 2021 World Press Photo of the Year contest in the "Portrait Stories" category.

Here's another family portrait from Amerguns:

Meet the family flamethrower Torrell Jasper a.k.a. Black Rambo. He light's things up as his adoring family watches from a pool - lined with firearms. They live in Schiever, Louisiana.

Nothing says Christmas like new assault rifles as seen by this family who asked Santa Claus for fully automated weapons of war.

Just look at all the happy smiles (left) in U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie's house in this holiday greeting card that was taken days after a school shooting.

How about this all- American family (right) posing with their personal assault rifles? 

The Oklahoma GOP chairman and his family (shown here) called for Dr. Fauci to be shot for mask and vaccine mandates. Don't they look like they mean business?

Well, I guess you get the picture. Americans love their guns so much mass shootings will never go away. We'll always lead industrialized countries in gun possessions and killings.

As it stands, John Lennon knew that when he satirized guns in his song. It was no small irony that John was murdered by a gun wielding nutcase after it came out. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Disgusting Statistics That Tell the Tale of Where We're at in America Today

Cold hard statistics cannot be shoved aside when evaluating the health of any society. America is no exception.

Revealing Hate Crime Statistics

You may be surprised to know that the state of Pennsylvania leads the country in Hate Crimes, according to the Criminal Justice Information Services Division of the FBI.

Not far behind Pennsylvania: Florida, California, Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.  

In 2019 (the latest stats available) there were 7,314 incidents reported. The population covered 305,284,239. 

Gun Statistics

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults either own a firearm or could see themselves buying one in the future, according to a recent poll conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The exact number of civilian-owned guns in the U.S. is difficult to calculate, but a 2018 report by the Small Arms Survey estimated there were 393.3 million guns in civilian possession around that time. You can bet that number has gone up considerably in the last five years.

* White adults had the highest ownership percentage (38%), while Asian adults had the lowest (10%).

* Just 32% of gun owners said they were for hunting and sport shooting.

* People who identified themselves as conservative Republicans (51%) were far more likely to own a gun that those who identified as moderate Republicans (38%) or moderate (24%) or liberal (16%) Democrats.

Statistics on Mass Shootings

We've already had more than 581 mass shootings so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive.

There's been 35,749 deaths from guns this year. That includes Homicide/Murder and Suicide.

Over 248 children (age 0-11) killed by guns and 553 injured. There's been 1,178 teenagers (12-17) killed by guns and 3,339 injured.

Mass shootings are on the rise. For each of the last three years there have been more than 600 mass shootings - almost two a day. The study also shows that gun ownership grew significantly over the last three years.

The Center for Disease Control reported that 50 people are killed each day by a firearm.

America has more gun deaths than any other country on the planet. It's not even close according to the statistics from numerous sources. 

As it stands, statistics always make a better argument than opinions. Opinions are like assholes; everyone has got one!

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Why Vote When There's No Competition? States With Political Gerrymandering Are Electing Life-Long Lawmakers

Bad news for democracy.

There's a national decline in competition for state legislative seats. 

That's a real problem when lawmakers don't even have any competition on their path to state Houses and Senates.

Check this out... More than four-fifths of Mississippi's legislative candidates will have no major party opposition in the November 7, 2024, general election. And more than half of this year's winners will have faced no other Republicans or Democrats in either the primary or the general election.

Mississippi is just one of the highlights that show a national decline in competition for state legislative seats. The fix is in. And voters don't even get a choice of candidates. Lifetime lawmakers are becoming common.

And that leads to another, more insidious result; these politicians aren't being held accountable. They can do anything short of murder and not be taken to task.

"It's so bad that one party can win the chamber before an election takes place," said Steven Rogers, a political scientist at Saint Louis University who focuses on state legislatures.

A democracy "relies on the notion that the people will have a choice," Rogers added. But "without someone running for office, there really isn't a choice."

Rogers found that the legislative competition around the country has been dwindling for decades.

"Candidates don't want to run races they think they're going to lose," said Abhi Rahman, a communications director for the national Democratic Campaign Committee in a recent interview.

Both parties are to blame when it comes to stacking state legislators when they have a majority in a state.

One of the major setbacks in this growing problem is voter apathy. Why vote when you think your vote won't count? 

On top of that there's so much corruption among lawmakers who feel secure in their seats that the public just gets weary of the chaos and forfeits their right to vote.

America is facing overwhelming challenges at home and abroad. Defending democracy is paramount to the existence of the republic.

I'm asking everyone to vote, regardless of the circumstances because without voting their voices will never be heard. Write in a candidate if there's no good choice. 

As it stands, don't lose your freedoms standing on the sidelines.

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...