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.

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Another Coup Attempt? Trump Supporters Are Signaling a Jan. 6 Repeat if He Loses Again

The cat is out of the bag.

Trump's cult members are already threatening violence if he loses the election in November.

Red Flags

** GOP Sen. Tim Scott was asked on Meet the Press if he would commit to accepting the election results if Trump lost? 

"At the end of the day, the 47th president of the United States will be President Donald Trump...that is my statement."

By not directly answering, Scott's statement spoke volumes. Hell no! He'd attack the Capitol without hesitation if Trump told him to.

** The recent issue of Time Magazine featuring an interview with Trump revealing what he would do if he lost was enlightening. He hinted that leveraging political violence to achieve his goals was still on the table.

In the interview Trump bragged about supporting a mob mentality, his historical abuses of power, and being a dictator on day one. "I think a lot of people like it," he claimed.

Trumpian politicians and rabid followers fall all over themselves claiming they want a fair election, but... you can bet if their idol loses again there will be violence.

The open threat of not accepting the results of a presidential election casts a dark cloud of fear among the majority of Americans. They don't want to live in a fascist government if Trump prevails.

There's a growing feeling of resignation that Trump won't be held accountable in the courts, especially if he's re-elected.

Millions of Americans face the most important presidential election in over 200 years because it could be a turning point that sends us down the road to a dictatorship - effectively destroying the longest Democracy in the world.

As it Stands, our only hope is enough Americans turn out to vote and re-elect Joe Biden in six months from now.

Saturday, May 4, 2024

Trump's VP Choice: The Clown Parade Begins This Weekend

There's a major fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago this weekend touting Trump's possible vice-presidential picks.

This donor retreat will feature the likes of, Ron DeSantis, Tim Scott, Vivek Ramaswamy, Kristie Noem, Byron Donalds, and former Congressman Tulsi Gabbard. All possible VP candidates for the Don the Con.

More top names in MAGA world who are also attending are, Marco Rubio, Doug Bergum, and Elise Stefanik.

A Quick Look at the Activities


The clown parade for His Corruptness has begun. (Background music by the J6 choir is playing).

Oh look! There's Tim Scott wearing an "Uncle Tom" costume and shuffling around the pool waving a Confederate flag.

And there's J.D. Vance marching along in a Hillbilly costume festooned with images of his book/memoir and portraits of Trump on his butt cheeks.

Oh, my Goodness! Look at Ron DeSantis! He's trying to pull off wearing a bikini and a fake suntan while strolling in super stiletto high heels.

It looks like Trump, who is sitting on a gold throne at the head of the pool, has taken special notice of one of the clowns auditioning for VP.

Ohhhh... it's Kristie Noem wearing a hunting outfit with patches proclaiming, "Puppy Killer," and "Goat hater."

Talking about dogs, there goes Doug Burgum in a giant poodle costume scampering around to show he would be an obedient candidate that didn't need to be told when to lick Trump's feet.

Oh! There's a clever candidate! Elise Stefanik is wearing the Handmaiden's outfit and is pulling a little red wagon with a statue of Trump in it.

There's just no telling who Trump will select. Rumors are he'll make his pick in June. Who knows who he'll add to the list by then? 

As it Stands, I wouldn't be surprised to see Sean Hannity or Tucker Carlson end up as Trump's partner in crime.

Friday, May 3, 2024

A Cult Leader for the Ages: Trump Transformed a Segment of American Society into 'Useful Idiots'

        In the pantheon of cult leaders from around the world Trump has emerged as the gold standard for cults in the last nine years.

His ascension (or dissent) by brainwashing Americans on a massive scale is unparalleled by any other current cult in the country.

I just read an alarming article in The Atlantic titled "What's Left to Restrain Donald Trump?"

The author Peter Wehner, raised the question if Trump ordered political assassinations would he get away with it? And if he did, would the Republican Party stand with him?

Trump's lawyers believe he should have complete immunity regardless of if he performs criminal acts as a president. The question of presidential immunity is now before a Conservative Supreme Court with three Trump-appointed justices.

"So why would we assume that Trump - a man of sociopathic tendencies, who appears unable to even think in moral terms, who inflamed a violent mob to try to hang his vice president - would automatically recoil from having a political opponent assassinated if the opportunity presented itself?" Wehner wrote.

Wehner's assertion that much of the Republican Party, including white evangelicals and fundamentalists, would line up in support of Trump even if he did order the assassination of a political opponent is a chilling (but probably accurate) reality.

In Trump's worldview everyone around him is a useful idiot to be exploited and pandered to depending on the circumstances. In a nutshell MAGA world will stand with Trump regardless of his criminality.

In fact, his cult's support has deepened in the last two years, despite his civil and criminal indictments that have led to felony trials in four jurisdictions. 

As Wehner pointed out, "The identity of MAGA world has fused with Trump's; to turn on him would be to turn on themselves. They won't admit to themselves, and they certainly won't admit to others, the sheer expanse of Trump's degeneracy."

To be clear, we're only six months away from a presidential election that will determine the fate of our Constitutional Democracy and the rule of law in America.

As it Stands, if you want to see our republic continue to stand Vote Blue in November. There's never been a starker choice in our history.

Thursday, May 2, 2024

He's Back! This Time in Drag

While Donald Trump has inspired thousands of grifters from across the country few have reached the heights that disgraced former Congressman George Santos has.

Since being booted out of the House for ethic violations Santos has been scrambling to make money in any way possible. Nothing is too demeaning for this man with no shame.

His latest cash grab is a modified attempt at something he tried a few months ago. His first attempt to make money on the video platform Cameo, where users can commission messages from public figures, did pretty well.

In an interview with comedian Ziwe, Santos claimed he was netting $80,000 per day. Which makes one wonder why he stopped doing it for months and has suddenly returned with his shelved drag queen persona, Kiutara Ravache.

Videos starring Ravache run prospective buyers $275 for an averaging-53-seconds-long greeting. In a post on X, Santos promised to share 20% of proceeds with pro-veteran and Zionist charities Tunnels to Towers and the International Fellowship for Christians and Jews.

Fat chance of that happening.

The Back Story

George Santos is facing a September trial where he's charged with stealing people's identities and making charges on his own donors' credit cards. 

Despite his criminal history, including an incident where he stole $3,000 from a fund for a disabled veteran's dog, Santos is back looking for another 15-minutes of fame (more like infamy) while raising money for his defense in his upcoming criminal trial.

In a gleeful post Santos wrote, "Hey, you messy bitches! Kitara is coming out of the closet after 18 years, thanks to all of you."

However, by all reports Kitara's debut has been somewhat of a flop thus far and only netted a little over a thousand dollars. But outwardly Santos is portraying this happy go- lucky freak - "I hear you're a bunch of freaks out there, and you love to dance all night long!" - he posted on April 29th.

A Few Thoughts

1. George Santos is enjoying Trump's golden age of lies and massive grifts along with a lot of other con men in America today.

2. How did Santos even get elected in the first place?

3. There must be more gullible people in this country than I ever dreamed. The dumbing down of America appears to have succeeded.

As it Stands, if anything, this is a sign of the times - from congressman to drag queen - welcome to America.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Lies Versus Reality: Who's Winning the War of Words?

Lies and unverified rumors course through the right-wing narrative universe daily. Reality is constantly trying to catch up to the poisonous MAGA universe's barrage of blatant lies. 

It's a war being waged throughout the United States by the two major political parties, the Democrats, and the Party of Trump (let's be realistic, it certainly isn't the Republican party).

After each day Trump spends in court with one of his four criminal trials he comes out and spins a web of lies about what happened that day.

At one point Trump, seeking sympathy as usual, claimed the judge wouldn't let him go to his son Barron's graduation. Fox News and Newsmax leapt upon that hot story about what a bastard judge Merchan was in another attempt to disparage the trial and the judge overseeing it.

The right-wing spin machine got 48 hours of sharing this hot take before reality slapped them down when the judge said Trump could get the day off to attend Barron's graduation.

To be clear, Judge Merchan originally said he'd consider Trump's request for that day off. He did not turn him down. He said he'd consider it. That's all the right-wing media needed to hear to spread their rumors.

Daily fact-checking has become a cottage industry among podcasters and the legacy media. The White House devotes staff to checking out Trump and his minions daily lie output.

One estimate of the amount of lies that Trump has told since he started campaigning for president is 20,000 lies... and growing daily.

So, who is winning this war of words?

It's hard to tell right now. A lot depends on where Americans get their news from. 

Because Trump's lies are so spectacular they grab headlines throughout the mass media market and that gives them an advantage in advancing their false narratives.

The reality, or truth, only goes to the legacy media because the far-right media totally ignores rebuttals to the trash they spread. In essence, this MAGA blackout means less people will hear the truth.

As it Stands, I guess we won't know who won the war on words until November when a very divided nation goes to the polls.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Humanity Test: Would You Kill Your Puppy if You Were Mad at It?

A top contender to be Trump's running mate in this year's election is bragging about killing a stubborn puppy.

South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem released her new book "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," triggering a controversy she didn't count on.

South Dakota GOP Gov. Kristi Noem released her new book "No Going Back: The Truth on What's Wrong with Politics and How We Move America Forward," triggering a controversy she didn't count on.

If Noem's intention was to impress Trump who famously hates dogs it was a gambol gone too far. Perhaps she should have looked at a 2023 poll that found that 97% of people with pets view them as a member of the family.

There are an estimated 65 million households that own a dog. How many do you think condone murdering a member of the "family" and then bragging about it? 

Liberals and conservatives love their dogs and killing a puppy is something both sides agree is a brutal and cruel act for just being a puppy. She could have just given the dog - a female named Cricket - away to someone or taken her to the dog pound.

Instead, she chose to take Cricket to a gravel pit and shoot her according to Noem's book. In subsequent passages she talks about taking a "nasty and mean goat" to the same gravel pit and shooting the poor animal twice because the first shot didn't do the job.

The whole murder your pet thing was proof that she was willing to do the "difficult, messy and ugly" tasks of life - and presumably politics as well. That's what she told her daughter and what she proudly shared in gory detail with readers of her new book.

Keep in mind, this is the woman who gave then President Trump a model of Mt. Rushmore with his head alongside the other presidents. There's nothing she won't do in order to gain more power.

Given the opportunity, Noem would call for Biden's dog Commander to be executed for biting secret service agents (they probably deserved it). Thus far, after biting at least two dozen Secret Service agents over the years, no one has suggested that he deserves capital punishment for that misbehavior. Relocating Commander has been brought up numerous times.

Fun fact: Trump was the first president in 120 years to not bring a dog to the White House.

It's no secret Trump hates dogs. It's no secret Noem would do anything to be his VP. By telling her story Noem thought it would endear her to a certain breed of heartless Republicans and convince them of her toughness. Especially Trump.

Noem's plan to impress the MAGA cult has been a bust as most Americans are appalled by killing a puppy because she hated her and didn't have a heart.

As it Stands, people of all political persuasions are rightly disgusted by cruelty to animals, even if they don't always treat their fellow humans with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

A Pox on Polls! Who Really Needs Them?

It's time to expose the dark secret about political polls.

We, the people, don't need them.

However, the media market needs them to make a profit by making us puppets.

Yeah. Puppets. The polls are meant to get the public stirred up over fleeting issues that will attract viewers (the sound of cash accumulating) by presenting constantly changing narratives about candidates in an election.

Polls mean nothing to most Americans. The general public doesn't wake up each day wondering what the polls have to say. Polls are for political geeks and media types desperately trying to attract listeners and viewers by serving up controversial subjects.

The absurdity of polls is intrinsic. The pollsters take a small sampling of people and based upon their reaction predict percentages like seers in Harry Potter. 

I took an Empirical Reseach class while attending Humboldt State University (now Cal Poly Humbolt) in 1979. It was an eye-opener. After researching all the variables in conducting polls I came to the conclusion that they are dust in the wind. They are easily manipulated and often have partisan leanings.

Yet pollsters continue to conduct surveys that only serve a select audience willing to suspend their common sense and to get worked up if their candidate is winning or losing.

It's like throwing chum to a school of sharks. Poll watchers are easily distressed, especially if they think something bad is happening to their candidate.

To be sure, polls are nothing more than twisted entertainment for the masses. The goal of a poll is to manipulate numbers in a way that appears scientifically based and credible. That doesn't change the fact that polls are easily polluted.

Poll Quotes

** "Journalists should denounce government by public opinion polls." - Dan Rather

** "Polls? Nah... they're for strippers and cross-country skiers." Sarah Palin

** "Leaders are responsible not for running public opinion polls but for the consequences of their actions." Henry Kissinger

** "Public opinion polls are rather like children in a garden, digging things up all the time to see how they're growing." J.B. Priestley

** "Don't worry about polls, but if you do, don't admit it." Rosalynn Carter

As it Stands, for the record I once participated in a poll in the early 80s. I lied on every question just to prove a point. Polls suck.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Pure Americana: College Student Protests

    American College students have a long history of protesting societal grievances. 

From riots over butter to protests against tuition increases, student activists have spoken out for centuries.

There's been a renaissance of American student activism in the last decade. College students are more active than ever before.

With every new crisis threatening higher education, what lessons does the history of student activism hold for the future?

In a nutshell, student activism has brought about major changes in society like pushing for anti-discriminating policies and more.

I remember when San Francisco State University students (I was a senior in high school then) successfully pressured the administration to establish the country's first African American studies department in 1968.

I clearly remember the student protests about the Vietnam War being a major factor of getting out of the mess we created in Southeast Asia.

Moving forward college students around the country are protesting the treatment of Palestinians during the Hama/Israeli war that has resulted in a massive toll of innocent lives.

The students intense focus on what's happening in Gaza has forced the president and Congress to re-examine America's role in helping Israel while standing up and protecting the Palestinian people who are caught up in the crossfire.

One of the lessons from the history of student activism is clear: student activists are most often successful when they bring concrete, specific demands to the administration and to Americans at large.

Demanding an end to the war and release of hostages isn't just coming from college students - countries from around the world are also making the same demands.

As it Stands, time and time again, college students have proved that when they are at the forefront of confronting institutional oppression and societal wrongs, effective change can happen.

Friday, April 26, 2024

The Day a Journalistic Icon Resigned in Disgrace: Dan Rather Interview Set for Sunday

It's been nearly two decades since journalistic icon Dan Rather resigned from CBS after reporting a discredited story about then-President George W. Bush.

He's back. Watch for him on an upcoming episode of CBS Sunday Morning where the 92-year-old former anchor will talk about his work at CBS and his life in news. I'm looking forward to watching this interview.

He's going to be interviewed about the film "Rather," a documentary about his rise to prominence in media and his swift fall from grace.

For those who are unaware of what took down Rather it was about an incident when he cited forged memos disparaging Bush's behavior while he served in the National Guard in the 1970s allegedly written by his commanding officer at the time. 

It was fake news. Apparently Rather and his team did a poor job of vetting the memos and ran the story on "60 Minutes." What really made it bad was it appeared to be a naked attempt to make Bush look bad two months before the 2004 election.

With all of the misinformation we're currently seeing this election year Rather's ethical crime doesn't seem that egregious when you compare it to what's in the news today.

The important distinction between Rather and Fox News is that Rather didn't lie on purpose. His crime was not fully investigating the story. But he resigned and admitted he fouled up in that one incident.

Fox News however turns out fake news daily and when sued for lying the owners still continued to lie with impunity despite hefty fines.

The disgraced anchor's downfall was the subject of the 2015 film "Truth" staring Cate Blachett and Robert Redford, who played Rather.

In 2021, Rather spoke about "misinformation" on PBS NewsHour Weekend, warning on-air how "misinformation, outright lies, propaganda are rampant on the internet."

Despite his controversial exit, Rather has still been a fixture in the media, making regular appearances on CNN and MSNBC during the Trump presidency and is a prolific anti-Trump tweeter.

As it Stands, the upcoming CBS interview should be fascinating with the contrast of journalism today and in Rather's heyday.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

A Life Changer: Living With an Awareness of Mortality

     Since my father died last August, there's been other deaths in my family and among good friends. During this tough stretch I've had an epiphany. Several in fact.

1. Life is too short. Death is lurking behind every challenge in our lives. Naturally and accidently. It can come like a thief in the night. 

2. I've become aware of my own mortality, and it calls for changes in my life. I'm re-evaluating my priorities and unmasking the frivolous, empty pursuits that our culture often validates.

3. Time is the most precious of all commodities. It can't be bought. Period.

Fully embracing the fact that I'm not going to live forever is bringing my values into a sharper focus.

Material things have little, or no, sway with me these days. I don't feel like I need a new house or wardrobe to be happy. 

The subject of social justice is foremost in my thoughts as I watch with some trepidation as Trump tries to tear our Constitutional Democracy apart. 

I've always believed all men/women are equal. That belief is stronger now than ever before.

As a combat veteran with PTSD, I've been struggling with death since I left Vietnam in 1970. I couldn't resolve what I did and saw in the Nam. At times I even embraced death as a solution to my misery.

After 54 years of intrusive thoughts, I think I've come to a peaceful place in this last year as my loved ones passed away. Thanks to Shirley, my wife of 49 years, my priorities are more meaningful now. 

As it Stands, coming to terms with mortality late in life is not all that unusual. Perhaps the saying about old age making us wiser has some merit.

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Here's a Collection of Cartoons Because You Need to Laugh

It's time for a laugh break.

With all the chaos and hatred engulfing our country we need to divert our attention toward something positive. Laughing.

After combing through the web, I've selected the following cartoons for your viewing pleasure. 

An interesting sidenote... I've never done this before and am curious how well it does with readers. Let me know what you think.


As it Stands
Have a great day and don't forget how to laugh when you feel like crying!

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...