Saturday, January 20, 2024

My Wife is an Empath - The Benefits and the Challenges She Faces

My wife Shirley is an empath and after being married 49 years I've watched how that affects her life.

Empaths, for the record are people who have a higher than usual level of empathy, called hyper empathy. 

Because Shirley has so many friends - many dating back to junior high school - she's always encouraging and sympathizing with someone. This means there's a lot of highs and lows as she finds out one friend had a baby or that another suffered a tragic loss, or even died.

My impression is it's not easy being an empath. But the world needs empaths more than ever in our polarized society. They're known for listening and being unjudgmental. You can feel their silent power of love no matter who you are.

Just think, if we had more empaths in our lives what a different world, we'd live in. The lack of empathy is wearing away at the gears of society, grinding us down to the nubs.

Ironically, the very technology that is supposed to keep us connected is actually driving us apart. Face-to-face interactions are declining, and news is filtered through an echo chamber that shelters us from other points of view. 

The thing about empaths is they have big hearts and can be emotionally crushed by a friend's drama. 

I've seen the devastation Shirley experiences when a friend is sick, dying, or depressed over personal losses. It leaves her exhausted. She can be easily affected by the plight of others. Complete strangers.

It's not easy being so highly attuned to the energies and emotions around her. On the other hand, the benefits are lifetime relationships with people she loves. Being a social person, Shirley thrives when we get together with family and friends.

Are you an empath? There's a fun test at the Personality Lab online if you'd like to get to know yourself with the Enneagram test. While objective empathy level testing is difficult this is one test that has gained acceptance among the scientific community.

As it stands, needless to say, I'm blessed to live with an empath who always has my back.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Flip the Script: If Biden Loses Dems Should Do a 'Trump' and Not Recognize The Results

Why should Americans accept Trump as the new president despite his criminal history if he's re-elected?

If by some terrible twist Trump did get re-elected, it'll be because his Republican cronies in Congress and red state politicians gamed the electoral system.

The GOP has spent the last three years on a campaign to disenfranchise Democratic voters through gerrymandering and other ruthless means to game the vote.

The MAGA cult has grown and is spreading like poison mushrooms in federal and state governments. It remains to be seen how much damage these trolls for Trump will inflict on our electoral system.

Remember this isn't Trump's first rodeo. He failed in 2020 but learned how to manipulate the government during his regime. This added knowledge and insider contacts will help him in his efforts to steal this election.

That's what Trump is planning on for good reason. His followers will do anything to see him restored to his - what will be a throne - in the White House. Cheating and intimidating at state polling places is a given if you look at the types of election laws the GOP has passed since they lost in 2020.

There would be legitimate challenges for the Democrats to question the validity of vote totals. These challenges would spring up in every court in the land.

Then you have to ask yourself how deeply MAGA has infiltered our entire judicial system - from top to bottom? Will there be enough neutral judges to preserve the sanctity of the court? 

Were we just lucky the last time when every court challenge MAGA threw out - 61 of them - were rejected? 

Trump lost in 2020 by over 8 million votes and I'd hazard to say he's pissed off more Americans since then.

As it stands, one thing is for sure, whoever wins there's going to be chaos in the country. Peaceful transitions of power are a part of our past that we may never see again. 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Disinformation is Destroying Americans Trust in Truth

How does disinformation hurt our republic? 

Let me count the ways:

1. Widing partisan divides are crippling Congress from passing any legislation.

2. Public trust in government is at an all-time high.

3. It's getting harder for average citizens to find neutral news sources.

4. Risks to national security, safety and voting rights have increased under the MAGA movement that relies on lies and partisan propaganda.

5. Watchers are challenged by the lack of transparency from social media companies.

6. So-called black boxes surround the algorithms that serve up content, and the inability to see what is happening on the platforms in real time has only gotten worse.

7. MAGA politicians and activists target researchers, universities, tech companies and journalists who point out their lies.

8. Social media space has become fragmented with the ascendancy of alternatives including Substack, Telegram, Threads, and Rumble as viable spaces for far-right political actors and extreme content.

9. A potential threat lies in AI tools' ability to personalize misinformation, making it harder for social media to platforms to moderate because it appears authentic.

10. Election deniers have infected Congress and are running interference for former president Trump's current re-election efforts.

I could go on, but the above pretty much captures the highlights why disinformation is such a threat to this nation.

As it stands, we must be prepared for the most contentious presidential election in history by being aware of the challenges I've mentioned above. And for an election even worse than the 2020 attempts to overthrow the government.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Secretive Group Getting on State Ballots Wins Right to Block Candidates from Running for Office

They call themselves No Labels.

The secretive political group funded by anonymous donors can prohibit members from using its ballot line to run for office in Arizona according to a federal judge's ruling Tuesday.

That decision enabled the group to maintain control and secrecy around its operations and finances as Trump critics warn No Labels could help re-elect Trump by taking away voters who might otherwise for President Joe Biden.

Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes was blocked by a judge from recognizing candidates wanting to run for office under the No Labels banner.

Fontes warned that the ruling could keep 19,000 No Labels party members from voting in a primary, and the precedent could allow party bosses to decide who can run for office from any party!

The judge's ruling is going to disenfranchise 19,000 Arizona voters if it stands. Worse yet it has the potential to derail the entire candidate process in the state. 

After spending tens of millions of dark dollars to secure ballot access in all 50 states the group has been drawing increased scrutiny lately.

The group's critics have pushed for transparency around its donors, who have refused to disclose them, hoping that state campaign finance laws could help get that information.

If the ruling remains it could support the No Labels argument that it doesn't have to file campaign finance disclosures under the Arizona law because it is not supporting any candidates for state office.


The grand plan is to announce a third party presidential, and vice-president pick, after getting on all 50 state ballots. Meanwhile the group continues to obscure their donors. 

No Labels is a dark money "centrist" group that was launched in 2010 when Republicans in Congress were united in an effort to block all of President Obama's legislative initiatives.

Since 2018, the group vowed to support lawmakers who were willing to meet in the middle, regardless of which party they belong to. Sounds good, doesn't it?

Well consider this, this third-party gambit to not reveal the names of the donors is because of a 2010 U.S. Court of Appeals ruling and a 2014 decision by the Federal Election Commission which held that until a nonprofit nominates a candidate, it is not subject to campaign finance rules. Sneaky, eh?

Throughout this process the group has been funneling money to campaigns through a web of Super PACs. One of the known donors is Harlan Crow, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's billionaire buddy.

No Labels has no purpose but to take away votes from Joe Biden in swing states like Arizona. All the talk about unity and transparency is a stalking horse for extremists involved in an effort to upset the 2024 election.

As it stands, don't pay attention to what No Labels is spoon feeding the public. Pay attention to what they're actually doing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

GOP Iowa Caucus Winner in Court Today - Facing Defamation Penalties

Only in America today.

A presidential candidate and former president wins the Republican caucus in Iowa and has to appear in court the next day in a rape and defamation trial.

Trump's takeaway was over 50% of the votes making him the majority favorite. Surprisingly Ron DeSantis came in second (by a country mile).

Interesting tidbits...

Eighty-two percent of Nikkie Halley supporters said that if she isn't the Republican candidate for president they will vote for Joe Biden.

Among the rank-and-file MAGA supporters 32% reported they would NOT vote for Trump if he's convicted. That's significant. Democrats need to be ready to bring them into the fold.

There was a much smaller turnout than the last caucus because of the bad weather.

So today Trump is in court finding how much money he's going to have to pay E. Jean Carroll for defaming her for a 2nd time after losing a prior rape and defamation trial.

And believe it or not, he's trying to portray himself as a victim of the cruel court for not postponing the trial so he could go to his mothers-in-law funeral on Thursday.

There's one big problem with that, however. Trump doesn't have to appear in court in the trial. He decided to go today so he could lie to his cult followers and tell them he was being treated inhumanly by the Biden-loving court who wouldn't let him go to his beloved mother-in-law's funeral.

Today's appearance in court is just another form of a campaign rally staged against the backdrop of the judicial system. It's been working thus far as he raises funds after every appearance in court in the four jurisdictions where he's charged with 91 felony indictments. 

This election is going to make history for a lot of reasons. The very fact that Ultra MAGA followers will vote for him even if he's convicted in these trials is amazing. He would be the first felon-in-chief if elected.

I expect the trials ahead will be more dramatic because they are going to be jury trials. So, buckle up, grab some popcorn, and be prepared for entertainment unlike anything you ever saw or heard before.

As it stands, we face the biggest threat to democracy this republic has ever known. Vote blue to preserve you freedoms.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Fear and Loathing in Iowa: Welcome to the GOP Caucus

Amid below-zero temperatures the Iowa Caucus went on with the show today.

Supporters of Ron Desantis, Nikki Haley, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Donald Trump are braving the extreme weather to pick their extreme candidate for president.

Trump's cult followers are the most likely to turn out even if they have to hitch rides on snow ploughs. I suspect that data will prove that out in the aftermath of the event.

According to the latest polls Nikki Haley supporters loath Trump and if she's NOT the party's candidate they will vote for Joe Biden.

The driving message among the four candidates is FEAR. 

Fear that whites are being marginalized in America because of immigrants and people of color.

Fear of gender equity.

Fear of the LGBTQ community.

Fear of Trump. The other candidates fear him so much they make assholes of themselves defending his indefensible actions while meekly running against him. 

The whole event has the feeling of being predetermined. If the polls are right 69% of Republicans want Trump to return to the scene of the crime - The White House.

You get the feeling that the sideshow candidates - everyone but Trump - don't stand a snowball's chance in hell to win in frozen Iowa. 

I've watched reporters follow around the candidates for the last week, attending their mini-rallies and asking them questions they never really answered. 

It was chilling to hear candidates spread conspiracies and lies through their chattering teeth. If any of the candidates had an actual platform for governing, they hid it well.

Two things that seem the most unreal...

1) Elderly Trump supporters braving sub-zero temperatures to elect a twice-impeached former president with 91 felony charges in four jurisdictions, including a coup attempt, making that kind of effort to restore the most corrupt man in American history.

2) Despite the serious court cases coming against Trump he continues to drag the Republican party around like a dirty dish rag.

As it stands, the only candidate that really stands a chance of beating Trump is Nikki Haley, but she's going against cult followers who'll walk on coals, or ice, to support their master.

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...