Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Fighting off the dark clouds.

 


I spent some time in Jamaica recently, and even with all of its challenges as a Third World country, I felt an incredible amount of peace. My mind felt rested, and the love I felt from the people around me was genuine and heartfelt. 

Then I came back home to America, and my spirit and my soul instantly felt restless. I can't put my finger on it, but I am sure that a lot of you reading this feel it as well. There is a dark cloud hanging over this great country of ours, and it has been for some time now. Maybe it's the extreme anger and Fascism creeping into our politics, maybe it's a justice system that doesn't seem so just anymore, and maybe it's just the madness and depravity that has taken hold of our citizenry that has them committing one senseless and unspeakable crime after another. Whatever it is, that cloud is chasing us, and it seems to be just a matter of time before it engulfs us all. 

Then what? How will we react collectively when the country we thought was the "shiny city on a hill"--- meant to be an example for the rest of the world of how a true democracy functions, starts falling apart at the seams? It feels like it already is, but the worse, I suspect, is yet to come. 

Some of you will notice that I have been blogging less these days. There is still a lot to write about, but sadly, my heart just isn't in. It doesn't seem like enough. There has to be more we can do than just write. I have been trying, but nothing changes. I am sure that a lot of you have as well. Hopefully you won't get discouraged, and you will keep fighting the good fight to preserve what's left of our democracy and this great experiment we call America.

Today, while walking in Center City, Philadelphia, I saw a gentleman who was clearly down on his luck and was asking folks passing by for some change. I stopped and gave him a few bucks and before I moved on, something told me to just ask him how he was doing. "I'm good. You sharp. You a lawyer?" I told him yes, and asked him how he knew. " You got that lawyer look about you. Like you don't give a f*** abut nothing but winning. I like that look."  I know I don't look it, but I'm winning, too." He meant it. I looked at him, and he sure as hell didn't look like he was winning. But winning or losing in the game of life can be such a subjective thing. Winning can mean different things to different people. He was alive an he seemed to have all of his mental faculties together. That might be all the win he needs or wants.

Sadly, in America, we all just don't feel like we are winning these days. The thing is, though, whether it's some guy down on his luck in Center City, Philadelphia, or a lawyer going about his daily grind and trying to make ends- meet, we are all in the same boat together. Where we get from here in that boat will depend on all of us doing what we can to make sure the boat doesn't go down and drown us all. We all have to play our part, because dark clouds are out there, and they aren't going away any time soon.    


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Caption Wednesday.

 


I need a caption for this picture. 


Friday, November 12, 2021

Back soon.

 Hi field hands, I am out of pocket doing some business in the Southern regions of our great country.  

Holla at you soon.

Keep pushing, and stay safe.

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Election thoughts.


 I'm going to write a few words about the two governor's races that everyone seemed to be watching yesterday. 

In Virginia, the republican candidate, Glen Youngkin, beat a man who is- let's just go on and say it- not the most likeable guy in the world, and he did it by distancing himself just enough from the former guy, and utilizing what I am calling the new Sothern Strategy to his advantage. Yes folks, in case you haven't been paying attention, critical race theory has become the Willie Horton of 2021 and beyond for right wing politicians. Let's just forget the fact that it's not even taught in high schools -or any other schools besides law schools and some advance college courses- but it is such a convenient tool to scare the right people if you know what I mean. And it worked.  Youngkin  styled himself as an approachable suburban dad.  He is worth 300 million, and this is his first political office. We will be watching where this goes. 

Meanwhile, across the bridge in New Jersey, it's still too close to call. Although the Democratic candidate, Phil Murphy, is looking more and more like he might squeak out a victory. National pundits will try to say that the fact that this race is this close is a big blow for democrats. But just remember this: The last time a democrat won back to back terms as governor of New Jersey was 1977. 

Finally, there were Judicial races here in  Pennsylvania, and Republican candidates won up and down the ballots for all the statewide Judicial seats. They did it because republican voters were motivated and came out to vote, and Democratic voters were not.  These races are important, too, because the courts will determine whether a lot of these new laws being pushed by Republican state legislatures are constitutional.  

On a personal note, a good friend of mine ran for a seat on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and she lost because her opponent went negative with false misleading ads leading up to the election. It's a shame, too, because Marie McLaughlin, when I practiced with her in the same division, was an excellent lawyer, and she has been a terrific Superior Court Judge during her tenure as well. She did not deserve the sleazy way her opponent dispatched her by way of negative and misleading ads. That's just not me saying this, the Pennsylvania Bar Association agrees with me.  But such is politics in modern day America. It's scorched earth, and it's tribal, and if you you take the "high road" you will be crushed. Even in a race for the highest judicial office in a great American state.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Movie night.

 


What is the name of this movie? 

Hey, it's almost Halloween.  

Monday, October 18, 2021

A culture of "casual bigotry" comes back to bite "Chucky".

 


I guess you all heard about John Gruden by now. Or Chucky as he has been affectionately known as throughout the years. He was exposed as a fraud when some of the e-mails  that he sent to another "good ole boy" disparaging blacks, women, and just about everyone else who doesn't look like they do surfaced recently. 

Folks on the right say that he was canceled. I say, on the other hand, that he was held accountable for his actions. That's how this works. The guy coaches in a league where almost 60% of the players are black, and like so many others in the billion dollar cash cow called the National Football League, he holds a reprehensible and Neanderthal world view of others.

The NFL now wants us to believe that they have looked into the some 650,000 e-mails and given them the the Captain Renault business: There is nothing to see here. Give me a break!

This article from Shalise Young is all of use right now.

"The NFL got what it needed: Sunday.

After a week in which the public started to really see what the league is, to get a glimpse of just how slimy its underbelly truly is, it needed Sunday.

Because once Sunday arrived, enough fans who may have been mildly appalled at the racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, exploitation, and the NFL's lead counsel doing favors for the president of at least one team, turned their attention to the games.

They may have even gotten an early start consuming the league's product, those who were masochistic enough to endure Jaguars-Dolphins from London. There were fantasy teams to follow and wagers to make, and just the seemingly insatiable desire so many have to tune in. 

Some of those people might not have been appalled at all, so they wanted Sunday to arrive so they could have their games, have their respite. There were fans last year hollering that NFL players and other athletes had to play games to entertain them during COVID lockdowns; it's highly unlikely the contents of the emails we've seen even moved them.

Reality tells us the NFL's power brokers are among them.

Individuals in the highest reaches of the country's most profitable sports league being racist isn't really news, not to anyone paying attention. This country is so accepting of anti-Black sentiment that Jon Gruden was still allowed to coach last Sunday after the report of his racist email to then-Washington executive Bruce Allen disparaging NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith's intelligence and appearance in truly 1920s fashion

It wasn't until more of Gruden's emails were made public — the ones where he circulated semi-nude photos of Washington cheerleaders, expressed disgust with the NFL hiring the first female official in its history as well as the drafting of an openly gay player, and went after commissioner Roger Goodell using an anti-gay slur for the crime of trying to protect players from traumatic brain injury — that he got to resign, once again showing the privilege of being a white man in the NFL, getting to dictate his own departure.

Then things got worse, or at least should have, for the league and its vaunted shield. On Thursday night, the New York Times published emails between Allen, the Washington Football Team president, and Jeff Pash, NFL lead counsel, in which Pash made a nominal fine handed down to Allen's team for lying on the injury report disappear, waved off the growing allegations of workplace toxicity in Washington, expressed anger over the NFL hiring a Black woman to be a league lobbyist on Capitol Hill, and yukked it up over Allen trying to cut a player's salary.

Pash, one of the most powerful people in league offices, still has a job as of this writing. The NFL has even defended Pash's interactions with Allen.

On Friday, the Associated Press published a story citing a source "familiar with the investigation" who claimed none of the other 650,000 emails under review as an extension of that deep dive into Washington's workplace culture contain the kind of bigotry expressed by Gruden and Allen.

To which we say: Bull. Crap.

Writ large, given the emails we have seen and the other things we know, there is no doubt that there are more emails showing how the league's decision makers really feel.

It is their — meaning white men of means — league, and they are loathe to let anyone who isn't into their league. Bringing even one person into the fold that isn't one of them is unacceptable. Allen groused about having to even interview non-white candidates for head coaching positions.

But Sunday came, which is all the NFL needed. Too many media outlets, some of them in bed with the league and profiting off the games, will do just what it hopes and by Sunday night won't mention the week where the league was revealed for what it truly is, will spend Monday happily rehashing highlights from Week 6 games.

Some of us are still appalled. Some of us hope whoever is slowly leaking these emails keeps going. Some of us are still angered by what's happened, the league's cowardice in continuing to protect men of ill will, disgusted that it is 2021 and in too many corners, including a league that would not be the multi-billion juggernaut that it is without the talents of Black athletes, the buffet of bigotry we saw still exists and in some ways is celebrated. 

Some of us skipped this Sunday's games." [Source]

No lies detected. 

 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

"Catastrophic failure" in Rutherford County, Tennessee.


For those of you wondering why it's important to teach critical race theory in higher institutions of learning (notice I wrote in higher institutions of learning), please read this article about what has been taking place in the state of Tennessee with mostly poor juveniles  of color.

It's mind-boggling and scary that this could be happening in our country. And yet, given what has been taking place over the past few years, I guess I shouldn't be surprised. For instance, if someone had told me 20 years ago that America is ripe for a coup, and that one was almost carried out, I would have told them that they're crazy. 

But sadly, here we are. And things that seemed crazy in the past, have us all afraid for our future.  


*Image from MSNBC


Sunday, October 03, 2021

Caption Sunday.

 

 

I need a caption for this picture.  

Sunday, September 26, 2021

No one left to fight for democracy.


 Make no mistake field hands, democracy is dying. And if it is in fact dying, why is the democratic party " so complicit in its demise? 

This is the exact question writer Luke Savage asked in a recent piece in The Atlantic. 

"If you’ve followed recent Democratic messaging, you’ll have heard that American democracy is under serious attack by the Republican Party, representing an existential threat to the country. If you’ve followed Democratic lawmaking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the threat is actually a rather piddling one. The disconnect, in this case, isn’t attributable to Democratic embellishment, but to inexcusable complacency.

In his first address to Congress, last month, President Joe Biden established three basic themes—each one invoked in a language of crisis and political urgency: “The worst pandemic in a century. The worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” When it came to the third, Biden was both pointed and emphatic, tying the events of January 6 and the broader effort to delegitimize November’s election to a wider crisis of democracy. “Congress,” he declared, “should pass H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and send them to my desk right away.”

Biden is far from the only Democratic leader to have made the connection. In urging the Senate to pass H.R. 1, which would improve voter access and election security, Senator Chuck Schumer (hardly anyone’s idea of a firebrand) said in March that state voter-restriction laws “smack of Jim Crow rearing its ugly head once again.” He went as far as warning that “if we don’t stop these vicious and often racist actions, Third World autocracy will be on its way.” Schumer hasn’t been shy about naming an antagonist, either, citing a “concerted, nationwide effort to limit the rights of citizens to vote” and even declaring that “we won’t let [Republican-controlled legislatures] create a dictatorship in America.”

Granting some room for hyperbole, these dire pronouncements aren’t entirely misplaced. As of March 24, researchers at the Brennan Center for Justice had logged some 361 bills containing provisions that seek to restrict voting—a 43 percent increase from about the same time in February. Many involve the usual suite of suppression methods introduced under the auspices of fairness and transparency (expanded ID requirements, banning same-day voter registration, limiting the use of mail-in ballots, etc.), and one in Arizona even aspires to give the state legislature the authority to override the certification of future presidential-election results by simple majority vote. A recording recently released by The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, meanwhile, makes more or less explicit that Republican operatives plan to use every tool at their disposal to defeat the renewed push for expanded voting rights, despite its widespread popularity.

Suffice it to say, a concerted right-wing effort really is under way to limit popular democracy and suppress votes. So what are Democrats doing about it? In a legislative sense at least, a cogent and comprehensive response is already in the works, in the form of the two bills cited by Biden in his congressional address. If realized, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and H.R. 1 (also known as the For the People Act) would constitute the most sweeping acts of democratic reform undertaken in decades. The latter alone would establish automatic national voter registration, independent redistricting commissions for House seats to prevent gerrymandering, expanded mail-in voting, and a number of new measures to reduce the overbearing influence of organized money.

Neither currently seems likely to become law, however. Rhetoric about autocracy notwithstanding, some liberal lawmakers are quietly threatened by aspects of the legislation. A few Black representatives in the South, for example, worry that independent redistricting commissions may cost them their seat. And some establishment figures reportedly fear that more democratically structured contribution rules will embolden left-wing primary challengers propelled by small donations. Senator Joe Manchin, meanwhile, has reiterated his opposition to H.R 1 on the deeply spurious grounds that any prospective voting-rights legislation ought to pass with bipartisan support—a DOA line of reasoning even when it comes to the watered-down version of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act that Manchin himself is proposing.

The single greatest obstacle, though, has to do with the rules governing the Senate, and whether Democrats are ultimately willing to match their language of urgency with a strategy even remotely proportional to it. Due to the chamber’s filibuster rules, most legislation requires 60 votes to pass—an impediment that effectively empowers lawmakers representing only a tiny sliver of the electorate to block policies they dislike at will, including those designed to make American democracy fairer and more inclusive. (Especially frustrating, as the voting-rights expert Ari Berman has pointed out, is that Republican-controlled legislatures face no such supermajority requirement when passing legislation designed to restrict the vote—a kind of “asymmetric warfare” in which those working to preserve minority rule have a majoritarian advantage.)

Although Biden has mused about the idea of reforming the filibuster, he has ruled out its elimination. Manchin, predictably enough, is resoundingly allergic to the idea of change, while his fellow conservative Democrat Kyrsten Sinema ironically stated her emphatic support for H.R. 1 within days of dismissing filibuster reform in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. Schumer, for his part, says that “everything is on the table” when it comes to passing voting-rights legislation, and he has, like Biden, made some noise about at least modifying the filibuster." [More of article here] 

But "noise" is not action. Schumer and other democrats always seem to make a lot of "noise" (they love the cable news cameras) but there is never any action. Just talk. 

One of the reasons that Joe Biden's poll numbers has been tanking is because a lot of progressive and young democratic voters are getting tired of all the talk.  That, and the so-called spirit of bipartisanship that Biden et al are always talking about. Biden's numbers were way up when he became president because a lot of Americans thought that he was going to correct some of the wrongs of the past four years, and put a leash on Mitch McConnell and his extreme right-wing agenda. 

I'm sad to have to announce that it has not happened. And what has transpired over the past year is more of the same: A radical power move by the minority to control the majority. 

Sadly, with the help of a weakened and delusional democratic party, it seems to be working.   



Sunday, September 19, 2021

Testiclesgate.


 America has a huge testicles problem,  and I mean this in the most respectful way possible. 

You know that you have regressed as a society and a culture, when a semi washed up rapper's clueless words concerning the most serious pandemic of our lifetime is being tossed around and represents perfectly the zeitgeist of our era. 

May heaven help us all. Nicki Minaj was being mentioned more by "serious journalists" and cable and news pundits than the leaders of countries such as North Korea and France. (Both  of these countries, by the way, were in the news for far more serious reasons than those dumb misinformed statements by the rapper.) And she has the nerve to be pissed off. If you ask me this has done wonders for her career. It's PR gold. 

The poor leaders of Trinidad had to issue an official statement about the rapper's cousin's declarations. (No reports of swollen balls.) And the White House had to deny a claim that she was invited to the White House to talk about the vaccine. Nicki, of course, is hitting back. She is saying that they did in fact reach out to her, and it is the White House that is misinforming the public. Folks, trust me, I did not have a Nicki Minaj Joe Biden feud on my 2021 bingo card.  This is just nuts! Pun intended. 

We shouldn't be surprised that this is where we are in America, and that the race to the bottom continues. We elected a washed up game show host with zero shame and serious mental issues to be our president. Why should anything else surprise us?  

Now, incredibly, some folks actually found time out of their daily lives to march on the CDC on behalf of Nicki and her outlandish claims. 

"A group of anti-vaccine protesters recently rallied outside the Centre for Disease Control headquarters in Atlanta, shouting slogans referencing Nicki Minaj‘s recent controversial tweets about the coronavirus vaccine.

“Nicki Minaj told the truth to me. Fauci lied to me,” protesters were filmed chanting outside the CDC. Local television station CBS46 reported one of the protesters saying, “We are here because the CDC has been lying to us for so long”.

Initial coverage of the rally suggested that those protesting were Nicki Minaj fans encouraged by her misinformation-laden comments. But Insider reported earlier today (September 17) that the protesters are part of a fringe political group called the Black Hammer, capitalising on the media attention surrounding Minaj’s tweets. The group is a self-described “anti-colonial organisation that exists to take the land back for all Colonised people”.

Black Hammer also took responsibility for organising the protest on their Twitter, telling followers they would be outside the CDC as they were “fed up with the way the media is portraying Nicki Minaj”.' 

Hold on America, we are almost there. Just brace yourselves for the fall.  


   

  

Monday, September 13, 2021

Caption Monday.

 

 

This took place on 9/11, when the president and other former presidents were doing more dignified things to acknowledge that solemn day.  

Give me a caption for this picture.  

Monday, September 06, 2021

? of the day


 On this Labor Day, when we put an emphasis on work, my question of the day is this: What do we have to work on the most to build a more perfect union? 

I have some thoughts, but I need yours.  

Sunday, August 29, 2021

It's not a "hoax."

 


I'm thinking about the folks in Louisiana this morning. Today is exactly 16 years since Katrina devastated the state's largest city, and now, here we are again. Ida is on her way to leave her mark on that storm ravaged region.   

It's amazing to me that folks on the right still believe that climate change is all a hoax. (I guess I shouldn't be surprised. These same people believe that you can cure COVID by shooting yourself up with a worm drug used for horses.)  I'm here to tell you folks, it's not. I am no scientist. There are folks who read this blog on a regular basis who can play inside baseball with the best of them when it comes to the complexities and complications of the actual science behind this phenomenon.( I see you Pilot X) I'm not one of them. But I have eyes, and I have common sense, and I can tell you that it doesn't take a rocket scientist or an aircraft pilot to be able to tell you that the earth is changing in some scary ways. 

The West Coast of America is almost out of water. There are devastating fires in California and other states out West every year. Tornadoes and floods are getting more intense. And in certain parts of Europe they experienced the hottest months they have recorded in decades. There is more. The polar ice caps are melting, global sea levels are rising, humidity is increasing, the ocean is getting hotter, snow covers are melting earlier.... and on and on it goes. You get the picture. 

If you still don't believe that climate change is real, read what the Prime Minister of Greece had to say after devastating wildfires ripped through his country earlier this month.

 "Everything needed to change in order to minimise the effects of the climate crisis, he told parliament on Wednesday during a debate on the wildfires and criticism of the government's response to them.

Dealing with the crisis "is forcing us to change everything; the way we produce agricultural products, how we move around, how we generate energy and the way we build our homes," he said.

Part of a succession of blazes that struck southern Europe during a summer heatwave, the Greek fires scorched more than a quarter million acres of pine forest, with the island of Evia and areas of the Peloponnese, including near the archaeological site of the ancient Olympics, also hit.

Mitsotakis told lawmakers an earlier public apology for the disaster was also a call for action to become better at tackling such phenomena." 

It's going to take more  than the words of a European Leader to make us start taking this as serious as we should. You would think that one disaster after another would spur us into action. Clearly we are too selfish for that. The behavior of some when it comes to this COVID-19 pandemic is proof of that.

Let's keep the folks of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast regions in our thoughts. And let's start seriously thinking about where we go from here when it comes to climate change. We will be doing this all against the backdrop of Ida proving to us, once again, that climate change is real. 

*Pic from time.com


Sunday, August 22, 2021

Caption Sunday.

 


 I need a caption for this picture.

Pic from Palmbeachpost.com


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

? of the day.


The question of the day is this:

Who do you blame most for the s**tshow in Afghanistan right now?

Here are your choices.

A. George W. Bush. (Sent troops there in the first place.) 

B. Barack Obama. (Didn't get them out)

C. Donald Trump. (Legitimized the Taliban and freed thousands of their soldiers.) 

D. Joe Biden. (Bungled the withdrawal of American allies and Afghan interpreters.)

E. The Afghan people themselves. (They didn't even put up a fight. And maybe they were never going to.)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The replacement theorists.


I stumbled on the following article written for Yahoo News by Wajahat Ali  the other day, and I think it's important that I share it.

If you have already read it, please indulge me while a share a little knowledge with your fellow field hands. 

"The hoods are off, and Republicans are embracing the white supremacist “replacement theory.”

If you’re dismissing this as fear-mongering or click-bait, you probably missed Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and renowned adulterer, espousing replacement theory rhetoric on Fox News earlier this week while talking to host Maria Baritromo, who always has time to offer a platform to dangerous conspiracy peddling. Speaking about Mexican immigrants coming to America during the pandemic, Gingrich said the “radical left” wants to “get rid of the rest of us” and would “love to drown traditional, classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law.”

He wasn’t talking about Donald Trump, notorious for being historically ignorant and profoundly incurious, but about those of us with darker skin, who are never seen as “traditional” or “classic” or “real Americans.” Gingrich, a craven political opportunist, parroted the talking points associated with “the great replacement” theory, also known as “white genocide,” which stipulates the white race and “Western civilization” are in dire threat of being weakened and ultimately usurped by immigrants of color, Muslims, feminists, and gays.

This nefarious international scheme is allegedly masterminded by a cabal of secretive and powerful Jews, who are perpetual supervillains in conspiratorial narratives. One of the main leaders of this alleged “deep state” is George Soros, the Hungarian-born, Jewish American billionaire and Holocaust survivor, whom Fox host Tucker Carlson accused of trying to hijack and remake American democracy and the Washington Times alleged was on a “quest to destroy America.” Before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump said “a lot of people say” that Soros was funding the “caravan” of undocumented immigrants and Middle Easterners that he warned was about to invade America.

Terrorist Robert Bowers shared Trump’s fear. He proceeded to kill 11 Jewish people in a synagogue, whom he believed were helping the “invaders.” The replacement theory inspired terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who killed more than 50 Muslim “invaders” in New Zealand. Tarrant’s violent act in turn inspired terrorist Patrick Crusius, who killed 21 people in El Paso, Texas, seeking vengeance against “Hispanic” invaders.

Despite or because of the international bloodshed caused by this hateful conspiracy, conservatives including Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene have embraced it as a political opportunity.

Gingrich was something of a pioneer here, jumping on the anti-sharia bandwagon in the summer of 2010, right before the midterm elections, as he geared up for his failed 2012 presidential bid. That manufactured threat, which became the template for the right’s anti-critical race theory crusade today, imported conspiracy theories and talking points created by white nationalists in Europe who warned about a Muslim “demographic explosion” that threatened to transform white, Christian Europe into “Eurabia.”

Hate has now become intersectional and global, with the Europeans’ American counterparts raving about how CRT or Sharia Law or Marxism will replace the Constitution, destroy American values and teach children to hate white people.

Although the phrase “the great replacement” was coined in 2010 by French author Renaud Camus, who refers to immigrants of color as “colonizers” and “Occupiers,” it’s not an original concept. In 1995, US neo-nazi David Lane warned about governments making white people into an “extinct species” in his subtly titled three-page White Genocide Manifesto. He also created the “14 word” white supremacist slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”

Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller’s white nationalist ideas were in part inspired by Jean Raspail’s 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, beloved by white nationalists around the world, that depicts how savage Indian refugees ultimately swarm and overwhelm France. Bannon has recommended the book as a dystopian warning, and Miller promoted the book and other white nationalist talking points to a Breitbart reporter when he was a Senior Advisor in the White House.

Bannon has also recommended conservatives learn from another fan of the replacement theory: Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who praised Trump in 2017 for “thinking precisely as we do when he says ‘America First,’” and who Bannon has praised for being “Trump before Trump.”

What did Orban do that makes him a model worth emulating for conservatives in the United States? He transformed Hungary’s once promising democracy into a one-party state where he filled the government and judiciary with political apparathicks, attacked the press and political opponents, abused his power to enrich himself and his cronies, promoted anti-semitic conspiracy theories against George Soros, and constructed a 109-mile high-tech, razor-wire border fence with Serbia.

Orban mobilized his base into giving up their freedoms by promising he will protect them and their Hungarian heritage from Muslims, refugees, and immigrants of color, and protect them from what he says are “political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.” Instead, he says, “We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.

No wonder Tucker Carlson, who has openly promoted the replacement theory on his show and is beloved by white nationalists for mainstreaming their talking points, applauded Orban’s policies. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention that Carlson, an American journalist, decided to host his top-rated cable news show from Hungary’s capital, Budapest, where he spent a week acting like a paid lobbyist, propagandist, and hype man for Orban and his Fidesz party.

Carlson told his viewers, “if you care about Western civilization and democracy and families and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by the leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here right now.”

Carlson aired a fawning interview with Orban, giving him a platform to promote his ethno-nationalist policies, which Orban rationalized as defending Hungary’s national identity, “culture,” “tradition,” “language,” and “original inhabitants” from Muslims, liberals and other invaders allegedly opposed to freedom and Western civilization.

“Who’s freer?” Carlson asked. “If you’re an American, the answer is painful to admit.”

What’s actually happening in Hungary is a blueprint for autocracy, and that’s the end game for America’s Republican party, which is now a counter-majoritarian and counterfactual force. Trump administration senior advisor and anti-immgration zealot Stephen Miller made that crystal clear while addressing the Young America Foundation’s 43rd National Conservative Student Conference in Texas earlier this week.

In a 40-minute speech you can watch here if you’re a glutton for punishment, Miller echoed Orban and Carlson’s paranoid victimhood, manufactured grievances and racial anxiety of a white demographic terrified of losing power as he cited “stopping illegal immigration” as conservatives’ “highest priority.” There was no mention of the pandemic, income inequality, or climate change. Instead, Miller bragged about stopping refugees from making it to America and suspending the H1-B program that allowed skilled workers, like my father, to legally come to this country and achieve the “American Dream.”

Miller told the young students that liberals have forced them into a “battle none of us wanted,” because “they” want power “to dictate your lives and to change our country into something most of us wouldn’t recognize.” He wants liberals to “just leave the country alone and let America be America,” which to him means a Muslim Ban, undocumented kids separated from their parents in cages, a crowd chanting “send her back” when referring to a US Congresswoman, and ignoring the existence and rights of LGBTQ people.

Pointing to a bleak future, Miller created an absolutist framework and exhorted young conservatives to “fight back” and defend their “heritage: "The stakes in this game are the survival of the country. Those are the stakes. It’s that stark. That black and white. It’s that fundamental. The country survives or it does not.”

The young students gave him a rousing standing ovation at the end of his speech.

This is the Republican Party’s end game, a fight to the death that they hope will lead to an authoritarian regime like Orban’s Hungary. They have not been deterred or moderated by electoral defeat. Insead, they are growing ever more radical, weaponizing and embracing racist ideas, like the replacement theory, and planning future insurrections building on their failed first attempt on Jan. 6." {Article here}



Thursday, August 05, 2021

Inside man.

 


A friend of mine had his ticket punched from the practice of law a few years ago because of what he claimed was an "honest mistake". Whether you believe him or not, you have to wonder how people like Jeffrey Clark are still being allowed to thrive in the practice of law after being one of the former guy's point men in his attempted coup. on the American government. 

Here is a little background from New York Magazine: 

"Top members of the Department of Justice last year rebuffed another DOJ official who asked them to urge officials in Georgia to investigate and perhaps overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in the state – long a bitter point of contention for former President Donald Trump and his team – before the results were certified by Congress, emails obtained by ABC News show.

The “DOJ official” in question was Jeffrey Clark, the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, who in late December drafted a letter to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and the Republican leaders of the Georgia legislature urging them to convene a special session to investigate alleged 2020 voter-fraud claims. Given Kemp’s refusal to back Trump’s lies about Georgia’s vote, it’s understandable (if bizarre) that Clark’s draft letter also suggested the legislature call itself into session to consider whether it should appoint electors to rival the Biden slate already certified by Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Subsequent reporting by MSNBC indicates that Clark had drafted similar letters to Republican leaders in five other states carried by Biden but which Trump claimed to have won.

The one truly surprising thing about this gambit was its late timing. All along, as I noted on December 1, the most feasible avenue for a Trump election coup was to mobilize Repset yublican state legislatures to usurp the selection of electors on his behalf:

[I]t was obvious by mid-November that Trump’s only hope was to create enough phony doubt about the outcome in key states to justify a power grab by Republican legislators. The idea, which was fully aired in many of the preelection “red mirage” speculations … was that state legislators would assert aconstitutionally sanctioned (if controversial and arguably in conflict with their own statutes) right to appoint electors themselves since “fraud” had tainted the popular-vote results. Trump publicly called on GOP legislators to do just that, as Politico reported on November 21.

It didn’t work in November, but Clark (and very clearly Trump himself) wanted to give it another try based on the exotic constitutional theory that the whole Electoral Count Act process for certifying and confirming electors violated the sovereign power of state legislatures over electors (there was a parallel claim, shot down by the federal courts a few days later, that the Constitution gave then Vice-President Pence the power to disregard state certifications of electors and count them however he wanted). [Source]

It didn't work, but the former guy sure gave it the good old college try. The thing is, though, it could happen again. And this time the former guy and his fascist minions are working harder to make sure they get it right the next time. They have loaded up state houses with hyper partisan right-wing loyalist, and their media conglomerates are doing everything in their power to undermine the electoral process and sow seeds of doubt in the way that our democracy is currently set up.  

The really scary thing is that there seems to be no outrage, and Americans seem to be just chalking it all it up to the former guy being the former guy.  Still, there might be hope. Some news organizations are starting to take notice.

"CNN's Marshall Cohen, Jason Morris, Christopher Hickey and Will Mullery have put together an in-depth timeline of Trump's efforts to corrupt the US government and the Georgia government. It is exhaustive and shocking."

But is it shocking enough for us to do something about it? 

Merrick Garland, the ball is in your court.     


  

 


  

Sunday, August 01, 2021

CAPTION SUNDAY.

 


 

Caption this picture. 




Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Jan 6th Hearings were needed, but nothing will change, and the real culprit will not be be held accountable.


Today, after listening to some of the testimony from some of those Capitol police officers during the Jan 6th Commission hearings, I realized that America, as we know it, no longer exists. It was both chilling and heartbreaking. Those poor men were at the mercy of a mob of terrorists who were being led on by the former president of the United States. 

Folks are still trying to figure out how it could have happened. I could save them all the trouble. I know how. Just look at the makeup of the crowd, who their leader was, and how much power he had at the time.

Anyway, today is a good day to revisit the following article from The Atlantic: 

"At the beginning of last week, former President Donald Trump referred to the 2020 election as the “greatest Election Fraud in the history of our Country.” By the end of the week, he had issued a statement saying, “As our Country is being destroyed, both inside and out, the Presidential Election of 2020 will go down as THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY!”

What else is new? These are the ravings of a 74-year-old sociopath, isolated and banned from social media, living in Mar-a-Lago, where he is crashing wedding parties and delivering rambling monologues.

Or at least, that would be the right way to look at things, if not for the fact that the GOP remains fully in Trump’s thrall, with its leadership more committed than ever to spreading his foundational lies and conspiracy theories. Under Trump’s sway, the Republican Party is becoming more fanatical, venturing even further into a world of illusion.

Trump’s grip on the Republican Party was on display once again last week, when Representative Liz Cheney was ousted from her leadership post as conference chair. Her fireable offense? Refusing to remain silent in the face of Trump’s ongoing efforts to undermine our constitutional system. She wants to “relitigate the past,” it’s said, despite the fact that it is Trump, not Cheney, who is obsessing over the 2020 election.

No former president, and certainly no president defeated after only one term, has so dominated his party after he left office. So Trump’s words matter. They mattered in the lead-up to, and on the day of, the deadly attack on the Capitol on January 6. They still matter. And if the Republican Party doesn’t counteract these lies rather than indulge them, political violence will become more acceptable and more prevalent on the American right.

THIS ASSESSMENT ISN’T based on mere speculation; we know that many of the people who participated in the violent assault on the Capitol believed that they were acting patriotically, foot soldiers in the 21-century version of the American Revolution, doing what they understood their leader was asking of them. As a Washington Post story put it, “The accounts of people who said they were inspired by the president to take part in the melee inside the Capitol vividly show the impact of Trump’s months-long attack on the integrity of the 2020 election and his exhortations to supporters to ‘fight’ the results.” The Post story points out that a video clip of rioters mobbing the Capitol steps caught one man screaming at a police officer: “We were invited here! We were invited by the president of the United States!”

"Jill Sanborn, the head of counterterrorism at the FBI, recently told Congress that “the FBI assesses there is an elevated threat of violence from domestic violent extremists, and some of these actors have been emboldened in the aftermath of the breach of the U.S. Capitol. We expect [that] racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, anti-government or anti-authority violent extremists, and other domestic violent extremists citing partisan political grievances will very likely pose the greatest domestic terrorism threats in 2021 and likely into 2022.”

Cheney told CNN that several Republican members of Congress had voted against impeaching Trump out of fear. “If you look at the vote to impeach, for example, there were members who told me that they were afraid for their own security—afraid, in some instances, for their lives,” she said. “And that tells you something about where we are as a country, that members of Congress aren’t able to cast votes, or feel that they can’t, because of their own security.”

Georgia Republicans who in the aftermath of the 2020 election would not go along with Trump’s false claims about election fraud in that state faced death threats, intimidation, and harassment, according to Gabriel Sterling, a Republican official in the Georgia secretary of state’s office. The home of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, was targeted too. This week I talked with a Republican election official in Arizona, Stephen Richer, who has spoken out against what he refers to as Trump’s “unhinged” claims about election fraud in Maricopa County. (Richer says Trump’s claims are “as readily falsifiable as 2+2=5.”) He told me he has received death threats and has been forced to take measures to protect his and his family’s safety. And these examples are hardly unusual.

While the threat of domestic terrorism is growing, a recent survey by the American Enterprise Institute found that 39 percent of Republicans agreed that “if elected leaders will not protect America, the people must do it themselves, even if it requires violent actions.” That result was “a really dramatic finding,” according to Daniel Cox, director of AEI’s Survey Center on American Life. “I think any time you have a significant number of the public saying use of force can be justified in our political system, that’s pretty scary.” [Source]

What's really scary is that they are getting away with it. And with all due respect to Nancy Pelosi, these latest hearings will not make a difference. The former guy will not be held accountable for his actions, and those who participated in his attempted coup will not be punished appropriately for their role in the insurrection.  

*Image from CNN.com

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Movie Tuesday.

 

 

I need a name for this movie. 

And what's up with Marjorie Taylor Greene's feet?  

Bad Field Negro being petty again.  :(  



Thursday, July 15, 2021

Are all of these tell-all books too late?

 




Now that all these books are coming out and revealing just what a psychotic, delusional, and unstable maniac the former guy was, let's not go making these people---- who are years later now writing books for profit, instead of alerting us of the dangers in real time----- to be heroes. 

Thankfully the guardrails of democracy stayed intact long enough before it all came crashing down. (Although it almost did on January 6th.) But when you read some of the excerpts from these books, you can't help but wonder: What the hell was everybody thinking?  

In one of the books it is revealed that the former guy allegedly told his chief of staff at the time that "Hitler did a lot of good things".  Huh?!

But there is so much more. Like, for instance, the birth of the "big lie."

"Everything came to a head on December 1, when Trump summoned Barr to the Oval Office. According to the book, one of the attendees said a red-faced Trump had "the eyes and mannerism of a madman," ranted and shouted at Barr, and even started banging on the desk.
    Trump went beyond the election and started hammering Barr for not prosecuting President Joe Biden's son or former FBI Director James Comey -- two of Trump's most vilified political targets.
    The book bolsters recent reports about emails sent to top Justice Department officials by Trump (through his assistant) and Trump's chief of staff, cajoling them to hunt for voter fraud. Trump responded to the excerpt by attacking Barr and doubling down on his false claims of voter fraud"

    "A new book from controversial journalist Michael Wolff includes details of what unfolded inside the White House while the Capitol was overrun. The book, "Landslide: The Final Days of the Trump Presidency," will be published July 27. Excerpts were published in New York magazine.
    Trump's senior advisers all knew Vice President Mike Pence would never go along with Trump's unconstitutional scheme to nullify the results from states that Biden won when Congress met to formally count the electoral votes. They knew Trump was experiencing "derangement," but were too scared to tell him that his dreams of overturning the election were hopeless, Wolff reported. "

    And still more.

    "A new book from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender describes how Trump wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act and use the military to quash social justice protests last summer, some of which descended into riots in large cities. The forthcoming book, "Frankly, We Did Win This Election," is slated to be released on July 13. Axios reported some key excerpts Monday.
    Bender reports that there was an unprecedented shouting match in the White House Situation Room between Trump and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Trump exaggerated the level of violence, said he wanted to deploy the military into American cities and put Milley "in charge." But he was quickly rebuked by Milley, in an expletive-laced argument.
    "God damn it! There's a room full of lawyers here. Will someone inform him of my legal responsibilities?" Milley said to the other officials in the Situation Room, according to the book.
      Barr then told Trump that Milley was correct -- he couldn't do what Trump wanted him to do.
      In response to the excerpt, Trump told Axios that the argument "never happened." Bender said the incident was corroborated by "multiple senior administration officials" that he interviewed"

      Milley actually compared the former guy's behavior to a certain dictator from Germany. Imagine the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff comparing a sitting president's actions to that of Adolph Hitler. 

      There will be more books, including upcoming works from Kellyanne Conway and Jared Kushner.  
      If Kellyanne decides to finally come clean and tell the truth, and Jared doesn't mind sleeping on the sofa for awhile, these books should be interesting as well.  

      More insight into the craziness that surrounded the former administration may be good for us going forward.  

      Hopefully we will never make such a mistake ever again.      


      Saturday, July 10, 2021

      The right's war on science and facts.

       




      Remember when the right wingers were trying to tell us that climate change is a hoax? 

      "It's become a common concern in recent years — extreme heat waves plaguing the western United States. Now, for the third time since the beginning of June, a life-threatening heat wave is underway. While this event is not expected to be quite as unprecedented as the Pacific Northwest heat wave last week, all-time records will be challenged in major cities like Las Vegas, Fresno and Redding, California.

      This latest heat wave comes on the heels of the hottest June on record for the United States. A new study published Wednesday shows the Pacific Northwest heat wave from June 27 to June 29 was made at least 150 times more likely by human-caused climate change and, even in today's heated climate, is a rare 1-in-1,000-year event. The study, by a collaboration of 27 climate scientists, warned that if we keep warming the climate, extreme heat waves like that will happen once every 5 to 10 years by mid-century.

      Although the Pacific Northwest will be hot in the coming days, the core of this latest heat dome is centered further south, over the Desert Southwest and Southern California. "

      Never let them forget their ridiculous assault on science and facts to score cheap political points and fire up their base. We could have done more, but we didn't. It is now looking more and more like the world will look like one of those apocalyptic end of day movies in the not too distant future. 

      They are doing it again with COVID-19. They are refusing to get vaccinated even with all the science out there telling them that if they don't get vaccinated they could die.

       The folks in the red states are refusing to get  the COVOD-19 shots because they want to stick it to the libs, and own Joe Biden. (Ask Herman Cain how that worked out for him. Oh wait...you can't because he is dead.)

      The irony is, of course, that their dear leader himself scurried to get vaccinated after almost going to down to the meet his pals like Rush Limbaugh on a  permanent vacation where it's always very hot. 

      I am not sure where the hatred of facts and science comes from with the right. Now they are refusing to teach the real history of America in schools because it is too offensive to their sensibilities. God forbid that we teach the children what actually happened in this country before they try to totally rewrite the nation's history and pretend that it never happened. 

      They are now using the critical race theory bogeyman to continue their culture war (cause that's all they have) and punish truth- tellers who dare to want to teach our children the truth. Some states are now passing laws  that make teaching critical race theory illegal. This, in spite of the fact that most of those legislatures who voted to ban it don't' even know what critical race theory is.  

      Finally, speaking of laws and laws being applied unequally. 

      "A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty to casting a vote in the name of his deceased mother in an effort to reelect then-President Donald Trump, according to court records and Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer's office.

      Bruce Bartman, 70, received the sentence Friday after entering a guilty plea to two counts of perjury and one count of unlawful voting. Bartman will also lose his right to vote for four years, pursuant to Pennsylvania statute, the district attorney's office said in a news release.
      Voter records show that Bartman used Pennsylvania's online voter-registration portal to register both his late mother, Elizabeth Bartman, and his deceased mother-in-law, Elizabeth Weihman, who died in 2019 -- illegally registering both as Republican voters, the district attorney's office said.
        Bartman then requested, filled out and sent in the absentee ballot for his deceased mother for the 2020 general election. Bartman's attorney, Samuel Stretton, told CNN that his client regrets the decision.
          Stretton said Bartman had explained to the court that because of the coronavirus pandemic, he had been isolated at home and was misled by "propaganda and statements" that were made about voter fraud. 

          "This was his way of misguided political dissent," Stretton said. "He accepts the responsibility."
          Trump repeatedly sought to sow doubt about the integrity of the general election and even falsely claimed victory over Joe Biden despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud in any US state. " [Source] 

          Five years probation.  

          Now check out this story.

          "The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals said Wednesday that it will consider an appeal from Crystal Mason, a Texas woman sentenced to five years behind bars for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election.

          “She’s absolutely buoyed,” attorney Alison Grinter told NBC News on Wednesday. “Her family is just over the moon today that she literally lives to fight another day.”

          She said the appeal is Mason's last chance at staying out of prison; she is currently out on an appeal bond.

          Mason was on supervised release from prison in 2016 when she went to the polls. She wasn't on the voter rolls, and instead cast a provisional ballot with the help of a poll worker. Local officials determined she was ineligible due to her 2011 tax fraud conviction, and her ballot was not counted. Prosecutors later charged her with knowingly voting illegally." [Source]

          Five years in prison. 

          You get one guess to tell me the difference between the two perpetrators.  


          Sunday, July 04, 2021

          The truth will not replace them.



          Some MAGA brown shirts from Texas loaded up in some Penske trucks and tried to put their Independence Day stamp on Philly. As is to be expected (This is, after all, Philly.), it didn't go too well for them. Still, you have to think that after Charlottesville, Virginia, we would not see anymore of these neo-Nazi khaki wearing types parading through American streets. ("Jews will not replace us") At least not in this fashion. They have MAGA rallies which accomplish the same goals these days.  

          It's kind of scary how normal this has become since the former guy declared that there are "good people" among their ranks. The entire republican party seems to have become a haven for white supremacist and nut-job conspiracy theorists. 

          We haven't heard the last from these types and their sympathizers. January 6th might have been a dress rehearsal for much more ominous things to come. The former guy has not yet accepted defeat, and the "big lie" is just getting bigger and more mainstream.  

          “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” ~Joseph Goebbels~ 

          As the lie becomes bigger, expect to see more of the of types of things that we saw on display in Philadelphia on Saturday.

          And honestly, I'm not sure why the marchers in Philadelphia felt the need to cover their faces. I mean if you think about it they are no different than the crowd that gathered for a rally in Sarasota, Florida on Saturday.