Archive for the ‘Column’ Category

It can’t be over

Author: admin

QUESTION: Could Donald Trump, Dr. Deborah Birx, the former head of the CDC and several other top government officials be charged with one or more crimes because of their inaction upon the arrival of COVID-19 in this country? Could they?

As a non-lawyer, I have no authoritative answer to that question. But, I believe some smart attorney-types could make a valid case for some sort of prosecution.

This issue has been on my mind since the CNN interview of Dr. Birx and others in the medical field a week or so ago.

At the moment, 550-thousand Americans have died of COVID in just over a year. Did they have to die? Did that many have to die? Could timely medical and political action have saved thousands of that number? If so, why wasn’t that action taken? Given many decision makers knew the actual danger looming over this nation, what legal responsibility do top-level political and medical people have? Was there malfeasance/misfeasance in office? Should there be legal actions taken against those people? Did the political divisions in this country contribute to the deaths of thousands of innocent victims?

For openers, consider Dr. Birk’s statement that, after the first infectious wave, the death toll could have been “substantially reduced.”

She didn’t say it outright, but all her interview remarks seemed to indicate she believed there was negligent management of the pandemic by Trump – that he had a willingness to put economic and political goals above science and the nation’s well-being.

Birx’s anguish was apparent throughout the interview. Especially when she acknowledged “There were about a hundred-thousand deaths that came from the original surge. All the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.”

For someone at the top of the administration, as the COVID advisor to the President at the time, that’s one helluva statement.

So is this: “All deaths over the first hundred-thousand could have been mitigated.” “ALL!”

Birx seemed to be making a public confession of sorts – an unburdening of her conscience tinged with some acknowledgment of her own role in the fiasco.

She also said some scientific colleagues understood the magnitude of the looming crisis but “some White House officials refused to take it seriously.” She added, “Some were fatalistic about what could be done.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, participating in the same interview, said Trump’s demands to reopen the country, despite all the advice from leading government health authorities, came as “a punch in the chest.”

As I acknowledged at the top, I’m no lawyer. But, that interview hour seemed to lay out material that could be actionable on several fronts.

Then, there’s this. Millions in this country don’t trust government at any level. They turn a deaf ear to professional advice on almost any subject if it’s government-related. Many Americans actually fear government and believe they have to be prepared to defend themselves against it.

So, did that play any part in letting COVID ravage this nation? Did their refusal to wear masks, distance themselves from others and ignoring advice coming from Birx, Fauci and top federal health agencies play a role in worsening the fight and, in so doing, contribute to the deaths of thousands of their fellow countrymen and women? Did Trump’s public avoidance of any sort of protection against COVID lead millions of his admirers to follow suit?

I’ve laid out a lot of material here. I’ve asked a lot of questions. The point being, just ridding ourselves of this COVID scourge doesn’t end the terrible saga. When over half-a-million Americans have died and millions of others have been sickened – when those who died had to do so alone and without family – when costs of care have driven thousands of fellow citizens into bankruptcy – when political leaders failed to be responsible – when needless suffering and death were allowed to prevail because of governmental inaction – how do we resolve what’s happened?

Do we turn our collective backs on all of the death and destruction? Or, do we take action against those who willingly ignored professional advice for their own interests – political or otherwise? Do we hold those who failed their responsibilities to walk away as if nothing had happened? Do we seek justice for those who died needlessly?

I can’t get Dr. Birx words – almost a confession – out of my head. I’m filled with the need to seek redemptive action for all that’s happened in the last year. Those thousands who died needlessly deserve our best efforts.

Damn it, Dems

Author: admin

Came across a comment the other day from Economist Robert Reich, a Democrat to the soles of his little feet. Former Labor Secretary for Clinton.

Here’s what he had to say. “Bipartisanship is not a goal. Goals are raising the minimum wage, securing voting rights, ending police brutality, getting universal health care and saving the planet. If these can’t be done in a bipartisanship way, the Hell with bipartisanship.”
In other words, to Democrats, if Republicans are going to sit on their asses while continuing to deny Americans access to health care, a living wage, creating roadblocks to voting in state after state, continue trying to make the writings of Dr. Seuss a national campaign issue and passing more tax breaks for the very, very wealthy, effectively use the votes you have, Democrats. DROP THE HAMMER!

And another thing: the filibuster. Fix it. Operating from minority strength, the GOP has stopped Senate action repeatedly. Under the current rules, one or more members of the Senate can tie up/delay everything. And, it takes 60 votes to override and get back to work. Passing the huge Covid relief bill out was a squeaker. Other, lesser legislation has not been so successful. Now, some voting rights bills and one on gun control, already out of the House, are being sent to the Senate where they’ll be DOA. Filibustered.

I’m on the side of those who’d “kill” the ‘buster. But, there’s talk in both cloak rooms of reform – of making it a “talking” filibuster. In today’s 50-50 situation, Republicans would have to rise and talk. And talk and talk. Imagine Jimmy Stewart in “Mister Smith Goes To Washington.” A Republican would have to talk continually about his/her objections until they either gave up or Democrats pulled the bill. Might work. If it doesn’t, axe the damned thing and get going!

Democrats will not always control the Congress and the Presidency. Now, they do. Odds are they’ll continue that majority for at least four more years. Maybe six or even eight. It’s “now or never,” folks. All that talk of getting this-that-and-the-other done needs to be turned to using that unique situation to produce and pass legislation fulfilling those promises.

Biden’s big bill means, for most of us, a $1,400 support check, more Covid vaccine, extended jobless benefits, child tax credits, big help for schools and a lot more. Democrats did all that without a S-I-N-G-L-E Republican vote! Not one. GOOD JOB! But, there’s more to do. Lots more!

The next big task MUST BE voting rights. Republicans – with a major boost from SCOTUS – are continuing a state-by-state attack on the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of all of us to vote, including minorities. Reduced polling places, reduced voting times, unnecessary identification paperwork, cutting down dates for voting and all sorts of B.S..

Here in Arizona, where mail-in voting has been conduced successfully for many years, we must now send copies of our driver’s licenses or some other photo ID with our completed 2022 ballots. Totally unnecessary! But, a legislature, heavily dominated by Republicans, has made it so. Other states are erecting more barriers voters must conquer. It’s got to stop!

How do GOP politicians, by unanimous votes against the interests of citizens, go home and campaign for re-election? How do they do that? How do you vote a unanimous “NO” to health care and health insurance, voting rights, unemployment benefits, child care, added voting restrictions, attacks on Constitutionally guaranteed rights and face the people? Long on guts – short on smarts. But, uneducated voters buy it! Year after year.

A Louisiana Republican who voted “no” on the stimulus package had – within an hour of the vote – an email on the way to constituents telling of all the good stuff in the legislation. No smarts. Just guts.

Democrats need to go to those same voters – with proof – and educate ‘em. We know many Republican voters have had enough and many Independents are looking for a home.

Now – right now – is the time Democrats should be telling voters what’s going on, showing people what’s been done, offering evidence of Democrat Party leadership and extending a welcoming hand. Right now! Stop talking to each other about how bad conditions are and get to work. You’ve already good Democrat Party accomplishments to share. Right now!

And more. The Republican Party is in tatters. For reasons thinking people can’t understand, some 30-40-million lost souls will follow Trump into oblivion. That portion of the GOP will stand for nothing – produce nothing – accomplish nothing. And they’ll complain about everything. They’ll only be a threat on the ballot if Democrats don’t fill all open races. What’s left of the Grand Old Party will flounder and, similarly, produce nothing.

More than at any time in my knowledge, now is the time for Democrats to create a movement to educate – inform – recruit. In less than three months, Democrats have accomplished a lot. Republicans have accomplished nothing. And they’ll continue to accomplish nothing. I can’t think of a single GOP-authored proposal in the past 90 days. The past year.

There are still Republicans in Congress who know better, know Trump is a fraud and likely headed to jail. Some still talk of “party loyalty” when the truth is there’s no party. Trump wants all future donations made to his PAC rather than the RNC. How long can the RNC be financially viable if donors do what Trump wants? “Party loyalty” to what?

The 2022 campaign has already begun. Republicans are out there beating the bushes, looking for money and volunteer support. All they’ve got, in the words of Andy Griffith in the movie “No Time For Sergeants” is “a handful of gimmie and a mouthful of ‘much obliged.’” They can’t produce any Republican programs or legislative successes. They’ve got nothing! Nada!

The future is wide open for Democrats in Congress and the White House. Republicans will continue to produce opposition and obstruction. If – IF – Dems hold together, both can be overcome.

But, more than that, they’ve got to sell. Sell, sell, sell! With evidence of major successes in less than 90 days, there are already plenty of accomplishments to take to the streets for recruiting.

Go get ‘em!

Sunshine by the billions

Author: admin

Sometimes it takes more than the sun to brighten my day.

Case in point: Dominion Voting Systems filing a billion-dollar lawsuit against Faux Neus. What could be a better start of another 24-hours? That makes two Dominion court actions dealing with the 2020 election. The other is against Donny Trump. Personally.
The latest Dominion action also names Maria Bartiromo, Tucker, Lou, Sean and Jeanine Pirro.

Then, the sun brightened even more with yet another action involving DJT and friends. Smartmatic Corporation, also involved in the 2020 vote counting, opened fire against Faux for $2.7 billion. This one named a flock of co-defendants including Rudy, Sidney Powell and their cohorts on the network. Individually.

The latest Dominion suit alleges Faux “recklessly disregarded the truth” and participated in a disinformation campaign against the company because “the lies were good for Fox’s business.”

Further, “Fox took a small flame” of disinformation and “turned it into a forest fire.” Dominion claims “Truth matters. Lies have consequences.” “Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. If this case does not rise to the level of defamation by a broadcaster, then nothing does.”

In the filing, the company claims, as a result of Fox’s “orchestrated campaign against it, Dominion suffered “enormous and irreparable economic harm” and its “employees have been subject to death threats.”

The Smartmatic filing is very similar in claims and naming the same individuals.

All government, and nearly all independent observers, have said, repeatedly, there was no evidence of widespread fraud in the presidential election. But, our friends at “Faux” have continually suggested Trump’s claims of “widespread irregularities” had merit.

I don’t know much about Dominion or Smartmatic. But, their direct challenges to Faux deserve recognition for going after the company and the individual liars. Demanding facts in news reports and facing down those that don’t adhere is the right thing to do.

We media folks make mistakes. God knows, I’ve made my share in nearly 50 years in the business. But, the unwritten rule has always been to admit the error, make a correction and move on.

I don’t see a lot of that happening these days. The blowhards at Faux Nues certainly aren’t interested in truth or facts. I don’t have a problem with commentary – political or otherwise – left or right. But, even in commentary, the facts matter. You can have your “bleeding heart” or your “righteous indignation” to a fare-thee-well. But, when the “truth train goes off the rails,” you’re wrong. Individually or corporately. And, Dominion and Smartmatic have decided to point that out. By the billions!

Media – all media – must be held to a higher standard than the rest of us. There’s just too damned much at stake these days. We’re inundated with information. And, a lot of it is false. B.S. While more is demanded of the sources, more is also demanded of the recipient to sift out fact and discard that B.S..

That’s tough to do, given the immense outpouring of information. It’s tough on both sides. The media’s high charge is to wade through all of it, separate “wheat from chaff” and publish. Quickly. Viewers/readers have a similar obligation to do their own separating. And, that’s a hard job when on the receiving end of daily info dumps.

It’s a damned shame to have to have two large corporations sue purveyors of false public information. But, their “target” has deserved a comeuppance for many years. Ol’ Rupert is pretty much out of the business these days. Faux is being run by a son or two. Since their entry into the picture, the place has veered further to the right. And, in some cases, beyond.

There are others out there in the media “sphere” manipulating the truth for their own ends. Beck, Jones, Medvid and dozens more. I’d like to think that, should the twin suits against the Faux folks be successful, they’ll read the damage awards and trim their own sails. I’d like to think it. But, I doubt it.

I’d like to think, facing billion dollar challenges, it’ll scare the others. It’s also to be hoped other companies and individuals will follow the Dominion/Smartmatic lead and go after purveyors of lies published under the banner of “good journalism.”

Dominion’s filing says “truth matters” and “lies have consequences.” Yes, they do. And, that includes the folks at Faux, too.

Eating your own

Author: admin

Why are Republicans so Hellbent on creating hurdles to voting, taking away constitutional powers of their own Republican governors, relying on ALEC or some other “conservative” front to create master copies of legislation attacking this-that-and-the-other because some corporations or a billionaire-or-two wants it that way?

Voting hurdles? Right now, there are more than 460 bills sitting in state legislatures that would limit voting. 460! Close polling places. Eliminating mail-in balloting. Phony requirements for voter identification that some Americans don’t have. Requiring speaking English to register.

Voting hurdles!

We’ve now got a nasty bill in Arizona’s legislature, thanks to Republicans. It would allow those ladies and gentlemen – who are heavily in the majority – to overturn election results if they don’t like the outcome. Really! And to let them elect members of Congress rather than continuing to let us plebeians do the work. In 12 other states, too!

Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Idaho legislatures trying to strip gubernatorial powers, even from Republican governors! In some cases, the constitutions of the state enumerate the governor’s powers and duties. How much will it cost taxpayers to mount a certain-to-lose court defense?

Speaking of which, there’s even a bill floating around the chambers in Idaho to limit or erode certain responsibilities of Attorney General Wasden. Wasden has often – make that very often – advised legislators against taking some political action. At the bottom of that, I think, is that Wasden has been right so many times and legislators have been wrong. And, when you’re wrong at something, legislatively speaking, the taxpayer foots an often six-figure legal bill from private attorneys.

Congress, too, is often guilty of legislative over-reach. Making new laws to limit some function of states is always good for a (losing) court challenge. Or, being a plaintiff in some court challenge that, win-lose-or-draw, winds up with six-figure legal bills – or more – because of some questionable action.

These Republican challenges to other co-equal branches of government started several years ago. Especially in some states – like Idaho – that have long been in GOP hands. The late Idaho Governor Bob Smylie told me once “It’s good to change governing parties once in awhile – open the doors – let in some fresh air – clean out the closets.”

I’ve never forgotten that nearly 60-year-old piece of wisdom. Still true today. You have to look no further than the White House to see how true.

Speaking of GOP negativeness, why can’t some Congressional Republicans get it through their heads that Trump lost? Rep. Steve Scalise, number two on the House minority side, was being interviewed in one of those Sunday morning gabfests last week. Asked flat out if Biden won, he just couldn’t bring himself to say so. Or that Trump lost.

We’ve got a guy here in Arizona who’s had several House terms. Paul Gosar. Republican. He’s so off-the-rails his family’s buying advertising trying to get him recalled. Yep, kinfolk. He’s also being investigated by the FBI and others for his involvement in the attack on Congress.

Starting around the first of the year, about the time those idiots broke into the U.S. Capitol, I semi-consciously started looking for some signs of decency, truthfulness, positive thought and even a small bit of cooperation from Republicans at home and away. Damned tough to find any.

I don’t mean this as any sort of attack. It’s just the evidence – legislative and congressional – the evidence isn’t there to cite helpfulness on the part of elected Republican folk running a number of states and Congress.

In Florida, where the governor is a “Trumper,” his legislature wants to trim
his sails, so to speak. While, there he’s out there, trying to throw roadblocks to citizen rights to vote. Closing more polling places – limiting mail-in voting by requiring voters have to ask for ballots each year. Things like that. Doesn’t matter. GOP Florida legislators are chewing his coattails.

President Biden campaigned on a platform of “bringing us together.” Making peace among warring political parties. Putting some Republicans in his largely Democrat cabinet. Being “President for everybody.” And, he seems to be working at doing just that.

But, with less than eight-weeks in office, Republicans aren’t buying it. Even before all his cabinet appointments have confirmation hearings, while he’s faced with our terrible pandemic, trying to undo what’s needed undoing, restoring relationships with other world governments – even before all that, he’s fighting Republican headwinds.

In what may be his largest effort to “make peace” with the GOP, Biden has put “all-hands-on-deck” to help Texas get out of the mess Republicans – and only Republicans – got themselves into. Only one question asked. “What do you need and where do you need it?” Not one whimper that the current Texas GOP administration wants to secede from the Union or that it screwed up by not doing the proper regulatory work on its infrastructure. Just, “We’re here to help.”

Republican legislatures attacking Republican governors, Republican governors threatening the constitutional rights of citizens, GOP members of Congress still not willing to call Joe Biden the duly-elected President. What the Hell’s going on?

Voters have got to get better informed. They’ve got to get to know the real makeup of candidates doing the “courting.” Those not registered must do so. And, when the day rolls around to put that ballot in the box, they’ve GOT to turnout.

And, remember – not a single Democrat in Congress that think the Presidential election was rigged. Not one!

Another side

Author: admin

I’m about “up to here” with Meghan and Harry. And I haven’t written a word on the subject!

While Oprah Winfrey can be given “five stars” for getting the interview, preparing for it, doing it and superbly marketing the whole “show,” the subsequent fallout has steadily inundated us 10 days. ENOUGH ALREADY!

But……

Having sat quietly through the whole two hours, then “breathlessly” reading much of the “damage” caused by the same, I’ve got some thoughts on the matter.

First, are the statements made credible statements? Remember, you were watching a former TV actress and a well-schooled Royal trained in how to speak, when, to whom and what to say – or not say. I’m not trying to throw rocks here. Those are just facts. Both have been taught to assume different “characters” in public. Meghan even talked of her personal life and the “public life” she had to live. Very different “acting” assignments. I’m just sayin’.

If all said was factual, and given Oprah’s production team didn’t do some skillful editing, I’d give both subjects the benefit of the doubt. But, there were some glaring moments when my logic had to be suspended.

Case in point. Both talked of the loss of security at the hands of Palace authorities. If that was such an important consideration – and it must have been given how much of the dialogue was dedicated to the subject – why, then, did the two of ‘em go on worldwide television? We now know they own a home in the Santa Barbara foothills near Oprah’s place, with a chicken coop in the backyard. Someone out to do them harm has had the search for their home pretty-well narrowed down and some time spent flying a drone over backyards there should soon pinpoint the target(s). Few Santa Barbara denizens keep chickens.

Duh?

Another point. Meghan talked of occasionally having lunch with her friends then, later said, she wasn’t allowed to go out, that she had to surrender her car keys and other personal affects to Palace bosses.

Listening to her at length, it appears there was a time – a certain day – when Meghan’s more leisurely lifestyle didn’t fit what “The Firm” expected of a princess and a decision was made to cut her off from her world and begin training in the ways of royalty the way “The Firm” wanted her to be. Like Eliza Doolittle – to properly function at the top of British society – the very top of British royalty.

I couldn’t help but think of what Harry’s mother – who’d been raised around royalty – went through as “The Firm’s” heavy hand was depicted on Diana in “The Crown.” Now, I know “The Crown” is a jumble of facts and fiction. More of the latter. But, the business of retraining, of becoming a real princess, comparing Meghan’s words and the depiction of Diana going through the same self-limiting experience was certainly there in Meghan’s description. Just too close to miss.

Again, if true, I was struck by the fact that neither Meghan nor Harry knew what their marriage of different worlds was about. Both said so. Neither seemed to know of the problems they’d face as they walked away from the altar. Certainly Harry must have had some idea of what lay ahead given he was closely involved in Diana’s tumultuous life. He must have! But, that’s not what he said.

Something that must have deeply affected Harry’s life was not depicted in the interview. And that was his two tours in Afghanistan. He was on the front lines. Carried his own assault rifle. Dug his own fox hole. That had to have given him a different outlook on life. Something not part of his Royal upbringing. It had to change him. That experience, too, could have added to their problems.

Meghan’s disclosure of her suicidal thoughts seemed true. Sinking deep enough into your own terrifying, lonely existence to consciously consider “ending it all” is a dangerous way to live. Been there. Done that. But, not much was said about what happened after she confessed her innermost thoughts to Harry. He said he wanted to “be there” for her and “support” her. There just seemed to be a large gap between the horrors and the Meghan you saw in the interview. What happened? Did she get all the help she needed? Was she still recovering in the interview?

It’s to be hoped mental health professionals will use her words to help someone else. Many someone else’s. Even using recordings of the interview. I doubt we will soon banish the “stigma” that goes with mental health in today’s society. I hope Meghan will use her notoriety, and the enormous popularity she currently has, to be an active participant in mental health programs and advocacy.

It was interesting to note “The Firm” stopped Harry’s income and, had it not been for the inheritance from his mother’s estate, they had no finances. Given Meghan’s work in a multi-year TV series and Harry’s seeming lack of other income, finances should have been thought out. I would expect two people planning a “getaway” from “The Firm,” to plan for future income needs.

I don’t mean to detract, in any way, from the interview. Both seemed sincere. Each came across as someone you’d like to know better. I wish them well in their new endeavors with Netflix and other financial sources. Lord knows they’ve had the best exposure possible to the business world and they’ll likely be able to profit from new contacts.

Still, I’m left with lingering thoughts. If seeking security was especially important, why put yourself on television and talk about where your home is? As you seek a joint desire for privacy, why be so public? Worldwide. I can’t figure out, aside from searching for future income, why you’d put yourself on such prominent display. If you harbored any thought of future family reconciliation, why go public with talk of racism and abuse within “The Firm?” Look what’s happened in the aftermath

Or, was target-bombing “The Firm” the whole idea? Was “getting back” at the people you blame for much of your troubles by publicly embarrassing them your thought? Did you consider the extremely serious damage you’d inflict on a centuries-old dynasty and the ruling class of an entire nation? Was this all about “getting even?”

I certainly hope not! Because, if any of that played into the couple’s “outing” of British palace problems, everyone involved will lose. Even the queen, beloved by hundreds of millions around the world, will suffer damage. At 94-years-of-age, this will cause unbelievable pain. If it already hasn’t.

“Happily ever after?” I doubt it.
 

infodemic

Author: admin

No, I didn’t come with that word. It’s just one more helpful perversion of the English language. This time by a national columnist.

I found it in a piece in which the writer was trying to put a tag on all the deliberate political lying and all the right wing B.S. and deliberate untruths continually spewed by segments of the media. He just wanted some way – some word – to neatly tie all that into a tidy description. Works for me.

Infodemic. As surely as the Coronavirus is a pandemic, so, too, are the individuals and corporations deliberately lying to large segments of our national population.

Yeah, Fox. I’m looking at you. And Newsmax. And Michael Medvid and Michael Savage. And Malkin, Hannity, Beck, Blaze Media, Daily Caller, Freedom Press, Power Line, One America News and dozens more whose flatulent output has created what’s euphemistically called “Alternative Media.” “Media?” Yep, all of those and more are part of the “infodemic.” Many more!

These lying purveyors of mental slime are allowed complete freedom to mentally poison millions of souls while wrapping themselves in the First Amendment. “We’re within our Constitutional rights,” is their mantra. “Freedom of speech,” they claim.

Have you ever read the First Amendment” No? Well, here it is.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

That’s it. All of it. Tucked neatly in there are the words “freedom of speech, or of the press.”

While our “founding father authors” of the original documents had to put up with their share of “soap box” patriots spewing falsehoods trying to undermine the new government, they had no clue about what would happen 250 years or so later. No idea of true mass communication or abridgement of fact spread internationally at the speed of sound.

Up until 1987, we had what was called the “Fairness Doctrine.” It required mass media to offer access to those with competing views to rebut or offer their opinions in similar time or space conditions. And, the Doctrine worked pretty well. Until Ronald Reagan. Yep, him. Reagan appointed four members to the Federal Communications Commission, giving his appointees control. And, one of their first acts was to kill the Fairness Doctrine.

What’s happened since is often unfettered crap, passed off as “fact,” to inundate us all. (Fox and Newsmax?) Under the Doctrine, the media corporations had to make time/space for competing views. Facts, as it were.

Now, no such federally-mandated requirement. If Malkin, Hannity, Ingraham, Beck et al want to say “all frogs are blue with red spots,” they have the absolute right to say so, to pass that off as fact. Corporate owners have absolute right to reject access to anyone who wants to make the case for “green frogs.”

On more serious points, how do we, as a nation, put a stop to poisoning of millions of minds? How do we get “Trumpers,” and others of their ilk, to reject what has become, for them, an alternative universe of lies and damned lies? How do we correct the balance of fact-versus-fiction to have a fully, factually informed nation?
If we can’t do that, if we can’t get at least a heavy majority of us using the same facts to live by – to vote by – honest, well-intentioned holders of nearly any public office won’t be truly effective. When someone has been told a boatload of lies from a source they truly believe in, a frontal “attack” with facts will fail to change his/her mind. Every time.

We’ve got a new president in the Oval Office. He faces a myriad of problems. His “plate” overfloweth. But, the most difficult issues can be traced to underlying dangers of the deep, deep divisions in the country. And, many of those are related to the “infodemic” rampant in our media.

If a quarter, or even a third of the citizens of the country are being fed daily diets of lies and twisted facts from sources they trust, can an administration be fully effective? If the continual push-back is from citizens believing down is up and up is down, how do you break through with logic – with facts – with reality?

One other issue President Biden must face is more and more of these folk are being elected to Congress and other public agencies. It’s believed there are some 40 or so members who are advocates of Qanon.

They’ve signed up with other like-minded souls who “believe” the government is being led by pedophiles and sex traffickers. They believe The Donald is preparing to lead a “counter-attack” against those people. It’s called “the storm.” They truly believe Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros are “conspiring” to take over the government in a coup. And a lot more B.S.. And, they’re in Congress.

“Infodemic.” Now, you know what it means. What the hell do we do about it?

Run for something

Author: admin

I stumbled across something the other day you might be interested in.

It’s a website called “Run For Something.” My first thought at seeing those words had nothing to do with politics or campaigning for office. But, that’s exactly what it is.

With oversized type on the website, lots of colors, pictures of staff and successful campaigners, it’s filled with lots of information and sort of a kick to read. And, there’s a good deal to read.

“Run For Something” (RFS) has been around for a few years and has had some real successes. More than 55% of women backed by RFS won various offices from dog catcher to Congress in recent elections. And, 50% of the winners were people of color.

Here’s something else you probably don’t know. In races run in the last two national election cycles, IFS has helped flip seats in 20 states. Not bad for a group of young folks most of us have never heard of.

The organization is PROGRESSIVE. Large type! The whole reason for its being is to help more progressive – and therefore, mostly Democrat – folks into public office. An occasional Republican is supported but the key word is still “progressive.”

Some 8-thousand volunteers do most of the work with candidates. About 70% of applicants are under age 40, running for the first or second time. All applicants have one-on-one phone talks in which RFS workers get facts about who wants to run, for what and experience – if any.

There are four basic tenets candidates must meet in the process: be progressive, be rooted in their communities, be willing to work hard campaigning and are interesting and compelling to talk to. Ratings on those four points come from volunteers who have had in-depth conversations with many applicants.

There is a winnowing process to the point that RFS takes what it believes will be winners under the organizational “wing” and begins things. Using (un)social media heavily, there is constant moral and other support. They’re offered tactics that’ve been proven successful in other races. They get weekly open-ended calls from RFS strategists who’ve worked on previous campaigns.

If money is a problem – as it often is – RFS can help. In the 2020 campaign, RFS spent more than two-and-a-half-million dollars in hundreds of races.

Part of that help comes from RFS working partners and direct linkage with newer progressive organizations like Emily’s List, Campaign America, Voto Latino, Crowd Pac, Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Senate Campaign fund. There are regional fund-raising promotions. RFS is also the beneficiary of sizeable donations from individuals and carefully selected business partners.

Direct candidate support is also available in tactics, strategy, media relations, fund raising and contact with previously successful candidates. There are also regional directors with campaign experience who can be called upon for advice.

Feedback from winners is very positive with some doing endorsements on the RFS website.

The “dog-catcher-to-Congress” label is very true. RFS has been the key element to success in judicial races, legislative contests, city council, county commissions, congressional and numerous other campaigns. No matter what office you want to run for, “Run For Something” should be the first call you make.

Though it’s not specifically itemized on the RFS website, it’s obvious the group wants to make sure that any ballot – anywhere – doesn’t have an uncontested race on it. As we’ve seen so often in politics – especially at the national level – gaining access to one office can lead to a subsequent successful step to another.

We’ve also seen what can happen if there is an uncontested race. We’ve got a Marjorie Taylor Greene to deal with in Congress because no one would fill the open seat on a Democrat ballot.

Yes, “Run For Something” is a heavily Democrat-oriented group. And, yes, they tilt toward progressive minded individuals. And, yes, the organization of largely young people, out “to change the world.” But, RFS has experience winning a large variety of political contests. It has shown itself to be an organization to be reckoned with in city, county, state and national contests. It’s shown it can make a difference where it counts – the ballot box.

When you’ve got some time on your hands one of these days, give the “Run For Something” website a look-see. Even if you don’t want to be a candidate for something, you might know someone with an itch. The “Run For Something” site may be able to scratch that itch.

Hard right

Author: admin

O.K.

So, Senate Republicans, like Pontius Pilot, are busy washing their guilt-covered hands of the Trump trial. An adventure in failure to live up to the various oaths taken – before God and the rest of us – to rule impartially on the massive evidence of wrong-doing presented.

So, let’s move on.

There’s an important political story developing in this nation that, while right out in the open, is being largely ignored. In state after state, Republican Central Committees seem to be taking a fresh new turn to the right. Make that hard right!

In fact, some are conducting purges and issuing censures of folks we’ve believed to be upstanding members. Here, in the desert, Cindy McCain, former Senator Jeff Flake and even our rightward-tilting governor have been dragged out for verbal abuse and censure.

State committees in Idaho, Oregon, Montana and more are following suit. Seems what had been previously accepted GOP conservatism is gone, replaced by storm trooper marches to the edge of their flat earth beliefs. Anything less than full acceptance of Trump and his oft-proven lie that he won the 2020 presidential election seems to be cause for humiliation, censure and/or expulsion.

Oregon’s state GOP committee even went so far as to publish a “manifesto” trying to tie “Benedict Arnold-like actions” to those wanting to see DJT face impeachment and trial. Nasty bit of messaging on a recognized political party’s letterhead.

When the current cleansing is complete, imagine the types of candidates that’ll be on the 2022 off-year ballots. Marjorie Taylor Greene springs quickly to mind. Imagine her being the “poster child” for several hundred like-minded political wannabees coast-to-coast. Scary stuff. Qanon and all that.

Republican conservatism is nothing new. Many practicing that brand of politics have made important contributions to the nation. But, what can be seen currently in many GOP organizations is anything but “conservatism.” It’s more cult-like. And growing.

I’m not sure what their common litmus test is but it seems to involve Trump. While it’s highly unlikely he’ll ever, again, be a serious candidate for any public office, his influence is sure to linger for a long time.

The January 6th attack on Congress was a foretaste of things to come. While my blood boils at the sight of White House and Capitol Hill fencing, it’s almost certain there will be future confrontations in both locations. Even out of public office, Trump’s influence will keep the pot boiling. He’ll see to it. It already is in some of the words and actions of state GOP organizations.

All this would seem to be a mile-wide opening for Democrats. As state Republican parties move rightward, the Dems might also make a slight shift. Just a bit. Think of all those disaffected Republican and Independent voters looking for a new – and more moderate – home. If Dems can show less AOC influence and more Joe Biden centrist thought, the “family” might grow in number.

But, while Dems could see their rolls increase, they also face a real challenge. And, that is to find new candidates and fill those empty ballot spaces. The aforementioned Ms. Greene successfully slipped through the cracks by winning a primary and filling an uncontested general election spot for the U.S. House.

For many years, about a quarter of the Idaho Legislature has had no primary or general election competition. That can’t continue. The state is a growth state; the legislature is attacking the powers of the governor; statewide politics are becoming more hard rock conservative. Without moderation from an increase in the number of Democrat office holders, one-party domination will continue unabated.

Republicans are under attack. By Republicans. Trumpers are trying to eliminate non-Trumpers to “purify” the Republican Party. And, it appears they’ll attack anybody.

Two weeks ago, the Republican-dominated Arizona Senate came within one vote – just one – of sending the Maricopa County Elections Board to jail for not surrendering 2020 election ballots for an unauthorized recount. The illegality was never considered or discussed. Just “Hand ‘em over or jail.” One vote.

We’re not alone in seeing this kind of lawless behavior by a branch of government. No matter who you are, it seems, you can easily become a target of the far-right. Legal or not. Oklahoma, Arizona, Idaho and others are seeing dangerous efforts of GOP-dominated legislatures literally attacking governors of their own party and other duly-elected officials.

The mean-spirit in our politics is not going away anytime soon. It’ll take some guts to jump in the ring and go toe-to-toe. But, the time seems right for Democrats to make an all-out effort to find, educate and nominate new faces for the fight. If they don’t, and if the rightward shift continues in state Republican politics, these attacks on legitimate government will intensify.

Bet on it.

A very sad day

Author: admin

The life and times of Citizen Trump, imposed on us these last several years, are living denials of everything I was brought up to believe and practice.

His “victory” in a Congressional trial has left me with an emptiness in my gut. A painful feeling acknowledging “might” met “right” and “right” lost.

Despite the prosecution’s best efforts, the existence of enough “smoking guns” to equip an army and a defense team straight out of “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight,” the guilty guy walked. Case closed.

In the wake of the United States Senate’s failure to convict, about all that’s left is to call Thomas Jefferson back from the grave to use his quill pen to strike the impeachment clause from the Constitution. It now means nothing.

The youngest of my four “children” is 60 this year. I’m blessed that each has lived a successful live, though on different paths. They’ve done so with fervent belief in truth, honesty and respect for the multi-colored tapestry that is this nation. Their belief in such things won‘t change because of the failure of 43 Senators to uphold right over self-service.

But, what of the little children of our times? As they become old enough to differentiate right from wrong, how will history teachers and, for some, college professors, put this recent failure of democracy into perspective? How will the mindless, self-service of 43 Senators to adhere to that founding document, upon which our society is based, be explained to young minds? And will they have to be carefully taught, as an aside, that the Trump era was also an aberration for their country?

And what of Trump? Will his many corporate businesses continue unaffected? Or will his empire of over-valued and over-leveraged properties become grist for public auction? What of the dozens of current and future court cases? Will he also “win” there? Or will he be the first former president of this country to be sent to prison following his disastrous term in office?

What we’ve witnessed in this long, painful and failed impeachment story is 43 United States Senators – Republicans all – fail in their double oaths – the one when being seated in the Senate and the one to be “an impartial” juror. Oaths taken in writing before man. And before God.

Fear in the exercise of sworn duties. Fear of losing $174,000 salaries, perks of office, the tributes of lobbyists, flying first class, seats on the dias of political events at home, fear they’d have competition at election time threatening all that. Fear. That’s what 43 Senators were motivated by. Fear.

Will their fears be realized? Will Trump be a factor in the political affairs of the nation? Probably. For an election or two. But, his influence will fade. He’ll still be venerated by a few million lost souls. His grip on Republicanism will diminish. His ability to affect national affairs will eventually disappear. Possibly sooner than later.

I can’t help but wonder. When you’ve climbed that mountain, stood atop and surveyed all the world below – how do you face the litiginous future Trump will certainly find as a civilian? As you see financial institutions do battle for what’s left of your vaunted “empire,” how do you feel? In your gut? How will you continue your luxurious lifestyle? What of your family?

The failure of 43 Senators to uphold the Constitution they’ve sworn to “protect, defend and preserve” is a shock to our national psyche. I’m sure historians are sitting before computer screens, tapping out their views of this Constitutional damage. I suspect the words “self-service” and “travesty” will be used in more than a few treatises.

An IPSOS poll, taken a couple of weeks before the Senate trial asked voters how they felt about the workings of our federal government. About 16% said they felt our democracy was “working very well.” Another 45% said things were “O.K..” But, about 39% said things weren’t going well at all. I’d like to see that polling replicated today. I’d bet there would be a shift in the numbers.

For the moment, our everyday lives probably won’t be much different. We’ll just keep “going along.” But, come Summer and Fall, 2021, there may be changes in our politics as the campaigns are conducted. I’d look for an edginess and more visceral attacks. A nastiness associated with the Trump brand. And more Marjorie Taylor Greene’s on the ballot.

There’ll be political fallout from this Senate failure to convict when faced with a mountain of evidence of guilt. Just what affect it will have on potential candidacies in 2021 we won’t know for awhile. Will there be changes in the way the Senate does business? Will new alliances emerge? Will present divisions be further exacerbated?

There are lots of questions in the wake of this failure to uphold the Constitution. It’s going to take awhile for things to shake out.

I’m glad my “kids” are where they are in life. I’m proud of their allegiance to the values they grew up with. But, I worry about their kids. The Senate’s failure to live up to its Constitutional responsibilities will be theirs to live with. The abridging of a significant part of our most quoted founding document will have effects on them. On their education. On their futures.

Trump – or whatever is eventually left of him – will fade. But, their understanding of life and their responsibilities under that same Constitution is going to be theirs. For a lifetime.

Dirty work afoot

Author: admin

Me thinks the foul hand of ALEC is at work again.

ALEC: American Legislative Exchange Council. A right-leaning organization funded by some of the largest corporations extant, though a few, seeing ALEC’s rightward legislative output recently, have pulled their sponsorships. Bless ‘em.

Many states belong to ALEC through their legislatures. Idaho, Utah, Oregon and some others. Another dozen or so state members pulled out in the last few years because ALEC’s “one-size-fits-all,” very, very “conservative” output of such flavored legislation didn’t fit existing politics at home.

What got my curiosity awakened was the dual attempts by Idaho and Arizona legislatures to clamp down on their governors by axing some of their powers. And, curiously enough, the bills to do that are just about carbon copies of each other. Same effort going on in Utah and 16 other states. All trying to take away such powers as prohibiting mass gatherings in this time of COVID-19. Also, stopping governors from mandating face masks and a few other “treasonous” things.

When such legislative actions are occurring in concert, you’ll likely find the “right” hand of ALEC pulling the strings. Considering most of the former member states are in Democrat hands, it’s an even-money bet those left are almost entirely Republican-dominated.

But, even in historically GOP controlled states, such as our desert hideaway, a lot of Republicans aren’t happy campers. Since the Capitol riot, more than 9-thousand of them here have changed their voter registration from GOP to “no party affiliation.” Or Democrat. Less than two weeks.

Take the case of one Mr. C.J. Diegel who, upon leaving Republican ranks said “Arizona Republicans took Donald Trump’s side. It has to stop. Those people don’t represent what being ‘conservative’ here means and I just had to say ‘No, I don’t want to be associated with the Arizona party.’”

Mr. Diegel was also angry about the (possibly) ALEC-created legislation to remove some of our Republican governor’s powers. In Idaho and Utah, where this same smelly effort is afoot, there are also GOP governors challenged by GOP legislatures. And, I’d bet, in those states, you’ll find some other Republican voters making similar changes with voter registration offices.

And it’s not just the ALEC business that has a good number of Republicans upset. Some state parties are sliding further right. Here, the official GOP Party has censured former Senator Jeff Flake, Cindy McCain and our governor for not toeing the Party line. Flake and McCain? The Guv? Censured by their own party? Yes. And yes.

Oregon’s GOPers are a trifle piqued, too. The Party recently condemned 10 U.S. House members who voted to impeach one Donald J. Trump for inciting the January 6th D.C. riot.

To wit: “Whereas the ten Republican House members, by voting to impeach President Trump repeated history (read Benedict Arnold) by conspiring to surrender our nation to Leftist forces seeking to establish a dictatorship void of all freedoms and liberties and,

Whereas there is growing evidence the violence at the Capitol was a ‘false flag’ operation designed to discredit President Trump, his supporters, and all conservative Republicans; this provided the sham motivation to impeach President Trump in order to advance the Democrat goal of seizing total power, in a frightening parallel to the February 1933, burning of the German Reichstag.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

“Piqued?” Pissed!

Oregon’s not alone. There are a lot of in-party rebellions going on. Seems the far-right has seized control of state and local party organizations as is the case here in Arizona, Utah and Idaho. And, like Arizona censuring Flake and McCain, there’s some purging going on. “You’re with us or you’re out.” seems to be the message.

A lot of this roiling can be traced to the far-right “sample legislation” peddled by ALEC. For the last 15 years or so, ALEC has been hand-feeding local legislature’s ready-made bills on subjects dear to the hearts of its corporate sponsors. Upon receipt of an email, ALEC’s output has been scanned into local data bases, given a local format and run straight to legislative leadership. What could be easier?

If there’s an upside in all this, the far-right rigidity of “our-way-or-the-highway” may be forcing more and more moderates – and some moderate conservatives – to disassociate themselves from the GOP by voting “Independent.”

Trump has trash-talked starting a MAGA party. I doubt he will, though a small Texas group has filed. But, as more and more state Republican Parties become somewhat Trump-like, he might have some real “ground to plow.” Fertile ground and registered in all 50 states. A
barrier to nearly all previous attempts to start a viable third party.

With more thinking-Republican defections, a realistic third party could be those Independents.

Keep watching. All this is changing on a daily basis.