Archive for February, 2021

Hard right

Author: admin


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.

We need a cleansing

Author: admin

America’s elected political system needs a clean-up from top to bottom. And it has for most of the last 30 years.

As a nation, we’ve allowed that system to be perverted by some of those winning seats in Congress and, nearly every legislature in the country. Some are really mentally unqualified or dishonest who will do or say anything to keep their offices. But, IMHO, things have gone too far. Way, way too far.

Last month, when the new Congress was sworn in, one of that number had twice approved the idea of murdering House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Yep, murder! She’s a Qanon practitioner who believes, among other crackpot, groundless and dangerous things that Hillary Clinton is guilty of infanticide and Trump will eventually “rule the world.” Also, Jews are operating a space laser. Now, she’s legally making decisions regarding your taxes, your nation’s military, the safety of your food and a myriad of things directly affecting you!

She’s not alone. Some 40 other members of Congress are cohorts or supporters of Qanon, Antifa, white supremacy, Stop the Steal or similar nutcase B.S. Either as active participants, believers or supporters. Here, in Arizona, we’ve got a whole GOP family actively trying to recall another family member who’s been elected – and re-elected – to Congress several times. They say he’s crazy and, at times, dangerous. Yes, he is.

There are also state legislatures with some of these “dangerous” folk among their number. Again, here, the state Republican Party has censured – yes, loudly censured – our governor, former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain. All card-carrying Republicans for years and years. Yes, that Cindy McCain! Called ‘em all “anti-Trumpers” and booted ‘em out.

From city councils and county commissions to the halls of Congress, there are distinctly unqualified people making decisions about your health care, your taxes, water quality, public safety and more. They’ve weaseled in by running in uncontested districts, enjoyed support from state and local political organizations run by sympathizers or were appointed to fill vacancies for one reason or another. Like our former Senator, Martha McSally. Appointed. Booted out.

And then, you’ve got this: U.S. Senate “Republicans” more concerned with “job security” than living up to the oaths they’ve taken. Not once but twice. Senators took an oath of office AND an oath as jurors in the cases of one Donald J. Trump. Two oaths – “under God!” And twice, they’ve refused – absolutely refused – to be guided by the evidence as they swore to do. I’ve seen murderers convicted on far less evidence than that implicating Trump.

Of the 50, only five voted to try the case. The other 45 said “no.” Even after two oaths to be “impartial” in judgement and to be guided “solely by the evidence.” Evidence that’s been broadcast daily since January 6th . And they’ve seen it. Many, many times. But, it’s “job security” and C-Y-A!

Aside from the dangerous nutcases making laws directly affecting our lives, we’ve got 45 unethical Senators who’ve repeatedly backed away from their responsibilities, lied under oath and despoiled the reputation of the U.S. Senate. Same goes for about another 130 Republicans in the House. Took the oaths knowing, in advance, they were going to break that sworn trust. To God. And to you!

I’ve been around politics a long, long time. I’ve seen some crackpots and more than a few unqualified folks in office. But, our system has become so completely out-of-whack with too many folks concerned only with their own welfare. They’ve become believers in lies and damned lies while in positions of high responsibility. They’ve become people who’ll lie – under oath – rather than do their jobs “faithfully” as those oaths require.

One way to flush the system – at home and across the country – is to not let any race on a ballot go uncontested. In Idaho, Utah and Arizona, it’s been a lack of Democrats stepping up. I’m certain in other states, it’s been a lack of qualified Republicans. No matter the party, if there’s an open space on the ballot, fill it! Case in point – the Qanon lady got to Congress because no one else would run in the general election in her state.

Another thing local and state parties can do is carefully vet candidates ahead of time, just like the corporate world. There are a lot of people in Congress right now who couldn’t pass the hiring process at a major company. Make certain your candidate – for any office – is a person you’d feel comfortable with making decisions regarding you.

I doubt many of us could take a good look at our current Congress and feel we’re being well-served. Especially the Senate.

Finally, the political process starts at home. It’s a “ground up” reality. Can’t be done “top down.” We didn’t send them to the banks of the Potomac with promises of “job security.”

We’re in dangerous waters. We’ve got members of Congress who actually helped January rioters with access and even with direct participation.

You O.K. with that?