Archive for January, 2022

And they applauded

Author: admin

“After the vote failed, there was a loud round of applause from Republicans.”

Fifty Republicans and two Democrats had just buried the vitally important effort to kill the filibuster so the Senate could get to the voting rights bill. And they applauded!

How in Hell can you be proud of yourself when your vote actually helped deprive possibly several million voters of the basic franchise of citizenship? How do you go home, put your head on the pillow and enjoy a good night’s sleep knowing what you just did allows some states to continue denying access to the ballot box to whomever they choose?

How do you do that?

Since SCOTUS “gutted” the current voting rights act 13 years ago (Shelby vs Holder) at least half-a-dozen states are either kicking people off voter rolls or denying access. One state has actually removed ballot boxes in a large, rural county. All but one!

Imagine the result. If the only place you could vote in your county was, say, 140 miles away, would you go there? A 280 mile trip just to vote? Would you do it? Or, maybe you don’t drive. Maybe there’s no one who can take that much time off to drive you.

The original voting rights act, at that time, had a provision that made certain states submit their voting plans to SCOTUS for review before each election. That was because each had practiced years of voter intimidation or discrimination. The named states were the usual culprits: Alabama, Georgia, the Carolinas, Florida. Etc.. Each had a bad history dealing with voters, especially Black voters. The Act contained that provision at that time.

Some nine years ago, Chief Justice Roberts – and crew – effectively erased that paragraph. Roberts (in)famously wrote the named states had shown “no recent problems” – they’d ‘reformed,’ in his opinion. There was no need for continuing the review of plans for upcoming elections. Life was good.

Before the ink on that opinion had dried, Georgia and North Carolina openly got to work to restrict access and require special voter identifications. Within one election cycle, restrictions were back in place. Voters – especially Black and Brown voters – were feeling the effects of new laws limiting their participation.

So, some new restrictions and ID hurdles are back. Worse than before. We all know it. SCOTUS denizens know it. Even Roberts knows it!


Nothing. Not a word. Not. A. Word!

So, Democrats came up with an extensive package of proposed laws to put things on the right track. A new set of requirements for states which – taken together – would put a stop to what certain of them were doing.

But…50 Republicans and two Democrats scuttled the whole damned effort by protecting the filibuster. 52-48. Sen. Paul, for example, can just dial up the Majority Leader and invoke the filibuster to stop voting legislation – or ANY legislation- in its tracks. He has and he will.

So, what now? It appears miscreant states are free to keep doing their dirty work – to keep denying access to certain voters – to set up any barriers their creative minds can create. Republicans in Congress have dropped the axe and SCOTUS is silent. What now?

I can’t speak to what Democrats in West Virginia are doing to deal with Manchin. Here, in the desert, Democrats have several promising candidates to take on Sinema in the 2024 primary. Open opposition to her continued “service” is gathering dollars. We’re working on it.

But, 50 Republicans “flipped the bird” to mostly Black and Brown folks, kept the filibuster, stopped the voting rights bill. Just said “NO” and went home to bed after a late session.

“Home to bed.” How do you sleep – much less live with yourself – after what you did? Crapo, Risch, Lee, Romney, Murkowski, McConnell, Thune et al.. A unanimous “finger-in-the-eye” of democracy. There will be repercussions for years after what they did. Millions of legal voters will be “ruled out” by bad-acting states. The most valued right of United States citizenship will be unavailable to them because of those irresponsible votes.

I have no idea what to do in the face of such flagrant disregard by politicians for their fellow citizens. Fifty-two. All of whom were elected. Elected by their constituents. Many of whom may not be allowed to vote the next go-round. How’s that for irony?

Oh, they’ll sleep well, those 52. But, I’ll be damned if I know how they’ll do it.

“And they applauded.” Damn!

Worried Republicans

Author: admin

I feel sorry for Republicans. Yes, I really do.

Oh, no! Not the crazy, immoral, sex-abusing, race-baiting, publicity-seeking, ignorant ones who show up in the headlines, day-after-day. No. Never them!

I mean the thoughtful, concerned, conservative-leaning, socially responsible, God-fearing, centrist, compromise-believing, all-around good people like Bob Dole, Howard Baker, Everett Dirksen, John McCain, Michael Steele, Jerry Ford, the Bushes, etc., etc., etc.. Where have Republicans like that gone? Are all the “normal” ones dead?

If so, where the Hell did their descendants go?

I’m sick and tired of McCarthy, Cruz, Paul, Taylor-Greene, Boebert, Gosar, Biggs, Gohmert, Ronny Jackson, Sessions, Scaliese, et al..

McCarthy’s latest misadventure is loudly and repeatedly claiming he’ll fight the January 6th Committee every step of the way. He’ll refuse the official “request” to appear – he’ll reject any subpoenas on his doorstep – ignore the Constitutionally-authorized power of the Committee.

His words: “As a representative and leader of a minority party, it is with neither regret nor satisfaction that I have concluded to not participate in this select committee’s abuse of power that stains this institution today and will harm it going forward. The Committee is not conducting a legitimate investigation … and is not serving any legislative purpose.”

A load of B.S.. Any high school civics class could tear McCarthy’s full statement apart and highlight the lies – if not the historical ignorance – therein. With little effort.

That’s what I’m talking about when I write “I’m sick and tired” of (r)epublicans. Yes, Virginia, small “r.”

But, at the same time, my heart goes out to anyone in this country who lays an intellectually positive claim to the name “Republican” – large “R!”

Day after day, after seemingly endless day, those good, honest, God-fearing, responsible, conservative people listen to their small “r” brothers-and-sisters lie, misrepresent facts, shout their idiocy with meaningless drivel while showing their deep ignorance. Like McCarthy. They find little-to-no support or even acknowledgment of/for their good Republican hopes, aspirations and dreams.

Nothing in the headlines – or on the “telly” these days – represents what normal, right-thinking Republicans among the citizenry expect of their Party. I’m sure many go to bed each night, sick of what has happened to the GOP, hoping tomorrow will be the day civility, honesty and responsibility return. And the next day. And the next. And the next. That’s gotta be tough.

But, there are some small glimmers of hope. The January 6th Committee, for example, so far appears to be hard-working, diligent, smart and very, very professional in what activities we can see. It’s beginning to feel the Committee’s final report will be a blockbuster with investigation details of nearly hourly happenings from before the 6th to well after.

The Committee has been very, very smart, so far, publically revealing snippets of information a bit at a time. If one D.J. Trump isn’t feeling the pressure mounting, and a spear jabbing him in the ribs, he’s either more factually-challenged than we thought or living in some dream world in which he thinks his followers will rush into the streets to save him. Some will. Most won’t.

Right-thinking, caring and responsible Republicans face a huge decision come primary election time. They’ve either got to stay and fight to keep the nut cases off the November ballot (if they have the strength to do so) or, jump over the fence and vote with Democrats. If, in their Party, the current crop of liars, politically-ignorant, McCarthy types survive to “fight another day,” GOP politics will become “sewer” politics. And it won’t get better for many years.

There are two ways to beat the “bad guys.

One is the ballot box. The other is for elected Republican leaders to finally show some sense of responsibility and punish the miscreants themselves. But, don’t hold your breath, waiting for the second method to come forth. It won’t. It’s the “leadership” (McCarthy, Scaliese, Elise Stefanic, McConnell, Barrasso, et al.) that are the problem. As long as these people serve in those “leadership” positions, there’ll be no house cleaning and no diversion from the loud, raucous, truth-denying bunch we presently have.

So, my thoughtful, truth-telling, honest, civically-responsible Republican friends, there IS hope. And that hope is YOU! We want to see you and your progeny survive and prosper to become the “Republican Party that was.” Ready to offer to meet at the table on any issue, to talk, to compromise and to work for better government and a better America. We want you to succeed! We really do!

‘Cause if you don’t, our Democracy – our Republic – our entire nation can – and most likely – will be lost. That’s how important you are!

Tell us what we can do to help.

The 6th

Author: admin

O.K. We’ve had our January 6th remembrance. CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC et al drenched us with overkill in fine, journalistic abandon. We were forced to relive nearly the whole 525,600 seconds between the original attack and the first annual observance all over again.

So, what now?

Well, for starters, our deeply valued U.S. Capitol structure and grounds have been “hardened.” That’s a military term for reinforcing doors, windows and all access points. Erecting yet more barriers to public entry. More surveillance cameras. More guards.
D.C. area law enforcement and the National Guard are receiving new training in crowd control. Much of it hand-to-hand practice.

Great. The horse is gone, the barn door is new with a big, strong lock.

In other words, when those vile people return for a second attack, everything is in ship-shape order and they won’t get far.

That’s all well and good if you think they’ll be back. I don’t.

Trump’s coalition army of rag-tags, thugs and paramilitary folk have made their point. The point Donald was trying to make. A “surprise” assault on our democratic process with a sidebar of trying to overturn the 2020 election results which were not to his liking. Point made.

No, the next “assault,” I believe, is likely going to be at the state level or in several states simultaneously. Or, even at county or municipal locales. But, there will be a “next time.”

The several thousand who responded to Trump’s dog whistle have gone back into their local nests. You’re not seeing any public displays or incidents of flag waving. No parades. But, (un)social media is full of their activity. Sites nearly all of us know nothing about are very, very busy, according to “techies” who live on the old I-Net.

Proud Boys with their tattoos, the make-believe, but well-armed militias with their hangers-ons, the disassociated, violent street thugs are “talking” to each other constantly.

But, they’re doing so while the FBI, CIA, NSA and hundreds of other law enforcement “techies” listen in. They’ve “got their ears on” and they’re taking notes. While we can most certainly expect more violence in our national future, it likely won’t come as such a surprise. And, the targets will most certainly be forewarned and better prepared.

While all of that is going on, we’re seeing the first signs of another frontal attack. The far-right is making an assault on the ballot box. Here in the desert, we’ve got at least four in the race for governor and another dozen or so signed up to run as Republicans in contests for Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and Secretary of State. That last race is so very important because the occupant of that coveted office is responsible for state elections.

Other states – Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Idaho and dozens more – have their own dangerous candidates who – if elected – will change our political landscape for the foreseeable future. And, that landscape will endanger the basic structure of our Republic and could end democracy as we know it.

No, another law-breaking assault on the nation’s Capitol isn’t as likely as the scenario described here. What Trump wants now amounts to a tin-hat, semi-dictatorship. He wants control. Whether as President or some other title known only to him, he wants to be “in charge.” And the 2021 action was his first shot.

The most dangerous things Trump did was (1) show his rabid followers they can go to Washington D.C. and make a ruckus and (2) they have “support” at home in almost every state. They’re no longer isolated. They’ve got strength. How much strength is yet to be determined. So, too, it’s likely even their dangerous leaders don’t know just how much strength they actually have and how to use it.

But, there are former military folks among the “ranks” with knowledge of how to organize, how to communicate, how to operate against chosen targets. They have weapons experience and mission planning knowledge. If they’re in leadership roles in any way, we – and they – will see how much strength is there.

We don’t know when. We don’t know where. But, we’ll hear from them again. Bet the farm.

Searching for permanence

Author: admin

Living ‘midst 90-thousand seniors – give or take a gray-haired head or two – you hear a lot of stories and share a lot of memories. That’s what we do. We remember.

Shorn of youth, involuntarily slowed of pace, removed from all that was “normal” wherever you were, you’re now here. New surroundings. New streets to learn. New names. New faces. Basically, transplanted into a lifestyle so very different than what you formerly knew.

If you listen carefully, you’ll recognize a sense of “commonality” in the experiences or relationships, though, no matter where you came from. You realize the water in the creek in Iowa was just as cold as the one you used to wade in in Oregon. The Oak trees you climbed in Idaho were just as tall and as strong as the ones in Indiana.

Different names. Different faces. But, the outpouring of shared memories makes it clear: we are not much different – one from the other.

One of the life experiences we’ve all lost is a sense of permanence. That feeling that what was there yesterday will be the same today. And tomorrow.

The banker in town who went to the same church your family did and who was behind the desk when you needed a loan for something. Always there. Always the same. Now, the person behind that desk is here today and gone tomorrow. If you want to access your account for a few dollars, stick a piece of plastic into a machine in a brick wall. Outside. In the elements. A loan? Some committee hundreds of miles away will see if you’re “credit worthy.”

Grocery shopping? Now, you call the store, read ‘em your list, wait an hour or two, then drive down and they’ll load the car. You don’t even get out. Cold. Impersonal. But, that’s how it’s done.

You used to know the guy you’d buy a car from. Same guy. Same smile. Now, that dealership is one of 200 owned by some investor group that shuffles faces at the showroom based on performance and meeting “corporate goals.”

The doctor you used to go to would get to know you – get to know your family and took the time to ask “What’s new with you?” Now, appointments limited to 15-minutes because that’s what meets Medicare requirements for reimbursement, rotating faces from one appointment to the next. Sometimes a doctor; more often an assistant. Family “medicine” today. Stay on schedule.

The lack of permanence in our senior years – loss of the familiar – ever-changing business and personal relationships – the fragility of those relationships – the steadily increasing speed of change – the loss of deep, interpersonal ties.

Bought a new car last week. A hybrid. Got more screens and multi-function buttons than I’ll ever remember. Radio – from a satellite 17,000 miles in space – has to be turned on with a special screen about four steps deep. I used to have a car with a radio you turned on and five familiar push buttons. No more.

New Year’s Eve. Used to be somewhere with a crowd downing highballs and dancing a bit. Now, I look down the street and see no cars at any house. Most dark. And, most neighbors – and us – in bed by nine.

The permanence of traditional things is all but gone. Dead as yesterday’s black and white television. Life now is a fast-paced, ever-changing, steady drumbeat of trying to keep up. Language. New ways to travel. Fashion. Music – if you can call it that. iPads. Computers. iPhones. Electric cars. Driver-less trucks and robot pizza delivery vehicles. Degrees online. Amazon, Costco and Walmart at your fingertips while putting familiar, local stores out-of-business.

And COVID. This strain. That strain. A new strain coming. Professionals talk of COVID – in one strain or another – being with us from now on. Like the seasonal flu. COVID, in its many forms, threatens what routines we have left.

What will that do to “permanence?” How will that alter our lives? Our relationships? How we live? How will our children and grandchildren learn? Where will they’ll learn? What year will your grandchildren be the age you are now.

Politics. Don’t get me started. The relationships we used to have with our “public servants.” Relationships they used to have among themselves. Real, honest and caring people. People who tried their best to solve problems, To see a need and solve it. No tribalism. No tit-for-tat.

Our military. Must we now worry about a coup? An attempted takeover of our government? It’s not far-fetched. Civilian and military leadership has been “war gaming” the idea – especially since January 6th. Certainly not the permanence we’ve been accustomed to. That we’ve lived with and depended on since 1776.

The word “permanence” itself is in danger of disappearing as our lives are being swept along in this river of constant change. Just as we get familiar with some new variant in our lives, another, more demanding version is introduced. Try keeping up with the words your kids use. New ones created by lifestyle or technology or just “picked up” from a new movie or music video or game on their iPhone.

We used to be able to keep our feet under us. We walked many of the same paths our mothers and fathers walked. And their parents before them. We shared a commonality of slow – but constant – change in our lives that was predictable and usually steady.

There’s no use longing for that type of lifestyle. It’s gone. It’s not coming back. If you hear someone these days talking about things “getting back to normal” or things “being the way they used to be,” stop listening. They’re living in a dream world and not dealing with reality.

Our well-educated seers who used to write and lecture about the “new world” and fed our fascination about the future aren’t as visible these days. Many of their former tomes didn’t come to pass. COVID – among a host of other things – hit us like a speeding truck. Scientific and other “tomorrow anomalies” came at us from new directions. The speed – the energy – the unaccounted for – all got mixed up with a little virus – a little bug – that has swept us in unseen directions and with unseen consequences.

You want permanence? Sorry, my friend, we’re fresh out. And, a new “supply” isn’t expected.