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?

Big events

Author: admin

So, we’ve had a big week!

A new President sworn in. I got my first COVID shot.

These several days later, I’m still wrestling with which was the bigger event. I suppose, for the sake of unity – “unity” being our new national watchword – I suppose for the sake of “unity,” the interests of the nation are more important than my tender left shoulder.

The Biden day in our lives was most certainly a keeper. Make that KEEPER. We’ve never seen an inaugural done quite that way. Instead of a hundred thousand or two filling the Capitol Mall, we, the nation – Covid wary and weary – were electronically treated to a show unlike any previous presidential inaugural. A show of necessarily limited “Pomp and Circumstance” stolen by a 22-year-old young woman, wise beyond her tender years, who spoke critical truths.

President Biden’s speech – uncharacteristically short for the former Senator – didn’t ring with new, soaring words. Word like “Ask not what you can do for your country…” It was a pretty plain old speech with words of few syllables so more of us could understand without running to our favorite dictionary.

But, that’s just what we wanted and needed. Plainly written. And plainly spoken. No “pie-in-the-sky” promises. No challenges to a “new and better land.” No “Mission to Mars” in our lifetimes. Just sleeves-rolled-up, “here’s what we’re gonna do.”

The line that spoke to me was, “We must stop this uncivil war.” Good play on words because it’s a fact and because we must.

I’m sure most of us believe Biden’s a good man. He is. But, he got to the Oval Office with about 70-million or so Americans voting the other way. Why they voted the other way will keep historians and barflies busy for years.

Bottom line is, many of those folks are going to fume for a long time, making many in their families angry at upcoming Thanksgiving dinners and other family events. They’ll keep their right-wing peace until 2023. By then, they’ll have – in the words of a treasured friend – found another “Great Pumpkin” to rally around. And the rest of us will, again, be treated to their venom, ridicule and lies.

But, that’s the hard core. Seems to me, those looking for a new leader may be more in number than it presently appears. Politically “squishier” than the core believers. They may just watch Biden and crew to see how things pan out. Some could even be Democrat voters by that time. Much depends on what Biden gets done and some of their issues getting resolved.

There’s also a large pool of voters – some undecided, some disaffected, from both national parties – some looking for something new who could be tapped if things calm down. If they see a return to normalcy in their lives. And some better financial conditions for us regular guys.

Time Magazine has a beautiful cover page this week. Shows Biden quietly looking out an Oval Office window. Behind him, a telephone receiver thrown on the floor – piles and piles and piles of bundled paper stacked everywhere. Even a desecrated gold curtain. More than any other examples I’ve seen, it summed up the size of the mess Biden and his crew have to clean up before they can seriously get down to work. Of course, some of the folks at Faux Neus were pissed. Made fun of their former White House “correspondent” they say.

Those who expect Biden to do this or that quickly have to realize, before dealing with the future, he’s got to clean up – or clean out – the toxic mess of work that hasn’t been done for at least four years. And, at the same time, he’s got to start building those new political relationships he talked of during the campaign. Without those, as we’re already seeing, nothing’s gonna happen.

Now, back to my tender shoulder. It was a tough online experience to get that shot. Someone on Facebook said her “81-year-old father would never have figured it out.” Well, I”m 84 and I did. But, it wasn’t easy. Arizona’s Department of Health, etc. put up a horrendous website with “triggers” going every direction. Most were dead ends. Emails came back promising phone calls or other personal contact to answer questions. Nothing of the sort happened.

We have a shot site a mile from us. But, we had to drive 23 miles to be served. And the site of the vaccination was just as bad. Serpentines to drive everywhere with more than one going nowhere. Nurses were pleasant enough and the shot was just a little sting. But, the whole damned thing – online to shot line – was Rube Goldberg personified.

It’s my fervent prayer someone with a little organizational expertise takes charge and reduces the wasted motion and energy by the time my second shot is due two weeks hence. Then, we have to do the same for Barbara when it’s her turn. Twice.

But, wherever you are, PLEASE get yours as soon as your age group is called. Do the paperwork in advance and get it filed out for your appointment. The only way – THE ONLY WAY- we’re gonna kill this Covid animal is getting those shots. Both of ‘em. And I don’t want to hear any of this “anti-vaxer” B.S..

Do it as soon as you can. ‘Course, it won’t give you that special two-major-event-week I had. A presidential inaugural and my Covid shot. Some people just have all the luck.

Under seige

Author: admin

We’re a nation under armed siege. That comes as news to a lot of us. But, more than news, it’s a hard fact.

It sort of “snuck up” on us. And, it didn’t really seem so until January 6th and the attack on Congress by an armed mob. A mob, it seems, that was more organized and focused than first thought.

But, it’s not just there. It’s in nearly all the 50 states as legislatures begin meeting. Local and state police have been called to provide extra security at your nearby statehouse. While still debating whether to meet in person or by remote electronic means for health reasons, the new threats of possibly armed confrontations have taken over as topic #1 for members nearly everywhere.

We’ve already seen some skirmishes in Oregon, Idaho, Washington and elsewhere. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and more. Local folks – and some not so local – showing up with assault rifles and grenades.

The thing that bothers me most about all this – scares me most – is some members of the bodies being attacked seem to have been in on it by skirting security measures and opening doors for attackers. In nearly all such cases, the believed traitors have been Republicans.

And listen to the loud bitching by some in the same party about the new security measures on Capitol Hill. Some GOPers refuse to go through the new metal scanners and deliberately go around them. It’s gotten so bad the Speaker of the House is talking about fines for the miscreants of $5,000-10,000. And higher.

In nearly all instances, the attackers heads are filled with fantasies, irrational conspiracies, Qanon B.S. and whatever Hannity and Ingraham said last night on Faux Neus. Mental junk and mental poison.

In D.C., some of those storming the House and Senate chambers were organized and, as the FBI has discovered, wanted to capture certain members of Congress. “Capture and kill” some hollered.

This is serious business. And it’s getting “seriouser” by the day. So, how to stop this craziness and lawlessness before it gets worse? Because the usual measures won’t work in these unusual times. I see at least one dangerous – and possibly – unconstitutional answer.

When a farmer wants to cut off the supply of water to his crop, he closes the head gate. When someone is snake bit and wants to be sure it doesn’t happen again, he cuts off the head. In other words, you go to the source and kill it.

When “free speech” is twisted out of shape – when “free speech” is weaponized, it becomes our enemy. It becomes something it was never meant to be. Lying, perverted, hate-filled, evil fantasies, deliberate perversion of our “mother tongue” were never meant to be either “free” or “protected” speech.

Now, I’ve spent much of my adult life defending the 1st amendment and free speech. I’ve defended some hateful, rotten speech. I’ve done so while firmly holding my nose at times. I’m a firm believer of the right to free speech.

But, the common denominator here is not “free speech” but speech meant to pervert – too enrage. Meant to create followers, “believers” as it were. Meant to delude minds not centered in reality. It’s meant to bring disparate and often lonely people together with other such folks. And, as we’ve seen on January 6th, its speech meant to arm – to attack – to kidnap.

The I-Net is one “feeder” offering gathering places and unedited, unchecked, totally biased and totally dangerous “free speech.” The private companies that make such speech available must step up, must muster the guts to police and stop the spread. If they don’t, the freedom they enjoy – that other forms of communications don’t – can quickly be cut short by the FCC and Congress. Firm regulation of the unregulated.

Companies – other private and public companies – must stop sponsoring the I-Net platforms, hate radio and lie-filled TV if they continue as is. They – and their advertising companies – need to make certain their dollars are not spent providing hate speech – racist speech, ignorant speech meant to dis-inform and inflame. Money – or the discontinuance of it – speaks very loud.

But, perhaps the hardest thing that must be done deals with Hannity, Ingraham, Limbaugh, Carlson, News Max and the other purveyors of deliberate lies, twisted facts and hate-mongering. They – and others of their ilk in local broadcasts – must be silenced. I know. I know. First amendment and all that. But, again, hate speech is a deliberate attempt to pervert free speech for other purposes. Lies and damned lies, fact-bending, deliberately distorting reality and stoking hate among willing-but-dangerous followers is not free speech.

England has a “media regulator” called Ofcom. It enforces broadcast rules on impartiality and accuracy for all news broadcasters. Those who breach the rules are censured or fined, putting pressures on radio/TV operators to play stories fairly straight.

We need constitutional scholars to gird up for a very important review of “free speech.” NOW! There exists already a list of court-approved banned speech:” pornography, blackmail, threats, etc.. Hate-mongering, deliberate lies, demented fantasies passed off as fact and much, much more need to be re-examined for inclusion.

Desperate times = desperate measures.

Wither thou

Author: admin

O.K.

So, we’ve had an act of sedition or insurrection, vandalism, a death being investigated as homicide, a cop killed, members of Congress being forced to flee or hide-in-place – some seen wearing gas hoods as they ran – theft of significant government property, an undermanned police force overrun and what could accurately be described as an act of attempted government-overthrow underwritten by our President.

Just another chapter in the life of one Donald James Trump? Or, possibly, a forced end to his four-year-term and unrelenting acts of Napoleon-like activities of his presidency?

Hardly! And, a day after the attack, we have a national poll showing some 48% of the Republican Party supports what happened. (IPSOS/MSNBC.) Can you believe that? Nearly half of a long-established, national political party is O.K. with acts described above.

Much has been said/written about all that. More will be. I’ll let the national folks sort it all out. They’ve got larger budgets.

But, here are a few thoughts on all the above. Quite possibly, you can add the end of some young political careers. You’ve got a Senator from Missouri, for example – one Josh Hawley – who’s attached his fortunes to a series of bad decisions by leading the charge to throw out some legitimately cast votes of a few – if not all – states.

On the day after the riot, it was interesting to hear the words of his political mentor – former Senator John Danforth of Missouri – who ran interference for Hawley in the 2018 Republican primaries and helped him beat former Senator Claire McCaskill in the general. Said Danforth, 24-hours after the Capitol attack, about his decision to mentor Hawley, “That was the worst decision of my life.”

You can also add the widely-circulated description of Hawley by another Republican – Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska. Just two words: “dumb ass.” Words not heard much in public by one member of “the world’s greatest deliberative body” to describe a peer. But, “dumb ass” it is. Imagine those words from a Frank Church or a Len Jordan.

But, let’s lift our eyes to the horizon and consider this. The 261 Republicans in Congress are at a dangerous point in their political careers – danger they’ve spent years courting and building. Do they continue to support Trump unquestioningly as they did last year during the impeachment hearings? Or, will they have a “come-to-Jesus-moment” after which they take a hard turn toward the middle of the political landscape?

Our last national vote had some 70-million – more-or-less – Republican souls backing Trump. In other words, listing to the far right. But, subtract those voting “no” on Biden, and those who may be heart-sick, if not downright outraged, by the Capitol attack. And, maybe a few million more who looked at the stock market and didn’t want to upset anything.

My guess is, if that same national election were held today, the outcome might be significantly different. We Americans don’t have much empowerment over the daily activities of our members of Congress. So, we sort of “accept” whatever happens over a two-and-four-year political stretch and use our vote – our legally permitted hammer – to make ourselves heard via the ballot box.

Given Trump’s comments and tweets since the Capitol attack about “staying active” and being “supportive” of those who hew to his crazed line of thought, he’s not going away. For now.

Which creates a problem for the national media. After leaving office in disgrace – to nearly everyone but him – how much coverage does the media give Trump in the future? Like it or not, he’s not going anywhere. He’ll just be getting his mail at a different address. Remember, the media bears some responsibility for DJT’s public persona, giving him, at times, a larger-than-life character status.

So, as he starts bloviating from Mar-A-Lago or Trump Tower, as a former President of these United States, how many minutes does he get nightly on the tube or inches of type in the papers? Aside from the certain legal problems he’ll have, will there be viewer and reader interest in his “comings-and-goings?” Some hard choices ahead for producers/editors concerned with ratings and circulation.

As for the rioters, will those arrested be treated with “kid gloves” as has been the case for decades after D.C. protests? Or will judges, there and around the country, use maximum sentences as the various laws allow? Will the courts send a message to those sick souls that national patience is at an end? One can only hope.

It’s not just politicians who’ve reached a time of political decision-making. Each of us is at that same moment, as well. What kind of governance do we want? How do we want to deal with miscreants who chose violence? What about Hannity/Limbaugh/Beck/Ingraham/Proud Boys/Qanon/Deep State and all the rest?

How will WE deal with them? That’s where you and I come in.

It’s winter here in Arizona. Daytime highs in the 60’s-70’s. Nigh time lows in the 40’s-50’s. No rain. Ever.

This is the time of the “Birds.” Snowbirds.” Except this year.

As I walk Skeezix each morning – or as he walks me – we note the number of empty houses. Lots of ‘em. Many are the second homes of “Snowbirds.” Under normal conditions, those vacant dwellings would be filled with folks from the Dakotas, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Wyoming and Utah. Also, from Europe and elsewhere.

Not now. Covid-19, you see.

There are several related reasons for the reduced number of birds” this year. First and foremost, Maricopa County has been one of the virus “hot spots” in the nation. To date, about 380,276 cases – 7,200 deaths – 26,500 hospital admissions. In a county of some four-million souls. As I said, “hot spot.”

So, a lot of the “Birds” have cancelled the usual trip South. For good reason.

Also, many from up North usually drive down. But, Canadians – and we have a lot of ‘em – have a problem. They can’t drive across the border because of restrictions on travel in both countries. And, if they fly, many have no car/SUV/pickup for local transportation for 4-6 months here. It’s one thing to own two or more residences and, apparently, quite another to rent a vehicle for up to half-a-year.

So, one way or another, COVID-19 has hampered folks in several countries and has cut into the local economy which is almost entirely dependent on tourism. And the ‘Birds.”

We, who live here year-round, view the “Birds” with mixed emotions. Some are friends. Some brighten up the neighborhood with new faces.
In normal times, they certainly add numbers to activities at our multiple, supremely equipped recreation centers and on the dozens of golf courses hereabouts. A real boon to local economies.

But – they also overcrowd our roads and highways, create long lines at almost every venue, bitch about why they weren’t “consulted” when some sort of changes are made to the community in their absence and fill our roads with even more golf carts. Or, as we call the ones equipped to go 35-miles-an-hour, “neighborhood cars.”

Sometimes, you can feel a little tension between the “Birds” who flit back and forth and those of us who “tough it out” in the Arizona summers when the mercury hits 115 or so. But, for the most part, we’ve found them to be good neighbors, happy not having to deal with low temps of 20-30 degrees below zero as happens often in Dakota-Minnesota winters.

In our unincorporated community of some 29,000 folk, we have more than 130 clubs or hobby groups who, for the most part, use our four excellently equipped “rec” centers. Yep, 130+. You get five or six people interested in something and you, too, can charter a club.

When the “Birds” are here, most clubrooms are full of people doing God knows what. Some of their output is very professional. It could be sewing, quilting, leather craft, woodworking, sheet metal or just about anything you can dream up. A lot of it goes to a “village store” for sale.

We have a computer club that’ll fix your clogged up machine for free. The auto club has a world class garage, paint shop and tools only the pro’s use. Wood workers have a first-class facility with anything needed to make just about whatever you can imagine. Large or small.

Snowbirds are an integral part of it all. But, this year, not so much. I see neighbors going into empty “Bird” homes to check to see if everything’s O.K.. Lines at the gas station and the grocery stores aren’t as long as usual for January.

So, between international travel restrictions and some of the highest local COVID-19 numbers in the nation, we’re not seeing the influx of people normal for this time. Yes, some of the “birds” come from other countries.

So, “Birds” haven’t “flown” South this Winter in the typically large numbers. I’d guess those in North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the rest are grumbling about the snow and cold they usually escape.

But, to be honest, the rest of us are enjoying the peace and quiet.

Co-nominees

Author: admin

Well, here we are. On the doorstep of 2021. Ain’t that somethin’?

While it’s good to be rid of 2020, much of what ailed us – as a nation and individually – is going with us into that new year. Nothing we can do about that.

Rather than the traditional “Top Stories of……..” nonsense I despise, I’ve decided on a “Most Hated of 2020” category of the past 366 days. And, wouldn’t you know it, there are co-winners. Or losers.

First, more than anything else, the most dangerous and deadly has to be COVID-19. I know. You might want to nominate something or someone else but that shares the top spot on my list.

Nothing – and I mean NOTHING – has disrupted our lives in the last hundred years or so as much as Coronavirus 2020. Nor has any other event in that same time period killed or maimed so much of the civilian populace. Millions have had it; many scarred for life. More than 370-thousand dead.

No one – and I mean NO ONE – has escaped untouched, though a lot of people may think otherwise. It’s affected all of us in many ways. Maybe just the inconvenience of wearing a mask – or defying the common sense of such an adornment. Maybe it was not having the freedom of unrestricted movement that’s always been part of our heritage. Maybe it was not having some activity in life that you took for granted – going to church or a movie.

Or, it may have affected you as you looked down into the hole beside a casket bearing a loved one about to be interred. For too many, that will be the scar of 2020 that will remain in memory long after.

If we’re looking for something bright on the new year horizon, it may be this: we’ve got promising vaccines coming. For everyone. It may take a few – or many – months, but for all who want the assured protection, it’s here. The pharmaceutical companies, long-despised for their outrageous drug price-gouging, put themselves on a war-like production schedule and several got the new drugs to market in near-record time. The affects of COVID will be greatly reduced in 2021 because of their work.

The co-recipient on my “Most Hated of 2020” is one DONALD J. TRUMP – as the human that affected our lives more than any other.
As with the disease, the after-affects of Trump will be with us for a long, long time. It will take years – long beyond the four-year term of a President Joe Biden – to root out the leavings and rebuild confidence in the institutions of government ravaged by that one individual.

Though we’ve an incredible intelligence community and the best-equipped and best-trained military in the world, they’ve been weakened by his tenure. Failing to acknowledge the oft-proven charges of Russian interference in our lives – and the failure to respond to it – has not deterred Putin. Nor will it. We’ve not mounted strong retaliation or a more aggressive posture. It’s to be hoped a President Biden will apply some retaliatory discipline on the undisciplined Russian.

It’s virtually impossible to overstate the negative affects on this nation because of DJT. The remnants of his footprints are over nearly all of our government. No single occupant of the Oval Office has inflicted so much damage in so short a time.

He came into that office damningly illiterate about facts of government, of economics, of history, of America’s place in the world. To his everlasting shame, he leaves the same as he came.

His future will not be that of the usual ex-president. It’s abundantly clear the other four surviving members of that exclusive group want nothing to do with him in any way.

No, Donald’s future portends a long series of lawsuits and, quite possibly, criminal charges in several cases for past activities, both in and out of the presidency. One or more convictions eventually. It may even turn out he’ll become the first former President of these United States to spend extensive time in a jail cell. Could happen.

The national media is, predictably, going to offer breathless accounts of every move and whisper coming from a Biden White House. And, just as predictably, minutiae from every twist and turn of Trumpworld in 2021 and beyond. While his affects on our lives may be lessened by his governmental absence, his future public persona will still be “news.”

Odd, that the top of my list should be shared by a plague and the most unqualified and – in my mind – the most despicable human to ever occupy the office of President of the United States. But, it is what it is. And our lives are distinctly poorer for both.

Well, we’ll leave the list up on the old bulletin board for a few days. Then, it, too, will be faded and a bit tattered. Much as will the 12 months of 2020 in a bit.

For many of us, the two winners on this list have inflicted some scars. There’ll be some lingering after-affects. From both. But, as this nation has done so many times, we’ll overcome the conflicts and hurt inflicted and “get on with it.” That’s our nature.

It’s also our nature to look out for one another. Stay safe.

Time to listen up

Author: admin

As the Republican Party – from state houses to Congress – sinks slowly into the cowardly, almost loony morass of its own making, we are left to wonder if this nation is about to become ungovernable.

The evidence is everywhere. Look at many GOP governors, from coast to coast, who absolutely refuse to do their sworn duties to confront the COVID-19 deadly consequences head-on. No orders for mask wearing. No orders to shutter businesses like bars and restaurants or other public gathering places. No urgent official expressions for citizens within their jurisdictions to hunker down. And stay there!

In Congress, the utterly unfathomable actions of more than 120 GOP members to put their signatures to the Texas Attorney General’s ridiculous attempt to overturn presidential voting decisions in four other states. Actually put themselves up for certain public disgrace by voluntarily supporting a lie-filled, dead-on-arrival appeal to the United States Supreme Court to change the 2020 presidential votes in other sovereign states.

I’m no lawyer. But, you could see the SCOTUS reaction to such a desperate attempt to deep-six the will of the people a long, long way before the legal axe fell.

Yes, Democrats have a slim majority in the House. And, depending on the runoff elections in Georgia, they could even lock up the Senate with 50-50 seating and tie-breaking decisions in the hands of Vice President-elect Harris sitting in the President of the Senate’s chair.
But, if Georgia voters sustain Republican candidates for the Senate, the numbers will be 52-48. How, then, could President-Elect Biden manage to implement all those campaign promises? Will the Senate, as it has recently under the thumb of Mitch McConnell, become the dead-end for whatever legislation Biden and the Democrats produce?

Odds are plainly, yes.

This country is hurting. The divisions extant from border-to-border are increasingly deepening for lack of real government action at both the state and national levels. Deadlock and lack of willingness of political leaders to get off their asses and lead.

Folks out here in the neighborhoods don’t have $170-thousand-a-year jobs – don’t have staffs to carry their burden – aren’t supported by lobbyist perks – aren’t living lives of privilege.

What they ARE living with are massive layoffs, business failures – many because of our national pandemic – health care costs driving others into bankruptcy and near-starvation in many instances.

At the national level, unreasonable tariffs and Trump’s heavy-hand breaking international treaties have resulted in increased prices in the marketplace. Other factors such as automation wiping out jobs normally done by workers, technological advances requiring retraining – retraining a lot of folks can’t afford – are crippling our country.

There are two more factors overlaying all of this. One, of course, is the pandemic which is affecting all of us. For those who continue to live as if COVID is someone else’s problem, well, wait a little longer – maybe tomorrow – and see if you can continue your “normal” activities without infection. Or maybe, death.

As far as this country’s concerned, the pandemic couldn’t have hit at a worse time. Not that there is actually a “good” time. But, complicating our national response is a President who’s repeatedly lied about what was already here and who’s seemingly washed his hands of leadership. Or, even responsibility. By his incompetence and a degree of self-service not seen since Nero, he’s had a leading role in putting an unconscionable load on our national healthcare system. Because of his indolence, thousands have died and many more thousands are likely scarred for life.

Add to that the fear those most of us feel for our own health and safety. Again the failure of most Republican governors to take actions to help alleviate those largely too real, local concerns.

The second factor affecting most of us is feeling our voices, pleading for help, are falling on deaf ears in Washington. A national sense of no recognition of – and no response to – our immediate needs. In fact, the division between Congress and the rest of us may be the single greatest divide in our nation today.

We need responsive government action at all levels. Not handouts or new welfare programs. We need job training to put people back to work. We need help for the newly-unemployed to pay the rent or the mortgage during these desperate times. We need governors to step up and lay down the law with state-backed efforts to keep us safe from the pandemic. We even need a reliable food distribution system to keep people from starving in this nation of “amber waving grains.”

The idiocy of more than 100 Republican members of Congress getting involved in a “fool’s errand” before our highest court simply adds to the weight of the real problems our nation faces. The unwillingness of GOP governors to take political and personal responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens must end.

The national Republican Party – if such exists – needs to quickly figure out what it is and what it stands for. If Trump continues to be it’s “savior,” Republicans in Congress and State Houses will find their numbers dwindling at the hands of an electorate tired of being ignored.

What the Hell is wrong with us?

We’ve become a nation in which more than a third of its citizens refuse to accept facts, wallow in disinformation and damned lies, threaten public officials in the conduct of their jobs – or at their homes- parading around with guns. What the Hell is wrong with us? Or, more especially, them!

It would be simple – and wrong – to blame Donald J. Trump. He didn’t start it. Most of these people were already angry and looking for someone – or several someone(s) – to give them permission to openly express their anger and frustrations with government and society in general. Trump just showed up on the scene with his keen sense of showmanship and audacity. His specific talent was to offer a misguided and an angry population someone to coalesce around – someone to use the national platform of the presidency to give voice to the voice-less. Something he’s likely to continue in private life.

Before him, all they could do was scream at their radios when Limbaugh spewed his lies and said what they were thinking. They could vent their anger at the TV’s when Hannity blasphemed all over their living rooms and pilloried some public figure they also hated.

In my opinion, Trump’s biggest weapon was he hated the same people they do. He hated the same “liberal establishment” they do. He broadcast to everyone the same baseless accusations they’d made for years with only a spouse or a few friends to hear. He was the answer to a large, angry crowd just waiting for an unprincipled, boastful, lying “savior” to give voice to the voiceless. Their amplifier.

We know 74,223,030 Americans signed up to follow the false prophet while 81,282,903 said “NO” and voted to send their leader back among the populace.

Now, we’re seeing their undisciplined anger in meetings of school boards, health districts, county commission and city councils. They’re at the door with guns. Threatening community leaders at work and at their homes. Shouting their lies and disbelief of actual facts. Pointing dangerous laser lights through windows where they live. Threatening innocent families.

Here, in Arizona, the state GOP has issued an email that asks “Are you willing to die for the Republican Party?” “Die?” Yes, “die!’

Examples of the dangers falling out of this opened “Pandora’s Box” are everywhere. Southwest and North Idaho are under their ‘attack.’ Southern Oregon and Eastern Washington have their armed militias. Nazi swastikas being affixed to Idaho’s Anne Frank memorial. Murder plots found naming governors and other public figures. An itinerant divisiveness spreading lies about election fraud and the absolutely baseless claim that COVID-19 does not exist.

That latter lie is brain-numbing coming from the lips of people who are actually dying of the disease. The last words coming from their lips repeating a lie. A damned lie! Absent families not allowed to be with their loved one, nurses listen in disbelief. A public anger – now personal on a Gurney – a death bed – forming a victim’s last thoughts.

Speaking of Republican’s, where the hell are the 54 in the U.S. Senate?
What voices do you hear coming from the “tomb” – formerly the Senate Chamber? All of them – ALL – have sold their souls to Trump and his minions, accepting his lies as fact, unable to condemn in a trial when the evidence was stacked six-feet high, acting like political handmaidens standing by silently as Trump has repeatedly run amok. Given their subservience, why were a third of ‘em re-elected last month? Don’t we – us – care about their indolence?

President-elect Biden – Uncle Joe – is about to walk into a maelstrom. No president has faced a tougher situation since, probably, Andrew Johnson who became president after the assassination of Lincoln, at the end of the Civil War. Our nation, then, was deeply divided, too.

Biden has cast himself as a healer, someone who can bring us together. He talks of cooperation, of a national cohesion, of taking us to a better place. I’m certain he’ll try.

But, in the streets, how does he restore normalcy to a large population armed to the teeth, threatening elected officials in their work – in their homes? How does he disarm militias in nearly every state who believe – crazily – that a new “Civil War” is necessary and that they are the ones properly preparing for the “battle?” How do you bring COVID deniers to mask-wearing and other tools necessary to combat the deadly disease?

Can we expect he’ll be successful in bringing normalcy out of such chaos? Or, are we, as a nation, entering a time when such conditions are harbingers of the new “normal?”

I don’t have the answers. Nor do you. We’re entering a time – absent Trump – when most of us are wanting peace in our lives. We want cohesion. We want to rid the nation of anger, of discord, of armed interruptions in the conduct of our affairs. We desire a return of respect, of calm, living peacefully with our neighbors.

We want a nation healed. One we can be proud of. Uncle Joe needs all the help we can muster to get there. From all of us.

Rape, ruin and run

Author: admin

Donald Trump’s last days in office are upon us and there seem to be stories in each day’s news of more political destruction, lies, firings and other bad acts

We knew his presidential death throes would be tumultuous and the incoming administration would have to clear away the wreckage before getting down to new business. But, it’s proving to be more than “Where are the hard drives” and more like “Where the Hell are the computers?”

Trump has never lost at anything without the ability to claim “success,” walk away and go on to some other scam – er, failed venture. He’s always had a way out. Declare “victory” and go home.

So, this is the first time he’s had to face flat-out losing. Big time! His greatest personal defeat. No exit. His disgraceful term in office will be constantly in the memories of everyone living today and will be his legacy for many millenniums. He has, as they say, “made his mark.”

It’s going to take the Biden team a long, long time to clean up the mess before starting to download what looks to be a significant entry to the new presidential term. Still, Biden is promising new legislation and his own handful of executive orders on day one. He intends to be a “hard charger” and a “game changer.”

One of the most important tasks he faces is restoring – or attempting to restore – citizen faith in the institutions of government. That may be the most damning legacy of Trump – his four years of denouncing and dismantling of trust in our own government. His attempts at blindly slashing budgets, firing of competent people not to his personal liking, installing completely inexperienced folk in offices of importance, impugning the honesty and reputations of people who “got in his way, and placing his own “spies” in crucial agencies to report on activities of the “unfaithful.”

Trump is not a builder. He’s a user. He’s a destroyer. His failed ventures have left no successes while dealing in bank loans involving billions of dollars over the years. Not one.

To his own discredit, you can add a failed presidency as well.

Trump has spent millions of dollars trying to overthrow one or all state reporting of the presidential election. To no avail. In fact, even A.G. Billy Barr has had to refute some of Trump’s wildest claims.

And, in the most egregious and unprofessional display of television “reporting” ever, Maria Barteromo of Faux Bizness Nuez let Trump have nearly a half-hour to threaten, charge, blaspheme and lie, lie, lie. And lie. Unchallenged. Unanswered and all B.S.. If that happened on “over-the-air” TV, there would’ve been challenges filed with the FCC up the old wazoo.

The late Idaho Governor, Cecil Andrus, used a phrase for individuals and companies that abused public lands. He called it “rape, ruin and run.” When it comes to personal and political conduct, Trump fits that definition to a “T.”

We’ve still got about 45 days of Trump in the White House. What more destructive actions he’ll take is anyone’s guess. But, you can bet, he’s not done.

We hear people talk about a pardon for DJT. Doubtful. He hasn’t been charged or convicted of anything. He may try to pardon his family members but they, too, haven’t been charged. Yet.

It’s not the feds Trump has to be worried about. If any crimes are lodged against him in the future, it’ll most likely be the Southern District of New York, the Manhattan District Attorney or the New York State Attorney General. That last office seems to have a large “working file” on the Trump doings in the “Empire State.” Don’t forget, that was the outfit that shut down the Trump “Foundation” and collected a multi-million dollar fine in the process.

Out of office, Trump still may face charges from Congress. Been some talk of that in the marble hallways. Then, there are those sexual assault charges. Some 28 at last count. Some may be beyond the statute of limitations. But, some may not.

People are talking about Trump getting into the broadcast business with a radio or TV outfit. Could be. With Limbaugh in Stage Four cancer, the Trumpers are going to need a new “voice” of the right.

Whatever he decides to do after 12:01pm on January One, you’ll continue to hear from him. Bet on it! Even if it’s from a jail cell.

“Rape, ruin and run.” Says it all about Donald.