One country? Or two?

Author: admin

How long can this nation run as two “countries?”

We really are, you know. Think of a blue state. Think of a red state. Now, consider. Are they politically more alike or more different – one from the other?

Let’s use Oregon (blue) and Florida (red). Politically, alike? Or different?

The answer, of course, is different. Very different. And the governors? They couldn’t be more unalike. In fact, set Florida’s DeSantis alongside Oregon’s Brown or governor of any blue state. The differences are immense!

Do the same with Abbott of Texas, red state Republican, and Griffin, blue state Democrat of New Mexico. Many differences. Also Witmer, blue state Michigan, and Little, red state Idaho. Similar or different?

For some months now, it seems we’ve been walking a fine line when it comes to governance of blue and red states. And temperament. Not much push back from either color during our national COVID pandemic. Or much else, for that matter. Until now.

Now, DeSantis and Abbott (reds) are showing some ill-conceived push back against President Biden (blue). In fact, DeSantis has been downright nasty. “I don’t want to hear any COVID ‘blip’ out of you,” he addressed the President through the media. If the voters ignore his very public drive to be the GOP presidential nominee in 2024, he may live to regret such disrespectful language. To say nothing of the needless deaths he’s caused.

Abbott has been similarly angry about CDC guidelines and the feds putting pressure on the unvaccinated.

In fact, with only two exceptions I can think of, most governors of red states have been somewhat hard to get along with lately. Huckabee of Arkansas has apparently had a recent “conversion” to the need for more vaccinations and masks after first signing an anti-mask mandate. Larry Hogan of Maryland has been pretty agreeable from the git-go.

But, the rest? Angry. Resentful. Tough talk. Not showing the necessary respect for this pandemic of ours or doing what’s within their powers to help us all. Many determined to go their own uninformed ways, leaving bodies behind.

Now, suppose this Delta variant gets so far out of hand that CDC deems it necessary to have a nationwide crackdown to stop the threat. Suppose, too, that Biden agrees and issues a mandatory vaccination order. How would the top executives of nearly all the red states react? How many “Nos” and “Hell Nos” would you hear?

Then what happens?

I had a dream the other night. A political sort of dream. In that dream, we were still a nation of two political parties. But, not the parties we know and have lived with for more than a century. No, in my dream, the two parties were “Red” and “Blue.” Red states and blue states.

And, when there were contested national races, the underlying goal was to convert a state of the other color to yours. Say your candidate wins the White House, maybe you change the other color to yours and, at least temporarily, your color becomes more dominant. Or catches up.

Fanciful? Of course. Not realistic? Could be. Never happen? Never?

The national political alignment we’ve had is being stretched out of shape. The divisions between Democrats and Republicans are growing wider each day. The old coalitions offering different-but-compatible views on issues are all but gone. Coalitions, today, are more aligned with differing views on things within the same party.

Last week’s Ohio congressional race not only pitted Democrat against Democrat, it was the “progressive” versus the “moderate.” Head-to-head. Bernie Sanders and his “horse” against Jim Clyburn and his horse. Very different views. The “moderate horse” won. Republicans had 11 runners to choose from. Statistically, a guy could win with 10% of the vote. And you’d call him the “winner?” Really?

Democrats have long had the habit of not sticking together. Once successful – candidate or party – there’s an almost instant kerfuffle. Used to be called the “circular firing squad.” Republicans, too, split and split again. Used to be “left to right.” Now, it’s “right to righter.”

After the Boomers, the next couple of “generations” coming up aren’t “joiners.” The terms “Democrat” and “Republican” aren’t seen as important. It’s the candidate – regardless of party – or the issue – regardless of party. The long-term maintenance of a political party will not be seen as important as it is today.

So, what will we have? Maybe “red” and “blue?”

This scenario is not as far-fetched as it may seem. Over the last 245 years of our history, we’ve had many political parties. Standing for many political reasons. Politics and permanence are not necessarily bedfellows.

Given the upcoming generation’s seeming indifference to “joining” and… given the political splits and warfare of our current dealings and… given the tests we’re being put to by COVID and all its variants and the larger effects on our nation collectively…a lot of things are changing around us.

Might it come down to “one nation?” Or “two?”

No!

Author: admin

No! NO!! HELL NO!!! Just NO!!

The President of this country wants states to PAY people $100 to get COVID vaccinations! NO! Paying people to do what’s right – what’s medically required – what might save their lives – is a lousy idea. What comes next? Paying people to file their taxes? Get driver’s licenses? Going to the doctor? What? It sets a lousy, dangerous national precedent and is a bad use of government authority, no matter who does it.

It’s a fact the new Delta strain of COVID-19 is more deadly and spreads much easier than the original. We know those without vaccinations are more likely to contract the disease. Even die from it. I know that.

I also know only just under 50–percent of us have done what’s right. What’s absolutely necessary. We’ve gotten our shots. Some have had two. And we didn’t get paid to do the right thing. To protect ourselves and our neighbors. It’s just what you do.

Given we’re in the second year of a pandemic, with no end in sight, there have been plenty of warnings – plenty of pleadings – for people to get vaccinated. For some damned reason, only about half of us have. I know.

There’ve been the usual excuses – all the mind-numbing “reasons” – all the childish lying – for not getting the possibly life-saving shots. None hold up to hard medical facts. What does hold up is the indifference to doing the right thing, for one’s own sake and making another possible disease-carrying threat to our lives. And the lives of those we love.

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control is warning, in rare cases, even some who’ve been vaccinated can be carriers. Some. That means another possible source for contamination. But, no reason not to get the shots!

And mask wearing. Are we supposed to think that the unvaccinated and the anti-vaxers are going to “mask up” when out and about? Really? It’s much more likely the re-masking task will be undertaken by those of us who’ve been poked. Much more likely.

I remember, some months ago, Barb and I scoured the old I-net, frantically looking for a site to sign up for the original COVID shots. Weeks – literally weeks – of looking finally resulted in getting appointments. Hers five minutes from home. Mine, a 20 mile round trip. But, we got ‘em. Twice.
Now, a third shot – a vaccine booster shot – is being talked about. Pfizer Lab folks say, for those of us over 65, it would provide an 11-fold increase in protection. With that kind of positive news, it’s likely there will be another round of shots. At our house, we’ll sign up again.

Rather than pay miscreants and the factually-challenged $100, a better mission for government – federal, at least – would be coming up with some way to stop the flow of lies and fact-less information.

There’s the First Amendment to the Constitution. I know. I know. I’ve spent a lifetime being a First Amendment advocate. And, sometimes, I had to swallow hard defending speech I hated.

But, there’s plenty of evidence Faux Neus, Newsmax and other far-right media, are prime purveyors of distortions, half-truths and flat-out lies. And, there’s also plenty of evidence that many – if not most – of the unvaccinated look to these voices of lies and distortions as their only source of “information.” This “closed-circuit” of bad information creates a distorted reality and denial of facts.

While there are some who are just plain anti-vaxers, millions of other folks are avoiding vaccinations because of this steady flow of reinforcement they receive – reinforcement based on distortion and lies. Many truly believe they are “right” not to get the shots. Their accepted sources of “reality” – Faux Neus and the rest – repeatedly tell them so.

Somehow – someway – for the literal survival of the nation – the massive amounts of fact-less, bad information must be stopped. The First Amendment was never meant to shield voices of threats to our own national survival. But, that’s what’s happening.

If 10-20-million unvaccinated citizens are allowed to remain unvaccinated carriers of COVID – current or strains yet to be seen – our health system will collapse. Our national economy will be crippled for lack of workers, sickened or dead because of an unchecked pandemic. Our national security could be dangerously threatened.

But, pay them to do the right thing – the responsible thing – NO!

We already have businesses putting the hammer down. Citibank, for one, has altered its employee card access system to the large main headquarters in New York City. Unvaccinated workers are being denied electronic entry. Federal employees, and contractors seeking federal work, must be vaccinated. There’s a restaurant in California that requiring proof of vaccinations before seating. Other private efforts are underway.

No, this will not get everyone. But, working together and toughening up, such efforts will get a lot of the unvaccinated. A lot! And could make the difference.

Getting vaccinated against COVID is not only a high personal priority. It’s also become a national priority of citizenship.
 

Ain’t Happening

Author: admin

There are people, in every time and in every land,
who want to stop history in its tracks.
They fear the future, mistrust the present
and invoke the security of a comfortable past.
Which, in fact, never existed.

Those are the words of Robert Kennedy, spoken on the presidential campaign trail in 1968, a few weeks before he was assassinated.

Those words, to me, essentially describe the anti-vaxxers and the Trumpers who believe in their false prophet. They “mistrust the present” and long to return to a past that “never existed.” They believe they can relive 1954 again. Which, of course, they can’t.

As for the America of the ‘50’s being “perfect,” I remember “nuclear bomb” drills with kids hiding under desks for “protection,”the military draft interfering with the futures of millions of young men, the Korean War, beginnings of the war in Viet Nam, iron lung machines for polio victims and a lot more. It wasn’t all “Mom and apple pie.” “Dinah Shore and Chevrolet.”

Kennedy’s words, spoken long before Trump became a twice-impeached President, seem to describe why some 30-million souls ignore the realities of today. Millions now live and believe the lies that make up the prison of their imaginary world.

President Biden, speaking “off-the-cuff,” recently opined Faux Neus was “killing people.” Later, he amended those words, softening them just a bit.

But, as originally spoken, Biden’s words do have a truthful basis. Faux, and their equally complicit partners at Newsmax and One News, are spreading lies about vaccines and their effectiveness as they urge millions of viewers to reject the underlying science. With COVID on the increase in 50 states, medical statistics confirm more than 90-percent of the recent dead were unvaccinated. That’s a fact. All the right-wing B.S. to the contrary.

In addition, the continuing lies are eating at the base of our Republic. Millions of Americans are “believers.” A recent poll of Republican voters showed some 62-percent believe Biden is either not the President or that his election was a fraud. Sixty-two-percent! How can governance – by either party – be effective if that many of the governed believe the system under which they live is false?

The politicizing of our pandemic by those purveyors of lies is “the gift that keeps on giving.” By mixing COVID with politics, capitalizing on fears associated by millions when it comes to medical science, adding a constant stream of lies emanating from right-wing media, with Trump seen as the “savior” of their non-existent world, the mix has created fear, hostility and anger across the country. In fact, Biden was right!

Interesting little background check here. Faux Neus is home to Hannity, Ingraham, Cavuto, Bongino and Doocy. All of whom have heaped praise on Trump and bad-mouthed vaccinations. Which makes it interesting to note that all have been vaccinated. All of ‘em! Further, Faux has instituted an internal “COVID passport.” Get a shot, put it on your “passport” and you can avoid the daily testing of all employees. Isn’t that sweet?

Still their voices form a daily “choir” of lies, half-truths and ignorance directed at an audience of millions who swallow all the verbal swill these people dish out. Reminds me of one of the political truth’s of years gone by: “Ignore what they say – watch what they do.”

But, there’s something else interesting to add to all this. Seems recent polling indicates 62-percent of vaccinated Americans at-large – are asking for a booster shot. At the moment, none of the pharmaceutical companies is suggesting that. But, in about three months, we’ll be told to get our seasonal flu shots. Maybe there’ll be a “booster” option offered.

This nation has always had what my Dad called “aginers.” People who opposed one thing or another just out of onryness. Or, determined ignorance. We’ve got our share of those today.

While Kennedy’s words still seem appropriate for our times, they serve only as a societal recognition of the millions who are living in another world. They offer neither response nor a method to overcome the steady flow of misinformation with which we’re afflicted today. Kennedy never had to deal with the media pervasiveness we have in our lives now. There were far-right conspiratorial voices in the ‘50’s,” but not the (un)social media of unedited garbage that fills so much of our lives these days.

While we’re not the first generation having to deal with angry miscreants and outliers by the millions, we are the first having to contend with the constant, daily flow of broadcast and computerized verbal fuel that feeds so many millions. That keeps stoking the angry fires.

First Amendment or not, some way must be found to shut off the spigots of misinformation and falsehoods. If we can’t find an answer to ending the flow of lies being passed off as fact, the fuel for the fires will continue to infiltrate our lives. If that flow can’t be stopped, it will continue to threaten our Republic from within. We must relieve the pressures that could impinge on the freedoms of the rest of us.

I was a supporter of Bobby Kennedy. His words were optimistic, his efforts in various positions of authority were positive and hope-giving.

We could use more of that today.

Remembering Jimmy

Author: admin

Bottom line: Our unvaccinated neighbor(s) poses a threat to our lives for which, if the threat were him firing a gun, he’d be arrested. For being unvaccinated, he’s free to go.

I’ve heard every damned excuse for avoiding the COVID needle and they’re all non-starters – with the only possible exception being someone who, medically, cannot be exposed to the vaccine. Other than that, they’re all pure B.S..

In the very early 1960’s, Dr. Jonas Salk announced a reliable, and thoroughly tested vaccine for polio. I had a friend in second grade – Jimmy Shoemaker – who contracted the disease and was quickly placed in an “iron lung” 150 miles away. Though I didn’t know it in 1943, he’d spend the rest of his life in that damned machine and die at the age of 31.

With that image in mind, when the Salk vaccine was initially available, I made sure our three kids were immediately in line for a little sip from a Dixie cup. Us, too. Tasteless. Almost to the point of being disappointing. I’d expected some medical after-taste as is almost always the case in oral medical treatments.

But, thinking of Jimmy in that damned steel machine, and knowing the effectiveness of the Salk vaccine, there was no decision to make. Go get it. All five of us.

Now, jump ahead 60 years. It’s likely impossible to come up with a source for the politicization of what should have been purely a medical issue. But, early on, that’s exactly what happened with COVID-19. The anti-vaxxers and the loud voices of Trumpers set the tone and here we are. Another needless national division.

COVID is on the rise in all 50 states. People are being hospitalized. People are dying. Needlessly! This should NOT be happening. But, it is. The unvaccinated are walking among us and some could be carriers of COVID. And, I’d bet some of those walkers who’ve made that detestable decision, are also not mask wearers.

So, the rest of us – we who’ve chosen the safer route of vaccination and masks – are ready targets for the COVID many of them are carrying. Though vaccinated, we can be reinfected. The vaccine in our bodies is only about 70-percent effective. We are vulnerable.

With the possible exception of those with well-proven medical problems with vaccines, there’s no excuse fo anti-vaxxers. With COVID or anything else. Full stop.

We’re a nation of laws, though some recent court decisions seemingly challenge that long-standing fact. When facing an international pandemic – COVID or the Black plague or any other terrible, life-threatening disease – we, as citizens, deserve and expect such treatments, as are recognized and effective, to be accessed by all. If not willingly, then I believe, mandated.

My unvaccinated neighbor should not be entitled to be a medical threat to me, my family or the neighborhood. His likelihood of being a carrier – or being infected – pose such a threat to all with whom he comes in contact. As previously stated, what if he carried a loaded rifle and pointed it at all the people who cross his path? Wouldn’t he be considered “armed and dangerous” and, therefore, a threat to the community?

And the politicalization. Overlay a map of the most severe states affected by this deadly disease on one showing states Trump won in 2016 and last year. The red ones. There’s a lot of similarity. Especially Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and – well – you get the idea.

There was a time – long, long ago – in an America now seemingly far, far away – when you lost the argument or the ball game, you stopped arguing and the minority went along with the majority.

No more. Now, we have those who won’t move. Who won’t stop arguing. Who loudly go their own way. As we’ve seen repeatedly, sometimes carrying a weapon. Or a disease.

Even something as simple as being a responsible citizen – not to mention being a responsible parent – when getting a three-second shot to do your part in stopping the spread of a pandemic, brings angry resistance. That’s wrong. That’s the point, when you put all you come into contact with in life-threatening danger; when you become irresponsible. That’s not right!

We’re a nation of freedoms. We’re a nation of choices. But, when you chose to be a danger – and possibly a disease carrier or a killer – to all around you, well, that’s wrong. Just wrong.

There oughta be a law.

Government by fear

Author: admin

There’s a lot of blame and anger in the air these days over the actions of legislative bodies in 28 states to limit voting access.

“This state.” “That state.” Pick one.

But, truth be told, that blame and anger is being directed at the wrong target. Those legislative folk are doing what the law allows. Now. If you’re angry about people – mainly people of color – being limited in voting access, I suggest the proper target is Chief Justice Roberts of the U.S. Supreme court.

More specifically, you can direct your anger at both Roberts and the U.S. Congress. That latter body did nothing specifically about voting access when it came time to renew the Voting Rights Act in 2006. And, that renewal – without dealing with a previously struck access portion – was a huge mistake. Huge!.

Let’s take a step back to a case before SCOTUS – a year or two before Congress got to the renewal stage. The case – the one Roberts was addressing – was Shelby County versus Holder.

In the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, there was a provision requiring states with a history of shutting out voters, to submit to SCOTUS any changes in their voting laws prior to adoption. With that law on the books, incidents of voter exclusion dropped dramatically. For years, things stayed pretty calm.

Then came Shelby v Holder. The petitioners claimed – with good evidence at that time – that the portion of the Voting Rights Act requiring SCOTUS approval of new voting laws was no longer necessary. The states being “punished”by the pre-approval process were doing just fine. No problems.

Stepping up to write the opinion was Chief Justice Roberts. The states in question – mainly in the South – had so few voter access problems, he reasoned, that pre-approval of changes to voting laws from then on was “unnecessary.” So, that portion of the law was eliminated.

Later, when it came time to renew the law – without the pre-approval requirement – Congress went ahead and did so. And, therein lies the problem. That missing “pre-approval” had been challenged four previous times. And Robert’s ruling was upheld four previous times.

So, States like Georgia, North/South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas stopped sending SCOTUS the new laws – because of the Roberts ruling – and they were off to the races.

Now, largely Democrat communities within those states are, in many instances, being handcuffed. New laws are being passed, so restrictive, that people – mainly people of color – are being stopped at the polling place door. At the same time, Republicans have begun purging elections officials not to their liking and, as in our Arizona “fraudit,” beginning to challenge voting results for the same reason.

Naturally, with the despicable leadership/assistance of one D.J. Trump, the next step is to undermine voter confidence in our tried-and-true elections systems. An action already underway.

It would seem – to this non-attorney mind – the only way to stop what 28 states are doing to disenfranchise voters they don’t like is for Congress to again take up the 1964 Voting Rights Act and reinsert some voter protection. If not the original pre-approval requirement, then something else that will stop what’s happening in Red states.

A good case can be made that the underlying motivation for these largely
Republican attacks on our voting system is fear. Fear this nation will soon be no longer one with a White majority. Fear of emerging minorities. Fear younger voters are less attracted to the traditional two-party system. Fear the nation will be governed less by the previously White majority and more by the new multi-racial collaboration of minorities. Fear. F-E-A-R.

It’s a sad fact legislatures in certain states, now in largely Republican hands, can’t be trusted to “serve and protect” all their citizens in the most valued right of citizenship: the right to vote. The right to govern. The right to choose. Those offending legislative bodies have to be disciplined – be held accountable – be made more responsible to the very people who gave them their authority – the voter. All voters.

Congress has failed us by not re-authorizing the state accountability portion of the 1964 Voting Rights Act. Chief Justice Roberts has failed us by apparently letting himself be fooled – some years ago – by temporary acquiescence on the part of previously bad actors at the legislative level. He certainly can see now, from his lofty quarters, what’s been happening in 28 states as they’ve made voting access more restrictive.

Robert’s ruling has been proven to be a tragically flawed one. He let the GOP Genie out of the jar. It would appear only our seemingly stalemated Congress can reset the voting system. Will It?

A movie premiere

Author: admin

Now, this story’s gonna take some time to tell. So, hang in here while I try to make everything clear..

One of these days, you may receive an invitation to a “private showing” of a new movie. It’s called “The Deep Rig.” No. No, it’s not the story of a well-drilling operation in the Gulf of Mexico. No, this “rig” is meant to imply somebody – perhaps millions of somebody’s and some not of this earth – conspired to “rig” the 2020 Presidential election.

Cute, huh?

Oh, it gets cuter. ‘Cause this is the yet-to-be-released account of “proof” of all sorts of unsupported claims of how badly Mr. Trump was treated at the polls. And, in the “fraudulent” counting.

Remember Senator Karen Fann? Remember, she’s the Republican Majority Leader in the Arizona Senate and she’s who hired that Cyber-Ninjas guy (without a shred of experience) to conduct the audit of more than two-million votes from our Maricopa County election. Guy’s name is Doug Logan. You gotta remember that ‘cause the cast of characters – conspiracy believers, QAnon believers, former convicts and miscreants – means there will be more names and I don’t want you to be confused.

Well, anyway, there’s a special church for right-wingers in the Phoenix area called Dream City Church. Trump, himself, appeared there last year. And that was the site of the invitation-only premier of “The Deep Rig” about a couple weeks ago. Cost 45-bucks a head. Ms. Fann was there. So were other Arizona Senators. Including former Senator Ken Bennett who’s supposed to be the “impartial” liaison between the legislature and the counting folks. He’s supposed to assure the “validity” of our fraudit. “Unbiased,” he promised. “Accurate,” too.

The big bucks for the video production came from former Overstock CEO Pat Byrne. Proceeds – if significant proceeds there be – are supposed to go to pay for the fraudit which is now in the red ink bucket. Way in.

And, guess who’s appearing in this unfounded conspiracy production? Well, ol’ Doug Logan his-self. The guy who’s heading up the counting disaster. The guy who undertook the challenge with promises of honesty, integrity and other mouthy B.S. a few, long months back.

And, wouldn’t you know? Appearing in a brief supporting role? Why, retired general – and convicted-felon-but-Trump-pardoned – Michael Flynn. He spoke dire warnings and promised a “bombshell” when counting’s done. I think the word “shell” can be scratched and the word “bomb” left in.

Austin Stenibard was there, too. He’s a Qannoner who’s mixed up in all this. After all, he’s had a lot time on his hands since finishing his prison term for extortion or attempted extortion. Nice guy. Just misunderstood.

Starring in the film – just in case you’re not “invited” to a local premier – is our own little political disaster – the fraudit itself! Lots of coliseum floor footage and lots of completely unfounded claims of “illegalities, “uncounted Trump ballots.” “duplicity” and – wait for it – “FRAUD!” No proof offered. No showing of uncounted Trump ballots. Not even an old GOP pensioner claiming his vote was “stole.” No, Sir. Claims aplenty. But, proof of what’s claimed in “The Deep Rig?” Not a whit. And counting’s not done.

Anyone with a pound of common sense knew, from the git-go, this “fraudit” business was all smoke-and-mirrors. The search for any proof of wrongdoing at the polling places – or in the counting – was never the intent. The original idea was to somehow create something that hinted at fraud to give Trump “proof” for his “the-election-was-stolen”circus which is being presented weekly even as we speak. Alas, what started so “nobly” has become a rotted mess on the Veteran’s Coliseum floor.

When this group of elected and unelected bad actors gets to the last ballot and say they have a “result” in hand, who’s going to believe it? Or, any other “pronouncements” forthcoming? If Trump really is looking at this wretched group of conspirators to give him something – anything – useful to back up his discredited claims of wrongdoing, he’s going to be disappointed. But, who knows? He may take the phony information and run with it. He’s proved repeatedly – no facts will stand in his way.

Arizona’s really not a bad place to live. Oh, it’s 113-degrees on the patio at the moment. But, really, with good air conditioning everywhere you go, it’s not unlike where you live. Lots of vaccinated seniors having fun and living the “high life.” Between doctor’s appointments.

Please don’t let this fringe Republican ploy affect your thinking. Come see us. By the time you get here, the Coliseum will have been cleaned, disinfected and all those ballots and equipment will have been taken God knows where. Maricopa County folks don’t want any of it back.

So, it seems, the “work” of all those conservative Republican counters will have been sent to it’s rightful holding place. A large county dump-site. About 15 miles out of town.

Rest of the story

Author: admin

Barb was in Portland last weekend. She’d taken a 10-day swing to the coast to see friends and take a break from the 100+ degree heat of our “beloved” desert home.

She made reservations for flights and rental cars along her two-state route way in advance. She’s an inveterate traveler. Knows the best travel sites and how to create a well-planned itinerary. Which, in this case, she did.

So, last weekend, she was in the City of Roses visiting an old friend. (Sorry about the ‘old,’ Princess). Good restaurants and good conversation.

She got a surprise text Sunday morning. It was someone from American Airlines, texting her the Sunday afternoon flight home to Phoenix had been cancelled and she was rescheduled – without her knowledge or permission – for a flight of the same number two-days later.

After the text, her natural instinct kicked in. She (and her friend) did a little research about American Airlines and found a story about national flight cancellations on CNN. American and other carriers were mentioned.

My guess – being the weekend and newsrooms were staffed by less than the first team – folks just used the handout as a basis for reporting and “went with it.”

The “story” was that more than two-million weekend flying folks across the country were subject to dozens and dozens of flight cancellations. In addition, last Sunday marked the fifth day of that week that the volume of passengers per-day totaled more than two-million. So, some folks needless, to say, were left stranded. Barb had the good fortune to be staying with her friend. But, for thousands of others, it was back to the credit card, paying for a couple more nights on the road.

The “story” said all the furor was because of a” lack of pilots and crews.” Seems, after massive layoffs due to Covid – including pilots – many of those pilots had been put into retraining programs for other aircraft. So, they weren’t available for all the previously scheduled 727 routes.

There was also some gobble-de-gook about “unprecedented weather problems” affecting flights, causing delays and crew problems.

That part of the “story” about weather is somewhat believable. At Sky Harbor in Phoenix, we’ve had some of that “unprecedented” weather with consistent, very high temperatures. Last week broke some records with daily 115-117 temps. The higher the readings, the less air “lift” there is for planes to get airborne. So, that means fewer passengers and less cargo. And we can’t have that, can we? But, it happens here. Every year.

The crux of the” story,” seems to me, to be about problems the airlines created for themselves. Of course, they won’t admit it. But, evidence of “self-inflicted” wounds is pretty strong.

Last Spring, when Covid-19 was wreaking havoc on this nation, airlines scooped up billions of federal dollars to help them stay in business. Which they did – at full strength – for about 90 days. Then, they started laying off personnel – including pilots – by the thousands and moth-balling aircaft here in the desert and at other sites in California, Texas and Nevada.

One of those sites is about 40 miles from my keyboard. Check the location by satellite and you’ll see row after row of planes, all ready to be reactivated at a moment’s notice. Ready for flight status. That was the whole idea. Reactivate quickly as needed. Which, apparently, hasn’t happened or there wouldn’t have been millions of stranded flyers.

The nation’s airlines took billions in handouts to keep going, which they did for three months. Then, they fired thousands (“layoffs” they said), to be recalled in better times.

Well, these are “better times.” At least “better” then they were in the depths of the pandemic. Conditions have improved for most of us. Certainly for nearly all businesses. Including airlines.

So, seeing daily increases in passenger numbers, more people scheduling and actually traveling for the last 90 days or so, why the cancellations? Why are the airlines saying these problems will last into “mid-July?” Why are those planes still sitting on the ground? Why haven’t we seen flight crews reactivated or rehired?

Dollars! Pure and simple. If you can keep all passenger seats filled, the dollars roll in. If you can operate with “skeleton” crews, less people on the payroll, fewer crews to pay. Dollars. If you can realign flight routes from point-to-point, lower operating costs. Dollars!

Why is it, every time big business has a problem, we consumers take it in the shorts? Why do we – by the millions – have our lives upset and have to pick up the costs? Why can’t airlines deal with their internal problems without adding difficulties for millions of flyers who have to cough up more dollars and suffer the delays? Dollars!

I sincerely wish the media – all of ‘em – would read the handout, then do some research – as reporters are supposed to do – before passing on half-baked “information” as gospel. I don’t give a damn if it’s the weekend crew or Wolf Blitzer. A few minutes doing a little digging around can’t be all that hard to do. Even on Saturday and Sunday. Some Google time just looking at Southeast California, Southern Arizona, Southern Nevada and West Texas from a satellite can be very informative.

You’ll learn a lot more than what’s in that damned handout.

Maybe it’s the heat – several days of 117-degrees on our Arizona back porch – maybe it’s the age – more than four score – maybe it’s just life.

In a quiet moment this week, I’ve been thinking about stability in that life. No, it’s more like trying to find stability in our world. Still, more than that, it’s a search for honesty, integrity, accepting responsibility, personal values and the sort of continuity of life as we’ve known it.

Honesty and integrity. Can those be ascribed to many of the members of our national Congress? Not to my thinking. The political give-and-take of past years is gone. The comity. The collegiality. The overall desire to work together for the common good.

Day after day, we see members lying in public statements. And they know they’re lying. They know it! But, that doesn’t seem to matter to them. The January attack on the nation’s capitol. Pictures of the violence, the weapons, the Trump flags, members of Congress running for their lives. All of that is ingrained in our minds. We’ve seen it – witnessed it – been shocked and saddened by it.

But, still, with all that, we daily hear mostly Republican members saying it didn’t happen – nobody died – there was no theat – there was no personal danger. They look at the camera. And lie. Just plain, damned lies!

One political party has completely divorced itself from the duties of office by declaring none of the opposing party’s legislation efforts will be passed. None. Vital, necessary legislation is dying because one party refuses to accept the responsibilities of the oath each member has taken. Before we constituents. And the final words of that oath – “… so help me, God.”

Many communities are grappling with law-and-order issues. Americans – Black Americans – are dying in our streets at the hands of law enforcement out-of-control. We’re witnessing destruction, vandalism, killings on those same streets. In our community a week ago, a guy drove on several of our streets, firing randomly at cars and pedestrians. The tally – after a long chase – one dead and 12 injured.

Even our schools are under attack. State legislatures are creating laws to control school curriculums – bypassing traditional local control. We create a national holiday in remembrance of the end of slavery while – at the same time – we have people trying to stop our schools from teaching the truth about that same slavery. More instability.

Millions of people in this country have no access to health care – to housing – to vital services that should be the right of every American. The concrete sidewalks and alleys of our nation’s streets are the “beds” on which thousands upon thousands sleep each night. When extreme heat or cold keep most of us inside, they live with the elements day and night. Their very suffering causes instability in our society.

Our international relationships with many nations are unstable. Our interdependence on others for many of our needs makes us vulnerable to whatever the political “climate” is currently somewhere else. Our requirements in the marketplace rise and fall at the whims of other nations – even dictators. Access or denial can change quickly, causing instability.

Many of our financial institutions are under attack. Cyber attack. Even business, education and most forms of commerce are openly vulnerable to criminal, international hackers who can bring them to their knees with computer systems used as weapons. The dangers may come from a sophisticated foreign intelligence operation or some teen in a basement bedroom in Portland. How vulnerable is our national power grid?

Even traditional climate and the seasons are unstable. Global warming? Yes. The parched landscape of the American West lies before us – ample evidence alone of the instability that can do heavy damage to our economy.
Whether its coral reefs in the Southern oceans or rapidly dissolving ice caps threatening the world’s shoreline – evidence is everywhere. Coastal cities at home and abroad are threatened. We’re seeing islands off the Louisiana coastline disappearing, forcing residents to move inland.

Religion. Almost always in a state of flux. Last week saw Southern Baptists elect a moderate as president. We also saw the hierarchy of the American branch of the Catholic Church begin proceedings to deny the rite of communion to adult Catholics approving of abortion – even an American President because of his public acceptance of the practice, despite his personal disapproval.

Also in religion, new polling showing less than 25% of Americans identify with a specific religion. The number keeps going down. At the same time, attendance at one religious “service” or another is creeping up. Stability? No. And, it’s possible, the definition of “church” may be changing as well.

Housing? Another basic “need.” The markets – regardless of where you live – have gone crazy, pricing many people out. So called “moderate income housing” is just plain gone. Many of those markets are in a housing “bubble.” When it breaks, even more people will be hurt by conditions.

Economics, politics, commerce, religion, housing, education. You name it. We’re a nation – a world – of instability. For those of us used to a stable environment in our lives, it can be a difficult time. Sure, change is constant and inevitable. But, given Covid and other recent calamities, change seems to have accelerated and, with it, more unstable conditions with which to contend. More pressures to adjust – to accept – to change. More demands on us causing more upset in our lives.

Stability and daily comfort are in short supply these days. And, as individuals, even as a whole society, we are unable to calm daily conditions. We’re swept along in the societal currents.

A search for stability seems to be “a fool’s errand.”

Dammit Dems

Author: admin

An especially loud order for Democrats in the U.S. Senate: DAMMIT, DO SOMETHING!!!

The circular firing squad – known in some quarters as the Democrat Party – is operating as expected. As believed in some circles, “Republicans are incapable of running government and Democrats won’t.”

I have no idea what “Majority leader” Schumer’s long game is. Maybe he doesn’t either. But, currently, Minority leader McConnell has more control even though he’s on the short end of things. McConnell, aided by a couple of recalcitrant Dems, is forcing House-passed legislation – good legislation – to be kept in Schumer’s closet.

If there’s anything Schumer is noted for it’s trying to work in a bi-partisan manner. Get the other side involved and solve issues “together.” Well, six-months into the year, the other side ain’t gonna work “together.” The evidence is overwhelming. They just ain’t gonna do it!!!

In the House, Dems have formed their usual circles and are dividing up the turf they won in 2020. AOC and “the group” are over here. The Black Caucus is over there. Southern Dems have staked out still another corner. And, some just can’t work with anybody.

In the Senate, Senators Sinema and Manchin are ignoring the ”caucus call” and wandering very close to the Republican herd. They’ve become the lynchpin holding up progress and showing no signs of responding to the increasing pressure from their fund-raisers or their campaign work crews that – in Sinema’s case – worked the streets and neighborhoods in the 118-degree Arizona summer. Neither obstructionist is living up to the hopes of what the voters sent them to the Senate to do.

You don’t have to go far on an Arizona street to hear a conversation about dissatisfaction with our purple-haired, tattooed lady in the Senate. Several local Party committees have notified Sinema of their disappointment in her conduct and have reminded her that she’s a Democrat. Her biggest fund-raiser has publically told her to “get in line, do the job or come home.” I suspect Manchin is hearing much the same from Dems in West-by-God-Virginia.

The legislative club Democrats in the Senate hold is the “budget reconciliation act.” It allows them to bundle up a package of legislation and unilaterally push it through to the President’s desk. But, they have to have all 50 Dems with Senate President Pro Tem Harris sitting on the dais and voting with them. 51-50 as it were.

It’s a “hell-of-a-way-to-run-a-railroad” but it’s doable to break up the log jam currently stopping anything important from being done.

The other significant action Dems need to take is killing – and burying for all time – the filibuster. The Senate adopted the filibuster – with its racist background – during the mid-1800’s. It used to force Senators, opposing certain bills, to talk on the floor for hours. Even days. Now, the required talking is gone and simply saying you’re invoking it seems to be enough to stop everything from moving.

The damned thing should die! It’s become nothing more than any one Senator’s devious action to control what happens to certain bills he/she doesn’t like. Rand Paul has used it for years.

The problem Schumer faces if he tries to banish the filibuster, he needs 60 senators to do it. Sixty votes. At the moment – because of the renegade actions of Manchin and Sinema – Schumer doesn’t even have 50 votes. It’s likely there are some Republicans who would support such an action. But, no one who follows political activities can is predicting the outcome of such an effort.

Schumer’s desire for bi-partisanship has, so far, been ineffective. With one trick or another, Ol’ Mitch has brought nearly all things to a halt. Legislation that’s passed the House is lingering – near death – in the Senate.

Repeated public polling has shown voters are far ahead of legislators on nearly every issue. Infrastructure. Voting rights. Efforts to alter the effects of climate change. Though the public significantly favors actions on those subjects – and more – the GOP is not moving. Republicans have shown solid resistance to pursuing legislative action on anything – even the formation of a bi-partisan commission to get to the bottom of the January attack on the Capitol.

It’s time – way past time – for Democrats in both houses to use their slim majorities to hammer some issues home. They’re in charge. Stop the infighting. Get back on the team. Pick up the “ball” and run with it.

At home, Democrats need to fill every vacant office on the ballot, regardless of past defeats. Nutcase Marjorie Taylor Greene won a Senate seat because no Democrat ran against her in the general election. No one.

Public polling is starting to show anger with both parties over the continued stalemate. But, some numbers are starting to improve for Democrats. Polling also shows public anger with Trump and the GOP which is badly split because of him and his continued support of “the big lie.” Estimates of the number of people – mostly Republicans – that still follow his divisive politics range from 15 to 20-million. They have little to no interest in moderation or even what happens to the Republican Party. His “cause” is their “cause.”

Democrats in Congress MUST act, must do everything they can to get things going. At home, there must be solid recruiting of good candidates for the 2022 ballot. Though common political wisdom is that the party of the President typically loses Congressional seats in off-year elections, we aren’t living in “typical times.” These are very “untypical” times.

Pelosi and Schumer need to get out the whips to do what they can. And, we voters need to pay attention and get involved. We need to change the rallying cry from “DAMMIT DEMS” to “GO GET ‘EM, DEMS.”

Fraudit

Author: admin

The “fraudit” of our Arizona 2020 election ballots here in Maricopa County has taken an absolutely stunning turn.

Someone, possibly Republicans – or one Republican – in the Arizona Senate, a guy in Montana and gave him copies of ALL our election data and it’s now at an “undisclosed location” in Montana! Nobody seems to know WHERE!

The newcomer is Ben Cotton of CyFIR (?) a subcontractor to the much-maligned – and deservedly so – Cyber Ninja outfit that’s “in charge” of its very first recount – more than two-million ballots.

Cotton got all the data that was supposed to be kept “under tight security” here in Phoenix while the fraudit was going on. And on. Somebody – not clear who – gave electronic copies of everything to Cotton who went straight to his car and drove to Montana.

His mailing address is a cabin about 20 miles out of Bigfork, 40 miles South of Kalispel, where he says he has a “secure lab.” He didn’t specify exactly what “secure lab” is or what “security” he has.

Now, if he copies, or furnishes copies to a third party, that’s where the real breach could come in. As for me, the fact that Cotton has the data already is a security breach in itself.

So, I have to ask, who the Hell is he?

We really don’t know. We actually wouldn’t have known this much if a former acting director from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission – acting as an accredited observer – hadn’t heard a rumor and tried to track it down.

All contractors – and there are many in this dangerous farce – have denied giving away our data. Nobody will fess-up to knowing where the data went or how it would be handled. And nobody – NOBODY – seems to know how this all came about.

My educated guess would be the culprit is Senator Karen Fann, head of the Senate Republican Majority which created this farce in the first place. She’s a tough ol’ bird who has successfully ducked most media during her infrequent trips to the counting floor. She’s my number one suspect

Cotton said he was keeping the data “secure” but offered no explanation or details. And, of course, the nut-cases in charge of this “fraudit” apparently didn’t ask any follow-up questions.

The fact is this: “security” of our election data in the hands of civilian contractors – with no previous experience – has been near to nothing. People – including media – have been wandering around the counting floor at various times. Now, copies of everything have been “given” to someone who packed his car and drove to the Montana wilderness. Security?

This whole dangerous “fraudit” thing has been out-of-control since the git-go. The word “security” is nearly meaningless. Arizona Republicans have hosted GOP’ers from other states. Legislators, mostly; more than a few from the far-right fringes of the Party. They’re talking replications of our recount disaster. God forbid!

Our ballots have been counted – then recounted – twice! Certified! We know who won. Maybe, more importantly, we know who lost, He did. The loser. And, nothing here is going to change that.

Those are facts! And, we’re certain of them. So, we have to ask again, “What the Hell is going on?”