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?”

Conundrum

Author: admin

I’ve recently had two questions rolling around in my head with no answers. Let’s lay them out here and see if you can help.

Question #1: Is the current Republican Party worth saving?

Question #2. Can a Conservative, viable Republican Party – a la pre-Donald Trump – be created?

Here’s my take so far: question #1, No. Question #2, Yes. Maybe.

Let’s deal with question one. Trump has turned what was, once, a respected political party into a cult. Some sane Republicans remain but their ranks are fewer. The followers – most of whom were probably Republicans or unaffiliated – seem to swallow whatever “wisdom” he throws their way as “gospel truth.” His “big lie” has become their mantra.

Despite the dishonesty, thievery and absurdities, Trump is – and will continue to be – a force to be reckoned with. What affect the likely indictment(s), for one crime or another, will have on his followers is an open question. I’d guess his impact will lessen.

What passes as the Republican Party, at the moment, seems captive to him. I’m certain there are many sane, responsible members of the GOP who want nothing to do with what’s called “the Trump wing” of the Republican Party. But, he IS the Republican Party.

The problem is, those folks who want to see change don’t seem able to wrest what’s left of the Party from his control. They have no alternative “core” or voice to rally around. Even the Chair of the Party is a Trumper, So, Trump’s voice is the only one heard. His behind-the-scenes influence goes unchecked. At the moment, the GOP seems to be the “Trump GOP.”

If we agree with this evidence – and much more – the answer to question #1 is probably “no.”

So, question two. “Can a viable Republican Party be created?” Possibly. But, to create it, it seems there would have to be a “Republican Two” or “Republican Lite” or – well, you come up with a new moniker.

Whatever it is, the second GOP would have to have a new core, a set of values more nearly aligned with the original. Someone – several someone’s – must come forward with a message acceptable to disaffected Republicans. A sound platform of issues around which others could join must be created. A rebirth of “Republicanism” seems necessary to save the Party from itself.

At the moment, I don’t know who has the gravitas to make a clear, clarion call. Some folks want former Secretary of State Colin Powell to step forward. Great. But Powell is 84-years-old. The likelihood he’d give up a well-earned retirement at that age is pretty slim.

There’s Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania who may lose his Senate seat in 2021, also several other GOP leaders who have national notoriety, but I can’t name very many. And, certainly, none who’ve remained active in leadership of the Party since Trump.

So, it would seem the answer to question two is “Maybe.”

We’re about 16 months away from the 2021 election. Not a lot of time to create the kind of second “GOP” necessary, with a viable core and new candidates with new messages. Not much time at all.

Give those two questions some thought. And, if you come up with some different ideas, I’d like to hear from you. We – you and I – are where the answers to these questions have to come from. It’s worth some time to give them some serious thought.

About damned time

Author: admin

I came across something this week I’d not heard of but, looking at the group’s website, it may be something more of us should check out.

Twenty-nine members of the U.S. House formed a group called “Problem Solver’s Caucus.” A quick look at its website is very enlightening.

Members – from both parties – got together because they were fed up with the continuing battles in Congress and the deep, very deep divide between the two parties. Most members are fairly new to Capitol Hill and, it would seem from the long list of subjects they’ve reached agreement on, they’re on a serious mission to get things done.

Here’s a sampling of their projects: Coronavirus Recovery and Contingency Planning; Criminal Justice Reform; Immigration; Health Care; Infrastructure and more.

All their work is meant to be bi-partisan. For example, when you’re working on Criminal Justice Reform with Van Jones, Grover Norquist, Congressman Hakeen Jeffries and Jared Kushner – yes, that Jared Kushner – you’ve GOT to be “bi-partisan.”

The “Solvers” agreed to support three separate bills on Guns and School Safety. Though more needs to be done on the subject, they were successful in moving the ball. A bit. So far. In addition, funding for mental health programs have been enacted into law. Another “Problem Solvers” effort.

They’ve even reached across Statuary Hall to the Senate to get Susan Collins, Joe Manchin and Bill Cassidy involved with the “Solvers” to get something done to lower prescription drug prices. Like the other issues, the work is ongoing.

All 29 voted, as a bloc, on immigration reform. One of their projects is to “deliver aid to children and families at the border that might otherwise have been delayed due to partisan divides in the House and Senate.” The group also is having “discussions to explore viable solutions building on agreements drafted (in the) last Congress.”

Given we, as a nation, have had to put up with failed efforts by this Congress and others in the past, to get down to work on serious business because of continued wrangling, this “Problem Solver’s Caucus” sounds like a great idea!

Though Congress has suffered from continued GOP “party line” voting on many important issues in recent months, I’ve thought, many times, some of those people must have had to swallow hard on an issue – or two or three or a dozen. Things like voting rights legislation or education funding. Got to be tough to vote “no” on something just because the Party Leader says to when, in your heart, you want to vote “yes. And, you know you’re right.

But, the continuing obstinance by the GOP may be coming a bit unraveled. Last week, 35 of ‘em broke ranks with GOP leaders to support creation of a Congressional Commission to examine the events of the January 6th Capitol Hill riot. Many of the “Problem Solvers” were among the “Yes” votes.

Mitch McConnell wants to “deep six” the bill when it hits the Senate floor. But, there could be some defectors in the ranks. Some members of Congress who had to seek shelter during the attack, may have some deeply personal feelings about the ordeal, such as, maybe, Mitt Romney. So, while court actions and several other legal efforts are underway, there may be Senators who want such a Commission – just because they want to have their say. Like Mitt Romney.

Though I find no such “Problem Solvers” group in the Senate at the moment, who knows? There may eventually be some who make such a “leap of faith.” Surely, there are at least a few on both sides – tired of the fractiousness – wanting to join forces to get things done.

The names of a third of the Senate will be on ballots in the 2022 election. They’ll all have to face we electors. There’ll be some casualties, no doubt.

While it’s too early to make predictions of who’ll be winners and who’ll be on the casualty list, one thing is sure. A lot of us are fed up with the acrimony and party-line voting. We’re tired of seeing good legislation buried because of a few egos.

There was some “house cleaning” in 2020. It’s to be hoped more of the same is in store about 16 months hence. Increasing the ranks of the “Problem Solvers Caucus” and introducing the same concept in the Senate may be ideas who’s time has come.

Yes, Sir! It’s about damned time!

They done her wrong

Author: admin

I’m not fan of Liz Cheney. Too close to the edge of the flat, far-right earth for me.

So saying, her fellow Republicans have screwed her over in steam-roller style. She’s right. They’re wrong. Very wrong.

The depth of willingness of millions of Americans to follow that horse’s patoot in Florida, astride his golden elephant, is both stunning and embarrassing. But, that’s what many Republican office holders – and the great “unwashed” – are apparently doing.

If you look at the short game, the Cheney episode is likely the first of many purges to come. Purity has always been the Achilles heel of the far right. That’s why there are so many spinoffs and splintering. Our political landscape is awash with little Republican factions because, sooner or later, someone in the group is deemed “unworthy” so he/she is exiled. And a new group is formed.

“King” Trump and current Royal Jester, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, have sent Cheney to GOP purgatory so they can install a willing replacement who buys into Trumps fantasy of his “shadow presidency.”

In the short game, it seems Trump and his deliberately ignorant followers are ahead.

But, I’d bet Liz has a small, experienced, whispering voice near her ear. And that “small voice” is non-other than her father – one of the most dangerous and domineering “voices” in American politics for the last 50 years. Ol’ Richard himself.

Which should shift our focus to the long game – a game the elder Cheney played for decades in Congress and in the back office of the White House.

Her op-ed in The Washington Post a few weeks back, was all but an official announcement of her future plans. It was full of highfalutin thoughts of a Republican Party being “true to its historic values and principles” – her desire for a “truly Conservative America” – “the rule of law” – and a Party “at a turning point in its history.” It would be easy for a political writer to make a realistic party platform of such words.

I think Liz has a staked out a path for herself. While Ol’ Dick is a trusted voice to many, she doesn’t need a lot of fatherly advice. She’s a good thinker who rapidly rose through the GOP ranks from a back bench to a front seat in quick order. Even with just few a years in office, she rose to leadership by proving her worth.

But – she and Daddy together, have thousands of contacts within the Party. They’ve got unlisted phone numbers, very private email lists. Both are on a first-name basis with national figures. And, they know the “back avenues” necessary to get things done in Washington.

I’d bet Ol’ Dick is trying to position his daughter as a stable, experienced, viable Republican leader who other “right-thinking” Republicans can rally around. There could be talk in the Cheney Wyoming compound of a second Republican Party – Republican “light” – an effort to build anew by attracting disappointed and wayward GOP’ers who ain’t Trumpers.

Liz Cheney is making news these days. Some even predict she’ll run for president in 2024. Very, very doubtful. But, while current news is mostly about Republican supporters of the Mar-a-Lago Moola getting rid of her, solid, right-thinking Republicans and a lot of Independents and Democrats know DJT and his faction of the GOP “done her wrong.” She’s receiving a lot of sympathy. And sympathy is often good currency in politics.

Short game – he wins. Long game – there’s a lot of “playing” to be done between now and 2024. The “game” ain’t over.

Buy a program. Get some popcorn. Take a seat and see how it goes.

A dismal performance

Author: admin

I was a journalistic “young pup’ when I started covering the Idaho Legislature in early 1967. Young in both age and experience.

But, after all these 50-plus years, I still remember the basic tenets of Idaho Republicanism: strong local responsibility and local control. The Legislature – for many years – practiced that philosophy. It also strongly opposed “unfunded mandates” – government at any level imposing something without funding it.

Then, something changed. As years went on, the Idaho Legislature became a “mother hen” and local governing bodies became the “chicks” to be directed and/or disciplined at will.

Also, there was a distinct emergence of “conservative” thought that tilted toward authoritarianism in Republican ranks. Cities and counties – even school boards – began receiving not only unfunded mandates, but prohibitions against this and that. The City of Boise was a favorite target.

The most recent evidence is the new law banning state school funding if, in some way, students are “forced to adopt or adhere to” a belief that an individual is somehow responsible for actions committed in the past by members of their race or identity group.

Further, schools may not teach that one identity group is ‘superior.” There are words like “critical race theory” and “liberal indoctrination” thrown around. Seems the folks on the third floor believe such is already being taught in Idaho schools.

So much for “local responsibility” and “local control.” Shot to hell.

Then, you’ve got ol’ Mitch McConnell joining the chorus. In a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, he wants all schools in the country to “abandon curriculum” that McConnell claims is “telling a revisionist history of America’s founding.”

Bottom line is McConnell and Idaho’s legislature are trying to keep students from being taught anything dealing with a New York Times research project called “Project 1619.” Period.

McConnell claims – and the Idaho Legislature apparently agrees – the project “re-orients” the view of American history “away from its intended purpose toward a politicized and divisive agenda.”

“Project 1619″ was first published last year and quickly became a target of today’s “conservatives” nationwide. In actuality, it re-frames American history around the date of August, 1619, when the first slave ship arrived on our shores. All the clamor is about the Project’s claim the legacy of slavery has helped shape the nation’s history, especially as it relates to treatment of Black Americans. That’s it!

California uses the Project’s curriculum. Other school districts in other states are considering it. Republicans are claiming – falsely – that the federal government is “forcing” local districts to follow California’s lead. Pure B.S..

While the federal Department of Education has proposed offering grant money to school districts to incentivize use of the program, it cannot “force” use of any materials. Adoption – or rejection – of “Project 1619″ is entirely in the hands of local school boards. As it should be.

But, Idaho politicians have now forbidden any local board from even considering the program.

The use of “Project 1619″ material – like sex education and other “hot button” politicizing – is a LOCAL matter. Local school boards should be free to pick and choose what classes should be taught. But, legislators have decided they know best – they know what every local school board in Idaho needs to do. And NOT do.
By their action – and with Governor Little’s signature – this new Idaho law, again, upholds the vaunted Republican history of “local control.”

The current Idaho Legislature – based on very solid evidence – has been described by long-time observers as the “worst legislative session in Idaho history.” I strongly agree.

As a body, it has acted as though modern thought and contemporary life are antithetical to what today’s Idaho lifestyle and environment should be. It’s passed restrictive legislation forbidding other levels of government from acting in their own local interests.

It has foolishly struck down necessary – and constitutionally required – state funding for public schools and higher education. It has wasted valuable time and other resources by grandstanding about this and that. It has consistently ignored public opinion on many issues. It has turned a deaf ear to voter desires to engage itself in mindless “conservative” debate.

There’s a distinct difference in what Idahoans seem to want on various issues from the backward direction of the Idaho Legislature. To change that direction – if polling is accurate – people responding to pollsters need to march straight to a voting booth and turn their responses into votes. Votes that can make a difference.

There’s a strong need right now for those old Republican values of thrift, honoring local government control, listening to the voter’s voice And responding.

Sometimes, the best way forward is to honor the past. And act accordingly.