Monday, September 25, 2023

Corruption Eruption

Looks like we’ve got a whole new scandal to chew on, and Republicans are overjoyed that for once, it’s not one of theirs.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is on the hot seat for bribery and influence peddling charges and from the snippets of evidence made public, it looks like he’s in deep doo-doo.

Apparently, the prosecutors have him nailed with envelopes stuffed with cash left in his suit jackets, which sounds like something right out of the Sopranos, bars of gold, text messages showing him working on behalf of Egypt, and much more. You’d think he was preparing for a new world economy following the next Apocalypse.

As usual, the accused is claiming the prosecution has it all wrong. “Ooopsie!”

I maintain that a case like this never hits the news unless it’s nailed down tight. Even the Dems realize this guy’s goose is cooked; unlike the Republicans do, no one is rushing to his defense. That’s the thing with Democrats, when one of ours gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he’s out of the club. Gone! And I’m fine with that.

I do make room for the fact that in New Jersey, the (currently Democratic) governor gets to name a replacement, so there will be no risk of losing a Senate seat to the opposition. If that were not so, I think we might have seen a different response. Which I would understand.

Republicans do not screw around when servicing their power. It doesn’t matter what one of their guys does, if it puts a seat at risk, they rally around him. Or at least refuse to take any action. See Santos, George, aka The Tommy Flanagan of Congress.”

“Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

And I’m sick and tired of our guys taking the honorable approach and then losing seats.

The most egregious examples were the two impeachments. The Dems built a wall of evidence, brick by brick, which formed an undeniable link to high crimes and misdemeanors. I watched a great deal of the proceedings… they had TFG down cold. There was no other possible conclusion.

But what did the Republicans do? They closed their eyes, maintained that they saw nothing, and voted to acquit. Because to them, there is never an up-side to giving up a seat, a policy, a talking point, or anything, ever.

In politics, there are no style points for coming in second. Republicans play zero-sum, smash-mouth politics. If Dems don’t do the same, they have no hope of containing the Fascist threat.

Like this Fascist threat right here:

Just in case anyone thought TFG was kidding when he said he wanted to start locking up his enemies, he made it clear this weekend that he was dead serious about ending our Republic as we know it.

Now he’s adding unfriendly media outlets, (meaning anyone that’s not in the bag for him), especially NBC and affiliates. He wants investigations, sentences, and executions of his perceived enemies. (Note that “trials” are not included.)

The scary part is that if by some abomination, he gets elected again, I believe he can do it. Last time, there were “adults in the room” with him, to keep him from carrying out his most destructive wishes. He won’t make that mistake again and will surround himself with Yes Men and Hit Men, ready to carry out his most unhinged instructions, despite piddly concerns like “laws” and “the Constitution.”

And with so many Federalist Society appointees on the bench, especially the Big Six on the Supreme Court, I don’t see where there’s anyone to stop him.

And it goes without saying that once he’s in, he’s not leaving until they carry him out on his shield. Or in a giant McDonalds bag. He will find a way to effectively eliminate elections and Republicans will line up right behind him. And needless to say, (but I will anyway), if the Dems ever tried the same thing, Republicans would be calling for not only the National Guard to step in, but the Russians as well. After all, it can’t be an atrocity if it’s in their favor.


There’s still no end in sight to the UAW strike, but did anyone think this was going to end quickly? Nah, it’s got all the hallmarks of a long haul… Overly idealistic demands vs. entrenched business practices that will never, ever, end.

The line has been that the UAW is asking for a 46% increase because that’s how much top executives have had their pay increased over the last couple of years. (Way to use that bailout money, guys!)

One thing I haven’t seen anyone discuss, or even float, is a proposition that rather than bring worker pay up by 46%, they have they claw back some of the dough from the execs, rendering their increase to something like 25%. Then they can meet the philosophical demands of the UAW with a raise that’s the same as management.

It could work. But of course, it will never happen. There is zero percent chance that any of these boardroom types parts with a single dollar they’ve earned stolen. Not only is it just not done, it would establish a dangerous precedent for the 1%. Givebacks are for the rank and file, when times are tough, not the execs. The last thing they want is for any other industry to follow suit.


Not that I follow the activities of today’s young pop stars, but I’ve been entertained by the coverage of American Goddess Taylor Swift being linked to a famous football player, Travis Kelce of the KC Chiefs.

She attended his game yesterday and watched it from one of the team suites. (What, you think she’s gonna be out there in the stands, with the rest of the riffraff? She’s no Joan Jett… who totally sits out with the fans when she sees an Orioles game. That’s where I first met her.)

Anyway, she was all over the game coverage, with the press frequently asking the players about it during the post-game presser.

While, like I said, I’m not in the habit of following the movements of pop stars, you can’t help but pick things up just by being aware of the culture. Stories about her frequently show up in my Yahoo news feed, she’s on TV all the time, with interviews, news stories, and whatnot.

My opinion regarding Ms. Swift is that She may be one of the most beautiful women ever created. She’s practically perfect. And I have a great deal of respect for how she’s conducted her own career. She makes sound business judgments, writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments, which is an unfortunate rarity, here in the days of pop idols who are all image over substance.

I’ve never read anything about her being a shit-heel, not even from her legendary exes. I’ve never heard one say, “Oh geez, I’m so glad to get away from that raving harpie! What a pill!” Even after she writes a song about them, I’ve never seen them respond with anything of substance. (Granted, I’m not exactly looking, either.)

All her friends seem to stay for life, or if they do leave her orbit, they keep their yaps shut. No one’s writing any tell-alls about what it’s like to be in her posse.

Yet stories of her kindness and consideration to fans abound. And hey, she pushes voting for Democrats, from her home in Tennessee, which takes some guts.

But her songs? Meh. Totally not my style. When she comes out blazing guitars like AC/DC, I’ll get interested. Speaking as a crusty old White guy, shiny, over-processed, pop music is not for me.

So the thing I noticed about the prospect of dating this football player is that this seems to be the first time she’s going against type. She usually dates these pretty-boy pop singers or actors. I haven’t seen her with a big alpha male yet. This Kelce, he plays the tight end position, and these guys are huge, by definition. (He is 6’6”, 260 lbs.) He spends his days in physical battles with other huge dudes. This guy can make her feel protected, like when she’s followed and harassed by the paparazzi idiots. He seems to be a nice guy, like a better-looking “Gronk,” but I admit that all I have to go on is his media presence. He could be an asshole, so who knows?

So, we’ll see how this works out. Maybe it’s a nice change of pace, or maybe it’s something she didn’t know she needed. Either way, she should at least get a new song out of it.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Drugs, Pugs, Jugs, and Thugs

I’ve been out of the loop a bit for the past couple of weeks, (busy kicking COVID’s ass), so I’ve got some catching up to do on the matters of rivers and streams… in other words, current events.

That was some good news about Biden’s drug negotiations with Medicare kicking in, wasn’t it? Well, unless you’re among 99.9% of the country that’s not an executive with a Big Pharma company. They don’t like this at all because, well, they can’t tell you. But they mean “profits.”

From my friends at Crooks & Liars:

They should look up the meaning of “short term,” huh? Also, I’d like for someone to tell me how “what is best for patients” to pay several hundreds of dollars a month for maintenance drugs when the rest of the world pays a pittance? I’m sure a flak at PhRMA would tell you it’s so they continue to innovate and come up with new drugs, but I call bullshit. Do you really think they’re going to stop inventing drugs (and the syndromes their drugs are supposed to treat), fold up shop, and go home? Of course they’re going to continue to come up with more ways to leach us dry, just like they do every other time a new drug becomes eligible to go generic. As long as we have a for-profit medical system, drug companies will continue to invent ailments and the treatments to fix them.

I was happy to see Xarelto on the list, because that’s a blood thinner I should be taking (per one of my heart doctors), but costs over $300 for a month’s supply. I can almost see it, as a one-shot deal, but blood thinners are often maintenance drugs one has to take over a lifetime, especially after dealing with strokes or heart issues like atrial fibrillation. So any help in that arena should be applauded.

The fact that during the GWB administration, the Republicans actually supported and passed a rule forbidding Medicare to even negotiate on drug prices goes to show you how deeply they are in the pockets of Big Pharma. And they continue to fight about it today!

This is yet another block in the wall of evidence showing why the Republican Party is not on your side.


Moving on…

I’d call Mitch unfit for office too, but there are dozens of reasons more pressing than his freezing up again. The less he says, the better off the country, as far as I’m concerned. But of course, MT Greene had to insert herself into the mix because she couldn’t bear the spotlight not being on her for 15 seconds. Maybe Mitch ought to remind her of the famous quote, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” That’s one she could take to heart, if she had one.

And speaking of this half of the performance art group “Heckle and Dyed,” didn’t Lauren Boebert get herself into some shit this weekend? It cracked me up because it went through the usual alibi cycle: “No, I did NOT do that. People say they saw me do it? Nah, they’re just liberal snowflakes. I absolutely didn’t do it. You have video of me doing it? All right, I did it, but it’s OK because I’m allowed. Don’t you know who I am?

I saw the video and it quite clearly shows her A) vaping, and B) getting herself felt up like she was re-enacting in “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” The video had everything but an old car horn sound effect going “AHH-OOOOH-GA!” I didn’t see her grabbing any peen, but that area was a little darker than the rest and I couldn’t really tell. The dude had a smile on his face though, so probably.

The thing is, I don’t really care about any of that. It just shows she’s crass, entitled, and a liar, but that’s not something that wasn’t apparent before. Yes, she’s a terrible Representative, but that’s based on her stated beliefs, and, well, I was going to say “actions,” but she hasn’t really taken any that’s had an effect.

The ire-raising part of all this to me is that she’s one of the cultural warriors of the Right, putting forth all these rules that her opponents need to follow or be castigated, and she and her cabal of “friends,” do not.

The best response I’ve seen so far is this:

As I recall, AOC was smeared after a video surfaced of her dancing on a rooftop, before she was elected. Just… dancing, like that’s some kind of problem. Has the GOP turned into the townspeople from Footloose? I guess we have to send Kevin Bacon in there to lay some applicable Bible verses on them. I don’t think there’s anything in there about going to second base in a crowded theater though…


Here’s another reminder that we cannot let TFG, nor any of his MAGAts, be elected President, or we’re looking at the end of the Republic. This is the kind of “king” shit that our forefathers expressly wrote out of our Constitution.

TFG wants you to believe he was just going along, minding his own business, all legal-like, when the big bad Democrats decided to go after him. So he has every right to jail his opposition and replace anyone in the entire government who doesn’t pledge allegiance to him.

The fact that there are mountains of evidence that guided every decision to prosecute is beside the point. And that point is that he thinks he has every right to do whatever he wants because he’s White and he (allegedly) has money.

Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t. Or at least he shouldn’t. We still don’t know the level at which he’s stacked the deck.


Congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles, for clinching a playoff berth! I was there in 2014 when they clinched a spot, and it was really exciting. At least at first… I ended up having to leave the park in distress… abdominal distress, so much so that I almost left a trail around the stadium concourse. And then, a month later, at an AL Championship game, it happened again. This time, it took on a Sci-Fi feel.

I only mention the Orioles here because recently, when I was watching a game, I came across a guy with a really unfortunate name.

Yes, the White Sox have a pitcher whose name is Bummer. And it sounds just like you’d think. In a post from last summer, I mentioned that the Orioles have a guy named “Santander,” but rather than pronouncing it “San-TAN-der,” it’s pronounced “Sahn-tahn-DARE.” If this Bummer guy wasn’t able to change his name, (he may have come from a long line of Bummers,) he could at least play with the pronunciation. Like, “No really, my name is pronounced, “Boo-MAIR.”

And it wouldn’t even take any paperwork unless he went whole hog and put an umlaut over the U.

And one last note on fandom…

I hate it when my team plays on Monday night. I guess I made myself forget about it this weekend because I was sitting there on Sunday, all dressed for the game in my best mojo-producing gear… game jersey, team shorts, team socks, and a T-shirt that said “Cleveland Never Rocked.” And then came the realization that they weren’t playing until the next night, so I had to get up and change again. No sense wasting good mojo when your team isn’t even playing.

And last week, my guys got their butts kicked soundly, but I was able to find a bright side. Earlier that morning, I forgot to snap down the clipper guard over the blades of my beard trimmer and accidentally took a notch out of my beard, just below the ear.

The good news is that if my team had won that day, I’d then be obligated to keep taking notches out every week until they lost (and I couldn’t blame it on the jersey I was wearing.) I take my team mojo obligations seriously.

Monday, September 11, 2023

The 'Rona Comes Home

I wasn’t too worried about the tickle in my throat Friday night (9/1). That usually meant I was early for my annual cold, I already had one in May. I get the same cold every year, or at least I did up until the ‘Rona, and I began working from home. I’ve hardly been sick since 2019. My usual cold starts in the throat, migrates to my sinuses, I get tired and lethargic, and it eventually lands in my chest, until I can hack it all out. The whole process usually takes a couple of weeks.

Sweetpea said she had a headache behind her eyes earlier in the week, but I didn’t think much of that.

When I woke up Saturday morning, it was a whole different ballgame. I felt like about nine bags of fuck. I had a sore throat like I was trying to swallow ground glass, aches all up and down my body, especially around my back, chest congestion, and a splitting headache. And the problem with that was that every time I had to cough, (which was often, as I tried to clear my chest and airway,) it felt like the top of my head was going burst open.

This was no gradual thing, more like,

Friday night: “Sweet dreams, don’t let the begbugs bite…”

Saturday morning: “Yaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Welcome to Your Highway to Hell!”

At that point, I consulted a chart I had from 2020 at the onset of COVID. It looked to me like my symptoms lined up more with the flu than the ‘Rona, where I had 7 of the top 8 symptoms. (I did not have the trots.)

Also, I could still taste my food and drink, which I considered the telltale sign that it wasn’t COVID. So I just took some meds to fight the symptoms and waited for my immune system to kick in.

Sunday and Monday were even worse, with the headache intensifying. Nice long weekend, huh? I would get up around nine, have breakfast and do my crossword puzzles, then go back to bed about 11 and stay there for 2-3 hours. I was just beat. I ate a lot of soup, because that’s what I could swallow with the least amount of difficulty. I also lost 5 pounds, so if you want to jump start some weight loss, consider the Soup Diet.

By Tuesday, the headache let up and the body aches went away, and my throat was much less sore. I still had chest and sinus congestion, was easy to tire out. And just when I could swallow comfortably again, I lost the sense of taste.

At that point, Sweetpea and I both took at-home COVID tests and we tested positive.

Dammit! I had avoided it all this time. It wasn’t hard for us to figure out that Sweetpea brought it back to the house from her week of teachers training meetings she had the prior week. (I literally had not left the house for the preceding week.) But her symptoms were much less severe than mine. She just had the headache, some fatigue, and also lost taste.

By Wednesday, my headache and sore throat were gone, I had less chest congestion, but a dry cough at night at times. And my sense of taste returned; Sweetpea’s came back a couple days later. But as such, I lost my opportunity to eat a year’s worth of broccoli and other vegetables I can’t stand, but are good for me. I guess I’ll have to wait until next time.

From Thursday on, I’ve just had mild but clingy chest and sinus congestion, but my energy has been much better. I don’t have any reason to think it won’t continue to fade away, but I’m keeping an eye on things.

It’s been about a year since my last COVID booster and flu shot, so I’ll be anxious to go get jabbed as soon as they release the new versions for fall. I’m grateful that the previous shots kept me out of the hospital.

Yes, my case could have been much worse, but man, I do NOT want to replay those first three days again for anything! That was a truly miserable experience.

Take it from me: get your shots and take distancing and masking seriously.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Station Break - We'll Be Right Back - Update 9/7

I'm sorry I don't have anything for you today,  my friend, but pestilence has visited the House of Bluz. I'm pretty sure I came down with a bad case of flu Friday night and I've felt like crap since Saturday morning. I'm pounding drugs, soup, and naps as best I can. Later this week I hope to be able to create another edition of the kind of bullshit to which you've become accustomed. 

Thursday Update: Sorry, it doesn't look like there will be a proper post this week. I found out on Tuesday that this is actually COVID. I'm feeling much better than I did over the weekend, but I'm still pretty lethargic and muddled. And I've been completely unplugged from the news, other than celebrating a couple of Proud Boyz getting hard time. 

Anyway, I plan to tell the full story in my next regular Monday post.

Monday, August 28, 2023

By Hook or By Crook

I mentioned in some prior posts that the Republicans are now completely comfortable with gaming the system to get what they want. They don’t try to change minds, they change rules. They rig systems right out in the open. They cheat and lie. And they accuse their opponents of doing the same but never seem to have any proof.

This is such a widely used tactic now, that it might as well be a plank in their party platform (if they ever actually create another one). Here are some current examples:

Setback: Losing the “Youth Vote.”

GOP Solution: Raise the voting age! Who cares what they think if they can’t vote? They can have any gun they want and be forced to have babies, but they’re not old enough to reasonably consider their vote.

Also, put the squeeze on by eliminating the Dept. of Education, cutting funding for schools and programs, keeping student loan interest rates high, purging faculties of suspected liberals, and replacing them with reliable conservative or religious mouthpieces.

Setback: Unpopularity of strict abortion laws, losing the “Woman” vote.

GOP Solution: Since The People keep voting for referenda that support the right to reproductive freedom (by either refusing to enact harsh limits or passing privacy guarantees), not only are Repubs refusing to propose abortion-limiting referenda, they’re trying to kneecap the process by attempting to enact higher thresholds for passage of any referendum, or raising the degree of difficulty in even proposing one. (See: Ohio.)

In another angle, because abortion has become such a wedge and they’re becoming much less successful at attacking abortion in the states, they’re now pushing for a national ban. That takes the states out of play completely and puts the matter in the hands of the 6 bought-and-paid-for, anti-abortion Supreme Court justices. All they need is a way to weasel it past Democratic rivals in the legislative and executive branches, through either elections or horse trading.

Late Update: Now the Ohio Secretary of State has rewritten the language for what is to appear on the referendum ballot to add loaded terms like “unborn baby” in place of “fetus” or “embryo.” He also eliminated language describing the other ramifications of the referendum, covering contraception, miscarriages, and fertility treatment. See? They never stop trying to erect barriers to The People’s Voice, when it differs from their party goals. Deter them on one front and they just open another.

Setback: Their Orange Idol is being prosecuted by the state of Georgia, with irrefutable evidence already public, where the possibility of a pardon is non-existent.

GOP Solution: Pass a law allowing them to fire the prosecutor. Is the prosecutor doing anything illegal or inappropriate? No, they just don’t like that “one of theirs” is being charged. Doesn’t matter what he did, fire the prosecutor.

And to keep the rage stoked, Rep Gym Jordan opened an investigation into the Georgia investigation. That they clearly have no jurisdiction over the matter is irrelevant. It’s all a dog and pony show to be peddled on Fox “News” and the like.

Setback: TFG’s presidential campaign is very much in danger, if not by the various indictments, but by prospective voters. He’s already lost the popular vote twice.

GOP Solution: Create an “independent” third party, to peel away votes from Biden. The No Labels “party” is a smokescreen created by wealthy Republican donors who can read the tea leaves and know TFG is toast. If they can’t push his bloated corpse to victory on his own, they can at least attack opposition voters by hyping a Democratic Trojan Horse. Guys like Manchin or Lieberman have no real chance of winning, but if they can steal enough votes in one or two tight swing state races, it may allow a devoted MAGA crowd to turn out and grab another Electoral College win.

Setback: Losing enough close elections in former blood-red states that they no longer have veto-proof majorities.

GOP Solution: Run a candidate as a Democrat who agrees to flip to Republican after winning the election. See: South Carolina.

Also, pass a law allowing the state legislature to overturn election results they don’t like, as they did in Texas. They set up the standard so that it only applies to one county, the largest one in the state, which “coincidentally” happens to include Houston and skews Democratic.

Democracy is meaningless when a legislature can just set aside any election result they don’t like.


Some other stuff:

I didn’t watch the first Republican debate because I’d rather ram a sharp stick in my eye than watch two hours of that blather. But I heard that Vivek Ramaswamy made a big splash. But I’m not worried about him for two reasons.

1.       Though he may be posturing to be named a VP candidate, TFG will never choose a running mate who’s as big of a spotlight hog as he is. See also: “MT Greene.”

2.       More importantly, no one named Vivek Ramaswamy will ever win the Republican nomination.


This cracked me up and pissed me off at the same time:

Excellent response… funny. But to me, much like Junior, he misses the point.

“Violated his due process???”

Due process is precisely what’s going on. You have an investigation, testimony, evidence, indictments, charges, and a trial. That’s due process and he’s getting all of it, right up the old wazoo. The part Junior is looking for is probably the part where rich people pay other people to look the other way. That’s the kind of process this family is used to.

“Tainted the Grand Jury?” No one even knew who they were until after the fact. How the hell are they being “tainted.” If the jury was tainted, it was by an overwhelming pile of evidence. Junior wouldn’t recognize “taint” if it was right in front of his nose, which it probably was, considering where his head’s been for so long.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Indictments Went Down in Georgia

As the possibility of indictment grew large in Georgia, one of the first things I asked myself was, “Great, it’s a state charge so it’s not eligible for a presidential pardon, but what about a pardon from the Governor?" It would be the perfect “out” for TFG and a way for Governor Kemp to make his way back into the good graces of MAGA.

Then last week, (right after I submitted my weekly post, unfortunately), I got my answer:

Five seconds of Googling confirmed it, which I supposed I could have done in the first place, so that set my mind at ease a bit. And since then, several other blogs who are learned in the ways of politics have addressed it as well.

All Georgia pardons are done via a 5-member pardon board. And even if they were packed with red cap-wearing MAGAs, the law says that a pardon may only be applied AFTER a sentence is served, following conviction. It is literally impossible for it to be a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

So what happens next? Do the Republicans go, “OK, this is pretty serious, so we might have to wrap our heads around a conviction and time served?” Hell No! This is America and Republicans don’t let a silly thing like The Law stand in the way of their pursuit of power.

When in trouble with the law, just change the law! That might as well be in their GOP Platform. Through speech and actions, it’s apparent that Republicans only consider “The Law” to be something applied to their enemies, political, social, or philosophical.

Can they pull that off? I don’t know, but nothing surprises me anymore. Stuff that conspirators used to mutter in the dark to each other is now trumpeted on the front page. There used to be a sense of shame, or fear, or just a sense of what’s right and wrong, but that’s long gone. All that’s left is the pursuit and maintenance of political power and the ability to use it against those who are not on “the team.” Everything else is secondary at best, and irrelevant at worst.

As far as I’m concerned, and I’ve said this many times over the past few years, there HAVE to be consequences when a president commits the kind of malfeasance we’ve seen under the last Administration. As a country, we cannot allow a president to run roughshod over traditional laws and standards, enrich himself via the power of the office, persecute political foes, rig the election apparatus, or threaten the peaceful transfer of power. When one does, like TFG has, he has to be penalized for it in such a way that no one else tries it again.

If that doesn’t happen, we cease to be a free democracy and instead, we become just another banana republic.

Even if we could obtain some kind of guarantee that TFG won’t run for office again, in return for dropping prosecution, it still rings the dinner bell for every other maniac who thinks they can loot the office and then golden parachute their way back out. The hell with the second term, they can just make bank in one term and walk away unscathed. We can’t have that if we want to continue the ideals of the Founding Fathers. Or merely be a free and democratic country.


I loved this:

Yes, my daddy wants your vote, your money, and your adoration, (not necessarily in that order), but he doesn’t want to actually be seen with you.”

Is this not the Trumpiest tweet ever?

Oh, heaven forbid we allow the little people to set foot in the gilded palace, without a mop or some hedge trimmers (or bolt cutters) in their hands. Call Security! Now who’s got the blow?”

Poor Junior. No matter how desperately he toadies up to his dad, he’s always playing for second place.


And lastly, I saw this posted on one of my conservative friend’s FB stream:

"And I remember when conducting an insurrection on national TV, with property destruction, attempted assassinations, and police deaths, would have earned you treason charges and the death sentence. What’s your point?"

Respecting the Flag??? Someone was trying to skewer a DC cop with a flagpole, for cryin’ out loud. How is that respect for the flag? MAGAs routinely fly the Nazi and Confederate flags. How is that not an insult to Old Glory herself? Hundreds of thousands of people died fighting against what those two flags represented. 

Rodney Dangerfield got more respect than what they’ve shown our flag.

Monday, August 14, 2023

Gaming the System

While I was thrilled that Ohio’s Proposition 1 went down in flames, I’m not as optimistic about any deeper changes coming.

To recap, Prop One was a dirty trick unleashed by the GOP-controlled Ohio state legislature, solely to hamper the efforts to enact statewide abortion guarantees via referendum this fall. It went like this:

·       GOP passes bill eliminating “quickie” August referenda because of low turnout and high costs.

·       GOP realizes there is vast support for a November referendum guaranteeing reproductive freedom.

·       GOP develops their own referendum to increase the point at which a referendum passes, from 50% to 60%, and slides it into the August slot they just wanted eliminated. They know a 60% threshold will be much more difficult to achieve. It also may have given them grounds to legally challenge the abortion referendum, because it also called for petition signatures coming from all 88 counties, rather than around half, which was the previous benchmark.

·       Ohio citizens recognize this blatant end-around of their own will and vote down Prop One 57%-43%. (See, they didn’t come up with “60%” by accident.)

So, just like in Kansas and a couple of other red states, the right to an abortion was upheld by general vote. Naturally, many on the Left were celebrating this victory as a sign of more changes coming.

I wish they were right but I disagree. I don’t think it means anything in the bigger political picture. Sure, it’s linked with one party more than the other, but it’s not the same as pulling the lever beside someone’s name with a “D” beside it.

Like I said when the Kansas vote happened, “I think this motion was shot down because it was just an issue. There were no “politicians” tied to it, therefore, no personal baggage or smears. (Although I’m sure there was plenty of misinformation passed around.) I believe a lot of Republicans voted to maintain the right to safe abortions because they could do it without having to vote for a damned liberal snowflake commie pedophile Satan-worshiping Democrat.”

Look at who voted for these stooges who tried to game the system, in the first place. I don’t think it’s likely that they’re totally in play, when it comes to voting for people. Democrats should make a major push to flip the Independents, though. Just keep reminding people who is pushing the abortion bans and who is fighting to keep healthcare decisions private. Perhaps they can peel off a few rational Republican voters as well, but I’m not looking for a big sea change here. People are reluctant to admit they’ve been wrong.

Speaking of gaming the political system, remember back in April, when a NC state representative flipped to Republican after successfully campaigning as a pro-choice Democrat?

Here’s what I wrote about it at the time:

Is this the new tactic from the Right? Instead of running against an opponent from a hard Blue district, just run an imposter who can switch teams. This is one of the most depraved things I’ve ever heard of. It shows the lengths these people will go to subvert the democratic process.

“Her seat is important because it gives Republicans a veto-proof Senate, so they can override the Governor at will. There’s nothing you can tell me to convince me this move wasn’t planned ahead of time because, at this time, political differences are so stark, there is little cross-over. A Venn diagram would show the parties in two unbroken circles, several feet apart.”

“Look, you can’t advertise steak and then serve chicken. Or in this case, a bowl of rocks. This one reeks of pre-planning, especially since North Carolina doesn’t have a provision for recall elections.

It looks like NC Democratic leaders are going to have to do a much more thorough job of vetting future candidates.

Now cut to last week’s headline:

Man, sometimes it sucks to be right.

Yep, she was a wavering Democrat when she was approached by the Republican House leaders and persuaded to run in the Democratic primary. (Like it should have been any of their concern.)

It’s fine if she wants to serve as a Republican, but FFS, run as a Republican! You can’t campaign as a pro-choice Dem in a hard-blue district and then turn around and disenfranchise every voter who voted you in! It’s the dirtiest of dirty tricks and Republicans would have a collective hemorrhage if this went the other way around.

I’d like to see an investigation into her finances, campaign and otherwise, to see if there was a mysterious windfall round about the time she was recruited by the GOP, and in April when she flipped. I’m betting that someone provided more than just “moral” support.

In other news of the warped:

This isn’t even about “Woke,” this is about suppressing the idea that children can be friends regardless of race, or in other words, promoting blatant, obvious, racism. A parent complained about a classroom poster that illustrated different colored children holding hands. The parent claimed it was promoting a personal ideology. She said her child was “traumatized and had to switch classrooms.”

How badly must these parents have fucked up this kid to have such a poster cause a meltdown?

What it was promoting was NOT being a bigoted, racist, asshole. But then this is Conroe, Texas, (about 30 miles north of Houston), and they apparently demand the right to be bigoted, racist, assholes. I mean, is cross-racial friendship really that controversial? Maybe in 1950, but surely not any longer. Except maybe in Conroe, I guess.

See, this is one more step in using the education process to promote Republican ideology/racism. After all, the best way to fight racism is to see Black and White children become friends early on. Then they begin hearing the inevitable racist remarks, they have their own experiences to fall back on, which may keep the racist messaging from taking root.

This parent, and the school system who is supporting her, is falling right in line with the new conservative ethos. (Well, maybe “Old” conservative ethos, which was kept better hidden back in the day.)

Perhaps the people of Conroe, Texas might allow for a more poster favorable to their own points of view, say, one depicting brown people on one side, white people on the other, and a giant razor wire-topped wall in between. And a moat filled with Ex-Lax, alligators, and explosive mines.

Sure, that’s a “personal ideology” too, but I’m sure the school board would approve that one.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Trial and Error

We had a bit of news last week, wherein a certain former president is being charged with some more felonies and starting to show the strain. And it’s almost as bad as the straining done by people trying to diminish his actions and get him off the hook.

First, we had a call from the Divine:

Yes, pay no attention to the orange cretin behind the curtain, just keep listening to Fox “News. They’ll tell you everything you need to know. Republican Jesus has a plan. Republican Jesus supports everything the Bible’s Jesus decries and TFG is his prophet. A Proper Profit Prophet. Now keep going to trade school, because who needs to listen to a bunch of eggheads? Plus, these BMWs won’t fix themselves.”

Why are we not surprised TFG is already trying to find a more favorable judge before his trial even starts?

We have to keep in mind, if something isn’t rigged in his favor, he thinks it’s unfair. It’s the Way of the Wealthy. As far as he’s concerned, he should only have to do business in front of judges that he appointed and they are obligated to be loyal and back him at every turn. Is that too much to ask? Believe me, as soon as his pet judge Cannon does something he doesn’t like, he’ll try to get her removed too. And she’s already on thin ice after trying to stall the documents investigation a few months back.

He wasted no time in making his displeasure with the proceedings known to his fans, by threatening the judge and prosecutors.

If you go after me, I'm coming after you,” he posted on his faux-Twitter social media outlet.

Isn’t that exactly what Al Capone said in “The Untouchables,” when he was threatening Eliot Ness? It figures that TFG would use a mob reference, as he fancies himself a mob boss. And by “I’ll come after you,” he means, of course, his MAGA minions, who began producing death threats immediately.

And it’s all just good old American “free speech,” too.

TFG’s apologists are desperate to make the January 6th case about free speech. The problem is that the indictment states clearly and directly that he is not being charged for his speech, but for specific actions, namely to create slates of fake electors and strong-arm VP Mike Pence into halting the ceremonial vote count so they could get the election rigging nailed down.

And even if Jack Smith WAS going after him for inciting his mob to attack the Capitol, the First Amendment is about the freedom to speak without government limitations, which he did.. It’s not about freedom from the consequences of one’s speech. If you call for the violent overthrow of the government to have yourself illegally installed as president, there will be consequences.

And as such, calling for attacks against the justice system participants calls for consequences as well. There is zero First Amendment impact here. But it’s what Republicans want you to think. All victimhood, all persecution, all the time.

They never make room for the fact that their guy committed blatant, obvious, crimes, right in front of everyone. And because they’re Republicans, the fight for the right to be above the law never stops.

Now we have a congressman who wants to defund the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security unless they “fix” their problems. Meaning stopping the legal and necessary prosecutions of their false idol (and building walls on the southern border.)

Roy told host Shannon Bream on “Fox News Sunday” that Congress should withhold funding from the two agencies over what he characterized as the Biden administration’s “weaponization” of the Justice Department and for “leaving the border exposed. And I can tell you right now for all my colleagues, I will not vote for a continuing resolution or any funding for DHS or DOJ if we don’t get changes to both,” Roy said. “I want the border secure. I want DOJ restored to following the rule of law…”

So, it’s partisan “weaponization” when the DOJ goes after a politician who commits obvious crimes, but it’s NOT weaponization to go after a politician’s son, who has zero role in the government and there is zero proof of any grand malfeasance. AND it’s also not weaponization to hold hearing after hearing on a Democratic presidential candidate who used a private email server, also with zero proof of a crime, or even a negative consequence from using said server.

These guys are talking out of their collective asses. They used the DOJ as an attack dog from the Bush presidency to this last one, who made it their primary job to investigate political opponents and their supporters. (Remember the big GW Bush push to find voter fraud? The DOJ spent millions of dollars looking for Democratic voter fraud and couldn’t find jack shit… other than several cases of Republican voter fraud, which disappeared immediately.

I can’t even, with these guys. I just can’t even.

I can see another important battle ahead and that’s to get these trials televised. Obviously, these will be the Trials of the Century. It would be in every American’s best interest to follow them closely, but that’s exactly why Republicans will do everything they can to prevent the broadcast.

The last thing they want is for unvarnished proof of criminality to become publicly viewed. They want their people to get all their pertinent information from Fox “News” and the like, where it can be sanitized, alibied, and whitewashed. Fox will cherry-pick clips to show that follow their chosen storyline and disappear everything else. They do NOT want to see clips of the testimony broadcast that shows the Emperor not wearing any clothes. (Which I agree, NO ONE wants to see, not even Melania.)

Just go back to the earlier point… “Pay no attention to the news. We’ll tell you what to think and what to do. Who are you going to believe, us, or your lying eyes?”

I’ve seen it wondered, in various corners of the internet, why TFG’s followers still follow him, despite the mountain of evidence that he’s a crook, a cheat, a swindler, a con man, and all around bad person.

I don’t think it’s complicated at all. It’s just the combination of Team Politics and the aversion to admitting they’ve been wrong (for eight years.) It’s hard for most people to admit they’re wrong, but especially for Republicans. That’s their trademark… never doubt, never retreat, never admit, always double down. Accuse them of whatever they say you're doing. That’s why they will support this guy right up until he leads them off a cliff.

You’d think he would have lost votes from the families of everyone who followed his lead on COVID and then died from it. But MAGAs still gotta MAGA, and so it shall be.

We will never be able to reason with them, we can only outnumber them. And then prepare the protests for how we “stole” the election. Again. Because that’s the mindset.

Either we win, or you cheated.”

Deny, misdirect, accuse, project.

We have to be prepared.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Headline News - Weasels at Large

I saw several headlines on my News home page that made me want to go, "Hmmmm.” Here’s one:

We cannot allow this to stand.”

He doesn’t say, “Let’s see the evidence,” or “Where’s the proof?” Or even, “How could he be so stupid as to be caught trying to destroy evidence?” No, he goes straight to demanding that due process gets overturned and we go straight to acquittal. Or, not even acquittal, but dismissal of charges, for no other reason but that he and some other people don’t like it.

Why not just admit that “Rules are for the little people (and Democrats), and don’t apply to us.” I mean, how else can you interpret something like this, other pushing than a whole second set of standards?

There’s your real headline: “Republican weasel thinks he and his allies are above the law.”

When Republican politicians say “Law and Order,” it’s “Law” for us and Order… another private jet,” for them.

Moving on…

Obviously, Attorney General Kobach (of Kansas) didn’t watch any of the January 6th committee hearings, wherein they laid out in great detail how TFG was up to his nose in planning a demonstration outside the Capitol and literally banking on them preventing the Congressional votes from being counted. Again, we see them trying to weasel around things like eyewitnesses, phone text records, and video proof.

It wasn’t just “expressing thoughts about the conduct of an election,” it was a president, after having been told by everyone, the media, Congress, his own staff and family, that he lost the election, nevertheless summoning a mob to violently overthrow a lawful government operation, for the sole purpose of keeping himself in power.

Given the power of the office, you can’t judge him in the same manner as when Cooter, down at the bar, rages about overthrowing the Commie Democrats. Cooter doesn’t have the means to facilitate such a thing and a president absolutely does.

If TFG didn’t think he was liable for the 1/6 uprising, why would he be trying to find out if he could pardon himself? Further, why else would his congressional minions like MT Greene, Gym Jordan, Ted Cruz, and the rest be seeking pardons for themselves?

This behavior is fine, to Republicans. But could you imagine what it would be like if President Biden were to pardon Hunter? They’d be apoplectic. And that’s because, again, they see themselves as above the law.

Moving on again…

Once again, we have a Republican operative openly discussing ways to keep popular opinion out of legislation that a small but vocal minority wants to pass. Think of that in terms of what America should be all about. This is supposed to be a democracy. Our government is supposed to enact what a majority of the citizens want. It is NOT their job to keep the will of the majority from affecting a position only favored by a few radical wingnuts. (Yes, if you think the government should have the right to force women to give birth against their will because the “rights” of an un-sentient blob of plasma supersedes those of a pregnant woman, yes I think you’re a radical wingnut.) The people are supposed to speak and the elected officials are supposed to get it done.

This is what Republicans do. They know their positions aren’t widely supported, but do they alter their positions? No, they game the system so that what they want remains in place. They enact Voter ID laws that ask for IDs that are the least available to their opponents. They limit voting precincts in their opponents’ stronghold areas and reduce the number of voting machines in those few precincts, thus doubly ensuring the lines will be huge. They rail against anything that will make voting easier, mailed ballots, early voting, drive-up voting, and even bringing refreshments to those wilting in the long lines expressly created by Republicans. They want to make it hard to vote… a chore… something that takes up your day. Because that’s the only way they win. Suppress their opponents’ votes and disguise their own intentions.

If they ever came out with an accurate “platform,” that truly showed what their goals were, their showing would make George McGovern look like Attila the Hun.

Cut taxes to the wealthy.

Kill Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

Complete abortion ban.

No more than rudimentary education for the masses, no critical thinking skills taught.

End all foreign aid and humanitarian operations.

End immigration, especially of non-white people.


Eliminate the EPA.

Drill the planet for raw materials and fuel until there’s nothing left but a dried-up husk.

End the estate tax. Hell, end taxes and the IRS altogether, which will…

End public services. I could go on…

All these things cost money that could otherwise be funneled back up to the 1%. And the filthy rich donor class who run the Republican Party are eager to find a way to make that happen.

I’m sure there would be some people that could be convinced to go along with such a platform, especially since it would be sure to own the Libs. Oh boy, how they could roll around in those salty liberal tears. But on the whole, Republicans would get beaten so badly they’d never leave their gilded throne rooms again.

So instead they suppress voters and game the system to keep a true populist agenda far from the halls of government.

Just look at what Ohio is doing to keep an abortion referendum from passing… they’re jamming in, at the last minute, a special referendum to require any future referendum to pass with at least 60% of the vote, rather than the current standard of 50%. (And of course, they’re using the 50% threshold for that one.) They’re sneaking this issue into what is projected to be a lightly attended August election, so the highly motivated anti-choice wingnuts have a chance at outnumbering the rest of the rational voters who may be too busy trying to make a living than spending a day standing in line.

All this is being done because they’ve seen how even in the Red States, people will turn out in droves to keep abortion legal. And the LAST thing they want is for it to be made plain how unpopular an abortion ban really is. It’s bad for the brand.

So let the games begin…

Monday, July 24, 2023

The End of America

Last week saw a story published that represents the most serious threat to the way our country governs, and even the Constitution itself, that I’ve seen in my lifetime. The New York Times ran a story, corroborated by the Trump campaign, about how in a second administration, TFG plans to remove the autonomy from the Justice Department and other administrative agencies, substituting loyalty to HIM over loyalty to the Constitution.

This would be bad enough in the hands of a sage and serious person with the purest of motives. But in the hands of a petty, petulant, tyrant? It’s the end of our country as an institution of freedom. Suddenly, we’re Saddam’s Iraq. Or North Korea.

With the power to prosecute and jail his enemies via the Justice Department, destroy their finances through the IRS, or regulate them to extinction through the applicable oversight agencies, this will become the United States of Trump. A whole country in service of a single egomaniac who has the self-control of a colicky toddler.

And I’m sure he’ll find a way to rope in a military/police faction, by adoption, or just starting his own, essentially turning him into a warlord.

Do you think there will ever be a fair election again? Hell, there may not even be ANY election again. They’ve finally figured out how to get around that petty matter of “public will” being articulated through elections. A plan like this only works if there are no further changes to who’s in power.

Is this the country our Founding Fathers imagined? Hell no, in fact, they took tangible steps to ensure that nothing like this would ever happen. This country was formed at the very core as a way to remove control of a country from a single man, “royal” or otherwise.

All the teary-eyed paeans to the US Constitution and veneration of the Bill of Rights coming from these “Constitutional Originalists” are pure lip service. If this comes to pass, you might as well break into the National Archives and tear those documents to pieces.

What I don’t know yet is the mechanism by which such a power shift would be executed. It can’t be that a president can just decide he gets all the power. I would think it would have to go through Congress. That could be the fail-safe that keeps this whole thing on the rails, assuming Democrats have control of at least one House. Although I certainly make room for the possibility that even a self-decreed self-anointment may likely be blessed by the stacked Supreme Court. That’s why at least three of them were appointed, to do their master’s bidding.

So far, I haven’t heard a single Republican criticize this effort, which now becomes a new plank in the GOP platform… perhaps the ONLY plank. They’re all in on it because they mean to grab some for themselves. Hell, Mitch McConnell and his mega-donors will probably have TFG rubbed out once all the steps have been taken and the pieces are in place. He’s not going to let all that power get wasted by some narcissistic ass clown.

With that kind of power in hand, you’ll see the real Republican agenda. IRS? Gone. Minimum wage? Gone. Social Security and Medicare? Gone. Food assistance? Gone. Reproductive freedom? Gone. (OK, they’re halfway home on that one already.) CDC and National Institute of Health? Gone. Any program that serves the average citizen will be replaced with more ways to siphon money upward.

This is such a bombshell, I can’t believe the Republicans ever let a word of it escape. They must be pretty confident in their voter suppression tactics for 2024. And the fact that this story hasn’t become political suicide just shows how fucked up this country really is.

This. Must. Be. Stopped.

Right in its tracks. The fact that it’s even been proposed shows how little the Republican hierarchy cares about the will of the people. It’s All Power, All the Time. And they’ll use every emotional ruse in the book to misdirect their misguided fans until they find out way too late, that they’ve made a tragic mistake.

Democrats need to make this campaign issue number one. Every candidate needs to ask his opponent if he supports such action and get them on the record. And if the answer is not “Hell NO!” then rip them to shreds for even considering such an assault on American Democracy.

There is no “both sides” bullshit on this one. Nothing analogous has ever come from the Democratic side, this is 100% Republicanism. This is a heinous power grab, being executed by a wannabe mushroom dictator. They tried to wrest power from the voters once already on January 6th, and this is round two. If we allow it, we deserve the dystopian hellscape that’s guaranteed to follow.

Monday, July 17, 2023

Cocaine Bluz

My first thought when the story broke about the bag of cocaine found at the White House, was that it was probably a plant. But then the more I thought about it, and the more information that rolled in, the more sure I’ve become. It just doesn’t make sense any other way.

·         The obvious and immediate reaction is “Who the hell would be so daring as to bring their coke to the White House, but then leave it in some storage cubby?”  Do they have drug-sniffing dogs at the White House, because I know the metal detectors won’t pick it up? Why wouldn’t you keep it with you? It’s not like anyone will randomly ask you to turn out your pockets. It doesn’t make sense.

·         Isn’t cocaine still really expensive? I mean, maybe it’s a bargain now, I don’t know, but last I heard, the cost was nothing to sneeze at. What user would buy a supply and then walk off without it? It doesn’t make sense.

·         There were no fingerprints on the baggie. So we’re to believe that some coke fiend who’s brazen enough to smuggle drugs into the White House, who intends to come back and retrieve his stash, is going to wipe the prints from the bag? Or wear gloves in July? This doesn’t make sense either.

·         No one was identified on camera as leaving it there? Sounds like someone knew where the cameras were, maybe an insider or past regular visitor.

These points only make sense if the intention was to leave the blow there all along. Republicans are trying desperately to smear President Biden with something…anything! But nothing is sticking. Hunter’s laptop… nothing meaningful. Influence, payoffs, bribery, inside lobbying… they got nothing but accusations from people trying to save their own asses. Zero proof, zero evidence, zero impact.

So what do you do when your party’s entire focus is scandal-mongering? You create one yourself. They send a lackey into the White House with instructions on where to leave the coke. I’m pretty sure they knew where they could get their hand on some.

“Did someone say, ‘Let’s blow this place?’”

They’re in and out without issue, then it’s just a matter of waiting until the stash is found and revving up the Right-wing outrage machine. Finally, there’s “proof” of something, because there is now a tangible piece of evidence that can be pointed to.

They ignore the fact that Hunter Biden, as well as all of the Bidens, were out of the office at Camp David during the entire period in question. That’s just more of the cover-up. Basically, any exculpatory evidence is considered part of the cover-up. That’s how everything plays with the Republican Conspiracy Theorists. Discard anything that doesn’t fit their narrative. Heads, I win, tails, you lose.

Best of all, it plays right into the pre-arranged talking point of Hunter Biden (and by extension, his whole family,) being coked-up maniacs, hell-bent on running this good country into the ground. (How, I don’t know. By making the average person’s life better? Turning the economy around? Pushing for student loan relief? Bringing down the price of insulin? Republicans seem to have a problem with all of that, but can’t really tell you why.)

But that’s the problem. The Biden Administration has quite a few wins under their belt, so Republicans have to find a way to distract the public and throw some stink on the Administration. And then suddenly, they find coke in the White House.

Notice how many times the media phrases it as cocaine “near the Oval Office,” or “in the West Wing,” rather than "In a cubby area where visitors store their things." They’re playing right into the GOP’s hands. Granted, a juicy scandal is good for ratings, so you’d expect even the straight media to cover it. But they’ve bought into the Republican slant.

I think there’s also the possibility of this coke being unintentionally left by a visitor, but the odds against so many coincidences are vast. I believe that coincidences can happen, but when you start stacking them up and they all break just the right way? I don’t buy it. Nothing is THAT coincidental in the modern, zero-sum, ratfucking world of Washington.

Maybe in twenty years, another White House insider book will come out and someone will cop to the scheme. But until then, I don’t think we’ll ever know for sure unless the FBI has been less than forthright in their characterization of the case. I don’t believe there’s any action to cover for the Biden family or other Administration personnel… there are too many FBI agents that would love to break a big high-profile case like this. Regardless of political motivation, people usually seek promotions, notoriety, and pay raises, so I don’t see a cover-up lasting very long. But without hard evidence, it’s just another DC mud-sling-athon.