Friday, December 31, 2021

False equivalencies: The right wing whines Jan 6 rioters were treated worse than George Floyd rioters

 As usual, those supporting the right-wing when complaining about unequal treatment of the Jan 6 rioters are quick to make a "what about" the George Floyd rioters. First, it is sheer BS that George Floyd protestors were not prosecuted. Per an Associated Press study "An Associated Press review of court documents in more than 300 federal cases stemming from the protests sparked by George Floyd’s death last year shows that dozens of people charged have been convicted of serious crimes and sent to prison."

Two wrongs do not make a right, but false equivalencies are at play here. Jan 6 was not your mother's riot that was simply fomented by anger and protests.. That is the point of the recent judicial rulings.. the leaders did more than attack the police and commit vandalism. They are charged with felonies because they came prepared for violence with the purpose of preventing an official government procedure, a felony crime, not just a misdemeanor one. Most of the hundreds of rioters who participated in Jan. 6 were charged with vandalism and criminal trespass,, but the ones charged with felonies who attacked police and fomented the capitol violence also led the rioters into the building, came prepared to overturn the certification of an election, intended to do it, such as the proud boys, and tried to do it, but failed. Those who planned the riot as part of their coup plans are in a different category and could also involve the coup planners as committing felonies if they coordinated with the "militias" and proud boys. That is what is being investigated by the Jan.6 select committee.
At first, the propaganda from the right said the Jan 6 violence was committed by Antifa, remember? The right-wing talkers knew it was not good public relations and visuals for their cause, but tried to frame black people waving the confederate flag (and disguised as white people?} I have not heard much of that BS lately. No Antifa members were among the nearly 600 charged by the FBI and identified as riot participants and leaders of the attempt to stop the certification.

Footnote: In another social media page, I got this from a devotee of Trump that no resurrection was charged, so no crimes were committed..Such comments reveal a profound ignorance of the criminal legal process. .My response"To claim that no crimes were committed because no "insurrection" is charged is exceedingly deceptive ..... That is is the point I made. January 6 was itself not the insurrection...It was part of what is becoming more evident, a part of a coup that failed. The participants nd those who planned Jan 6. are subject to different other criminal statutes and the degrees of misdemeanors and felonies, depending on the kind of their acts. Some were charged with criminal trespass and vandalism; some who attacked police got a different charge; some who planned and paid for the attempt to stop an official procedure, are getting another. and that one is the heavyweight charge that could blow back on those who were not part of the mob rioters, but who was responsible for funding and setting them in motion or failed to stop the riot. ..That is what also could ensnare Trump and the Willard Hotel war room participants and even some congresspeople. Some did them all; some did one, and some did another. The case law is that if a felony is committed, (as the judge ruled the proud boys did), those who were behind that, funded it, and planned it...are equally guilty if evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is found they did so. The Jan 6 commission is only exposing testimony they found and they will only be able to refer their findings to the Dept of Justice for further action. At that point, those accused are innocent until they are found guilty..But the political fallout could be based on where there is smoke there is fire. Those who are devoted to Trump will go down to their graves believing there was no fire, but the result could be to inspire turnout on the left fueled by outrage and anger. "

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Courts have news for 30% of the GOP: Violence is not free speech; interfering with official procedures is a crime

Updated January 14, 2021.  The January 6 rioters had not been charged with sedition because of the difficulty in proving it. That changed when eleven Oath Keepers were indicted by a grand jury and were arrested on January 13.   charged with seditious conspiracy for violent attempts to overthrow the government. and planning it. One element leading to the indictment and charges is that the Oath Keeper'sleaderhsip's encrypted conversations using the ap "Signal" were cracked.  More frightening in the charging documents was not only did they plan for violence on January 6, they also had armed members ringing Washington DC ready to intervene with violence during and after January 6 with the purpose and training to foment not only a violent interference in the government process, including inauguration day but a civil war.. This is a serious game changer and a departure from the prior charges. It extends to those planning and leading the group who were not the ones entering the Capitol themselves.  The burning question is did these Oath Keeper leaders communicate and plan with anyone in the White House or even with the President'sained close advisors with Trump's blessing.   The special threat the Oath Keepers presented was that they claimed 20,000 "members" who were trained ex military, active and former law enforcement, and tr first responders.  What gave them away was their preparation with gear ready for anticipated violence.and training in the midst of an out-of-control mob of middle aged white men following their lead. that was caught on video.  They were prepared for a violent coup, not a stealthy one described by such legal advisers as John Eastman's infamous case for how to overturn the election by manipulating and  distorting the established process under the pretext that the election was stolen.  and  they could make some sort of a legal case to justify their actions.  The charges were not the sole design of the Department of Justice, but in federal criminal prosecution, they need the concurrence of a grand jury to indict and charge, as it was in this indictment of the Oath Keeprers leadership. Takeaways from the landmark sedition indictment against the Oath Keepers and why DOJ acted now - ABC17NEWS

 Before this indictment, the attention had been focused on the actual violent attackers of the Capitol themselves and overcoming the defense that the accused had just been using their first amendment rights of free speech protected by the Constitution to redress grievances.  (They ignored the "peaceful" word in that amendment). Imany prosecutors had attempted to charge a serious enough offense, a felony, with sufficient punishment to deter others from doing the same thing in the future. A series of lower federal court rulings have gone against the January 6 rioters' defenses.  Among their rulings:  violence is not free speech; interfering with official procedures is a felony crime. 

 Several recent federal court decisions have established that felonies were committed by interfering with official procedures and violence is not protected free speech regardless if it was used to make a political statement.  This may come as a shock to 30% of the GOP who feel it is their constitutional right to use violence to overturn an election in the name of protecting democracy. The courts will not have your backs if you act on it and make it your defense argument.

 Among those legal issues is whether violence to make a political point is protected free speech. In a recent case, the Proud Boys argued their violent acts were protected speech and the federal judge rejected their argument mostly on the basis that there were many other actions to protest protected by the First Amendment.  

Why is it important that the crime committed is a felony and not a misdemeanor? Is interfering with an official government procedure a felony that triggers serious jail sentences to deter others in the future? Are those who fomented, encouraged, permitted the violent act also guilty of a felony? Felony convictions are important because misdemeanors do not trigger serious federal investigations and penalties are not much of a deterrent to future wannabe incidents like January 6. Recent court rulings are these are felonies. 

   Does it follow the president and his coup conspirators are guilty of the felonies, too?  There is case law to that effect. That will be the legal case that could trip up Trump and his coup planners and this is the focus of the January 6 committee. The committee hearings will shed public light on the events of January 6 and may lead to legislation. Those charged so far with felonies or referred to the DOJ for criminal charges are the ones who refused to honor the committee's subpoenas and testify. The FBI and the Department of Justice could pursue such felony charges concerning any masterminds behind or directing the January 6 events, but so far have not shown much public enthusiasm to move forward on White House involvement.

The Jan. 6 rioters committed a felony by obstructing an official proceeding per recent rulings. On December 10, a Trump-appointed federal district judge ruled that it was a felony to obstruct an official proceeding. " On Friday, Dec. 10, the government won a key early ruling concerning a legal issue affecting hundreds of Jan. 6 Capitol Riot prosecutions. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich found that a central felony charge in a large subset of the Jan. 6 cases—“corruptly obstructing an official proceeding” —had been properly invoked and was not unconstitutionally vague."  (

Other key federal court rulings have gone against the rioters from the ruling that violence committed on January 6 was indeed felonies, from assaulting police officers and attempting to stop an official procedure. Upheld was a conviction of a New Jersey rioter for assaulting the police on Jan.6 and the judge sentenced him to 44 months in prison:   The judge ruling, in that case, cited both assaulting the police officer and obstructing an official procedure. It’s such a serious offense under the circumstances, an affront to society and to the law, to have the Capitol overrun and to have this riot stop the whole functioning government, that I just find that it’s such a serious crime that I cannot give a below-guideline sentence.” Scott Kevin Fairlamb is the first person sentenced for assaulting a police officer in the Capitol attack.Scott Fairlamb is the first Jan. 6 Capitol riot - The Washington Post

Capitol Riot: Proud Boys’ Free-Speech Defense Rejected by Judge - Bloomberg 

Judge Rejects Free Speech Argument, Refuses to Dismiss Indictment Against Four Proud Boys (

Government Wins Key Ruling on Issue Affecting Hundreds of Capitol Riot Cases - Lawfare (

.  Lead Capitol riot charge is constitutional, judges find - The Washington Post  

 Judge Rejects Free Speech Argument, Refuses to Dismiss Indictment Against Four Proud Boys (

Almost one in three of Republicans say violence may be necessary to ‘save’ US | Republicans | The Guardian

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Let's get Manchin on the record with a vote on the BBB now

 Today Machin told FOX that he will not support the BBB.It was the great double-cross of the year after his alleged agreement with Biden with the framework and the cost.   He has been playing us for suckers and fools long enough and he must still feel worried that he will not win reelection in his home state, West Virginia, that voted for Trump by a70% win. Manchin is continuously inventing new reasons why he stonewalled on each step of the way.   Manchin is no profile in courage, but a  coward who values remaining in the Senate above the interests of ordinary people in one of the poorest states in America.West Virginia Rankings and Facts | US News Best States  

He isn't the first to have a conversion and a reversal recently.  Mark Meadows is another who, after providing a treasure house of documents as Trump's chief of staff, suddenly reverse course and now to testifies to matters that were not even protected by any sort of immunity or, unlike a list of others party to the January 6 attempted coup, took the 5th, fearing they might be prosecuted for a crime. Is it something in the DC water or is the poison in the air of a Trump seeking his hateful revenge on those less than 100% loyal to him. White House lights up Manchin after he crushes Biden's megabill - POLITICO    Since both Meadows and Manchin jammed their gear in reverse suddenly and unexpectedly, one wonders if the hand of Trump threatened either Meadows' future in politics or if he threatened to oppose Manchin's reeleciton in a states where 70 percent had voted for Trump.  Stranger things have happened, but this is a believable conspiracy theory since this  how  Trump is maintaining control of the GOP up and down the ballot.

Manchin is continuously inventing new reasons for why he stonewalled on each step of the way. One argument was that it would add to the deficit. That ignores the fact that the deficit has been reduced by the Biden administration thanks to the kick his legislation gave to the economy in 2020 with the COVID recovery act. Both his most recent excuse for torpedoing the BBB was about adding to inflation and dealing with Omicron are short-termers, arguments du jour, and speculative.. Some of these reasons are short-term.  It may sound good now, but it may be old news in a few months. The Fed raises interest rates to cool inflation and Omicron works its way through the unvaccinated, who are mostly members of the GOP.  Because Manchin saw the BBB as a negative to the economy, consider this: Goldman Sachs readjusted its economic forecast because of what Joe Manchin just did.  Defeating the BBB will take a hit on the economy, not the other way around.

On FOX, Manchin reiterated his reasons that if he could not explain the bill to West Virginians, then he would stop supporting it. Manchin has done what he could to not explain the bill, blasting Bernie Sanders who attempted to bring the information to West Virginians.  It is also an insult to the intelligence of West Virginians that they did not have the ability to grasp how the BBB would have made their lives better.

 Underlying the real reasons for Machin's position are two I suspect: 1) he is aligned with West Virginia voters., besides representing a Trump-voting state . 2) He loves big coal and hates environmental legislation. Found in his past campaign funding disclosures... big coal and anti-environment fossil fuel industry were heavy contributors.He has made millions for himself from coal, as well. Joe Manchin has made millions from coal. He's also at the center of the US energy policy debate as Democrats scramble for an agreement - CNNPolitics   Biden appears unwilling to drop the environmental segments in the BBB to appease him. 

 West Virginians never have come to grips that the train has left the station, yearning for the return to a coal-based employment sector of yore, but the rest of the world is on that train and the real enemy of coal is natural gas, which is cheaper and less damaging to global warming. Coal has lost the race to natural gas, alternative energy, and \plant conversions to gas and alternatives are too expensive to change back now. . The penalty for living their fantasies is to remain one of the poorest states in the Union, struggling forever near the bottom at whatever is an economic indicator of the ranking of the 50 states. I once had sympathy for those coal miners.  Now, it is time for them to get an education to find another line of work like the rest of the south has done. No matter who is the next president, the reality of the marketplace disadvantage of coal will not change.

Democrats have been whining that without the BBB, they have nothing to run on in 2022.  That is a silly and self-defeating argument. Of course, they have accomplishments to run on, just not all of the ones they had hoped for. Democrats have also argued that to save democracy, they need to show that government can work.  That, too, is an argument that is a silly one, appealing to a few who put saving democracy as their top priority. Most voters are motivated by the old "what have you done for me or hurt me, lately. "  That, too, can be turned against the GOP.  It has become a political party that has no written public policy issue platform and instead relies on catering to the preservation and spreading of southern states' "cultural values" and/ or maintaining their donor base.  They seem willing to do anything to stay in power by sabotaging the other party's ability to get much done that would have provided for the day-to-day needs of all but the rich. They are so far getting it both ways: sabotaging the Biden agenda and then claiming Democrats are failing, promoting anti-vaxxers and misinformation, and blaming the Democrats for failing to end COVID. In fact, going unvaccinated was the insignia of the most loyal Trump supporters.  On the other hand, each component of the Biden agenda has polled popular. It is all good stuff and needed by large chunks of the constituency.

The truth is it was a stroke of luck and guts of local election officials sworn to their oath to support the constitution and the personal antics of a narcissistic incumbent that  Democrats won the White House and the Senate  The problem is, Democrats did not win enough seats to avoid being held hostage by one or two senators. That in itself is a good argument to be made to get more Democrats in the Senate. The infrastructure bill and the stimulus of the COVID recovery were no small accomplishments. Those were huge and effective. If there was any failure on the part of the Biden administration, it was their failure to crow about what they did and get credit for it. They did much in ten months and it looks like they were about to succeed with more. 

Democrats need to put GOP candidates on the defensive and they can. The ending of those provisions of the COVID relief bill will be realized in early January when the nation will feel the results such as the end of the child tax credit provisions that lifted half the kids out of poverty.  Instead of a positive campaign,  Democrats can turn this into a  dual campaign of positives and negative attack ads, and give the voters a good reason to vote against those who are not for the good of their constituents and their concerns. 

All elections in non-presidential years are local, but there are some basic nationwide umbrella strategies that would work. Put the GOP on the defensive. The GOP has been given plenty of rope to hang themselves. The theme: the GOP does not care about you; because they voted against X (child tax credit; the infrastructure bill).  Make them vote on the record against the BBB so there is no question of what they did, regardless of what reasons they give..  Force the GOP candidates to explain why they are not in favor of the child tax credit or lowering pharma bills or helping grandma stay at home,  or making the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes or even improving their roads and bridges and access to the internet and drinkable water.  Yes, Democrats, you have plenty to run on in every state. Just take off the kid gloves and do it.   

Update: Jan.6, 2022 Biden took off his gloves and  called Trump out a loser and the "stop the steal" lies. Why Joe Biden's intense Jan. 6 riot anniversary speech was stunning TV (

From a previous posting (Nov. 25), the case for Biden's successes: 

Not bad for less than a year's work...Biden got a bunch done. For that, we should be thankful. Here are the whats, hows, and whys.
Four years of infrastructure week under Trump: goose egg.; Biden got it done with bipartisan support; With the COVID bailout, job figures are the best in years. Biden got it done.; Sprung loose strategic oil reserves to deal with gas pump prices, organized other oil-consuming countries to do the same, and summoned federal agencies to make sure lower prices make it to consumers. Got the log jam at the import docks improved and working24/7 instead of 9 to 5 weekdays so major retailers are now well-stocked. Biden negotiated that; Kept a bi-partisan Fed chair to deal with monetary policy to meet inflation sensibly. All in 10 months. Stopped White House Oval Office hyping racial tensions, bullying, and use of violence to support Trump's agenda. Got Covid booster shots free and in arms...appreciated by us old folks at family gatherings this Thanksgiving, while the unvaccinated chose to sabotage efforts to end COVID Delta variant and preferred to risk landing in ICUs Biden returned to regular order and respected the process of democracy and did it with normal human behavior.
Here are the reasons he got things done: He did not govern by fear, revenge, turning races against each other, narcissistic self-aggrandizement, demagogic pandering to his base, and wishing he had Putin's powers of dictatorship. Biden governed by patient negotiation, even keeping the big tent Democratic Party together in the House, by his experience of a near lifetime of a legislator, understanding how to use the levers of governance, and personal relationships built up over many years. There is still much to be done, His greatest asset is plain-spoken reason. It is also his greatest liability: inspiring people with soaring oratory and self-promotion.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Conspiracy theories: some get busted; others are confirmed

Updated December 17, 2021: December 13 the House Select Committee probing the events around the January 6 attack on the Capitol release some telling information gleaned from Trump's chief of staff Mark Meadows' document dump earlier. In it were transcripts of Meadows' cell phone texts and a very interesting PowerPoint presentation generated by a cohort.  Coupled with the infamous Eastman legal memo to give cover to any coup attempts, it is clear that the conspiracy to stage a coup to overturn the election was no theory advanced by the left and there was an attempt to put into practice elements of these plans was executed by those around Trump. The goal of both of these plans was to get states that voted for Biden but were close calls and had been counted before the election as Trump states to overturn the elections. These states had GOP-dominated legislatures and/or GOP governors, to claim charges of election fraud and to provide an alternative list of pro-Trump electors.  

Busted were some conspiracy theories advanced by the right. This was no spontaneous uprising of angry activists on January 6 who rioted. These rioters were not Antifa members in disguise as White people as Trump supporters tried to twist the event. (719 participants have been charged with the violence, none Antifa, and many had affiliations of extreme white nationalist groups.).  These were no looky-loo tourists, either. January 6 was not just another day. 

Trump's role in all of this is still yet to be seen in its totality, other than his inciteful rhetoric at the rally, his delay in calling off the rioters until after the Capitol was trashed, and was caught on tape trying the pressure wi the Georgia secretary to state with threats to "find the missing 10,000 plus Trump votes".  There is still much to be learned.  The greatest question left on the table is what went on between Meadows and Trump. Was Meadows acting on his own or, as chief of staff, or was he carrying out orders from Trump himself?  Why did so many choose to take the 5th because they feared they would be incriminated in a crime and even risk imprisonment for ignoring subpoenas to keep their mouths shut?  Over 250 have already testified to the committee.  More are scheduled so even if some key players do not testify,  they may be fingered anyway.  Stay tuned. 

For now, the role played by Trump's staff, his unofficial and official advisors, his hand-picked loyalists placed in the Pentagon and the Department of Justice,  are coming into focus  From evidence gleaned by the committee so far, we are learning the National Guard action to stop the riot was delayed by Trump appointees in the Pentagon as members of Congress were in hiding and feared for their lives. We are learning the identities of those in Congress who were involved and coordinating with the coup's White House conspirators, Meadows documents indicate there were those doing so. Investigative reporters and some leaks from the Committee finger them. The rioters were only one part of the coup plans. They had the purpose to give Pence a backbone and some sort of rationale to delay or decertify the election.  The 719 rioters in legal trouble now, and some in jail, were the pawns in the plan, They were willing pawns who believed the election was stolen and they ignored any evidence to the contrary, but by their violent acts they opened the door through which others could see the coup plans.

 So far, what we know is that the coup failed because 1) the hoped-for presumed Trump loyal state actors had certified their elections and the alternative elector slate strategy failed; 2) 60 federal court judges had found no evidence of enough fraud to justify the claim the election was stolen;3} VP Mike Pence refused to go along with the plot to throw the certification into chaos with either delay or sent to Congress. Pence was key to the coup plans that went awry.  The certification of the election took place later that night  4] The rioters got out of control, people were killed, and the "visuals" were awful.  Fascinating were the pleas to Mark Meadows via text from FOX media personalities, Don Jr. and so many others trying to call off the rioters once they were already in full swing. 

Read the texts Mark Meadows received during the Jan. 6 siege : NPR

Jan. 6 PowerPoint reveals many more Republicans were in on Trump's coup plot |

  One wonders if the riot did not happen if we would ever have known so much about the conspiracy behind an attempted coup. If Pence had not stood his ground, would we have just had an epic Constitutional crisis ultimately decided by the Supreme Court,  or just a bitter taste left in our mouths by reporters and their investigative reporting?

Eastman took the 5th before the committee. Major players in the coup attempt, fearing vulnerability for what was criminal, are defying committee subpoenas, and have been referred to the Department of Justice for criminal contempt of Congress. Bannon has actually been charged.

Busting the "election was stolen" theory: The granddaddy of the "stolen election" motivation of the January 6 rioters and the conspiracy rationale for the coup was that all were justified because of widespread fraud.  It is also the rationale of attempts throughout the swing states to replace all non-Trump loyal election officials with loyalists so that if they are asked to "find" x votes or to lie about figures or to muck with the talley machines, elections lost may be reversed.  The Associated Press conducted a study of swing states in 2020 and found there were 475 cases of verified fraud, not anywhere close to changing the outcome of those states and were committed by individuals mostly voting twice and who were mostly Trump supporters.

One more myth gets a nail in its coffin. The big lie that thousands of dead people voted in Georgia in 2020 is just that, a big lie:  4 dead bodies were voted; the other suspected thousands are quite alive.Election investigators find just 4 dead voters in Georgia (

After nearly a year of trying to find the "missing Trump votes"  and enough fraud to make the difference, and an any proof of the abundant conspiracy theories, what has emerged is that Biden got a few more votes than originally reported...not enough to make a difference.  Theories remain just that: theories" and there were no conspiracies, either.  The conspiracy that did happen was, it is beginning to appear, to upend the election with a coup plan that came and was executed from theWhite House and a few in Congress,

How could over half of those who identify as Republicans believe that there was enough fraud to show the election was stolen?  Because, my theory, they get their news from one or two sources who perpetuated the conspiracy theories and all of their friends and neighbors get their news from the same sources. It becomes hard to believe that when everyone they know agrees with you, there are others out there who look at the data and facts.  As propagandists know: if you repeat an untruth enough times, it becomes the accepted truth. That theory works in both the marketing of consumer products and in marketing political ideas.  There is also that even those who know the election was not stolen still vocally say it was because it comes in handy in avoiding the wrath of Trump, gives them the rationale to turn the vote into one administered by their partisans instead of separately elected officials, and justifies the coup attempt. 

Thursday, December 9, 2021

The GOP is having it both ways on fighting COVID

The Trump GOP is having it both ways. In Douglas County Colorado the newly elected school board, now a majority to Trumpists, voted to remove mask mandates in their schools. This is an attempt up and down the ballot for the Trump-dominated GOP to 1) paint Biden as a failure to bring COVID under control while 2) sabotaging the ability to stop community spread and further incubation and spread of COVID and its mutants. The sad part about this is that the most likely victims of the spread of COVID will be those in their own party. ...and their children. 82% of those in COVID hospital beds are the unvaccinated...and subsequently, are the ones dying..



Sunday, December 5, 2021

Democracy is a poor form of government, but there is something much worse

Yes, democracy is a poor form of government, but there is something much worse.

‘Winston Churchill, Nov. 11, 1947   "Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Yes, the media and money make it hard for voices to be heard and it distorts the rule by people instead of the government.  Yes, it takes forever to deal with problems through legislation and the ballot box. Yes, there is corruption and power given to powers who suppress others. The only thing worse is a dictatorship or an autocracy that does not permit an opposition media, keeping voters in the dark and suppressing free and fair elections, and keeping them unable to rally opposition or appeal to an independent body for help. The law in a dictatorship is not the standard to arbitrate injustice. The law becomes the tool to keep a dictator in place and it is manipulated,  interpreted, and applied to keep a dear leader in power.   It is nearly impossible to challenge corruption, so corruption exists and grows. So long as we have vigorous free media, we know who the scum bags are and corruption can be revealed. You do not have to be a card-carrying party member either. What we have is a distortion of our form of democracy...a country so big, mass media is necessary, but it is expensive, allowing the well-funded to get their messages across more effectively than others. Gerrymandering by both parties control who their candidates are in primaries and they are often the most extreme partisans, leaving a sense for independents that the only choice left is between two evils. When this country was founded, there were no political parties and there is no reference to them in the Constitution. To restore a more vigorous and fair democracy that reflects the will of the people, the voting rights legislation now in Congress is the most important piece of legislation on the table now. It affects whether we have a functioning democracy in the future. However, it will take the overturn of the filibuster, carve-outs if not comprehensive, to get passed, and that is difficult because it is so abstract and theoretical, it is not on the public's priority list who is more concerned about the price at the pump and in the grocery store. Unless these reforms are passed, I fear that public disgust and impatience with the government will make a dictatorship more attractive. The leap then will be from the frying pan into the fire because dictatorships are even a worse kind of governance, permitting corruption to go unchallenged and the rule of whoever has the power to give no chance for the voice of the people to be heard.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

The GOP and Roe v Wade: They are making their bed eventually to lie in it

A Supreme Court ruling to throw the issue of Roe V Wade back to individual states may backfire on the GOP. As in Colorado, initiatives are already being prepared to protect the essence of Roe v Wade to be on state ballots in 2022. It may fire up a turnout and anger of both women and younger voters in many states, both blue and red. In order to for Democrats to capitalize on this opportunity, they need to get as many legislators in Congress and in statehouses on the record with their votes of Roe v Wade-like legislation and to get state initiatives on the November ballots. Win or lose, the controversy will help bring out more Democratic voters who are now showing they are a bit asleep at the wheels on what should be winning popular public policy and cultural issues from pro-democracy to voting and women's rights and the agenda of enhanced economic assistance to working-class families, and needed attention to environmental issues. That strategy should begin now, ahead of the anticipated SCOTUS decisions. Even if SCOTUS does not go full monte on overturning Roe v Wade and /COVID and inflation fade, the contrast with the anti-democratic tactics and cultural divisiveness of an obstructionist GOP will give Democratic candidates up and down the ballot a rich platform on which to run.

 Expert observers of the Supreme Court arguments on the Mississippi case yesterday predict that the Court could effectively end Roe v Wade. This assumes the Trump appointees remain true to the GOP efforts to stack the Court with only anti-abortion justices, 3 in the Trump era.   The likely outcome is that the majority will rule that, in spite of 50 years of settled law, the Constitution should have been and will be neutral on federal protection of a women's right to choose. The matter is left to the individual states.  The fight will continue there where their existing laws banning abortion that had been put on ice pending this Mississippi case outcome. Colorado is not one of those states and measures are already being taken to make sure that a woman's right to choose is protected.  The challenge for Democrats is to get out this message and the opportunity to do so, if the Court throws the issue to states, will be when the Roe v Wade type of initiatives appear on state Nov. 2022,

/  ​Attempts to pass ballot measures to end choice in Colorado have always been defeated but tried often. The last attempt beaten down by voters was in 2020.  What this means is that in 2022 and 2024, the battle in Colorado will also continue at the ballot box and that positions of incumbents on the issue will be in the headlines and on record and also pressed to state their positions in advance if they are candidates. .  What it also means is that those with means needing the services will be coming to Colorado and New Mexico or taking visits to the west and east coasts.  The poor people who cannot afford those trips and who live in red states will seek their care in back alleys or with home remedies as they always have in history and many will die from complications, as they always have.  

,Politically there are other fallouts.: Justice Sotomayor called out the impact on the Supreme Court, warning there will be the "stench" of politicization that ignores precedent and she predicts it will harm respect of the institution as an independent arbiter of the interpretation of laws. The implication is that the rule of law will then be subject to change as political waves and views change. The reason is that nothing changed in the past 50 years regarding abortion, just more anti-choice justices were appointed to the Court, changing its balance with anti-choice appointees. It was political opportunism.  Given the changing demographics in this country, with the strong showing of younger voters (pro-choice) in the 2020 election, the future will lie more than ever in the hands of Democrats as this younger generation rises to power.  Women who had taken 50 years of rights for granted, but had not been following the issue, will become "woke" when the bans take place in over half o of the country and will add fire to 'suburban and younger voter turnouts. on behalf of  Democrats.  One out of 4  women in the US has had an abortion.  It is no small group., and they have the motivation and the ability to rally others.. Democrats in the US House have already passed a bill protecting abortion rights as provided in Roe v Wade and are sending it to the Senate since one remedy is to make it a law.  If it comes before the Senate, it will get votes on the record win or lose that will be useful to Democrats.  The anti-choice forces may win this battle for now, but it will be at the expense of the GOP in future wars.  The GOP is making their bed and will eventually lie in it.

How abortion rights might be protected in CO (

There are questions about where the younger voters will go in the future. They played a significant role in Biden's win Young, diverse voters fueled Biden victory over Trump | TheHill A poll recently revealed that younger people are "disappointed" in Biden, though they came out to vote in 2020 for him.  Biden Loses Ground Among ‘Fearful’ Young Voters: Poll | Politics | US NewsIn fact, they are in general very pessimistic about their futures and the issues that bother them are the pandemic, the environment , and the state of democracy..  They support  Biden on his handling of the pandemic   The issue of "choice" was nowhere on their radar, but as they experience the radical restrictions imposed by a Supreme Court, that I think will change their perspectives dramatically. Strange that the very issues Biden has supported are also their positions has not gotten more traction.  Like all matters that make a difference in politics are not a matter of absolute, but a choice between candidates whose names are on the ballot.  They may be "disappointed" in Biden now, but his name will not be on the ballot in 2022 and probably not in 2024 if he chooses not to run.  What happens in the state and local elections are where it is in November 2022, and in their "disappointment" and pessimism, this attitude may dampen turnout and they will inadvertently help exactly the Trump/GOP/ issues that would only hurt their top issues now. , However, they may be more fired up thanks to the anti-choice anticipated rulings on Roe v Wade. 

With Roe at Risk, Justices Explore a New Way to Question Precedents (

 for Democrats is to be able to draw the contrast between their party that embraces their issues . need to understand that not voting because of "disappointment" helps the very party that acts against their priorities.  The opportunity will arise if the Supreme Court throws "choice" back to the individual states and Roe v Wade in local initiative form will be on the ballot in Nov. 2022 and those state ballot issues can serve as a get out the younger voters vote. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Wanted: healthy skepticism: the antidote to conspiracy theories.

 One of the greatest puzzles in my life has been how do so many believe in unproven theories fueled by a belief that there was some conspiracy involved that gives it credibility? A wanted sign for healthy skeptics ought to be posted.    We have become a nation of many beyond reason, unwilling to ask questions that may give inconvenient answers.   This blind belief in conspiracy theories is a danger to both those who believe in conspiracy theories and the rest of us who do not.  It is a danger to the health of advocates of such theories themselves and those around them.  These theories are also fueling a  serious attack on the continuation of democracy.  Missouri once was once known as the "show me state", famous for not accepting hot air and theories as truth, but demanding proof one can actually see.(I spent many summers visiting my maternal grandmother in Missouri). Long forgotten were those days. Instead, Missouri has become an icon of  Trump country with most in that state accepting whatever comes from Mar-A- Largo and amplified by Trump's media supporters as the gospel truth. , We need more of old-time "show me's". Considering sources is a legitimate approach, but at least ask about the hows, whats, and whys. That is healthy skepticism. 

On a recent exchange in a debate Facebook group, a post was made by someone who claimed in so many words that Biden was a feeble old man and incompetent.  In my response, he charged me with using too many words to respond. I used two brief paragraphs laying out a list of actual events to back up why I concluded Biden had done a bunch with so many issues, including passage of the infrastructure bill. My response was posted on my blog site, as well. The critic instead resorted to calling me a derogatory ideological name as if that constituted all of the proof he needed I was wrong.   I challenged him to tell me exactly what I wrote did not happen.  Radio silence. He could have responded, but he did not,  with "it was not enough", here is what Biden failed to do, or what he had done would have had undesirable side effects, or the conclusion I derived from what obviously happened was faulty for such and such a reason.  To satisfy his troll, I should have put it in a one-sentence meme or called him a right-wing expletive in response.  Either he did not the ability to comprehend the written words that exceeded more than a sentence,  or he did not have any facts, even alternative ones, to back up his name-calling,   This is not an unusual exchange whenever there is a rare opportunity for dialoguing with the other side.  In fact, it is the right wings' common response when they are challenged to "show me".   Memes, name-calling, and opinions have taken the place of reason, facts, and data.  For the mentally lazy or those who have an inability to do critical thinking,  it is easier to parrot memes and slogans as a response than to show and convince those who are not in their echo chamber they are right.  

Repeating conspiracy theories, again and again, are not words just uttered into the sky until they are accepted by the unthinking as gospel truth with no repercussions.  It is far more dangerous than just baying at the moon. Aside from the hospital data serving as a warning to the unvaccinated,  this state of public dialogue has serious ramifications for the continuation of our form of democracy.   That 60 federal judges of all ideologies and appointed by a wide variety of past presidents came to the same conclusion that there was not enough fraud in the 2020 election to change the outcome,  Nine months of attempts for devotees to Trump to find that evidence of enough irregularities and trying to justify conspiracy theories have failed.  Nonetheless, nearly one-half of voters still spout "the election was stolen" as a reason to make it harder for "undesirable voters" to vote. Half of Republicans polled approve of violence to overturn an election with results they do not approve.  Democracy is by definition rule of, by, and for the people, but overturning the popular will and putting it in the hands of one person is anti-democracy, especially when the pretext is a cooked-up version of reality, and spoon-fed to unquestioning loyalists.  One of the hallmarks of democracy is that the ballot box determines the winner, not a violent riot and bloody overthrow of the vote counters.

The current state of un-reason in our current political dialogue has deadly results,  The anti-vaxxer paranoids who believe computer chips are put into your arm so the government can control you or that the vaccinations are hyped because of the greed of pharmaceuticals are theories held by those needing serious education of how the virus spreads and works. That is not likely to happen.  Being receptive to education will not happen when ignorance is bliss.   That those promoting vaccinations are politically motivated to hurt Trump's legacy or to help the Democrats in 2022-2024 are fantasies believed by so many.    Israel, Austria, the UK, and the entire EU all are taking masks and vaccination-mandated steps.  Do they really believe the reason for all of these countries getting together to promote these mandates was to help Democrats in the US maintain control of Congress?  Show me.

 In Colorado, seeing its 5th  and worst spike,  where over 80  percent of unvaccinated accounts for the hospitalized and dying, do the conspiracy theorists believe the data they do not accept as fact was the result of  Colorado hospitals all getting together to lie about their daily data numbers? Or if given the data is correct, the conclusion is that the unvaccinated are proof the COVID epidemic is faux and shots don't work, so why bother with them?.   Since vaccines are not 100% effective, don't get the shots and just be 100% vulnerable? That logic escapes me. When 40% of Americans are still not vaccinated, they are ripe to act as a matrix for the development and spread of mutant variants and are responsible for continued spikes and spread.  When over a thousand are still dying from COVID a day in the US, including those infected by the Delta variant, do some seriously think they are immune because somehow they are superhuman, exercise a lot,  eat well,  are too young,  take quack remedies, or have the right political persuasion? Think political affiliation is not a factor? Republicans are three times more likely to be unvaccinated than Democrats.  Or do some seriously think all the world scientists got together to agree on the same lies about COVID and just wanted to raise alarm bells and advocate masks and shots for the heck of it?   Then, show me.

1 in 38 unvaccinated Coloradans are infected with COVID-19, Polis says | Colorado Public Radio (   "82 percent of COVID-related hospitalizations are among the roughly 20 percent of Coloradans who are unvaccinated. "

Unvaccinated adults more than three times as likely to lean Republican: KFF analysis | TheHill


Thursday, November 25, 2021

Not bad for less than a year's work...Biden got a bunch done

 Updated 12/3/21 

Not bad for less than a year's work...Biden got a bunch done in ten months. For that, we should be thankful and give him credit.. He has another year to go before the midterms that could turn Congress red and cripple his ability to do much through legislative action. Nonetheless, there are still cynics who voted for Biden who are sorry they did because he disappointed them. They have short memories, both of what he promised to do when he was a candidate and what he has accomplished since. . What he had promised was bi-partisan approaches and building back an economy that was better than before COVID. Unstated, many just voted for him becaiuse Biden was not Trump. Biden was not a demagogic, narcissistic, untruthful leader who governed with hate hyping, revenge, and fear, who did not respect the values of democracy. He was Trump's polar opposite by just being Biden. Here are the whats, hows, and whys he got much of that accomplished.

Four years of infrastructure week under Trump: goose egg.; Biden got it done with bipartisan support With the. 1.9 trillion dollar American Rescue Plan, COVID economic stimulus, in the spring, job figures are the best in years. Biden got it done. In the face of November inflation figures, he mobilized, using what executive powers he had. ; Sprung loose strategic oil reserves to deal with gas pump prices, organized other oil-consuming countries to do the same, and summoned federal agencies to make sure lower prices make it to consumers. Got the log jam at the import docks improved and working24/7 instead of 9 to 5 weekdays so major retailers are now well-stocked. Biden negotiated that; Kept a bi-partisan Fed chair to deal with monetary policy to meet inflation sensibly. All in 10 months. Stopped White House Oval Office hyping racial tensions, bullying, and use of violence to support Trump's agenda. Got Covid booster shots free and in arms...appreciated by us old folks at family gatherings this Thanksgiving, while the unvaccinated chose to sabotage efforts to end COVID Delta variant and preferred to risk landing in ICUs Biden returned to regular order and respected the process of democracy and did it with normal human behavior.

Here are the reasons he got things done: He did not govern by fear, revenge, turning races against each other, self-aggrandizement, demagogic pandering to his base, and wishing he had Putin's powers of dictatorship. Biden governed by patient negotiation, even keeping the big tent Democratic Party together in the House, by his experience of a near lifetime of a legislator, understanding how to use the levers of governance, and personal relationships built up over many years. There is still much to be done, The BBB, the social infrastructure, legislation is now in the hands of the Senate. His promised withdrawal from Afghanistan was chaotic, poorly executed, poorly planned, poorly messaged, though he got it done. . His anti-inflation measures are yet to be tested. His greatest asset is plain-spoken reason. It is also his greatest liability: and inability to inspire people with soaring oratory and self-promotion.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Just rewards for Trump lawyers filing suit against Dominion voting machines

 This case has national implications. The lawsuit filed by Trump lawyers concerning Michigan suits against Colorado-based Dominion election machines was ruled frivolous since the attorneys did not present proof that fraud had taken place. Chances are the attorneys will pay through their teeth. The main issue: attorneys across the country who failed claims like this also failed to provide evidence or proof of the alleged fraud are facing disbarment and bankruptcy. The ultimate implications are that there was no fraud; the election was not stolen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

 Biden got the message.  Anti-inflation measures are underway

Updated Nov. 23, 2021 Listening to attempts by progressives and President Biden to show how their BBB legislation, the social infrastructure reconciliation bill, and the bipartisan infrastructure legislation just passed, will deal with inflation, has severe weakness in dealing with the general horror over inflation. The short and the long of actions are the problems. These Biden initiatives are only promises for long-term solutions while the political and consumer problem is short-term, The Biden efforts are hard to grasp promises for future relief. over this next year and beyond. The bipartisan infrastructure bill was signed into law, breaking the House logjam caused by in-party conflicts. The House finally passed the BBB, the human infrastructure, social safety net reconciliation bill, and now the action moves to the Senate.   Waiting for the public to understand the argument of how the BBB and the infrastructure legislation would reduce the price increases consumers are paying at the pump and retail will run up against 2022 midterms because of the time needed to start up, to see it actually working. . These long-term solutions look to consumers like a lick and a promise, ripe for skeptics to attack.  They want credible action now. In the meantime, for the next year, inflation could be on the top short-term voter list of disgust, and fears of inflation will make the BBB passage in the Senate even more problematic.   The Congressional Budget Office score of the BBB's impact on the deficit during the ten years of the program was not that clearcut...with the hit to the deficit coming in the first five years, and the offsetting income of tax policy would not be felt until the last five years, per Steve Rattner, influential financial asset expert, on Morning Joe, MSNBC Nov.22.  What the BBB will look like after it goes through the Senate buzz saw and intraparty fights will be a work in progress over the next several months.

 Some ideas being floated around for immediate,  temporary relief are to release some strategic oil reserves. Biden embraced and acted on some of them. On November 23, Biden led major oil users including  China and India, and the US to release oil reserves to increase supply and to lower prices at the pump) Biden also announced federal regulatory action to make sure the oil companies are not pocketing their increase in margins and that the lower prices are passed on to consumers. Another idea is to roll back Trump's Chinese tariffs on consumer goods, (Trump tariffs were just passed onto consumers, and only in a few sectors did it help the US manufacturing sector.  To avoid looking like Biden is catering to the Chinese, trade-off with some unfair trade practice measures). The jump in prices in early November was mostly a supply and demand problem, too many dollars chasing too few consumer products. Importation of consumer goods, had been clogged, but requiring ports; to work 24/7 had an effect.  On Nov. 22, major retailers, including Walmart, reported their shelves were full and ready for holiday shoppers. Fed plans for raising interest rates to cool off the economy may have long-term benefits, but it just increases the pain consumers feel now with the cost of credit. On November 22, Biden nominated the continuation of the current Fed chair, a holdover from the Trump administration, signaling a middle-of-the-road, bi-partisan, cautious approach.   To address the labor shortage problem as it affects agriculture, food supply, target a temporary year-long visa program for specific sectors including restaurants and domestic, eldercare workers. To avoid looking like open borders advocates, the Biden administration could increase the funding for enforcement for visa overstays and for visa processing in general. Sunset provisions for these measures keep these temporary.