Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Rush To Judgment

Rush Limbaugh has made his career and fortune in denying truth and science, and scorning decency.

Now lung cancer is taking another smoker, despite his denial of the link between the two.

While he is a repugnant and vile man, I take no joy in his illness, and I wish people would not reflexively celebrate his condition.

However, no one should be surprised that the hate and racism Limbaugh generated has drawn hate back in his direction. In that sense, he asked for it.

I would much prefer that his hate and dishonesty would end by embracing compassion for the people who do not have the wealth and health care he has enjoyed.

That is unlikely, so death will have the final word.

This is sad to say, but our country would have been better off if he never existed, or at least wasn't such an authoritarian purveyor of divisive anger and lies. In that sense Limbaugh has been a cancer on our political discourse.

That said, I truly hate cancer more than I may seem to hate Limbaugh. It kills indiscriminately and cruelly. I will not celebrate his illness and suffering.

I do admit to finding some relief at the imminent end of his toxic and demonizing hate. Like Trump, he is an enemy of truth, decency and democracy.

Instead of rejoicing, I hope for a miracle.

I hope that he discovers he has the power to heal some of the wounds he has opened. I hope that in facing his mortality he realizes millions of people need better health care. I hope he finds a conscience and repents.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Moral Courage And Its Opposite

On Friday, January 24th we watched House Impeachment Manager Representative Adam Schiff summarize the articles of impeachment against Trump. He spoke meticulously, factually, and eloquently, outlining Trump's abuse of power and obstruction of congress. 

He also reminded the Senate that history will record this sham impeachment trial of no witnesses and no documents allowed by the Party of the accused. He predicted posterity will not reward the defenders of the most corrupt and criminal administration our republic has had the misfortune to endure.

Representative Schiff noted this is the time for moral courage in the Senate, and quoted the relevant words of Robert F. Kennedy:

“Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change.”

Indeed. Moral courage is measured by the willingness to act on one's conscience and to stand for what is right, despite retaliation from those lacking this quality of character. The threat of “heads on a pike” for any Republican daring to express moral courage comes to mind.

Had it not been for the whistle blower's act of moral courage the Deplorable Despot would not have been impeached. One man of conscience made a difference.

Apart from former Republican Justin Amash, we have witnessed neither courage nor morals from elected Republicans. They have been obedient authoritarian followers to the point of serving and abetting the lies, corruption and crimes of the president. They have chosen loyalty to Trump over their oaths to defend the Constitution. 

Maybe a few will surprise us and vote guilty, but we know authoritarian personalities are unlikely to do so. Self interest, lockstep conformity, and power are their only values.

Like their leader, they will parrot Putin before they embrace truth and justice.

In addition to his honest and heartfelt summary, Mr. Schiff gave us a preview of, and rebuttal to, the White House defense team’s arguments. He outlined and refuted their complaints about an “unfair process” and “nasty” Democrats. He refuted their deflections about Ukrainians saying, "No quid pro quo” and their regurgitation of Putin's propaganda that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election.

Sure enough, right out of the gate, White House counsel Pat Cipollone said, “If you were really confident in your position on the facts, why would you lock everybody out of it from the President's side? Why would you do that?”

Repeating Schiff’s points, CNN's Kevin Liptak correctly noted, “House Democrats made a formal offer to the White House to have a lawyer present during their proceedings, but the offer was rejected in a politically-tinged letter from Cipollone himself. And Republicans were permitted to participate in closed-door deposition of witnesses during the investigation phase. A total of 48 Republican members of the three committees holding the closed-door hearings — Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight — were allowed into the SCIF, and they were given equal time to question witnesses.” 

Schiff tweeted this later in the afternoon: "After listening to the President’s lawyers opening arguments, I have three observations: They don’t contest the facts of Trump’s scheme. They’re trying to deflect, distract from, and distort the truth. And they are continuing to cover it up by blocking documents and witnesses."

I see no need to list any more of these instances. Schiff was spot on, and the pattern will hold for the duration of their defense of the indefensible.

This is their indefensible leader, projecting like a spoiled sociopathic adolescent who just got caught red-handed while committing a crime.

“Our case against lyin’, cheatin’, liddle’ Adam “Shifty” Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, Nervous Nancy Pelosi, their leader, dumb as a rock AOC, &; the entire Radical Left, Do Nothing Democrat Party, starts today at 10:00 A.M. on @FoxNews, @OANN, or Fake News, @CNN, or Fake News MSDNC!” ~ Donald J. Trump

We know the “case”. Mr. Schiff has already exposed their lies, and deflections.

The Washington Post editorial board wrote, “Mr. Schiff pointed out that, whether or not GOP senators demand relevant testimony and documents during the trial, more facts will eventually come out...Those who choose now to disregard the evidence against Mr. Trump and abet his obstruction will be reduced to watching in the months and years to come as the case against him — and against their abdication of constitutional duty — grows steadily stronger.”

Yes, history will remember their immoral cowardice, their treachery, and their betrayal of our Constitution and of our people. The corrupt and criminal Republican Party has sunk to its lowest point ever, and it will either suffer consequences, or our Constitutional republic will certainly degrade and expire.

The enemies of democracy and the Constitution are traitors, and the Party of Trump and Putin will stand before another jury in November. They will face the American voters. The immoral cowards can run, but they can't hide.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Vision?

Welcome to 2020. This is not just another year, and it will not be just another election.

Impeachment has been decided. Regardless of what the corrupt Republican Senate decides on the removal of the corrupt criminal in the Oval Office, American voters will face the ultimate choice.

Will the American voters embrace the neo-fascism and lawlessness of authoritarian white nationalism?

Or will American voters embrace more democracy and decency, with fair and equitable representation? Will the majority finally have a voice over the screaming far Right minority?

In our seriously flawed democratic republic only a supermajority of votes can counter the tyranny of a rabidly cruel, science-denying, dishonest, and treacherous regime. 

Only a supermajority of votes can curtail the party of avarice, bent on coddling their corporate elite owners, while punishing the poor and minorities. 

Only a supermajority of votes can defeat the Government Of Putin and
Greedy Old Plutocrats who have been waging war on our democracy while decimating and selling out our government of, by, and for the people.

Will we pass the final test of our Great Experiment, and reclaim the founders' ideal of consent of the governed? 

Or will we passively allow the nation to embrace the lies and anger of the cold and bitter dark side of the American soul? 

It CAN happen here, and it HAS happened here. But the forces of ignorance and rage will not wield as much power to inflict their destruction on democracy, if there are enough American voters that can still see reason, facts, and decency with 2020 vision.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Pondering Poetry: A Critics’ Symposium

I have to say I'm pleased and excited that my amateurish poetry has drawn some early flattering reviews.

On “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, KanaW opined, “I think that has to be my favourite poem ever. So evocative.”

I replied.

“KanaW ,
Thank you so much. I rarely write poems. When I do, they just spontaneously emerge from some inspiration or agitation. I think it reaches into how so many of us feel, and how we view these times of peril to truth, democracy and our Constitutional republic.

It is painful to witness corporate personhood unleashed, and the corruption and destruction the ravaging powers of wealth have inflicted on our laws, land, air, water, and people.

It is horrifying to see that corrupt power of wealth requires, and enlists, support from the worst crooked businessmen, racists, white nationalists, religious hypocrites, and every other person indoctrinated by the FOX/Trump cult.”

I also believe it evokes the thoughts, feelings and impressions of many good people in these dark times that try men’s souls.

Reader Mike T. offered his enlightened review as well.

“Well the good news is that Pelosi won't be speaker after 2020 so the lies and hate should abate somewhat. Good poem though. It captures the rage, anger, and lies of the left perfectly. :)”

Such a joker, that guy. I had to express my appreciation.


Thank you. You are indeed one of the few who “get it” when it comes to poetry.

Yes, you’re right about the anger, hate and lies from the Speaker. It was so vile of her to question the legitimacy and birthright of a black president. And then she blatantly threatened her opponent with jail in a debate. No wonder you couldn’t avoid seeing the hate and lies from that woman.

I'm sure you agree that time when Nancy told those women of color to go back to "where they came from" was utterly unacceptable from one of our nation's leaders. That raging hatred was expressed in every white racist's favorite attack on minorities. 

And how treacherous was it of her to cheat on our democracy by inviting and welcoming Russian help in 2016? She followed up by obstructing an investigation into over a hundred meetings between her campaign and Russians. And remember how she lied about having “nothing to do with Russia”, as she was secretly negotiating a deal for Pelosi Tower in Moscow? Horrible. 

She then went on to side with Putin against her own intelligence agencies in Helsinki. It was the least she could do, after giving Russians exclusive access to the Oval Office, dismissing their election interference, and bragging about firing the FBI director to end an investigation, while sharing highly classified secrets. Putin must indeed love his puppet Pelosi.

And recall when Speaker Pelosi broke an election campaign law by paying for a porn star’s silence. That must certainly offend your Christian values. It was just as offensive as the time she said there were “very fine people” marching with tiki torches in Charlottesville.

Soliciting foreign help in the 2016 election paid off so well, she decided to cheat again by breaking the law and violating the Constitution by putting the squeeze on the president of Ukraine. This time she openly bribed a foreign leader by withholding military aid, until the Ukrainian president announced a trumped up investigation into her political opponent.

That wasn't all. The Speaker went on TV to invite China to investigate her opponent too.

I’m sure that outraged you as well. But did it outrage you as much as when the Speaker defied our Constitution’s checks and balances by refusing to comply with lawful subpoenas and obstructing a duty clearly specified in said Constitution? I share your outrage, sir.

And no doubt you are furious that the Speaker taunted a recently widowed woman and mocked her late husband at her rally in Battle Creek. Is there nothing too low for her? No wonder good Christians despise her, and the devout Christian president said he would pray for her.

Only our Orange Savior can save America from this evil.

I'm so pleased you completely grasped every nuance of my poem.

I must say you remind me of an old blog buddy who regarded himself a purveyor of Common Sense. I remember he agreed that our dear president was morally unfit for office. That was just before he closed his blog with praise for the president “making America great again”.

By the looks of the anonymously submitted angry poem filled with the president’s insults for democrats and journalists, I see another similarity with the man who loves Common Sense. Just as he did once before, he imitated a post of mine. Last time he copied my entire piece, substituting a few selectively chosen names and terms. I thanked this person for the sincerest form of flattery, and do so again.

If he wants his latest deplorable poem published, I suggest he re-open his blog, but I doubt he would. I suspect he still can’t take the criticism that I welcome.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Me And Gohmert

For once I agree 
With crazy Louie 

Gohmert did say
And may be right

“This country’s end 
is now in sight”

Monday, December 16, 2019

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Remembering W. B. Yeats and "The Second Coming".

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Dulled and lulled by lying leaders and platitudes

Numbing us all and clouding our thoughts with

Monotonous tired clichés and trivial drivel

When mediocrity ascends, something worse is sure to follow

Decency and reason are soon cast aside

Deceit, blame, anger and hate are unleashed

And together they rage across the land

Distorted vision darkens souls with resentment

And a stand for truth draws wrath from the believers of lies

Sunday, December 8, 2019

The Second Bill Of Rights

Are there any Democrats left out there? I mean REAL Democrats.

What I mostly see is a decrepit old gang of wealthy, centrist, corporatist insiders, ready to bargain away our safety nets, our healthcare, our labor rights and every other public good the Republicans are bent on destroying. I see “centrists” and “moderates” who believe in compromise, with the uncompromising, authoritarian party of McConnell and Trump. This has only resulted in steering our country ever further to the Right. They have not yet learned that compromise with authoritarians is not compromise. It is appeasement. It is capitulation. It is as compromising as paying ransom to kidnappers is.

Republicans must be defeated, not appeased. They know it is a long game. Most Democrats do not. 

The Republican Party used to be conservative. Now it is a bastion of oligarchic, white nationalist, authoritarian con-servatism, at war with truth, equality, and democracy.

Remember Bush Junior’s speechwriter David Frum’s rare insight. 

“Maybe you do not much care about the future of the Republican Party. You should. Conservatives will always be with us. If conservatives become convinced that they cannot win democratically, they will not abandon conservatism. They will reject democracy.”

Ergo, con-servatism.

Who remains standing against this war on democracy?

By appeasing the Right, Democrats have been following the authoritarian path away from democracy.

Look at how war crimes, torture and lies leading to the Iraq war were not investigated. Nobody was held accountable. Obama “looked forward”. 

Look at the Great Recession caused by Wall Street swindlers that hurt so many Americans, still trying to recover. Most of the swindlers got paid back. And again, nobody was held accountable.

Republicans have gotten away with so many crimes and scams, they are no longer accountable under a system of so-called checks and balances. Bush Junior saw the Constitution as just a “damn piece of paper” and acted accordingly. 

Now the entire Party of Trump is regurgitating Putin’s propaganda and condoning foreign interference in our elections. Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the US is becoming more like Putin’s oligarchic Russia than Russia is becoming a democracy.

Khrushchev told us, “We will bury you”. Putin kept that promise, by extorting and owning Trump and now the Republican Party.

At long last House Democrats are impeaching the corrupt criminal in the Oval Office. But does that make them real Democrats? Hell, real Republican patriots would support the impeachment, but they are extinct. It is now the Party of Putin. The GOP is the Government Of Putin.

Putinism has essentially become the Republican ideology. Putinism is a rancid mix of white nationalism, authoritarianism, intolerance, and epistemological nihilism. Putinism is destruction of journalism and truth. It is denial of science. It is a pseudo-populist thuggery on a massive scale, infecting Europe and the Americas

Who opposes it? Who stands for a democratic republic?

There is no party of real Democrats, any more than there is a party of real Republicans anymore. Both parties owe their allegiance to the CEO oligarchs of Wall Street, Energy, Pharma, and Health Insurance. Corporate lawyers have been writing our laws. Their company insiders and lobbyists have become top level Cabinet secretaries, and are their own “regulators”.

The oligarchs are beyond regulation and accountability to the public. They are avoiding taxes, while reaping our tax dollars in socialized corporate welfare subsidies. They have been dismantling our Constitutional Republic and replacing it with a neo-liberal corporatist oligarchy.

Constitutional taxes are being eliminated. Constitutional regulation of commerce is being eliminated. Constitutional provision for the general welfare is being eliminated.

Who stands athwart this grand corporate coup? Who defends our Constitution? Who represents “we the people”?

This is why we need from real Democrats.

You may be wondering, “So just what is a REAL Democrat? Who are they?”

There are a few. Bernie is a real democrat, but not a member of the Democratic Party. This fact itself is telling.

There are a few more. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan are real Democrats.

The “Squad” of young women of color are still representing the heart and soul of what used to be a Democratic Party. Now these real Democrats are scorned by corporate media and corpo-dems as “too far left” and out on the “fringe”.

They are neither. In fact, they represent the preferences of most Americans.

64% of Americans support stricter gun laws.

70% support Medicare for All.

61% support a woman’s right to choose.

75% believe humans burning hydrocarbons are to blame for climate change.

65% believe the winner of the popular vote should be President.

They are not “too far left”, and we are not the “fringe”. We’re the majority.

Time for a history lesson, kids.

Back when the US was actually becoming greater, emerging from a Great Depression, new and better ideas were implemented in Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

People went back to work in public service jobs, building infrastructure and planting trees. Unions were growing and workers found representation at the bargaining table. They were getting better pay and benefits, while working conditions were improving. Social Security was established.

Of course Republicans and oligarchs hated this “power to the people” concept. This resulted in their flooding media with lies and propaganda intended to subvert and demolish the Constitutional general welfare of the public. They are destroying everything real democrats have built.

But we had real Democrats working for the people back when America was becoming great.

It’s time to remind our fellow citizens and our representatives and senators what a real Democrat stands for:

From FDR’s State of the Union Message to Congress.

January 11, 1944

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth- is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our Nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the Nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

There you have it, from our first Anti-Fascist and first real Democrat. Now let's take back our party.