Tuesday, October 30, 2018

First They Came For the Americans Born Here, Because The Far Right Are Hate-Driven Bastards

Civis Romanus Sum.

There is power in being a citizen. The power to vote. The power to speak up. The power - in theory, sadly not so much in practice - to walk down streets and go to work, and go to eateries and clubs and temples and events without harassment. The power to stand against tyrants and say "No."

This is why tyrants twist the laws of citizenship, why dictators demonize those they would deem an underclass without rights or power, why corrupt forces do everything they can to demean and harm those they view as inferior or "sub-human".

This is why trump and the Republican Party are threatening to subvert the entire concept of "birthright citizenship" and violate the 14th Amendment to pursue their godless war against legal immigration.

This isn't about illegals crossing the border: what trump and his ilk are looking to do is deny rights and protections to anyone they would NOT deem American.

The 14th Amendment exists precisely because conservative extremists we know as the southern slaveowners pushed for the Dred Scott legal decision, where Chief Justice Taney committed serious overreach in declaring ALL Black Americans - even the Freed Blacks who lived in Free states - had no rights under the law. Horrified by the implications, the Abolitionist Republicans - no relation to the Far Right GOP we have today - made sure after the Civil War that: 

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

That's it. If the First Amendment and Second Amendment and all the other Amendments are set in stone, then the 14th Amendment should be as well. If you're here, born here or worked to become here, you are a citizen and you have rights.

To a group like the Far Right, desperate to fearmonger and demonize the Other, they despise the 14th Amendment more than any other (even the First).

I wrote about this before. The haters now in charge of the Republican Party would like nothing more than to white-out (literally) this amendment that prevents them from abusing their political power to persecute anyone. Just think of all the groups that Republicans led by the demagogue trump repeatedly insult on Fox Not-News or the other outlets: Gays, Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Feminists (really just Women in general)...

The Conservative rank-and-file from the McCarthyism Era just loved pointing their fingers at people and accusing them of Un-American behaviors. They ruined a lot of lives over rumor and lies, and that was even with a 14th Amendment assuring Due Process and legal protections. Those McCarthyites never went away: Just look at media screechers like Coulter, and Limbaugh, and Hannity, and O'Reilly; Just look at politicos like Jeff Sessions and Lindsey Graham so eager to violate every other person's rights with glee. And now they want to go further and bloodier than their 1950s progenitors ever went.

Do you HONESTLY THINK the Far Right will respect any Gay or Trans or Black or Latino or Muslim or Jew or Hindu or Female if every member of those classes no longer had citizenship, no longer had the power to defend themselves and speak up for their rights?

And do you HONESTLY THINK those haters on the Far Right will STOP the persecutions of others as they succeed in hounding each victim into flight, cages, or the grave?

If we as Americans ever lose the 14th Amendment protections of citizenship, the Far Right will immediately go on the warpath against ANYONE they deem Un-American. And that's a list of people that can grow faster than a lot of you realize (just ask Paul Newman).

Just remember the poem from Martin Niemoller, a German pastor who was a supporter of Hitler's Third Reich up until 1934 (when he found out his own phones were tapped by the Gestapo), and who became enough of a critic to end up in a concentration camp in 1938 (He later regretted his support of the Nazis and had to answer for some of his own Antisemitic statements from that era).

He wrote later (there are variations of this, but they all follow the same pattern):

First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Where do YOU think you're gonna be on that list? Sitting comfortably on the sidelines while trump's MAGA Hat Brigades coming knock down everyone's doors once our citizenship rights are gone? You think you can last past the union people, or the religious groups?

These haters are not going to stop until they purge everyone on their personal Shit List. Your skin color, your gender, your religious belief, your political belief... ALL of that will be under scrutiny and you WILL be found wanting unless you sell yourself completely out.

You willing to do that?

What IS the cost to you if the Citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment goes away?

I will tell you now: the cost will be your soul AND your life.


Everything At Stake: 2018 Midterms

I normally feel that way about every election: the Presidential cycles AND the Midterms. Every election matters because we need sane and effective leadership to keep our government running and to ensure our protections and rights.

This year, it feels like a war. Everything sitting atop landmines ready to go off.

All I can do from here is vote in the Florida and Congressional seats, and vote on state and county level referendums. It doesn't seem like much, just one vote, but when you add it to 65 million others, it SHOULD matter.

I felt queasy in the leadup to the 2016 elections because so much was at stake then - a choice between Hillary and a goddamned racist sexist con artist on the Russian payroll - and it horrifies me that I feel worse than that now.

Because back then there was a belief, a hope, that the elections wouldn't break down and that Hillary would get enough votes to win the Electoral College. She got the votes, but thanks to the broken nature of the EC - and serious evidence of foreign meddling and local suppression efforts - she didn't win that. So we got stuck with the walking toxic dump instead.

And this election cycle, for all the talk about the Blue Wave - where the Democrats are likely (but not guaranteed) to win control of the U.S. House, and flip a number of governorships and state legislatures of key battleground states - I keep seeing reports of voter suppression by Republicans across those same states and am terrified the same shit that hurt our elections in 2016 is gonna kill our voting rights in 2018 altogether.

Florida is one of those states facing the problem of voter suppression. It doesn't help I am surrounded by far too many MAGA morans to feel good about my state's chances of waking up from this trumpian nightmare we're all stuck in. The polls may tell me that the governor's race may prove historic with Andrew Gillum winning, I'm still not seeing good numbers on the key Senatorial race with Bill Nelson (GODDAMMIT FLORIDA, WHAT PART OF "RICK SCOTT IS A MEDICARE FRAUD" DO YOU KEEP IGNORING?). I can vote and hope that sanity prevails across the board, that Florida Dems claim all the key seats to end 20-plus years of corrupt Republican rule here... but Gods, I *hoped* last time...

This is it, everybody. To every friend I have, to every reader who skips through here, to every sane (relatively speaking, this IS Florida) person in the Sunshine State, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET OUT THE VOTE THIS MIDTERMS AND VOTE DEMOCRATIC ACROSS THE BOARD.

You can Early Vote right now! Find the Early Vote center - each major town/city should have at least one polling place - and show up with your Voter ID card and photo ID and take care of it now if you're worried about the lines on Tuesday November 6. Early Voting ends Sunday November 4!

If you're voting on Election Day, remember you HAVE THE RIGHT during the day to take an hour from work to go vote! Plan ahead to make sure you do so on the way to work - map out the drive between your home (which should be near the precinct) and your workplace to make sure it's doable. The polls close at 7:00 PM but if you get there before closing YOU CAN STILL WAIT IN LINE TO VOTE. If you show up to vote with your IDs and everything and the polling place claims you're not registered, you HAVE THE RIGHT TO REQUEST A PROVISIONAL BALLOT AND A RECEIPT SHOWING YOU VOTED (after that, get a lawyer and sue the State GOP for suppressing your right to vote).



Everything is at stake. EVERYTHING.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Blood On the Streets Of Squirrel Hill

And today there was another mass shooting this time in a Pittsburgh suburb.

This time a Synagogue. A man with military firepower showed up reportedly shouting "Kill all the Jews" and opened fire. The body count is currently at 8 dead. At least three police officers were shot and wounded, there may well be more wounded (and dying) as well.

For what's been found about the shooter, his social media apparently marked him as a rabid Antisemitic bastard. His recent tweets were about the "Caravan" trump had been ranting against the past few weeks, and how the shooter believed "the Jews" were behind that "invasion" about to doom the entire nation.

In an odd twist, the shooter may have been a Far Right wingnut but he hated trump... because trump had Jews (his son-in-law Jared for example) on his staff. That's right. We're dealing with an asshole who thinks trump isn't enough of an asshole worth his support.

So here's your thread. This entire week (and it's not even over yet) has been one violent attack after another by angry men driven to that edge by Far Right Republican rhetoric.

  • Angry White Guy in Kentucky with a history of domestic violence and signs of racism (posting rants against Black Lives Matter) goes off on Wednesday, tried to break into a Black church service, then settled on shooting dead two Blacks at a Kroger store before getting caught. Another White guy in the parking lot heard the shots and pulled his own gun on the murderer, only for the killer to beg mercy because "Whites don't shoot Whites." (THAT is the fucking White Privilege mindset in one goddamn quote)
  • Angry White/Filipino Guy with a criminal history who obsesses with being Pro-trump wanted to kill everyone on trump's Enemies List, so he ships off more than a dozen bombs across the nation. Luckily most of the bombs were reportedly intentional duds (a scare tactic), but a handful of them were working when the bomb squads got to defuse them...
  • Angry White Guy in Pittsburgh hated Jews, found justification in the Caravan fearmongering, and went on his killing spree.

All three of them with key similarities:

  • Anger
  • Fear of Diversity, or that the rights of minorities will override the rights ("the superiority of" in their eyes) of White (men)
  • History of domestic violence (so far in the first two, the Squirrel Hill shooter's full background hasn't been made public yet. But I'd lay good odds he's got at least one restraining order from an ex-wife/ex-girlfriend)
  • Existing within a media bubble of Far Right Narrative (the Kentucky shooter didn't show as much of it, but right now the MAGABomber and the Squirrel Hill shooter are both well-documented in social media thriving in that wingnut bubble)

Like Silverman noted before, which I quoted from yesterday: The rhetoric of the Far Right media - bashing Jews, bashing Blacks, bashing Women, bashing Gays, bashing Liberals, bashing everyone not of the Far Right Tribe - is creating a toxic environment where the most unstable and least-controller fringe members are likely to get "triggered" and turn into killers.

The leaders of the Far Right know what they're doing: they get to fill the airwaves with their Fearmongering - based more on emotional hype than on the facts or reality - to trigger enough idiots listening in, and then get to pose on the mainstream channels to beg off "oh well, it wasn't really what we said" or "free speech, bitches" or "he's just a Lone Wolf, you shouldn't portray an entire mob of Angry White Guys like that."

We have a lot of other things out there that can cause or trigger bad behavior in people: Drugs, violent video games, what have you. We take those things into context when dealing with the monsters who get triggered, and we try to keep those sources out of reach by restricting their sale or access, or at least try to counter with counseling and education.

But how can we counter this unending storm of toxic worldview? The Far Right is riling up their base to commit wholeheartedly to the final stage of a Culture War that means violence upon every minority and "non-person" on their checklist of targets.

This isn't a rehash of 1968. This is a bloody remake of 1860.

God help us.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Far Right Boiling Of the National Mood

Told you I had an alibi:

Before he was arrested for mailing more than a dozen pipe bombs to prominent critics of President Donald Trump — some of which included pictures of the intended targets with a red “X” over their faces — Cesar Sayoc lived a scattered and bizarre life in South Florida.
He was an avid bodybuilder who trained in mixed martial arts and a former exotic dancer and strip club manager who held a string of odd jobs, among them a Papa John’s pizza deliveryman and a DJ. He bought a house in Fort Lauderdale, which was foreclosed on in 2009, lived with his parents in an Aventura condo, and most recently slept in a white van papered with pro-Trump and right-wing stickers.
Along the way, Sayoc racked up a long rap sheet for everything from grand theft and battery to making a bomb threat against Florida Power & Light. He was also accused of domestic violence by a woman who appears to have been his grandmother.

So of course it HAD to be a Florida Man. But it gets funkier:

But of all of his diverse interests, 56-year-old Sayoc’s fervent support for Trump appears to have been his greatest passion in recent years. Sayoc’s social media accounts were filled with photos of him wearing a red Make American Great Again baseball cap, videos of a Trump rally he attended in 2016 and pro-Trump news stories. He also shared racist memes and spouted conspiracy theories.
His Twitter timeline was a greatest-hits collection of right-wing conspiracy theories: that Parkland survivor David Hogg is a government plant, that Oprah Winfrey wants “this whole generation of white people” to die and that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is secretly Adolf Hitler’s daughter...

He lives in a world of Far Right Narrative, a comfort zone for Angry Guys who just happen to angry at minorities, women, libruls, moderates, gays, lesbians, Sportos, Motorheads, Geeks, Sluts, Bloods, Waistoids, and Dweebies (just not the Dickheads, because that's who the Angry Guys are).

It's the same kind of fantasy world that argued WMDs existed in Iraq, that tax cuts can raise wages and create jobs, that Hillary killed a whole list of victims and that Obama was secretly born a Muslim in Kenya. The fantasy world of Fox News and Breitbart and Drudge and Rush and Coulter and D'Souza and Alex Jones and Glenn Beck and O'Reilly and Hannity and Newsmax and more. A veritable industry of conspiracy theory that feeds on itself, with each dollar encouraging a greater lie requiring more members of the Far Right to repeat that lie until it becomes a foundation on which more lies can grow.

It's the same industry that's right now trying desperately to wash their hands of any responsibility for the MAGABomber's reign of error. Either blaming the Libruls for making the Far Right go all bomb-happy, or claiming it's a Lone Wolf who has NOTHING to do with being a red-hat-wearing trumpster (even though the guy is happily posing in pictures at trump rallies and shouting "LOCK HER UP" on videoclips).

But the bomber is NOT a Lone Wolf. There's a string of Far Right actors committing violent act after violent act all tied into that Far Right Narrative of "WE are under Attack From the Dread Other," with the WE being proud Whites of the Sacred Patriarchy (if there are women in this, they support that Patriarchy because it grants only them any power).

That Far Right Narrative is not just sitting there, like a novel on a reading table. It is actively prodding a willing and eager audience to pursue these paths of violence.

If I can link to Adam L Silverman at Balloon Juice:

...We also need to realize that what we’re dealing with is social learning driving terrorism and low intensity political violence. While Tom Nichols, who has been working through his own theory in regard to radicalization where he refers to these types of terrorists as Lost Boys, identified Sayoc’s domestic terrorism campaign without explicitly referring to it, it is actually the social learning and social behavioral drivers of terrorism.  This includes the normal four components of learning: 1) Primary associations, 2) Definitions favorable, unfavorable, and neutralizing to behavior, 3) Imitation, and 4) Reinforcement. It also includes the social learning components of neutralization (of definitions unfavorable to behavior) and drift...
What we have seen this week with Sayoc’s terrorism campaign, as well as with conservative and/or Republican elites and notables (elected officials, appointed officials, pundits, and commenters) and just supporters of the President who continue to toss around the idea that this is all a false flag or a hoax or somehow actually perpetrated by the intended targets to harm the President or the GOP’s electoral chances in two weeks, are perfect examples of social learning in general and neutralization and drift in specific. We can clearly observe:
  1. Primary associations in regard to being an objective or subjective supporter of the President.
  2. Learning definitions favorable, unfavorable, and neutralizing of behavior. Sayoc clearly learned from the President, as well as other Republican and conservative authority figures, that it is okay to target and vilify former and current Democratic officials or officials appointed by them, center left to left of center funders of liberal and progressive causes, CNN and other news media outlets that the President doesn’t like and often denigrates, and outspoken elite and notable critics of the President. We can also see this at play in the attempts to wave away this terrorist campaign by claiming it is fake news or a hoax perpetrated by the victims.
  3. Reinforcement is also clearly present. Specifically, Sayoc received reinforcement from conservative news media and conservative social media as current and former Republican officials, news media figures, commenters, and pundits, as well as just a large number of the President’s supporters talked about and magnified Sayoc’s actions through the attempt to dismiss it with whataboutism and bothsiderism, as well as calling it fake news or a hoax or denying the legitimacy of the victimization of the actual targets.
  4. While we haven’t specifically seen imitation yet, it will, unfortunately, likely appear in copycat actions over the next couple of weeks. And potential copycats do not necessarily have to copy the method of trying to make and use pipe bombs sent through the mail.
Both in the run up to today’s arrest and since Sayoc was taken into custody, all five elements of neutralization and drift that I delineated above are clearly explicitly observable. The Republican Party, especially its base membership, realigned to the perspective of the President, as well as conservative news media and conservative social media are all now a tool for radicalization. We can expect to see more Cesar Sayocs until conservative and Republican elites and notables make a stand...

The Republicans never will. They are profiting from this radicalization, and are doubling down with it - alongside voter suppression of minorities and youth voters who lean Democratic - to ensure they retain political power (because with it they can continue to shift wealth from the middle class to the rich (including themselves)).

The Republicans profit from a toxic and boiling stew of hatred, turning up the heat over the last 25 years of post-Cold-War politics to keep themselves at the top of the hill. As Silverman notes:

There are more Cesar Sayocs out there. Just as there were more Dylan Roofs as we saw in Kentucky on Wednesday (a white gunman starting shooting innocent Blacks and even tried to shoot up a Black church during services). And they’re marinating in the President’s and other elite and notable conservatives’ and Republicans’ toxic rhetoric. At some point they’ll reach the point where they have learned both enough of the definitions favorable to neutralize the prohibition against attacking other people, as well as who is an acceptable target from the President, from Republican elected and appointed officials, from Fox News, or from Rush Limbaugh or Hugh Hewitt or others on right wing talk radio, or from conservative social media across a variety of platforms, and when that happens they’ll take action. We can’t predict who the next Cesar Sayoc will be, nor can we predict who he or she, though it is most likely to be a he, will target, nor can we predict when it will happen. But unless something changes and soon, it will happen. And it will happen again and again and again...

The wingnut base of the GOP is just waiting for a sign. All trump has to do is send out the one tweet that says exactly what they want to hear - IT'S OKAY TO KILL OUR ENEMIES - and there will be blood in every street.

This is not guesswork. This has been seen in history again and again. It's been happening right now in real time in places like the Philippines. It is happening with every Angry White Guy yelling at Blacks on airplanes and in cars and at public parks and everywhere else. The anger is boiling. The mindset of violence is right there.

It is only a matter of time before the real bombs go off.

Gods help us.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I Have An Alibi

Today has been totally abuzz about the mass-pipe-bombs-in-the-mail story (via Mary Olmstead at Slate):

A string of suspicious packages addressed to prominent Democratic figures and at least one news outlet have been discovered by the Secret Service in recent days. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have been among the intended recipients of the devices, some of which have been identified as pipe bombs. Here is what we know so far:
The first suspicious package was discovered Monday in the mailbox of well-known liberal donor and philanthropist George Soros’ home in Bedford, New York, authorities said. After a caretaker found the device, a bomb squad detonated it. Authorities described the device as a six-inch-long pipe filled with explosive powder and rigged with a detonator. Federal authorities said they believed the device was hand-delivered, according to the New York Times.
On Wednesday morning, news broke that the Secret Service had intercepted an explosive device addressed to Hillary and Bill Clinton in Westchester County, New York, where they have a home. Soon after, the Secret Service also revealed it had found a device addressed to Barack Obama in Washington, D.C, where he lives. The packages were discovered as part of a routine mail screening, according to a statement, and no one was harmed...

CNN got a package just as they were reporting the stories on the earlier packages. Say hello to the madness of 24/7 Instant Terror Strikes. The CNN pipe was addressed to ex-CIA chief John Brennan, who happens to be 1) a major anti-Trump critic and 2) working at MSNBC, so we're definitely dealing with moronic bombers here.


A fourth suspicious package was reportedly found at the Florida office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a former Democratic National Committee chairwoman. NBC News has reported that the suspicious packages sent to Soros, the Clintons, and Obama listed Wasserman Schultz for the return address. CNN reported that the package found at Wasserman Schultz’s office might have actually been intended for former Attorney General Eric Holder: According to CNN, a suspicious package was addressed to Holder, but it was addressed incorrectly and rerouted to the return address. NBC has also reported that Secret Service intercepted a package addressed to Holder, but it is unclear if the two reports are about the same package.

Additional targets seem to be Rep. Maxine Waters, a prominent House Democrat, with the likelihood others may be getting these packages due to delivery methods of the USPS (the Postal Service is currently working to find out if any similar packages are still shipping). The reports note that all of the packages had Wasserman Schultz's address as the return address.

So here's what we know:

1) Bomber(s) specifically wanted Debbie Wasserman Schultz to be the scapegoat.
2) He/She/It can't SPELL worth a damn (spelled Florids...? worst misspell of Florida since 2000) and has no idea where people actually work.
3) Targeted all the major names - not just political figures like Obama and Clintons but also the media critics as well as Soros - routinely mentioned by the Far Right as "enemies" that need eliminating.
4) Bomber(s) had the time and ability - and also the money - to build multiple bombs and then ship them all out at the same time (and at least travel in-person to deliver a select few). With a chance there are MORE of these bombs out there.
5) This is more speculative than fact, but: Bomber(s) may not have sent working bombs: it's a bit surprising none of the pipe bombs have gone off, especially the ones that reportedly were hand-delivered (those are the ones you KNOW you want to go off but are afraid of blowing up in shipment and killing an innocent).

The Far Right are running around claiming this is all a "fake news" attempt by Liberals to label Republicans as mad bomber terrorists just as the midterm elections are reaching Election Day (AKA the "October Surprise" period). Problem is, the simplest explanation is usually the most likely: The simplest explanation is that one of trump's raving supporters in a Red MAGA hat has bought into trump's rhetoric against Democrats and media critics and took the next step towards "action".

Using Wasserman Schultz as the "sender" suggests the bomber(s) has/have a personal grudge against her: the only ones on the Far Left who would do that would be the BernieBro crowd who blamed her for "conspiring" with Hillary to stop Sanders from winning the 2016 primaries. But it would make little or no sense for them to send pipe bombs to still-popular figures like Obama or to prominent trump critics like Brennan. Did any Bernie supporters openly blame Soros for their losses? I don't recall. When it comes to Soros, *his* biggest attackers are ALL on the Far Right.

When you look at the list of targets we know of right now - Hillary (and Bill), Soros, Obama, Brennan, Waters, Holder - they are all the major stars of every Far Right conspiracy theory floating out there. That the bomber(s) come from that world is the solution that makes the most sense.

As for myself, I swear I have nothing to do with any of this. My schemes are more complex, I'd never be so stupid as to use the SAME name on an address, and my real plans involve... uh... wait a second... ooooh, you sly dogs, you almost got me monologing!

I was busy today proctoring an exam for a city hire. That's my excuse and I'M STICKING TO IT.

Update: I TOLD YOU I HAVE AN ALIBI. Dammit, STOP SNIFFING AROUND OPA-LOCKA! I mean, um, ahem, I've never been to Opa-Locka I swear...

A Statement On Core Principles

So, when it comes down to it, what are the issues I care about the most? On what hills will I stand and fight to ensure those beliefs remain core components of the United States I believe in?

My core principles on key political issues:

1. The rich, and large corporate entities, should be taxed at a higher rate than middle-income and low-income Americans to ensure fairness in the tax burden. This includes rigorous enforcement of upper incomes and large corporations to stop tax evasion.
2. Businesses must be regulated to ensure workplace safety, clean environments, fair access to products and services, high pay and benefits equal to the work performed, and consumer / community protection from any form of fraud.
3. All Americans 18 and older have the right to vote and shall not be blocked, suppressed, or denied their right to vote. Registration must be free and universal to all citizens. If imprisoned, Americans shall immediately regain their right to vote once their sentences are served or are on parole.
4. All Americans provided affordable healthcare across the board as a human right.
5. All Americans provided free public education for children, and affordable public education for all those of college age, as a human right
6. All Americans given personal control of their bodies and health with regards to reproductive rights, meaning affordable and unhindered access to birth control, women’s healthcare services, and abortion as a medical right.
7. All Americans have the right to know that the federal, state, and local governments that represent them are not committing crimes and human rights abuses, and that any agent, official or elected representative committing such crimes be punished (meaning no statute of limitations on those persons).
8. Americans have the right to be protected from active, violent, and spiteful racism / sexism, where haters do NOT have the right to attack someone because of their skin color, their ethnic origin, their gender, their gender preference, or their religion. As much as this means everyone SHOULD be protected, in practice this means protecting the rights and safety of Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Muslims, Jews, Hindi, Sikhs, Women, Gays, Trans, and other minorities from the hate groups that are predominately White Protestant (mostly Male) Assholes.
9. No radio personality or disk jockey shall speak over the opening, middle, or ending of a song. The next SOB who talks just as Pat Benatar starts whistling towards the end of “Love Is a Battlefield” will be executed with extreme prejudice. I don’t care if there’s just 30 seconds of the song left, I WANNA HEAR THE SONG NOT YOU.
10. No more lying in politics. All elected officials, candidates for office, and personnel hired to work for them or our government agencies shall be held to an ethical standard that will punish them for false, hypocritical, and misleading public statements. If you can’t speak truthfully and factually on a matter you can always say “No comment.”

This is what I want to see. This is what I hope for.

Does this make me liberal? Perhaps. But I look at Europe where liberalism and conservatism both agree roughly on public welfare matters like healthcare and education, so I don't think that is what's at issue here. I've seen some self-declared conservatives speak in favor of public schools and affordable healthcare, as well as speak for protecting the rights of minorities. It's not the issues themselves requiring extremism to defend or oppose.

What does matter is HOW such plans are enacted. To what degree can we support the public welfare? What's most sensible about regulating businesses for safe practices? THIS is where the ideological fights SHOULD be, where being a Big Letter Liberal and Big Letter Conservative and Big Letter Moderate would matter. This is where being the Liberal would seek massive support and broad freedoms, where the Conservative would be the skeptic honestly concerned about the costs, where the Moderate would find a pragmatic middle ground that would make the thing work as well and as long as possible. This is where I find myself as a Moderate: I want solutions that work and work well for the long term.

But this is where I split hard against Republicans. Where the Democrats - actively engaged among their own ranks between Centrist and Progressive stances - are amenable and solutions-oriented about the issues that matter to me (and hopefully most of you), the Republicans have gone Full Metal Dogmatic. 

The modern GOP -  reflecting not Conservative values but Reactionary values - does not want debate on ANY of those issues. The modern GOP is absolutely opposed to reasonable tax hikes on upper incomes, they want to slash-and-burn. They WANT to cut the social safety net to nothing. In practice at the state level I've seen Republicans gut funding for schools and teachers, and blocked improved funding for healthcare out of sheer spite. The Far Right wants to eliminate abortion (AND women's healthcare) as a safe practice, and oppose sensible affordable access to birth control not because they're pro-Life (they're not even that) but because they're pro-Judgment (they want to demean/control/depower women).

And dear GOD: The way the Republican Party acts towards Blacks and Latinos (and Muslims) should make any honest citizen sick to their stomachs.

The modern Republican Party wants to deny the rights - the right to vote, the right to learn, the right to LIVE - of every person who's NOT White, or Rich, or Male, or over the age of 50. That's all I see of that party anymore.


Because I have principles. And the Republican Party does not.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Early Voting Guide to Florida 2018

Okay, just to remind people that some counties already have Early Voting going like Broward, some starting on Wednesday October 24 like Pasco, and some counties won't start until Thursday October 25 like in Polk, SO PLEASE CHECK YOUR COUNTY ELECTIONS WEBSITE TO CONFIRM DATES AND LOCATIONS.

Early Voting helps make sure you don't get stuck in long lines on Election Day itself, because some precincts - in suspiciously enough urban / minority areas - get overwhelmed due to few working ballot machines. >:-(

Just remember these tips:

1) The Republicans are going all-out in their voter suppression efforts, so even if you are told you got knocked off the rolls you still have the right to request a Provisional Ballot and a receipt that you voted.

2) Make sure you show up with the right IDs: A voter registration card and one of several forms of Photo ID to stop the Republicans trying to deny your right to vote.

3) Once you get a ballot and vote, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT VOTE FOR ANY REPUBLICAN IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. You may have to do some research on the down-ballot votes for county offices and judgeships, so find the county GOP headquarters and document the names on their street signs and AVOID VOTING FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM. If you're stuck without a named alternative, hope for a Write-In line and coordinate with your neighbors and friends on a person you think will do a better job. If you have no alternatives at all, leave that spot blank.

3a) If you need a refresher on the State Amendments to vote For or Against, here's my review. If anything, PLEASE VOTE YES on Amendment Four and PLEASE VOTE NO against Amendments One, Two, Five, Six and Ten I thankye.

4) Be prepared for an insane Election night, as voter suppression could well mock how the polls are tracking results. The one advantage against voter suppression is TURNOUT: The more people who vote, the harder it is to subvert the numbers. They can't afford to make the results look 53 percent GOP - 47 percent Dem if the polling says it should have gone Dem by 55 percent. Too many angry people will be asking too many questions. So they can't suppress too many people all at once, and they can't hack all the machines to flip ballots.

Turnout Beats Suppression. SO PLEASE VOTE.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Tomorrow's a Busy Day For Me (w/ Update)

It's one of the reasons why I haven't been posting so much even as the political craziness has ticked up.

We'll see how the day goes, if I end in glory or third place. :)


I didn't even get third place.

I'm currently in a mood. Depressed AND Pissed. I've only been like this once before, and you bastards know when that happened.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Getting Down to the Wire 2018 Midterms

Dear Florida:

Make sure you are registered to vote. Check this link. Make sure you have a valid ID to go with your voter ID.

If you know you are supposed to be registered but have been knocked off the rolls, fight back.

You have the right to request a Provisional Ballot and a receipt for it if you are being challenged from voting.

You have the right to vote early to avoid the long lines that may occur at your precinct. You have the right to stay in line to vote once you get to your precinct before it's supposed to close (this is a major issue in large metros and few working locations).

You need to know when and where Early Voting in your county will take place, for Florida it is October 27 through November 3.

The General Midterms election is Tuesday November 6.


Show up and Vote Democratic up and down the entire goddamn ballot. NO REPUBLICANS.

Kick Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott the hell out of here. Keep Bill Nelson in the Senate.

Stop Ron "Slavery Was Great" DeSantis from getting anywhere near the Governor's office. Vote for Andrew Gillum to restore balance and defend the majority's interests for our state.

Vote for every Democrat in the Congressional and State Legislature seats out there. We've had 20 straight years of Republican dominance in this state and all we've got to show for it are broken schools, poisoned waters from our lakes and rivers to the oceans themselves, and a harshly underfunded Family Services program that's harming our children.

Get the damn vote out, Florida.

Don't let this Midterms be another year of no-shows. The interest levels are supposed to be up. Prove those numbers right, do better than what the polls are saying. VOTER TURNOUT BEATS VOTER SUPPRESSION EVERY TIME.

Get the damn vote out, Florida.


Friday, October 12, 2018

Personal Note: Time Flies After High School

I don't wanna date myself, but yeah I probably am when I mention my 30th high school reunion is happening this Saturday.

30 years of having survived.

Looking back through ye olde yearbook, and lordy was the 1980s a high point for mullets and feathered hair.

Enjoy your weekend as much as possible, but don't forget FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT VOTE REPUBLICAN.

Saturday, October 06, 2018

The Damage Done. Only The Rage Remains

Dear America.

Dear Every 65 Million People Who Voted for Hillary.

Dear Every Woman, and Every Man Who Are Not Driven By Misogyny.



They have betrayed everyone.
They have sold us out to Russia.
They have broken our tax code to enrich the greedy.
They have mocked and shamed every rape victim.
And they are not done. Not at all.

The Republicans are poised to shred:

  • Every voting right we have
  • Every Black's right to live
  • Every Woman's right to be her own person
  • Every Latino's right to be citizens
  • Every Teen's right to not get shot at school
  • Every poor person's chance to get out of poverty
  • Every sick person's chance to get healthy
  • Every child's need to grow up educated and ready


The midterms election is November 6. That's one month.

Get the vote out FOR every Democrat you can. If there's no Dem on the ticket, vote for the Independent. If there's no Indy candidate, pray to God there's a Write-In ballot and pick someone to fill that spot.



Update 10/18/18: I apologize for neglecting my attention to this blog, been busy at work and elsewhere, so I didn't notice Batocchio had linked this to Mike's Blog Round-Up until two days later. My bad. Thanks for visiting, please check out the rest of my blog!

Thursday, October 04, 2018


There is every sign the Senate Republicans are bulldozing ahead to vote FOR Kavanaugh this weekend.

Even in the face of evidence that Kavanaugh lied in public, lied to Congress (which used to be a punishable offense back when these things mattered), lied about being a drunken teenager and lied about being a sexual predator, even with all of that the Republicans are willing - desperate - to vote a scuzbucket into one of the highest offices in the land.

There is every proof that the Republican Party as a whole is now made up of unthinking unfeeling monsters who revel in the misery and suffering of their victims (everyone else, and even sometimes their own).

There is every last bit of evidence you need, America. There is every little fact that myself and thousands of others - John Cole, Stonekettle, Infidel, Carpetariat, Rude Pundit, driftglass, Tengrain, Digby, so many others - have been trying to tell you the last twenty, thirty, FIFTY years:

The Republican Party is evil.

The midterm elections are next month.



Monday, October 01, 2018

Of The Facts, Of the Truths

While the FBI spends its week investigating Kavanaugh to appease Jeff Flake. we should consider this tiny little tidbit.

How We Know Kavanaugh is Lying, written by Nathan Robinson over at Current Affairs.

Let’s leave aside the procedural questions about if and how an investigation should proceed. Given what we know now, after the hearings, what can we conclude for certain? Let’s just say we do not know whether to believe Ford or Kavanaugh, that we found both of their testimonies equally likely to be true. In a state of uncertainty, we’d be left with a tricky situation. The truth or falsity of the allegation against Kavanaugh is extremely important; if it’s true, not only did he attack a woman three decades ago, but he lied shamelessly about it under oath, forcing Ford through a humiliating public process that led to her receiving death threats. If what Ford says is true, then not only should Brett Kavanaugh not be confirmed to the Supreme Court, but he should be impeached and removed from the federal judiciary entirely, disbarred, and prosecuted for perjury...
I want to show you, clearly and definitively, how Brett Kavanaugh has lied to you and lied to the Senate. I cannot prove that he committed sexual assault when he was 17, and I hesitate to draw conclusions about what happened for a few minutes in a house in Maryland in the summer of 1982. But I can prove quite easily that Kavanaugh’s teary-eyed “good, innocent man indignant at being wrongfully accused” schtick was a facade. What may have looked like a strong defense was in fact a very, very weak and implausible one...
Let’s begin with Kavanaugh’s denial.
Here is what he says: “I never attended a gathering like the one Dr. Ford describes in her allegation...”
...Kavanaugh says that he never attended any event like this. Like what, though? He never attended a small gathering in Bethesda where people were drinking beer? Kavanaugh submitted his own calendars from the summer of 1982 into evidence for the Senate. As he said himself, “the calendars show a few weekday gatherings at friends’ houses after a workout or just to meet up and have some beers.” He says that he never attended a gathering like this, but that’s obviously false, because the type of gathering he says he did attend is exactly the kind she describes...

The article goes into focused detail into each element of Kavanaugh's story, so you should read it and then move on to the next set of lies by the judge:

Ford alleges that at the time of the assault, Kavanaugh and Judge were “visibly drunk.” The other allegations against Kavanaugh, by Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick, suggest that Kavanaugh participated in a rowdy drinking culture as a young man, and that the abuse occurred under the influence of alcohol. Swetnick says she “observed Brett Kavanaugh drink excessively at many of these parties and engage in abusive and physically aggressive behavior toward girls.” So drinking forms a major part of all the allegations, and facts about Kavanaugh’s history with alcohol bear on the plausibility of all three.
Kavanaugh has not only denied engaging in abuse, but has rejected the entire idea of him as having been an excessive and rowdy drinker. In his testimony and his interview with FOX News, Kavanaugh portrayed himself as having been a shy, studious, churchgoing virgin who worked a summer job and focused on community service and team sports...
His decision to present himself as squeaky clean, rather than wayward but subsequently redeemed, brings us to some of the most absurd untruths of Kavanaugh’s whole testimony. The evidence that he was more than an ordinary social drinker is voluminous. His yearbook lists him as treasurer of the “Keg City Club,” and his entry says “100 Kegs or Bust,” apparently referring to a “campaign by his friends to empty 100 kegs of beer during their senior year.” (Not a single senator asked him why his yearbook said “100 kegs or bust,” and the word “keg” doesn’t even appear in the hearing transcript.) It also says he was the “biggest contributor” to the Beach Week Ralph Club, which he admitted was a reference to vomiting. Here’s Liz Swisher, a Yale classmate of Kavanaugh’s who is now chief of the gynecologic oncology division at the University of Washington School of Medicine:
"Brett was a sloppy drunk, and I know because I drank with him. I watched him drink more than a lot of people. He’d end up slurring his words, stumbling… There’s no medical way I can say that he was blacked out. . . . But it’s not credible for him to say that he has had no memory lapses in the nights that he drank to excess."
Here’s Daniel Livan, who lived in Kavanaugh’s dorm:
“I definitely saw him on multiple occasions stumbling drunk where he could not have rational control over his actions or clear recollection of them… His depiction of himself is inaccurate.”
There's too many witnesses to Kavanaugh's drunken ways.

In total, the New York Times cited “nearly a dozen people” who knew Kavanaugh and confirmed he was a “heavy drinker.” Kavanaugh also hosted weekly tailgates while at Yale. [Update: on Sunday another Yale classmate said Kavanaugh was belligerent when drunk, that he saw Kavanaugh staggering from intoxication, and on one occasion “I witnessed him respond to a semi-hostile remark, not by defusing the situation, but by throwing his beer in the man’s face and starting a fight that ended with one of our mutual friends in jail.”] Kavanaugh’s close high school friend Mark Judge even wrote a memoir called Wasted: Tales of a Gen X Drunk, which featured a character called “Bart O’Kavanaugh” passing out from partying and puking in a car. Judge even mentioned “Bart” in the yearbook, suggesting this was probably a high school nickname or inside joke...

Why take Kavanaugh's word when so many others have been consistent in describing him and his behaviors not only now but in stories told years before now?

'Cause here's a few more stories about him:

Let us turn to two more lies, which both appear minor but have important implications. First is the case of poor Renate.
Renate Dolphin was a contemporary of Kavanaugh’s when he was at Georgetown Prep and she was at school nearby, and initially signed a letter supporting him. In Kavanaugh’s yearbook, some of the football players, including Kavanaugh, used the cryptic phrase “Renate Alumni.” Two ex-Georgetown Prep classmates told the New York Times that boys were bragging (truthfully or not, probably not) about sex with Renate. Sean Hagan said that Kavanaugh and his teammates “were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate. I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.” Dolphin herself didn’t know about the yearbook page when she signed the support letter, and when she discovered it was horrified...
But instead of admitting that they had been terrible to Renate, four of the football players said that the references to her in the yearbook “were intended to allude to innocent dates or dance partners.” Kavanaugh himself blamed the dirty-minded circus media for taking a sweet tribute and construing it as something obscene:
“That yearbook reference was clumsily intended to show affection, and that she was one of us. But in this circus, the media’s interpreted the term is related to sex. It was not related to sex.” … “She’s a good person. And to have her named dragged through this hearing is a joke. And, really, an embarrassment.”
Renate herself certainly didn’t interpret it as a display of friendship when she found out about it. But if you’re credulous enough to believe Kavanaugh’s denial, the definitive proof that it’s horseshit is that elsewhere in the yearbook, one of the boys has printed the following charming ditty:
“You need a date / and it’s getting late / so don’t hesitate / to call Renate.”
There can be no doubt that not only were the boys trying to obliquely call Renate a slut (whether or not any sex actually transpired is irrelevant), but Kavanaugh is now rather despicably trying to pose as the defender of a woman he unrepentantly humiliated...

I remember in high school the same kind of story-sharing alluding to certain girls as sluts whether they were or not. When I look at the story about Renate, it reminds me exactly the sick rumors spread about Tarpon High.

Shall we do one more lie? I know it’s getting late, and there is more that needs to be covered. But let’s talk about the Devil’s Triangle. This is common slang for a threesome between one woman and two men. Kavanaugh’s yearbook page contains the phrase, which presumably seemed amusing to sneak into print. When he was questioned about it, however, Kavanaugh replied:
WHITEHOUSE: Devil’s triangle?
KAVANAUGH: Drinking game.
WHITEHOUSE: How’s it played?
KAVANAUGH: Three glasses in a triangle.
KAVANAUGH: You ever played quarters?
KAVANAUGH: OK. It’s a quarters game.
Senator Whitehouse (of course) then moved on. But Kavanaugh’s testimony is more significant than someone who hadn’t heard the phrase before might think. That’s because nobody seems to have heard of such a drinking game. It doesn’t exist. Kavanaugh made up a fictitious game in order to sustain his phony image as a high schooler who knew nothing about sex and therefore could never have attempted to rape a woman (or, as Ford alleges, coerce her into a threesome, sometimes called a “Devil’s triangle.”) Kavanaugh’s falsehood here was blatant, and a supporter rushed to edit the Wikipedia page for the term to fabricate the existence of such a game and pretend it had existed all along.
It's not only that Kavanaugh is lying about a Devil's Triangle - I'm an honest-to-god virgin and even I know it means a threesome - but in order to cover it up he has to admit he's a regular enough drinker when he was 17 years old to partake of drinking games. His lie about Devil's Triangles betrays his lie about never being a drunk in prep school.

Kavanaugh, so desperate to win a Supreme Court seat he has no temperament for, is lying at every conceivable moment to make himself look good against every factual evidence out there, even at odds with his own testimony. A decent county prosecutor could take him apart on the stand within minutes.

It is that simple a truth that Kavanaugh should not be a judge.