Republicans Try to Rewrite History

“You know, if you didn’t know the TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit.”

– Rep. Andrew Clyde (GA)

“Is this America? They beat police officers with Blue Lives Matter flags. They fought us, they had Confederate flags in the U.S. Capitol.”

– US Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn

“The truth is being censored and covered up, and as a result, the DOJ is harassing peaceful patriots across the country.”

– Rep. Paul Gosar (AZ)

“I just remember the anger I felt when I saw those images, busting windows, climbing the walls and stuff like that. It was an audible gasp in the room, seeing those images.”

– US Capitol Police Officer Byron Evans

“There have been things worse than people without any firearms coming into a building.”

– Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX)

“They called us traitors. They beat us. They dragged us.”

– US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell

“Some of them went in and they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards, they had great relationships.”

– Donald J. Trump, March 2021

 

Sanitizing an Insurrection

To listen to some members of Congress tell it, January 6th was practically a love-in. Which is not how Capitol police officers remember that day.

Officers saw a mob knock over barricades, scale the walls of the Capitol, smash windows… and assault fellow officers with flagpoles, bear spray, and anything else at hand. Officers were called “traitor,” “ni**er,” and other insults.

The halls of Congress were smeared with feces. Rioters broke into offices – including Speaker Pelosi’s office. They breached and ransacked the Senate chamber.

These are the “peaceful protestors” GOP officials defend. The “tourists” they claim did no harm. The cost of this “peaceful protest?” According to the Architect of the Capitol, $30 million in repairs and additional security.

That’s an awful lot of money for cleaning up a “peaceful protest.” And – according to Reuters – American taxpayers will be on the hook for the whole amount. Because Uncle Sam rarely carries insurance.

But – apparently – a small price to the GOP for backing their failed leader.

The Call to Defend Democracy

With all the voter suppression laws the GOP is forcing through, their strategy is pretty clear: Disenfranchise as many non-GOP voters as possible.

Which is why we have to mobilize all the voters we can. No matter how many hurdles the Republicans throw against us.

And why we have to wrest back control of local and state-wide offices.

Progressives clearly have the numbers. Just look at Biden’s overall victory. He won by millions of votes. And we can turn those votes into local and state victories. We just have to get folks out to vote.

Which means grassroots organizing. Overcoming roadblocks to minority voting. And ensuring that every qualified voter is properly registered.

Will it be easy? Probably not. But the alternative is authoritarian rule by the few… and the end of Democracy in America.

Matt Gaetz, Sex Trafficer?

Recent reports suggest Rep. Matt Gaetz may have been involved in paying women for sex. And, in one case, one of those “women” may have been 17.

Of course, Gaetz denies the charges. And claims the charges are linked to some far-fetched plan to extort $25 million from his family.

Let’s take a closer look at Matt Gaetz… his history… and just how reliable he may be.

The best place to start? With one of Gaetz’s closest allies… Tucker Carlson. Well, a one-time ally, anyway.

Carlson: “I Don’t Remember…”

You’d think one of the safest harbors for right-wing operatives would be Tucker Carlson’s show. Carlson is a reliable GOP hack.

But when Gaetz tried to recruit Carlson to his cause, Carlson replied, “I, I don’t remember the woman you’re speaking of or the context at all, honestly.”

Gaetz had tried to link Carlson to a dinner he claimed Carlson and his wife attended with Gaetz and a particular woman. But Carlson was having nothing to do with it. After the interview, Carlson commented, “That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement. If Tucker Carlson won’t back you up, who will?

Maybe we should look at Matt Gaetz’s history for a clue to his lack of support…

Not Exactly a Sympathetic Figure

Gaetz isn’t exactly a sympathetic figure. Take a Northwest Florida Daily News report from May 2014 as an example. The paper points out Gaetz had racked up “17 tickets since 1999.” His May 2014 careless driving ticket added 4 points to his license.

In Okaloosa County, Gaetz had accumulated 11 tickets during that time… including 6 for speeding.

And that’s hardly all Matt Gaetz has done to alienate voters.

  • Gaetz was the lone member of Congress to vote against a sex trafficking bill in 2017. His current troubles seem to suggest a reason for the vote.
  • Six years earlier, he was nearly alone in opposing a revenge porn bill in the Florida legislature.
  • In 2018, Gaetz invited a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union address.
  • A Gaetz tweet from Feb 2019 appeared to threaten Michael Cohen – Trump’s former “fixer” – if Cohen spoke out against Trump.
  • In 2019, Gaetz attacked a parent of one of the Parkland shooting victims. Gaetz claimed immigrants were to blame for most gun violence. When a Parkland victim’s father objected, Gaetz tried to have him ejected from the meeting.
  • In 2020, FL Rep Chris Latavala accused Matt Gaetz of creating a sex game within the Florida legislature. The game reportedly assigned points for “bedding” various legislative members and aides.
  • In March of 2020, Gaetz wore a gas mask on the House floor to mock those who warned of the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus.

And now we have another – perhaps more serious – scandal.

Sex With a Teen?

The U.S. Justice Dept. is investigating Matt Gaetz. For trafficking a teenager for sex.

Let’s keep this in perspective: This investigation was opened under Bill Barr, Trump’s lapdog Attorney General. Barr apparently squelched all but the most egregious violations by Trump associates.

So, if he let this investigation move forward, it doesn’t bode well for Gaetz.

Gaetz is under investigation for sex with a minor… paying for her inter-state travel… payments to sex workers to travel internationally… and more.

Hitting a Moving Target

Hitting a stationary target is one thing. Hitting a moving target is another. And Gaetz is a moving target for two reasons..

First, the accusations against Gaetz seem to grow worse every day. It’s almost impossible to keep up. And, second, he keeps changing the subject. He points at his political enemies… or the media. Without ever answering most charges directly.

At best, Gaetz issues generic denials. Faced with multiple – and credible – charges of paying for sex, Gaetz simply issues a blanket statement he’s never paid for sex.

In spite of Venmo payments that suggest he has. But does he address specific accusations? No.

Payments made to women for reasons such as “*ss” go unaddressed… while Gaetz proclaims innocence.

Even Gaetz’s sister says he’s full of… well, let’s call it bull.

As Huffpost reported, Matt Gaetz’s sister, Erin, tweeted against the “stop the steal” movement. Erin Gaetz didn’t call out her brother by name. But Huffpost reports she admitted to at least one person “she [wholly] disagrees with him.”

But let’s keep one key point in mind…

Every revelation makes the case against Gaetz worse. Nobody’s come forward with any exculpatory evidence. The rathole just gets deeper and deeper. And it’s hard to keep up.

So where do you go with this? With the preponderance of the evidence. Which points to a sordid past.

Dumping the Trumpiest of Trump Cheerleaders

Donald Trump apparently paid thousands to keep two high-profile affairs quiet. He admitted to sexually assaulting multiple women. And he lied more than 30,000 times during his presidency.

Matt Gaetz is one of Trump’s most ardent supporters. So, is it any stretch to believe he’s emulated his idol? Especially with witnesses saying he openly shared naked videos of his  alleged conquests on the House floor?

His Bahama’s trip with a marijuana “entrepreneur” who paid for women to accompany them. And his association with Joel Greenberg – a former Seminole County tax collector facing more than 30 federal charges. Including sex trafficking of a minor.

A minor Gaetz himself may have had relations with.

And don’t blame this on the Biden Justice Department. The Gaetz investigation began under Trump’s most pliable Attorney General, Bill Barr. Imagine how serious Barr must have considered Gaetz’s behavior to open an investigation into one of Trump’s most ardent supporters.

Face it, Republicans, this pro Trump “leader” is leading you into disaster. Maybe it’s time to reconsider your priorities.

Look at those who’ve defended him…

  • Jim Jordan, who’s been accused by numerous athletes of ignoring sexual misconduct by a university doctor.
  • Margery Taylor-Greene, who thinks “Jewish space-lasers” started the latest round of California wildfires.
  • And pretty much nobody else.

Did Matt Gaetz engage in sex trafficking of a minor? I couldn’t say for sure. But with his record, it’s time to say good-bye to this Trumpian *ss-kisser.

Let’s face it: He’s kryptonite. And proud of it.

*****************************************************

Sources:

Olsen, J., “Tucker Carlson calls Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz interview on FBI probe ‘one of the weirdest’ he’s ever done’,” KVUE.com. Mar 31, 2021.

Snodgrass, E., “Matt Gaetz is under investigation on suspicion of violating federal sex-trafficking laws. In 2017, he cast the only vote against a human trafficking bill,” BusinessInsider.com.

Shammas, B., “Gaetz fought revenge porn bill, saying ex- lovers can use photos as they see fit, sponsor says,” Washington Post. Apr 6, 2021.

McLaughlin, T., “Gaetz racks up 17 tickets since 1999,” Northwest Florida Daily News. May 13, 2014.

“Jewish Republicans Want Congressman to Admit His State of the Union Guest Is a Holocaust Denier,” Haaretz.com. Feb 2, 2018.

Clark, D., et al, “GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz apologizes for tweet targeting Michael Cohen,” NBCNews.com. Feb 26, 2019.

Campbell, A., “Rep. Matt Gaetz Lies About Gun Violence, Tries To Eject Parkland Parent,” HuffPost. Feb 06, 2019.

Sweeney, D., “Matt Gaetz accused of starting sex game in Florida legislature,” S FL Sun Sentinel. Jan 14, 2020.

Gregorian, D., “Gas act: Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida wears mask for coronavirus vote,” NBCNews.com. Mar 4, 2020.

Little, J., “Florida congressman Matt Gaetz reportedly being investigated for sexual contact with teen,” Pensacola News Journal. Mar 30, 2021.

Moye, D., “Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Sister Calls Out Election Fraud Lies Like Ones Spread By Her Bro,” HuffPost.com. Jan 27, 2021.

Matt Gaetz, Sex Trafficker?

Recent reports suggest Rep. Matt Gaetz may have been involved in paying women for sex. And, in one case, one of those “women” may have been 17.

Of course, Gaetz denies the charges. And claims the charges are linked to some far-fetched plan to extort $25 million from his family.

Let’s take a closer look at Matt Gaetz… his history… and just how reliable he may be.

The best place to start? With one of Gaetz’s closest allies… Tucker Carlson. Well, a one-time ally, anyway.

Carlson: “I Don’t Remember…”

You’d think one of the safest harbors for right-wing operatives would be Tucker Carlson’s show. Carlson is a reliable GOP hack.

But when Gaetz tried to recruit Carlson to his cause, Carlson replied, “I, I don’t remember the woman you’re speaking of or the context at all, honestly.”

Gaetz had tried to link Carlson to a dinner he claimed Carlson and his wife attended with Gaetz and a particular woman. But Carlson was having nothing to do with it. After the interview, Carlson commented, “That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement. If Tucker Carlson won’t back you up, who will?

Maybe we should look at Matt Gaetz’s history for a clue to his lack of support…

Not Exactly a Sympathetic Figure

Gaetz isn’t exactly a sympathetic figure. Take a Northwest Florida Daily News report from May 2014 as an example. The paper points out Gaetz had racked up “17 tickets since 1999.” His May 2014 careless driving ticket added 4 points to his license.

In Okaloosa County, Gaetz had accumulated 11 tickets during that time… including 6 for speeding.

And that’s hardly all Matt Gaetz has done to alienate voters.

  • Gaetz was the lone member of Congress to vote against a sex trafficking bill in 2017. His current troubles seem to suggest a reason for the vote.
  • Six years earlier, he was nearly alone in opposing a revenge porn bill in the Florida legislature.
  • In 2018, Gaetz invited a Holocaust denier to the State of the Union address.
  • A Gaetz tweet from Feb 2019 appeared to threaten Michael Cohen – Trump’s former “fixer” – if Cohen spoke out against Trump.
  • In 2019, Gaetz attacked a parent of one of the Parkland shooting victims. Gaetz claimed immigrants were to blame for most gun violence. When a Parkland victim’s father objected, Gaetz tried to have him ejected from the meeting.
  • In 2020, FL Rep Chris Latavala accused Matt Gaetz of creating a sex game within the Florida legislature. The game reportedly assigned points for “bedding” various legislative members and aides.
  • In March of 2020, Gaetz wore a gas mask on the House floor to mock those who warned of the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus.

And now we have another – perhaps more serious – scandal.

Sex With a Teen?

The U.S. Justice Dept. is investigating Matt Gaetz. For trafficking a teenager for sex.

Let’s keep this in perspective: This investigation was opened under Bill Barr, Trump’s lapdog Attorney General. Barr apparently squelched all but the most egregious violations by Trump associates.

So, if he let this investigation move forward, it doesn’t bode well for Gaetz.

Gaetz is under investigation for sex with a minor… paying for her inter-state travel… payments to sex workers to travel internationally… and more.

Hitting a Moving Target

Hitting a stationary target is one thing. Hitting a moving target is another. And Gaetz is a moving target for two reasons..

First, the accusations against Gaetz seem to grow worse every day. It’s almost impossible to keep up. And, second, he keeps changing the subject. He points at his political enemies… or the media. Without every really answering most charges directly.

At best, Gaetz issues generic denials. Faced with multiple – and credible – charges of paying for sex, Gaetz simply issues a blanket statement he’s never paid for sex.

In spite of Venmo payments that suggest he has. But does he address specific accusations? No.

Payments made to women for reasons such as “*ss” go unaddressed… while Gaetz proclaims innocence.

Even Gaetz’s sister says he’s full of… well, let’s call it bull.

As Huffpost reported, Matt Gaetz sister, Erin, tweeted against the “stop the steal” movement. Erin Gaetz didn’t call out her brother by name. But Huffpost reports she admitted to at least one person “she [wholly] disagrees with him.”

But let’s keep one key point in mind…

Every revelation makes the case against Gaetz worse. Nobody’s come forward with any exculpatory evidence. The rathole just gets deeper and deeper. And it’s hard to keep up.

So where do you go with this? With the preponderance of the evidence. Which points to a sordid past.

Dumping the Trumpiest of Trump Cheerleaders

Donald Trump apparently paid thousands to keep two high-profile affairs quiet. He admitted to sexually assaulting multiple women. And he lied more than 30,000 times during his presidency.

Matt Gaetz is one of Trump’s most ardent supporters. So, is it any stretch to believe he’s emulated his idol? Especially with witnesses saying he openly shared naked videos of his  conquests on the House floor?

His Bahama’s trip with a marijuana “entrepreneur” who paid for women to accompany them. And his association with Joel Greenberg – a former Seminole County tax collector facing more than 30 federal charges. Including sex trafficking of a minor.

A minor Gaetz himself may have had relations with.

And don’t blame this on the Biden Justice Department. The Gaetz investigation began under Trump’s most pliable Attorney General, Bill Barr. Imagine how serious Barr must have considered Gaetz’s behavior to open an investigation into one of Trump’s most ardent supporters.

Even Gaetz’s own sister says he’s full of… well, let’s call it bull.

As Huffpost reported, Matt Gaetz sister, Erin, tweeted against the “stop the steal” movement. Erin Gaetz didn’t call out her brother by name. But Huffpost reports she admitted to at least one person “she [wholly] disagrees with him.”

Trump’s own Justice Department – and his own sister – don’t support Gaetz. So why should you?

Face it, Republicans, this pro Trump “leader” is leading you into disaster. Maybe it’s time to reconsider your priorities.

Sources:

Olsen, J., “Tucker Carlson calls Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz interview on FBI probe ‘one of the weirdest’ he’s ever done’,” KVUE.com. Mar 31, 2021.

Snodgrass, E., “Matt Gaetz is under investigation on suspicion of violating federal sex-trafficking laws. In 2017, he cast the only vote against a human trafficking bill,” BusinessInsider.com.

Shammas, B., “Gaetz fought revenge porn bill, saying ex- lovers can use photos as they see fit, sponsor says,” Washington Post. Apr 6, 2021.

McLaughlin, T., “Gaetz racks up 17 tickets since 1999,” Northwest Florida Daily News. May 13, 2014.

“Jewish Republicans Want Congressman to Admit His State of the Union Guest Is a Holocaust Denier,” Haaretz.com. Feb 2, 2018.

Clark, D., et al, “GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz apologizes for tweet targeting Michael Cohen,” NBCNews.com. Feb 26, 2019.

Campbell, A., “Rep. Matt Gaetz Lies About Gun Violence, Tries To Eject Parkland Parent,” HuffPost. Feb 06, 2019.

Sweeney, D., “Matt Gaetz accused of starting sex game in Florida legislature,” S FL Sun Sentinel. Jan 14, 2020.

Gregorian, D., “Gas act: Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida wears mask for coronavirus vote,” NBCNews.com. Mar 4, 2020.

Little, J., “Florida congressman Matt Gaetz reportedly being investigated for sexual contact with teen,” Pensacola News Journal. Mar 30, 2021.

Moye, D., “Rep. Matt Gaetz’s Sister Calls Out Election Fraud Lies Like Ones Spread By Her Bro,” HuffPost.com. Jan 27, 2021.

What’s Wrong With Joe Biden?

It seems like everyone’s mad at Joe Biden.

No matter what Biden does, somebody thinks he should be doing more. Barely two months into his administration, and folks are lining up to complain. Everyone seems to have forgotten the situation we’re in.

We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Over half a million Americans have died in just over a year. And many of the deaths could have been prevented. If the previous administration hadn’t denied and dithered for months. Then chose to ignore the problem for the most part.

Sure, there was “Operation Light Speed.” But keep in mind, the first vaccine approved was from Pfizer. A company that never participated in Lightspeed. So, let’s not give too much credit where little seems due.

It Just Gets Worse

Then there’s the economy. It’s in shambles. Again, the previous administration’s refusal to take the pandemic seriously crippled the economy. A national mask mandate might have made all the difference early on. But Biden’s predecessor wouldn’t hear of it. And Covid ran rampant through the White House.

Then there’s the government itself.

Hundreds of executive posts went unfilled – some for years. Many positions were filled with “acting” officials, as the administration never brought them up for Senate approval. Hundreds of other positions that were filled were filled with political hacks.

The administration nominated unqualified and ethically challenged people for scores of key positions. Including cabinet posts. Many were forced to resign amidst scandal.

This is what Joe Biden faced on January 20th. Along with an evenly divided Senate. Which means he needs every Democratic and Independent member of the Senate on board to pass anything. And then, only because V.P. Harris can cast the deciding vote.

Meanwhile, the sniping has started from all sides.

Facing the Disloyal Opposition

Almost every major bill introduced in the House has met with unified Republican resistance. Not a single Republican voted for Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package. Most opposed renewing the Violence Against Women Act. The same with the For the People Act – major voting rights legislation.

For crying out loud, some Republicans even voted against honoring the Capitol Police for putting their lives on the line during the January 6th insurrection.

These are not the positions of a party concerned with the welfare of the average American. Or the continuance of our Democracy.

So, what are the GOP’s positions?

Well, they’re generally in a tizzy over a half-dozen children’s books going out of print. Because these Dr. Seuss books have racist undertones.

They’re concerned about “cancel culture,” because it discriminates against the Right. In fact, they say it’s absolutely silencing voices on the Right. A horror they broadcast on national television almost daily.

And, of course, they’re critical of Joe. Republican Party leadership is making a big deal that Joe hasn’t held a press conference in his first couple of months in office. “What’s he hiding?” they want to know.

But here’s a little tidbit to put that in perspective:

After his initial press conference after the 2016 election… Pres. Trump didn’t hold a press conference for over a year. That’s a modern record.

Yeah. The GOP is up in arms over Joe’s lack of press conferences, while their boy did much worse.

You know how else their boy did much worse? Golf. By the end of his 2nd month in office, Trump had visited his own golf clubs at least a dozen times. Biden’s record so far? Zero.

To be fair, the Obama Administration left Trump with a booming economy. So, Trump could afford to play golf. Joe Biden inherited an economy in tatters. He can’t.

For the record, the Government Accounting Office estimates Trump’s golf outings cost taxpayers about $145 million dollars. Know what else costs about $145 million?

1,450 Porsche 911s.

And Republicans aren’t the only complainers.

The Immigration Crisis and Other Stories

Folks on the Left are upset Biden hasn’t solved the immigration crisis. But let’s look at this rationally.

We’ve just endured four years of racist immigration policies. Biden has already reversed problems like the Muslim Ban. But the pressure has been building for four years.

Under Trump, a huge backlog of would-be immigrants built up along the border. Thousands of hopeful families wound up in squalid camps just over the border.

Meanwhile, Trump slowed immigration courts almost to a standstill. Case-loads built and built. He tore kids from their parents and housed them in cages. Many still haven’t been reunited. And Joe Biden walked into this mess.

In the midst of a pandemic and an economic crisis. To make matters worse, the Trump tax cuts cost the U.S. Government almost $2 trillion in revenue. Meaning the government has to do a lot more with a lot less.

So maybe folks should give Joe a break. He’s a human; not a wizard. Congress could help… But you know the GOP will fight tooth and nail to spoil any humanitarian moves.

Meanwhile, the Left also complains about Biden failing to address their environmental concerns. Well, he’s already begun to reverse some of the Trump Administration’s worst ecological and environmental damage. He’s done what he can with executive orders.

But Congress has to help by closing loopholes in laws that let polluters and other abusers get away with literal murder.

So what’s the bottom line?

The Left Needs to Work With Joe… Not Criticize Him

The political Left has been riding high, thanks to a few big wins and almost legendary heroes, like “the Squad.” But there’s also a lot of dirty work to be done in the trenches.

And that doesn’t always involve big wins.

Sometimes, incremental change is all we can expect. Especially when there are other big issues involved.

Like a deadly pandemic and a crippled economy.

Even a fairly popular president like Mr. Biden has limits. He can’t change everyone’s mind on everything all at once. But, the more he accomplishes in areas that concern the average American, the more capital he’ll have to make changes that don’t concern them as directly.

So, give the guy some slack. He beat his initial promise – 100 M Covid vaccine doses in 100 days – by 6 weeks. The guy has skills. Stop beating on him and start supporting him. The more you back his plans, the more yours will make progress.

 

Sources:

“President Trump’s New Record: The Longest Time Without a Formal Press Conference in Half a Century,” The Daily Beast. Feb 16, 2018.

“Trump Golf Count: 298,” TrumpGolfCount.com. Mar 2, 2021.

“2021 Porsche 911,” https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/porsche/911. Aug 14, 2020.

Conservatives vs. Liberals

A few election cycles ago, Conservatives tried to turn “liberal” into a dirty word. They spat it out in a negative light over and over. And Democrats took the bait.

Suddenly, no Democrat wanted to be called a liberal. By avoiding the label, they reinforced the Right’s claim. And “liberal” became a dirty word in politics.

But what does liberal mean? It means generous. Is being generous a bad thing? Not according to Jesus. Remember the parable of the widow’s mite? It was a small offering in monetary terms… but it was a big chunk of this poor woman’s savings.

Or the parable of the prodigal son. When the foolish son returned to his family, the father killed the “fatted calf” – feast food – to welcome his errant son home.

Giving freely was kind of Jesus’ thing. Which makes it seem odd the political Right claims Jesus as their own. Because…

Jesus Condemned the Religious Right Over and Over

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He criticized the Pharisees – the Religious Right of his day. And he often broke bread with the poor and sinners.

Fast-forward 2,000 years, and who advocates for the poor? Mostly liberals. Programs to help prisoners re-integrate into society? Mostly run by liberals.

On the other hand, who fights against universal health care? Conservatives. In spite of claiming to be “pro-life.” Which also makes the Right’s support of the death penalty seem odd. You can add a few other choices to that list, too.

If you’re pro-life, why would you oppose the SNAP program, which feeds poor children? Why would you oppose a minimum wage that brought the poorest Americans out of poverty? Why would you oppose universal health care.?

If you’re pro-life… all of these programs preserve lives. Fighting them tooth and nail makes no sense.

Unless you’re not really pro-life.

Today’s Conservatives Aren’t… Conservative

To conserve means to save for the future. This is something political Conservatives don’t have built into their DNA.

Take climate change as an example. More than 97% of climate scientists agree that human activity is driving rapid climate change. And that change is a catastrophe.

Ice caps are melting… and low-lying nations are threatened with extinction. Super-storms are becoming more common. And the growth cycle of plants is changing. Bumblebees may disappear – along with many other species.

Yet Conservatives in the U.S. cling to the tiny percentage of scientists – mostly on corporate payrolls – who dispute climate science. And they push for continued use of fossil fuels.

In spite of our quickly diminishing supply of these fuels.

“Conservatives” aren’t trying to conserve energy sources. Instead, they back over-use of limited resources. There’s nothing conservative about that.

These “conservatives” also aren’t trying to conserve states and nations facing obliteration by the over-use of fossil fuels.

According to worldatlas(dot)com, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands are among the countries most threatened by climate change.

In the U.S., Florida – with a highest point of just 345 feet above sea level – faces catastrophic flooding as sea levels rise.

Yet, Conservatives – who supposedly want to preserve the status quo – are fine with most of southern Florida disappearing beneath the waves.

That includes Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s multi-million-dollar social club. Which is barely at sea level already.

The Accurate Name for Modern “Conservatives”

So, todays conservatives actually favor massive climate change… and the economic disaster that would follow. All for short-term economic gain.

Are they pro-life? Only before birth. Do they care about the environment? Not if it costs them money. Are they concerned for their grandchildren’s future?  Not based on their choices.

Because today’s Conservatives show no concern beyond themselves.

To conserve means to save for the future. Which makes it clear these folks aren’t really conservative. So, from now on, we have to use different labels.

“Liberal” is no longer a dirty word. It means giving generously. Which is a concept Jesus promoted.

But “conservative” doesn’t describe today’s political right. They aren’t trying to save for the future. But there is a word that accurately describes these people.

We can still call Liberals “liberal.” And they can hold their heads up, proud to be generous to others. But, from now on, we have to call today’s conservatives what they really are… the Greedies.

Our “Divisive” President

What are all these GOP folks complaining about? Biden needs to be less divisive? Jeebus Crikey Moses! Consider this:

  • We now have a woman “Blindian” Veep
  • Biden’s proposed the most diverse cabinet in American history
  • He’s delivered an unbroken message of unity since the election.

Divisive? As Inigo Montoya famously said to Vizzini, “I don’t think that word means what you think it means.”

And now even the Left is starting to complain. Because Biden isn’t going far enough fast enough. Forget that he’s done more good for the country in four days than Trump did in four years.

At least give the guy a week to settle in.

So far, I think Joe is doing a great job. He promised to start reversing some of Trump’s worst policies from day one… and that’s exactly what he’s done. (Unlike his predecessor’s “from Day One” promises.)

  • Millions of “Dreamer” immigrants protected
  • The Muslim ban reversed
  • He’s taken serious steps to address the pandemic
  • He’s proposed financial protections for the most vulnerable Americans
  • He’s re-engaged with the world through the Paris Accord and W.H.O.
  • He’s restored environmental protections.
  • And, of course, he redecorated the Oval Office. (Bye-bye, Jackson.)

Most importantly, he hasn’t gone golfing once since taking the oath of office.

Speaking of oaths, look at that family Bible he swore on. You take an oath on that thing, and you’d better mean it. That Bible almost proclaims God will strike you down if you break your word. (“Hey! I’d have let it go if you’d sworn on a paperback copy of Good News for Modern Man. But you took your oath on a real Bible. I had no choice.”)

I haven’t been keeping score, but one of the talking heads on the news mentioned Biden is only our second Catholic prez. I knew Kennedy was the first… but I hadn’t been paying attention since. That means we had a Quaker in the White House (Nixon) before our 2nd Catholic. Maybe we should adjust “white privilege” to “WASP privilege.”

Meanwhile, look at Biden’s picks for top posts: blacks, Hispanics, women, gays… and did I see an Asian in the mix? Plus – drum roll, please – these are people with experience and expertise. People who actually know what they’re doing. Merrick Garland for AG? Both a good choice and a sick burn on the GOP. Nicely played, sir!

I have no doubt Biden will try to reach across the aisle. Just as Obama did in the early days of his administration. But I fear he’ll get the same chilly reception.

Don’t you find it odd that pretty much the entire Republican party had a note on their childhood report cards that read: “Does not play well with others?” As if it were a GOP pre-requisite for holding office?

Look at the AZ GOP. They censured Cindy McCain, former Sen. Flake, and their own sitting governor for not supporting Trump’s conspiracy theories. (Plus, two of them flat out said they wouldn’t vote for Trump.) Much of the party appears to be digging in its heels. No compromise allowed.

But Biden is being too divisive.

Why I’m Worried About America’s Future

Our Founding Father’s worried about the future of the Colonies. King George had to balance his checkbook, and the Seven Years War had put the British Empire deep into debt.

Although six European powers had been involved – and the war stretched over the whole of the Empire – George and his Parliament leaned heavily on the American colonies to pay off their debt. After all, the French and Indian War had been a part of this global conflict.

So Mother Britain looked to the Colonies to pay down the debt.

A series of laws flowed out of Parliament – where the colonists had no representation – placing heavy burdens on the Colonies. For many, the Stamp Act was the final straw.

The Stamp Act placed a duty (tax) on virtually every legal document produced in the Colonies. And on newspapers, playing cards, pamphlets, calendars, and more.

Want to place an ad in the local paper? His Majesty gets two shillings. Are you printing pamphlets of less than one whole page? That will be one penny. Each. Want to play dice? Not till you’ve paid the King’s ten shillings tax on them.

Taxation without representation triggered a rebellion. And, so, our nation was born.

Fast forward 244 years…

Once Again, Liberty Stands at a Crossroads

The election of 2020 was messy. America is polarized. Though he’s wildly unpopular, Donald Trump’s base is solid. His opponent is a respected Washington insider: Joe Biden. Biden’s last job was serving as V.P. under the charismatic Barak Obama.

Trump and his allies did all they could to sway the election. Many GOP-controlled states made early and mail-in voting as difficult as they could.

Key states fell, one after another, to Biden. Trump refused to concede.

Trump’s campaign and his allies mounted dozens of legal challenges. The courts slapped down all but one. Even judges appointed by Trump himself deemed some cases meritless.

Trump’s personal lawyers floated conspiracy theories. Votes were changed while being counted in Spain. Catering vans delivered fake ballots to counting locations. A dead Venezuelan dictator had voting machine software sabotaged. Each claim was crazier than the last. All have been disproved.

State after state certified the results. Even swing states controlled by Republican administrations. Trump’s own Depts. of Justice and Homeland Security noted there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Still, Trump and his cronies continue to claim fraud. And they’re turning to ever more desperate ways to overthrow a duly elected government. Even before that government has been seated.

Meet the Party From Crazytown

In Arizona, Trump supporters chanted, “Count those votes!” in hopes of Trump gaining an advantage. At virtually the same time, in Michigan, Trump’s minions were chanting, “Stop the count,” as Biden pulled ahead.

Some GOP-controlled legislatures blocked counting mail-in ballots before election day… meaning millions of votes were counted after in-person votes. Since Democrats were far more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, this led to large last-minute gains by Biden.

Their own party created this situation. But that didn’t stop many Republicans from claiming this predictable situation proved election fraud.

Seventeen Republican attorneys general signed on to a Texas lawsuit trying to deny four swing  states the right to count mail-in ballots received according to those states’ laws. Laws that are strikingly similar to the laws in some of the states that joined the suit.

Consider what Trump’s lawyers are saying in court.

Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s other minions are quick to claim massive fraud in front of the media. But in front of a judge? Not so much.

  • In a PA case, the judge asked a Trump lawyer if he was claiming voter fraud. The response was, “To my knowledge at present, no.”
  • In an AZ suit, a Trump campaign lawyer said, “We are not alleging fraud in this lawsuit.”
  • And, in federal court, Rudy Giuliani himself told the judge, “This is not a fraud case.”

Why? Maybe because lying to a judge has serious consequences.

More Word from Crazytown

Texas Rep. Louis Gomert tried to overthrow the Constitution by suing V.P. Pence over Pence’s role in the counting of Electoral College votes. This suit was such a stretch, Pence and the Dept. of Justice both asked the court to dismiss the case. Which it did.

And still GOP operatives try to overthrow the will of the people.

Freshman Senator Josh Hawley (R- MO), says he will challenge Biden’s victory when the Electoral College count comes up in the Senate on Jan. 6. He joins more than 100 GOP members of Congress.

Hawley’s challenge will trigger debate in both Houses… but should have little effect. First, all the evidence points to Biden winning by over 7 million votes. Second, the grown-ups in the House and Senate are generally opposed to undermining our democracy.

So, Hawley and his co-conspirators appear to be doing this just for political points. And you really have to be from Crazytown to risk our Republic for personal political gain.

But that’s exactly what Donald Trump did when he called Georgia’s Secretary of State, Republican Brad Raffensperger.

Trump spent an hour begging and bullying Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to turn the election his way. After the votes had been counted and recounted… twice.

Trump offered a list of already-disproven rumors as excuses. But it all came down to this:

“All I want to do is this,” Trump said. “I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

Flattery, threats, pleading… Trump tried it all. It was pitiful, but there it is.

What About the Aftermath?

Here’s where I really worry. Because the only effective solution is a painful one. It’s tempting to “let bygones be bygones.” But that teaches a destructive lesson:

If you get away with it long enough, they’ll let you off scot-free.

To preserve our Democracy, Trump and his cronies must face the music. All the lies… the ethics violations… the crimes. They have to be laid bare. And they must have consequences.

Robert Mueller found 10 instances of Trump possibly obstructing justice. Prosecutors should evaluate each. The Georgia phone call. Profiting from his lease on the Old Post Office in DC. The list goes on and on.

Plus the state investigations. Did the Trump Organization manipulate values for favorable loans and tax rates? That’s potential bank and tax fraud. Why did Deutsche Bank loan Trump so much money when nobody else would? And why did the executives in charge of Trump’s accounts suddenly resign on Dec. 22, 2020?

We need a full accounting and a resolution to these – and many other – questions before we can move on as a nation.

America’s future hangs in the balance. The resolution lies in laying bare all of Trump’s antics. And that’s why I’m worried.

Because it will involve exposing all Trump’s cronies in Congress.

Can it happen? Yes. But only if Joe Biden’s Department of Justice is ready to yank the bandage off a particularly nasty scab.

Sources:

Peters, C., “The Supreme Court rejects Texas’s undemocratic election lawsuit,” msn(dot)dom. Dec 12, 2020.

Kruzel, J., “GOP lawmaker sues Pence in bid to overturn Biden win,” TheHill(dot)com. Dec 28, 2020.

Berenson, T., “Donald Trump And His Lawyers Are Making Sweeping Allegations of Voter Fraud In Public. In Court, They Say No Such Thing,” time(dot)com. Nov 20, 2020.

Scannell, K., “Trump’s private bankers resign from Deutsche Bank,” CNN(dot) com. Dec 22, 2020.

Five Ways Progressives Can Do Better in 2021

As years go, 2020 was a dumpster fire. Here are just a few of the year’s lowlights…

  • Senate Republicans decided asking a foreign leader for dirt on his political opponents in exchange for military aid wasn’t enough to put Trump out of office.
  • Our president dallied and downplayed a deadly pandemic for months… even though he’d known how serious it was since February.
  • Moscow Mitch McConnell blocked scores of bills from coming to the Senate floor. Including bills to strengthen election security and to send out $2,000 relief checks.
  • The Republican-led Senate rammed through Trump’s third Supreme Court pick just before the 2020 election. In spite of refusing to consider President Obama’s nomination in early 2016.

And so it went.

While our nation is deeply divided, there’s one thing most of us agree on. We can’t wait to see 2020 disappearing in our rear-view mirrors.

Meanwhile, here are five ways we Progressives can do better in 2020.

  1. Stop Squabbling With Moderates

For the last 20 years – or more – progressive and moderate Democrats have shot themselves in the foot over and over. Need a good example? Bernie Sanders.

In 2016, Bernie drew a large and dedicated band of followers. Moderate party leaders rallied behind Hilary Clinton, fearing Bernie would be “unelectable.” And they may have put their thumbs on the scale just a bit.

The result? Angry “Bernie-or-Bust” voters didn’t turn out… or, in some cases, turned out for Trump. And we all know how the next four years have gone.

I’m not saying the more Progressive elements of the party should cow-tow to moderate sensibilities. I’m saying we have to be honest with one another… and compromise. If we don’t, the next Trump is right around the corner.

  1. Change the Districting Game

How does the minority party control so many state legislatures? And seats in Congress? In a word, gerrymandering.

Austin, TX is full of Democrats, but the Republican legislature has carved it into several districts, diluting Progressive votes in the region’s more conservative outlying districts.

Proportional Representation is just one of many ways to overcome this problem. In one form, a party would get seats in a legislature based on the proportion of the total votes it received. So if Party X received 75% of a state’s votes, 75% of the seats in its legislature would go to that party.

Proportional Representation ensures each party would have representation based on the number of voters who support that party.

The result would be parties that sought to win voters hearts and minds… instead of parties that demanded blind loyalty from voters.

  1. End the Electoral College

We directly elect our Congresspersons. We directly elect our Senators. Why shouldn’t we directly elect our President?

Our current Electoral College system puts a handful of “swing states” in the driver’s seat. And this system hasn’t worked well lately.

George W. Bush won the presidency with a minority of the popular vote. So did Donald Trump. In fact, since 2000, Democrats have won the popular vote twice while losing the Electoral College vote. The result?

Out of six elections, Republicans won the popular vote only once (16.66%). But a Republican was sworn in as president three times (50%). Which means the Electoral College subverted the will of the voters in one-third of this century’s elections.

That’s not how democracy works.

  1. Overturn – or, at Least, Defang – Citizens United vs. FEC

The Citizens United decision was a game changer. In simple terms, the Supreme Court ruled unlimited election spending by individuals and corporations amounted to free speech. And, therefore, it could not be banned or regulated.

As long as big spenders don’t “coordinate” with a candidate’s campaign, they can spend as much as they want. In other words, it’s okay to buy an election.

Since then, the Koch brothers and other wealthy donors have flooded election cycles with cash. Donors are disguised by Super PACs that suggest they are grassroots movements. And that don’t disclose the source of their funding.

Many of these Super PACs also play fast and loose with the truth.

There’s no reason Congress can’t pass laws to require PACs and Super PACs to reveal the sources of their cash. Or to penalize those who publish false or deceptive claims about their opposition.

After all, we may have freedom of speech… but that doesn’t mean freedom from consequences. I’m free to (falsely) claim that Donald Trump murders babies and bathes in their blood. But, if I did, I should expect to face a lawsuit and financial ruin.

Buried under lawsuits, the worst Super PAC offenders would have to dissolve.

  1. Bring Back the Three-Martini Lunch (for Congress)

This may sound crazy, but hear me out…

Once upon a time, both Houses of Congress lurched awkwardly forward on an idea called “compromise.”

Compromise is the crazy notion that you’ll give me some of what I want, if I give you some of what you want.

Is it perfect? No. But does it work? Yes. It’s not a direct path to anybody’s goals. But our nation’s history is riddled with progress made via compromise.

Sometimes compromise sucks for everyone. But, more often than not, it makes one side pretty happy… while not making the other side totally miserable. That’s hardly ideal. But look at the mess we have now.

In the 1980s, House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill was famous for hammering out compromises with his opponents. O’Neill even got Ronald Reagan to compromise on the president’s plan to hamstring Social Security.

O’Neill and Reagan are also said to have regularly shared a few post-negotiation beers.

Alcohol is known to cloud judgement. But it’s also known to lower inhibitions. Based on past experience, this may include resistance to compromise.

Maybe – just maybe – a few lubricated lunches are exactly what our government needs to end the current gridlock.

Losing Battle After Battle, Trump’s Slow-Moving Coup Slogs On

On Friday, December 4, Team Trump lost six more election-related lawsuits.

As of November 23, NBC News reports Trump and his allies have filed over 50 election-related suits. With Friday’s decisions, their win-loss record stands, at best, at 44 and 1. And that win affected less than 100 votes.

Perhaps the most outrageous suit was just filed by Texas Atty. General Ken Paxton. Paxton is suing four states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. His suit claims these states “skewed” election results by changing voting rules because of the pandemic.

According to MSN.com, Paxton’s Michigan counterpart was not impressed. Dana Nessel called the suit “a publicity stunt,” and claimed Paxton “a partisan official” who “… place[s] loyalty to a person over loyalty to their country.”

If You Can’t Win It, Steal It

Republican court losses have often come when pleading in front of “friendly” judges. That is, conservative jurists appointed by Republicans.

And judges haven’t just dismissed these cases. The dismissals often come with harsh words. As when US District Judge Matthew Brann noted “… this Court has been presented with strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations…” Brann went on to call the suit “unsupported by evidence.”

Faced with these mounting losses, Trump changed tack. He began pressuring Republican officials directly to overturn the results. Thus far, Trump has reached out to election officials in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.

Trump’s simple request: Reject the certified results and appoint electors loyal to him. In other words, just end democracy.

So far, he’s had some luck. Four state senators in Georgia have begun a petition to hold a special session of the legislature. And 60 legislators from Pennsylvania are doing their part for Trump. They’ve sent a letter to the state’s Congressional delegation asking them to reject the state’s vote.

Needless to say, these champions of voter rights are all members of the GOP.

Even worse, the U.S. Congress is getting in on the act.

Putting Party Before Patriotism

The election was held on November 4. One month later, the Washington Post found most GOP members of Congress won’t admit Biden won.

The post contacted the offices of all 249 Congressional Republicans. Only 27 – barely 10% –were willing to say Biden won. And just 32 said they’d accept Biden as president if he were confirmed by the Electoral College.

Keep in mind that Trump’s own election cybersecurity chief and Attorney General have said there’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud.

Here’s another important consideration: California certified its election results on Friday, Dec. 4. As the Associated Press reported, that locks in a winning number of electors for Biden (279). And, in most states, electors are bound by law to vote for the candidate who won the majority of its votes.

So, why is Team Trump still fighting? And why are Congressional Republicans remaining silent?

The stakes are big for Trump. On January 20, 2021, Joe Biden will be sworn into office. And Trump loses the protection of presidential immunity from prosecution. That’s when all his legal chickens come back to roost.

For his party, it’s the fear of Trump. Or, rather, his voters. Vast numbers of GOP voters are still on board the Trump Train. Even though it went over a cliff a month ago. A word from Trump can still end their careers.

So, they remain silent, while Trump’s doomed coup attempt grinds on… further dividing an already fractured nation. And you should keep that GOP silence in mind the next time you find yourself in a voting booth.

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Sources:

Williams, P., “Trump’s election fight includes over 50 lawsuits. It’s not going well,” NBC News. Nov 23, 2020.

“Texas files lawsuit against Michigan and other states contesting election results,” MSN.com. Dec 8, 2020.

Haroun, A., “Trump reportedly called Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler in another unsuccessful attempt to overturn battleground state results,” Business Insider, via MSN.com. Dec 8, 2020.

Kane, P. and Clement, S., “Just 27 congressional Republicans acknowledge Biden’s win, Washington Post survey finds,” Washington Post. Dec 5, 2020.

Blood, M. and Riccardi, N., “Biden officially secures enough electors to become president,” Associated Press. Dec 4, 2020.

The Unsettling Truth About “the Good Old Days”

Remember the Good Old Days? Back when everything was better? When the world was full of opportunity… and the government didn’t make your life miserable?If you do, you need to take your rose-colored glasses off. Because you’re almost certainly living in a fantasy world. Truth be told, the Good Old Days you’ve heard about aren’t what you thought they were.

And I have the numbers to prove it. If you want to get back to when America was on top of the world, you need to see this. Because almost everything you’ve been told is probably wrong.

If You Want Tax Relief, You’re Probably Backing the Wrong Party

Most of today’s conservatives have relatively short memories. Some remember Reagan… but probably not his specific policies. Most conservatives don’t realize Bill Clinton cut taxes more than Reagan.

Under Republican icon, Dwight Eisenhower, the highest marginal tax rate sat at 92%. Under Lyndon Johnson, it dropped to 77%. That’s right: This highest marginal tax rate in history – outside of WW II – was under a Republican. It dropped 16% under a Democrat.
And under “conservative” president Richard Nixon, taxes on capital gains rose 9%.

Under Reagan maximum tax rates dropped from 70% to 28%. Which may seem like a big deal… but the drop applied to a vastly different income level.

The change in rates mirrored a change in incomes effected. The 70% rate applied to incomes over $215,400. The new “lower” rate was applied to incomes over $30,950… or just 28% of the old rate. Which added a huge number of Americans to the new maximum rate.

So, Reagan’s “cut” wasn’t quite what it seemed. This “conservative” traded quality for quantity. Which means the rich paid less in taxes, while the middle class absorbed the difference.

Even “ultra-liberal” Jimmy Carter raised the threshold for those facing the highest marginal tax rate. Not by much… but could you use a good chunk of $12,200 every year?

Oh – and, under Reagan – the capital gains tax rose 8%.

Economic Growth May Not Be Where You’d Expect to Find It

The longest period of unbroken period of economic growth in recent years? The Kennedy/Johnson years. A close second? The Clinton Administration.

The worst recession in recent years? The so-called “Great Recession” – that began under George W. Bush.

That’s right Republicans inherited a booming economy… and left the nation in a complete mess just eight years later. On the bright side, the Obama/Biden administration oversaw a massive come-back… and handed off a booming economy to Donald Trump.

A boom Trump has squandered… as he spent nearly 20% of his time in office at his golf resorts. Even as the Coronavirus pandemic worsens, he’s out playing golf. In fact, Trump has played golf more than twice as often as Obama in his first term.

Trump berated Obama for playing golf, but Trump claimed over and over again, he “wouldn’t have time to play golf.” Not bad for a guy who’s spent 20% of his days as president on the golf course.

Of course, golfing is a sure sign a president has his eye on improving his country’s economy.

This seems like just another step in a pattern: A party inherits a growing economy… under their management, growth reverses… and the opposing party has to pick up the pieces.

• Hoover’s policies led to the Great Depression, and FDR led us out.
• Bush’s policies led to the Great Recession, and Obama led us out.
• Now Trump’s policies have led to another recession… and it’s up to Biden to lead us out.

The truth is, the Good Old Days were only good thanks to Democratic policies. Every time Republicans gained control of the economy, we saw a downturn or an outright recession.

The numbers don’t lie. Even if Conservative pundits do. If you want a return to the “Good Old Days,” you need to back the left.

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Fowler, M., “From Eisenhower to Obama: What the Wealthiest Americans Pay in Taxes,” ABC News. Jan 18, 2012.
Dale, D. and Lybrand, H., “Fact check: Trump has spent far more time at golf clubs than Obama had at same point,” CNN(dot)com. My 5, 2020.
Polti, D., “Trump Insists Obama Played More Golf as President. The Numbers Say Otherwise,” Slate(dot)com. Jul 12, 2020.