Monday morning you sure look fine

I will leave it to Fleetwood Mac fans to finish the verse. Happy Monday all. Just a few Banana bread crumbs for this morning. Yes, it was good with my coffee.

It is great to see Lula beat Bolsonaro in Brazil. Of course, I did not expect to see Bolsonaro concede, but he has long admired Trump, so that is not a surprise in some respects, as he said he would contest the election before it happened. It is a narrow victory 50.9% to 49.1%, so it will likely get looked at

I saw where Boris Johnson might attend the Climate Change conference after King Charles was denied the chance to speak. I think the latter decision was a poor one, but it shows the long reach of fossil fuel funding of politicians in the UK. As for Boris, it is par for the course to show gamesmanship. Top of mind, sincerity is not a word I would use to define Johnson.

On another blog, among other things, a commenter was equating Trump’s contesting of the 2020 election to the 2000 election to rationalize Trump’s continual contesting. Not even close. As for 2000, Al Gore and George Bush were both right to get to the bottom of the Florida portion of the election which drove who won. It was very close and there were issues involved with the counts. But, after contending the election until the SCOTUS vote, Gore did something that Trump has still failed to do. He conceded. Trump has won only 1 out of 65 court cases and lost every recount, audit and review, but still has not conceded.

I am exhausted by the rationalizing going on with the assailant who broke into the Pelosi house and harmed the Speaker’s husband. Stop the BS and state the obvious. This is not right. We must be able to disagree without being violent toward one another. There are certain politicians who have dialed up the temperature with incendiary comments. We know who they are. The significant majority of them are in the GOP due to the gerrymandering which has occurred over the last several years These folks need to be called out for what they are doing. If they are not in a consistent manner, someone will get hurt, as there are too many extreme thinkers that buy into their aggressive stances.

As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, I can argue policy with Democrats, but I have to argue the truth with too many Republicans. It makes me sad the truth tellers in the GOP get vilified and even threatened with violence. The party must get back on better footing as there are too many that believe some of this BS and it is dangerous. As conservative pundit Michael Gerson says the “Republican party is in decay.”

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Democracy – you have to want it real bad

Our astute British friend Roger has penned an excellent piece on the difficulties in maintaining a democracy (see link below). There is a great line from the climax of the movie “The American President,” where Michael Douglas’ character says during a speech “Democracy is advanced citizenship; you have to want it real bad.” Roger’s piece compelled me to think of this line and write this comment which I have copied here.

One of the greatest challenges of democracy is it requires the citizens to be well-informed. There are three missiles being fired at our ability to be informed, the worst one is the first one.

1) we care more about entertainment and sports news than more serious news. I have long referred to my country as the United States of Entertainment. We just don’t care to know.

2) we have candidates and a one party, in particular, attacking the media and institutions, where the truth might exist. The strategy is, if all sources are perceived as lying, then it gives more impunity to the real liars.

3) the misinformers, disinformers and conspiracy nuts are having a field day getting read with the two above occurrences. To someone like Putin, it is shooting fish in a barrel.

The truth matters, in general, but especially to a democracy. The people who want to squelch the democracy are the ones who believe in an unstated but real cause – give more money to rich people and help them keep it. It is easier to do that in a more autocratic environment. Yet, what these folks fail to realize is until it is too late, their ability to keep it will depend on how obsequious they are to the autocrat.

We need leaders to calm the tensions

Yesterday, yet another example of why we need civil discourse and leaders to emphasize it, occurred when an assailant broke into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home and injured her husband, Paul. Whether someone disagrees with Pelosi’s views or even does not like Pelosi, there is no call for such action. Full stop. To be honest, I am not a huge fan of Pelosi’s, but do respect her experience and capability.

Most of my phone calls and emails over the last two weeks to elected officials is to get them to help lower the temperature in our country. I even made a few phone calls to some of the biggest culprits who throw gasoline on fires stoking more tension. The calls before then, were more pleas to act to denounce those who are continuing to fuel The Big Lie.

Yet, leaders are not being listened to by those who need to clean out their ears. The few truth tellers in the Republican Party are vilified and threatened for daring to call out the former president who has been well documented for what he has done his entire life – act in a routinely untruthful manner

To me, two of the people in leadership positions in the Republican party need to speak up and denounce such behavior. We can disagree with one another without threatening or harming people. The first is Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell. Sadly, McConnell has long been overtly skilled as a politician and with the former president has tried to play both ends against the middle. He calls him out to a point, but does not want to anger the MAGA base too much. Yet, he can at the very least say important things like I noted in the bold sentence above.

The other person is House Minority Kevin McCarthy. After saying the right things immediately following the January 6 insurrection against the Capitol, he was summoned to Mar-a-Lago and apparently read the riot act. Since then, he has been the most obsequious of sycophants daring not rile the anger of the former president. My guess is he was told if he wanted to be speaker after the mid-terms, he better play ball. I say this as McCarthy has abstained from being the leader our country and his party needs him to be.

So, if I were in one of these posts for a day, I might say the following.

-Folks, it is OK for us to disagree with the policies of our opponents, but to attack people is a non-starter. We must not conduct, promote or tolerate violence on an opposing candidate official We need to treat them the same way, we would want our candidates and incumbents treated.

-And, it is long past time to bury this election fraud BS propagated by the former president and his allies. Donald Trump lost the election and to say otherwise, is simply unproven lies. Too many people have been hurt, killed and jailed by believing this BS. It simply is not true and the former president knows it, which makes it even worse.

Of course, that is what a leader might say.

A few country welcomes

Here are a few welcome signs that could be found in airport arrival sections. The first one was actually on a billboard in a South Carolina town.

Welcome to the UK where you too can be prime minister.

Welcome to Brazil. Where we expect our president to denounce the results of an election should he lose.

Welcome to Russia. Let’s invade someone for our fearless leader and blame someone else.

Welcome to the US. I hope you’re packing heat.

Welcome to Canada. We are not perfect, but it could be worse – look south of the border.

Welcome to China. Your opinion only matters if it agrees with party leadership.

Welcome to Iran, unless you are a woman with an opinion.

Welcome to South Korea where Koreans actually can realize a profit.

Welcome to North Korea. Wait, why in the hell are you here?

That trust thing is important

The following link is to piece written by the very articulate Mind of Brosephus. Here is a version of the comment I posted thereon.

As an independent and former Republican and Democrat, people who pay attention know what my favorite conservative pundit Michael Gerson has defined, “the Republican Party is in decay.” When a party vilifies its truth tellers and aggrandizes its liars, it lacks veritas and gravitas. When it requires its candidates to promote The Big Lie and a former president who has betrayed his oath to the constitution, then it is a party that cannot be trusted.

How can people take seriously a party that plays up an obvious lie? And,sadly The Big Lie gives perceived impunity for the GOP to lie about more things. This is before one considers the party has not voted on a platform since 2016, meaning they really don’t care to articulate what they stand for other than just denigrating everything and taking away rights and benefits. We need a viable conservative voice, but this current GOP vintage is not it.

Granted, Democrats are also known to embellish, but what I am mostly referring to in the GOP is a requirement for its mainstream candidates to swallow hook, line and sinker an obvious disproven lie to placate a certain base of voters hopelessly devoted to someone who is a well-documented by multiple sources and people to be highly untruthful in his words and actions. To be frank, this is not a good look for Republicans.

Oh, and by the way, those who said the Republican were better at the economy than the Democrats should check out a few data points. For example, under an even number of Democrat and Republican White Houses since 1921, under which presidents were the most jobs created? The answer still surprises even Democrats as they are lousy marketers – Jobs created under Democrats dwarf those created under Republicans at about a 2 to 1 rate.

Please consider my request – note to JD Vance

I sent the following note yesterday to JD Vance who is running for Senate in Ohio as a MAGA Republican. Please feel free to adapt and use.

Mr. Vance, I am an independent and former Republican and Democrat voter. I have read your excellent book “Hillbilly Elegy” and have recommended it to others. Yet, I have great difficulty reconciling the tenets of the person who wrote this book with someone who advocates for a former president who, in my view, has betrayed his oath to the constitution and represents policies that are harmful to most Republicans and Americans.

It disappoints me to see my former party obligate its main followers to support bogus election fraud claims by the former president which led to an insurrection against members of Congress, while it denigrates its truth tellers. Conservative pundit Michael Gerson says the Republican Party is in decay. I agree with this statement. We need a viable Conservative party in our country, but this vintage is not it.

I beseech you to help rectify this ship. The GOP must start telling the truth. We have serious problems in our country and need serious minded people. We need you to return to the tenets of the man who served his country and wrote that book and no longer kowtow to those whose currency is untruthfulness. It is not becoming of a military veteran who swore an oath to defend our constitution.

Election security – letter to the editor

I forwarded the following letter to the editor of my local newspaper. I hope it gets printed. Please feel free to adapt and use to your liking.

It continues to frustrate this independent and former Republican and Democrat voter that far too many people continue to believe the former president’s bogus and unproven election fraud claims. Losing every recount, audit and review and all but one of about 65 court cases, reveals how bogus these claims are.

A key reason the recounts failed to prove the bogus election claims is the 2020 presidential election was the most secure election in US history leaving an electronic audit trail that could verify the results. Of course, the former president fired the head of election security who said that just as he fired his own Attorney General who said his election fraud claims were BS.

We have serious issues that we need to deal with in our country, but I have no time for candidates who still parrot this election fraud BS as the Attorney General called it. It is time to elect serious minded people and a key first test is whether they continue to advocate the election fraud claims. If they do, my strong advice is to not vote for them. Full stop.

Learning to Fly – a repeat tribute to Tom Petty

Our friend Clive inspired me to repeat this old post written before Tom Petty died at only the age of 65. His post of yesterday can be linked to below.

If you ever want to see an entertaining concert, I encourage you to go see Tom Petty. He is an under-appreciated musician, singer and songwriter as the number of songs of his that are part of our musical lexicon are staggering. Better than many, he and his band the Heartbreakers mix words and music in a very memorable way. And, his genuine persona seems to resonate with people, which may be one reason he does not come across larger than life, which is indeed a compliment.

As I was scrolling through his vast inventory of songs, I came to the realize what makes his songs so memorable. They start with great music, but endure through some of the best written chorus stanzas based on people or situations we all find ourselves in. A good example is the title of this post, “Learning to Fly.” Here is a sample:

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Comin’ down is the hardest thing
I’m learning to fly around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

These words could take on so many meanings, but the song is about a young man who is beginning his life away from home. He knows life will be rough, but he wants to go make it on his own.

Carrying this theme further is “Into the Great Wide Open,” whose chorus is below:

Into the great wide open,
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open,
A rebel without a clue

This song notes he may be aware of troubles ahead, but for the most part he is “a rebel without a clue.”

Probably one of his most memorable songs is “Refugee.” This song resonates with so many, as it tells a story of helping each other out, especially when life has stepped on you:

Somewhere, somehow, somebody must have
Kicked you around some
Tell me why you wanna lay there,
Revel in your abandon

Honey, it don’t make no difference to me
Baby, everybody’s had to fight to be free
You see, you don’t have to live like a refugee
No baby, you don’t have to live like a refugee

Yet, he also shows how he could mistreat someone who did not deserve it leaving the offender in a free fall, when he realizes what he did. “Free Fallin” tells a story of this good girl he left behind:

She’s a good girl, loves her mama
Loves Jesus and America too
She’s a good girl, crazy ’bout Elvis
Loves horses and her boyfriend too

It’s a long day living in Reseda
There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard
And I’m a bad boy cause I don’t even miss her
I’m a bad boy for breakin’ her heart

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin

Yet, true love can be found, but it does take time. In “The Waiting,” Petty tells us how love can be dreamlike, but waiting for it to come, is the hardest part:

Oh baby don’t it feel like heaven right now
Don’t it feel like somethin’ from a dream
Yeah I’ve never known nothing quite like this
Don’t it feel like tonight might never be again
We know better than to try and pretend
Baby no one could have ever told me ’bout this

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

There are so many songs to choose from, which I have left off: “An American Girl,” “Breakdown,” “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Runnin Down a Dream,” and “Don’t Do Me Like That,” just to name a few more. Let me close with one where he stands his ground and fights back when life knocks him down. Here is the chorus from “I Won’t Back Down:”

Well I know what’s right, I got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushin’ me around
But I’ll stand my ground and I won’t back down

Tom Petty ranks up there with some of his idols that so influenced him. He joined several on the facetiously named, but excellent group The Traveling Wilbury’s, which included George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne. His words and music will remain with us, just like those of his fellow Wilbury’s. He may not have written as eloquently as Dylan, but Petty wrote about life and people. Thanks for helping us realize we are all learning to fly. And, we don’t have wings.

You have a right to be bigoted, but your right has no standing

Standing.  “Standing is the legal right to initiate a lawsuit. To do so, a person must be sufficiently affected by the matter at hand, and there must be a case or controversy that can be resolved by legal action.”

It has a legal meaning as to whether your opinion against what I do matters in my ability to do it. The Supreme Court ruled that someone marrying a same gender partner or a different race partner has no bearing on what another may like or dislike or believes religiously. And, vice versa.

In other words, you have a right to your opinions, whether they are bigoted or not bigoted, but they have no bearing on me. You have no standing in what I do. Only when my words or actions are harmful to you, do you have standing to bring litigation, provided litigation can solve the rift. So, a gay, lesbian or transgender couple can legally marry, as it has no impact on another person, but if they drove over your mailbox on the way to their honeymoon, then you have an issue.

Within the conservative movement is an unhealthy embrace of diminishing other people’s rights who do not look, vote, worship, love, or present gender-wise within that person’s expectations and preferences. For the most part, they have no standing on the issue, whether their opinions are bigoted or not bigoted. And, from what I have witnessed, standing is some cases is created when it really does not exist.

So, a gay, lesbian or transgender person has the right to be a teacher, minister, work in a day care, etc. The only time standing would exist is if the person was being harmful to kids and others. In its basest terms, a gay minister is fine, but a pedophile minister is not. Standing exists by those harmed on the latter issue, but not the former.

Using examples from the news feeds, the kids sexually assaulted at a football camp sponsored by a Penn State football coach, the female gymnasts sexually assaulted by a Michigan State and Olympics trainer, the wrestlers and football players sexually assaulted by two different team physicians at Ohio State and Michigan, the boy scouts who were sexually assaulted by scout leaders and the women sexually assaulted by Southern Baptist Convention ministers all had standing.

These are the things we must watch out for, someone who is being harmful to another person, not what someone may do in their privacy of their own home or how they look, vote, worship or present. You have no standing there.

No elected official is above the law, that includes you Senator

Oh, Senator Lindsey Graham. You still think you are above the law, just like the former president for whom you keep white washing away his sins and crimes. This is highly disappointing, especially for an attorney who served in the military. So, you should know better as you technically have sworn the same oath to protect our constitution on three occasions.

For those who are not keeping up, Senator Graham had twice asked the courts to not require him to testify in the former president’s election meddling case in Georgia. Two judges have said no to his requests. Now, he is asking the Supreme Court to allow him to blow off a subpoena. If you have even only a small dose of skepticism, you have to ask why is he so adamant to not testify? Call me crazy, but I think he does not want to have to perjure himself and he is not to keen on the truth coming out.

My guess is SCOTUS will say get your hind-end into court. They know the horrible precedent it would put in place if a Senator, who flip flops with the most alive fish in a hot metal boat, was able to thumb his nose at a court subpoena. No elected official is above the law. That includes senators and it includes presidents. Full stop.

I left the Senator yet one more message sharing my disappointment that he is trying to avoid testifying. I shared that he knows better given his background. And, we must get at the truth. From where I sit, the former president has already been charged in a civil lawsuit for fraudulent dealings at his companies and it may lead to a criminal indictment. He also faces three other indictments for the Georgia election meddling case, the seditious actions leading up to and during the January 6 insurrection and the taking of classified documents to a very unsecure and previously breached site.

These are not witch hunts. In fact, the former president tried to settle the civil lawsuit, but the New York Attorney General declined to do so. Why? Her case is strong. So, Mr. Graham, please honor a subpoena as you would expect folks you used to subpoena as an attorney. That is how it works.