Posted by: minnow | March 26, 2020

Love the Ones You’re With

The President needs a muzzle. Period. His suggestions that churches will be filled by Easter may come true but only because brainwashed lemmings will stupidly listen to the President instead of medical experts. If the foolish faithful do flood the pews on April 12th, it will probably become the fastest way to KILL off the Church devised by mankind.

People please, shelter in place.

Our President is worried about his re-election NOT the electorate. When we compare our response to Italy’s the prognosis is dire. Italy has been on lockdown for nearly three weeks. Their first case was confirmed on January 29, 2020. Italy has (as of this date 3/26) over 74,000 total cases and their death toll is more than double China’s.  On the other hand, the U.S. confirmed our first case on January 21, 2020, a week sooner than Italy. Yet, we still haven’t been ordered, at the federal level, to shelter in place. As we watch Italy deal with the wildfire like spread of the coronavirus, it doesn’t take long to realize we don’t have enough hospital beds or ventilators for the coming tsunami. Yet, this administration is worried about the stock market. He is making uneducated predictions and his actions, like refusing to impose the Defense Production Act, will end up killing people.

Do the math people.  We don’t have superpowers just because we’re Americans. 889 people in the United States have died from the Coronavirus already–889 people. Not just in New York City. Not just in Los Angeles, California. People are dying in Wayne, Michigan and Weld, Colorado and Clark, Washington and Greene, Missouri, and Palm Springs, Florida. They feel just fine, spread the disease throughout their communities and then they die. In Jefferson, Kentucky and Baptist, Louisiana and Cleveland, Oklahoma, and please, please get this picture.

I beg you, voluntarily shelter in place.

Our nation faces a moral dilemma.  The President has made it more difficult for people of integrity to do the right thing, to stand down, to shelter in place and fight for the lives of as many people as possible. Our President has landed on the side of the almighty dollar. He has declared that the cure can’t be allowed to be worse than the disease.  He, and people like Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, think grandpa and grandma are expendable. Behind closed doors (if people like this even have closed doors) they are probably imagining killing two birds with one stone–medicare and social security will be easier to dismantle with fewer people on it. The grandparents I know are not expendable. The pregnant women and new moms I know are not expendable. My sister and son and cousin with heart conditions, my boss with a compromised immune system, my FB friend with diabetes. Are. Not. Expendable.

Greed creates monsters and power in the hands of the greedy is a dangerous, dangerous weapon. For example, right now in Congress Lindsay Graham, Tim Scott, and Ben Sasse are threatening to hold up the Senate stimulus bill–for Coronavirus relief–because it gives too much money to unemployment. Playing to the ignorance of their base, they whine proclaiming it will incentivize people to “get laid off” because they would make more money on unemployment. In the first place–people don’t ask to “get laid off”. (In the second place–there is something wrong with what people are getting paid if they can get more money through unemployment–but that’s a different conversation). People might quit their jobs but you can’t collect unemployment if you quit. And, there is absolutely nothing in this bill that encourages employers to lay off workers! The truth is–Graham and company simple don’t want to help the working class! Perhaps the GOP in congress think if they stall this bill long enough, their “fearless” leader will have everyone back to work and they won’t need to pass it at all. Instead, they can find a way to funnel the money through a different sort of stimulus package into the hands of their wealthy patrons. Greed makes people expendable.

We are at war, folks. The enemy is death in the form of a virus that spreads through the population undetected. As is often the case, the rich and powerful at the top are about to decide how many casualties of this war are acceptable. For them, human life is collateral damage on the way to making money. What is it going to be for us?

Posted by: minnow | March 22, 2020

An Act of Love

Social distancing is an act a kin to loving one’s neighbor, family member, co-worker, healthcare professional, and grocer. It is being Jesus in an upside down world where normal could be a death sentence for those you love. The Bible repeatedly admonishes us: Do not be afraid. And we shouldn’t be. The Bible also tells us over 900 times to be wise. Wisdom can silence fear but only if we act in concert with truth. Our faith often helps us accomplish difficult tasks. Soldiers going into battle, medical professionals facing pandemics take actions that can cost them dearly, yet they act out of duty and honor and love for those they serve.

Today, those the frontlines serve have been asked to help bare the load–not by putting on armor and going into battle with them but instead by staying home–literally, by remaining in our homes, safe, clothed, fed, sheltered, able to be entertained via social media, a good movie, or a well loved book. Past generations scrimped and saved, did paper drives and rubber drives, hid people in their attics, and went on rations. We have been asked to avoid unnecessary gatherings. For the love of God and all His people, do not pretend to be people of faith by fighting fear with stupidity. Do not think you are young and won’t get sick, or if you do get sick won’t die because it’s the boomer doomer. The coronavirus does not discriminate. It is not racist, sexist, or ageist. Without a strong frontline it can, and most likely will, kill you. Your decisions to social distance, wash your hands, close the doors to your non-essential businesses will decide whether tens of thousands die or hundreds of thousands die.

Our government did not act quickly enough to begin with and continues to take inefficient steps to get ahead of this threat. America is not prepared. And Americans cannot wait on this administration to care more about the people than profit margins. Proof of that fact has been played out in each one of the press briefings aired since 45 finally admitted the coronavirus was not a hoax.

On January 31, 2020 the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Alex Azar, along with Dr. Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, announced that the coronavirus presented a public health emergency in the United States. Just ten days prior, on January 21, 2020 Washington State reported the first confirmed case of the coronavirus on US soil. Two months later, as of March 21, 2020, over 15,000 cases have been confirmed  by the CDC which updates its count daily Monday through Friday at 4PM. According to the New York Times data base, which updates daily, that number is over 29,000.

If it hasn’t already, the United States as a nation is about to hit the point of no return, which means medical facilities and healthcare workers will simply no longer be able to care for the sick and dying.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

In addition to social distancing and self isolating, practice safe outings. Don’t bring the whole family to the store if you can avoid it. When you go don’t touch items you don’t intend to buy. The virus stays active in the air up to 3 hours. It survives on cardboard up to 24 hours. It can survive on stainless steel and plastic up to 3 days. Leave the non perishable products you don’t need right away in your garage or a corner of your home for three days if possible.

To keep your environment clean and you safe practice a few non-invasive measures. The BEST cleaning solution is a 70% alcohol to 30% water solution you spray on surfaces, let sit for 20+ seconds and wipe off. When you wipe make long strokes in one direction like you shovel snow so you aren’t just moving the solution around. Additionally, WASH YOUR HANDS–every time you leave your home and return. AND DON’T TOUCH YOUR FACE! Use any kind of soap and water. Rinse hands with warm to hot water, lather up, get in between your fingers and up 2 inches above your wrist, rub the tips of your fingers, around your thumbs and around your wrists, then rinse off with warm to hot water. The water is necessary to penetrate the membrane of the virus, the alcohol and soap break apart the lipids that hold the virus together.

We quell fear with wisdom. We practice wisdom with truth. Fellowships all across the country are discovering the joys (and frustrations) of virtual meetings, prayer circles via FB or ZOOM or…, and how to connect as a group without endangering individual members. Most of us will, in all likelihood, get through this. I hope, when we get to the other side, we wonder if we over-reacted. That will tell me we did the right thing, we loved our neighbors well, and we were people of faith and courage who did not flinch in the face of fear.

Posted by: minnow | March 8, 2020

Done Playing Nice

I am angry, so very angry. I want to scream. I want to bite someone’s head off. I want to swear and break things and pound my fists and cry. I honestly no long know where to put all this anger, how to shove it out of the center of my psyche so I can keep functioning in the day to day. And it has everything to do and nothing to do with Elizabeth Warren and the fact that once again Americans, with the help of a rigged political system and biased media, have decided one of three old white men will be the president of the United States. One of three less articulate, less compassionate, less positive, less empathetic, less capable, and less intelligent, old, white men is a preferable choice. And yes, I did just lump Biden and Bernie in with 45 despite already knowing I’m comparing fertilizer to compost to toxic fumes. I’ll recover. I can’t promise when–maybe by the time I’ve finished this blog. But right now I want to grind glass with my teeth and spit it out at the world.

How dare Bernie supporting progressives criticize the one candidate other than Bernie who who has championed the progressive agenda! It’s bad enough that Warren faced sexism from the right and from the media and from so-called moderate democrats. The rest of you, the so called progressives who other progressives want us to think are just a splinter fringe group, aren’t doing your cause any favors by bad mouthing Warren, by calling her a corporatist, or demeaning her character.

Elizabeth Warren has been every bit as progressive as Bernie Sanders. And she will continue to give voice to the progressive agenda, continue to fight for HER causes, and continue to come up with plans for how to push this country forward, EVEN if she doesn’t endorse your candidate. What’s more–her supporters aren’t sheep. They are fully capable of choosing to support with their time, their voices, and their money the remaining candidate who best champions the issues they care about. Not running to catch the Sanders train does not make her or her supporters less progressive.

I’m done playing nice. I won’t listen to any more excuses from the poor brainwashed white people who would rather blame their situations on people of color than on a broken system. I’m done letting the exception to the rule–the young black man who makes it into Harvard or the single mom who gets her degree–be used to contradict the mountains of statistics which expose the systemic racism and sexism at work in this country. Angry people are my friends and I won’t tell them to calm down, be patient, get in line, settle for crumbs, or shut up! Angry people need to get up, get loud, and get to work!

It is not Elizabeth Warren’s fault if Bernie doesn’t win the Democratic nomination any more than it was Bernie’s fault that Hillary got a majority of the popular vote when she lost the 2016 election. Progressives have a problem and it isn’t Elizabeth Warren. Bernie needs young people to vote! And so far, young people are too lazy, too privileged, too self-absorbed, or too whatever to bother. THAT isn’t on Warren. And to be honest, it isn’t on Bernie, either. That’s on the lazy, privileged, self-absorbed young people who are too busy being seen on social media to be heard at the ballot box. It’s on the whiners whaa-whaaing about what a horrible state Boomers have left the country in but who don’t want to take responsibility for turning 18.

The next time I hear someone complain about 45 I’m going to ask them, politely of course, what they are doing to get rid of him. The next time I hear someone whine about the broken system I’m going to ask them what they are doing right now with their time and their resources to fix it. The next time I see a meme quoting some dead civil rights leader or poking fun at the right I’m going to ask the poster: how have you picked up the charge, made a difference, or moved the country forward. If you want single payer healthcare–VOTE progressive. If you want campaign finance reform–VOTE progressive. If you want an equitable criminal justice system, lower student debt, minimum wage increases, and attention paid to climate change VOTE progressive.

That’s what I was doing when I was rooting for, blogging about, contributing to, and planning to vote for Elizabeth Warren. But wanting the smartest person in the room–the woman with a plan on HOW to get these things done–obviously wasn’t enough. Now I must be root for, blog about, contribute to, and vote for Bernie Sanders because he also stands on the same side of the issues I do.

The urgency of this moment is only going to grow. I hope my second choice becomes Americas first choice because I think our opportunity to change the trajectory of this nation without significant hardship is quickly closing. We can’t afford status quo policies and bread crumb politics. I just hope it doesn’t take a more painful awakening for us to act.

Posted by: minnow | March 2, 2020

The DNC has Made Their Pick–Have YOU?!

No secret–the DNC want someone who will not rock their money boat. They want someone who will attract POC but who isn’t going to promise too much in return. The DNC is focused on the status quo before 45 and they think they can get it by offering the voters leftovers.

Personally, I believe the DNC has picked Joe Biden, however reluctantly, to be their Democratic presidential nominee. Initially it looked like Pete might have been their favorite. And, if he’d continued to climb in the delegate count, it would have been. But each primary showed diminishing returns. Ultimately Buttigieg just couldn’t capture enough of the Democrat’s base–in spite of being a millennial mayor of a city with a 26 percent African Americans and 13% Hispanic or Latino population.

On Sunday Mayor Pete dropped out.

Ever since the talking heads have been praising Mayor Pete. They’ve labeled him a rising star in the democratic party and a sure candidate for the future, teasing that they’ve even learned how to say his last name. Dropping out now is, in the eyes of the DNC, a magnanimous gesture, a gesture they hope will galvanize the party–behind Joe.

Amy Klobuchar caught a flash of attention as well, with her 3rd place finish in the New Hampshire primary. But it, too, didn’t last. So today, Monday March 2nd, not 24 hours before Super Tuesday, she too dropped out. I didn’t see THAT one coming. I thought she would at least wait until Super Tuesday and let her own state show their support. But no, she had a date in Dallas with Biden and Buttigieg instead. To add to the intrigue, Klobuchar was actually winning in Minnesota with 29% of the projected vote, compared to Bernie Sanders’ 23 percent, and more pointedly–Biden’s 8.

If I were just a wee bit more cynical, considering the timing of these two announcements, I might be wondering if these old sparring buddies weren’t trying to out position one another for the VP spot on a Biden ticket. As I recall, there was even a little joking to that effect in the most recent debate.

Should Biden get the nomination, Buttigieg would be a great VP choice. He’s an eloquent speaker. He’s from the mid-west. White Americans, and rich Americans, obviously like him and he could potentially attract a few from the younger set. Klobuchar, on the other hand, might do Biden even more good than Buttigieg. It certainly wouldn’t hurt his “Uncle Joe” image to have a woman on the ticket. Like Biden, Amy comes from a working class background and as I’ve said in previous posts she’s got a reputation for getting things done. She too, is from the midwest and a swing state which, in the world of traditional politics, balances and strengthens the ticket. Still, she doesn’t bring quite as many delegates to the table as Buttigieg which could suggest she doesn’t have as much appeal.

Ultimately, with Pete and Amy out (for now), Bloomberg not even on all the ballots, Sanders causing the DNC power brokers to reconsider their objections to 45, and Vice President Biden the “if only there weren’t term limits” option–where does Warren fit?

I believe the perfect fit for Warren is at the top of the ticket. Senator Warren is eloquent, passionate, and smart. She has a plan to hold corporate America accountable. She knows how to get the wealthy to pay their fair share. She believe diplomatic solutions should be exhausted before military ones are deployed. She’s aware of how systemic racism has shaped our economy, isn’t afraid to say it and more than that has several plans to fix it. She’s willing to work across the aisle and has the record to prove it. She takes equal rights, human rights, civil rights, and what is right seriously.

Elizabeth is a unifying candidate. She is decidedly pro working class, pro family, and pro progress. She wants to invest in capitalism but also wants to hold those with the most accountable to where and how the got what they have. She understands that we need to be good stewards of the planet yet she also knows we can’t afford to leave workers behind just because the jobs they used to have are no longer needed. We need a path to the future that’s wide enough for everyone to travel whether that’s the coal miner learning a new trade or the immigrant making a new home.

PLEASE–if you’re a voter in Massachusetts, Utah, Minnesota, Texas, California, North Carolina, Maine, Alabama, Colorado, Arkansas, Vermont, Tennessee, Virginia, or Oklahoma–

Think about who can stand toe to toe with 45 on the debate stage.

Think about who appeals to progressives but will reach across the aisle to get the job done.

Think about who gives us hope, hard work, and a plan forward.

Then VOTE. Vote for Elizabeth Warren. Give America back to Every American.

 

 

Posted by: minnow | February 19, 2020

Who is Elizabeth Warren?

Elizabeth Warren has worn many hats. She grew up in Oklahoma, the youngest and only daughter in a working class family that struggled to make ends meet after her father’s heart attack. She graduated high school at 16, and went to Georgetown on a full debate scholarship. Two years later she added a hat when she married her high school sweetheart, Jim Warren, moved to Texas and finished her degree at the University of Houston. In fairly quick succession Warren began wearing several other hats: Special education teacher, mother, graduate student, and lawyer. She began her law career practicing from her home but didn’t stay there long. In 1978 she divorced and in 1980 she married Bruce Mann. She also acquired a professor’s hat. Elizabeth taught at the University of Houston, The University of Texas, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. Finally, in 1995, she landed at Harvard. Warren has been an advisor for the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, the chair for the Congressional Oversight Commission when Harry Reid was majority leader, and a special assistant to President Obama. In 2010 she helped design and run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And, in 2011 she ran for the US Senate against incumbent Scott Brown, and won.

On December 31, 2018, standing outside a mill factory in Lawrence Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren announced her candidacy for the President of the United States as a Democrat, stating, “Hard-working people are up against a small group that holds far too much power, not just in our economy, but also in our democracy. Like the women of Lawrence, we are here to say enough is enough!…It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration. We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges — a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change.” Warren wasn’t always a Democrat. She became one because Republicans weren’t the fiscally responsible people they claimed to be. She was tired of power held in the hands of the wealthy and the few. She got into politics because wanted to do something about it.

So that’s her story.

As a Senator, and now as a presidential candidate, Elizabeth Warren has been listening to Americans. She’s been asking hard questions and wrestling with difficult truths. She knows we need to joint together and politicians need to work together if the solutions to the problems facing our nation are going to help ALL Americans. “I’ve got a plan for that!” isn’t just a campaign slogan–it’s Elizabeth Warren’s promise to US–the American people, the working class, the new immigrant, the marginalized, the tired, and the ready! In town halls, during the debates, on podcasts, and on TV, Warren has continued to call forth those changes, share her vision, and invite Americans to join the fight. But, it isn’t enough to be enamored with a speech or two–we need to commit to change with our votes to be sure, but with our time and our resources as well!

Intelligent, hard working, compassionate Americans cannot afford to sit this election out. For the last three years, as we helplessly watched, the man in the White House has gotten away with inciting hate, creating chaos, threatening civil war, turning his back on our allies, obstructing justice, locking children in cages, calling white supremacists  “fine people” and barbarous dictators friends, profiting personally from the government, vilifying the free press, and denouncing our own intelligence community. He must be stopped! We must chose a candidate who can bring all the factions of the Democratic party together, who won’t settle for the status quo, and who knows–at a personal level–what it means to want and need change.

I believe Elizabeth Warren is that candidate! Please check her out. Please listen to her speak. And please vote Elizabeth Warren in your local primary or caucus!

Posted by: minnow | February 15, 2020

Divided We Fall

The Democratic party is actually two different parties that agree the worst of each other is better than the best of the GOP, It’s that simple. So, the two sides are holding hands and mostly playing nice until the nightmare that is the current administration (which includes the president shielding GOP controlled  Senate) can be  dismantled. Still, within these two idealogical distinctions a few differences exist. Thus, the real questions voters need to  answer are: to which Democratic party do I belong? And,  who within that vein can get us where we need to go?

The first vein is found in Biden, Klobuchar, and Buttigieg. Their policies and ideas by todays standards land slightly left of center. All three  hope to appeal to the working “middle class” family. None want to ruffle voter’s feathers, but all want to be seen as tough enough to give 45 the boot. If you’re looking for the pre-45 status quo of slow incremental changes, one of the three is your best bet.

Biden characterizes himself as the second coming of Obama. Unfortunately, his record is too long, and his old school “Uncle Joe” reputation (despite promoting the Violence Against Women Act) wrecks havoc with that particular image. He has been a vocal champion of equal pay for women yet paid the women on his own staff considerably less than the men during his 36 years in Congress, a FACT which should not be swept under the rug. Biden has experience. He’s respected by our European allies and his personal story contributes to his appeal, especial with the working class. He’s a roll your sleeves up and get to work kind of guy which may or may not translate well to the chief executive  role. So far, his campaign started strong, stumbled in Iowa and New Hampshire, but hopes Nevada and South Carolina provide the comeback he needs.

Senator Klobuchar sells herself as the candidate who can get things done, a moniker which seems well earned as a legislator. At the same time, she’s been one of the most vocal nay-sayers during the debates, labeling progressive ideas as “pipe dreams”. She’s serious minded yet rarely talks above anyone’s head. Her brilliant one liners have at times come across as too rehearsed but she’s definitely quick witted. When she launched her campaign a year ago her key issues were–cyber security and election reform, climate change, healthcare and prescription drug reform, education and immigration.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg likes to wax philosophical. At least when he was still seen as a long shot a year ago he sounded much more thoughtful and a lot less political. Buttigieg is smart, charming, youthful, and eloquent. He claims to represent the generation saddled with solving the the problems created by his predecessors, though the solutions he’s proposed to date are neither broad nor bold. While his own generation is more diverse than previous generations, Pete’s support is neither young nor people of color. It’s white and it’s rich, which might explain his top two finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire.

On the other side of the Democratic divide are two progressive candidates–Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both have built their campaigns from grassroots donors. Both believe the wealthy should not be able to buy political clout. And, both want government to work for equality and justice for every American.

As a legislator, Sanders has pushed a Democratic Socialist perspective for the past 13 years in the Senate and before that as a Congressman for 16 years. When he ran against Clinton in 2016 he brought many of today’s talking points to the forefront of the political debate. It is no secret the DNC has not appreciated Sanders but for the first time since Martin Luther King Jr. the working class poor have a loud unwavering mouthpiece for change. Sanders calls for a political revolution and he hopes it will begin with the 2020 presidential election. His dedicated grassroots base is vocal, active, and rabid about Bernie.  Though Sanders himself has shown his willingness to support the nominee no matter who it is, some of his supporters have not been so magnanimous.  Personally, I tried to understand the Bernie or bust position with regard to Clinton but I simply don’t get it this time around.

The election of 45 has been more than a nightmare. His presidency threatens our democracy and his publicly visible corruption is a slap in the face to all that once made our nation a beacon of hope. 45 must be stopped. Every single democratic candidate has said as much. BUT, we must pick a candidate who can not only champion principled causes–providing healthcare for all, safeguarding the environment, overhauling the criminal justice system,  and protecting our democracy–we must pick a candidate who can cast a vision for HOW, and bring the country together while doing it. I believe with every fiber of my being that Elizabeth Warren is that person. 

Unlike those looking to pick off the relatively few voters who are finally tired of the RIght’s wrongs, Elizabeth Warren wants to bring new voters into the fold–the 46 percent who sat out in 2016. Unlike the traditional Democrat who takes the working class and non-white voter for granted, Elizabeth Warren listens to their stories and addresses their concerns with proposals for real change. Unlike the middle of the road candidates favored by the DNC who welcome help from wealthy donors along with the donors’ agendas, Elizabeth Warren, like Sanders, relies on a grassroots network and small donations. Unlike the Bernie or busters, Warren isn’t ready to vilify capitalism, she wants to incentivize it–make it work for the people make sure giant corporations and super rich individuals pay their fair share by giving back to a society that contributes to their success. Warren doesn’t want enemies–she wants partners, cohorts in the adventure of making the world a better place for everyone.

America–we need to decide what vision for the country we embrace. Personally, I am with Warren!

Posted by: minnow | January 26, 2020

THE TRIAL

If you care about the sanctity of our Republic, if you believe the Constitution SHOULD be the foundation for our laws, if you believe the President should NOT be above the law, but are confused by all the shouting and denials and deflections, and don’t understand what the big deal is–then listen to The Report. It is a condensed version of the evidence presented by the House, in the words of the House Managers. And, if you don’t have time to listen to the entire presentation of their findings then please, listen to this condensed Segment of Day 4. It explains the Obstruction of Justice charges and makes the case for why the President’s removal from office on these charges alone are warranted. Our Senators–Republican and Democrat alike–must be encouraged to set party aside and vote for what is best for our country.

Posted by: minnow | January 25, 2020

The Grim Reaper

By ruling the Senate with an iron fist Mitch McConnell, the self proclaimed Grim Reaper, has single handedly done more to stop progress than any single politician in Washington. He has refused to bring to a vote, or even debate, 300 bills that have passed in the House, 275 of which had bipartisan support. At the same time, he has assured life time appointments to dozens of unqualified judges by bending debate rules and hiding behind the daily drama of the President. And right now he is orchestrating an Impeachment Trial without allowing witnesses and by limiting the presentation of evidence. In each of these situations he refuses to consider the will of the nation or even his own constituents.

As indicated most of the bills Senator McConnell refuses to bring before the Senate have had bipartisan support in the House, such as the Net Neutrality Act. But what is even more concerning is, they overwhelmingly reflect the will of the American people and still Mitch McConnell will not budge. Other legislation includes the Equality Act, the Dream and Promise Act, and a bill to raise the federal minimum wage. The House even worked on a proposal to lower prescription drugs by encouraging generic competitors–a win for both consumers and smaller manufacturer. Still the Grim Reaper remains resolute–no action.

Rather than pass even bipartisan legislation, Senator McConnell is hell bent on shaping the courts with right leaning judges, regardless of their experience. To understand the serious problem McConnell’s push for ultra conservative judges poses take a look at Sarah Pitlyk, one of five judges appointed by 45 and confirmed by the Senate that the American Bar Association has deemed UNQUALIFIED. Pitlyk has never tried a case, never deposed a witness, never pick a jury, never even argued a motion at the state or federal level. She’s done little more with regard to a court room than clerk for 45’s most recent Supreme Court pick when Kavanaugh was an appellate court judge. Her single biggest “qualification”? She stands on the right side–the far right side–of women’s reproductive rights. Pitlyk is vocally anti abortion, anti, surrogacy, and anti IVF.

With so many openings on the court one might think the “harm” is limited.  After all, isn’t it better to fill empty positions and reduce the work load for other judges? Perhaps, but remember Mitch McConnell has been at this for a very long time–since before 45. When President Obama was in charge of nominations the Senate moved as slowly as possible. In the eight years President Obama made appointments, though there were just as many openings as there are now, the Senate managed to confirm only 55 appellate judges. Under the current administration, McConnell has pushed through 50 appellate judges in three years, and 150 judges in all. When the only qualification that matters is that he or she lines up on the right side of the political spectrum, we are much more likely to see regressive results.

The thought that an impeachment trial is merely a distraction from the bigger story of McConnell’s strangle hold on our Republic may seem crazy. Yet, the mockery the Senator and his Republican flunkies are making of the Impeachment proceedings–denying witnesses, limiting evidence, pretending to “walk out” in a huff, and stopping before cameras to whine about hearing the same arguments over and over without witnesses (which remember they were denied)–proves beyond a shadow of a doubt how high the stakes for saving our nation have become. Every Democrat, both Independents, and 20 Republicans would need to vote to convict in order to remove 45 from office. Yet, despite the mountain of evidence, the current partisan climate and the Republican majority in the Senate, renders that verdict unlikely.

The last time our country was in such peril, Abraham Lincoln reminded us that we are a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people” and that those still living had an obligation to those who had passed to not allow our nation to remain divided. The House did not bring charges of an abuse of power and obstruction of justice against the President knowing it would win. It brought charges knowing only that to do so was right.

I do not expect the Senate to vote to convict. I do not expect the President to be removed. The self proclaimed Grim Reaper has too much power and is not afraid to wield it. Through campaign contributions and intimidation McConnell will most likely maintain control BUT, election day is coming.

On November 3, 2020, we, the people, will have an opportunity to make our voices heard. First, make sure your name hasn’t been removed from the roster and come election day VOTE. Help to register others and if you are able, help them get to the polls so they can VOTE. Understand what is at stake, recognize the stark differences in integrity between this president and any one of the candidates on the left. Resolved to defeat 45 and all those who have helped him and who he has helped to undo environmental protections, to tarnish our reputation in the world, and to set back the progress of equal rights, human rights, and what is Right. When the Impeachment verdict comes in take note of how your Senators voted and in November, if either one is up for election, VOTE accordingly.

Finally, remember how unethical the Grim Reaper’s handling of the Impeachment Trial has been. And, if you have anything left at the end of the day–financially or time-wise–remember McConnell is up for re-election. Help to defeat him.

Amy McGrath is running against McConnell in Kentucky. McGrath served 20 years as a Marine, completing three combat tours of duty as a pilot, and retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2017. She’s already listening to her constituents, and ready to put an end to McConnell’s obstructionist policies. McGrath promises to work within the system–as opposed to outside of it–and to get things done.

Watch. Remember. VOTE.

Posted by: minnow | January 20, 2020

Birds of a Feather

Will Rogers once said, “It is easier to fool a man than to convince him he’s been fooled.” How sad this truth is in our current world. Right now in the United States, a large portion of the American public is being duped. And, most of the Republicans in the US Senate hope their constituents will remain ignorant for a little while longer. They don’t want us to understand how Mitch McConnell subverts the Constitution. They don’t want us to see the evidence of the President’s wrong doing for ourselves or demand we hear from relevant witnesses. They want the American people to remain confused about what the job of the House WAS and what the job of the Senate IS. As long as they confuse us they can bend and break the rules, they can stir up frustration and anger, and they can avoid accountability. They continually cast blame and pretend the President, and not the people’s trust, is the victim. They don’t want us to point out how the Constitution orders them to conduct the business of government because that would get in the way of how they want to conduct their business. It is an inconvenient truth that our representatives do not get to do whatever they please and some in our government do not want you to understand that truth. 

Read the US Constitution for yourself, not like you “read” the phone transcript–by saying you should (because that’s what the President said) but not actually doing it (just as the President calculated). Actually, read the Impeachment clauses. Then understand this: the job of the House is to decide if impeachment is warranted. That means–the House forms a committee to investigate. The committee considers charges, seeks information, and looks at the evidence against the President in order to determine if a trail is justified. Once the investigators line out the evidence and present it to the whole body, the body votes, much like a grand jury. A YES vote means the House found enough evidence to go forward with a trial. A NO vote means the House did not find sufficient evidence to move forward. For only the third time in our nation’s history, the House vote confirmed the majority saw enough evidence to suggest significant wrong doing on the part of our 45th president. He should be allowed to defend himself and so we should proceed to the next phase of the impeachment–the trial.

All the belly-aching by the GOP about not giving the President an opportunity to counter the testimony or discredit the evidence against him was premature, a distraction in order to confuse the process in the minds of the American people, and as it turns out, a hollow critique. The House is not charged with the duty of conducting a trial–the part of the process where counter arguments are made, evidence is refuted, and witnesses are cross examined. The trial–what the Republicans pretended was happening during the hearing–is still to come. The trial is the part of the process left to the Senate.

Now however, Senator Mitch McConnell, who has publicly stated he is in league with the president with regard to the impeachment –does not want the evidence to be presented or the witnesses to be called. He has decided the opening arguments must be heard first, and then “we’ll see” if witnesses are necessary. The Senator does not want the truth to come out. He cannot avoid the trail, but he will do what he can to limit its scope and limit our access. He has already place severe restrictions on the Press.

Rest assured, Mitch McConnell’s mind is made up. He will pressure his Republican colleagues to acquit the President but he would rather do his arm twisting behind closed doors and having to deny, while the public stares it in the face, as little truth as possible. The fact that, since his appearance on FOX, the Senator has signed an oath to conduct the impeachment trail in an unbiased manner just goes to prove how dimwitted he believes the American people to be. And if his brazen statements on the Hannity Show truly revealed his hand, Mitch McConnell himself deserves to be impeached.

Will the public continue to be fooled? That is left to be seen. You can work to insist these proceedings be as fair and unbiased as possible. Call your senators. Tell them you expect them to honor their oaths of office and defend our Constitution even if it means crossing party lines. Urge them to demand to see all the evidence and hear all the testimony pertinent to the charges brought against the President. And finally, make it clear that the American people want access to this trial. The Bill of Rights guarantees us a free and unfettered press and we require nothing less!

Posted by: minnow | November 3, 2019

I Would Not Resign

This week Katie Hill, newly elected millennial Democrat from California resigned from the House. In her statement she points out the double standard under which we operate. Still, she resigned. She pointed out how the person holding the highest office in the land was heard bragging about his sexual assaults and was still elected, supported by the religious right–the self-proclaimed “moral authority” in our nation. Yet she resigned. She explained that the pictures of her, which have caused the uproar, were taken and published without her knowledge and against her will. She further explained that she and those closest to her have received threats, including the threat of a slow leak of more photos which she believed would continue to be a distraction from the only person who deserves to be investigated–the President. So, her last act as a Congresswoman was to vote for the Impeachment resolution against 45. And then she resigned.

I would NOT have resigned.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not fault Ms Hill for acting within her own conscious but I would not have given in to the despicable behavior of the right. In my speech to Congress I would, perhaps, have pointed out the same double standard Hill highlighted but I would have come to a different conclusion for how to respond. Hill was elected to do a job. As far as anyone has seen she has been doing just that. Certainly being publicly dragged through the mud by ugly, vicious people whose only hope is that she gives in is not something we have a right to ask another person to endure. Feeling overwhelmed and having to explain to family, friends, colleagues, and constituents is difficult, maddening, and an embarrassment.  Yes, it would be a distraction. Yes, it is exhausting. Yes, threats are frightening. YES! Yes. yes… BUT–The double standard would have made it imperative for me to stand my ground.

Bullying tactics are used because they succeed. Lies are repeated because they work. And they work because nice people, kind people, empathetic people, moral people don’t stand up to bullies, don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to put our families, friends, and colleagues through the pain. We don’t want innocent people, whose only “crime” is being associated with us, to be targeted. Our mistakes or even our causes shouldn’t cause others suffering. When the cost is measured late in the game–after the dirt comes out or the struggle begins, it almost always becomes too great to let our allies bear. After all, they didn’t sign up for THAT.

I sound heartless, but I honestly believe we don’t care about the other, about justice, freedom, or truth. At least, we don’t yet care about them enough. Sure, the GOP and 45 have sullied our nation’s reputation throughout the world, but most of us think–even if 45 is re-elected, we’ll be able to weather the storm. Most of us may be a little worried about climate change, a little tired of endless wars, a little frightened by mass shootings, or a bit concerned about the cost of healthcare but most of us are still “doing okay”. We take care of our own and don’t know many people outside our immediate circles. Most of us don’t see the people who aren’t “doing okay”. The homeless guy panhandling outside the grocery doesn’t count. He may causes us a twinge of guilt as we pass by. But we tell ourselves he can go to the homeless shelter if he really needs help and chose to be irritated that we even feel guilty. After all, how can we know we wouldn’t just be feeding an addition.  When we get to our car we flip on some music for a distraction and forget about him by the time we pull out of the parking lot.

I understand that asking Katie Hill to stay and fight would be asking her to do something I haven’t signed up to do myself. And so, I don’t ask. Still, I wish she’s stayed. I’d like to be writing a blog defending her right to remain in Congress, to do the job she was elected to do. I want I be telling the double standard bearers of the GOP to go look in a mirror, which is kind of ironic. The saddest lesson in the whole Katie Hill saga is that until doing that which is right becomes more valuable to us than our personal comfort and security, we will continue to let the bullies win. Regardless of how well intended our ideas are, until defending them becomes a matter of personal integrity we remain a people protected by our privilege, insulated by good fortune, and unwilling to take an honest account of ourselves.

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