Congressional Sit In

Many of us of a certain age remember the time in our history that brave people from all walks of life took it upon themselves to make a change, even if their action posed a great peril to their well-being. The sit-ins of the 1960’s are an example of where otherwise powerless people took on the establishment hoping to effect a change in the status quo. The status quo at the time was that people of color were unable to sit at a public lunch counter and be served. Sixty years later we can marvel at how far we’ve come in some respects and be stupefied that we have so far to go.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a huge step in the right direction. It didn’t go far enough, but President Johnson and the members of Congress voting for the legislation should be commended for their effort. Unfortunately, racism still existed and there were plenty of congress critters that were willing to represent their constituency by enabling their hood-wearing voters to enact policies on the state level that disenfranchised people that didn’t see the world through their pure white prism.

The Dixiecrats were a group of right wing Democrats that eventually found that the Republican party was more to their liking. Sad to say that the people who so warmly embraced the progressive changes of FDR, who benefited the most from the Democrat party’s policies, decided to switch parties if black people were going to benefit from the same policies. “Cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind”, but that’s how racism works. It’s illogical, it’s un-American and definitely not Christian. It becomes crucial for the people who take an oath to “support and defend” the Constitution and all of it’s amendments to do their jobs.

Somebody in Congress has to do something besides throw their hands up in the air and say they’re powerless to make a change. These people are salaried at $174,000 a year, and for some reason they can’t seem to get something done as simple as a voting rights bill. A bill whose main feature is that it ensures all eligible voters the right to vote. Imagine going to your boss, in this case the American public, and telling your boss you can’t do your job. Your boss would probably say, “Well then I just can’t pay you the $174,000 a year”. Seems fair right? Cut off the pay until they start passing some legislation.

The John Lewis Voting Rights Act was passed by the House in August of 2021. For some reason two “Democrat” Senators can’t seem to get behind allowing all eligible voters to vote. Looks like not all of the Dixiecrats left the party. Apparently the Dixiecrats left behind a couple of stragglers to gum up the works. Sadly there is not one Republican that is willing to cross party lines and do the right thing. Like lemmings they follow the lead of their intrepid czar, the Donald, who actually told the truth about voting once.

My goodness, we overturned prohibition, which was a law close to the hearts and minds of all of the right wing religious nuts of the day. Can’t we rally behind a basic American principle, that we all get a say in how we’re governed, and ensure the passage of the voting rights bills? Can we change the paradigm of “Some people don’t want some people to vote”?

While Congress is performing their own version of a sit-in with regard to action on voting rights we can only pray that some of them will be reminded of the struggle that took place to get us to where we are today.

If he was still with us, John Lewis could show them his scars.

Lyin’ Ted

On a morning when we’re already finding the list of “What’s Wrong With America” way too long, we get an update from Ted Cruz.

Seems the Cruz was feeling the blues for having to deal with doing ordinary things like ordinary people do. Lyin’ Ted has introduced an amendment to the FAA reauthorization bill that would keep Ted and his fellow Congress critters special.

In an article in “View from the Wing:

Members of Congress, Cabinet Secretaries, and federal judges who have received any threats (and they almost all receive threats at some point) are to receive an escort for their entire journey through commercial airports and won’t be required to go through normal screening – instead receiving private screening.

TSA has estimated the cost of letting politicians, their families, and two accompanying staff members opt out is public security and providing them VIP secure escort throughout their airport experience.”

The Donald gave Cruz the Lyin’ Ted moniker in the 2016 Republican debates and the Cruz has done absolutely nothing to distance himself from the label. Professional prevaricator pundits will long argue whether Lyin’ Ted was lying at the Republican convention, or lying on 01/07/2021. It seems to me that you can’t have it both ways. Does the pot call the kettle black?

In the Cruz’s own words: “I’m going to do something I haven’t done the entire campaign. I’m going to tell you what I really think of Donald Trump. This man is a pathological liar. He doesn’t know the difference between truth and lies. He lies practically every word that comes out of his mouth. And in a pattern that I think is straight out of a psychology text book, his response is to accuse everybody else of lying.”

Doubling down, the Cruz added: “Donald Trump is a serial philanderer and he boasts about it. This is not a secret, he’s proud of being a serial philander. I want everyone to think about your teenage kids. The president of the United States talks about how great it is to commit adultery. How proud he is, describes his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam. That’s a quote from the Howard Stern show. Do you want to spend the next five years with your kids bragging about infidelity?”

This quote becomes more interesting when we learn that the National Enquirer had accused the Cruz of having at least five different affairs while married to current wife Heidi.

Anyway, I am not aghast that the Cruz would feel like his staff members were supposed to handle every job he handed them, no matter how odious. I am aghast that there were five members of the female sex willing to allow his advances, six if you count his wife. Honestly, if you put the Cruz on one pedestal and Jabba the Hut on another pedestal, I could see women flocking to Jabba as their first choice.

There is something so slimy and smarmy about the Cruz that I can’t imagine that the more sensitive sex doesn’t pick up on it at first sight. I can only imagine that the five alleged trysts had a high dollar amount attached to them. I’m not putting the women down for charging, it’s the right thing to do. After all, I don’t expect the fellow that cleans septic tanks to do it for free, and the Cruz is less charming than a septic tank.

Where the story has a bit of a twist is that the head honcho at the Enquirer is supposed to be an old buddy of the Donald. Would the Donald have a friend print a salacious story about an opponent to gain an advantage? Of course. What’s weird is that after someone trys to damage you in the most horrible way possible, the Cruz is not only able to turn the other cheek but has been tripping over himself to give aid and comfort to the Donald ever since.

To be honest, I worry less about the Cruz’s frailties as a human than I do his belief that he is the anointed one from God. I knew he was a big Bible thumper, but when I heard his speech after the Iowa caucus stating that the polls weren’t going to determine who the next President was going to be, that God was, I started taking notice of his words more.

It’s one thing for the Donald to say every mean, hateful xenophobic thing he can to gin up his base, it’s another to think that God is talking directly to you. The fact that Cruz’s dad was out on the Evangelical circuit preaching that his son was the “anointed one” and that the righteous are poised to take back the wealth of the country to give to the priests is past scary to me. It is almost a call to revolution……

Which brings us to the revelation that the Cruz was up to his armpits in the 01/06 attempted coup. How a man can go from defending his wife’s ugliness to becoming a fawning sycophant is a serious deep dive into pathological behavior. I don’t have the tools to plumb those depths, but I can deep dive on the allegations that Biden started the Ukraine war. He didn’t .

Lyin’ Ted Cruz.

Uncle Clarence

Those of us of a certain age will remember the confirmation hearings of one Clarence Thomas back in 1991. Many of us of a liberal persuasion perceived the scrutiny to be so extreme as to be another example of subtle racism. Offseting the outrage of watching a black man having to be judged by a group of white guys was the scandalous testimony of some of the witnesses. It was absolutely must see TV.

The testimony of Anita Hill was as compelling as any soap opera. You didn’t dare change the channel or you would miss some other salacious fact about Thomas’ abusive treatment of women in the workplace. In addition to Anita Hill other women offered to testify in support of Ms. Hill but were not called. Republicans were hot to push through the candidate that would be the anti-Thurgood Marshall. Too much scrutiny would undoubtedly disqualify their candidate. Clarence Thomas has now worked diligently on the court for 32 years to repudiate the social justice of his predecessor and to reward the Republican party for their faith in him.

How did a poor boy from Georgia whose ancestors were slaves become a stalwart for the privileged? A cheeky answer might be that he looked around and saw who held the lash. It’s easy to be the Judas goat when you realize that you have been spared while the others that look like you suffer. I think Thomas’ pathology goes deeper.

Raised as a Catholic, attending Catholic schools until graduate school baked in a conservative mindset that was not tempered by family. Nuns and priests have a very narrow worldview and it was this environment that framed Thomas’ formative years. I’m sure he learned early as many of us did, if you don’t want to get whacked with a ruler, or worse, you get on the program. Get on the program he did.

Denying his roots, he once ruled that slavery didn’t create any loss of dignity. I guess we’ll just have to take his word for it and ignore the billions of words written to the contrary.

Giving opinions that seem to fly in the face of common sense has been Thomas’ trademark. Even his most conservative peers have referred to him as a nut. Perhaps it’s been this type of rebuke that has led to his moniker as the “silent justice“. Early in his tenure Thomas decided it was better “to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Though silent, Thomas never lost sight of who had allowed him the privilege of dispensing justice as they saw fit. Rulings like convicted domestic abusers should be able to own guns and that states can gerrymander districts to the detriment of his people are but two in a long list of Thomas opinions kowtowing to the man. His acceptance of the stay indicating that he would let Trump maintain control of all of his records in direct conflict with the Presidential Records Act is but another example of the man who identifies with his oppressor.

Of course, Thomas is not oppressed. He leads a very good life married to a very successful lobbyist. So successful that she dares to call on the ouster of Republicans Liz Cheney and Adam Kinziger from Congress for their work on the 01/06 committee. Thomas’ wife is so inside that she was invited to a meeting that included the Oath Keepers.

Her interest in the coup has tainted Thomas in an untenable way. What happens if there is a case brought before the court that Thomas knows will lead to jail time for his wife? Can we count on him to recuse? I think we’ve got 30 years of examples to know he won’t do the correct thing. He may do the “right” thing, but it won’t be the moral thing.

A man that can deny his own benefit from the affirmative action that he received but wants to deny others, has no sense of self. Retirement for Uncle Clarence can’t come too soon.

Being Right

Christian teachings command that “we turn the other cheek” when struck. Rather than strike back with as much vigor as we can muster, we should forgive the injustice and move ahead. I pretty much adhere to that philosophy until I’m confronted with the reality that some people will just continue to strike you because they are “right” and you are “wrong”, “different” or “just don’t know the facts”.

A while back I posted a piece on the Kenosha shootings, and got quite a bit of negative feedback from my Facebook friends. I use the word “Friends” because that’s what Facebook calls them. I’ve never met them, never broken bread with them, never shared stories about my children or theirs, we are just people that have some shared link that Facebook thinks we can explore, or Facebook can exploit.

I liken the feedback from my Kenosha article as akin to stepping on a yellow jacket’s nest. Suddenly you’re being attacked by a swarm of drones that only know to lash out when they are confronted with something that threatens their world. In this case, their world is the belief that society at large is empowered to walk into crowds with military weapons and provoke others with their presence.

They argue that Kyle Rittenhouse had the “right” to be there. He had the “right” to be armed. He had the “right” to defend himself from the crowd that was trying to detain what they saw as an active shooter. He had the “right” to not render aid, even though he purported to be a medic. He had the “right” to not turn himself in to any of the police scattered about the area.

The judge in the case had the “right” to withhold the evidence of Kyle beating a girl a couple of weeks before Kenosha. The judge had the “right” to withhold the tape of Kyle telling a friend he would shoot looters. The judge had the “right” to instruct the attorneys to not refer to the victims as victims, but they could be described as looters or arsonists although none of the victims had been arrested for a crime.He even had the “right” to throw out the weapons charge which was clearly a reach of jurisprudence.

The jury had the “right” to set Kyle free if they didn’t believe in his guilt, in fact they had the obligation to do so. I just wonder how some of the jurors feel after seeing this:

If the link is still working you’re seeing a paste up that Kyle did on his Twitter feed of his crocodile tears over gas prices. These are the same crocodile tears that he used to convince America that he was just a poor little misunderstood do-gooder who was trying to do “right” and help the fair people of Kenosha maintain control of their town.

I don’t know what shocks me more, his temerity or his lack of judgement. Clearly his lack of judgement has been documented, but it would seem like some sort of primal survival instinct would take hold that would flash red when Kyle attempted to act in a manner inconsistent with what all of the “right” people believe him to be. Maybe his handlers gave him some free time to be creative and this is what he came up with. The video certainly shatters the idea that he is remorseful for taking two innocent lives and maiming another.

Marjorie Taylor Green nominating Kyle for a Congressional Gold Medal, joining the ranks of other honorees like Mother Teresa, George Washington, and Nelson Mandela does not absolve him of his crimes. It is just another example of the insane running the asylum. We’ve got to do better than this.

Kyle’s lack of judgement puts me in mind of a quote from Nicole James, “You finally figuring out that being right isn’t nearly as important as knowing when to shut up.” I think the quote could fall into the category of “words to live by” for a lot of folks. Looking at you Facebook friends.