Misfits and Miscreants

This is long and I hope you will take the time to read. 

The cadre of misfits and miscreants who have held power since the inception of this nation is not as large as one might expect. There have been a few over the years, those who believed they were more than their office, the bully, the pulpit pounder, the liar, and the thief. There have been those who have not met the expectations of the trust placed in them. Then there are those men and women of their times who we no longer hold in high regard, given the lens of history.

The problem is not in those we have the luxury of history to reevaluate based on our new understanding; it is in those who remain firmly planted in our here and now. History will always be a harsh mistress of our actions or inaction. We will never escape the judgment of future historians based on a new understanding of social and cultural norms. Some things however remain common, they remain standard across the years. It is these that we rely upon to evaluate historical and current figures of importance.

When we look at the past one hundred (100) years in this nation, what do we see? Is maleficence greater today than a century ago? Is it of a different nature? What has changed? Focusing only on the federal level, what is fascinating is how the level of corruption has expanded and changed in scope and sheer numbers.

William Harding (R 1921-1923), had some fascinating misfits mostly guilty of bribery and kickbacks. His administration saw a couple of members commit suicide rather than face scandal and also saw the first cabinet member to ever be convicted and serve a prison sentence. My favorite though is Thomas L. Blanton of TX, he was censured for inserting obscene material into the congressional record via a letter that was condemned as containing, “unspeakable, vile, foul, filthy, profane, blasphemous and obscene” language. An attempt to expel him from Congress failed by 8 votes, I guess some of them had a sense of humor, here is a part of the offensive letter in question, as it appears in the Congressional Record:

“G_d D_ _n your black heart, you ought to have it torn out of you, you s_n of a b_ _ _ _H. You and the Public Printer has no sense. You s_ _k his a_s and he is a d_ _ _ _ _d fool for letting you do it.”

There really were only small things until we get to Eisenhower (R 1953-1961). What came to pass during his years in office would lay the groundwork for many of the actions and continued beliefs of today. If only we knew then what we know now, Richard Nixon was the Vice President and Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) introduced us to McCarthyism. Oddly, the rest of the administration was squeaky clean compared to these two. If you consider the havoc McCarthy would visit on all corners of the United States, including military, government, and private citizens before he was done it is amazing he and we survived. It should be noted many of the foundations for what McCarthy and J. Edgar Hoover did were laid during prior administrations, but McCarthy ratcheted it up. What he did then was an early form of Cancel Culture, without the immediacy of Social Media. Also during the Eisenhower Administration the motto on US currency was changed from E Pluribus Unum to In God We Trust, driven by a need to distinguish the USA from the Soviet enemy and communism during the Cold War.

Surprisingly we have to skip two administrations, Kennedy and Johnson, for our next rouges gallery,  Richard Nixon (R 1969-1974), where the real fun begins. This is our first taste of the modern administration in action. There is no way to even pick a favorite from this crew, but I am going to remind you that before the good stuff started the original VP, Spiro Agnew was forced to resign for Tax Fraud related to Bribery charges in Maryland; can I just say last I checked Bribery was illegal, I wasn’t aware people were required to claim their ill gotten gains on their taxes. As to the rest, we have Watergate which resulted in Nixon’s resignation prior to impeachment, 76 indictments, and 55 convictions. I am not going to name names, they are well known. The issue is, just how hard this president tried to hold power and the one lesson we should all take away, it was members of his own party who ultimately forced his resignation.

Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter had administrations that looked more like the early 1900s, though there were a few odd miscreants that didn’t live up to what we would like to see in the leadership of our nation, they weren’t the worst of the worst.  So let’s skip to our next holy hell where did you get this stew, the administration of Ronald Reagan (R 1981-1989), 122 investigations and internal censures plus 16 convictions of Administration officials across multiple scandals. What were ya’ll thinking? Bribery, kickbacks, fraud, perjury, conspiracy to defraud the government, obstruction of justice; the list is long and sad. If there was a crime to be committed, they owned it. That was just the Administration, the Legislative Branch had its own hijinks going on ultimately being the most corrupt to date, with Abscam and the Keating Five being only one part of the whole.

Larry Flynt

The first George Bush ran a tight ship, maybe it was that he was only a one-term president but both his administration and the other branches were fairly well behaved while he was in office, despite the Iran Contra Scandal. So let’s jump down to Bill Clinton (D 1993-2001), oh you without sin cast the first stone. Everyone knows about Bill and his womanizing ways, he was impeached by the House and subsequently acquitted by the Senate for lying about consensual sex. What about the rest of his administration? There were a few bad boys, but nothing on the scale you might expect. The Legislators, they were a fun bunch all the holier than thou, yes indeed many of them got caught with their pants down around their ankles, my favorite? Bob Livingston (R-LA), while busy trying hard to impeach the President for his immoral ways  it appears he was engaged in pornography and other nasty things, Larry Flynt of Hustler fame called him out on his hypocrisy. Mr. Livingston had to admit, that he “strayed from my marriage,” and subsequently resigned.

Come now all you bad boys, to the Presidency of the second George Bush (R 2001-2009). His administration and the legislative branch that operated during his two terms were tarred with so many scandals it is hard to know where to look first. Shocking there were only 16 indictments and 16 convictions considering what these scoundrels got up to. Karl Rove of course is one of my favorites, he had his fingers in every cesspool, being investigated for ‘improper influence over government decision-making’ by the Office of Special Counsel, this was the least of it. My personal favorite though, is Randall L. Tobias, a strong and outspoken proponent of abstinence, he was found to be a regular client of the DC Madam, he was forced to resign his position as US Director of Foreign Assistance in 2007.

Scott DesJarlais

The Administration of Barrack Obama (D 2009-2016), despite tales to the contrary, wasn’t filled with scallywags and ne’er do wells. In truth, most of the fun was down in the legislative branch during his eight years in office with a pretty even split between the D’s and the R’s on who could outdo themselves in bad acts and corruption. When they weren’t flagrantly breaking the law, they were trying hard to be despicable slugs. My two favorites have to be these guys though. First, Chaka Fattah (D-PA) was convicted of 23 counts including fraud, money laundering, and racketeering; what a seat in Congress wasn’t enough you had to get a second job? Then there is, Dr. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), who ran on a Pro-Life platform until it was discovered he forced his wife to have two abortions, then his lover came forward with her own story of him trying to force her to abort her pregnancy. Did I mention she was also his patient? After that, the floodgates opened and he admitted under oath to other affairs. There were certainly more, but these two stood out for me mostly because they flew under the radar.

Finally, we arrive at the most recent Administration, that of Donald J. Trump (R 2017-2021), he led us down the path, didn’t he? The only American President to be twice impeached in the House, twice acquitted by a Senate with a majority of his own party.  The sheer scope of the corruption and scandals of the administration defies imagination. From abuse of power, money laundering, nepotism, spousal abuse, witness tampering, and tax evasion the list is long and littered with bodies. In the meantime, the Legislative branch had its own problems though not rising to the shenanigans of the Administration, they were certainly busy. While neither party was innocent, I hate to point fingers but the R’s had a leg up during the Trump years and except where there was no way out and the FBI stepped in with real criminal charges, it seems Congress does not police itself to the degree we might like. Certainly, the truth is, there is no true Ethics or Integrity in the Peoples House.

At the end of the Trump years, we were met with the first President in our history who refused to gracefully concede loss and turn over the reins of power. As a nation, we are still suffering the outcome of the divisions sown during the 2020 campaign and extending even to today. When we look at Administrations historically it is possible to not see how rot has grown over the years within the government. It is time for real changes, time to look hard at the privileges and ‘rights’ our legislators have claimed for themselves without our agreement. It is time for simple changes that will significantly change the balance of power now and in the future. It is frankly time for all of us to stand up and say enough with our voices, our money, and our votes.

Simple changes we could enact at both a state and federal level that would change the balance of power and begin to root out the corruption:

  1. Term Limits at all levels of government including SCOTUS.
  2. Ranked voting.
  3. Real Ethics and Standards at every level of Government with external review boards of comprised Citizens.
  4. Real legislative changes to Voting Rights including reinstatement of Section 5 pre-clearance.
  5. Legislative limits to campaign spending and rollback of Citizen United.

That is my top five. What are yours?

What It Means

Do you know sometimes you can go most of your adult life focused on the wrong things, working hard toward a future that in the end will not be what you planned or expected. Never mind as you sit and contemplate where you are and what you have done, your dreams have not been fulfilled. You can break yourself, physically and emotionally for that pot of gold at the end of that proverbial rainbow and find nothing but pyrite. You can give everything worthwhile up, sacrifice to the pantheon and what you will have in the end will be rooms filled with the chaff of broken dreams. In a world that values the trappings of success above nearly all forms of decency and compassion, far too many of us have fallen victim to the sales job. Now we are learning, there are no ‘do overs,’ for our failures and regrets.

What do we do when we look at life through the prism of our values, ethics, and standards? Those pesky things that are foundational to who we are and where we come from. Do we first question these as they are not a genetic predisposition but rather cultural and familial. As we enter the wider world, we are challenged more often than not, especially if we come from a more traditional culture or family experience. Do we question ourselves, our beliefs, our parents, our faith, our very foundation as we make our way through the maze of often terrifying new experiences? Many do, while some cling to what we know in an attempt to stave off the changes we see around us. The bombardment of information, especially social norms and expectations that may be significantly different from what we know is enough to make our heads spin and our hearts stutter to a standstill.

When we are young, we are sure to at least try some new things, maybe spread our wings in a few new directions. Most of us are brave, wanting to test ourselves against the world. Many of us believe we are both infallible and indestructible. We have worldviews that do not allow for any opinion but our own and rarely allow for facts that do not align with our ‘truths.’ When we are young there is one truth that is nearly universal, we have an unearned arrogance.  

During the arc of our lives, we usually learn many things and most of us lose our arrogance along the way. We learn we are absolutely fallible, we make mistakes, we stumble, we fall down, and we are taught lesson after lesson about just how much we do not know. This is one thing that continues throughout our lives. Sometimes we need the proverbial kick in the ass, taking us down off our high horse but other times it is simply the cruelty of others who wish to see us fail. Still, you fall down, and you climb back up to your feet, learning the best lesson; you are fallible.

The next thing we learn as we step foot into the world? We are absolutely destructible and mortal. Sometimes we learn this through the loss of a beloved parent, or a friend. Other times it is someone within our immediate circle who is faced with catastrophic illness or injury shaking the foundation of our belief in our own indestructibility. Then there is that time we learn this terrible lesson by a close brush with our fragility, this lesson remains with us for the remainder of our years, we either become risk-averse or alternatively we become what is now known as adrenalin junkies. It is an important lesson to learn, our mortality put in perspective, our place in the world filtered down into more realistic terms, more digestible bites. Over time, there will be more masterclasses to embrace, more blows to our confidence and we will in most cases survive them to tell the stories to the next generation.

So, thinking about all of this, what does it really mean? We magically hit the world firing on all cylinders somewhere between 18 and 25 years old. We leave our parents’ protective nest and rush out to do grand things in a world waiting for us to announce our entrance, only to find there is no fanfare and no one really cares. We begin as dilettantes, so certain of ourselves and our personal greatness, so self-assured. Nothing can stop us; nothing can stand in our way. We pronounce, at every opportunity and with absolute certainty, our opinions as fact. We have no need for wisdom from those who have lived longer and done more. We are full of fight and ready for our march to the corner office, or wherever our ambitions are focused. We are insulted by the very suggestion that we might not be ready, or all the Gods forbid we may not know all we need to know.

We weep and rail at the unfairness of it all. The waiting and the hard work of it all, yet while we are doing that which we thought was so unfair and unnecessary something happens. We grow up, we learn, we mature, and we begin to see the reason and logic of it all. That arc between fresh into the world and “been there and done that” is long and in many cases hard. For too many of us, it is filled with heartbreak, failures, and regrets. Along the way, we learn, and we grow; we also try to pass on the wisdom we gathered and the things we know don’t change from generation to generation. No matter where you come from, no matter who you are, no matter your cultural or familial beginnings, some things are truly foundational, even universal.

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated, kindness and compassion never grow old.
  • Ethics and honesty in business and your personal life will always be the best strategy.
  • Put people before things, before money, before your work.
  • Never forget to tell people you love them; they won’t be there forever, and you may not get another opportunity.
  • If you have the chance to lift up another person, do it.

So simple, yet so many of us have a difficult time getting there. In today’s world of greed, myopic selfishness, curated ignorance, and the ongoing attempt to undermine core values as ‘weak’. We tout our faith, religion, and the Sunday-Go-To-Church faithful are quick to beat the drum of their godliness and goodness. Meanwhile, they are busily tearing out the heart of future generations, their children are becoming monstrous, and communities are disintegrating into viciousness, celebrating ignorance over learning, and meanness over compassion.

So, what do we do? We focus on what we can do to make it better and hope time will make a difference. Some of us, well some of us weep at the time we lost being arrogant shits when we still had the time and energy to truly make a difference in the world.

Dear God VIII

Dear God, have you been watching? The general fuckery down here is something to behold, isn’t it? I know it has been quite some time since we last talked, but I thought we should have a quick chat. I think perhaps my quiet, private prayers may be getting lost in the cacophony sent to you from the podiums of Congress, the pulpits of the prayers for-profit and State Houses across this nation called “Thoughts and Prayers.” I am not certain where to start, there is so much to cover, and I need to push it from my heart to your plate. I know, truly that you have much to take care of so I will try not to take too much time and only pick the big stuff, but God, really it is getting bad, and you might want to consider a lightning bolt or two just to get folks attention.

Dear God, have you seen what your believers are doing? In your name no less. It is shameful and downright terrifying. No matter where we look these days it seems those who claim you as their own are the most self-righteous, the most unforgiving, the most judgmental, the most violent; they are everything that I would think would be anathema to you, to your word. But damned if I can tell by their activities and seemingly ongoing success in this world that this is true. Meantime, while they seemingly thrive, the rest of us suffer under their heel. So, God, where are you while those who claim your favor are acting like early pagans on the day of Moloch sacrifices. What more must happen before you start with some smiting, or at least some assistance for the rest of us?

Dear God, it goes from bad to worse. It seems we cannot control our worst impulses. Everything from petty theft to genocide is on the plate for our consumption through everyday media. What is even more disturbing, at least to my mind and broken heart, where there is a crime against humanity there is a master pardoner for the perpetrator and inevitably your word is part of their patter. I guess I am old enough now where I can remember when all of us, entire nations came together regarding certain behaviors, where we all believed some things were wrong by any standard. Now? Well, now not so much. Now, seventeen (17) school shootings across this nation before the end of March doesn’t even make a blip on the nightly news. These days, seventy-nine (79) mass shootings with a total loss of life of ninety (90) human beings doesn’t even merit a comment. Nevermind the madman who is raining down misery and missiles on an entire nation’s civilian population, killing innocents in his drive to annihilate those who will not bow to his dream of a new Imperial Russia. God, if you happened to miss it, this lunatic claims a close alliance to you and your word through the Russian Orthodox Church. Not to take you to task for your current inattention, but really Lord so many of the recent batch of the truly bad have held up your word as a shield and it is growing tiresome.

Dear God, I think perhaps I don’t fit anywhere any longer. As I grow older, I also question too much the thinking of those who I once allied with nearly as much as I do those who have always been on the other side of the debate. This disease of extremism is destroying us all, making us fearful to speak up and speak our mind on any subject. Reasoned debate is no longer possible, and the ridiculous must be accepted as the new normal no matter how it harms others. Cruelty seems to be an acceptable alternative to civility. Truthfully? There is so much nuanced ugly to the past five years, political correctness combined with the legislative rape of civil rights, including voting and women’s autonomy it is hard to know where to even start. But God, you cannot possibly have intended for us to walk back every single gain we made, did you look down and say, “Nah, this was too much let’s make them suffer.”

Dear God, I know you are busy and gave us that great gift of self-determination. Yet still, I would think just now and then you might want to take some of your children and nudge them, off a cliff might be good. A bit of discipline is not uncalled for in certain circumstances, even with self-determination. You and I know children without discipline become out of control, eventually turning delinquency and without correction into habitual criminality with no chance at redemption. Lord, I am afraid that is what we have today in this nation, and what is truly terrifying, they are concentrated in the halls of Congress, on the Bench of SCOTUS and scattered throughout the land, in legislative bodies simply working their evil, pursuing power with the thirst of a man who has walked across Death Valley without water to quench him.  

Dear God, I know you have a great deal to contend with. I am not without eyes to see. Human beings have generally screwed up the world. Every opportunity, we find a way to cheapen and destroy the gift you gave us, both for ourselves and the future. We are an unseemly and ungrateful lot. We are good at saying the words, “thoughts and prayers,” and other such nonsense. We are not so great at living by the words so many profess to believe in the book they use to batter others with. Day in and day out, your word, is used to abuse those who can least afford to give by those who have found a way to rob them of dignity, humanity, and a future. You must be tired of your creation by now. I am certain the angels must beg for reassignment when you tell them they are coming to earth, if even for a day. I know I would. But like Lot, I beg you to look down, I know there are still good people down here, maybe not saints but people who every single day do good and are worth saving, worthy of your blessing. Could you please just take a minute or two, send a message to all these terrible recalcitrant traitors of the people who deserve your concern and care. I am only asking for a strong message to steer them back to the path of the righteousness, you know maybe some focused bolts of lightning, thunderous messages of fury, specifically placed sinkholes might work.  Anything that will get their attention would likely go a very long way.

History to Now

“There is no sanctuary so holy that money cannot profane it, no fortress so strong that money cannot take it by storm.”
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

Since Reagan left office, he has continued to hold an unassailable approval rating of approximately 68%. Despite scandals, voodoo economics, and a host of other questionable issues, the one thing we can hold him to history’s harsh review and still say, “yes, here he led the way,” was 1987. Are you scratching your head and wondering, what happened in 1987 that we should hail Ronald Reagan for?

In 1987, Reagan delivered an openly provocative speech to Gorbachev, then President of the Soviet Union that ended with “Tear Down this Wall.” Two years later, the wall came down. Shortly thereafter, Reagan and Gorbachev embarked on a series of summits to limit nuclear weapons and fully end the Cold War. While Gorbachev was by far the more significant of the two men, given the hill he had to climb, Reagan rightfully continues to be celebrated for his part in ending the first Cold War.

Shortly thereafter, in 1994 the Ukraine, along with Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the Budapest Memorandum, with the US, UK and Russia guaranteeing their security in return for their denuclearization. At the time the Ukraine was the third-largest nuclear power in the world behind Russia and the United States. I am betting they regret that decision today.

This brings us to today. Day twenty (20) of the Russian invasion of the sovereign nation of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin came to power in 2012 his perspective and style are very different from that of his two predecessors, Gorbachev, and Yeltsin. To be clear, Vladimir Putin is ferocious, autocratic, and entirely outside of international norms. What Putin wants is for Russia to be a world power. He started with his invasion of Georgia in 2008, the West barely lifted an eyebrow. Leading to his annexation of Crimea and Donbas in 2014, originally part of Ukraine, where again the West barely moved from their stance of pacification.

Two things that should be noted by anyone interested in following the line of Russian aggression, in both cases:

  • There was a series of cyberattacks. These were preceded by a sophisticated disinformation campaign and an outright attempt to meddle in domestic politics.

Other Baltic nations have seen these same tactics deployed against them. The United States is certainly familiar with these as well. Georgia was only the practice run at what was to become Putin’s SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).

Now to what is truly terrifying.

Putin is looking to annihilate the Ukrainian people.  The Russian army has no limitations on their targets,  residential areas, hospitals, orphanages, aid convoys. The people in cities are in most cases without food, water, heat; it is a human tragedy of catastrophic proportions. Refugees, mostly women and children, old people are fleeing in the millions to neighboring nations.

In the meantime, here at home what are we doing? We are putting the Ukrainian flag on our Facebook profile while we bitch about the price of gas. We are sending up thoughts and prayers for the people of Ukraine while we complain about our supply chain, our inflation; hell, just about every damn thing. We have a ‘united’ Congress to aid Ukraine, while at the same time, leaders of the GOP hold pressers about how the President should have provided aid more rapidly.

Did something just strike a chord? Did they forget it was their own fearless leader who held up aid? Did they forget so soon the first impeachment of Donald J. Trump, which the entire GOP Senate but one who voted against? But I digress.

We here in America are a selfish bunch. Selfish and stupid in fact. We are led by the nose by our immediate needs and our immediate wants. We have zero understanding of how the real world operates. What we are concerned with is only what affects us, right now. It is this mindset that gives us the dysfunctional government we have today. It is this mindset that provides us with the churn we generally see at mid-term elections. Our inability to understand the real economy. Our failure to look beyond the right here and right now, causes us to elect fools and hustlers to lead what was once the greatest nation and is now something far less.

Every single time some talking head in the Pro Putin GOP talks about the price of gas, the Keystone Pipeline, or inflation they are repeating Russian propaganda and propping up Trump talking points. This is critical to understand. Whether or not your Pro-Trump family and friends will ever grasp these very real facts or not, it is important for these facts to be available and that every average American learn them and start repeating them.

  1. The Keystone Pipeline would have no impact on the price of gas. It was intended to bring dirty tar sands oil down from Canada to be refined and then shipped to China. It would not provide a supply to the US. It did not add long-term economic benefits.
  2. The cause of rising gas prices is twofold, speculation and supply. During the pandemic, worldwide refineries slowed down production due to demand. The cost of gas at the pump is a direct reflection of rising demand and limited supply. Russia is now restricted from the supply chain creating even greater limitations. Additionally, since January when Putin first begin threatening Ukraine’s borders, speculation has been driving oil prices up. Barrel of oil goes up, you and I are paying the price at the pump. While the President could ask the US oil companies to release their reserves to the market, he cannot demand they do so except during War, we are not at this time at war.

The other option the President has at this time is to tap into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, this could relieve some but not all pressure. It would also cause disruption to already stressed markets which we should want to avoid. This brings me back to the fact; we are selfish and self-serving in this nation. We decry the price of gas for our big trucks and SUV’s. We complain about the cost of food at the grocery store. Some of us though spend our days listening to the ravings of the pro-Putin arm of the GOP and their apologists on Fox and elsewhere while real human beings in Ukraine are starving, while children are dying of dehydration, while bombs are targeted at residential buildings, children’s hospitals and families are simply trying to escape the carnage. While fools with over inflated egos are beating their chests with their pretend versions of patriotism and stolen elections, real patriots are standing in the streets in every city of Ukraine and saying to the madman Putin, “You shall not pass, you will not have my freedom.”

I pity us when I am not simply in a fury. We have forgotten basic human compassion and dignity. We are so mired in our in-fighting, we have forgotten the standards that once held us together, we have forgotten that working toward a better tomorrow for all of us extends beyond our borders. I weep for Ukraine, but I shed tears for the United States of America as well.

We Eat Our Own

I am convinced this past year has opened the door to the worst in us. All of our ugly festered in our isolation, and the deadly sins, along with some things even uglier, took root. Clearly, human beings are not intended to be separate and alone. Even those of us who are by nature more introverted struggled during the time of Covid. It was a time that tested each of us differently, stretched our humanity and compassion to their limits. Clearly, many of us failed abysmally. The problem for me looking out on the world, some have actually thrived in this terrible time. Some have come into their true selves and we are seeing them for who they are. The world is far more terrible than we ever knew, and in some cases, some people are rising to the top of their game.

It is easy to point to one side and say it is all them, they are the problem, and the world would be a better place without them. I hear it and see it all the time. Across social media platforms, finger-pointing prevails, and we are experts at it. There is no room for anything other than precise and exacting compliance to the new dogma; those deadly sins are ever-expanding to catch us up and hold us. We have language police, thought police, and action police. Compliance with the newest agenda is necessary if you want to be accepted in the tent you most align with. God help you if you don’t agree or align fully; there is no room for independent thought, no space for questions.

Well, I am going to express some thinking that many will find offensive. There are several issues out there percolating right now. Some are offensive to me, and others simply become so as they are twisted by those who see some benefit for themselves in jumping on the bandwagon. To say there are no portraits in courage among those who set the tone for the nation would be an overstatement. The real truth, the vast majority of those elected to leadership positions are craven cowards. Those we invite into our homes via various media are not only spineless but avaricious and self-serving. I say this about all of them, left, right, center, or elsewhere on the spectrum. All of them have an agenda, and it isn’t you, me, or America.

There are so many things on my list, I am only going to focus on two. Let me first take on the story of the week, the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Much to unpack, many to blame for the chaos. Yet what do we, in our ignorance do? Who do we jump on first? What bandwagon do we choose? That’s right, we choose the President of the United States. We join in with the loudest voices of discontent to blame Joe Biden and provide fodder to those who would tear down the administration. Good job. Let me just point out a few things to those who sit in their armchairs and think they are brilliant tacticians.

  1. We have been in Afghanistan for 20 years, shedding American blood and lives in the mistaken thought we could change the culture and truth of a 2,000 year-old tribal society.
  2. As of April of this year, the United States has spent $2.261 trillion in Afghanistan. This is more than we have spent during the same period for any new domestic programs to help American citizens. Who did well during the 20-year war? The corrupt Afghani government and the American defense contractor (e.g. the beltway bandits).
  3. None of us, certainly not the press corp on either side of the aisle, are privy to the Security Briefings the President and his team receive. Yet, everyone is quick to condemn his decision to end the war and pull out troops. Is it chaos? It indeed is that, and in retrospect, I am sure he and others wish they had taken a different path, perhaps removing all American citizens first along with those who served beside our troops. Yet, do you really believe this outcome was predictable, even with the best intelligence? Do we think ordering all citizens and and those who served beside the troops to report for removal would have created a different outcome? I simply want you to ponder this question while you blame the President for the chaos rather than blaming those who are truly at fault.

I am going to end this issue on this note. The Afghanistan Army laid down their arms; they didn’t fight for their freedom or their country. The government of Afghanistan fled the country or went into hiding; they didn’t stay to fight for their people; they took what they could and ran. It only took 11 days for the Taliban to take the entire country back; many of those we trained joined them. Many of the cities they took over welcomed them. Is it a tragedy? Yes, it most certainly is for the young men and women who have never lived under Taliban rule. It certainly is for the women who have now known freedom and will be returned to a nation under Sharia Law. As of July 31, there are approximately 70,000 interpreters already in the US under the special visa program, with roughly 20,000 remaining in Afghanistan at risk. Don’t misunderstand me on this one; the program needs to be simplified; I am not unsympathetic, but who are all the rest of these people who suddenly need refugee status?  Are we airlifting people simply to show we are a nice country with good intentions? For four years under the last administration, we went along with a Muslim ban, we lived with repulsive rhetoric regarding refugees. Now, the very same people are on television every single night spouting their “save the women, save the interpreters no matter their documentation,” nonsense; their hypocrisy would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying. In the meantime, guess who is climbing on the bandwagon to tear down Joe Biden? That is absolutely correct, those in Congress and the left-leaning media who should be defending the President or at a minimum remaining silent.

 

We eat our own first.

In the meantime, we have the opportunity to pass legislation that will lift the nation up and truly drive our recovery for years to come. This isn’t just economic, but climate, infrastructure, and beyond. Instead of pushing this through a recalcitrant House in all haste and getting it to our President to sign into Law, we have two sides of the Left fighting over dominance, essentially who is on first. Yes, I understand there is more that is needed. I get it. Yet, I also understand you can’t have everything you want in the first bite. If you’re going to stay in office, keep your jobs and keep the majority, you best get something done and have something to show for your asses in seats. I am beyond tired of all these elected members, paid by the people thinking they must show out, be the star of their own show. If they have learned nothing from this last cycle, it should be America is a nation in the middle, not the fringes of either side. America’s electorate is growing tired of being told what they must think by those who do not seem to be in touch with our lives and the challenges we face simply trying to survive.

I will end it here for now. It is time all of us examine the information we receive, the sources from which we receive it, and how we process that information. We are a nation on the brink; we have choices about where we go from here.

The Downfall and the Fourth Estate

The stunningly stupid have formed into a sustained mob to destroy all of the pillars of our nation, including the fourth estate, the Press. I will admit, there are days I find much of our current media to be less than ethical, less than unbiased, in fact, at times extraordinarily biased. I frequently hope there would be some sign of solidarity, common sense, and reverence for what a free press means to a free society. I look for it, for just a glimmer, but these days, there is rarely even a flicker of it in the eyes of either elected officials or the common man.

Looking at the problem pragmatically is the only way to get to the root cause. The polarization and demonization of the Press have been in the works for decades. Since the days of Reagan and the rise of Cable radio and television, the US public has been inundated with partisan stations that make no bones about their affiliations. Many point to the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 by the FCC; however, the Doctrine only regulated terrestrial stations, not cable. One distinction between these, viewers had to pay for cable, whereas terrestrial stations were free. It should be noted, in 1987, the Democratic-controlled House and Senate passed the Fairness in Broadcasting Act, which would have enshrined the Fairness Doctrine in law and covered cable as well as terrestrial television and radio. Ronald Regan vetoed the Bill.

What is surprising to me, how easily those who may have started out wanting to be journalists fell into the trap of being spokespersons for one side or the other. Every day they sit in front of a camera and blather on with opinions and half-truths, feeding their audience what they want to hear and further polarizing the nation. I am reminded how far we have fallen as I listened to the names of the dead of 9/11 being read by their survivors. I am considering the difference of the nation in the days following that horrific day in 2001 and today; they are numerous and seemingly insurmountable at times.

On September 11,2001, President George Bush (R) was in Florida reading with second graders when Flight 11 hit the North Tower at 8:46am; four minutes later, his Chief of Staff Andy Carr informed him of what he then believed was a tragic accident. At 9:03am, Flight 175 crashed into the South Tower. Andy Carr advises the President that America is under attack within two minutes. At 9:30am, the President gives the first of many addresses to the nation in which he says, “terrorism against our nation will not stand.”

Yet, it does stand. In fact, it flourishes, driven on by media mistruth, misdirection, and outright lies.

The story of 9/11 is important because what American’s did after was come together. We came together behind the President, who gained his office under less than ‘perfect’ circumstances. We came together to mourn. We came together across racial, faith, and political lines. Imperfectly at times, our President had to remind us of our humanity, had to personally visit a Mosque and say these too are Americans. But the fact is, we came together as Americans.

Now twenty years later, look where we are, look at what we have become. As a nation, we are incapable of fighting a pandemic. We would rather see our neighbors die than take a vaccine. We would rather put our children at risk than follow science and wear a mask. We allow, even celebrate, a media that has so polarized us that we continue to tune in rabidly despite knowing they tell half-truths and outright lies.

Those we elect to high office tell blatant lies about the election, the pandemic, and everything in between on ‘News’ shows watched by millions. Yet, both the public and the media refuse to call them out. We listen as the media on one side of the aisle call police officers, who were beaten and abused during an insurrection, actors, and liars. We laugh; we repeat the lie despite the pictures of that day. On both sides of the aisle, the media continue to give hours of air and print time to the loser of the election, rather than call him what he is and his lies what they are.

Instead of sober coverage of world and national events, we watch as every media outlet beats their own drum to stir their base further into fury. Is it any wonder we are a nation divided? Whether it is the Big Election Lie, Covid-19, Vaccines, or the end of the war in Afghanistan, there is a common thread. The media is spinning at top speed 24 hours a day to keep their audience in a constant state of rage and ignorance. Whether Left or Right, whether only a slight lean or extreme, they all have one thing in common, the news is not what is on the menu. It is the spin and how to keep the entire nation uniformed, enraged, and polarized.

Worse still, we fall for it. As a people, we draw further apart and become angrier, our fury spilling over onto family, friends, and strangers. We give no quarter, creating an entirely new cultural phenomenon to account for our need to enforce the new wokeness. On both sides of the aisle, the media works hand-in-hand with those who, without facts, demand the destruction of others based only on their hurt feelings. Someone didn’t move fast enough, someone didn’t ‘recognize’, someone didn’t do or say something. Or frankly, someone is simply in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong opinion. It is no longer enough to mind your business and stay out of the way; your opinion must mesh perfectly. You must agree or be labeled, and the labels are many and terrible. You must abjure family, friends, lovers, and others simply for their failure to be in the right group, play on the right team, or by all that is holy, you must be … pick your poison.

The old news room

The protected Free Press is right there dragging themselves and everyone else into the mud, covering themselves in the glory of self-destruction and a nation with them. The truth is, no Right is absolute; it always comes with responsibilities. Yet, it seems in this case, the Press is unfettered and predominately left to its own devices. Enemy of the State? So it was named by the last President with few exceptions, and even those came under the glare of his ire when they failed to tow the absolute line. This takes me back to my original statement, the stunningly stupid have formed a sustained mob to destroy all of the pillars of our nation, including what was once a free press.

I am stupefied that we have fallen so low and wonder what it will take or who will rise up with intelligence, dignity and sense to begin the hard work of setting us back to a place where the fourth estate is a trusted source of information and even opinions come from a place of intellect rather than partisan vulgarity.

Dear God VII

Dear God, hello, it’s me again. I know it has been a while since I have appealed to your better angels as they say. Really though, it is getting pretty terrible and terrifying down here. It is to the point where you can’t tell the good guys from the bad anymore, and even the pacifists are thinking about self-protection in the form of rocket launchers. Does this seem extreme? Are you thinking to yourself that I am hysterical? Have you looked down here recently? I mean, really taken a close look at the state of this once shining experiment of a nation.

Just think God, these nonsensical, ignoramuses call themselves your servants. If this is the truth I would suggest you have a really bad management policy. Really, first Lucifer and now this.

Dear God, don’t get me wrong, we were never perfect. We got so many things wrong for so very long, and as they say, the chickens are coming home to roost. The problem is, even as those chickens come home, even as they call out and demand better, a big part of the nation strikes back out of fear. But I will not talk to you about chickens; I need to tell you about people, humans, and the horror being wrought by your creations and against your creations.

Dear God, I know you see us and shake your head in disappointment. I would be throwing bombs at this point, massive ugly destructive bombs. Maybe you are; it is just a huge part of our population who are too myopic to see them for what they are. I have watched for forty (40) years as everything once considered of great value has been devalued beyond recognition. All we once turned away from has been uplifted, even idolized. Those who once were considered sideshows and unworthy of our attention or time now hold high office, preach from alters, or network ‘news’ desks nightly. We demonize what is good, even our founding principles, and hold up the criminal as worthy of adulation and emulation. We reward evil while crushing kindness, compassion, and those who question are demonized for their counter thinking.

Dear God, surely you see us and wonder at our use of the free will you have gifted us. Do you turn to Michael and say, “what did I do when I gave my greatest creation free will and intellect?” Does he answer you with a shake of his head and, “I told you so!

Dear God, we are slowly dying down here. Our brethren are being murdered in the streets by police. Then insult to injury, their murders are replayed for our entertainment on what passes for the nightly news. Inattention, poverty, police violence, crime, inadequate healthcare, and a host of other socially violent acts are killing the rest as we watch. We did this. We founded this nation on a violent sin and perpetuated that iniquity through our laws and bad acts. This nation, founded on a promise, was in truth based on a lie. Maybe an unwitting lie, but nonetheless a lie, a lie that continues four hundred (400) years later. Knowing this, we compound the lie with half-truths, bigotry and jingoism. We are so intent on ignoring history and hard truths, we willingly place ourselves in prisons of ignorance and bind future generations to even further depravations.

Dear God, don’t you ever look down and simply want to smite entire swaths of this wholly corrupt and entirely ignorant nation? I know if I were sitting where you are, I would have a difficult time not throwing a few fireballs right about now. I get it, Lord, you didn’t actually write the book all these $2 preachers yell fire and damnation about from their Lear Jets and McLaren Elva’s. I know that book is the accumulation of eons of men’s ruminations of how best to engineer society to suit them. I even know, though you may be in there somewhere, it really has little to do with you and more to do with the evil men do to one another in their quest for power over each other. But really, come on, God, don’t you just want to fling one or two lightning bolts?

Dear God, one more thing, and then I will leave off for now except for my daily talks with you about all this terrible and terrifying. Can’t you please reach down and touch the hearts of those who claim alignment with you. They gather in one place much of the year; they call themselves leaders and have the power to change lives. These men and women, they are a constant boil on our national ass. They fan the flames and fail in their duty almost daily, yet claim you as their guiding light. The men and women of our political class, whether city, state, or federal; whether elected or appointed, have lost their way and failed in their duty. Too many have chosen a path that leads to our destruction, putting their own enrichment above all others.  Too many have agreed to a lie that will lead to division and ultimately greater human misery. Do you see it, God? Are you waiting for our implosion to see who is left standing?

Dear God, I know some of your misguided children keep saying we are a Christian Nation. You and I know this is a laughable claim, and we are not anywhere close to this, never have been. We both know this claim is made by those who have no clue what this means and would not want to live in the nation they claim we are. Logic has no place in discussion with these clueless illiterates. In their right hand, they scream Taliban when they see a woman in a Habib, oh my, the horror of it all. In their left hand, they cry, we are a Christian Nation; what do they think that would mean?  I would suggest, oh God, they refer to that Good Book and the six hundred laws contained within for how a Christian Nation would be ruled going forward. Someone should remind them, these cretins of ignorance, they live in a land of Freedom of and from Religion that happens to have a majority of Christians within it. However, this majority is slowly changing because of their immoral acts. The American Christian Taliban just needs a nudge, just a small one, so they can get back in their lane and leave the rest of us alone, get back to bothering you. Dear God, I am done for now. I am afraid for my nation, my friends and my family. I am constantly grateful you have kept those I love safe. I hope we live up to our potential; I pray, as always, we continue to seek reconciliation, truth, and peace. I am grateful for the gifts you grant me, and once again thank you for listening.

Stop, It is Us

It would be stunningly simple-minded of us to think with the installation of a new President, on January 20, 2021, there will be a shift back to something resembling normal.  The problem with this thinking is twofold;

  1. A significant number of our fellow Americans voted to keep President Trump in office and believe his fairy tales regarding the election and its legitimacy.
  2. As a nation, we face both a recession and a pandemic, neither of which will be cured overnight.

Finally, beyond the obvious, Trump, unlike past Presidents, has no plans to transition power quietly. He will continue to grab as much of the spotlight as possible. He will continue to be part of the focus, as the Senate’s Impeachment Trial is undertaken. He and his supporters in Congress will continue to spread vitriol and lies on every media platform available to them. He will continue to be a disruptive force of malevolence. For the foreseeable future, there will continue to be those who encourage and embrace him.

For approximately seventy-eight (78) more hours, we have to worry about just how much more damage Donald J. Trump, his cadre of sycophants, enablers, and true believers can do to the nation. It is obvious there are few in what was once the Republican Party who are willing to stand up and be counted as outside of DJT’s toxic national destruction league. After the violent insurrection of January 6, most of the world is left wondering who we are and what we will become. The Insurrection Coalition of Congress uniformly voted not to Impeach Donald J. Trump, with only ten (10) holdouts who all are now worried their lives may be in danger.

Me? For the first time in my life, I watched and thought to myself, I despise a whole group of public officials. I despise them for their craven and self-serving acts, for their lies, and their support of the insurrection. I listened to them, for the better part of four (4) years, as they casually tore down all that was worthwhile, that made America work no matter how imperfectly. I watched them on January 6 as they attempted to disenfranchise millions of votes, not just any votes but the votes of mostly Black and Brown people from cities across the nation; they did this without blinking an eye. I listened as elected officials and supposed Christian leaders told their constituents and congregants that Donald J. Trump walked on water and served their best interest, even as he pillaged the Treasury, tore down the pillars of our government, and weakened the nation before the world.

I watched it all, and I hung my head in shame, this is us, this is America.

This is America; we cannot deny our complicity in this opening of the overcoat. The America that allows White Nationalism to thrive within our borders. That enables a casual disregard of science within the highest seats of our government. An America that allows hundreds of thousands to die in a pandemic for the sake of ‘freedom’ to not take precautions because body autonomy and the right to choose far outweigh the greater public good. An America that sent hundreds of thousands into poverty for the ego of one man in the Senate who refused to bring a Bill to the Senate floor for debate. This is America, where one side watched as children were mowed down in their schools and worshippers in their churches by lunatics with too much access to guns but did nothing. This is America where Black bodies can be casually murdered in the streets and in their beds by the police, and there are zero accountability and zero acknowledgment by anyone in power.

I watched, I listened. I heard over and over, the gnashing of teeth and the wailing, this is not us. When the insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, I watched in horror. When the gallows were raised outside the Capitol, I listened as the insurrectionists called for Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi to be killed. When they beat the police inside and outside the Capitol, I wept. When the Capitol police opened the doors, took selfies with the terrorists, and then politely escorted them out after they had pissed and smeared feces throughout the building. I thought to myself, it is all coming out now, and we see you. When the American flag was lowered and tossed to the ground, and the Trump 2020 flag was raised in its place, I wondered, will this finally be enough? Hours later, I had my answer; it was not. The truth is, this is us

All of my life, I have been a centrist. Pragmatic about politics and politicians. There are some issues where I am left of center and others where I am admittedly right though not by much. These past four (4) years have taught me a crucial lesson. It is impossible to remain in the center, impossible to stay pragmatic. It is impossible to say I am not something; today, you must take a stand and be against it. This goes beyond politics; it goes to the heart of who we are, as a nation, and as a people. It is indeed time to pick a side time to be for or against the things that matter.

This is not us, yes I am sorry to say it is until we demand a change, until we demand it is us no longer.

Dear God VI

sad-angel-1Dear God, it’s me again. I know it has been a few weeks, though I talk to you every single day. It seems there are more and more people in need of your attention, for succor, healing, help. I think you must have decided we are too needy, too loud and frankly too obnoxious, hypocritical and unworthy. Were I looking at things through your eyes, honestly, I would think the same thing. But God, I am pleading with you to turn around and reconsider your current indifference to our catastrophe.

Dear God, I am not angry. Well, perhaps a little bit angry, I will admit I try hard not to be. Every morning I wake from another restless night of tossing, turning and worry. Actually, not worry anymore it is now abject fear and night terrors, but no reason to quibble. I hurt everywhere and feel as if sleep has alluded me again. I try hard to remember to thank you for waking me, allowing me to see another day. I try hard to remember to write in my gratitude journal at least three things I am grateful for, even when gratitude is difficult to find. I do my morning absolutions before the day begins, reminding myself of the necessity though no one will see me, no one who will know if I skip a day. I do this not from habit but because I know these things will bring peace and give me a greater connection to the world beyond me, maybe even greater connection to you. But God, I have to tell you, with each passing day, it grows more difficult.

Dear God, I feel as if you want to bring us to the lowest point possible. I don’t know how much lower we can go. Is it that we rose so high? That as a nation, we were so arrogant, so prideful the fall is far? I know that it is terrifying and bruising for some of us as we fall along with the nation. Each day, there are so many of us that feel there is no further we can fall. Yet we wake in the morning knowing we have a bit further to go before hitting that lowermost rung and finally are at the bottom. We can see it, we might even be touching it, but we are not quite there yet. God, have you grown unsympathetic? I think you have; I think I would be too. But Lord, I look around me and all I see are the good falling with the bad, the innocent are suffering with the guilty.  Breadlines are growing, homelessness growing and children without access to schools growing—cities with escalations in violence, especially in homes and families losing everything trying to keep hearth and home intact for just one more day. God, can you hear their cries? Are you listening?

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Dear God, we are dying. It cannot be said much more brutally than this, can it? We are dying. Not just the loss of life, but our souls are withering, and hate is becoming the currency of our people. Your ministers are trading on fear and fury from the pulpit. Our elected officials are riding herd on the ugliest of human emotions, fear, bigotry, greed, envy and pride all wrapped into the flag and what polite society calls Nationalism. God, many of us are terrified. The country we love is ripping apart, and with it, the safety of laws and norms long understood, as imperfect as they were are tearing at the seams.  We watch friends and family turn away from us; we watch as neighbors suddenly become strangers. It is a terrible and terrifying time and without your hand I don’t think we can come back from this precipice.

Dear God, it must be hard for you to turn away from the pain you hear in our lifted voices. It must be challenging to sort out what is real and what is simply the vainglorious chatter of those who use your name for their own purpose. I think you are more discerning and determined if we are so ignorant after all this time to follow the false prophets and preachers, we deserve what we get.  I don’t really blame you for settling back and letting us sort out this mess for ourselves; I think I would do the same. I wish there wasn’t such a 681Oakbluffpersonal price for me to pay; I wish I wasn’t on the brink of losing it all. I wish I could find the lesson in all of this for me personally; maybe I will eventually.

Dear God, I try to always keep my personal desires, needs and wants out of my prayers. Every single morning I try to remember those who are in greater need and lift them up. I want to remind you of those I care for who need your attention and give you their names so if you have a blink of an eye, they will be touched. This isn’t because I am unselfish, I am human God, and you and I know this well. I admit I am not always successful; throughout the day, I entreat you to please, let me find new work, let me save my home, and help me save myself. It seems these have gone unheard, you have another plan and I simply don’t see it yet. So as the new year approaches, I am preparing to sell my house and let those things that make it home go. God, you have given me great gifts over my lifetime; thank you.

Dear God, one more thing. Thank you for showing the scientists and the medical community the way toward the vaccine. It seems soon we will begin to slow this plague and relieve some of this nation’s terrible pain.

Level the Field

Amoral: a) having or showing no concern about whether behavior is morally right or wrong: b) being outside or beyond the moral order or a particular code of morals

Immoral: conflicting with generally or traditionally held moral principles

soapboxpileAre the members of the GOP both of the above? It is a fair question in light of their actions and active participation in the attempted coup by Donald J. Trump, outgoing President of the United States and his team of legal geniuses. What is there to say about those who took the following Oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

It is such a simple thing; just pick the very first line thing in the Oath; support and defend the Constitution. Not a person, not a party but the Constitution of the United States. The interesting thing about this is that the incoming President and Vice President swear similar oaths of office to protect and defend the United States’ Constitution.

So what we have is a conundrum.

Is the GOP’s entire elected membership, with very few exceptions nationwide, seditious, oath-breaking, villains?  Or are they simply brainwashed cult members ready to die on Trump’s bonfire of vanity?

That is the question we have to ask ourselves as we watch the nation tear itself apart on falsehood and conspiracy theories so farfetched even those telling the stories cannot maintain their equilibrium. There is a pervasive sickness infecting not just those at the bottom but also those at the top. Elected officials willing to turn a blind eye to the erosion of traditional norms, ready to break the rules bound by centuries of standards simply to appease a single man, his temper and his apparent hold on the perceived base of voters easily swayed. I have watched Congress members say without blinking an eye what has been done in the past is not relevant today; time and again, norms are no longer valid.

“The courts will decide disputes; that’s the way we do it in this country. mcconnell_2Having close disputed elections is not unusual.” Mitch McConnell

Senator McConnell is not wrong; close votes are not unusual where he goes off the rails is the pandering nonsense that these require courts to decide. What is staggering is we suddenly must wait for states to certify elections before the GOP leadership will acknowledge Joe Biden as the President-Elect.  It should be noted, Donald J. Trump had already declared himself the winner on November 3. Laying the groundwork for what was to come, weeks of nonsensical legal filings in various states that went nowhere fast. Weeks of news conferences from washed-up has-been sycophants spewing unsupported claims of voter fraud, with guarantees their master would be king come January.

What have we learned from all of this? What can we take forward into the future?

One thing we should learn is what comes around goes around, always. If you don’t like the polarization of Washington, D.C and the partisanship of politics today, blame Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats of 2013. The Nuclear Option eliminated the Senate filibuster for all nominations to Article III Federal Judiciary except for the Supreme Court and the President’s picks for his Cabinet. This led the way for Mitch McConnel to pack the federal judiciary with 300 unqualified lifetime appointments and three Supreme Court Justices. Additionally, it allowed the Trump administration to select uniquely unqualified members for his Cabinet, including his own children, without a single protest in the Senate. Finally, as we look at Joe Biden taking office next year and the Cabinet he is putting together, the GOP Senate members are already raising their hands and saying that they will not be approved despite their qualifications.

What else should we learn? What we have relied upon as traditional norms must become hard and fast rules with consequences. That we must demand more of those who sit in the oval office or walk the halls of Congress as elected leaders. We must look closely at our minimum standards; we must raise the bar and codify some of what we have considered ‘norms’ into Trump-visits-St-Johns-Churchbasic job requirements. Our future must never see another person so utterly unprepared and ill-equipped as Donald J. Trump sworn into the Presidency. We can never again allow the last four years to be repeated; honestly, we can never again allow the previous twelve years to be repeated.  Make no mistake, the polarization and partisanship began when Mitch McConnell uttered this famous phrase, signally the top GOP priority under the Obama administration:

“The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” October 23, 2010

How do we address these issues? What can we do to turn the tide for a future that looks more like the one intended by the original Constitution and in the Federalist Papers?  Despite the entire Biden presidency is a lame-duck administration, there is much that can be done. Even with a pandemic looming and an economy failing, both at home and globally, some steps can be taken that I believe could gain bipartisan support. Despite all the evidence, I remain hopeful that Republicans remain in Congress who want a better tomorrow and save America. I think what comes next is in the hands of the people, not the government. What we demand will become the priorities in Congress.

  1. Term Limits on Congress, maximum of 3 terms for both House and Senate.
  2. Change in Lifetime appointments to a maximum of 25-year for all Federal Bench. All appointments must pass a minimum of Qualified by the ABA to be considered.
  3. Change in use of Executive Orders. All Executive Orders should be subject to review by Congress.
  4. New laws enshrining ‘norms’ (e.g., the release of 10 years of taxes, health records including a phycological test, requirement to quit all business interest before taking office, strengthening emoluments clause, strengthening nepotism clauses). These new rules must include the President, Vice President and all members of Congress. These must not be a wish list but instead requirements for the office.
  5. Reversal of Citizen United. Congress to pass legislation to include all campaigns limited in fund raising activities. A gentle reminder, money is the root of most evil and there should be limits.
  6. Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine with teeth. Let’s start holding the media, including social media, accountable.

biden_HarrisThat is it for me as a starting position. I know there is plenty to keep them busy in the first 100 days. There is more to keep them busy bickering and backbiting going forward after that. Yet, we the people have the power and we the people must demand a better nation. If we want the big stuff to get done, we must demand that they start changing the rules in our favor.

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