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Home country: USA
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Member since: Mon Apr 28, 2014, 07:28 PM
Number of posts: 11,015

About Me

Counselor, economist and public servant.

Journal Archives

Louisiana Supreme Court upholds Black man's life sentence for stealing hedge clippers more than 20 y

Source: CNN

A Black Louisiana man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stealing hedge clippers, after the Louisiana Supreme Court denied his request to have his sentence overturned last week.

Fair Wayne Bryant, 62, was convicted in 1997 on one count of attempted simple burglary. In his appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Louisiana in 2018, his attorney, Peggy Sullivan, wrote that Bryant "contends that his life sentence is unconstitutionally harsh and excessive." Last week, though, the state Supreme Court disagreed -- with five justices choosing to uphold the life sentence.

The lone dissenter in the decision was Supreme Court Chief Justice Bernette Johnson, who wrote that "the sentence imposed is excessive and disproportionate to the offense the defendant committed." Johnson is the only female and Black person on the court. The rest of the justices are White men.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/06/us/louisiana-supreme-court-trnd/index.html

So there you have it. Johnson pointed out the people of LA have already spent $500K housing Bryant, and that if he lives 20 more years it would double. So, the people of Louisiana will have spent a million dollars on a guy that stole a pair of hedgeclippers.

Racism sure is costly.

I'd say the Butthole of America award now passes to Louisiana.

What Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming says about our republic

This is a bit different that the posts I usually make. But this article and its surrounding history made me sad inside.

It made me sad because I believe this republic could be very noble - a light on the hill providing world leadership in things like mitigating climate change, human rights, social justice, hunger, education. But here, in the treatment of the United States towards the Arapaho tribe, which once lived in Colorado and was forced onto the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in 1868, we get painful insight into who we really are.

It is hard as someone who believes as I do to come to direct grips with the fact - and it is a fact - that this republic was built on conquest, genocide and slavery.

It was. And that knowledge is painful to bear. We need to figure out a way to redress the grievances, come to terms with the past, talk about it, and create policies that allow for the playing field to be leveled so all people have a real chance to make a good life. Because in truth, most people don't care much for ideology - they just want to have enough. Enough food, shelter, clothing, safety, opportunity, belonging - all that Maslow stuff. But it is true. People need those things. All of us do.

So here's a link to an article in, of all places, Business Insider, about the Wind River Reservation. The prose is so-so, but the pictures - well, you'll see.


It's funny, because coming out with stuff like this causes right wingers to say we 'hate America.' So, I'd like to address that. I don't hate America, because of what this republic could be. But I hate what we have done, and the horrors of our past. It makes me hurt inside.

Equally funny - sometimes prose that I think is my very best and most pithy doesn't get one single response on here. Here I didn't even try. I'm speaking from the heart. You can't look at these photos and think about the history of Native Americans without feeling just sick.

Sen. Tom Cotton Calls Slavery Nation's 'Necessary Evil' In Shocking Interview

Source: Huffington Post

The senator told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that slavery was the evil ”upon which the union was built.”

He made the stunning comment while discussing how slavery should be taught in schools.

“We have to study the history of slavery and its role and impact on the development of our country because otherwise we can’t understand our country,” Cotton said. “As the Founding Fathers said, it was the necessary evil upon which the union was built.”

Instead of portraying America as “an irredeemably corrupt, rotten and racist country,” the nation should be viewed “as an imperfect and flawed land, but the greatest and noblest country in the history of mankind,” he added.

Read more: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/tom-cotton-interview-slavery-necessary-evil_n_5f1e4101c5b69fd4730e31ad

Well, there you have it. This is why we need the massive civil rights movement that has developed.

Put your US Representative and your two US Senators on speed dial.

I just got done calling mine, and I'm calling them every single day until Trump ceases and desists on these 'snatch squads' - the federal agents in full military gear with unmarked cars that are kidnapping protesters.

Trump doesn't get to do that. It is a violation of Amendments 1, 4 and 5 of the Bill of Rights, and I'm calling my US Congressman (he is male), and my two US Senators every day to protest that. They need to hear about this AND they need to take action against Trump for doing this because our founders created coequal branches of government to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen.

Secondly, I'm urging them not to support any Social Security payroll tax cut as part of the upcoming stimulus. I'm 61 and have paid full boat into Social Security for over 40 years now, and I'm going to depend on that income when I retire. Cutting revenue to the Social Security Trust Fund is bad fiscal policy. In fact it is both mean and stupid.

Please join me and boost the number of regular calls to these people. I'll tell you, we must be getting to them, because Cory Gardner, one of my US Senators hasn't answered his phone in ANY of his offices for weeks. Keep it going. If they have the guts to answer, be polite, be firm and state your case. If they are too cowardly to answer, do like I do and start off with, "Who do you think you're trying to fool...you're not with other constituents. No. You haven't answered your office phone in weeks and it makes me sick. I'm calling for two reasons..."

Anyway, for what it is worth, please join me in calling these people daily. They need to hear it, and I'm sick of a Congress that does not pay attention to the opinions of the American public. It's past time to end that.

Last thing: VOTE in November. Vote Biden, and vote straight blue. Let's send the Republicans the way of the Whigs.

This is pretty sick. These people can't be representative of the people in Palm Beach. They just

can't. Can they?


Just a couple of quick thoughts.

When November comes and goes, and we hopefully have a bunch of newly elected people who actually want to run the country instead of tearing it apart like Trump has done, we're all going to have to pull together.

The soul of this country is built on vigorous debate and compromise to move forward. But the Republican party decided back in Reagan's day that winning was more important than governing, and we have to get rid of that cancer.

A conservative party is necessary, as is a liberal one, because most progress happens within the middle two-thirds of the Bell curve. Our system cannot work without compromise. When one party decides never to compromise, as the GOP has, it rips at the very fabric that holds the republic together. If there's imbalance, we can go the wrong direction very quickly, and our founders set it up to require vigorous debate and compromise to move forward. I suspect that is part of what Biden means when he speaks of the soul of this republic.

Remember Grover Norquist saying we need to starve the federal government until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub, and that ideally the Republicans could get America to elect a stupid president that will merely sign laws that come to him from a Republican Congress? That is what we have now, at least in the Senate. These are mean-spirited, hard-hearted, greedy people who are intent on stealing as much from the treasury as they can to give to the billionaires and corporations that have bought them.

Thank God the House is Democratic Party controlled, or we'd really be screwed. Nonetheless, we are on our knees with 95,000 Americans dead and the solid economy Trump inherited from the Democrats who laid the foundations of recovery in 2009 in utter shambles, the laughingstock of the world. Do you know I read an editorial in the Irish times that expresses pity for us?

I supported Warren in the primary and Biden was my last choice, but you know what? When we elect Biden, he's actually going to go to DC with the intent to do his best to govern this nation, and that's exactly what we need. Some say he may pick Klobuchar to carry independent votes in the mid-west, and if he does that, fine. Klobuchar wasn't my first choice either but like Biden, she does care about this country and its people, and will go to DC with the intent to do her best to govern the country as well.

I'm deeply concerned about this republic. Just saw a Harris poll on the Hill that gives Trump a 51% approval rate for how he's handling the pandemic. Fifty-one percent? Really? 538 has him at 43% at this writing, which to my mind is unbelievably high. He's a simpering imbecile.

Well...now I'm going outside, in the sun, to help my daughter build a sandbox for my grandkids. I'm going to forget about the news for the next few hours and dip my feet into the blessed, pure, cool waters of sanity. Regards to all of you.

More than 1,200 pastors say they'll defy California's state order and resume in-person services

Source: CNN

President Donald Trump, speaking more broadly on Thursday, said one of the things he wants to do to "normalize" life in the US is "get the churches open."

"The churches are not being treated with respect by a lot of the Democrat governors," Trump said. "I want to get our churches open, and we're going to take a very strong position on that soon."

It also comes one day after the Department of Justice sent Newsom a letter warning him that the state's plan to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic discriminated against churches.

In a letter to Newsom, the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division wrote that the reopening plan, which allows for a return to restaurants and shopping malls ahead of religious services, contained "pronounced unequal treatment of faith communities" that could run afoul of the First Amendment.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/21/us/california-church-pastors-coronavirus-trnd/index.html

So, there you have it: Donald Trump doing what he does best, stirring up the Crazy Christian Evangelicals to spread Christ-COVID to a community near you!

I have been exploring empathy.

This after having read an OP about a Trump supporter who has awakened to how bad Trump has been, and how the author of the OP simply said, "Well, that's what you get for voting in a reality TV show host." While this particular Trumpie signaled agreement, my thoughts turned to empathy.

Did you know there are three kinds: cognitive, emotional and compassionate?

Having empathy is necessary to be successful as a human, and I don't mean material success. Most here are not motivated by that anyway. No, I'm talking about success in relationships, in friendships, in surrounding oneself with belonging and achieving what self-actualization is possible.

If you've ever read Covey's 7 Habits, you know he says that we should 'seek first to understand.' This is cognitive empathy - "I can understand why you are thinking that way."

But to go deeper into the emotional part, we must ask ourselves why someone feels the way they do, and why those feelings led them to - in this case - vote for Trump in spite of all the red flags. Because God knows there were plenty of red flags.

And to go even deeper, even after all that has happened and all the discussions we've had on here about the negative aspects of Trump supporters, if we are to exercise compassionate empathy, we must work up enough compassionate empathy to try and feel what they felt that led them to the emotions that caused them to believe that caused them to vote the way they did.

Kind of like a Gordian knot. The first line of a famous prayer is, "Please, by the great power of thy right hand, untangle our knotted fate."

Oh, we can go back and blame Lewis Powell for his 1971 manifesto, Reagan for letting the Fairness Doctrine die, Fox 'news' and the evil phenomenon that is Rush.

Sure. But how do we fight back? We've tried laughing at them. Making fun of them. Hating them. Castigating them. Barraging them with facts. None of that has worked.

So the fundamental question going forward is after we smash them at the ballot box, which is non-negotiable, what should we do then? Obviously we must once again clean up the mess, but then how can we reach out to these people and keep it from happening again? Oh, sure some reforms - overturn Citizens United and all that.

But I'm talking about the millions who did vote for Trump. Why did they reject Clinton and sanity, and throw the dice for change? What is it they want so deeply to change? Some are racist and they want change back to a white America, but that isn't going to happen. To use a cliche, America is 'browning' in terms of how its people look. How can we help them see this isn't a bad thing?

And there are poor among us. People working two and three jobs, living in their cars, taking the bus to get groceries, living in miserable grinding poverty. How can we help them see that it isn't the poor who are the enemy, but that it is poverty itself that is the enemy?

There are sick among us. People who cannot afford the medical or even dental treatment they need, not to mention mental health. How can we help them see that it is not the sick who are the enemy, but how our healthcare system keeps some people from being able to pay for care?

There are billionaires among us who exercise undue influence in our politics. They have systematically corrupted DC so that ever more wealth is routed into fewer hands until over $25 trillion has been salted away in overseas tax havens, doing nothing. Helping nobody. I have a dear friend fond of saying that we have plenty of money to ensure everyone has a good quality of life, but it is in too few hands. How can we help them see that we need to get away from a corporate operations model that puts profit above people? Get away from the concept of shareholder primacy and expand fiduciary responsibility of corporate officers to include more stakeholders - workers, consumers, community and environment. How can we help this happen? Help people see how badly it needs to happen?

Does light in the end defeat darkness? Does good in the end overcome evil? Or must we fold in what seems evil and change it so it is less damaging, better for all of us?

These, it seems to me, are the fundamental questions we must ask moving forward. The Democrats are being vindicated in a big way, it seems, at the expense of many lives. Too many. How will we guard ourselves against being arrogant?

(Oh, and don't get me wrong - the foul maggots who have perpetrated these crimes against humanity must be held to account. That has by NO means changed).

But, again, how can we do even that in a way that reflects the empathy we pride ourselves in having?

This was posted yesterday on Daily Kos and it is well worth watching

Brianna Keiler of CNN nail Trump's crony Navarro, who is supposedly in charge of the supply chain.


She just does a great job shutting this lying jerk down.

Well done Brianna!

Something we must not forget.

Lately something has been weighing on my mind.

Oh the corona virus is the elephant in the room, and we're hearing all about the stock market crash and possible stimulus packages. And I'm scared. I know a lot of you are, too, because many of us are a bit older with underlying health conditions, and we hear there won't be enough ventilators and so on. Grocery stores are empty because of stupid hoarders. People are driving like maniacs and manifesting hostility through panic.

But that isn't what's on my mind.

We are isolated at home, and two of our precious grandchildren are with us. Little J. is two years old. He isn't quite potty trained yet, but he's a great, affectionate little boy. And B is four. She is the light of my life, for sure. She talks up a storm, loves bubble baths, knows all her numbers, colors, letters, a few words. She also knows her full name and address and Mom's phone number.

So, this morning I was looking at my grandkids and this huge feeling of love washed over me, and then my mind was drawn to those little boys and little girls who were separated from their families by the brutal policies of this administration and thrown in filthy cages where their care falls, not to their parents, but to older children. It is cold in those places.

I weep as I imagine a little girl who could be B, or a little boy who could be J, crying in loneliness and despair, watching as people begin to get sick, wondering where their parents are and if they will ever be able to play in the sun again.

The horror of what Trump and Miller and the rest of the white supremacist xenophobes have done to these people, these children makes me literally shake with anger.

So I promise you this: If I am still alive when this is over, I will be a vocal advocate for freeing these children, finding their families and paying them reparations for the horror they have endured, AND I will be relentless about seeing justice done for the perpetrators of these despicable crimes.
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