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Posts Tagged ‘REPUBLICANS’

THE RIGHT’S NEXT TARGET: THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on June 29, 2022 at 12:12 am

“If anyone reproaches me and asks why I did not  resort  to the  regular courts  of justice, then all  I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the Supreme Judge of the German people!”

That was how Chancellor—not yet Fuhrer-–Adolf Hitler justified his June 30, 1934 purge of his private army, the brown-shirted S.A. It has gone down in history as “The Night of the Long Knives.”

Adolf Hitler

It took five “Supreme Judges” of the American people to purge the right to abortion for millions of American women—including victims of rape and incest.

Hitler’s “blood purge” carried Germany yet another step closer to Nazi dictatorship. Similarly, the Supreme Court has carried the United States yet another step closer to a Republican dictatorship.

In the past, the Supreme Court has made decisions that have blackened its reputation in the eyes of historians.

One of these occurred in 1857, in what has become known as the “Dred Scott decision.” The Court decided 7–2 that neither Scott nor any other person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States.

The case centered on slaves Dred and Harriet Scott and their children, Eliza and Lizzie. The Scotts claimed that they should be granted their freedom because Dred had lived in Illinois and the Wisconsin Territory for four years. Slavery was illegal in those jurisdictions, and their laws said that slaveholders gave up their rights to slaves if they stayed for an extended period.

Dred Scott photograph (circa 1857).jpg

Dred Scott

Chief Justice Roger B. Taney ruled that freeing Scott and his family would “improperly deprive Scott’s owner of his legal property.” 

As despicable as the Dred Scott decision was, it nevertheless lay grounded in the existing laws of that time. The Court did not reverse an earlier ruling. Millions who were already enslaved were kept enslaved. But it did not extend slavery throughout the country.

The Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade set a huge and dangerous legal precedent.

On January 22, 1973, the Court had struck down virtually every anti-abortion law in the country. On June 24, 2022, it overturned that decision.

It went, in effect, from having expanded freedom of choice to suddenly abolishing itAnd the Justices did so in the single most intimate aspect of a woman’s life.  

Once people have tasted a benefit, they expect it to continue. When President Barack Obama fought to secure passage of the Affordable Care Amendment (ACA) Republicans repeatedly and savagely tried to prevent its becoming law.

And once it became law, Republicans continued to try to overturn it. They knew that if millions of poor and middle-class Americans finally won the right to obtain medical care, they would support it as wholeheartedly as they did Medicare, Social Security and the Civil Rights Act.

For 49 years, Republicans made ending the right to abortion their key issue for gaining and holding elective office. It won them cheers, votes and monies from the Religious Right and powerful Right-wing forces such as Fox News.

Now, suddenly, they have attained their objective. Millions of women will no longer be able to obtain an abortion in cases of rape or incest—let alone because of a failed condom or birth control pill. 

Nor is that the only right the Justices intend to revoke.  

In his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas said that the Roe decision should prompt the Court to reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents. And he named the three landmark decisions that established those rights.

Clarence Thomas official SCOTUS portrait.jpg

Clarence Thomas

According to Kenji Yoshino, Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University School of Law: 

“The Ninth Amendment says that there are unenumerated [implied] rights in the Constitution. And those include things that we take for granted every day, like the right to vote, the right to marry, the right to travel.

“These are all rights that are nowhere enumerated explicitly in the constitution but that we nonetheless take for granted as Americans.

“One of the most shocking things about [the Court’s] opinion was that these unenumerated rights will only be respected if they are deeply rooted in this nation’s history and traditions. And so it essentially said that if the framers of the 14th Amendment in 1868 didn’t recognize the right and question that the right didn’t have constitutional existence.

“And so that’s what leads Justice Thomas and that concurrence, to see an opening to say, ‘Well, maybe we’ll get rid of not just the right to abortion, but also the right to same-sex marriage, the right to sexual intimacy and the privacy of your home, and even the right to contraception.'” 

Thomas, says Yoshino, is inviting lower courts to reach that conclusion. He is also inviting Right-wing litigants to bring cases which can eventually reach the Supreme Court.

Thomas is in effect saying that once this happens, the right to same-sex marriage, contraception and privacy can be struck down by the Court—just as it has struck down the right to abortion.

Mark Antony, speaking in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” had it right: “The evil that men do lives after them.”

SURVIVING “FACEBOOK JAIL”: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, Business, Entertainment, History, Politics, Social commentary on June 16, 2022 at 12:10 am

Facebook likes to promote itself as a place for “more than three billion people around the world to share ideas, offer support and make a difference.”

But there are limits to the ideas that can be shared on Facebook. And while Facebook likes to boast about its “Community Standards,” these are enforced in a totally arbitrary way.

There is simply no predicting what will trigger Facebook’s ire and land a post—and its poster—in “Facebook Jail.” 

Facebook doesn’t restrict itself to banning posts that are libelous and/or harassing. Its definition of “Hate speech” is so all-encompassing it can be stretched to cover anything—including historically valid statements. 

Our Favourite Banned Facebook Memes - The Inappropriate Gift Co

In Part One I laid out the reason for my sending a letter of protest to Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s longtime Chief Operating Officer.

In this part, I will offer specific steps Facebook can take to keep faith with its stated mission to be a place where people can “share ideas.” 

Noting that I had been banned from Facebook for seven days for posting “Americans are historical illiterates,” I cited the noted historian, David McCullough, and an article from the Smithsonian Institute to support my statement. 

At the 2015 National Book Festival

David McCullough 

fourandsixty, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

I then quoted my offending paragraph in full:

“Tyrants cannot be appeased by giving into their demands–it just convinces them that they can demand even more from their victims. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried that approach at Munich in September, 1938, giving Adolf Hitler a big chunk of Czechoslovakia. The reason: To prevent a war with Nazi Germany. Less than a year later, war broke out anyway.” 

This referred to yet another act of cowardice by Democrats in refusing to stand up to the aggression of the Republican Right.

There are serious historical parallels between the closing days of the German Weimar Republic and the rise of Adolf Hitler—and what is happening today in the United States.

Example: In the Weimar Republic, all that stood between Hitler and total power was a frail old man—President Paul von Hindenburg. In the United States, all that stands between Donald Trump and absolute power is a frail old man: President Joe Biden.

Revelan elogios de expresidente Donald Trump a Hitler | Cuba Si

Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump

Too many Americans remain ignorant of their own history—not to mention that of other countries.

That was the point of my post. But on Facebook, it’s “Hate speech” to point out the ignorance of criminally ignorant people.

Then came my third and last point.

Third: Facebook claimed: “You can disagree with the decision if you think we got it wrong.” That implied that I would be given the opportunity to state why I believed the decision was wrong and have that objection carefully reviewed. 

But, immediately afterward, Facebook stated: “We usually offer the chance to request a review and follow up if we got decisions wrong.

“We have fewer reviewers available right now because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We’re trying hard to prioritize reviewing content with the most potential for harm. This means we may not be able to follow up with you, though your feedback helps us do better in the future.” 

Using COVID as an excuse to avoid responsible behavior is despicable. If Facebook is  going to ban people for supposedly violating its “Community Standards,” it has a moral obligation—if not a legal one—-to give them a chance to share their side of the story.

That is how a court in a democracy behaves. Making a decision based on whim and secrecy, with no appeal possible, is the behavior of a star chamber.

Facebook jail Memes

I then noted two ways by which Facebook could avoid such disgraceful episodes in the future:

  1. Providing its users with an 800 number whereby they can interact directly with the Censorship Committee and share their reasons for posting the comment(s) they did;
  2. Providing its users with at least an Instant Messaging capability, so they can do so.

My letter to Sheryl Sandberg closed as follows: 

Im aware that Facebook is a private company and thus can do whatever it likes. But it is also—supposedly—a market for the airing of competing ideas. And to behave in the despicable manner I have described is as much a disservice to the reputation Facebook wishes to have as to those who are negatively affected by its censorship decisions. 

Frankly, I don’t expect to get an answer from Sandberg, any more than I expected one from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. 

Still, there is this:

On August 23, 1968, Russian poet Yevgeney Yevtushenko sent a telegram to Communist Party Boss Leonid Brezhnev and Premier Aleksei Kosygin, protesting their invasion of Czechoslovakia. 

No doubt, Yevtushenko didn’t expect his protest to change Soviet policy—just as I don’t expect any major changes—for the good—from Facebook.

These will come about only if:

  1. Enough Facebook users get so fed up with arbitrary bullying that they seek another social media format to speak their minds; and/or
  2. Enough members of Congress demand major changes in the way Facebook regularly makes a mockery of the First Amendment. 

Neither of these is likely to happen anytime soon.

SURVIVING “FACEBOOK JAIL”: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, Business, Entertainment, History, Politics, Social commentary on June 15, 2022 at 12:10 am

Facebook likes to promote itself as a place for “more than three billion people around the world to share ideas, offer support and make a difference.”

But there are limits to the ideas that can be shared on Facebook. And while Facebook likes to boast about its “Community Standards,” these are enforced in a totally arbitrary way.

There is simply no predicting what will trigger Facebook’s ire and land a post—and its poster—in “Facebook Jail.” 

50+ Funny Facebook Jail Memes to Avoid Being Blocked / Get Out of It

It’s true that standards against libel and harassment are absolutely essential.

Twitter has earned an unsavory reputation for refusing to take action against those guilty of one or both. As a result, the Disney company has refused to partner with this company.

But Facebook doesn’t restrict itself to banning posts that are libelous and/or harassing. Its definition of “Hate speech” is so all-encompassing it can be stretched to cover anything. 

For example: On June 3, I received the following message from Facebook: “You can’t post or comment for 7 days. This is because you previously posted something that didn’t follow our Community Standards.

“This comment goes against our standards on hate speech and inferiority, so only you and the admins of Private Liberal Group can see it.

“If your content goes against our Community Standards again, your account may be restricted or disabled.” 

Meta Platforms Headquarters Menlo Park California.jpg

Facebook / Meta headquarters in Menlo Park, California 

LPS.1, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

And just what was my comment that qualified as “hate speech”?

Facebook refused to publish the comment or news story to which I responded. So I can only assume that I was referring to yet another act of cowardice by Democrats in standing up to the Fascistic Right:

“Americans are historical illiterates, and this is just another example proving it. Tyrants cannot be appeased by giving into their demands–it just convinces them that they can demand even more from their victims. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried that approach at Munich in September, 1938, giving Adolf Hitler a big chunk of Czechoslovakia. The reason: To prevent a war with Nazi Germany. Less than a year later, war broke out anyway.”

Apparently, for Facebook, “Americans are historical illiterates” qualifies as “hate speech.”  

When Donald Trump boasted, during his 2016 campaign for President, “I love the poorly educated!” he was not alone. The leadership of Facebook apparently feels the same way. 

Making a decision based on whim and secrecy, with no appeal possible—as Facebook routinely does—is the behavior of a star chamber.

In the past, I had sent letters to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, protesting Facebook’s star chamber approach to justice. Zuckerberg’s life features two accomplishments that dwarf all others:

  1. He’s worth $71.5 billion, courtesy of Facebook’s revenues; and
  2. In multiple appearances before Congress, he’s managed to unite Right-wing Republicans and Liberal Democrats—in their rage at his perceived arrogance and stonewalling.

I didn’t expect Zuckerberg to show the courtesy of a fair-minded CEO by replying to my letters—and I wasn’t disappointed.

Mark Zuckerberg F8 2019 Keynote (32830578717) (cropped).jpg

Mark Zuckerberg

Anthony Quintano from Westminster, United States, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

So, this time, on June 3, I decided to write someone else: Sheryl Sandberg, longtime Chief Operating Officer for Facebook. (She will be stepping down from that position in the fall of 2022, She will, however, remain a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Early on in my letter I quickly laid out my case:  Apparently what aroused the ire of Facebook’s Censorship Committee was my statement that “Americans are historical illiterates,” and this was interpreted as “hate speech and inferiority.” Taken to its logical conclusion, only comments celebrating the ignorance of ignorant people will be considered acceptable on Facebook.

Facebook Jail Memes - Geeks + Gamers

Then I offered three reasons why I strongly objected to the decision to ban my post—and me—from Facebook:

First: What I said about Americans’ historical illiteracy was entirely accurate. No less an authority than the acclaimed historian David McCullough has said: “I think we are raising a generation of young Americans who are, to a very large degree, historically illiterate.” 

Nor is he alone. A May 5, 2015 article by the Smithsonian Institute asks: “How Much U.S. History Do Americans Actually Know?” And it answers the question: “Less Than You Think.”

Comedians have long gained laughs at Americans’ historical illiteracy. When Jay Leno hosted The Tonight Show, he often did “Jaywalking Tours” where he would ask people about seemingly well-known historical events. It was common to see people say the Civil War happened in the 1940s (instead of 1861-1865) or to believe that the Texans won at the battle of the Alamo. 

Second:  I quoted the rest of my paragraph: “Tyrants cannot be appeased by giving into their demands–it just convinces them that they can demand even more from their victims. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain tried that approach at Munich in September, 1938, giving Adolf Hitler a big chunk of Czechoslovakia. The reason: To prevent a war with Nazi Germany. Less than a year later, war broke out anyway.”

I challenge you—and anyone else who reads this letter—to refute one line of that paragraph.

SAN FRANCISCO: WHERE PROSECUTORS SEE CRIMINALS AS VICTIMS: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on June 14, 2022 at 12:10 am

On June 7, San Francisco residents voted—60% to 40%—to oust District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

Since “liberal” has become a taboo word even among liberals, Boudin was praised by his supporters—and saw himself—as a “progressive prosecutor.”

This meant he favored—and implemented:

  • Abolishing cash bail;
  • Refusing to prosecute minors as adults—regardless of their crime; 
  • Lowering the jail population during the COVID crisis;
  • Refusing to seek tougher sentences under California’s anti-gang (“three strikes”) law.

Boudin, 41, had previously served as a deputy public defender for the city’s Public Defender office. As such, he was expected to provide his clients with a vigorous defense. His mistake was taking that same mentality into the office of District Attorney. 

Chesa Boudin, San Francisco Elections candidate video (October 2019) (cropped).png

Chesa Boudin

Shoplifters ran rampant in the city, victimizing not only high-end stores but even pharmacies. As a result, Walgreens has closed at least 10 stores since the beginning of 2019. Five closed in November 2021. Six CVS stores have closed for the same reason.

Owing to President Donald Trump’s attacks on China as the incubator of COVID-19, assaults on Asian-Americans steadily rose—in a city where they make up 34.40% of the population. 

Overall crime in San Francisco is up nearly 8% in 2022, with a 20% surge in larcenies, as well as spikes in homicides, rapes and assaults.

Boudin and his supporters blamed conservative and business groups for the recall effort. And, in fact, they had raised more than $7 million to secure his ouster. 

But the recall clearly tapped into existing anger about soaring levels of quality-of-life crimes in the Bay Area—car break-ins, burglaries and shoplifting.

San Francisco’s notorious tolerance for “the homeless”—most of whom consist of drug addicts, alcoholics, mentally ill and outright bums—also played a major role. Tax-paying citizens have grown fed up with sidewalks littered with oversize tents, empty wine bottles and beer cans, human feces and urine, used hypodermic syringes—and the Untermenschen responsible for them.

Drunk guy passed out on the sidewalk - YouTube

Boudin had been elected District Attorney on November 5, 2019. 

In hindsight, Boudin’s priorities as District Attorney—and the reasons for his recall—seem foretold.

His parents, David Gilbert and Kathy Boudin, were members of the radical Weather Underground. In 1981, when Boudin was 14 months old, both served as getaway drivers in a Brink’s robbery. And both were convicted of the murder of two police officers and a security guard.

Kathy Boudin was sentenced to 20 years to life; David Gilbert drew 75 years. Kathy Boudin was paroled in 2003, dying of cancer in May. Gilbert was paroled in October, 2003.

As a result, the raising of Chesa fell to two other members of the Weather Underground: Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. So discovering why Boudin considers criminals as oppressed victims is relatively easy.

For Michael Shellenberger, author of San Fransicko: Why Progressives Ruin Cities, none of this has come as a surprise.

Praise for San Fransicko — Environmental Progress

From the inside cover flap: 

“Michael Shellenberger has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years. During that time, he advocated for the decriminalization of drugs, affordable housing and alternatives to jail and prison. 

“But as homeless encampments spread and overdose deaths skyrocketed, Shellenberger decided to take a closer look at the problem. 

“What he discovered shocked him. The problems had grown worse, not in spite of but because of progressive policies. San Francisco and other West Coast cities—Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland—had gone beyond merely tolerating homelessness, drug dealing and crime to actively enabling them….

“The real problem is an ideology that designates some people, by identity or experience, as victims entitled to destructive behaviors. The result is an undermining of the values that make cities, and civilization itself, possible.”

Anyone who doubts Shellenberger’s conclusions need only examine the city’s COVID-19 Alternative Housing Program. 

It’s the creation of San Francisco Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors, and run by the city’s Department of Public Health (DPH),

It works in two stages:

Stage 1: Move the “homeless” into the city’s hotels—at city expense.

Stage 2: Provide them with not only free food and shelter but free alcohol, cannabis and cigarettes

According to a May 11, 2020 story in City Journal.org:

“The program’s primary purpose is to keep homeless people, the majority of whom are addicts, out of harm’s way during the pandemic. By getting their substance of choice delivered, the thinking goes, the guests may be more apt to remain in their government-funded rooms….

The city doesn’t want homeless people who should be staying in their rooms roaming the neighborhood in search of the substances, potentially infecting others.”

Referring to these people as “guests,” DPH said in a statement that they are screened for substance addictions and asked if they’d like to stop or have support to reduce their use.

If they say they want to remain alcoholics and/or drug addicts, they’re provided with their substance of choice. 

In 2020, and lasting until at least 2022, San Francisco lost its longstanding convention, Oracle’s OpenWorld, to Las Vegas. A chief reason cited: “Poor street conditions.”

And “a major medical association” will move its convention out of San Francisco after 2023

Tourism is San Francisco’s largest industry, generating $8.4 billion annually. When tourism revenues dry up, so will the city.

SAN FRANCISCO: WHERE PROSECUTORS SEE CRIMINALS AS VICTIMS: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on June 13, 2022 at 12:11 am

On August 11, 2020, former Vice President Joe Biden—having become the Democratic nominee for President—chose California United States Senator Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential running mate.

Harris had served as District Attorney of San Francisco (2004 – 2011) and as California Attorney General (2011 – 2017). Then, in 2016, she won election to the United States Senate.

In 2019, she ran for the Presidency of the United States. But after 11 months of failing to win major support among voters, she withdrew from the race on December 3.

To tout her candidacy, she had published her memoirs: The Truths We HoldIn these, she described herself as a “progressive prosecutor.”  But there was one major truth she didn’t tout.

Visions of Justice Exhibition at San Francisco District Attorney's ...

Today, with millions of illegal aliens from Central and Latin America flooding into the United States, the spotlight has shifted from the incarceration of blacks to that of Hispanics.

Illegal immigration—and what to do about it—is now one of the hottest political issues in the country. 

For liberals of the Democratic party, “open borders” appears to be the solution to illegal immigration. Yet the vast majority of Americans support legal immigration—while rejecting illegal immigration.

And Kamala Harris’ record as San Francisco District Attorney violated those desires with a vengeance.   

Secretly, she created a program, called Back on Track, to keep convicted illegal alien felons in the country—and to train them for jobs they could not legally hold. This was a flagrant violation of Federal immigration law.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris

Completion led to the expunging of a felony conviction, making it highly popular among convicted criminals.

One such alumnus was Alexander Izaguirre, an illegal alien who had been arrested twice within eight months—for purse-snatching and selling cocaine.

In July, 2008, four months after pleading guilty to selling cocaine, Izaguirre assaulted Amanda Kiefer, a legal San Francisco resident.

Snatching her purse, he jumped into an SUV, then tried to run Kiefer down. Terrified, she leaped onto the hood and saw Izaguirre and a driver laughing.

The driver slammed on the brakes, sending Kiefer flying onto the pavement and fracturing her skull.

D.A.’s office let illegal immigrants go   https://tinyurl.com/yyhp3hb6

Back on Track became a centerpiece of Harris’ campaign for state Attorney General.

Until the the Los Angeles Times questioned her about the Izaguirre case, Harris had never publicly admitted that the program included illegal aliens.

Harris claimed she first learned that illegal aliens were training for jobs only after Izaguirre was arrested for the Kiefer assault. 

Harris said it was a “flaw in the design” of the program to let illegal aliens into the program. “I believe we fixed it,” she told the Times.

Harris never released statistics on how many illegal aliens were included since the program started in 2005.

She said that after Izaguirre’s arrest she never asked—or learned—how many illegal aliens were in Back on Track.

A strange lapse in curiosity for a prosecutor charged with enforcing the law.

When Harris learned that illegal aliens were enrolled, she allowed those who were following the rules to finish the program and have their criminal records expunged.

So much for her oath to faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States and that of the state of California “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

From 2005 to 2009, 113 admitted drug dealers graduated from Back on Track. Another 99 were kicked off the program for failing to meet the requirements. They were sentenced under their guilty plea, the D.A.’s office claimed.

Harris told the Times that graduates of Back on Track were less likely than other offenders to commit crimes again.  But her spokeswoman refused to offer detailed statistics to back this up.

When Harris became San Francisco District Attorney, she vowed she would “never charge the death penalty.” 

Amanda Kiefer left California. Interviewed by the Times, she said she could not understand why San Francisco police and prosecutors would allow convicted illegal aliens back onto the streets.

“If they’re committing crimes,” she said, “I think there’s something wrong that they’re not being deported.”

At the outset of his Presidential campaign, Joe Biden pledged to choose a woman for his Vice Presidential running mate. Among those he could have chosen:

  • Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who stood up to Trump-inspired anti-mask protesters threatening violence; and
  • Illinois United States Senator Tammy Duckworth, who, as an Army officer, lost both legs in Iraq in 2004 after her helicopter was shot down by Iraqi insurgents.

Either would have lent significant gravitas to Biden’s candidacy. But Whitmer and Duckworth suffered the misfortune of being white—at a time when Uber liberals were demanding that Biden pick a “woman of color.”

By which they meant: Any color other than white.

Harris, with her record of protecting criminal illegal aliens at the expense of law-abiding American citizens, will prove an easy target for attacks that she’s “soft on crime.”

Eight years after Kamala Harris’ tenure as a “progressive prosecutor,” Chesa Boudin sought to carry on her “legacy.”. 

AN NRA SOLUTION TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD’S TERRORISM PROBLEM

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 30, 2022 at 12:12 am

Guns and abortion—Republicans’ two most inflammatory issues.

Who would have thought that the first might lead to a solution for the second?

On December 14, 2012, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adult staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

As it usually does after a mass shooting, the National Rifle Association (NRA) remained silent for a few days.

Then on December 18, its executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, broke that silence. In doing so, he offered his suggestion for preventing further tragedies perpetrated by heavily armed criminals.

Speaking at an NRA press conference, LaPierre said: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

“Would you rather have your 911 call bring a good guy with a gun from a mile away or a minute away?”

Wayne LaPierre by Gage Skidmore 2 (cropped).jpg

Wayne La Pierre

And LaPierre demanded that armed guards be placed in every school in the United States:

“Politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about them. They post signs advertising them, and in doing so, they tell every insane killer in America that schools are the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk.

“We care about our president, so we protect him with armed Secret Service agents. Members of Congress work in offices surrounded by Capitol Police officers.

“Yet, when it comes to our most beloved, innocent and vulnerable members of the American family–our children–we as a society leave them everyday utterly defenseless.

“And the monsters and the predators of the world know it and exploit it.

Without knowing it, Wayne LaPierre produced a way to end attacks on Planned Parenthood clinics.

Between 1973, when the Supreme Court made abortion legal throughout the United States via Roe v. Wade, and 2003, abortion providers were targeted for more than 300 acts of extreme violence, including arson, bombings, murders and butyric acid attacks.

The National Abortion Federation documents more than 176,000 instances of picketing at clinics (and nearly 34,000 arrests) since 1977. More than 16,000 hate mail or harassing phone calls, over 1,500 acts of vandalism and 400 death threats have been aimed at clinics.

On November 27, 2015, an anti-abortionist shot and killed a police officer and two civilians at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. An additional five police officers and four civilians were injured.

The arrested suspect, Robert Lewis Dear, mentioned “baby parts” as his reason for the attack. During questioning by police, Dear expressed anti-abortion and anti-government views, a police source told CNN.

Image result for Images of Robert Lewis Dear

Robert Lewis Dear, Jr.

Those on the Left were outraged at this latest attack on the reproductive rights of women.  But those on the Right offered no sympathy for the victims—or women who sought out medical care at Planned Parenthood clinics.

Colorado state Rep. JoAnn Windholz issued a statement blaming Planned Parenthood for the attack:

“Violence is never the answer, but we must start pointing out who is the real culprit. The true instigator of this violence and all violence at any Planned Parenthood facility is Planned Parenthood themselves. Violence begets violence. So Planned Parenthood: YOU STOP THE VIOLENCE INSIDE YOUR WALLS.” [Italics added]

 Rep. JoAnn Windholz 

Planned Parenthood offers reproductive health care, sex education to women and men and, at some clinics, abortions.

Since Planned Parenthood can’t expect help from Republican lawmakers, perhaps it’s time for its officials to consider the advice of Niccolo Machiavelli.

“For among other evils caused by being disarmed, it renders you contemptible,” he writes in Chapter 14 of The Prince, his primer on gaining political power.

“Because there is no comparison whatever between an armed and a disarmed man. It is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed….”

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito.jpg

 Niccolo Machiavelli

In short: Planned Parenthood should begin training its personnel in the use of automatic firearms. And widely advertising the fate that awaits future terrorist attackers.

This would send an unmistakable message to future would-be terrorists: We will no longer be passive victims to your violent fanaticism. Attack us—and die.

By doing so, Planned Parenthood would be following the advice of Wayne La Pierre—and the example set by New York City after 9/11. 

In 1993, Islamic terrorists unsuccessfully bombed the World Trade Center. Six people were killed and 1,042 others were injured during escape attempts.

Eight years later, on September 11, 2001, they launched their second—and this time successful–attack on the Center, killing 2,977 New Yorkers.

On both occasions, New Yorkers had expected the Federal Government to protect them. After 9/11, the NYPD decided it could no longer rely on the FBI and CIA for protection.

The NYPD greatly expanded the ranks of its Counterterrorism Division. More than 600 officers and operatives both stateside and worldwide now stood guard over New York City.

Since 9/11, New York has not faced a similar terrorist attack.

Finally, an Aesop’s fable serves up a lesson known long ago—but repeatedly ignored by the idealistic but ineffectual Left:

A snake was stepped on by so many people that, one day, he prayed to Zeus for help. And Zeus replied: “If you had bitten the first person who stepped on you, the second would have thought twice about it.”  

MORE THAN FETUSES MAY BE ABORTED

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Politics, Social commentary on May 17, 2022 at 12:10 am

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern political science, raised the question of “whether it is better to be loved than feared, or feared more than loved.”

And he answered it: “The reply is, that one ought to be both feared and loved, but as it is difficult for the two to go together, it is much safer to be feared than loved.”  

But Machiavelli warned against relying primarily on fear:

“Still, a prince should make himself feared in such a way that if he does not gain love, he at any rate avoids hatred, for fear and the absence of hatred may well go together, and will always be attained by one who abstains from interfering with the property of his citizens….or with their women.”  

If the Republicans governing Georgia and Alabama ever read this warning, they have ignored it with a vengeance.

Portrait of Niccolò Machiavelli by Santi di Tito.jpg

Niccolo Machiavelli

On May 7, 2019, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an anti-abortion law that—in defiance of the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade—re-criminalizes abortion.

The law bans abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable. This usually occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy—even before many women know they’re pregnant.

The law permits abortions

  • Only if the mother’s life is at risk; or
  • If the fetus cannot survive. 

No exceptions are made for cases of rape or incest.

“HB 481 would also have consequences for women who get abortions from doctors or miscarry,” writes Mark Joseph Stern for Slate.

“A woman who seeks out an illegal abortion from a health care provider would be a party to murder, subject to life in prison. And a woman who miscarries because of her own conduct—say, using drugs while pregnant—would be liable for second-degree murder, punishable by 10 to 30 years’ imprisonment.

“Prosecutors may interrogate women who miscarry to determine whether they can be held responsible; if they find evidence of culpability, they may charge, detain, and try these women for the death of their fetuses.”  [Emphasis added.]

In addition, a woman could be sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment if she leaves Georgia to obtain an abortion in another state.Related image

And on May 14, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the “Alabama Human Life Protection Act.” The law only allows exceptions “to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother,” for ectopic pregnancy and if the “unborn child has a lethal anomaly.”

Again, no exceptions are made for rape or incest.

Ivey admitted that the new law may be unenforceable owing to Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in all 50 states. But the whole point of the law is to challenge that decision, Ivey said.

Republicans constantly claim to be “the party of small government.” But there can be no more intrusive act than dictating to a woman that she must give birth—even if she’s the victim of rape or incest.      

At the same time:

  • Republicans have proven uniformly hostile to providing poor mothers with access to food, clothing and medical care.
  • Donald Trump made repealing the Affordable Care Act—which provides medical insurance to more than 20 million Americans—the hallmark of his Presidency.

It’s easy to imagine many of these women fatally cracking under the strain.  

On December 6, 2011, Rachelle Grimmer, a 38-year-old resident of San Antonio, pulled a gun in a state welfare office and held off police for seven hours. Then she shot and wounded her two children—ages 10 and 12—before fatally shooting herself.

For months, she had been unable to qualify for food stamps. 

Thus, women living in abortion-banning states face Right-wing hypocrisy on one hand and draconian laws punishing the most intimate acts—of sexuality and reproductive freedom—on the other.

It’s easy to imagine some pregnant women—especially the victims of incest and/or rape—desperately seeking redress through violence. And the targets of their wrath could easily be the Republican legislators of their states who have made their lives a living hell.

Trump is constantly guarded by the Secret Service. And governors are protected by state police. But state assemblymen and senators aren’t assigned such details—unless there’s a specific threat made against them. Nor are anti-abortion Right-wing commentators like Tucker Carlson.

In fact, Right-wing figures have often been the targets of successful—and unsuccessful—assassination attempts.

  • On September 8, 1935, Louisiana U.S. Senator Huey Long was shot and fatally wounded by Carl Austin Weiss, an idealistic young doctor. Long had intended to run for President in 1936 and unseat Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • On May 27, 1942, SS Obergruppenführer (General) Reinhard Heydrich—“The Butcher of Prague”—was killed with a hand grenade by two Czech patriots.
  • On May 15, 1972, Presidential candidate George C. Wallace was shot and paralyzed by a crazed gunman while mingling with supporters in a Maryland shopping center.
  • On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and almost killed by a psychotic gunman while walking to his bulletproof limousine in Washington, D.C. 

All but one of these men (Heydrich) were protected by bodyguards when they were attacked.

Given the ferocity of laws aimed specifically at them, some women may decide to abort more than fetuses.

DEMOCRATS CAN PREVAIL—WITH THIS GAME PLAN: PART TWO (END)

In Bureaucracy, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Military, Politics, Social commentary on May 11, 2022 at 12:17 am

According to numerous polls, Democrats are looking at a political massacre this November—losing both the House and Senate.

Nany of the problems facing Democrats are self-inflicted. But they can be resolved if Democrats—and especially President Joseph Biden—are willing to fight fire with fire.

In Part One of this series, four such remedies were listed. Here are the remaining two.

WEAPON #5: ACCUSE—AND PROSECUTE—REPUBLICANS FOR SUPPORTING DICTATORSHIP

Just hours after the deadly January 6, 2021 coup attempt at the United States Capitol, 147 Republicans lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to overturn then-president Donald Trump’s election loss, following months of his baseless claims that the November election had been stolen.

Mounting evidence proves that many Republicans actively tried to assist Trump in illegally overturning the results of the 2020 election.

For example: On January 17, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene texted Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, advising Trump to declare martial law.

Yet not one Republican member of Congress has been indicted—let alone convicted—by the Biden Justice Department. Nor has any key member of the Trump administration, such as:  

  • Rep, Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) who incited the Trump crowd with: “Today is the day American patriots start taking down names and kicking ass!”
  • Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who cried to the demonstrators, “Let’s have trial by combat!”
  • Donald Trump, who incited his followers to attack the Capitol and has spent a year and a half spreading poisonous lies that the 2020 election was “stolen” from him through “massive” voter fraud.

There is no better way to discourage law-abiding citizens and encourage law-breaking ones than to allow notorious criminals to go unpunished.

Melania Trump 'disappointed' by Trump supporters' Capitol riot - ABC7 Chicago

Donald Trump

President Biden should order Attorney General Merrick Garland to immediately start prosecuting ALL Republicans linked to the January 6 coup attempt.

Democrats should make their slogan for 2022—and 2024: “This time, vote like your whole democracy depends on it.” 

WEAPON #6 DROP THE FIXATION ON ADMITTING ILLEGAL ALIENS  

The Biden administration is pushing to lift Title 42, a 1944 federal law meant to help prevent the spread of communicable disease.

In March, 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) authorized agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to quickly expel migrants and deny entry to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

For President Donald Trump, the order restricted migrants’ entry into the country. But many congressional Democrats claimed that it short-circuited the country’s asylum system.

Republicans are fiercely defending Title 42—and holding continued funding for COVID research and vaccines as hostage for its retention.

When people are frightened and angry by high prices for food, housing and gas, they don’t welcome competition from uninvited illegal aliens. This includes Latinos—55% of whom disapprove of the job that Biden is doing.

Biden should drop plans to lift Title 42. He can use this as leverage in dealing with Republicans. And refusing to support illegal immigration won’t cost him support among Latinos.

* * * * *

Millions of Americans believe that only liberals can be Communist sympathizers and traitors. This is the direct result of decades of Republican propaganda dating back to 1946.

Republicans, having lost the White House from 1932 to 1948, furiously sought a return to power. And they found their remedy in attacking the patriotism of their fellow Americans—ushering in the infamous era of Joseph McCarthy, Richard Nixon and the Hollywood Blacklist.

Democrats need to similarly damn Republicans with the charge of “Traitor.” The difference: There is plenty of evidence—much of it on video—to document its truth.

In 1996, Newt Gingrich, then Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, wrote a memo that encouraged Republicans to “speak like Newt.”

Entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” it urged Republicans to attack Democrats with such words as “corrupt,” “selfish,” “destructive,” “hypocrisy,” “liberal,” “sick,” and “traitors.”

By contrast, Democrats have proven indifferent to or ignorant of the power of effective language. This has been true despite overwhelming evidence of Donald Trump’s treason. Out of this could have come: 

  • “TrumPutin” 
  • “Commissar-in-Chief”
  • “Fake President”
  • “DJTraitor”
  • “Red Donald.”

In addition, Democrats have handicapped themselves via the Michelle Obama formula: “When they go low, we go high.” When you’re in a boxing match and your opponent goes for your groin, you’re a fool to adhere to Marquis of Queensbury. 

Finally, Democrats have refused to see most of their fellow Americans for what they are.

Historically, the United States has always been a highly conservative nation. Going from “conservative” to “Fascist” is a relatively easy step—as millions of Donald Trump’s supporters have proven. 

That’s why, despite his manifest criminalities, a majority of Right-wing Americans would have given Trump another four years.

But COVID-19 changed all that. Suddenly, millions of Americans found themselves stuck at home with their children. Many of them couldn’t go to work—because they were sick or their jobs had disappeared. Their 401Ks suddenly became worthless.

Only a lethal pandemic forced them to vote for Joe Biden.

In short: To win elections, Democrats must use the same weapons as their sworn Republican enemies and brutally attack them head-on.

And they must appeal to what truly moves most voters: Greed. Fear.  Hatred.  

DEMOCRATS CAN PREVAIL—WITH THIS GAME PLAN: PART ONE (OF TWO)

In Bureaucracy, Business, History, Law, Law Enforcement, Medical, Military, Politics, Social commentary on May 10, 2022 at 12:22 am

“Republicans have the advantage with voters in 2022 elections, poll finds.”

So read the headline in an April 29 story on the NPR website. According to the story:

  • “All signs are pointing to a difficult midterm election for President Biden and Democrats, and a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll has fresh evidence of that.”
  • “Of the 1,162 registered voters surveyed, 47% said they are more likely to vote for the Republican in their district, as opposed to 44% who said Democrats.”
  • Voters favor Republicans on the issues of inflation, crime and national security. Inflation is Americans’ No. 1 concern.
  • On immigration, the country is split.

Political pundits are openly predicting that this will hand Republicans the House, if not the Senate as well.

Yet there are steps that Democrats—particularly President Joseph Biden—can take to try to reverse this outcome.

WEAPON #1:  REASSURE VOTERS THAT HE IS ATTACKING INFLATION IN A WAY THEY CAN UNDERSTAND 

When people are frightened and angry, they look for simple answers and solutions—and scapegoats. That is how Republicans deal with crises.

Republicans learned long ago that most voters aren’t moved by appeals to their rationality. Instead, what counts with them is emotions

And Republicans have become experts at appealing to these—especially the baser ones. For Republicans, the Big Three are: Hatred, Greed, Fear.

Voters want to buy groceries at an affordable price—and to walk streets and enter stores without wearing a mask. And they want concrete reasons to believe that these can become reality.

President Biden should do the same in combating rising gas and food prices, which are frightening and angering millions.

Instead of accepting the conventional explanation of “supply chain difficulties,” he should blame rising prices on the entrenched greed of corporations. In many cases, it is no doubt true.

More importantly, Biden should propose a bill to make price gouging a national crime, punishable by a lengthy prison term. It can be modeled on the anti-extortion provisions in the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

No matter what happens on the bill, the President faces a win/win situation.

If it passes, he can rightly take credit for it and reap the popularity certain to result. And if Republicans block its passage, he can rightly blame them, thus ensuring that he and Democrats are seen as “the people’s champions.” 

Joe Biden's Next Big Decision: Choosing A Running Mate | Voice of America - English

President Joe Biden

WEAPON #2: STOP THINKING OF  REPUBLICANS AS “OUR FRIENDS”

The President should stop referring to “our Republican friends.” He has no friends among men and women dedicated to overthrowing Constitutional government and imposing a lifelong criminal and tyrant in his place.

Republicans have enthusiastically embraced Donald Trump’s Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen from him—despite overwhelming evidence that it wasn’t.

Legislators in Republican-controlled states are now working furiously to corrupt election machinery at state and local levels so they can nullify the votes of millions of Democrats in the 2022 and 2024 elections.

Their ultimate goal: Restore a lifelong criminal and Russia-appeasing traitor to absolute power as “President-for-Life.” 

And more than a year after that treasonous attempted coup, many Republicans still refuse to accept the legitimacy of Biden’s win.

Would Franklin D. Roosevelt have referred to his Right-wing enemies as “our Nazi friends”?

These are some of the high-profile figures who were seen storming the US Capitol

January 6, 2021 attempted coup

WEAPON #3: BLAME DONALD TRUMP AND HIS STORMTRUMPERS FOR COVID-19 DEATHS

Trump learned how deadly the virus was in January, 2020. But he

  • Publicly denied this and attacked mask-wearing and social distancing;
  • Attacked governors who issued stay-at-home orders to contain the virus;
  • Incited his followers to defy those orders; and
  • Secretly got vaccinated before leaving office and has only reluctantly acknowledged the importance of vaccinations.

His legacy of defying science continues to live on in his millions of Stormtrumper followers—who refuse to mask up, social distance and, most importantly, get vaccinated. The vast majority of those now flooding hospital ICU rooms—and morgues—are unvaccinated.

As a result, countless victims of crime, accidents, heart attacks, strokes and other debilitating conditions find their surgeries/treatments canceled or indefinitely postponed. And doctors and nurses treating these patients are nearing the breaking point of exhaustion.

COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) | Santa Cruz County, AZ - Official Website

President Biden and the health officials of his administration should blame the unvaccinated for their egotistical selfishness in causing this crisis. This will put Republicans on the defensive and divert attacks on the President.

He should also propose a national law allowing hospitals to stop admitting unvaccinated anti-vaxxers. These people need to face the consequences of their own irresponsible behavior. Only then will hospitals be free to care for those who deserve medical treatment.

WEAPON #4: BLAME TRUMP AND REPUBLICANS FOR THE CURRENT CRISIS IN UKRAINE

In July, 2019, Trump tried to extort a “favor” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky: Investigate on presumed 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Joseph Biden and his son, Hunter, who had had business dealings in Ukraine.

Clearly implied in the call: Produce “dirt” on Biden—or you won’t get the Congressionally authorized $400 million in military aid.

Biden should blame Trump for having encouraged Putin to invade Ukraine. Example: Siding with Putin against the FBI and CIA when they agreed that Russia had interfered in the 2016 Presidential election. The words “traitor” and “treason” should be routinely used when he discusses these incidents.

WHY FETUS FANATICS HATE ROE V. WADE

In Bureaucracy, History, Law Enforcement, Medical, Politics, Social commentary on May 5, 2022 at 12:15 am

On May 2, POLITICO released a bombshell of a story: The United States Supreme Court intended to strike down Roe v. Wade.

The proof came in an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito, circulated within the court and obtained by POLITICO.

The draft opinion completely repudiates the 1973 decision which guaranteed federal constitutional protections of abortion rights. 

The Supreme Court: The Judicial Power of the United States | NEH-Edsitement

The Supreme Court

Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” Alito writes. “Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.”  

Some 36 million women could then lose abortion access, according to research from Planned Parenthood, a healthcare organization which provides abortions.

Making this possible was the appointment of three Right-wing Justices by President Donald Trump:  Neil Gorsuch (2017); Brett Kavanaugh (2018); and Amy Coney Barrett (2020).

This has been a dream for Right-wing anti-abortion fanatics since the Court struck down abortion restrictions almost 50 years ago.

So what’s responsible for all this fetus fanaticism?  

First, there is an energized constituency for politicians willing to wave this red flag.

Every major Republican Presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan has tapped into this voting bloc. And each has found plenty of votes to be gotten from it.  

Second, many fetus fanatics simply dislike women. 

They fear and resent the women’s movement, which has given women the right to enter the workforce and compete directly with men.

And what they hate most is the legal right of a woman to avoid becoming pregnant via birth control—or to abort the result of a male’s sperm if they do. They see this as a personal rejection.

The Right is made up overwhelmingly of white males. And many of these men would feel entirely at home with a Christianized version of the Taliban. They long for a world where women meekly cater to their every demand and believe only what their male masters approve for them to believe.

Third, many fetus fanatics are “pro-life” when it comes to fetuses, but hypocritically refuse to support the needs of children from low-income families.

Fourth, many fetus fanatics are “family values” hypocrites.

For example: Representative Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), an anti-abortion, “family values” doctor, had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion. He also agreed that his wife should have two abortions.

Scott DesJarlais, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg

Scott DesJarlais

People like this subscribe to a philosophy of: “Do as I say, not as I do.  And if I do it, it’s in the service of a Higher Cause and therefore entirely justified.”

Fifth, many fetus fanatics feel guilty about their own past sexual transgressions—especially if these resulted in pregnancy.

And they want to prevent others from living the same life they did.

Some of these people are well-intentioned.  Even so, they usurp unto themselves a God-like right to intrude on the most intimate decisions for others—regardless of what those people may need or want.  

Sixth, many fetus fanatics embrace contradictory goals.

On one hand, most of them claim they want to “get government off the backs of the people.” That usually means allowing corporations to pollute, sell dangerous products and treat their employees as slaves.

On the other hand, they want to insert the government into the vagina of every woman. That means empowering State and Federal authorities to prevent women from getting birth control or an abortion—even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the mother.  

Seventh, many leaders of the fetus fanatics movement are independently wealthy. 

This means that even if abortion could be outlawed for the vast majority, they could always bribe a willing doctor—here or abroad—to perform such an operation on their wife, daughter and/or mistress.  For them, there is always an escape clause.  

Eighth, many fetus fanatics are not truly “pro-life.”

They totally oppose abortion under most—-if not all—circumstances. But they also fully support:

  • making military-style assault weapons available to nutcases;
  • capital punishment;
  • going to war for almost any reason;
  • wholesale massacres of wildlife;
  • despoiling of the environment; and/or
  • even nuclear war.

Lucy, the famous cartoon character in Charles Schultz’ “Peanuts” series, once said: “I love humanity.  It’s people I can’t stand.” With fetus fanatics, the line runs: “I love fetuses. Everything else is expendable.”

Ninth, many fetus fanatics believe that since their religion teaches that abortion is wrong, they have a moral duty to enforce that belief on others.

This is especially true for evangelical Christians. These are the same people who condemn Muslims—such as those in Saudi Arabia—for segregating women, forbidding them to drive and forcing them to wear head scarfs or chadors—loose, usually black robes.

Taliban: Islam’s version of the “Right-to-Life” movement

But while they condemn Islamics for their general intolerance of others’ religious beliefs, they lust to impose their own upon those who belong to other churches. Or who belong to no church at all.

Tenth, many fetus fanatics are just as opposed to birth control as they are to abortion. 

Thus, when Georgia University law student Sandra Fluke asked Congress to require insurance companies to cover birth control, Rush Limbaugh branded her a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

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