EASIER OR JUST BLOWING SMOKE?

New Voter Law Is A Trojan Horse, What’s Inside?

Back in my high school days, education officials made a rule that disallowed wearing jeans to class. There was no reason given for this draconian rule. Had we not been in the suburbs but in a rural area this law wouldn’t have worked. The administrators believed that wearing tight jeans would somehow make us act up and disturb the educational process. Really?

Sometimes we make a law in search of a crime and it takes the outcries of people to reverse it. I remember when the Atlanta Braves opened a new stadium and a woman was stopped because she was carrying a small cooler containing formula for her newborn baby. Less than 48 hours after this story broke the team ownership pulled the rule. Later, they loosened the restriction even more by allowing patrons to bring in food.

Voting has always been a challenge in America. The first mistake was not making the federal election day a holiday so that no one would have to miss work to vote or miss voting to work. Not one of the newly minted voting laws fixes that problem, which is #1 on my list.

Long Voting Lines in Georgia

Then there’s this. Early voting, whether it’s motivated by a pandemic or not, is a good idea. Any rule stating that tabulation of early votes cannot take place before election day, or worse, can’t begin until after the polls have closed, is foolish. How does that help the voting process?

Because we have many states that allow mail-in voting, which is a good thing, we must make sure the United States Postal System works properly in all fifty states and territories. The idea of no-excuse absentee voting is not a rare bird, nor should it be. You can see a list of all the states that support the concept here. And in case you didn’t know, Washington, Utah, Oregon, Hawaii and Colorado use mail-in voting exclusively, so what’s the fuss all about?

Lurking inside these new laws are grievance politics, partisan wounds and leftover racism that isn’t comprehended by many, including those people forging the new laws. The concept of disallowing a person to bring food or water to a voter waiting in line is a masked attempt at voter intimidation. Here’s the language, “No person shall … give any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector…within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established,” but there’s a trick in that stick. First, “the outer edge of any building” is inappropriate, given a polling location may have voters form a line around the perimeter or the building and “150 feet” might include everyone in the voting line. Also, are states actually prepared to arrest anyone who brings food or water to those of color waiting in line? That would be very intimidating, especially since cops have guns.

What’s really upsetting is the lawmakers know there will be long lines and they are attacking their citizens in the voting lines rather than working to make the lines shorter, the wait times less and the voting process faster. Anyone who views food and water you are giving your granny as temptation for voting a certain way is irrational, cynical and stupid. If anything, one waiting in a ridiculously long line to vote might be tempted to cast their ballot against the foolish people in power.

Here’s something from today’s New York Times, “Amazon, BlackRock, Google, Warren Buffett and hundreds of other companies and executives signed on to a new statement released on Wednesday opposing ’any discriminatory legislation‘ that would make it harder for people to vote. It was the biggest show of solidarity so far by the business community as companies around the country try to navigate the partisan uproar over Republican efforts to enact new election rules in almost every state. Senior Republicans, including former President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, have called for companies to stay out of politics.” The sad reality is these politicians take money from large companies for campaign expenses, but when those same companies point out a problem the grifters bark at them to back off. If they feel so strongly, why not pass a law that prohibits corporate funding of any candidate, party or Super Pac? Fat chance.

We live in a fast, souped-up world where we demand speed, efficiency and accuracy, not partisan bickering and built-in voter suppression. I am sure Brian Kemp, the Governor of Georgia, believes the new voting law he signed makes things better for his state. Why then are so many people telling him the law is bad?

Here is a major flaw that has nothing to do with food and water, it’s about power and control. One of Georgia’s new provisions is the state’s right to take over county elections offices the legislature believes have “persistent problems.” It wouldn’t be a surprise should they snatch control in Fulton County, which has 800,000 mostly African American voters. The Democrats won big there, and the Republicans believe there was corruption in that county, yet after three vote recounts no fraud was found. These idiots prefer Donald Trump’s lies over their own Secretary of State, Election Board members and, oh yeah, their voters. The law effectively changes the sixty plus year tradition of the Secretary of State being the sole keeper of Election integrity and places that responsibility in the hands of a party loyalist, perhaps appointed to overturn the will of voters. WHY IS THIS NOT A BAD IDEA?

We can debate the requirement of having a picture ID to vote, We do it in Florida and it’s not a problem. Florida lets you register to vote when you get your driver’s license. A voting ID card is not a bad idea. These are frightening times.

Were you to ask representatives in the Georgia State assembly if they were racist, they would honestly say no. But should you ask any of them what would give their party a better chance of winning in the next election, he or she would tell you that fewer votes from Black people would do the trick. So, you see, it’s not racism at all, it’s merely normal southern politics. By the way, they aren’t wrong. The more African American voters the more votes will be cast for Democrats. I guess people of color don’t like the policies of those Republicans who are pushing the trojan horse into the town center. Wouldn’t it smarter to figure out what the voters really want and just give it to them? Why try to take a bottle of water out of their hands? Remember, Coca-Cola makes DASANI and they certainly would be happy to provide the state with enough water for every voter, at a reasonable price or course. After all, they are capitalists.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

THE POPULARITY OF AMERICA

Immigration Challenges and the Far Right

I would love to think that all the concern about immigration by the right-wing media and hardcore Trump fans isn’t based on deep-seated prejudges, but for some reason I have trouble believing that. Oh yeah, the last four years of intense hate and nationalist rhetoric is probably responsible for the lack of credibility in their messaging.

Most conservative politicians go on and on about how broken the US immigration system is and how we need to stop letting people in. One might say that America is not responsible for the terrible conditions in the countries immigrants and refugees are fleeing from, but that’s not exactly right. Many of our failed foreign policies and drug enforcement initiatives have contributed to instable governments in some Central and South American countries. That subject is much too deep and complex for exploration on this page today, but should you read the Stephen Kinzer book titled The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War, you will probably be shocked and embarrassed at the things our country did abroad in the name of democracy.

People all over the world love the United States of America and millions want to live here. Those folks lucky enough to have a landmass they can walk to get here, do so to escape the highly dangerous and unproductive places where they live. Yes, that’s not our fault but we need to understand oppressed people will always desire to come here and stay, and that has nothing to do with Biden’s policy of sheltering unaccompanied minors or the walls Donald Trump failed to build.

America has more than 800,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, more widely known as DACA. These kids and adults have a kind of landed status, but they are not citizens. They can work and they carry cards declaring their right to be here, but since June 15, 2012 they exist in an uncertain limbo.

According to the Brookings Institute, “As of January 1, 2015, there were 11.96 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The most recent Pew Research estimate puts the total number of unauthorized immigrants at 10.5 million in 2017. Overall, this represents a minority of the foreign-born population, which in 2017 numbered 44.5 million and of them, 45% are naturalized citizens and 27% of whom are lawful permanent residents.” Once again, I cannot adequately detail how the immigration system works, which includes working visa, green cards and long-term applications for citizenship. Instead, I’ll focus on the strict rules facing those applying for entry and seeking asylum here.

There are two basic requirements for entry into the United States. First, asylum applicants must establish that they fear persecution in their home country. Second, applicants must prove that they would be persecuted in their home country on grounds of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

When those known as “coyotes” working for fees bring young kids to our southern border and dump them over the wall, the kids are in a deep state of panic and many can’t say why they had to leave their home countries. They may have been separated from or told by their parents they must go live in America. Not only is there a language barrier for many of them, but a lack of knowledge about possible legal entanglements.

Our right-wing media features endless discussions about officials in the Biden administration not traveling to the border to see the problem up close. Why is that necessary? They are quite aware of the almost 20,000 minors who are in the custody of the US Government. The reality is the administration has bills to pass, Covid to conquer and other pressing responsibilities. One could say it’s bad optics that they aren’t down there on their knees and hugging the kids, but that will not solve the problem, and it is a problem.

There are times when following legal guidelines that a charge of not being moral or caring enough is raised. On the other hand, changing a policy to make it more, well, moral, can lead to a slamming for not following the letter of the law no matter what happens to the kids. When the bodies of babies and kids who were trying to get to a safer place started to wash up on the shores of the Mediterranean, the whole world criticized those countries that failed to help hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria. We got all sad for a while, but then we just forgot about them. It’s the normal flow of a human flaw.

We can bring those 20,000 kids to safety and unite them with family members who are already here, but wait, are those part of the ten to thirteen million undocumented people who arrived earlier? Are we going to balloon that group even more? 20,000 is not such a big number when compared to the 333 million people who live here now, but we need to realize that this is never going to stop. People will always make their way here to be part of the American Dream. Contrary to all the bullshit blasted out by Trump in the last four years, people in other lands consume our culture in the form of movies, books and TV shows and become convinced this is the happening place. We have an image of being the freest and coolest place on Earth.

There are three groups of immigrants. The first are highly trained or educated people who come to our county to learn or work. The H-1B visa is part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, Section 101(a)(15)(H), that allows US businesses to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. The duration of stay is three years, extendable to six years, after which the visa holder may need to reapply. When these highly skilled workers stay, it makes America better.

Then there are rich kids who come from other countries via airplanes, land here for vacations and never leave. According to Jorge Ramos, 40% of undocumented immigrants come by air and overstay their travel visas. We will need more people to help curb this misuse of the travel privilege.

Members of the third group walk right in, sit right down and ask to stay. This is visual and therefore it gets the most attention, but should you view this as a problem then you must also deal with the reality that it will never go away. We are not going to stop saying our country is the beacon of freedom and the World’s greatest example of capitalistic achievement, so perhaps we need to stop complaining about people wanting to come here.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

IF THE GLOVE DOESN’T FIT…

Our Latest Reality TV Trial

We all remember that poignant phrase from the O.J. Simpson murder trial when his lawyer Johnny Cochran said, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” It could very well be that single line produced enough reasonable doubt to get O.J. off the hook.

The opening of the Britannica Encyclopedia article on the O.J. Simpson trial says, “…criminal trial of former college and professional gridiron football star O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in 1995 of the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. It was one of the most notorious criminal trials in American history.” It was the TV coverage that made it so intense.

The televised Simpson trial propelled one cable channel to the top of the ratings pile. It drew a massive audience to Court TV, which Time Warner renamed truTV in 2008. For years, the channel has been struggling with rebranding, trying to dissolve their courtroom image by adding more comedy and sports programming. That aside, the appeal of live courtroom coverage has never faded, especially when a compelling case is before the cameras.

Casey Anthony

According to History.com, “In 2008, the world was captivated by the bizarre behavior displayed by Casey Anthony. The then-22-year-old single mother from Orlando, Florida, was revealed to have spun a web of lies to cover up for the disappearance of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee, that summer; the Facebook photos of her partying around town and a dearth of emotion in interviews fueling the charges of first-degree murder before Caylee’s body was discovered later that year.” Anthony’s attorney Jose Baez masterfully planted enough doubt in the jurors’ minds during the trial to get an acquittal. It was said there were too many unknowns, and the Facebook pictures of Ms. Anthony’s partying after her daughter was missing proved only that she was a bad mother and not a murderer. Really?

We are now in the middle of another court case being broadcast on cable TV and some Americans are mesmerized while others are repulsed. I try to avoid this TV coverage for two reasons. First, the regurgitation of the facts in the case makes me sad, angry and depressed. To repeatedly see the video of a police officer murdering a man by kneeling on his neck makes me sick. George Floyd was held down by three men face first on a Minneapolis street, and there is no US law stating that attempting to pass a counterfeit 20-dollar bill should net the perpetrator immediate execution with no trial or due process.

My second reason for avoiding the trial coverage is anger at the defense attorneys accusatory tactics and disparagements of the dead man. I know they have a job to do but that doesn’t mean I have to watch them at work. The defense has presented a theory that George Floyd died of an overdose or a heart attack induced by drugs and that contact by Officer Derek Chauvin was incidental and had little to do with the man’s demise. C’mon, we have ample proof of what happened.

Videos from bystanders, security cameras and cops alike show what happened leading up to the event, what happened outside the Cup Foods store and George Floyd’s death which took place in the street. In many ways all of us who have seen the videos are witnesses to the crime.

The release of video footage shot by a young man on the scene triggered nothing less than a worldwide response to oppression, police and government abuses and general condemnation of such incredibly brutal law enforcement. This trial has moved beyond Mr. Floyd’s murder. It’s now asking if cops have the right to kill another for any offense.

There are strong feelings in support of policework, particularly among those who have one or more family members working in law enforcement. In 2019, there were 697,195 full-time law enforcement officers employed in the United States. Various security forces and hired protection agencies are part of the more than one million people employed in United States police business, and that number does not include jail and prison corrections officers.

We should always respect the police and hope that when we need them, they arrive in time to serve and protect us. Their jobs carry a huge risk to limb and life. As we have been hearing, a cop is sometimes judged not by his body of work but rather by a single mistake they may have made along the way. That’s a tough burden to carry in any career. Many police officers and detectives retire each year without any blemish or controversial case, some even get medals for their outstanding body of work but, as the common statement goes, there are a few bad apples.

Visual Indifference Points

If convicted, Derek Chauvin will look back on the videos of him kneeing on George Floyd’s neck, cutting off the blood and oxygen supplies to the man’s brain until he died.  I wonder how many jurors will remember the look of indifference on Chauvin’s face as the testimony unfolded. What a blasé appearance, hand in the pocket and the sunglasses perched on his head as if he was hanging out with the guys at a game. It appeared to be just another day at the office for Mr. Chauvin.

I am most disturbed by the testimony of the woman who approached Officer Chauvin and identified herself as an EMT worker from Minneapolis. She asked the police to check Mr. Floyd’s pulse. A simple request really, but she was told to get back on the sidewalk. In a sense, Derek Chauvin said, “Mind your own fucking business.” She did what she was told and returned to the sidewalk, but she didn’t leave the scene. Her public duty to witness what happened was important to her. Speaking up in a court of law was paramount to her. She had no indifference, only concern.

I don’t know if a buzz word or memorable phrase will come out of this trial, but we already have those three piercing words, “I can’t breathe.” George Floyd wasn’t the first to gasp those words, but hopefully he will be the last. We give the police guns and they use them. We give the police tasers and they use them. When did we give police the right to smother, choke and strangle another human being?

Even if you don’t kill the person, if you strangle or attempt to suffocate another human, you can be charged and if convicted, punished with up 5 years imprisonment. So, any cop who uses a stranglehold on another, cuts off air to their windpipe or blood to their brain is guilty of a crime. If they kill the person, they are guilty of murder. If only we had video proof — oh wait, we do.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP SUCKS

“Baby Trump” Ron DeSantis Implodes

Well, it was quite a weekend for our trusty Florida governor, Ron DeSantis. It began with a scathing report on 60 Minutes for all the nation to see. That’s what happens when you refuse to sit down for an interview with 60 Minutes. They just ask you a question at your press conference and demonstrate your all-encompassing defensiveness. According to CBS, DeSantis was handing out Covid shots and arranging shot locations as a payback to his campaign donors. He insists these things aren’t true, but the facts speak for themselves. Developers and a grocery store chain who gave more than $100,000 to his reelection super PAC were rewarded with Covid shots before the poor and people of color. Sadly, while he was denying and lying about one crisis another one was unfolding.

Florida produces tons of agriculture products. According to the Economic Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2017 Florida agricultural products generated $7.64 billion in revenue. The crops accounted for 77.0 percent of total cash receipts and the state’s agricultural output is second only to California. Major crops include citrus, sugarcane, tomatoes, peppers, cotton, watermelons, peanuts, snap beans, and potatoes. Timber is also an important agricultural commodity for Florida and because the land has been farmed for more than 200 years it needs to be treated with lots of fertilizer to realize significant returns on investments. Tons of nitrogen, phosphate and potash have been dumped on Florida’s land and lawns. The chemical runoffs eventually find their way to lakes, rivers, the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean.

Fertilizer companies came to Florida, built their plants and, because of EPA regulations, constructed large pools to hold their industrial waste. These were constructed far from neighborhoods, but now that Florida’s population has exploded into these areas people are living much too close to these toxic timebombs of waste. In 1966, Borden Chemical, a spin-off of Elsie the Cow’s milk company, built an industrial plant to process phosphate, a key ingredient in fertilizer. Even though the phosphate processing plant became inactive in 2001, the large INDUSTRIAL WASTE holding ponds remained and collected millions of gallons of rainfall, adding to the problem.

I’m not going to get too far into the weeds, but the weeds around the pool are going to get very wet because there is a hole in the radioactive gypsum molded pond and wastewater is leaking into the surrounding soil. The pool cannot be drained into a river because the lakes and bay get extremely sick from the chemical residue, which make algae grow amazingly fast. Too much of that low level plant life sucks all the oxygen out of the water and kills the fish. Oh, did I mention humans eat fish? This chemical imbalance causes a condition known as Red Tide, which produces algal blooms or large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms, such as protozoans and unicellular algae. It hit the west coast of Florida two years ago and killed hundreds of thousands of fish and hurt many businesses in the tourist and boating trades. If the sludge from the pool makes its way to the rivers and bay, no one will want to visit Florida to lay on a beach with dead fish.

I should say here that “hole” and “leaking” are simplified terms. It’s much worse than those words may lead you to believe. The gypsum wall of the pond is breached. Engineers have attempted to plug the hole with rocks, but that hasn’t been working. The concern now is the containment wall will collapse, unleashing a 20-foot wall of wastewater.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency and MADE THE PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR HOMES! He could never bring himself to declaring a mask mandate, which would have saved thousands of lives, but with frightened people imagining polluted water pouring out of this man-made pond he acted swiftly. Many people have followed orders and left their homes, but others have refused to evacuate.

Florida now has an environmental crisis and a medical crisis at the same time. The people in charge were warned about the potential of a leak, and they did nothing. Should you want to say that Ronnie wasn’t the Governor back then, well, he was a state representative taking money from BIG FERTILIZER and he always voted in favor of them. The last major Florida Red Tide attack was in Lake Okeechobee, the state’s largest lake. DeSantis’ and former Governor Rick Scott’s solution was draining the polluted water into the Everglades. Beware, teenage mutant Ninja alligators are coming!

So, the solution to the current crisis is draining that large retaining pond, but where to put that sludgy water? When the leak was first detected, workers moved more than 22,000 gallons a minute out of the main retention pond and into a “drainage ditch” at nearby Port Manatee. But the sad truth about this kind of wastewater in Florida, sooner or later, it usually either ends up in the ocean or the gulf.

The engineers say it will take ten to twelve days to drain 380 million gallons into Tampa Bay, which prompted worries about the impact on marine life and another bout of Red Tide. Here we go again. What a mess. Just before we posted this article, the Florida Emergency team announced that they think there is more than one place where the wall of gypsum is leaking. This might get worse.

I cringe when a politician tries to convince us they know what they are doing by citing a “science person” who offers incorrect advice. With science, the more you know the more stupid your old ideas appear. We didn’t figure out that the Earth traveled around the sun until 1956. Okay, that was a joke. It was 1543 and the discovery was made by Nicky Copernicus. Why didn’t we know that fact sooner? Our egos led us to believe we were the center of the universe. We are not. Science and nature easily prove just how dense we are. Evidence of that? How about a global pandemic that has already killed 2.8 million human beings?

My greatest hope is this insane pandemic will teach us a major lesson. Our national healthcare system sucks and we need more doctors, more nurses and more hospitals. We also must make greater investments in research and science. I am NOT for the government taking over corporations, capitalism is the best motivation for most, but we must be ready next time. Not for me and those in my demographic but for our kids and grandkids. When people with no cars are forced to travel 25, 50 or 100 miles to get a Covid shot we are failing our own people. As for the state of Florida, maybe its citizens will learn that a defensive, argumentative and politically motivated governor is bad juju during health and environmental crises. DeSantis wastes most of his time defending himself. Maybe he should stop making bad decisions.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

GEORGIA ON MY MIND

The Party Puppet: Brian Kemp

I have read all 98 pages of the new Georgia Law with the hefty title of “Election Integrity Act of 2021.” When words like “Integrity” or “Affordable” appear in the title of a law, one might be tempted to ask if that’s true. Today we’ll look at some of the fuss around this new Georgia voting law that one side calls a good move and the other side decries as the return of “Jim Crow” laws.

Let’s start with the bill’s preamble. The writers claim that this bill addresses problems with voting in Georgia. They start with this, “Following the 2018 and 2020 elections, there was a significant lack of confidence in Georgia election systems, with many electors concerned about allegations of rampant voter suppression and many electors concerned about allegations of rampant voter fraud.” That statement is true.

GA Gov. Brian Kemp

What makes this opening so remarkable is that from 2010 to 2018, Brian Kemp, the current Governor of Georgia, was the Secretary of State, the person in charge of elections. Stacey Abrams, the woman who ran against Kemp for Governor in the fall of 2018, claimed that voter suppression ran wild under Kemp. Is this new law correcting the things Kemp got away with or is it a wink and a nod to former president Donald Trump? Would an entire state legislature do this much work just to make Trump’s claim of voter fraud seem more real?

There are three things in play,1. There was a need to reform, clarify and codify various rules and regulations on elections that have been murky for years, 2. The realization that there were too many independent voting methods being used in Georgia’s 159 counties and 3. The state is getting bad publicity with long lines at polling places in the African American communities and appearing to cater to rich, white neighborhoods. By the way, Pennsylvania has a population of 12.8 million people in 67 counties. Maybe Georgia with its 10 million population should consider consolidating their 159 counties into a more manageable structure.

One aspect of the reform makes sense. Georgia has difficulty counting the ballots because each county has different procedures and abilities. Governor Kemp seems to be a spacey kind of guy without a profound understanding of many issues. In April of 2020 he admitted to just learning that asymptomatic people can spread coronavirus, a well-known fact that was discussed on the Coronavirus Task Force conference calls much earlier. He exclaimed surprise by saying, “This is a game changer for us!” and then he announced a shelter-in-place order in the state. He was also one of the first governors to reopen his state right before the big Covid spike.

Voting laws in Georgia after the Civil War were shaped around the dark dogma of segregation. When I moved to Georgia in 1977 and visited Stone Mountain Park, the main building still had segregated restrooms, a remnant of policies before the “Recent Unpleasantness,” as the Civil War was called. The building has since been remodeled but the carved stone faces of Confederate leaders sitting on their stone horses constantly stare down at people of all races.

Most people who follow politics were shocked when Georgia elected a Democratic president in 2020. A voting procedure was put in place to thwart the possibility that one African American candidate running against many white candidates could not “sneak in” with less than 50% of the votes. Once it boiled down to two candidates, the white one usually won. That rule backfired in 2020 when both US Senate races for Georgia were settled in runoff elections and each was won by a Democrat with one of them becoming the first Black Senator of Georgia. Interestingly, that 50% rule was not cast out in the new Election Integrity Act. One would think it would be tossed because without it the Republicans would have maintained at least one Senate seat.

Senators Warnock & Ossoff

It’s not just bloggers and frothing at the mouth liberals who are against Georgia’s new law. Civil rights groups, including the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, Common Cause, and the Georgia NAACP have filed federal lawsuits charging that the law’s provisions violate the Voting Rights Act as well as the 14th and 15th Amendments.

Reading between the long lines of the new law, like the long lines at the polls, shows why Brian Kemp’s rollout of this bill was a terrible attempt at leadership and a stellar example of poor communication. Here are some key points.

The bill requires early voting from 9 AM to 5 PM from Monday to Friday but gives counties the option to open as early as 7 AM and close as late as 7 PM. Counties must hold two Saturdays of early voting from 9 AM to 5 PM and they have the option to hold early voting on one or both Sundays during the period. So, the harsh statement that the law ends Sunday voting is incorrect, BUT a county can prohibit Sunday voting and the state can do nothing about it. Not good.

Here’s one that might get some questions thrown at Kemp. Georgia previously conducted identity verification by comparing a voter’s signature on their ballot envelope or absentee voter application with a signature on file. Voters will now need to provide their driver’s license or state ID card when applying for an absentee ballot and provide one of those identifiers or the last four digits of their Social Security number to verify their ballot. The state already requires voters to show a photo ID to vote in-person. Could DNA and fingerprint matching be next? Brian Kemp said he would provide photo IDs for any resident of the state for FREE! Whoopee!

Legislators shortened the window to request an absentee ballot. Voters can now request an absentee ballot starting eleven weeks before the election and ending eleven days before the election. This seems reasonable, but I found this little gem in the lines of text, “A blank application for an absentee ballot shall be made available online by the Secretary of State and each election superintendent and registrar, but neither the Secretary of State, election superintendent, board of registrars, other governmental entity, nor employee or agent thereof shall send absentee ballot applications directly to any elector except upon request of such elector or a relative authorized to request an absentee ballot for such elector.” In other words, the action of mailing an application for an absentee ballot, a great way to promote voting, is now against the law. This was one of Donald Trump’s big complaints. Why don’t they set up a voter registration kiosk at every US Postal Service office, you know, before they close them? And while they’re at it offer Covid vaccines too!

Another provision of the new Georgia law that angers many Americans is this, “No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector, nor shall any person solicit signatures for any petition, nor shall any person, other than election officials discharging their duties, establish or set up any tables or booths on any day in which ballots are being cast: (1) Within 150 feet of the outer edge of any building within which a polling place is established; (2) Within any polling place; or (3) Within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.”

For many years, a federal election law has been in place dealing with “electioneering” at voting locations and most states have at least a 100-foot restriction on campaigning within that area. This food and water prohibition when voter turnout is so great seems onerous, inhuman and cruel. It assumes the person giving the water or food is doing so for nefarious reasons. If a county cannot shorten the lines, then they should provide food and water.

The period between general elections and runoffs has been condensed from nine to four weeks, and that is probably good. Why was such a lengthy time needed previously? The act also sets more clear requirements for challenging a voter’s registration. “Ballot selfies” are banned. The law explicitly prohibits voters from taking a photo of voting machines or their absentee ballot. The state will also set up a voter intimidation hotline, which is good because groups of TRUMPERS were present at many polling locations. Some provisional ballots will have new restrictions. Georgia constantly purges their voter rolls and there have been cases of voters incorrectly thinking they were registered but being asked to use a provisional ballot. I have no idea if those are even counted.

Here’s the worst part of this new law. Trump couldn’t get Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to cheat for him, and Brian Kemp said he had no power over the Secretary’s role, so they have changed the structure of their government. The bill demotes the secretary of state from chairing the State Election Board, with the legislature now appointing a “nonpartisan chair” of the five-person board. The Georgia Secretary of State will be a non-voting, ex-officio member. Yes, my friends, the Republicans, you know, they guys who preach “let’s not make the government bigger” just added another layer to government.

It’s clearly a head-up-their-collective-asses move that could come back to more than haunt them. The legislature has the power to fire any chairperson of the State Election Board they disagree with, even if it involves their own election bid. When you use the word “non-partisan” and then codify “conflict of interest,” you end ethics oversight. Why would Brian Kemp participate in weakening the power of the executive branch of government? Is he a true constitutionalist or a saboteur? Seriously, what would keep the legislature from dismissing the chair of the Georgia Election Board, getting rid of all its members, decreeing the election for whoever they want and stealing a victory from the jaws of defeat? Nothing!

Georgia will now have separate Democratic and Republican primaries for special elections and that’s the right thing to do. Independent candidates who wish to send out absentee ballot applications to voters must clearly state that the application is not coming from a government office and is not a ballot. They are also prohibited from sending applications to voters who have already requested a ballot on their own or who have already voted absentee. So, how would a candidate know such things about a voter? Also, isn’t mailing an application against the law?

Not everything in this law is bad, but you must read through a lot of bullshit to uncover its positive aspects. That makes cheering for it difficult. Brian Kemp always seems defensive and he’s a lousy salesperson. He and other Trump boys and girls like Ron DeSantis in Florida and Greg Abbot in Texas are so busy defending themselves they never smile or explain why the things they do are good for the people they represent. They carry forward the grievance philosophy of telling us how bad things are and then make them worse by idiotic laws such as prohibiting food and water for voters. They care more about telling voters what they can’t do while not giving a hoot about saving voters lives by mandating mask wearing. They’re more like nuns than leaders. Away with that wooden ruler, Mr. Kemp, just make it easier to vote!

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

 

PEOPLE IN GLASS HOUSES

Should We Take Matt Gaetz Seriously?

I have always disliked two kinds of people. One is a person who relishes kicking a guy when he’s down and the other is a person who has inherited his affluence and power and misuses them to abuse people. I am not describing Donald John Trump, although he is guilty as charged, I am talking about the Representative of the Congressional 1st District of Florida, Matt Gaetz.

A while ago I suggested here that we should use the popular “cancel culture” to cast off young Matthew, but ultimately decided that was a foolish idea because it would probably give us another like Marjorie Taylor Greene. But let’s focus on Rep. Gaetz and who he is.

Gaetz was born in Hollywood, Florida in 1982, making him 38 years of age. He grew up in a house that was used in the film The Truman Show. As of 2018, his parents still lived in that Seaside, Florida house. A sign on their white picket fence reads, “the Truman house” but it has nothing to do with Harry Truman.

How did Matt get so powerful so fast? Well, that’s where his father Don Gaetz comes in. See, old Don was immensely powerful in Florida politics. He served in the Florida Legislature from 2006 to 2014 and during some of those years he was the President of the Florida Senate. Don sent his son to Florida State for a B.S. degree, then Matthew attended the College of William and Mary where he got a law degree.

Young Gaetz worked at a law firm in Fort Walton Beach, Florida which is near his home in Pensacola. His old man groomed him for the family business and Matt started his political career at age 25. He represented the 4th district in the Florida House of Representatives from 2010 to 2016, when he was elected to the US House of Representatives, where he’s been reelected two times since.

Gaetz became a supreme Donald Trump fanboy. Documentaries have shown him calling Trump at all times of the night and day to give him pep talks, advice and major ego stroking. I’ve always viewed the Trump/Matt relationship as a father/son situation. Remember, Matt’s father’s name is Donald and, while I am not a shrink, I think Matthew’s desire and efforts to please the Donald would be a great topic for a psyche class term paper.

When US Representative Liz Cheney voted to impeach Donald Trump, Matt felt he needed to protect his father, ah, I mean, his “president.” Gaetz traveled to Wyoming to be part of an Anti-Liz Cheney event and a small part of my brain whispered, “He better be careful.” You see, Liz Cheney’s father is the Dick, as in Dick Cheney, who has a soft spot for his daughter and will protect her in all ways at every turn. Now here’s a quick backstory. Not only was Dick Cheney, George W. Bush’s VP, but for years he ran the CIA and then worked for Haliburton. He’s the best example of a “deep state” you could find in America.

In a statement sent to Insider, Matt Gaetz’ office said that, “Over the past several weeks, my family and I have been victims of an organized criminal extortion involving a former DOJ official seeking $25 million while threatening to smear my name. We have been cooperating with federal authorities in this matter and my father has even been wearing a wire at the FBI’s direction to catch these criminals.” Okay, so Mr. Gaetz confirmed the investigation but deflected to a claim of extortion. First, if he’s involved in some kind of sting operation why the hell is he talking about it?

Next, he’s going on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show to explain things? I’ll get to Tucker, but let’s back up a bit. Matt Gaetz is no stranger to controversy. Remember that he wore a gasmask in Congress to poke fun at Covid-19. There have also been some ethics inquiries into him.

In June 2020, following an argument with then-Representative Cedric Richmond, Gaetz said he had been living with a 19-year-old immigrant from Cuba, Nestor Galbán, since Galbán was 12 and he considers Nestor to be his son. Later he clarified that Galbán is the brother of an ex-girlfriend and that Galbán spends time with his sister, with Gaetz’ family and with Gaetz. In 2017, Gaetz called Galbán “my helper.”

In December 2020, Gaetz announced his engagement to his girlfriend Ginger Luckey. She’s the sister of major Republican donor Palmer Luckey, who was the founder of Oculus, a virtual reality company. So, punk, are you feeling lucky? December 2020 is also when the probe by the William Barr Department of Justice was opened into Gaetz, who allegedly had sex with a minor and engaged in sex-trafficking. He admitted on Tucker Carlson’s show that he flew a young lady to Washington.

Here’s another tidbit from USA Today. In late 2017 Gaetz was the only member of the House to vote against a bill allowing the Department of Transportation to assist in combating human trafficking. Gaetz argued that he was against expansion of the federal government, which seems like a lame reason to me.

Tucker & Gaetz

Now here’s where today’s news gets weird. According to the Washington Post, Gaetz said to Tucker Carlson, “You and I went to dinner about two years ago, your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her.” Matthew connected that friend to an ongoing Justice Department investigation saying that the woman had been “threatened by the FBI” and told “she could face trouble” if she didn’t confess to authorities that Gaetz was involved in a “pay-for-play scheme.” I don’t know how many FBI questioning sessions Mr. Gaetz is aware of, but generally the agents give you a standard warning that if you lie to an FBI agent it can be used against you in court.

Then, live on-air, Carlson took on an appearance of stunned astonishment and said, “I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly.” At the end of Matt’s appearance Carlson seemed to distance himself from the Gaetz tale by saying, “That was one of the weirdest interviews I’ve ever conducted.” Okay, Carlson didn’t want to be used, how rare for him.

Something is going on with Gaetz. He’s been alienated by many of the old guard Republicans in Congress, even though they won’t publicly admit it, and several news outlets are reporting that Gaetz has expressed doubts about seeking reelection in 2022. The word on the street is he’s considering a job at the conservative media outlet Newsmax, which would be a good landing if this investigation doesn’t lead to charges.

I live in Florida and have little to no respect for Matt Gaetz. He seems to be a pathological liar, just like his hero Trump, and I cannot understand why anyone would take him seriously. The problem with “made men” and what we used to call “lucky sperm” in business is that Daddy can protect for only so long and their assumed power can be taken away at any time, especially after making a big mistake. We need to know more about Gaetz’ relationship with Nestor Galbán and we certainly should hear from the 17 year-old young woman. I’m not out to cancel Matt Gaetz. I just want him to be honest and transparent, you know, like the glass house he lives in.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU?

Horrendous 2020 Hindsight: Painful Pandemic Truth

Like many Americans, I woke up to news coverage about last night’s CNN documentary with interviews of the pandemic doctors. The hundreds of thousands of citizens whose deaths from Covid-19 could have been avoided are owed national and political accountability, but the polarization of America that exacerbated the pandemic threatens to deprive them of their due.

Dr. Deborah Birx gave us a haunting admission that the death toll would have been substantially reduced if not for the negligent management of the pandemic by former President Donald Trump. His willingness to put economic and political goals above science and the public’s wellbeing added to the death toll.

I am sure Debra Birx is a nice person. She certainly has a wealth of knowledge on healthcare, medicine and viruses, but I’m not ready to name the wing of a hospital after her or erect a scarved statue in her honor. Pardon me, but I need to get some things off my chest here so I can move on from Monday morning quarterbacking.

First, let’s review this famous Donald Trump monologue, “I see disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside, or almost a cleaning. Because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that. So, you’re going to have to use medical doctors, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see. But the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute, that’s pretty powerful.” The President continued, “And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute. One minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning? So, it’d be interesting to check that [out]. Then he pointed to his head and delivered the disclaimer, of sorts, “I’m not a doctor. But I’m, like, a person that has a good you-know-what.”

While this “riff,” which is how Trump translator Jason Miller described it, was underway, we saw Dr. Debra Birx sitting uncomfortably a few feet off to the side of Trump, looking as if she were holding in a large, gaseous explosion and saying nothing. Not one word. She could have jumped to her feet, walked to the microphone and warned people not to drink bleach or try to put a light down their throats, but she didn’t.

There are some who attempt to justify her inaction by saying, “Hey, if she would have done that, she would have been fired and things could have gotten worse.” Well, they did get worse. Trump hired a quack named Dr. Scott Atlas who convinced our feckless leader that things with the virus weren’t all that bad and herd immunity would just take the problem away. Atlas is more a murderer than a doctor and his license should be revoked. Atlas never explained to Trump that trying herd immunity before we had a vaccine would be a death sentence to hundreds of thousands of people with underlying health conditions, and that is exactly what happened. It wasn’t until Atlas received condemnation from the medical community that he “clarified” his position on herd immunity.

Why Was This Man Talking?

Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and anyone with half a brain knew that Atlas was a destructive force on the Coronavirus Task Force, but no one had the guts to rebuke the President. The CNN program dramatically solidified the truth. Our country was seriously harmed by Trump’s actions and inactions, particularly his silencing of Dr. Fauci and pushing him away from the public messaging. Trump’s disjointed “riff” revealed he didn’t have a clue what he was talking about, but no one countered or silenced him.

It was never a joke, it was never just a “little flu” and it certainly would not “go away one day, like a miracle.” How could anyone continue to support this madman’s claims about anything? The “miracle” for America is that Trump finally went away.

Dr. Birx, people are weak and easily intimidated. I get that. When Trump turned against you, it wasn’t by a termination memo on a Friday afternoon and a security escort to your car in the parking lot. Be thankful that delirious Donald didn’t take to Twitter, saying you were “persona non grata,” and all the Trumpers, who have no idea what the term even means, would start the berating and death threats. If your role in life is to help people medically and do no harm, your silence on Trump’s outrageous statements demonstrate that you are not worthy of praise and perhaps your position.

This from CNN, “And while critics may fault her for not speaking out when she was in government, her comments come across as an attempt to precipitate a reckoning that can provide lessons on how the US can perform more effectively in a future pandemic. ‘In the post-mortem, we have to come out of this and learn how to do it better, the next time,’ Birx said.” Great, yeah, so that’s the big lesson? REALLY?

I’ll try to be fair right now as I slam into my keyboard the two large lessons I’ve learned. 1. Either do your job and speak up to power or get the hell out of the way and, 2. Stop this self-reputation saving tour and just go away. Harsh, yes, but I don’t even want to hear her name. When I do, I see this.

The Moment of Truth

I know now she was deeply torn and frustrated at that moment, but she could have called a press conference a few hours later to announce she was resigning because she believed the President was making things worse. She could have stated clearly that Donald Trump has no credibility giving advice on a global pandemic or any other medical matter. She could have gone out with a bang and perhaps saved some lives. Sorry, but death is not a fixable problem.

I guess it’s time to push this into the folder that also contains, “We knew the Japanese would attack, we just didn’t know where.” And this gem, “Had we only coordinated between the CIA and FBI we could have prevented 9-11.” Or this frightening truth, “We knew Lee Harvey Oswald was in Dallas, we just lost track of him.” I am not making any of that up.

We knew it was bad, Trump knew it was bad and admitted same to Bob Woodward. We heard him say it on a recoding, but too many people went along with his “Hydroxychloroquine” miracle cure bullshit when every major person involved in the science knew it was not a cure and would do little to help anyone. When I see that ten-foot flag on the pickup truck in Florida screaming FUCK BIDEN, I know that’s something Birx would never have said about Trump, but she should have. There’s one big lesson in all of this. The next time you have a global pandemic, make sure the person in charge isn’t an idiot.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

THE REBIRTH OF TRUTH

Fake Bipartisanship or Real Possibilities?

Politics has always been a game within a game. Congresspeople constantly lie with no consequences other than being censured, thrown off committees, or shunned, all about equal to being sent to the timeout chair. Regardless of whatever turmoil and havoc they may reap, they cannot be sued. They may attempt to hide their lies by saying they are only “asking questions” or that their comments are protected by the First Amendment. Okay.

Then there’s real life with potential consequences for lying. When a person publicly lies about a company or a person and the accused is then harmed by the false information, especially if it affects their livelihood, they can seek damages in court. It was not surprising we learned of another lawsuit being filed against people who for weeks stated that the 2020 election was rigged and that two companies conspired to cause the election loss of Donald John Trump. Those lies hurt both of the businesses and they are not about to take the damaging lies lying down.

According to CNBC, Legal experts say that Dominion’s and Smartmatic’s defamation cases against Trump backers are credible. While the voting system makers have asked for billions of dollars in damages, those figures could change dramatically as the cases unfold. Both companies’ cases against Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell may prove more straightforward than Smartmatic’s suit against Fox News, which has claimed that it was just “covering the news,” but this morning another lawsuit was delivered to Fox News. See the Sydney Powell lawsuit here: gov.uscourts.dcd.225699.22.2-3

Dominion Voting Systems has filed a $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News, arguing that, in an effort to boost faltering ratings, the cable news giant falsely claimed that the voting company had rigged the 2020 election. This was reported in a USA Today story.

The News Corporation is the company that owns Fox News, and I assume they will defend against the lawsuit by saying that Trump and his minions made a public claim that they were merely “covering the news” related to that. Sure, they may have reported on the more than fifty lawsuits that Trump and his campaign had lost challenging the results of the election, but the greater number of stories they ran on the voter fraud claim certainly exceeded the boundaries of fair and balanced coverage.

I suppose Fox could argue in court the difference between the “news” part of their channel and the “entertainment” or “opinion” hosts who anchor at night, but their overarching purpose is right there in their name, Fox News. They promote themselves as a news source and that implies professional journalistic traditions, reasonable sourcing and comprehensive investigating before airing allegations of fraud. I’m sure the Fox News lawyers had a bad day when they heard this next item reported by NBC News.

Ex-Trump attorney Sidney Powell’s weekslong campaign to invalidate the results of the 2020 election was not based in fact, her lawyers said, “No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact.” Here’s where I must make the obligatory statement that I am not an attorney, but I have played one on YouTube videos, and this sounds like total bullshit.

Should Ms. Powell echo this defense under oath, she is either saying that she was lying all along and knew she was lying, therefore, her words pulled a major news network into the fraud of saying there was a fraud, or she’s saying that the people owning, managing and running Fox News are so stupid they were easily manipulated into believing the lies. If Fox owned a licensed, over-the-air TV or radio station in the US, they could easily be challenged and made to relinquish their license to a more responsible broadcaster. Cable channels are not licensed so they face no such jeopardy.

It’s juries, judges and legal scholars, not politicians, who are piloting the rebirth of truth in America. We are watchful when a case goes to court, especially the highest court, but once the Supremes speak there is no further recourse. If all their lawsuits are won in court, the combined payout to Dominion Voting Systems and Smartmatic could amount to more than $5 billion. Fox News will surely settle out of court, but for Ms. Powell and Rudy Giuliani, judgements against them could mean bankruptcy and disbarment. Sydney Powell’s admission of continuously repeating a false claim means certain disbarment.

Some people see defending the Constitution and protecting the integrity of the election process in this country as a bipartisan cause, but that is not at all correct. By their actions of introducing and passing measures in state legislatures that can best be called voter suppression, it’s clear that Republicans are running scared. Because they lost so many contests, like the House, the Senate and the White House, they are trying to “fix” their election problems by making it harder for Democrats and older Black Americans to vote. In clear daylight, they are trying to turn off the lights by disenfranchising voters right and left.

Maybe Sydney and Rudy can just say they were hired guns and they believed what their client, Donald Trump, was telling them and we’ve covered that matter on these pages in the past. An attorney cannot knowingly lie in court, even if their client assures them it’s the truth. Whenever a lawyer admits to knowing they were lying, they’re in trouble. After the fiasco news conference when Ms. Powell lied about fraud within the voting machine companies without offering evidence of her claims, the Trump people put out a statement saying she was no longer “officially” on the Trump legal team but would be working independently. Okay, I’m not sure what that status means, but she never stopped with the lies.

Sydney Powel is finished as a lawyer. Exercising my First Amendment rights, I’ll add that she’s a damn shitty attorney and anti-American zealot with no moral grounding. Rudy Giuliani is a washed-up, blathering old fool with a misguided view of justice, the law and truth. The legal profession should expel them both and clean up the craft.

American Protest

Some people in this country believe that everything is rigged, but such misinformation can be slowly dissolved with sharp reporting presented with clarity and facts. Things change quickly, Andrew Cuomo was a kind of hero at the beginning of the pandemic, now he has been brought down to size by the truth. I don’t care what party he represents, he’s a pig and a liar, “Out, damn spot.”

Slowly but surely people are starting to realize that Donald Trump lied all the time and was instrumental in the loss of lives during the Capitol Hill insurrection. Today, Trump went on TV and said the people from his rally were met with open arms by the Capital Police force. No one pushed back to challenge him about the loss of life caused by the riots. If Fox News, One America News Network and Newsmax fail to provide truthful journalism, they must pay a price.

Book for the Recovery – Build Back Better!

How to Hire Great People: Tips, Tricks and Templates for Success

Great companies hire great people. This short, easy-to-read book will help you recruit, review and refocus your new workers into the style and culture of your company. Motivating people to do great work will manage turnover and keeping good workers at your company will maintain your success. Employee inspiration makes a positive difference in our competitive world. HOW TO HIRE GREAT PEOPLE covers everything, including testing, training, tricks and tips. Follow this guide and you’ll assemble strong teams with smart workers, and you’ll learn some time-tested techniques about how to keep them.

Kindle and Paperback Click Here

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

 

THEATER OF WAR & POLITICS

The Modus Operandi of the Mindless Robot

The games being played by Congress are getting more tired and worn. The gamesmanship is so obvious, and their approval rating continues to plunge. The use of the word “theater” or if you are in a blue state “theatre,” has been used dozens of times within the last week, a week that brought the violent deaths of eighteen people by an automatic weapon in the hands of a crazy person. Republicans use the term “theater” to describe the Democrats’ position on mask wearing and gun control. Why do the Republicans push back on ideas to keep us safer?

We’ve all heard the term theater of war, but where does it come from? In his book On War, Carl von Clausewitz defines the term Kriegstheater, which is old Latin for theatrum belli. Mr. von Clausewitz writes, “If the enemy’s forces are collected in one army upon one theatre of war, they constitute in reality a unity, and we need not inquire further; if they are upon one theatre of war, but in separate armies, which belong to different Powers, there is no longer absolute unity; there is, however, a sufficient interdependence.” And just like a theatrical stage play, there is always a protagonist and antagonist.

Theater of Guns & Politics

When Judiciary Committee Member Senator Ted Cruz complained about the Democrats bringing forth a discussion on gun control as the same “theater” they engage in after each mass shooting, he was the pot calling the kettle black. If the other side in the play is the protagonist, then Cruz must be the antagonist, meaning that he is solidly against gun control and believes there is nothing that can be done to solve the problem of mass shootings. In fact, he directly said gun control cannot stop mass shootings. So, there is the hill where he wishes to die.

Should more weaponry be a part of the next insurrection, perhaps that hill will be the fate of some representatives and senators. It’s been well established that people in Congress get millions of dollars from the National Rifle Association (NRA), and they are proud of the ratings they get from that lobbyist. Their votes against gun control have been purchased by Wayne LaPierre, an allegedly corrupt, self-serving administrator of the NRA slush fund.

In short, members give money to the NRA and Wayne spends the money however he likes. According to BradyUnited.org, Ted Cruz took only $176,274, but the list of recipients is a who’s who in the Republican force against gun control. Just take a look. Mitt Romney grabbed $13,647,676, Richard Burr (NC) snagged $6,987,380, Roy Blunt (MO) received $4,555,722, Thom Tillis (NC) netted $4,421,333, Cory Gardner (CO) snagged $3,939,199, Marco Rubio (FL) pocketed $3,303,355 and the list goes on.

If this is theater, then it’s a lavish production funded by the NRA, and gun control will never become a reality unless the money gets cut off. Gun acquisition loopholes are continually exploited and any local initiatives to curb America’s vast appetite for fire power is always shot down by state governments and federal courts. In 2018, the city of Boulder, Colorado passed a ban on the sale and possession of assault weapons and large capacity magazines, but earlier this month, a state district court judge blocked the city from enforcing its ban. Just six days before an angry man entered a supermarket in Boulder and killed ten people, he bought an automatic weapon, but wait, that doesn’t matter.

The reason it doesn’t matter is because the alleged shooter is not from Boulder, he lives in a suburb of Denver some twenty miles away. Without a federal mandated ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, we will never succeed in this theater of war. Without a weapons turn-in program, we will never get the millions of assault weapons off the street. And here is another tidbit of truth for you, militant African Americans also do not want the government to take away their high-powered weapons. Wow, the radical members of Black Lives Matter and the white supremacist militias agree with Ted Cruz.

After a mass shooting and inaction by leaders, Black rapper Killer Mike tweeted this, “I told my kids on the school walkout, I love you, if you walkout that school, walkout my house…we are not a family that jumps on every single thing an ally of ours does because some stuff we just don’t agree with.” In other words, as long as the enemies of the African American community have guns, he wants people of color to be able to defend themselves.

Gun and ammunition sales skyrocketed when Obama was elected President. Paranoid conspiracy theorists believed that the first Black president would take away all their guns. Their opinion was illogical, but they fear any action to control the sale and use of firearms. The NRA has always been against a national registry of guns, and the organization has instituted so few safety policies and programs they have abandoned their original cause of rifle and gun safety.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Republicans like Josh Hawley, who took $1,391,548 from the NRA, suggest that Democrats are performing a theatrical routine to make people believe they care about gun safety, when many of them own guns and would never turn their backs on the Second Amendment. While that might be true, I have a suggestion.

Would it make sense to rewrite the Second Amendment and update it for today’s modern America? The words in the present text are, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” but is that applicable to life in 2021?

First, what is this “militia” in the Second Amendment? Back then, the US was up against the well-trained and equipped army of the British government. The early American leaders didn’t want and couldn’t afford a full-time army, so the president would sometimes call on state leaders to form a local fighting team, a militia, to take on the latest uprising from either native populations or British funded Canadian troops who wanted to grab some land. Because only Congress had the power to declare and fund a war it was easier and faster for the “Commander in Chief” to make the locals do the work, and thanks to the Second Amendment, weapons were always available. The Second Amendment also says, “well regulated,” and I contend that President Donald John Trump had the power to call off the Capitol Hill insurrection just by saying STOP. If he had done so, and the rioters didn’t stop, they would be traitors and seditionists who could have been shot by the United States Army.

I believe this is the part of the Second Amendment that needs to be changed, “…the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It should say, “the licensed right of people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” There are many precedents. I need a license to drive, hunt, fish, sell real estate, use software, use a trademark, use a song, practice law, sell alcohol, fly a plane, practice medicine, import goods, export goods, build a house, run a pub, breed dogs, get married, operate a forklift and practice medicine, just to name a few. So, why not require a gun owner’s license that must be renewed at reasonable intervals? The states could write the End Users License Agreement, but the registration would be national.

So, pipe dream or good idea?

EVERYTHING WAS PREDICTED IN THE BOOK… PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON AND READ: 

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.

QAnon followers can pay twice the price.

HERE WE GO AGAIN

America’s Unsolvable Problem

 Why are so many of us killed by guns? First this fact, Americans own more than 393 million guns, ranking the US number one in firearms per capita. We have enough firearms for everyone, including children to own one of their own.

Our politicians haven’t done a thing to stop mass shootings. Is it too complex for them to figure out? There’s a United States of America law that protects the right of people to own guns, and some of those people guard their right with the lives of your friends, your kids and yourself.

Let’s start with a timeline since 2000:

Dec. 26, 2000 —Wakefield, Massachusetts

Michael McDermott, 42, shot and killed seven co-workers at Edgewater Technology using several weapons, including an AK-47.

March 12, 2005 —Brookefield, Wisconsin

Terry Ratzmann, 44, shot and killed seven members of the Living Church of God at a Sheraton hotel with a 9mm handgun before committing suicide.

March 21, 2005 —Red Lake, Minnesota

Jeffrey Weise, 16, shot and killed 10 people before turning the gun on himself, including his grandfather and a police officer, using several weapons, including a 12-gauge shotgun.

Jan. 30, 2006 —Goleta, California

Former postal worker Jennifer San Marco, 44, shot and killed seven people, including several former coworkers, and herself.

Oct. 2, 2006 —Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Charles Carl Roberts IV shot and killed five female students inside an Amish schoolhouse using several weapons before committing suicide.

Feb. 12, 2007 —Salt Lake City, Utah

Sulejman Talovic, 18, killed five people at Trolley Square Mall with two weapons before he was shot and killed by police.

April 16, 2007 —Blacksburg, Virginia

College student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech with two weapons before taking his own life.

Oct. 7, 2007 —Crandon, Wisconsin

Sheriff’s deputy Tyler Peterson, 20, shot and killed six people at a post-Homecoming party in an apartment before committing suicide. He used a semiautomatic rifle.

Dec. 5, 2007 —Omaha, Nebraska

Robert A. Hawkins killed eight people and himself using a semiautomatic rifle after entering the Westroads Mall.

Feb. 2, 2008 —Kirkwood, Missouri

Charles Lee Thornton, 52, entered a public city council meeting and shot and killed five people with two handguns before he was shot and killed by police.

Feb. 14, 2008 —Dekalb, Ilinois

Steven Kazmierczak, 27, shot and killed five people on the campus of Northern Illinois University with several semiautomatic weapons before killing himself.

June 25, 2008 —Henderson, Kentucky

Wesley Neal Higdon, 25, killed five people at Atlantis Plastics Factory with a semiautomatic weapon before taking his own life.

April 3, 2009 —Binghamton, New York

Jiverly Antares Wong, a 41-year-old naturalized American citizen from Vietnam, shot and killed 14 people at the American Civic Association with two weapons before killing himself.

August 3, 2010 — Manchester, Connecticut

Omar Thorton, 34, entered a warehouse owned by his former employer, Hartford Distributors, and shot and killed eight people with two semiautomatic weapons before committing suicide.

Sept. 6, 2011 —Carson City, Nevada

Eduardo Sencion, 32, opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle in an IHOP restaurant, killing four people and himself.

July 20, 2012 —Aurora, Colorado

James Holmes, 25, shot and killed 12 people in a movie theater during the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” using several weapons, including a semiautomatic rifle.

Aug. 5, 2012 —Oak Creek, Wisconsin

Wade Michael Page, 40, killed four people with a semiautomatic weapon inside a Sikh temple before turning the gun on himself.

Dec. 14, 2012 —Newtown, Connecticut

Adam Lanza, 20, shot and killed his mother and 26 people inside Sandy Hook Elementary School before turning the gun on himself.

March 13, 2013 —Herkimer, New York

Kurt Meyers, 64, killed four people at a car wash and barbershop with a shotgun before he was shot and killed by police.

Sept. 16, 2013 —Washington, D.C.

Aaron Alexis, 34, shot and killed 12 people inside the Washington Navy Yard with a 12-gauge shotgun before he was shot and killed by police.

June 7, 2013 —Santa Monica, California

John Zawahri, 23, opened fire in a home and later at the campus of Santa Monica College, killing five people with a semiautomatic rifle. He was killed during a shootout with police.

July 26, 2013 —Hialeah, Florida

Pedro Alberto Vargas, 42, shot and killed six people with a semiautomatic weapon in his apartment complex before setting fire to his own apartment. He was shot and killed by a SWAT team.

September 14, 2014— Bell, Florida

Don C. Spirit, 51, shot and killed his granddaughter and six grandchildren before turning the gun on himself.

May 17, 2015— Waco, Texas

Rival motorcycle gangs kill nine at a restaurant in Waco, Texas. There were over 170 arrests made after the incident.

June 17, 2015 — Charleston, S.C.

Dylann Roof, 21, walks into a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina and kills nine people.

Oct. 1, 2015—Roseburg, OR.

Christopher Harper-Mercer enters Umpqua Community College in southwest Oregon opens fire and kills nine, wounding seven others before police shot him to death.

November 27, 2015— Colorado Springs, Colorado

Robert Lewis Dear storms in a Planned Parenthood health clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado and kills three people and wounding nine.

December 2, 2015— San Bernardino, California

A man and a woman walk into a holiday party both armed with assault weapons and kill 14 people and wounding 17 others.

June 12, 2016 — Orlando, Florida

Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, 29, killed 49 people and injured 53 at Pulse – a popular gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. President Barack Obama described the horrific event as an “act of terror and hate.”

October 1, 2017 — Las Vegas, Nevada

Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel during a country music concert located at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing more than 50 people and injuring about 200 others.

November 5, 2017 — Sutherland Springs, Texas

Devin Patrick Kelley, 26 entered First Baptist Church during in Sutherland Springs, Texas during service, killing at least 26 people and wounding at least 20.

February 14, 2018 — Parkland, Florida

Nikolas Cruz, a 19-year-old former student at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida walked into the school, and killed 17 students, according to federal officials before taken into police custody.

April 22, 2018 — Nashville, Tennessee

Travis Reinking, a 29-year-old man opened fire at a Waffle House restaurant in Antioch, Nashville, killing four people and wounding two. An AR-15 rifle was found at the scene.

May 18, 1018 — Santa Fe, Texas

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, walked into Santa Fe High School and opened fire, killing at least eight people including fellow students. According to Reuters, the male student entered the school around 8 a.m.

June 28, 2018. — Annapolis, Maryland

At least five people were killed at The Capital newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland. Police and witnesses say the suspected gunman was taken into police custody around 5 p.m. EST.

August 26, 2018 — Jacksonville, Florida

David Katz, 24, was attending a Madden NFL 19 video game tournament and opened fire with two handguns, killing two, injuring 10, before turning the gun on himself.

October 27, 2018 — Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Robert D. Bowers walked into the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue shouting anti-Semitic slurs, opened fire and killed 11 people using an AR-15-style assault rifle.

November 7, 2018 — Thousand Oaks, California

A man dressed in all black and carrying a handgun opened fire inside the Borderline Bar & Grill, a country and western dance hall located in Thousand Oaks, California, killing at least 12 people including a sheriff’s deputy who arrived at the scene to provide assistance.

February 15, 2019 — Aurora, Illinois

Gary Martin, a 45-year-old factory worker killed five people at the Henry Pratt Co. manufacturing plant in the suburbs of Chicago with a .40 caliber handgun. He was later killed by police in a shootout.

May 31, 2019 — Virginia Beach, Virginia

DeWayne Craddock, a 40-year-old civil engineer working for the Virginia Beach  Public Utilities Department, fatally killed 12 people. All but one of the people fatally killed were city workers. Craddock was shot and killed by police.

August 3, 2019 — El Paso, Texas

Patrick Crusius, 21, from Allen Texas used a rifle to shoot and kill 22 people at a Walmart located in El Paso, Texas before surrendering to police. Prior to the shooting rampage, Crusius wrote a manifesto that was found on the website 8Chan, warning Latino immigrants of danger. In documents found on 8Chan, Crusius said he was defending his country from “cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion” of Latino immigrants.

August 4, 2019 — Dayton, Ohio

A gunman, who was identified as 24-year-old Connor Betts, killed nine people and injured 27 near Ned Peppers Bar in Dayton, Ohio. Officials say the gunman was wearing body armor and used a .223-caliber rifle. The suspect was killed by police.

August 31, 2019 — Odessa, Midlad, Texas

A gunman, who was identified by police as Seth Aaron Ator, 36, was a stopped by police for a driving violation. He then fired at police officers, drove off and went on a shooting rampage, killing at least seven people and injuring 22. Officials say the recently fired gunman was shot and killed by police in front of a movie theater. Police say the gunman was using an AR-style weapon during the mass shooting.

Here is a list of all the mass shootings in 2020, which we didn’t really focus on because of Covid-19, but they are all real. READ HERE.

And that brings us to 2021, which you can see here, but let’s focus on these two for this post.

March 16, 2021 — Atlanta spa shootings

A series of mass shootings occurred at massage parlors in Atlanta and its suburb Acworth, about 30 miles away. Eight people were killed in the incidents and one person was wounded. A suspect was arrested in Crisp County, about 150 miles south of Atlanta. Authorities said he told them he was planning to continue the spree in Florida.

March 22, 2021 — Boulder Colorado Grocery Store Shootings

10 people killed, including a Boulder police officer and one was injured.

When a shooter is killed by police, we can never know why they did what they did, you know, their motive, but the damage is done. That’s a long list up there. Why did I catalogue those events? Because I want you to think about something. According to the Washington Post, “Public mass shootings are a small slice of gun deaths with ’only‘ 23 deaths in 2021 so far, but in the same time period, we’ve had 4,101gun related deaths, which excludes the roughly 22,000 annual gun suicides, which are not publicly reported in real time.”

How do we define a “mass shooting?” Once again, this excellent Washington Post article explains, “There is no universally accepted definition of a public mass shooting, and this piece defines it narrowly. It looks at the 183 shootings in which four or more people were killed, usually by a lone shooter. It does not include shootings tied to robberies that went awry, and it does not include domestic shootings that took place exclusively in private homes. A broader definition would yield much higher numbers.”

Here we go again, the dance has already begun. We will send along the requisite “thoughts and prayers” and then we will quickly move on. We see these words in our own Constitution, “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” but we ignore the “well regulated” part. Why? Probably because it’s not clear how one would regulate a militia.

So, you ask, what’s a militia? You saw one in action at Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021. That militia tried to overthrow the government. Do you think it was well regulated? How is it that 393 million guns are not controlled in any way by the US Government? Those guns do not secure a “free State,” they do nothing but create a less secure feeling among Americans. We have 72 million gunowners dictating the way 330 million people live.

Our government is incapable of changing the Second Amendment and we are impotent to cure a problem that affects and hurts millions of our citizens. Sorry, but Congress is useless, the President is powerless, and the Supreme Court is complicit. FACTS, just the facts, ma’am. Yeah, good luck thinking that any change will take place. It won’t. There is no plan to solve the problem.

EVERYTHING WAS PREDICTED IN THE BOOK… PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON AND READ: 

The book that tells it like it is…

Gold, God, Guns & Goofballs: If you only read one chapter of this book, try “Take a Knee for America” and think about our never-ending conflicts between minorities and the police. I’m not asking you to take a stand but having a deep and honest conversation about why some people think the way they do would be productive. This is a book for the moment which seeks to start a conversation about peace. And if you are worried about social media, you really should check out the chapter called “Social Media Menace.”

Get the Kindle Version HERE. Or order your paperback edition HERE.