Saying No To A Border Wall

The growing disdain and outcry over the racist and fact-less words from Donald Trump about a border wall and his emergency declaration are growing. The ones speaking out today have many educational degrees, and professional backgrounds.

A bipartisan group of 58 former senior national security officials will issue a statement Monday saying that “there is no factual basis” for President Trump’s proclamation of a national emergency to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The joint statement, whose signatories include former secretary of state Madeleine Albright and former defense secretary Chuck Hagel, will come a day before the House is expected to vote on a resolution to block Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration.

The former officials’ statement, which will be entered into the Congressional Record, is intended to support lawsuits and other actions challenging the national emergency proclamation and to force the administration to set forth the legal and factual basis for it.

“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border,” the group said.

Also signing were Eliot A. Cohen, State Department counselor under President George W. Bush; Thomas R. Pickering, President George H.W. Bush’s ambassador to the United Nations; John F. Kerry, Obama’s second secretary of state; Susan E. Rice, Obama’s national security adviser; Leon E. Panetta, Obama’s CIA director and defense secretary; as well as former intelligence and security officials who served under Republican and Democratic administrations.

Among other things, they said, illegal border crossings are at nearly 40-year lows. Undetected unlawful entries at the U.S.-Mexico border decreased from 851,000 to nearly 62,000 between 2006 and 2016, they said, citing Department of Homeland Security statistics.

Contrary to the president’s assertion, there is no documented emergency at the southern border related to terrorism or violent crime, they said, citing administration reports and independent think tank analyses.

It also needs to be noted that 23 former Republican members of congress have penned a letter, urging legislators to “pass a joint resolution terminating the emergency declared” by Trump.

Election Reform With Popular Vote Movement Gains Steam

Nationwide there are continuing efforts to make the electoral process more accountable and representative of voter’s wishes.

Democrats in Colorado and New Mexico are pushing ahead with legislation to pledge their 14 collective electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote — no matter who wins each state. The plan only goes into effect if the law passes in states representing an electoral majority. That threshold is 270 votes, which is the same number needed to win the presidency. … Proponents of the national popular vote measures have argued that it’s not political, but Republicans, who have benefited in recent elections from the Electoral College system, disagree. … So far, 11 states — including New York, California and New Jersey — have joined the effort along with the District of Columbia, putting the effort 98 votes short of its goal.

Koza said the rules are why presidential candidates only campaign in a handful of states. He recognized what might be a potential loophole in the Constitution — that while the Electoral College is in the Constitution, nothing says a candidate who wins a state has to get all of its electoral votes.

“The political power to the choose the president was basically given by the founders to the state legislatures,” Koza said. “And over the years they’ve passed different laws specifying how to allocate their state’s electoral votes.”

In fact, Maine and Nebraska do not have “winner-take-all” systems. They allocate their electoral votes to presidential candidates by congressional district, with an additional two electoral votes going to the winner of the state.

When Presidential Fever Runs Higher Than Common Sense

When reading this story it made me wonder what the Las Vegas odds-makers have to say about the chances of Bill de Blasio to sit in the Oval Office.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed a crowd here on Sunday that could have easily fit into a subway car back home, with room to spare for the people he met a night earlier on his first stop of the year in Iowa … ‘I’m certainly not ruling out a run for the presidency,’ de Blasio said after a young man finally raised the question about his White House ambitions. ‘Right now, it is a decision I have not made.’ That decision is precisely what led the mayor to speak at a union hall where 42 chairs were filled and about 10 other people were standing — more than 1,100 miles away from his own City Hall on Sunday afternoon. It followed a visit to Sioux City on Saturday night, where a couple dozen Democrats braved a blizzard to meet him at a downtown bar.

Mac Wiseman Dies At 93, Pure Voice Of Bluegrass

The great Mac Wiseman, known widely as The Voice with a Heart, died this morning in  Antioch, Tennessee.  He was 93 years of age.  One could say with accuracy there was no more distinctive singing voice in the history of bluegrass, or country music, than the one contained in this smiling man.

Wiseman’s life in music began with the appearance of bluegrass, working with Molly O’Day before joining Flatt & Scruggs after they had left Bill Monroe.  Before long, Mac also did a stint with Monroe, before launching his own career as a headliner. He found great success in his native Virginia on the Old Dominion Barn Dance in Richmond, which he worked for many years.

His music can be heard on the turntable in our Madison home on the isthmus, and in my headphones as the grass is mowed.  Simply a voice to love.

 

Oscar Night In America!

I am looking forward to see if a host does walk out from behind the curtain once the Oscars being tonight.  Whoopi Goldberg would be the perfect person as she hits all the demographics that  has caused unease about movie making over the past few years.  If no host appears it will not only be the strangest Oscar ceremony, but the worst rated one.  Ever.

I still am looking for a 3 1/2 hour show.  I like to see the pomp of Hollywood.  As a teenager in Hancock I loved to watch the Oscars, even though I had not seen the films,  There is a way with a movie star that makes them intensely interesting to watch and listen to on such a night as this.

The movies are a love of mine and this year is no different when it comes to the awards that will be given. Keep your eyes on Roma and for Best Actor Rami Malek for his role in Bohemian Rhapsody.

 

International Association Of Man Boy Love Concludes Conference At Vatican

Pope Francis closed out his extraordinary summit on preventing clergy sex abuse by vowing Sunday to confront abusers with ‘the wrath of God,’ end the cover-ups by their superiors and prioritize the victims of this ‘brazen, aggressive and destructive evil.’

And cue the yawning.  We have been here before with this crowd and their faux anger.

When I heard the news report from the Vatican it made me think of Nikita Khrushchev blustering at the UN Assembly in 1960.   Oh, the outrage!

We are now many years past the time when the Catholic Church needed to drop the facade that they are willing, or able too confront and deal with their myriad examples of pedophilia.

This weekend we learned from a German Cardinal that church files on priests who sexually abused children were destroyed or never even drawn up, a move which allowed pedophiles to prey on others.  That is nothing short of stunning.  What that news means is instead of the perpetrators being dealt with harshly it was the victims who were regulated and silenced.  (Who are the stooges who then sit in church every week and give money so some well-heeled church lawyer can work to keep the rapists behind the pulpit out of legal trouble?)

Today  190 Catholic bishops and religious superiors sat in supposed rapt attention as more abuse scandals continue to spark a credibility crisis for Catholics.   And for the Pope, too.

This blog has not been shy to call out the darkness which surrounds the Catholic Church over this issue.  There needs to be only way to address the crimes of the church, and that is through the criminal justice system.  Having old men who have groped and raped boys sent to some serene location to spend out their days is not what will stem the sickness that has infested this denomination.  Farming the molesters out to some new church so to begin anew with their crimes underscores the craven minds who operate in the Vatican

We know, as a society, who should over-see the ones who commit sex crimes.  There are many in the church who think only the clergy should regulate and punish the abusers.  To them I say, and know the majority of this nation would agree, that civil authorities must be the ones stepping in and administering the law.   Saying Hail Mary a 1,000 times for undressing a choir boy does not compute with the sense of right and wrong in this nation.

There are issues that must be tackled and addressed within the Catholic Church.  Two of them are obvious.  Women must be admitted to the priesthood.  And priests must be allowed to marry.

While pedophilia is not linked to those two measures, they would strengthen the church.  In so doing the church would have a better understanding what it means to have children and care for them.  It also needs to be understood that misogyny and abuse go hand in hand–and this church has both in truckloads.

As a result of too much darkness, lack of transparency, a bureaucratic heavy hand, and an all-male cast we have today within the Catholic Church the largest man-boy love association running a world-wide network of perversion.  And it must come to an end.

Racist White Newspaper Editor Removed In Alabama, African-American Woman In Job

God does work in mysterious ways to provide justice.

An African-American woman is now the publisher and editor of the Alabama newspaper that recently urged the Ku Klux Klan to get back into business. Crazy nut case, for sure.  But there is a refreshing and uplifting turn of events as Elecia Dexter took up the positions Thursday.

Dexter replaces Goodloe Sutton, the newspaper’s owner who penned a staggering editorial with the headline “The Klan Needs to Ride Again” in the paper’s February 14 edition.

Sutton’s editorial sparked outrage around the country.  The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication said Tuesday it has removed Sutton, an alumnus, from its Mass Communication and Journalism Hall of Fame “in light of Mr. Sutton’s recent and continued history of racist remarks”.

The paper had a sorry track record under Sutton.  A July 2016 editorial mocked President Barack Obama, calling him “the Kenyan King,” and complained about the “way uncivilized tribes in Africa still run things.”  In April, the paper ran a political cartoon that ridiculed Palestinians.

Now that angry bigoted white man is out of the editor’s chair.  He can now rightfully be placed alongside yesterday’s trash.

Will California Republicans Move Away From Trump?

The 2018 election left California Republicans in dismal shape, with no statewide officeholders, just seven of 53 U.S. House seats, less than a quarter of all state legislative seats and third-place status in voter registration behind independents and Democrats. It was so bad for the GOP in California that they lost every statewide race by more than 20 points. So where do they head now, and how do they get there?

First up a new party chairperson. With the question being does an embrace of Trump help or hurt the GOP?

The candidates are Jessica Patterson, who runs a candidate recruitment and training program; Travis Allen, a former state assemblyman and unsuccessful 2018 gubernatorial candidate; and Steve Frank, a longtime party activist.

Allen and Frank want to lean in to the president’s messaging; Patterson would prefer to focus on local issues rather than the White House.

“It’s about time we have a Republican Party that stands for our values, our ideals and supports our Republican president.” said Allen, who argues too many of the party’s candidates have become “Republican-lite,” meaning they don’t fully embrace a conservative agenda.

Patterson’s take: “We are not looking to nationalize our message here in California. We’re going to be super-focused on talking about issues that are important to Californians.”

In other words stay clear of the one who allowed for a total failure for the GOP in California in 2018.

We will know this weekend.