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Posts published in “Rainey”

Aimlessness

rainey

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way”

Just seven words. Seven one-syllable words. Words we’ve heard time and time again in many circumstances. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

For a decade or more, this country has seemed to be “off-course,” drifting aimlessly without direction. Maybe the absence of contemporary “will” has contributed to a national loss of “way.”

Think about it.

In 1941, faced with war on two sides of our circular world, this nation was called to arms by Franklin Roosevelt. He defined a need for national unity and all-out commitment to win two wars. Following that call to arms, we found the “will” and the “way” to win both in less than 48 months. Because the whole nation was focused in a definable undertaking.

In 1961, faced with Soviet successes in space, John Kennedy, following Roosevelt’s path, defined a need for the country, saying this nation would send a man to the moon in the next decade. We found the “will.” And the “way.” Again, national focus.

We did. We found the national “will” to accomplish the seemingly Herculean tasks that had been defined. We got to the moon. And beyond.

When the need was set, the “will” and the “way” followed. Successfully. Orderly. Quickly.

Forget, for a moment, all the national divisions that surround us. Ignore, temporarily, the political battles that have weakened our society. Just consider the American family. How ever it’s constituted in your world.

The pressures of keeping a family together have never been greater. More than half of American families have both parents working. Trying to keep up with the prices of groceries, health care, gas, school needs and dozens of unplanned expenses we all face. Plus, just parenting.

Many of today’s families are in single-parent households. There, those pressures are even greater as one parent tries to take the place of two while dealing with all those demands. Full time. Then some.

Nearly all of us - parents or not - have our heads down, “pedaling” as fast as we can to keep up with ever increasing demands on our time, our treasure and our talents..

At the national level, the picture seems much the same. Most of those in charge seem to have their “heads down,” trying to do everything in these demanding times to “keep up” as a nation.

Except Congress. Congress - such as it is - is hopelessly divided, producing little in ways to make our lives better. That must change.

The President sits atop a government that seems aimless as we lurch from one crisis to another. Whether it’s rampant inflation to a pandemic to national health emergencies to international calamities to gun massacres to gas prices. Trying to clean up the national mess left by the previous administration and the ever-present, day-to-day multiplying of national demands. There’s no time for leading - for setting a national course - for defining a new national goal.

“National will,” if you will.

And, that’s what seems to be missing. Some sort of national undertaking that involves us all, that unifies us working for a common goal, a goal that defines the “will” so we can be bound together finding the “way.”

Nations that lead - that prosper - almost always have some sort of national direction working at a common undertaking. It’s the sort of inspirational “glue” that binds all in a well-defined task. Like winning a war or two. Like setting goals for space achievement.

At the moment, we seem divided one from another in nearly all things. Our eyes are down - not lifted to the horizon of common understanding. We lack the purpose of common “will.”

We need something large and defining to bring us all together in single purpose. Something like ending homelessness in the next decade. It could be done. Undertaking serious work on global warming before it gets completely out-of-hand. It still can be done.

There ARE other huge challenges we face. Challenges we can overcome IF we can end the current divisions wasting precious time. Challenges sapping our strength and our resources.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Old words. Words from a previous time. Long ago. But, at least in my opinion, words we badly need to listen to. Today.
 

Falling on a sword

rainey

Yes, the hearings of the January 6th Committee are riveting. Yes, the Committee seems to be making a case against the former president that could be a great study for those law students wanting to be prosecutors. Yes, the witnesses and evidence are convincing. But...

Buried in the mountain for testimony and miscellany, there’s a small drama taking place. A human interest piece that’s gone largely unreported. A story of someone likely falling on a sword that will most likely end a political career.

We could be watching the end of Rep. Liz Cheney’s days in Congress.

On the other hand, we may be seeing the beginning of a new career in non-elected public life that will see her rise to new prominence.

First, the bad news. At nearly this time when she ran for re-election in 2000, Cheney was a solid eight-points behind her opponent in Wyoming’s primary season. Somehow, she overcame the deficit and won. Barely. Fast forward to 2020, same time period, same opponent. Current polling has her behind 28-points! A number that’s considered by political pros to be a death knell. Almost impossible to recover from.

How could she fall so far? What has made the difference so negative for someone from Wyoming’s premier political family? Wha hoppen? Hold that thought.

Go back about 50-60 years and look at the last days of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Idaho’s Sen. Frank Church. Remember who beat him in the 1976 general election? A political nobody - a Republican far to Democrat Church’s right - somebody many Idahoans never heard of. Steve Symms.

Symms - with his big smile - his seeming unbounded energy - an Idahoan most people didn’t know unless they were part of the state’s Conservative wing of Gem State Republicanism. A guy they would call - post-election - the “Giant Killer” who knocked off a big nationally known politician. Frank Church.

Church - who had been highly popular - a gifted orator - a guy many called “Golden Boy - Frank Church rose to national prominence as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relation’s Committee. He oversaw the return of the Panama Canal to Panama after decades of U.S. “ownership.” He was one of very few politicians - from any country - invited to speak at the United Nations even though he was not a head-of-state. He had a highly positive national reputation. A reputation that was one of the most cited reasons for his political downfall in Idaho.

“Too big for his britches,” was not uncommon when Church’s name came up in conversations in 1976. “He’s not paying attention to those of us who sent him there,” many said. And they voted him out!

Fast-forward to 2022 in Casper, Rock Springs, Laramie, Cheyenne and other communities in the “Cowboy State.” Walk the streets, ask what people think about the job Liz Cheney’s doing in Washington and you can hear many of the same quotes.

“She’s so busy going after Trump she’s not paying attention to us.” “We didn’t send her back there to be on TV every night.” And similar short-sighted - not to mention ignorant - expressions.

If you’re a member of Congress from California, New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Colorado or even Utah, you can most often make a national name for yourself and survive. Dianne Feinstein, John McCain, Oren Hatch, Mo Udall and a lot more. All with national - or international - profiles and all had long political careers.

But Idaho - population 800,000 in Church’s time; Wyoming - 2020 population 581-thousand in Cheney’s - the higher you rise, the more national prominence attached to your name. So, of course, “you’re just not paying enough attention to the folks at home.”

Any politician who wants to remain in national office has an overriding necessity for filling one job. Just one. Constituency service. Be responsive - very responsive - to every call, every letter, every request for help, every complaint. Respond. Phone. Email. Snail mail. Respond to all.

But, the caveat is, even that sometimes doesn’t work. Church, for example, I can say from lengthy first-hand experience, had an excellent constituency response. Cheney, raised in the political climes of Washington, and in an influential political family, may have had the same.

Still, both were considered “too big for their britches.”

First night of the January 6th televised hearings, Cheney was the “wheel horse.” She was given the most TV time and was second only to the Chairman allowed to ask questions.

Was her political career considered when programming was done? Was her stellar performance part of an “audition” for future prominence - whether in or out of elected office? Were the “underwater” polling numbers thought about? Was the time allotted because Dems outnumber GOP members on the Committee seven to two?

We’ll never know. But, one thing we DO know is that, at the moment, Cheney is a 28-point polling underdog,” power of incumbency” or no. That’s considered “having both hands tied behind your back”in matters political. Something that has to be weighing heavily on her personally.

Given her nearly-impossible-to-overcome deficit with the folks at home right now, Liz Cheney may be “falling on her sword” in the name of “doing what’s right.”

Those three words - “doing what’s right” - have been heard a number of times in the hearings already. And they’ll be heard more before the saga is over.

At the moment, they seem to apply mostly to Ms. Cheney. In spades!

We shall see

rainey

Living in Northwest Oregon - where enduring the extensive waterfall in our months-long Spring is considered a survival sport - you have lots of what we call “indoor time.”

During such extensive intervals of avoiding the vertical wet, many of us turn to a sort of terminal version of minutiae which can entail activities up to and including reading wallpaper.

In such a downpour the other day, I was reading a story about a new poll by the folks at Gallup. I’ve never been contacted by that venerable company but have been a frequent follower of their studious work.

What caught my eye about the latest Gallup sampling was the bold headline. It read “Pro-Choice or Pro-Life?”

At first, I was just curious. But, given some deeper thought, I wondered, “What could possibly be new about that?”

I was in for a bit of a surprise.

Gallup’s recent field testing on the thorny abortion issue found something we’ve not seen for a long, long time.

A majority of Americans - 55% - now identify as “pro-choice.” That’s the highest in 27 years. During those years, when asked their thoughts, only some 40-50% identified as such. When converting percentages to population, that’s a significant shift in thought of millions of people.

And, there’s this. The polling began the same day the leak of the SCOTUS draft decision showing the court was likely on a path to gut Roe vs Wade was published by POLITICO.

Gallup’s Director for U.S. Social Research. Lydia Saad, attributed the rise in support for abortion rights to that SCOTUS news.

“The prospect of the Supreme Court overturning the case (which) established a woman’s right to seek an abortion has clearly jolted a segment of Americans into identifying with the “pro-choice” side of the issue,” she wrote. “More are expressing unequivocal support for abortion being legal.”

Identification as “pro-choice” rather than “pro-life” also went up nine-percentage points to 61% among women, up 12 points to 67% among young adults 18-34 and up nine points to 58% for adults 35-54.

Gallup found no significant change among Republicans, Independents, men or older GOP’ers.

The poll queried 1,007 adults over a three-week period starting the day the SCOTUS draft appeared. That would have been May 2nd.

And there’s this. The Wall Street Journal - no left-leaning publication - did its own polling about the same time and found more than two-thirds of Americans want Roe upheld with most favoring “access to legal abortion for any reason.”

The Journal called the results a “four-decade evolution” in the nation’s view of abortion rights.

Since Gallup’s poll found little-to-no-change in self-identifying “Republicans, Independents and men,” it would seem the upswing in “pro-choice” responses probably came from self-identifying Democrats - both men and women - and folks voicing no active political party connection.

Wherever the “pro-choice” support came from, you can bet politicians of every stripe will look at the numbers and “adjust accordingly.”

There is a visceral attachment to Roe by a sizeable cross-section of people in this country. Maybe Gallup will do additional polls to see just how large that group may be.

Regardless, just this outing found a notable up-tick of “pro-choice” voices meaning a lot of Americans are closely watching for the SCOTUS ruling which is due before the Court adjourns later this month.

What affect that ruling will have on the November General Election is anybody’s guess.

A little? A lot? No effect?

We shall see.
 

Hola

rainey

We’ve recently completed a nearly five-year stay in Arizona to move back to Oregon - specifically to the upper Willamette Valley about 40 miles outside of Portland. Good to be h-o-m-e!

During our desert hiatus, we had many interactions with people of Mexican heritage as well as others from the Southern hemisphere. Natural situation if you live in a state that borders Mexico.

When we left the overheated, drought-threatened “bliss” of a 55+ community for the damp climes of Oregon, we generally believed those Spanish heritage interactions would decline. We were wrong!

If anything, those occasions of cross-cultural contact seem to have increased to almost daily occurrences.

Oregon, like other coastal states, has seen an influx of Mexican and other Southern Hemisphere-born citizens. Just as is the case of transient, native-born Americans who’ve sought out the “peace and quiet” of the Northwest, many Latins have moved here and become participants in local economies.

A “for instance.” Last weekend, we bought a couple of occasional chairs to make up for the ones we left behind. The well-groomed and courteous sales clerk who helped us was filling out our sales receipt on a computer. A woman, obviously Hispanic, interrupted with a question. In Spanish. The man working with us turned to his right and answered her query in flawless (I think) Spanish without missing a beat. Entirely professional and multi-lingual. A real asset to any business.

In Arizona, nearly all lower level service jobs - garbage collection, car washing, janitorial, yard work - are filled by Hispanics. We seldom had an interaction with any Spanish heritage workers in sales or any other mid-level service employment. Just didn’t happen.

But here, on many business occasions, we’ve been graciously assisted by Spanish-speaking men and women.

Oh sure, if you’re dining in a Mexican restaurant or you’re in a small Mexican grocery store, you’ll hear and see the cultural differences. But, on the sales floor of a Chevrolet dealer? Dealing with an insurance broker? Consultation with a doctor born in Guatemala?

Welcome to these recent changes in Northwest living. Positive additions to most any town.

From what we’ve seen, the Spanish heritage influences being felt in our state - and I’m sure in others - have been mostly positive. Oh, you still see names with South American and Mexican origins in the local arrest and court action listings in the local paper. (Yes, Virginia, a lot of small town newspapers still do that. The few that are left.) But, you also see many Smiths, Abbotts, Olsens and Corleones as well. A real Heinz-57 mix of American scofflaws.

It’s interesting to see how our little community of about 35,000 has “moved over” to make room for these new citizens.

I was looking at a newspaper insert the other night, one sponsored by our city fathers. And mothers. It was a comprehensive list of all the activities available this Summer through the parks and rec department. Half printed in English. Half in Spanish.

Local directional signage, driver’s license materials, larger grocery selections of Spanish food items. A parks and rec publication. Not intrusive. Just added information for those who speak Spanish.

As others in our small community have, I welcome the addition of peoples who have talents and energy to add. There’s room for all and all are welcome. As it should be.

Still, I’ve got to confess. Sometimes, I get rankled by this assistance offered to people who don’t speak any English. I know. I know. We’re trying to be inclusive and welcoming. I gotcha.

But, travel to other non-English speaking countries, like Germany or Japan or Greece, and you’re not likely to see such mundane things as driver’s license instructions, inner-city bus schedules, necessary government forms and such offered in English. Not to mention parks and rec.

I truly believe, if you’re going to live in this country and enjoy the rewards of such residency, some effort should be made to learn the native language. And, I’m sure some folks do. We’ve got lots of students in our educational system who are learning by osmosis if nothing else.

But, we’re still staffing “English as a Second Language” efforts requiring multi-lingual teachers and other support staff. Many schools are using materials designed for kids who don’t speak English. Are the costs of such accommodation really necessary?

I’ll just leave those questions hanging there for your individual answers. In English, of course.
 

It ain’t over

rainey

Donald Trump’s effect on our national political affairs is, it seems, on the wane. Or, so it would seem.

Oh, he’s still out there. Still shooting verbal “bullets” at his perceived enemies and conducting near-daily, word-salad assaults on our system of democratic governance. He’s still a discordant voice of lies and anger.

But, evidence of his “diminished political capacity” is beginning to pile up. His “endorsements” to the contrary, Georgia’s GOP primary election defeats of his picks were across-the-board. Especially Governor and Secretary of State.

In Pennsylvania, where he blustered and bloviated, his choices were mostly losers. The one “bright” spot - for him - was the very, very narrow win of Mehmet Oz, a very flawed candidate for the U.S. Senate. Unless the erratic health of Democrat John Fetterman becomes more a factor than it appears, Oz will be denied a seat in “Emerald-City-by-the Potomac.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying, or even attempting to suggest, Trump won’t continue making his presence felt in picking, choosing and supporting various far Right candidacies. He will. Oh, yes he will.

But, the size of the crowd of followers of his scorched-earth approach to politics has been diminished. The “glory days” of his influence, I believe, may be behind him. For which we, the more sane citizen participants in our political affairs, should be ever-grateful.

But, here’s a worrisome item. Recent polling of the electorate shows fewer Americans believe DJT was behind the January 6th attack on our government than did a year ago.

NBC’s May sampling found just 45% of Americans believe Trump was “solely” or “mainly” responsible. That’s down 10-points in the last 12 months! Some 55% believe he was “somewhat” or “not really” responsible.

As with many things in our lives, the sharp edges of events-past seem to dull with time. In this case, that could be dangerous.

But - two evenings from now, the House Special Committee digging into the January 6th attack on the Capitol will hold its first publically televised hearing. Several more dates, later this month, are on the schedule.

It would seem one of the main tasks of the Committee will be to bring the depth and width of the conspiracy to overturn the 2020 presidential election into sharper public focus by making more details public. Especially Trump’s participation. And his followers. Especially the well-armed ones.

Committee Co-Chair Liz Cheney, interviewed by CBS News last weekend, said the attack was “extremely well-organized” and that details already uncovered by the Committee are “chilling.”

She said those undermining efforts are “ongoing” and urged Americans to watch the upcoming programming to learn, firsthand, the very real dangers threatening our Democracy.

It’s this last part of Cheney’s statements - the “ongoing” part - that’s concerning. Seems many people thought the attack to prevent then-Vice President Pence from certifying 2020 election results was repelled, a good number of those involved were brought to justice. Just this week, Proud Boys - at least five of them - were charged with seditious conspiracy which will keep ‘em off the street for years - not months. And there’ll be more.

Sure, Trump continues to claim he won and was cheated. But, Cheney is saying there are still forces at play - dangerous forces - continuing to plot and strategize. Which could mean more militant confrontations in our streets. In Washington and elsewhere.

In the past six months or so, we’ve not heard much from the FBI, Justice Department or other federal agencies about the Oath Keepers, the Three Per-Centers and other armed groups. It’s a certainty the Feds and other agencies are keeping watch and likely have “inside” contacts reporting.

It now seems likely Trump is the public manifestation of a much wider conspiracy than generally known. If, as recent reporting has claimed, his more militant supporters are communicating and working underground, the public January 6th Committee hearings may, as member Rep. Jamie Raskin has said, “Blow the roof off the house.”

So, Trump’s about to take a backseat. He’s about to be over-shadowed. For a little while.

Resorting to an oldie - but a goodie - we all better “stay tuned.
 

Gun insurance

rainey

One reality of the Uvalde, Texas, massacre is that none of us can truly fully feel the personal impact that only the surviving children do.

None of us who’ve never tried to hide from a homicidal gunman or wiped the blood on our face from a dead child lying next to us while playing dead can have the visceral reaction of 10 and 11-year-olds who lived the horror.

It’s just not possible!

In these days following the Uvalde killings, millions of words are being used to ask why it happened, what really happened, who really did what or who did nothing. Who’s to blame. There are some folks who want to arm teachers which, if there ever was a worse idea, I haven’t heard it. Others want to ban certain types of guns, change the age limit of who can buy one (or a dozen), limit the types of weapons they can get and on and on.

No one idea or group can banish the horrors. No legislation will keep some angry, mentally disassociated individual from being a home-grown terrorist. Keeping a loaded .38 in the teacher’s desk can’t. We’ve found out the hard way gun-carrying cops in schools aren’t always effective. Armed guards in schools won’t do it apparently.

We’re facing an intractable societal issue, the solution to which will require work on many levels from many sources. No one has the answer. If there is one eventually, it will be an amalgam of many ideas coming from many concerted efforts.

I’ve heard one possibility, used in passing that I think deserves more attention and possibly pursued: create a requirement for liability insurance for gun ownership.

For the record, I’m a gun owner. We have three in the house. Two pistols and a 12-gage. So, talk of having to have a small liability policy in force is coming from a gun owner. I’m one of ‘em.

The reason I think it’s worth pursuing is that it brings into play the involvement of both society and corporate interests.

Consider: we buy - under penalty of law - liability insurance if we own a car or other vehicle that uses our highways. (In Arizona, you had to buy liability insurance to own a golf cart used on community roads.) We have liability clauses in our home insurance. We have corporate liability insurance. Business owners cover themselves and their employees. It’s a common requirement encompassing nearly all of society.

Require such insurance when a weapon is purchased. Add a few bucks to the cost. Require annual renewal or some entity would be notified to follow up. By law.

I know it sounds stringent and likely smells of gun control to some. But, it’s not. It simply places a responsibility where it belongs: on the user. Just as we commonly do with vehicles on our highways. And with our homes. A responsibility of ownership with a duty to protect others if something goes wrong.

And, there’s this. It brings the insurance industry into the efforts to get a handle on the irresponsible use of guns. Billion dollar corporations. Thousands of agents and corporate leaders. People who now sit on the sidelines would have to get involved. Their sudden participation would have quite an impact.

Requiring liability insurance for guns is not a complete answer to our epidemic of violence against society. There isn’t one. But, it’s a single one that’s a first step on the long journey to finding that answer.

Sure. Some people will bitch and moan. There’ll be an outcry from folks who think having to buy liability insurance is akin to gun control or “un-American.” That’s fine. Just let ‘em hollar.

Bottom line: If you don’t like this idea, come up with your own. Suggest something better - something positive - something helpful to end the terrible violence against the innocent. In churches, theaters, schools, stores, on our streets. Everywhere.

It’s got to stop! We must find answers. We must. Because we could find ourselves like those kids in Uvalde. Hiding. On the floor. Covered in blood. Scared to death.
 

Disorder and chaos

rainey

The national Republican Party in our country is dangerously close to being an actual threat to our republic.

As such, the primary elections taking place across the country are so damned important. Damned important!

It isn’t that the GOP doesn’t have some worthwhile, legitimate candidates. It does. But, the problem is having to ferret them out in a field littered by philosophical nut cases, doctrinaire-spouting weirdos, racists, jingoistic simpletons and others just plain unqualified for the offices they’re seeking.

Case in point: Idaho. Three people were in the running to be the next Secretary of State. The current one is retiring. Of the three candidates, only Phil McGrane seems to have figured out what a SoS does. The other two were exemplified by the fact that they didn’t believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected President in 2000. And they wanted to run future Gem state elections? Enough said.

In the Idaho Governor’s contest, at least three of the contenders exhibited rhetoric and used nutcase materials to show they had no idea what the duties were of the office they’re seeking. And, that included the current Lieutenant Governor who’s failed to responsibly run the Constitutional office to which she was elected two years ago. Luckily, she - and they - failed.

The various races for Secretary of State across the country may be the single most important elections to watch this year. In some states - Arizona, Georgia and several others - there is a fear that some candidates - should they be successful - would actually undermine our election process. Jiggle the numbers in future elections, as it were. Undermine legitimate outcomes not to their liking.

In Pennsylvania, a little covered but very important note. The Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board chose not to endorse candidates in several important statewide races. First time since the paper was founded in 1829. Based on face-to-face interviews and campaign appearances by a number of those running, The Inquirer said the candidates were simply not qualified for offices being sought. And that included races for governor and the U.S. Senate. In a state that is the fourth largest in the country.

Some candidates - Rep. Elise Stefanik, number three in the House GOP hierarchy - are endorsing the “great replacement” conspiracy. That nutcase, right-wing fallacy holds the White majority is slowly being diminished and replaced by Blacks, Latinos, Asians and other foreign nationals. Stefanik is far from being alone in such other worldly beliefs.

This Republic has seen thousands and thousands of campaigns for every office in the land for 250 years. Many have been filled with unqualified candidates, over-the-top rhetoric, screwball thinking and outlandish acts. Through it all, we’ve somehow survived and prospered.

But, this time it’s different. We’ve got right-wing zealots openly telling us, if elected, they’ll work to change our system of governance. They’ll use their elected authority to fundamentally alter future elections. In some cases, they’ll attack the very foundations which are the basis for our individual freedoms.

In our new Oregon home, we’ve voted. Did so by mail a couple of weeks ago. Having been out of state for several years, we had some catching up to do to get familiar with candidates in all races. The Oregon Voter’s Guide - an excellent publication - made the job easier. Every state should adopt their own versions of the well-proven Oregon system. It just plain works.

However you vote - in-person, by mail or online - this may be the most important election in our lives. Our government - our Republic - is being attacked by unqualified, conspiracy-driven and outright ignorant people, hellbent to impose their will on the rest of us. In most cases, they aren’t hard to identify. All you have to do is just listen to their unfounded screeds and check their qualifications in whatever official publications you can find. Like our Oregon Voter’s Guide.

If there ever was a time for a thoroughly informed electorate, this is it. Our freedoms are riding on the results.
 

Watch the smile

rainey

A smiling lady from Liger
rode on the back of a tiger.
They returned from a ride
with the lady inside
and the smile on the face of the tiger

That old doggerel comes to mind when watching Donny Trump try to keep up with the disreputable Republican contraption he’s put together.

SPOILER: He can’t.

One of the unchanging truths about right-wing politics is the unfailing trait of distrust. It’s always present.

Consider: Nearly every nut-case GOP group got started by folks who were angry/fearful of what the original group was doing/saying. Birch society. Liberty Lobby. The “break-aways” always think of themselves as the “truth keepers” i.e. the ones “keeping the faith.”

Distrust is the single most important element that’s saved the rest of us from a major societal disruption by a single nutball group. Groups like the Birch Society, Oath Keepers, etc.. The rest of us have survived this long because, at some point, distrust/anger/fear erupts among ”the faithful” and there’s a splintering or morphing as the “faithful” bunch breaks away.

Trump is facing such a quandary at the moment.

Since exiting the White House, he’s been proudly gathering his “faithful.” Some individually; some as groups. Remember, to Trump, loyalty to him is the most basic requirement of association. Loyalty to him and him alone. So far, to the wandering “faithful” looking for a new leader on the right, Trump has appeared to be the logical choice.

For these many months, it’s worked. He’s headed his legions of “faithful” with little trouble. His style of continual lying, defending 20 or so legal actions, his mercurial temperament, his non-stop “politicus interruptous” way of doing things - all have seemed acceptable to his followers.

BUT - now, as the primaries are underway - and with the general election some four months hence - his legions are beginning to crack. Seems some of the “basics” of the far-right dictum of Trumpism aren’t really “one-size-fits-all.” After all.

As Trump has scattered his endorsements of certain candidates from state to state, some of the “baptized” have lost their primaries. And, in some cases, the winners have strayed from the MAGA line when polls showed such adherence damaging to their candidacies.

There are, it seems, individuals who are, while generally following the Trump line, creating their own “legions” of followers. Absent Trump.

Case-in-point: Take Florida’s governor. Please.

Ron DeSantis has been acting like Ivan the Terrible in modern-day Florida. Banning books. Making life tougher for LGBTQ folks. Running roughshod over people’s lives. With or without legislative concurrence.

In Texas, there’s also been very little influence from Trump. Governor Greg Abbott, much in the DeSantis mold, has been operating as a political “free spirit,” enacting policies similar to MAGA but not exactly the same.

Then, there’s Mike Pence. He’s actively campaigning for the guy DJT did NOT endorse in Georgia’s primary. Bit of a split there, it would seem.

In just these three cases, Trump is not the central figure. Which is the requirement for MAGA membership. DeSantis and Abbott have created their own “local” movements; each with some MAGA guidelines. But not all.

If polls are borne out in Pennsylvania, the primary victor there won’t be Trump’s endorsee - Mehmet Oz. And Trump’s pick in Georgia is in deep trouble and could be another loser.

One thing Trump is not is flexible. One thing the far-right is not is flexible. So, if there is some change in Trump’s MAGA “philosophy,” or if the loss of several of his “preferred” candidates creates doubt about his leadership among “the faithful,” his grip on them may be loosened.

Trump likes to be “out front.” He needs to be the leader in anything he’s involved in. But, as the political profiles of other folks rise and fall, Trump may find himself challenged for that front position. His reign may be challenged. By an Abbott or a DeSantis. Or a Pence.

Remember the lady and her tiger. And the smile. Watch for the smile.

Boom!

rainey

The time has come - it’s past time, really - for Senate Democrats to do some congressional “blasting.” Setting off procedural “dynamite,” if you will.

Good, fact-filled legislation, nationally important legislation - some of it already passed by the House - is sitting in Majority Leader Schumer’s inbox awaiting Senate action. Some has been there more than a year.

In the face of Republican stonewalling, major bills are growing moss as they age. Lacking more than 50 votes - with the Vice President there just to break ties - and with the constant threat of a filibuster hanging over all proceedings, the GOP has successfully managed a minority blockade of significant bills. The GOP and erstwhile Democrat, Sen. Manchin.

Among them, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act which is badly in need of being enacted into law. Now!

And, with the threat of losing Roe vs Wade looming, abortion rights legislation - whatever that turns out to be - needs to be quickly written and placed for a vote.

Since the slim Democrat majority was born, many of us hoped Schumer would use his many years of experience to hammer home some long-needed bills on many subjects. It hasn’t happened. And, it doesn’t appear he’s going to change his stripes in the remaining months of 2022.

If predictions of a 2023 GOP Senate majority are borne out, Democrats will find themselves being shoved to the back benches next January. Again. The dead legislation on important issues left over will fill the trailer of an 18-wheeler.

The time has come for Democrats to kill off the filibuster!

But, every time the subject comes up, someone always says “If we do that, and the Repubs retake the majority, they’ll run all over us.”

Road apples! So what?

If Dems stay their current course, everything in Schumer’s inbox will die. Abortion rights, voting rights, child tax credits - everything Democrats have campaigned on - promised for years - will never happen.

So, how do they face the electorate this Fall? And in 2024? More empty promises? More rhetoric?

They’ve got the hammer now! Use it now! Stop worrying about “what ifs” and pound through the big stuff! And, all the smaller stuff the House has already passed.

This nation is fractured. Badly splintered in almost every way. Between those divisions, and the changes wrought by COVID, life will never be the same for any of us. We’re never going to be the same country we were a couple of years ago. We’re facing a future in which we’ll be doing a lot of things differently.

Congressional Democrats - especially in the Senate - are fortunate to be in the majority at the moment. Yes, “...at the moment.” They won’t always have that luxury. Maybe that luxury could be gone yet this year!

So, while they have it, they need to make the most of it. Get done what badly needs to get done.

“Blow up” the filibuster roadblock! Kill the damned thing. Stop playing pussyfoot with GOPer’s who use it to stop Senate proceedings with a single phone call or a single email. Acknowledge that nearly everything around us has morphed into a new reality, put your “foot on the gas” and take care of the people’s business. The business of all of us.

This is not the time for political gamesmanship. Or even, in some cases, “playing by the old rules.” In some things, we need “new rules.”

This country must have the strongest possible leadership in its top political ranks. The conditions under which we live have changed and politicians need to recognize that and make their own changes as needed.

At the moment, Democrats are in charge. In a few months, it may be Republicans. No matter the Party, new conditions that have been forced upon us must be met by change. In nearly all things.

At the top of political changes necessary at the moment - kill the damned filibuster!
 
BOOM!