Williams Would be Great on City Council. I’m voting for Milteer

I like LeOtis Williams. I’ve supported him in the past when he ran for delegate and I’ll probably support him in future political endeavors. He’s a successful businessman, a philanthropist, and a popular figure in Suffolk. But he shouldn’t be in the race for the Whaleyville seat for Suffolk city council this year.

Given an electorate’s first, second, and third choice, our electoral system often elects the third. This year, that third choice will be Mike Britt, the overtly Republican candidate for Whaleyville.

City council candidates don’t run on party tickets in Virginia, but that rule has become nothing more than a technicality lately. Whaleyville votes almost 2 to 1 for the Democrat. But this year that 2 is going to be split between Williams and Curtis Milteer.

Curtis Milteer has been Whaleyville’s councilman for as long as most of his constituents can remember. Some people are saying it’s time for him to step aside and let someone younger take over. I agree, but Milteer isn’t stepping aside yet and he still has support among constituents who think he’s been good for the borough. I believe that support includes some Republicans. Milteer will lose some votes to Williams but he might still have enough to hold on to his incumbency. Williams, on the other hand, might get enough votes to beat Milteer, but he’s not going to beat Milteer and Britt. Too many Republicans are going vote for Britt and too many of Milteer’s loyalists will vote for Milteer.

And that’s going leave us with Republicans once again cheering and saying, “The people have spoken” as they seat a representative who doesn’t represent the people.

This is a redistricting year which means it’s a bad year to loose a borough to Republicans. Curtis Milteer has been doing a fine job for many years and I have faith he can keep going for a little longer. The chances of a Democrat winning if they split their vote is diminished, but Milteer has a better chance of holding on than Williams has of beating him and Britt together. My vote is too important to throw away. I’m voting for Milteer.

(note, I accidentally posted this while I was still drafting, and the earlier version had incorrect information)

Fuck you, that’s why.

If you could find an honest Republican and ask why it’s OK to push a replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsburg right now, that honest Republican would say, “Fuck you, that’s why”

In early 2016, McConnell said he would not give Merrick Garland his confirmation proceedings because, he argued, voters should get to decide through the presidential election. He has repeatedly reversed his own standard and said he would fill a vacancy under Trump, even in an election year.

His intent to move ahead came despite Ginsburg’s dying wish. In a posthumous statement released to NPR, Ginsburg said: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

McConnell has rationalized his decision by saying the standards were different because the White House and the Senate were controlled by different parties in 2016, which is not the case this year.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/supreme-court-trump-mcconnell-ginsburg/2020/09/18/5aafafc8-fa0a-11ea-a275-1a2c2d36e1f1_story.html

It does not matter what bullshit excuse Mitch McConnell or any other lying Republican comes up with for reversing their position. Anything other than “Fuck you” is a lie.

For those who just arrived from distant planets, just four years ago Republicans blocked Obama’s nomination for Supreme Court, claiming that it was too close to an election and the people should have a chance to speak before a nominee is heard. Now we’re much closer to an election than we were back then, and they are ramming through a replacement because they doubt they’ll get the chance after the people have spoken.

Lying is the natural state of Republicans. It’s a requirement for politicians of a party designed to prevent economic mobility which needs votes from people who think they’ll succeed if they work hard. It’s a requirement for voters who support a lying, philandering, draft dodging, executive order issuing, Constitution breaking, police state supporting, hero insulting, dictator loving, “king of debt“, criminal president after pretending for decades that these are the reasons they hate Democrats.

Republicans have always been dishonest, but they used to have some dignity and love for our nation. All that’s left now is lying politicians stringing along racists and ignoramuses while they tighten their grip on power despite the majority of the electorate wanting them out.

Hypocrisy has also been a requirement for Republicans, but they’ve sunk to a new depth now.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s deathbed wish was a request for Republicans to stick to their own stated principals. They’re response is “Fuck you.”

During the Obama years, Pat Leahy who was the chair of the Senate Judicial Committee, boasted about letting the Republican minority have a say in judicial appointments, respecting Senate tradition. Republicans used that courtesy and their own dirty tricks to prevent Obama from filling judicial vacancies. Now, that courtesy is out the window, and Republicans are filling vacancies that they held open while they were the minority. Trump calls these vacancies “golden nuggets” and pretends to wonder why Obama didn’t fill them.

To Republicans, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a beloved Supreme Court icon, is a big golden nugget. They have no respect for her legacy and no consideration for her dying wish, even if that wish is simply a request for a moment of decent, honest behavior.

Lying Republicans are on social media explaining that it’s in keeping with rules to seat a Supreme Court justice right before an election, and even using Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s words to back them up. They’re playing tricks. Just four years ago they said the opposite of what they’re saying now and anyone who supports this for any reason other than “Fuck you” is a lying hypocrite no matter what the rules are.

Removing Monuments to Oppression is the American Thing To Do

Scientific American: The History behind the King George III Statue Meme: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/anthropology-in-practice/the-history-behind-the-king-george-iii-statue-meme/

Slate: How Did We Treat Monuments to White Supremacists When They Weren’t Our White Supremacists?: https://slate.com/culture/2017/08/read-the-allied-order-to-destroy-nazi-monuments-in-germany.html

Wikipedia: Firdos Square statue destruction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firdos_Square_statue_destruction

Image: Pulling Down the Statue of King George III, N.Y.C., (c. 1859): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowling_Green_(New_York_City)#/media/File:Johannes_Adam_Simon_Oertel_Pulling_Down_the_Statue_of_King_George_III,_N.Y.C._ca._1859.jpg

Peaceful Rally at City Hall in Suffolk Virginia

I attended a Black Lives Matter rally at City Hall tonight, in light rain, although it was still going on when I left at about 7:15. As far as I could tell, it was primarily organized by Eric Knight who is active in Suffolk. It was peaceful and dignified. Mr. Knight and other speakers called for peace, unity across demographics, and in what might even please the “what about Black on Black crime?” crowd, said that he was tired not only of crimes committed by police, but by people in the neighborhoods.

There were no nasty insults against the police, although there were calls for rules to ensure police accountability. For their part, a few officers where parked across the street near the library at a respectful distance.

City officials who were in the crowd were invited to speak, and among those who spoke where Clerk of Court Randy Carter, who spoke about the importance of registering to vote and voting.

I was proud that a rally in my city could be so peaceful, but mindful of the fact if we want rallies to be peaceful, then peaceful rallies have to make a difference.

Questions for my Non-Sheepy Friends who Believe what Trump Says

Did you cheer Donald Trump when he said Mexico would pay for the wall, then support him when he stole military funds to pay for it?

Did you believe Trump when he said he’d show us his tax returns, but are OK that he still hasn’t done so?

Where you OK that Donald Trump, who avoided service because of “bone spurs” that never stopped him from anything else, waited almost two years before visiting troops overseas, and that when he finally yielded to political pressure and went to Iraq, he lied to our troops about their pay?

Do you remember when Trump promised to sign the 2018 immigration legislation that Democrats and Republicans worked for months to hash out, then changed his mind and decided not to sign it?

Do you care that he promised insurance for everybody?

Do you believe North Korea no longer a threat?

Did 15 cases of coronavirus go down to “close to zero” in “a couple of days”? like Donald Trump said it would?

If only we had dropped some bombs

The 9/11 attacks killed abut 3% of the Americans that Covid-19 has killed, and we lived through invasive personal searches at airports, more data being collected on us when applying for licenses and services, and more power given to our intelligence agencies to tap our phones, search our emails, and review our library activities.

Now a lot of the same people who approved of these measures are freaking out and threatening murder – in some cases following through – over being told to wear a mask. The difference is we’re not dropping bombs on anybody.

If we started bombing China first and then told people to wear masks, these people would be in balaclavas and shooting people for disregarding their patriotic duty to cover up.

Image source: https://openclipart.org/detail/1086/masked-man-with-slingshot

A Disaster that Waited to Happen

There might be better words to describe this, but Donald Trump likes taking risks where although he’s likely to win, the cost of losing is higher than most people would feel comfortable with.  He likes it more of someone else pays the price.

The kinds of risks Trump takes are like playing Russian roulette on a bet.  With only one bullet in the cylinder, the chances of winning are high, but the cost of losing would be catastrophic.  Except for Trump, the gun has never been pointed at his own head.  It doesn’t matter to Trump if one of his companies goes bankrupt, because he has plenty of others.  It matters to the people who lose their jobs or investments.

Image: https://openclipart.org/detail/185024/roulette-wheel

That strategy works for Trump. He doesn’t have to win a lot, he just has to win more than he loses. For a while, it was working for our country, too.  We enjoyed the benefits of taking risks which, for the most part, seemed to be paying off. We’re like people who every day rode a shuttle driven by a maniac who sped and disregarded traffic signals.  Some of us cheered the thrill of the ride while others worried about crashing, but for a while, most of us enjoyed the advantages of a fast commute.

Each time Trump takes a risk, things will probably be just fine.  He ridiculed a nuclear armed madman, but America is big and scary so Kim probably won’t launch attacks against our allies.  He’s antagonizing our trading partners but America is the world’s economic superpower so they’ll probably keep sucking it up and dealing with us. He plunged us into record-breaking debt during an economic recovery – very risky according to many economists – , but America has deep pockets and we’ve been managing all that debt just fine.  And Donald Trump fired qualified doctors and scientists and put political loyalists in charge of our pandemic readiness.  Maybe it was probable that everything would be fine. How likely was it that a new breed of virus – a ‘novel’ virus – would have plagued us, and that the crisis would overwhelm a CDC led by a religious fanatic with a questionable past, or that it would turn out we really could have used some of those knowledgeable people who Trump got rid of, like the pandemic response team and our experts in China?

Individually, these risks were all risks that probably would have turned out fine. Collectively, something was bound to wrong.

Trump was always a disaster waiting to happen.  If it weren’t COVID-19, it would have been something else.  It still might be something else. 

Now we crashed and over 80,000 of us have died, will we decide that the speed was worth it?  Will we continue to endure the same kinds of risks or will we decide that more sensible leadership, like the kind of leadership which gave us almost eight years of economic stability and growth and provided smart and swift responses to the outbreaks of Ebola and H1N1, is the kind of leadership we’d rather go back to?

Remember the Ebola Scare

In the weeks before the 2014 midterm elections, Republicans did everything they could to keep Ebola in the news, and the media complied. The CDC, fully funded and staffed, responded to the outbreak with largest mobilization in their history. Still, Republicans viciously attacked Obama and Democrats for not doing enough while the media sounded the alarms night and day, and Trump criticized Obama for flying home American medical workers in a plane designated and fitted just for them.

After the midterm elections, we hardly heard a word about Ebola.

There were a total of eleven cases of Ebola in the U.S, and no spread beyond those who had traveled to infected areas.

Today, there are over 60 cases of coronavirus, and it’s starting to spread to people who haven’t traveled. The CDC is underfunded and understaffed because of budget cuts and because Trump’s fired the pandemic response team. People with symptoms that might indicate coronavirus are not being tested, and infected people were flown into the country against the advice of the CDC. Infected patients who arrived in America were greeted by untrained medical workers without proper safety gear, and the scientist who reported the incident was punished. Now Trump and Republicans who exaggerated Ebola concerns to make Obama look bad are accusing the media of trying to make Trump look bad just for reporting the truth.