November 19, 2020

Reality Wins

By Glenn

Reality does not depend upon your beliefs.  For example, gravity is a scientific theory.   If you drop an object on earth, it will fall unless acted upon by an outside force.  You don’t have to believe in gravity for it to work.

Since January 2020, conservative politicians have been trying to speak Covid 19 away.  They pretended that their public denials would change reality.  Dallas television star and megachurch pastor, Kenneth Copeland, stood before his congregation and blew Covid away.

Copeland’s magic failed.  Despite the false claims it would magically disappear one day, it has not and it will not.

https://youtu.be/hsGbk820O_Y

Something has changed, however.   Since the election, Republican governors across the Midwest have been imposing new covid-19 restrictions. They had to face reality.   The virus is spreading. 

Before the election, they kept up the charade. Parroting the lie that covid-19 was simply the flu.

Conservatives demanded that everyone go about their daily lives as normal.  In the North and South Dakota, Republican governors rejected any government action.  They argued that individual choice was enough to slow the spread.   They now have the worst cases in America.

In Texas Governor Greg Abbott put Republican election efforts ahead of public safety.  He rejected the reality of a pandemic and increased capacity in bars and restaurants.

Abbott wanted the spread the lie that Covid 19 was defeated and the economy was bouncing back.  That was a political narrative that didn’t match reality.

Day by day Texans watched with their own eyes as Covid cases climbed in the month of October.  This period produced a false sense of comfort.  The number of deaths seemed to remain flat.

Like the Indian summer we often enjoy every fall, Covid without deaths will come to an end quickly.  Death is a lagging feature of Covid.  First people get sick.  Hospitalization rates then go up.  An increased number of dead are the last phase of the spread.

Covid 19’s will be an arctic blast on economic activity.  The struggling airlines industry has already started cutting back flights.  Many of us know traveling for business and pleasure simply is not safe.

Unfortunately, about 40 percent of Americans are denying reality.  They will not take precautions to protect themselves, their loved ones or their neighbors.  They continue to believe the political lies. They continue to spread the virus.

You don’t have to believe in Covid 19 to get sick.  Please be careful.  Wear your mask.  Wash your hands.  Keep your distance.

November 12, 2020

America Is Moving Forward

By Glenn

America is moving forward.  We have some big problems to face, and name calling will not solve them.  Leadership requires correctly identifying real problems, developing solutions to those problems and then implanting the solutions.

As all of us can see, Covid 19 did not magically disappear after the election.  In fact it is spreading at dangerous levels here in Grayson County and Texas.  For over a week local ICU rooms have been full. 

We know that small steps can make a big difference.  On Tuesday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, a Republican, issued a state-wide mask mandate.  Wearing masks protects our health and jobs. 

We shouldn’t wait for government to act.  Governor Greg Abbot seems scared to take decisive action.  His failure to ask for small sacrifices is causing rolling shut downs across the state.  Wear your mask and keep a safe distance.

Even when Covid 19 is eventual driven down, however, Texas still faces a growing problem.  Texas trails the nation and has then highest number of uninsured citizens.  Health insurance is a big problem for Texas families.

Many other conservative states have already accepted federal funds under ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act.  Those states expanded Medicaid and drove down their uninsured rate. Texans pay federal taxes, but our legislature is blocking that money from returning to us.

Another big issue that needs attention is the trade war with China.  Contrary to bombastic assertions, trade wars are not easy to win.  It has raised taxes on Texas families between $831 and $2,031. 

China responded to these taxes by raising tariffs on US farm products.  American soybean farmers in particular are vulnerable.  Not only has China turned to Russia for alternative product, it is also looking to boast its own agricultural production.

The longer this conflict drags out the more damage done to US interests.  Mutual tax reduction is the only path forward.

Probably the biggest problem facing Texas right now is public education.  Before Covid 19 the exodus of teachers from the profession hit a five year high.  Public insults, high stakes testing and declining pay and benefits all drive teachers away. 

There is no relief on the horizon. Every pay raise goes immediately to the insurance company to cover health insurance.  Retired teachers are in a worse position because they don’t receive Social Security and their benefits are frozen.  The solution begins with respecting teachers and better compensation.

We can fix our problems.  It takes leaders who will focus on solutions rather than insults.  Are Texas voters ready to demand solutions from newly elected officials?

November 5, 2020

Democracies Count Votes

By Glenn

Legendary coach Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.” In baseball it’s the last out.  He wanted his players to play until the end.  In politics elections are over after the last vote counted.

Once again we see the hollowness of conservative understanding of States’ Rights and Constitutional Law.  States, not presidents, set electoral law and policy. For better or worse states count votes differently. That’s the Law. That’s the Constitution.

No candidate has the right to unilaterally shut down the counting. Counting votes is essential to the electoral process.  States have already legislated when that process will end.

State law requires local election offices to count thoroughly.   They have standards to apply to each vote.  These standards have been in place for years.

It is a reckless lie to claim Americans have never counted votes after Election Day. It happens every election.

Do you really want to through away military ballots?  Do you really want to through way ballots cast by senior citizens or the disabled?  Your candidate can’t just declare victory and demand states stop counting all of the votes.

Conservatives must live in a Burger King drive through culture.  They want it their way, now.  No candidate is entitled to an office.  Our government rests on the consent of the governed, not the dictates of personal whim.

What ever happened to the traditional saying “Patience is a virtue”?

There are several states that have substantial outstanding ballots or close races: Arizona, Georgia, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  The final electoral vote depends on who wins each.  Neither candidate is guaranteed to win the remaining votes.

If you are tied of this election year dance, the simple solution would be to eliminate the Electoral College.  No modern republic uses this archaic and complicated system.  Our European allies watch this chaos with bewilderment.

Why not just count the votes.  The candidate with the most votes wins.  It works for school boards, city councils and governors.  Let the people decide.

I can already hear the objections.  “The Electoral College is tradition.  We can’t change the constitution.  We must follow the law.”

Really?  Both the Constitution and the Law requires counting votes after the elections.  It’s not Burger King.  It’s American democracy.

October 30, 2020

Samuel Paty

By Glenn

“Depuis la cour de la Sorbonne, lieu historique de l’enseignement universitaire français, le président de la République Emmanuel Macron a rendu un hommage national au professeur Samuel Paty.” Publié le 21 octobre 2020 Translation by Google

A religious fundamentalist assassinated Samuel Paty for sharing satirical cartoons with his class. Satirical expression is an essential feature of “The West.” It has allowed us to challenge the absurdities of tradition and authority.

Je suis Samuel Paty

French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a moving homage to Professor Paty. I don’t always agree with Macron’s public policies, but he understands republican values.

____________________________

Samuel PATY was passionately fond of teaching and he did so well in several colleges and high schools including that of Conflans-Saint-Honorine. We all have anchored in our hearts, in our memories, the memory of a teacher who changed the course of our lives. You know, this teacher who taught us to read, to count, to trust us. This teacher who not only taught us a knowledge but opened a path for us by a book, a look, by his consideration.

Samuel PATY was one of these, of those teachers who will not be forgotten, of these enthusiasts able to spend nights learning the history of religions in order to better understand his students and their beliefs. Of these humble people who questioned themselves a thousand times, as for this course on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience that he had been preparing since July again last summer in Moulins by your side and the doubts he shared through requirement, out of delicacy.

Samuel PATY basically embodied the teacher that JAURÈS dreamed of in this letter to teachers which has just been read: “firmness united with tenderness”. He who shows the greatness of thought, teaches respect, shows what civilization is.

The one who made it his business to “make republicans.”

So, the words of Ferdinand BUISSON come back as if they were echoed. think for himself, that he owes neither faith nor obedience to anyone, that it is up to him to seek the truth and not to receive it ready-made from a master, a director, a leader, whoever he is “” To make republicans “, that was the fight of Samuel PATY.

And while this task today may seem daunting, especially where violence, intimidation, sometimes resignation takes precedence, it is more essential, more topical, than ever. Here in France, we love our Nation, its geography, its landscapes and its history, its culture and its metamorphoses, its spirit and its heart. And we want to teach it to all of our children.

October 30, 2020

Proud American

By Glenn

I am proud to live in America.   I am even prouder to live in Modern America.  Unlike the divine right monarchies and theocracies of the Bible, our constitution empowers people to create and improve a government.

Unfortunately, the original intent of those early voters limited participation to white, male property owners.  They looked out for themselves and subjugated women, slaves and laborers. The seed, however, had already been planted. The desire to participate grew. 

Early nineteenth century Americans witnessed an extraordinary change in attitudes.  White working class voters realized southern, race based slavery hurt wages and economic opportunity.  When plantation owners demand the right to spread slavery into the West, white voters handed the White House to Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was a free spoiler, and he pledge to stop the spread of slavery.  White supremacists refused to accept the loss. Not only did they leave the United States of America, but they also attacked the United States of America. 

What started as a spirited defense of racism ended with a full retreat.  Reconstruction not only freed the slaves, but the 14th Amendment provided birth right citizenship, equal protection of laws and the right to vote for African American males. 

This expansion of constitutional rights was so vast that many historians refer to it as a second American Revolution.  The initial promise soon fizzled however.  Systematic racism returned under the segregation laws, but the dream of a better America remained alive. 

The Populist and Progressive movements demanded government protection against abusive business practices.  Starting in the mid-West, they regulated banks, railroads, and food production.  Progressives in particular pushed for, and won, women’s suffrage. 

All of these changes produced big results in the 20th Century.  Voters had more power than the bankers, industrialists, and merchants.  They used that power when the Great Depression hit.

Unlike previous financial collapses, voters used the power of government to heal the pain.   Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal expanded electricity into rural America, provided unemployment relief, regulated Wall Street, and rebuilt Main Street.  Seniors who had lost everything gained a new Social Security program to prevent suffering.

The next generation built on that success.  Lyndon Johnson shepherded through Congress not only a Civil Rights Act in 1964 but also Medicare and Medicaid in 1965.

Modern America took 200 years to build.  I am proud to live in Modern America.  Liberals have been at the forefront of these changes.  For the last 40 years, conservatives have failed to tear it down. I am proud to be a liberal. We will not retreat.  We will push for a more perfect union.

October 22, 2020

Shut Down This Circus

By Glenn

Like a Carnival Barker, Donald Trump is a master of exaggeration and misrepresentation.  It is a great quality for someone trying to sell a lie.  It is a horrible quality for a public servant.

In the closing days of the campaign Donald is selling a whooper.  We’ve “rounded the corner” on Covid 19.  We may have rounded the corner, but he has turned America in the wrong direction.

After making progress in July to reduce infections, starting in September, the number of cases increased again.  By Election Day, Americans will be getting sick and dying like they were last Spring.  

Instead of accepting responsibility, Donald Trump has turned his fire toward the scientists and Dr. Anthony Fauci.  At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci asked Americans not to buy or steal surgical masks.  Front-line healthcare professionals needed them.

Since that time, scientific studies have shown that simple, inexpensive cloth masks slow the spread of Covid 19.  Much like covering our mouths when we cough, or covering our nose when we sneeze, cloth masks reduce our chance of infecting others. 

Rejecting the science that saves American lives, Donald is mocking the scientists for adapting to changing circumstance.   Science is doing what it does best, telling us the truth.  Donald is doing what he does best, exaggerating and misrepresenting.

Donald did the same thing when he said Mexico would pay for his wasteful wall.  Ignoring the fact that most undocumented residence flew to America on a plane or used another legal point of entry, he used fear of Mexico to build support.  He famously said “Mexico will pay for the wall.”

It has not.  Donald diverted funds from the Department of Defense.  Congress had approved funding for base schools and National Guard and Reserve equipment.  The children of our Troops and local first responders paid for the wasteful wall, not Mexico.  

Donald has release a new and improved version of this exaggeration and misrepresentation.  With Senate Republicans blocking the Democrats’ effort to provide a pandemic relief package, Donald now claims he has a bigger package.  On top of that he barks “China will pay for it.”

Does anyone believe this fantasy?  Donald made a similar false claim about his trade war.  His tariffs have added over $2000 in new taxes on American families, not China.

How can anyone forget his 2016 campaign promise?  “I won’t be playing golf.”  Before the pandemic hit hard in February, Donald had already spent $133.8 million of our money to play at Mar-a-Lago.

Where are the conservatives?  Republicans like John Ratcliff praised Donald and won a promotion.  Others, like John Cornyn, stay silent and hope you don’t notice.  In two weeks we find out if voters will shut down this circus.  

October 15, 2020

Make Your Voice Heard.

By Glenn
Topics:
Civil Rights

Discuss it:
No Comments »

Let’s talk voting.  Vote by mail is safe and effective.  Don’t be afraid to exercise you lawful right by mail or in person.  Voting is important to our democracy.  

Return you vote by mail as soon as possible.  Don’t forget to include the appropriate postage.  The United States Postal Service is one of the most trusted institutions in America.

If you have concerns about vote by mail, you can ONLY return your vote by mail ballot in person at the main Sherman Office during the early vote period and on Election Day.   You can personally deliver it to the Elections Administration (EA) office (115 W. Houston, Sherman).  You must have an ID.  

Governor Greg Abbot has declared that Drop Boxes can NOT be used.  He did allow one location, in each county, where ballots can be hand delivered and that location will be the Elections Administration.

Do NOT use the voting site entrance.  Use the same entrance as ADA voters come in, but the EA will have a separate area where hand delivered mail ballots are received.  Those voters delivering mail ballots must show ID and sign a log.  Voters, who cannot enter the building, may call and someone will come to their car.

If you want to vote in person, please remember that the central Elections Administration office (115 W. Houston, Sherman) is a busy site.  Other locations around the country have less traffic.  Avoid the lines by voting at one of these. 

Also, don’t feel the need to crowd into one site the first day.  Make a plan and vote on an off day. Vote at time that is less likely to have a crowd.   You can vote at any site in Grayson County.

If you would like to see a sample ballot, go to the Grayson County Elections Administration and follow these steps:    https://www.co.grayson.tx.us/page/elec.home .    You may NOT use your cell phone while voting, but you can bring in a sample ballot.

1. On the left side of the page look for November 2020 Joint Election.

2. Place the cursor on the arrow and click Sample ballot for your city.

If you have a mail in ballot, but you decided to vote in person, you must bring your unmarked ballot with you to the polls.  Tell the election worker at check in that you have changed your mind and are voting in person.

Reminder, you must vote all the way down the ballot.  The Texas legislature eliminated straight ticket voting.  There is no single button to vote for all the Democrats or all the Republicans this year.

Make your voice heard.  Vote.   Democracy works best when every vote is counted.

Early Voting Times and Places
October 13, 2020

Original Intent…to Discriminate

By Glenn

The “original intent” of the 14th Amendment never included “all persons” even though the text say “all persons.” Courts have slowly expanded “all” to mean “all.”

Judge Barrett will follow the “original intent”, not evolved precedent, or what the English called common law. Conservatives have already said they will pass law allowing employers to discriminate against LBGTQ. They can simply file suit to revive laws banning marriage equality.

Barrett’s legal philosophy will mean less freedom for individuals and more authority for states and employers. Building a legal bridge to the 19th century!!

https://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/amy-coney-barrett-supports-health-care-available-in-year-constitution-was-written
October 10, 2020

Basic Definitions

By Glenn

There are constitutional governments which are limited by law.

There are authoritarian governments which empower a leader to exercise broad discretion.

There are socialist economies which have public ownership of property.

There are capitalist economies which have private ownership of property.

There are free markets which allow individuals to buy and sell without government interference.

There are command economies (markets) which force individuals to buy and sell under government direction.

The most successful states in history, measured by promoting the general welfare, have been Constitutional democracies that expand civil liberties and use a mixture of property and market policies to alleviate economic suffering and abuse.

October 10, 2020

Socialist Ghosts

By Glenn

Clever politicians have turned socialism into a frightening ghost.  It has replaced terrorism as the catchall phrase.   Should we get our pitch forks and kill this really scary monster?  Maybe, but be careful what you kill.  You might just kill a friend.

Socialism simply means public ownership of property.  No more.  No less.  Governments turned to socialism when capitalism, privately owned businesses, couldn’t deliver a necessary product or service at an affordable cost.  

For example, the Federal government used socialism to electrify the rural south.  Projects like the Denison dam or the Tennessee Valley Authority absorbed the huge upfront costs of bringing affordable energy to sparsely populated regions of America.  Capitalists preferred the customer rich cities.  Socialism not only brought economic diversity to the South but also improved our quality of life.

Closer to home, we use socialism to deliver public education.  Just a few years ago Sherman tried capitalism in one school.  The Edison Project was all the rage at the time.  After a couple of years, the project failed, and it cost the tax payers about $1 million to clean up the mess.

Socialism also provides a valuable safety net for our senior citizens.  Social Security and Medicare are public institutions, not private, and most seniors are pleased with the services.  Even though they are not perfect, Social Security and Medicare has provided peace of mind.  In 1959 the poverty rate for Americans over 65 was approximately 35%.  Today it has dropped to 10%.  That is a success.

Capitalists have also benefited from socialism.  Farmers, some of the most independent minded Americans, would struggle even more if all tax payers didn’t provide Farm to Market and county roads.  Before governments took over road building, farmers had to make and maintain the roads themselves.  We know that private road building stunts economic growth and publicly owned roads benefit us all.

Socialism appears in unexpected places.  Every community bank and depositor relies on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation to protect their investments.   The FDIC sells affordable insurance as well as making sure bankers are conservative with our money.   Where would we be today if AIG had provided this service?

We also rely on socialism for our Fire, Police and Defense Departments.  The brave men and women who protect and serve us in times of crisis don’t work in a for-profit enterprise.   They do, however, ensure that capitalists enjoy the freedom and security necessary for growth.

So, where is this scary ghost that politicians call “socialism”?  Not in America.  Not even in America’s past.  You have to look across the oceans.  The ghost’s name was Joseph Stalin, a communist dictator who terrorized and murdered millions.  The Soviet Union lacked both a constitutional and democratic process to keep Stalin in check.  Instead, he used torture, internal spies and lies as tools to increase his personal power.  There is no “Stalin” in America’s future.  With all our flaws, America is still strong.

Who are the scary American socialists then?  Well, do you support public schools?  Do you think we need to keep Social Security and Medicare?  Do you believe we are safer with publicly operated Fire, Police and Defense Departments?  Do you want to keep roads in the hands of state, county and federal government instead of private corporations?  If you do, then you should look in the mirror.  You might be a socialist.  Are you scared yet?

***originally written in 2009***