October 14, 2021

Don’t Bear False Witness

By Glenn

Justice requires the truth.  As Americans we require anyone testifying to do it under oath.  Oath breakers face penalties for perjury.

The truth is no less important in other aspects of life.  Both Civil Law and the Bible made bearing false witness a crime.  Civil law calls it liable.  Psalm 6 calls bearing false witness an abomination.

Bearing false witness also made it into the Bible’s Ten Commandments.  Exodus 23 states, “You shall not spread a false report.”  In Gospel of Matthew (15:18-20), Jesus himself listed slander and false witness as actions that defile a person.

How much more will bearing false witness, tolerating false witness and encouraging false witness defile a society?

Unfortunately, that is exactly what conservatives are doing by supporting The Loser, Donald Trump.   The Loser started planting his lies before he lost.  In fact he made a multi-year habit of lying about election results from President Obama’s Presidential victory to Senator Ted Cruz’s momentary victory in the Iowa caucuses

The Loser’s slander didn’t cost him much.  Conservatives flocked to his slander like moths to flames.  The more he and his friends lied, the brighter his fire burned.

DC officer Michael Fanone said the ‘indifference’ shown by House leader McCarthy and others is ‘disgraceful’

None of these lies survived in a Court Room.  They all died quickly as oaths revealed the truth.  Every state followed the law.  Every state certified their votes.  When Congress counted the votes, Joe Biden became the President.

Court after court listened to the lies and false allegations presented by The Loser’s lawyers.  Time and again, however, they were dismissed as frivolous.  When The Loser appealed his cases, even his handpicked justices on the United States Supreme Court dismissed him.

We now know that The Loser began calling Republican officials around the country.  He wanted them to throw away millions of our votes.  Even Republican officials refused.

Next, The Loser wanted his appointees at the United States Justice Department to intervene.  They remained faithful to their oath. Still, The Loser pushed them.  Only when they threatened mass resignations, did he back down.

On January 6, 2021, The Loser placed one last bet.  He incited a mob to storm the United States Capital.  He instructed them to disrupt our Constitution.   The mob broke into the building and beat capital police officers with an American flag. The Loser watched on TV.

 You have a choice to make.  You have to decide whether to bear false witness.  You have to decide if you will help the Loser continue defiling America and our Constitution.  What will you do?

October 12, 2021

I’m Not Scared of Words

By Glenn

Every time we turn around Fox News and the rest of the professional conservatives cry like babies about scary socialism.  It doesn’t take much education to know they haven’t a clue what socialism is.  They simply want to scare and paralyze American.

In the early 1900’s apartment and factory fires killed thousands.  As a society we decided to require manufacturers to build safer buildings.  Death by fire dropped dramatically.

During the Great Depression, Americans used government to dramatically improve their lives.  Voters supported the FDIC to insure bank deposits and the SEC to police the financial industry.  Americans elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1932 and then re-elected him three more times, including two after he created Social Security. 

Republicans opposed each and every one of these improvements.  They screamed “socialism” each and every time.  FDR and Democrats pushed ahead anyway. 

After FDR died, President Harry Truman famously retorted, “Socialism is a scare word they have hurled at every advance the people have made in the last 20 years.” Truman refused to fear a word.

Democratic reforms were so popular Republicans got on board after the Second World War.  Veterans demanded, and a bipartisan Congress provided, a host of new government benefits including education, healthcare, and housing.   President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, pushed forward with Interstate Highways and actively enforced Federal Court desegregation orders.

In the 1960’s Barry Goldwater tried to get Americans to turn back the clock.  He wanted to reverse the New Deal by privatizing Social Security.  Goldwater opposed federal Civil Rights legislation.  Lyndon Johnson crushed him at the ballot box.  

With the support of the American people, politicians of both parties surged ahead again.  They created Medicare and Medicaid.  They passed the Clean Water and Air acts.  Congress and presidents did this against a back drop of radical politicians screaming socialism.

It wasn’t until 1980 that the fear mongering finally broke through.  Ronald Reagan shamelessly, and falsely, blamed government regulation for the 1970’s energy crisis.  The origin of that crisis lay in the Middle East, not the Halls of Congress.  Arab states punished the United States for supporting Israel during the Cold War.

The truth didn’t matter to Reagan, however.  He plowed ahead with his sales pitch.  Reagan blamed Federal Legislation for everything from energy to poverty to struggling schools.  He found his scape goat and demanded a sacrifice.

September 30, 2021

Learn, Not Repeat, is the Goal

By Glenn

                A dedicated group of volunteers are trying to teach their neighbors the history of Grayson County Texas.   Grayson County has a chance to learn from its mistakes.  Melissa Thiel is leading the effort and has rallied local business owners and clergy.  They want the following statement on a marker in front of the Courthouse.  The marker would read.

________________

The Sherman Riot of 1930 was one of a number of major incidents of racial violence that occurred in the United States at the onset of the Great Depression.

On May 3, 1930, George Hughes a black farm laborer was accused of assaulting a white woman in a dispute over wages. A grand jury returned an indictment and trial was scheduled for 9 May. For the trial, local officials suspected they would need help keeping an expected agitated crowd under control. Governor Dan Moody sent Texas Rangers to help including Captain Frank Hamer.

In the morning hours of the trial, Mr. Hughes was transported to the Grayson County Courthouse. An estimated 5000 person crowd called for Mr. Hughes to be given to them and the courthouse was then set alight by the mob. Mr Hughes was put in the two-story documents vault where he subsequently suffocated as the Courthouse burned down. Fire department attempts to address the flames were thwarted by the mob. The 1876 Courthouse was a total loss.

Hours later the mob dynamited open the still-standing vault and threw Mr. Hughes’ lifeless body out a window where it was dragged to the city’s black business district, hanged from a tree and then burned. The mob proceeded to burn down black owned businesses on Mulberry Street including the office of Civil Rights attorney William J Durham. Due to further mob intimidation, Governor Moody declared martial law on 10th May which lasted for the next two weeks. A total of 66 Grayson Community citizens were taken into custody with 14 indicted for crimes. Three were considered for trial and only one person was convicted for arson of the courthouse and incitement to Riot. No one was charged with lynching or murder.

The Sherman Riot of 1930: Major Outbreak of Racial Violence in the United  States | Black Then

We must learn about Act of Terrorism in Grayson County. We must never repeat it.

September 23, 2021

States’ Rights Deception

By Glenn

Big Government conservatives like to hide behind the slogan States’ Rights.  They want you to believe they are standing up for you against the mean federal government.  They have relied on this deception since the beginning of the Republic.

Southern planters knew America’s revolutionary rhetoric threatened their vast wealth and power.  The Declaration of Independence clashed with legalized slavery.

They were slave owners that told the world “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the `pursuit of Happiness.”

Southern conservatives were afraid this rhetoric would turn around and bite them.  The slave owners demanded a Constitutional Amendment to protect the right to own “negro slaves.”   The Tenth Amendment striped the federal government of its power to regulated anything not mentioned in the constitution—slavery—and delegated to the states powers not prohibited by the Constitution—slavery. 

This awkwardly phrased amendment secured for the wealthiest Americans protections against the egalitarian rhetoric of the revolution.  Southern planters secured for states the right to legalize the buying and selling of human beings.

Southern conservatives were right to worry.  In the American free states, the declaration of human equality gradual spread to include African Americans.   Even racists whites in the North came to understand that slave labor threatened free labor.

In the 1860 presidential election, Abraham Lincoln convinced enough voters that America needed to stop the spread of slavery.  He believed stopping slavery would lead to its eventual extinction.

No election was more divisive in American history.  The loss motivated Southern Conservatives to break the constitution and write a new one.  The new Confederate Constitution protected their “peculiar institution” of “negro slavery.”

Since most white southerners owned few, if any slaves, the planters needed to find a way to rally them to the cause of the 1% of property owners.  That cause was White Supremacy and States Rights.

States had the right to secure the blessings of liberty for white property owners.  States’ had the right to protect the white male’s ownership of black men, women and children.  They convinced southerners that one day they too could own slaves.

This deception worked.  Poor whites took to the battlefield to protect their states against a tyrant—Abraham Lincoln.  Lincoln vowed to expand freedom.  Southern conservatives used the states to block him.  Time and again the wealthiest southerners repeated this failed States’ Right agenda.

September 16, 2021

Cruelty is a Feature, Not an Accident

By Glenn

The terrorist attacks on 9/11 ignited the rise of Big Government Conservatism.  Just a few months before, George W. Bush had won a razor thin election by presenting himself as a compassionate conservative. 

Within days of the September attacks his mask fell off. Bush started to channel the blood lust rising in conservative circles.  I will never forget my drive home on September 11. 

The local radio talk show hosts were interviewing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican moderate.  The WBAP hosts asked her if the United States was prepared to use nuclear weapons against the attackers.  Hutchison responded that a nuclear retaliation was possible.

That morning, no one knew who was responsible for the attacks.  No one could know how many innocent people a nuclear bomb would kill.  Despite this ignorance, this so called conservative moderate entertained the idea of murdering thousands as revenge. 

George W. Bush fed this blood lust.  Just days after the attack, he started building a false case against Iraq.  President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney fabricated an excuse to invade a country that had nothing to do with 9/11.

Bush, Cheney, Fox News and talk radio then destroyed anyone that challenged their lies.  Conservatives called men like Senator Max Cleland, a disabled Vietnam Veteran, a coward and traitor for opposing the Iraq War. 

Congressional Republicans jumped on the war bandwagon.  When America’s ally France tried to silence the drums of war, Congressional Republicans changed the menu in the cafeteria.  French fries became Freedom Fries.  French Toast became Freedom Toast.

Exploiting the September 11 attacks for political gain was very popular with the Republican base.  In 2004 Democrats nominated John Kerry, another Vietnam War Veteran, as their candidate.  Bush donors spread lies and smeared his service record.

Conservatives embraced the Swift Boat lies.  At the Republican Convention, participants mocked John Kerry’s service to America by wearing band aides with small Purple Hearts.  They falsely claimed Kerry faked his injuries to win one of America’s highest honors.

The 2008 Presidential election was no better.  Conservatives fabricated and spread the racist, bigoted lie that Barack Obama was a foreign born Muslim.  When the Republican nominee and Vietnam War hero John McCain defended Obama from these lies, conservatives turned on him too.

The September 11 attacks poisoned American conservatism.  Politicians, Fox News, and talk show hosts embraced cruelty and pain.   They demonized anyone who promoted compromise and dialogue.  Healing America requires facing this ugly truth.

September 10, 2021

Yes, I’m a Feminist

By Glenn

In 1862 the United Kingdom’s Parliament passed the first in a series of Contagious Disease Acts.  The Members of Parliament considered sexually transmitted diseases a matter of national security.  The MPs believed prostitutes spread the disease to the Armed Forces and weakened them.

The Acts specifically targeted suspected prostitutes, not the soldiers, sailors, or marines.  It empowered Police Officers to detain and inspect women.  The inspection included an intrusive speculum exam. 

(Men, if you don’t know what this is, ask a trusted female friend or relative).

The pretext of this body cavity search was to find and stop the spread of STDs among the Armed Forces.  Parliament identified female prostitutes as the source of this national security threat and gave Police the authority to “hospitalize” (jail) any women showing signs of an STD.

Would it surprise you to learn that in the late 1800s women neither voted nor served in Parliament?   According to tradition, men looked after the “weaker sex.”  Men dominated the public sphere—politics, war and the market place—while women took care of the private sphere—home, childcare, and church.

Prostitutes violated this tradition.  They entered into the public sphere.  They stepped outside of social protections and hurt men. 

The men who passed these laws publicly advocated for property rights and a free market.  The hypocrisy was clear.  Men should be free, but women needed to be controlled.

The Contagious Disease Acts were a step too far for Victorian women.  They knew that a threat to women’s rights anywhere was a threat to women’s rights everywhere.  These acts sparked the beginnings of modern feminism.

Feminists like Josephine Butler highlighted the inherent inequality of the act.  It punished the women involved but the men faced few consequences.  Butler no longer trusted male politicians to protect her and other women.

Women around the United Kingdom mobilized and spoke out.  They didn’t want to engage in prostitution, but they did want to protect themselves from big government.

In 1886, the feminists won.  Parliament repealed the acts.  The battle for political and social equality, however, had just begun.

A new generation of feminists like the Pankhurst family expanded their demands.  Feminists fought for and won the right to vote, workplace safety standards, and better wages for all. 

Politicians often can achieve their momentary goals of protecting their special interests.  If they overreach, however, they may get more than what they bargained for.

September 2, 2021

Time to Come Home

By Glenn

The United States Armed Forces have shown the world again that it is the best trained and equipped on the planet. In 2001, they went into Afghanistan to kill Osama Bin Laden and dismantle the 9/11 terror network.

Long after their mission to kill Osama Bin Laden was successful and Al Qaeda driven from Afghanistan, President Joe Biden kept his promise to bring Americans home.  Every other President before him hesitated.  I am happy that President Biden did not.

President Biden prioritized the lives of US troops.  He extended an artificial deadline negotiated by Donald Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make that happen.  In November 2020, days after the US election, Pompeo surrendered Afghanistan to the Taliban and promised all US forces would be gone by May 2021.

To protect US lives President Biden moved the deadline to August 31. In July, the US military returned control of Afghanistan over to the Afghans.   The pull out went well. Thousands of US forces got out safely. 

Biden kept his promise. Unfortunately, the US trained Afghan forces were not up to the task of holding back the Taliban.  US forces then had to organize an incredible mission to evacuate thousands of Americans and Afghans who thought they could stay after the US exit.  The Afghan government failed to secure the country, not the US military.

While conservatives continue to badmouth US military operations, let’s look at the facts.  American service men and women successfully evacuated 110,000 people.  That is 48% of the total of 230,688.  Team USA can be a force for good in the world.  The US military did its job.   

Conservatives on Fox News and in Congress wanted President Biden to delay.  They never wanted to leave this war.  Now some want to send US forces back into Afghanistan. 

Conservatives have learned nothing.  After 20 years, trillions of dollars, and thousands of dead Americans, they still want to nation build.  Conservatives refuse to recognize that US troops would always face another suicide bomber.  

No more Americans need to die in Afghanistan.  The mission is over.  They are coming home.

The next time some politician tries to convince you that occupying a foreign country is easy, please, remember the recent images.  Armchair patriotism is easy today.  It is much harder when we are trying to stop the drumbeats of war.  Twenty years in Afghanistan is too long.

August 26, 2021

Covid: Think Globally, Active Locally

By Glenn

I don’t know about you, but I started off my summer with hope.  Together—united as one nation–we had turned the corner on Covid 19.  The experts were right.  Masks and physical distancing saved lives and bought time for many of us to get vaccinated.

In June, however, conservative politicians decided it was time to surrender.  They cut and ran from good public policy.  They inflamed their followers to reject the common good and embrace selfish behavior.

https://apps.texastribune.org/features/2020/texas-coronavirus-cases-map/#daily-hospital-anchor

Conservative politicians resumed a tried and true technique.  They created doubt, fear and rebellion.  This technique worked to delay anti-tobacco legislature.  It worked to delay environmental legislation.  It worked to delay equal rights legislation.

Politicians like Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick, and Ken Paxton launched a coordinated attack on the defense of America from a deadly disease.  Through a series of executive orders and frivolous lawsuits, they stripped local governments of their life saving powers.

The results were predictable.  The vaccination rate slowed to a trickle.  The public abandoned masks. Large numbers of Americans started gather in poorly ventilated indoor spaces.

These behaviors created ideal conditions to reignite Covid 19.  Positive cases increased.  Hospital beds filled.  Now, Texas has ordered more mortuary trailers to handle the overflow of dead bodies.

Last week I saw a ray of hope.  Once hesitate Americans are changing their mind about the vaccines.  The vaccinate rate is again climbing.  Unfortunately, it is climbing slower in conservative areas of the country like Texas.

Liberal politicians are encouraging their supporter to follow the sciences.  More and more of them are getting the vaccine.  States will liberal governments are literally saving lives. 

This is not happening as quickly in Red states.  For example, when The Loser of the last presidential election traveled to Alabama for a rally, he tried to promote vaccines.  The crowd booed.  Instead of taking the vaccine, people in these states are taking cow and horse pills to prove they aren’t “sheep.”

My hope comes from local School Boards and County Judges.  They have challenge Abbott’s, Patrick’s, and Paxton’s big government policies.  Abbot, Patrick, and Paxton abused the power of the state to tie the hands of local officials. 

Local leaders have had enough.  They are tired of watching the failed policies spread sickness and death.  They are tired of bus driver shortages, nursing shortages, and waiter shortages.  Workers, student and diners have a right to a safe work environment.

These local actions give me hope.  The public is demanding action.  Real leaders listen.  We can have a safer community soon if we launch a counter offensive now.

August 19, 2021

The Best Hope for Peace

By Glenn

I was born in Heidelberg, Germany, in a United States military hospital.  My dad proudly served in the US Army for 27 years.  He was there to defend against a Soviet invasion.

The US Army first arrived in Europe during World War Two (1939-1945). It was part of an Allied Coalition that defeated the NAZIs.  At Yalta, the leaders of the coalition decided to divide Europe and rebuild it. 

This was the start of the largest and most important social experiment in human history.  In Western Europe, the United States, Great Britain and France built institutions that valued popular participation, a reduction of poverty, a free press, well- regulated capitalism and an independent judicial system.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The Soviet Union, however, had a different vision for Eastern Europe.  It had conquered the East and paid a bloody price.  It was determined to exploit that victory.  The Soviet’s set up puppet governments across the continent.  They held fraudulent elections.  They stole resources, labor and infrastructure for the benefit of the USSR.  They punished independent journalists, property owners and judges. 

This division lasted throughout the Cold War (1947-1991).  Over the years, military forces in Western Europe increasing took a back seat to politics.  Talking and compromising became more important than shooting and killing.

This transition never happened in Eastern Europe.  Every time the Soviet military loosened its grip on Eastern Europe, local dissidents tried to break free.  In 1956 and 1968 Soviet tanks broke independence movements in Hungary and Czechoslovakia.

The United States, Great Britain and France had literally found a way to turn swords into plowshares.  The former advisories learned to live and prosper together.  The Soviet exploitive model, however, promised perpetual violence.

The great irony is that the United States ignored this success outside of Europe.  US political leaders used the language of freedom to exploit resource rich countries.  The result of this exploitation was no less violent than the Soviet experience.

Instead of promoting popular participation, the United States picked dictators to rule over the people.  These dictators were considered “strongmen.”  Americans had a hard time trusting local people to govern themselves.

Chiang Kai-shek in China.  Fulgencio Batista in Cuba. Augusto Pinochet in Chili. Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines.   Ngô Đình Diệm in Vietnam. 

Time and again, the United States soldiers, like my father, had to fight to protect these dictators.  They never once fought in Europe.  Democracy, anti-poverty programs, a free press, and an independent judiciary are the best hope for peace.  Those that live by the sword will die by the sword.