April 13, 2023

Getting Away With Murder

By Glenn

On July 25 2022, Daniel Perry shot and killed Garret Foster.  Perry went to trial, and a jury of his peers found him guilty of murder.  Texas Governor Greg Abbott wants this murderer to walk free.

Foster had been part of a lawful assembly in Austin.  He was speaking out against government brutality.  He legally carried a AK47-style rifle.

Perry was also legally driving in Austin while working for Uber.  He turned his car into the protesters.  This action was similar to the driver in Charlottesville, Virginia.  During that protest, James Fields Jr. used his car to murder participants.

Politicians like Congressman Pat Fallon tried to justify the Charlottesville’s murder.  At the time of the murder, Fallon served as a Texas Representative.  He introduced legislation in Austin would have legalized running over protestors.

Fallon wrote “A person operating a motor vehicle who injures another person with the motor vehicle is not liable for the injury if, at the time of the injury: (1)  the person operating the motor vehicle was exercising due care; and (2)  the person injured was blocking traffic in a public right-of-way while participating in a protest or demonstration.”

This extremist legislation failed, but support for murdering protestors is still popular among conservatives.  When Kyle Rittenhouse killed a protestor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, he instantly became a conservative celebrity, and he convinced a jury to acquit him.

The July 25 2022 incident combines both aspects of the Charlottesville and Kenosha killings.   Perry did not use his car to attack; instead, he used his own gun to kill Foster without leaving his vehicle.  Perry, like Rittenhouse, claimed that he shot because he feared for his life.

Clay Jones / claytoonz.com

The Texas jury, however, decided Perry was not justified and convicted him of murder.  Both prosecutors and defense attorneys presented their case. The jury believed the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.

One of the key pieces of evidence was Perry’s own words.  Even though he did not take the stand in his own defense, he did write about preparing to go to downtown Austin.  USA Today reported on Perry’s social media posts. 

Perry wrote he might “kill a few people on my way to work. They are rioting outside my apartment complex.” Later, his friend asked, “Can you legally do so?” Perry replied, “If they attack me or try to pull me out of my car then yes.”

Governor Greg Abbott and Congressman Pat Fallon are promoting this type of lawless behavior.  They are turning our streets in Afghanistan.  Abbott and Fallon want Americans to solve their problems with guns and violence.

As Americans we know better.  Our history shows that Civil War and Civil Rights violence delayed reconciliation and progress.  Abbott’s pardon of this murderer would encourage more gun violence. Is this the kind of leadership you want?

March 30, 2023

Gun Safety

By Glenn

On March 27, 2023 a shooter blasted their way into Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.  In a matter of minutes the shooter killed three nine year old children and three adults. 

Armed with two military style assault rifles the shooter then took up a sniper position on the second floor and ambushed the police. Somebody within the building had the composure under fire to call 911. 

The police arrived, took fire and rushed the building.  Just 14 minutes after the 911, police killed the shooter.

These murders were the 13th school shooting incident in the first three months of 2023.  Some of our neighbors are scared that there is worse to come.  Please give the gun owners in your life words of comfort. 

Hug your guns today.

Let them know they are safe.

Let them know that the adults in their life are watching out for them.

Let them know….

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all guns 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.

Guns will have a long life.

Guns will be free to kill.

Gun, the God, made them in His image and guns will be happy.

For the school teachers and the children, please let them know that their sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.  Their blood has sealed a New Second Amendment Covenant.  Their blood feeds God, the Gun.

As God, the Gun, grows stronger, so does the courage of Constitutional carrying Americans to shoot politicians and the godless. These Americans are also scared.  They are scared of losing elections.  They are scared of a diversifying neighborhood.

Calm their fears. Let them know we like American exceptionalism.  Let them know we are the only rich country who accepts the blood sacrifices of children and teachers. They crave a Civil War to live their “heritage.”

Above all let them know that Jesus was wrong.  Jesus was wrong to tell Peter, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Tell them God, the Gun, has given a Second Amendment truth.  “All that take the gun will live by the gun.”

March 23, 2023

Honesty Is The Best Policy

By Glenn

While honesty is the best policy, it doesn’t always make the best politics.  Twenty years ago, President George W. Bush lied about Iraq.  The invasion made conservatives happy but was a disaster for America, Iraq and the entire Middle East.

George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice told America and the World that Saddam Hussein was a bigger threat than Osama bin Laden.  Bin Laden’s terrorists had killed thousands of Americas on 9/11. 

The Bush Administration had invaded Afghanistan to get Bin Laden.  They couldn’t get the job done.  US intelligence agents found him hiding in the mountains of Tora Bora, but President Bush ordered American resources to focus on Saddam Hussein in Iraq instead.

Bush and his team justified this shift in focus by fabricating a vague case based on Weapons of Mass Destruction. Hussein was a familiar face to American voters since the first Gulf War under President George H. W. Bush.  After defeating Iraq in Kuwait, the Elder Bush ruled out an invasion of Iraq and regime change.

The Elder Bush knew the truth and told it to the American people.  Invading Iraq would have been a strategic disaster.  The US had no justification for the invasion.  Iraqis would resent the invasion. America’s allies would renounce the invasion.

This wise statesman was trained in international diplomacy.  He crafted an international sanction regime to check Hussein and an international inspection regime to make sure Iraq didn’t pose a threat to its neighbors.  The system was not perfect, but it worked to keep Hussein in check.

We know it worked because United Nation inspectors warned the American public before the war.  The UN told the truth.  Hans Blix, a Swedish diplomat and Head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, reported that he found no WMD in Iraq.

The younger Bush team would not listen to the truth about WMD.  On February 3, Collin Powell, the US Secretary of State, told the UN that Hussein had a sophisticated WMD program.  French diplomats reviewed the evidence and compared it to their own.  France, America’s oldest ally, refused to believe the lies.

Vice President Dick Cheney persisted.  Liberals warned the public of the looming disaster.  Iraq would be a quagmire similar to Vietnam.  On March 16 Cheney told the American people “Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.”

The US invasion of Iraq began three days later. To no one’s surprise, American troops quickly overwhelmed the Iraqi military.  US forces, however, couldn’t find the WMD.   Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, continued to lie, “We know where they [Iraq’s WMD] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat.”

These lies not only cost millions of Iraqi lives, the war cost the lives of American service men and women.  It diverted much needed resources from the hunt for al-Qa’ida.  Osama Bin Laden escaped justice until President Barack Obama redirected troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.

March 16, 2023

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

By Glenn

Saint Patrick’s Day has become a beloved American holiday.  Whether that means pinching someone for not wearing green, drinking green beer, or eating corned beef and cabbage, the holiday has made it into our popular culture.

Saint Patrick himself is a Roman Catholic saint.  The Church grants the title Saint to a person for Christ-like behavior during their life time.  It also establishes a miracle after the Saint died by ruling out any natural explanations.

For the Church, the miracle is a crucial part of beatification.  Beatification means the person has already entered into heaven. The Saint is in the presence of God and can intercede with God for the living.  The most famous prayer for intercession is the Hail Mary.

“Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.”

You will hear this prayer of intercession at a Catholic Wake during the recitation of the Rosary.  The living ask Mary, Queen of Heaven, to intercede with a prayer for the dearly departed.  At the hour of our death Mary will plead our case before her Son, the Judge of the Living and the Dead.

The Catholic Church teaches that all Saints can intervene for humans with God.  Most saints, like St. Patrick, are associated with specific causes.  It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that St. Patrick watches out for the Irish just like Saint Joseph watches out for families and refugees.

English Puritans, called “Pilgrims” in American history, tried to erase saints from popular culture.  They falsely accused Catholics of worshiping saints.  As Calvinist, Puritans wanted to purge everything but the grace, or mercy, of God from society.

Puritans smashed statues.  They broke stained glass windows.  They white washed churches to cover religious art.  They falsely accused Catholics of worshiping these objects as idols.  Puritans even banned Christmas.

By the time the English founded colonies in the Americas, there were not many Catholics left in the home kingdom.  This meant very few colonies had Roman Catholic residents and no holidays for Saints.

The big change came well after the War of Independence.  The Irish potato famine lasted from 1845 to 1852.  Hundreds of thousands of starving men, women and children immigrated to the United States.

“Print shows a one panel, three scene cartoon showing, in the first scene, an Irish man with the head of Uncle Sam in his mouth and a Chinese man with the feet of Uncle Sam in his mouth, in the second scene they consume Uncle Sam, and in the third the Chinese man consumes the Irish man; on the landscape in the distant background are many railroads.”

Luckily for them, the First Amendment protected their faith and their rituals. On the flip side, however, Puritan anti-Catholic bigotry remained strong. 

This bigotry manifested itself in a new political party, the Native American Party, or the No Nothing Party. The party saw Irish Catholics as a threat to American exceptionalism.  They accused the Pope of organizing a plot to destroy American Democracy and the Irish being a criminal race.   

I am not Irish, but I am a Roman Catholic.  It’s sad to remember the bigotry and obstacles faced by those early immigrants.  I am proud, however, that Americans eventually put that aside and made America a More Perfect Union.  Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.

March 9, 2023

A Free and Independent Press

By Glenn

On February 27, 1968, Walter Cronkite changed history. Cronkite was a household name by that time. During the 40s, 50s and 60s, he covered everything from Second World War to the Olympics.  Cronkite gained the trust of the American people by telling the truth.

As the host of the CBS Evening News, Cronkite told the American people that the war in Vietnam had no military solution.  This frank honest assessment did not please the political and military leaders in the United States. The Founding Fathers crafted the First Amendment for just such a moment. Voters needed the truth.

In 1968 they heard competing versions of reality. President Lyndon Johnson and his generals had promised the public that victory was within sight.  Privately, however, the Pentagon reached the opposite conclusion. The generals knew Cronkite reported the reality on the ground in Vietnam. 

Cronkite’s editorial put LBJ between a rock and a hard place.  Democrats on his left wanted a quick exit from Vietnam, while Republicans on his right demand a more violent war.  Secretly, the President opened negotiations with Hanoi and reached a peace deal.

Ricard Nixon, the 1968 Republican nominee for President, caught wind of the peace plan and reached out to the communists in North Vietnam.  He promised them a better deal if they prolonged the war until after the election.  North Vietnam accepted his offer, keeping the war issue alive for the election.

Nixon won the election and reopened peace talks. Unfortunately, he accomplished nothing.  North Vietnam held the better hand and the American public was tired of troops dying with no end in sight. The press continued to dig for the truth and stumbled onto a whole new can of worms.

On October 10, 1972 Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward published an explosive article in the Washington Post. The title read “FBI Finds Nixon Aides Sabotaged Democrats.”  Like Cronkite, Bernstein and Woodward told voters the truth.

“FBI agents have established that the Watergate bugging incident stemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of President Nixon’s re-election and directed by officials of the White House and the Committee for the Re-election of the President.”​

At first, Nixon successfully lied to the public and won reelection. Investigation after investigation, however, revealed more crimes. On August 7, 1974 Republican senators told Nixon that he needed to resign to avoid removal from office.  The next day, the President stepped aside.

Cronkite, Bernstein and Woodward proved that our Founding Fathers got it right.  An independent press is essential to a democracy. Conservative politicians, however, walked away with a different lesson.

Conservative politicians needed a dishonest press to win elections and weld power. In 1996 Rupert Murdoch hired a Republican political operative, Roger Ailes, to run Fox News.  Fox News attacks the truth.

March 2, 2023

Pierced Themselves With Many Griefs

By Glenn

I think it is safe to say that the modern conservative movement prides itself as the defender of Judaeo-Christian values.  Like the Sadducees and the Pharisees in the Gospels they love public displays of religion.   Every year professional conservatives stir up fake controversies like the “War on Christmas.”

For well over ten years, conservative politicians paraded their religion in front of television cameras. One of their favorite tricks was to publicly profess their identity by displaying the Ten Commandments.  Some like Judge Roy Moore of Alabama used tax dollars to carve an idol of the Commandments.

These politicians wanted to declare their own righteousness in the public square.  The conservative media played along.  Talking heads praised these unconstitutional government employees and disparaged any critics.

These modern “Sadducees and Pharisees” were not really interested in taking care of the least of us.  No, they wanted to use the Ten Commandments as stones to throw at others. The assessment might sound harsh but let’s look at one commandment in particular: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Deuteronomy 5: 20). 

This commandment is repeated and expanded in Exodus: “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a guilty person by being a malicious witness. Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong. When you give testimony in a lawsuit, do not pervert justice by siding with the crowd, and do not show favoritism to a poor person in a lawsuit.” (Exodus 23:1-3)

Should conservatives, who promote the commandments as the bedrock of Western Civilization, have difficulty understanding that bearing false witness is a sin? Should conservatives have a hard time understanding “that being a malicious witness” is a sin?

I ask these questions because Fox News owner, Rupert Murdock, swore under oath that his employees lied to viewers. In November and December of 2020 Fox News lied about the Presidential election results. 

We know about these intentional lies because Fox News damaged a private business: Dominion Voting Systems.  Dominion makes voters machines and Fox News hosted malicious witnesses, who falsely testified that the machines stole votes from Donald Trump.

Fox News executives allowed the malicious witnesses because they didn’t want to alienate their viewers.  Viewers generate ratings.  Ratings generate profits.  At the least these revelations should embarrass Fox News and the conservative movement. 

Conservatives might have avoided this hypocrisy if they had lived the Ten Commandments, instead of parading in front of them.  They should have also read Timothy: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

February 23, 2023

Keep the Vultures off Social Security and Medicare

By Glenn

Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” Liberals showed you who they are by creating and defending Social Security and Medicare.  Conservatives showed you who they were by opposing and undermining Social Security and Medicare. 

In 1935 Franklin Delano Roosevelt championed Social Security during the Great Depression.  Americans saw with their own eyes how Wall Street failed to protect their investments.  In October 1929 the Stock Market had crashed and sucked the liquid capital (money) out of banks and investment accounts.  Millions of Americans had no Plan B. They lost their jobs, their businesses and their life savings.

FDR followed a practical Christianity.  He wasn’t concerned with dogmas, creeds and sexual orientation.  He wanted to improve the quality of life for his neighbor, arguing, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.”

Yes, FDR was a progressive.  FDR wanted to protect the weak from the strong.  In America that meant protecting American workers from Wall Street vultures. Those vultures have no problem feeding off the pensions and life savings of Americans just to squeeze out another dime of profit.

The President knew that America could not be strong if seniors starved and suffered.  Conservatives, however, cried about the costs.  They cried about the destruction of the market.  They cried about creeping socialism. 

It was not until 1964 that a new generation of conservatives attacked Social Security openly again.  Barry Goldwater led the charge.  He argued in favor of small government.  Goldwater wanted to privatize Social Security, shrinking the federal government, saving money and letting Wall Street take care of retirement.

President Lyndon Baines Johnson from Texas did not shrink from the challenge to American prosperity.  Like FDR, LBJ was a progressive.  He wanted to improve Social Security, not destroy it.  LBJ championed adding a healthcare component to it.

When LBJ won the election of 1964 he launched the Great Society program and added Medicare to the Social Security program.  Once again, conservatives cried about the costs.  They cried about the destruction of the market.  They cried about creeping socialism.  They bemoaned these entitlements that you fund with every paycheck.

Nearly fifty years later conservatives are crying again.  Senator Mike Lee of Utah wants to rip Medicare and Social Security out by the root.  Do you agree?  Do you want conservative politicians to let Wall Street gamble with retirement and healthcare benefits?  I’m with Maya Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

February 16, 2023

How Much is $3 Million Worth?

By Glenn

What could you do with $3.3 million? In Texas the median house selling price is $350,000.  The state funding for each student in public schools is $5,100.  I think $3.3 million is a lot of money.  Ken Paxton apparently doesn’t since it isn’t his money – it’s ours.

Ken Paxton is the Texas Attorney General.  In 2015 federal law enforcement officials charge him with securities fraud.  If convicted, he could be in prison for the rest of his life.

If I were him, I would have avoided even the appearance of illegality.  Why invite more scrutiny before settling the federal charges? 

“Stand By Your Man: How the Collin County GOP derailed Ken Paxton’s prosecution and turned him into a right-wing hero.” Texas Observer

Paxton, however, didn’t avoid trouble.  In fact Paxton just agreed to pay $3.3 million to settle another fraud case.  The second case opened in October 2020.  Four attorneys working in the Texas AG office blew the whistle on him, accusing him of bribery and abuse of office.

Paxton responded by firing them, but the complaint encourage the FBI to open a second federal investigation.  Anyone working in a government office knows an employer can’t fire a whistleblower.

Shocking no one, the whistleblower sued Paxton for wrongful termination.  They did what we want our fellow citizens to do.  The whistleblowers reported credible crimes committed by government employees.  Paxton intentionally broke whistleblower protection laws.

The Texas Tribune report last week that Paxton has just agreed to pay the whistleblower $3.3 million.  Paxton wants the illegal termination case to go away.  Paxton wants you and me to pay for the case to go away.

Paxton has no authority spend $3.3 million dollars.  He needs legislative approval.  Paxton needs Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick to put the settlement before the Senate.  Paxton needs Texas Greg Abbott to sign the funding bill and write the check.

Paxton is a walking example of waste, fraud and abuse of tax payer dollars.   One paragraph in the Texas Tribune shows the depth of the crimes.

“Filings in the whistleblower suit revealed more details about the crimes the former employees alleged Paxton committed, including doing political favors for real estate developer Nate Paul, a friend and political donor who gave Paxton $25,000 for his 2018 campaign. The allegations said Paul helped Paxton with a home remodel and by hiring Paxton’s alleged girlfriend. Paxton is married to state Sen. Angela Paxton, R-McKinney.”

 What could you do with $3.3 million?  What will the Republics in Austin do with our $3.3 million?  Will Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and Ken Paxton use it for schools and roads?  Will they use it to cover up multiple crimes?  What do you want your State Senator and Representative to do?

February 9, 2023

A More Perfect Union

By Glenn

It shouldn’t surprise you that some reporters, talk show hosts and columnists are lazy.  They find a meme and then plug in a detail.   The meme today is the phrase “Washington is broken.”

This phrase allows the speaker to avoid taking responsibility for a judgment or prediction.  It opens the door to the related meme, blaming “both sides.”  These memes are lazy and counterproductive. 

Imagine working for a boss who indiscriminately blamed all of the workers for low productivity and a hostile work environment.  Would you prefer a boss who objectively measures productivity and weeded out the bad apples? Or would you prefer a boss who fired the good with the bad?

Under the constitution, We, the People of the United States, are the boss.  Not me.  Not you. We. We have the responsibility to be a good boss.  We need to identify low productivity representatives and punish uncivilized behavior.

The State of Union Address gives us an opportunity to do an annual performance review.  President Joe Biden delivered facts about the progress of the economy, American leadership overseas and future budget priorities.  Republicans rudely interrupted him and denied reality.

Some Truths Are Self Evident

For example, according to Forbes, the Biden-Harris Administration “apprehended 1.998 million people at the U.S.-Mexico border from October to August.” This was an all-time record.  This fact flies in the face of a big Republican lie. 

The U.S.-Mexico border is more secure.  It is not “open.”  Unlike Donald Trump, however, President Biden is not abusing migrants.  Biden is not separating children from their families.  Our President is following the law.

Job creation has been another area of success.  President Biden reported that his administration “created, with the help of many people in this room, 12 million new jobs — more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.”    This pattern of Democratic policies creating more jobs has been consistent since the Great Depression.

President Biden and the Democratic Congress also helped veterans of Iraq of Afghanistan.  According to the Military Times, “Millions of veterans are now eligible for expanded health care access and disability benefits related to burn pit smoke and other toxic exposures.”  A Democratic President, a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate got this job done.

Overseas, the President has performed well too.  He ended the “forever war” in Afghanistan.  Biden ordered the execution of Ayman al-Zawahiri, a mastermind behind 9-11.  In Europe President Biden leads an international coalition against Russian tyranny in Ukraine.

Washington is not broken.  Republicans are broken.  They are blinded by their hatred of liberals.  Their hatred has created a paranoid delusional mentality.  As a boss, I’ll reward success, not crazy lies.

February 3, 2023

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

By Glenn
Topics:
Food

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1) Bake a spaghetti squash. I use a skewer to poke for holes in each end and then microwave it on the fresh vegetable setting. This makes it easier to cut in have before baking in the oven. If you are careful you could skip this step and just split it down the middle. I spay both halves with “butter flavored” spray and season with Tony Chachere’s. Bake upside down for 1 hour and 350. Flip and bake 20 mins to roast squash. Set aside and cool. Once its cool, you can “fluff” the spaghetti with a fork.

2) Prepare a “red sauce.” I use a simply sauce. Sweat onions, celery and bell pepper using olive oil (2 table spoons?). Once translucent, I add butter and garlic to quickly roast. Add 1 can of diced tomatoes and 1 can of tomato sauce. Often the diced tomatoes are season with basil. Season to taste with Tony’s and Italian seasoning. Stew until flavors blend.

3) Fry chicken. We usually use boneless chicken breast, but Jackie couldn’t find any. She bought boneless leg quarters this time. Cut into bit sized pieces (nuggets?). Lightly season flour. Quickly fry in about a 1/4 inch of oil until golden.

4) Assemble. Stuff fried chick into “fluffed” squash. Cover with sauce. Top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake at 375 until top is brown. Keep an eye on it to prevent burning. It should take about 10-15 minutes.

Split and Serve 🙂

Stuffed Spaghetti Squash