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soldierant's Journal
soldierant's Journal
October 3, 2023

Civil Discourse with Joyce Vance: About Merrick Garland

[I'm generally slow to read Joyce, so I checked with the search tool before posting. If this is a duplcate, I apologize]

“The American people must protect each other.” That’s what Attorney General Merrick Garland said on 60 Minutes Sunday night. He choked up saying it, perhaps because it’s so out of reach these days, or perhaps because he has relatives who died in the Holocaust simply because they were Jews and that’s an integral part of who he is. Let’s not fault anyone who’s emotional on occasion about the fate of our country—we should all be at this point.

Other important things happened in Merrick Garland’s wide ranging interview. Although it’s easy to set him aside as the Attorney General who was too slow to act when it came to Trump, we now know that it’s complicated. Garland walked a careful balance on a knife’s edge and only history will be able to assess whether he got it right. But there is much to like about his commitment to democracy and his willingness to give the type of interview few attorneys general do—it’s easier, given the nature of the work, to stay cloistered on Pennsylvania Avenue, giving talks only at carefully chosen venues. This interview was an effort to reach out beyond that and to speak to people who might not otherwise hear from him.

Asked about his objective as Attorney General, Garland said it was to “pass our democracy on, in working order, to the next generation.” That would have been mere pleasantry from any of his predecessors. For Garland, it’s serious business, and it’s important to hear him say it out loud.

Joe Biden’s Attorney General was always going to be in a tight spot, no matter who he chose for the job. The weightiest of choices, whether to indict a former president, was always going to rest on their shoulders. And that decision was going to be made in the context of a Justice Department that had lost much of its credibility with the public despite the diligence of its employees, due in no small part to the deliberate efforts of Donald Trump to undermine the country’s confidence in the Department.

May 19, 2023

PoliticsGirl: Please Don't Move

There's been a fair amount of discussion on this topic here. This video is one opinion (certainly a passinate one.) To me, such a decisin is so personal I won't take a side - at least not today.
March 20, 2023

Al Franken

I know there are a lor of people her who miss him. So when I found his email in my inbox that he is hosting The Daily Show this week, I thought I would post.

Dear Person Who Still Opens My Emails,

I wanted to call your attention to something I’ll be doing this coming week: hosting The Daily Show. Since Trevor Noah left the show after seven excellent years, they’ve been having guest hosts filling in. Hosts like Leslie Jones, Wanda Sykes, D.L. Hughley, Chelsea Handler, Sarah Silverman, Hasan Minhaj, Marlon Wayans, and Kal Penn.

Now, it’s me! The first white male host! Exciting! Huh!?
October 30, 2022

Hugh McKean, Colorado's House Minority Leader, dead at 55

Source: Colorado Public Radio

Hugh McKean, Colorado’s Republican House Minority Leader, died Sunday morning at the age of 55.

The Republican from Larimer County leaves behind two children, Aiden and Hanna McKean, and his partner, Amy Parks.

McKean’s cause of death has not yet been determined, however state Republicans described his passing as “sudden and tragic.” A public funeral is being planned and details will be released when finalized.

McKean was first elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2016. He was elected state House minority leader in November 2020. Before his death, McKean was running for reelection to represent District 51.

Read more: https://www.cpr.org/2022/10/30/hugh-mckean-colorados-house-minority-leader-dead-at-55/

My first thought was "nine days before the election ... cue conspiracy theories in 3... 2... 1... An d that may well happen, But reading the full article, he may have been appreciated more by Democrats than by his own party. This is sad news.
August 6, 2022

NEW Randy Rainbow --- !

The song, from "A Chorus Line," on which this is based is called "Cance 10, Looks 3" But that is its SFW name. It also has an NSFW name which iactually have heard more often. LOL!!!

Edited to say it appears most people aren't familiar with the original. I'snothing to do with swearing. It's about plastic surgery and the effects on one's life (and how it makes much more of a difference than "Thoughts and Prayers.&quot I just feel knowing that adds a tiny bit of humor to what is already funny without it.
July 4, 2022

Thoughts about the holiday

Today, I read Robert Reich's and Heather Cox Richardson's Fourth-of-July essays, which came in, one late last night, and one very early this morning. In a way they say the same thing in different words. And in a way, both are wrong - not in the wrong direction, but not going far enough. It was this that struck me in Richardson's piece (referencing the Gettysburg Address): "the Civil War was 'testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.' It did, of course." No. It didn't. The same issues which divided us in 1776 and 1865 and 1964 have never gone away. We just managed to push them underground for a few years (a trifle longer the second time). And Trump** did not bring them to a boil. They were always at a boil. All he did was give the wrong side permission to speak.

If we are ever going to heal this divide, we have to do more than trying harder, because that isn't working. The most recent time around (the 1960s), psychology had become a science, and there have been all kinds of psychological studies about perceptions which have provided new information about the states of mind of Americans - but not one (and no combination) has given any insight into what to do to make it go away. Now, again, some states are talking about seceding. And some progressives are saying (and more are secretly thinking) perhaps we should let it happen (at least some of us are talking about the need to rescue sane people from the departing states, and how difficult that would be.) We already have a Civil War on our hands now - right now. It's not yet a shooting war. But that doesn't mean it won't be. And way too few appear to realize it.

Oddly, it may be Steve Schmidt who puts it the most clearly: "Then [the beginning of the Civil War, speaking of Congress] like now, there were some who looked at the empty desks and saw crisis in the absence – not [in] the cause of the absence." But I wish I could share his optimism.


May 30, 2022

Historian Heather Cox Richardson on Guns and the People who Love Them

Heather Cox Richardson is a respected historian, whom you may have seen recently on Amanpous and Company on PBS.* You may also be familiar with her daily substack blog, "Letters from an American."

In response to Uvalde, she published what was essentially a three-part series on the history of Americans and guns, each part of the series focusing on a different aspect. All are eminently quotable, but I think stronger together. Please let me introduce you to them if you haven't already seen them.

In the first one, she discusses America and guns through the lens of Constitutional language and historical language uses. Just a short quote.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution, on which modern-day arguments for widespread gun ownership rest, is one simple sentence: “A well regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” There’s not a lot to go on about what the Framers meant, although in their day, to “bear arms” meant to be part of an organized militia.

As the Tennessee Supreme Court wrote in 1840, “A man in the pursuit of deer, elk, and buffaloes might carry his rifle every day for forty years, and yet it would never be said of him that he had borne arms; much less could it be said that a private citizen bears arms because he has a dirk or pistol concealed under his clothes, or a spear in a cane.”

In the second, she discusses America and guns through the lens of all of American politics and how that has changed, with us changing with it. Again, just a short quote.

How have we arrived at a place where 90% of Americans want to protect our children from gun violence, and yet those who are supposed to represent us in government are unable, or unwilling, to do so?

This is a central problem not just for the issue of gun control, but for our democracy itself.

It seems that during the Cold War, American leaders came to treat democracy and capitalism as if they were interchangeable. So long as the United States embraced capitalism, by which they meant an economic system in which individuals, rather than the state, owned the means of production, liberal democracy would automatically follow.

In the third one, she turns to the lens of the culture of rugged individualism, and how that is related to the America relationship with guns, and how even gender identities have been affected. Yet again, just a short quote.

Beginning in the 1950s, those opposed to government regulation and civil rights decisions pushed the imagery of the cowboy, who ran cattle on the Great Plains from 1866 to about 1886 and who, in legend, was a white man who worked hard, fought hard against Indigenous Americans, and wanted only for the government to leave him alone.

That image was not true to the real cowboys, at least a third of whom were Black or men of color, or to the reality of government intervention in the Great Plains, which was more extensive there than in any other region of the country. It was a reaction to federal laws after the Civil War defending Black rights in the post–Civil War South, laws white racists said were federal overreach that could only lead to what they insisted was “socialism.”

And on the fourth day, she rested (for which I for one, cannot blame her. All three of these articles are worth attention. They are not as long as they may at first appear, because when she gets to the word "Notes:" she is finished - what follows is her sources. But also, they present one problem with three distinct visions. I don't suppose we all need to be deeply familiar with all of them - but we should at least know which one most resonates with ourselves and with people to whom we may be speaking - being aware that one can't well share what one doesn't own.

Thanks for reading. *The Amanpour clip is here -
April 25, 2022

Screwtape Writes Again From Hell Of the Passing Of the GOP Baton From Trump To DeSantis

There's a news blog called PolitiZoom which is run by a few people , most of whom used to spend time on Daily Kos, but have left (not all voluntarily.) I get the newsletter and thankfully saw this article - and obtained permission to share with a link (it's long but worth every second.)

I have been a fan of C. S. Lewis since I was in junior high (I'm now 76) and have read and re-read most of what he wrote. When I started reading this parody, it felt like he was suddenly alive again and completely up to date with the voice remaining the same. It was written by Ursula Faw. Not to spoil it all, I'll post a chunk straight from the beginning:

MEMO: From Vice Chancellor Screwtape to Senior Tempter Wormwood

My Dear Wormwood,

My very dear Wormwood. How proud I am to come to you once again to congratulate you on yet another promotion. I knew that your appointment to the Political Division was the right choice. You remember how your cousin Wailbone was lobbying to have you transferred to her realm, Mayhem and Suicide? I opposed that at the time, saying you could be of better service in Political. Little did I know the degree to which I was understating the case.

You, Sir, are about to be elevated to Liaison of Fascist Control, because of the appearance of Ron DeSantis on the scene. Yes! That is a more powerful division than either the one you or Wailbone are currently in and Wailbone is being promoted, too! What a family of prodigies I head! Yea, Fascist Control is the division that Our Father Below supervises personally because it is the culmination of all our work and all his aims. He has not signed the proclamation yet, but he will, and so I am sending you this missive sub rosa, so that you can put the champagne on ice and get the music playing. Put on those dance slippers I gave you, the ones with the curved toes! And for music, I suggest the tune I myself composed, of the screams of new arrivals in our Hall of Welcome, when they realize their fate. There’s no sound in the universe like it!

I must tell you of Wailbone’s ingenuity before I compliment you on your own. She, being in charge of Suicide, especially tasked the tiny and unfairly besieged transgender community, and that is how she discovered Ron DeSantis doing the very work she was attempting to do herself and much better, of tormenting and persecuting these people. She wrote a referral on his potential for our purposes.

Your cousin was right. DeSantis is a piece of work. It is rare indeed that a man becomes a Real Devil during his brief earthy sojourn in the flesh. Usually, the finishing touches are left when he graduates to a spot down here, and if he doesn’t end up consumed in a feast by us, if we deem that his soul is of such Unspeakable Rot (I can’t describe the fragrance that has, you simply have to experience it for yourself) then he goes on to several centuries of torment in our Perfected Demon course of study and then he becomes a Real Devil. For a mortal man to achieve this while in the flesh is truly extraordinary and as rare as popsicle stands Down Here.

I believe you have only seen Real Devils in pictures, but they have a wingspan almost as large as Our Father Below and they attend him constantly. They act as his Apostles, if you will forgive the expression, but the analogy is accurate.

I was commissioned to write a report and I can say with all assurance that DeSantis is indeed a Demon Incarnate. I clearly have an eye for talent, if I say so myself, and if anyone has the goods it is this autocrat who has climbed to power so quickly and who relishes Pure Power above all else.

The fact that he came out of a democratic political system makes it all the more luscious. In terms of Pure Evil he actually puts Putin to shame but don’t let it get around your division that that’s the word in Hell, we don’t want the tempters handling Putin to get cranky. They have played their parts beautifully, convincing him to go to war, while his bankers and generals and advisers begged him to withdraw from Ukraine, run run runaway, live to fight another day, but no, he was in the right and Ukraine is really his.

Meanwhile, his own people can’t get a hamburger, or a movie, or computer support online, but he is oblivious to any of that. His mad fantasy preoccupies him instead. As indeed it should. His tempter, Crotchrot, is a maestro of these matters.

And it just gets better. Here's the link to the full article:

March 8, 2022

Beau of the Fifth Column: Let's talk about truth, lies, and video in Ukraine....

Let's talk about truth, lies, and video in Ukraine....

February 17, 2022

"Let's talk about San Francisco, DNA, and the rest of the country...."

from Beau of the Fifth Column -

If I am not mistaken, this DA would be Chesa Boudin, who is facing a recall election from people who feel he is not "tough enough on crime." Or possibly that he is not cleaning up the existing mess fast enough. It sounds like him. I expect he can use any help he can get.

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