A Critique

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President Biden delivering the State of the Union.


President Joe Biden shone bright during his 8 February 2023 State of the Union message. He was vibrant as he outlined ten or more of his Administration’s numerous accomplishments over the previous two years. He stood and spoke for a little over an hour without any difficulty, even bantering with far right-wing Republicans led by Q-Anon conspiracy theorist Marjorie Taylor Green as they shouted insults at him.  He then spent another 20 minutes or more on his feet as he greeted well-wishers while leaving the chamber.

The Republican response delivered by Sarah Huckabee Sanders was simply, to use her own word, “crazy,” and not a response at all.  Rather than responding in any way to the invitation to bipartisanship that was at the core of the President’s State of the Union message, Sanders harkened to the “crazy” messages of the Republican MAGA ultra-right and their conspiracy theories. Sanders accused the President of leading “a woke mob that can’t even tell you what a woman is.” Those aren’t Biden’s words, they are hers. What do they even mean? Crazy.

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Sarah Huckabee Sanders

According to Sanders, “The dividing line in America is no longer between right or left. The choice is between normal and crazy,”  implying that the Republicans are “normal.” Crazy, right?

Sanders’s allusion to the “Little Rock Nine,” the brave students who integrated Central High School forty-plus years ago and who now have been memorialized in bronze at the Arkansas capitol came out of nowhere and seemed designed to align herself with them. Crazy, crazy, crazy!

I could go on, but why? In a mere 14 minutes and 37 seconds, Sanders revealed her true colors, her ignorance, and her disdain for every Democrat, moderate Republican, and Independent in the country. Many of the things she said about the Biden Administration fly in the face of the truth. It makes me wonder if anyone vetted her speech. It is sad and hard to believe her crazy rant really is how the Republicans want to portray themselves.  PEI

Permitless Carry: A Not So Stellar Idea

The Texas legislature has passed a permit-less gun carry law. Who thought this up? The only good news about this for the rest of the country is that these permit-less gun-toting Texans probably can’t bring their guns into other states because they have NO GUN PERMIT! Another tidbit of good news is that guns remain prohibited in Texas schools, courthouses, and bars.

Who thought this up: According to Rep. Matt Shaefer who introduced the bill in the Texas House, “the ordinary citizen is the first responder” and the ability to defend oneself is a “God-given right.” In keeping with Shaefer’s wishes, the bill was not amended before it finally passed.

The Firearm Carry Act of 2021, allows a person 21 years or older to carry a handgun either concealed or in a holster. Schaefer clarified that the bill only applies to handguns, not AR-15s, or rifles. “I think it is a bill that is the strongest bill I’ve seen in my legislative career regarding the rights of our Second Amendment,” Republican Senate sponsor Charles Schwertner said.

The major problem with the new law – it passed the Senate 17 to 13, before Governor Abbott signed it into law – is that no permit means no gun use or safety training, either.

Thoughts on the Final 2020 Presidential Debate

Week before last, Donald Trump said, “I’m not going to waste my time on a virtual debate!” What that actually meant, folks is, “I’m not going to waste my time talking to the majority of the American people.”  And, so he reverted to type. Less than a week out of the hospital with Covid-19, Trump was on the hustings creating Super-Spreader rallies with his acolytes. He makes no bones about it: He is their president, not yours and mine.

Joe Biden and Trump have  agreed to a final debate at Belmont University in Nashville TN on Thursday, October 22 at 8 PM CDT, 9 EDT. I usually tape  and alternate between both C-SPAN and PBS, and that’s what I will do on Thursday. I like those stations because they don’t do any or much talking while the candidates are sharing their points of view.

Of course, the number one question on everyone’s mind is a two-parter: will Trump act with decorum or try to wreck this final debate as he did the first; and will NBC’s Kristen Welker be able to maintain order on the set?

I’ll be watching and hope you will be, too. I’ sure you’re sick of hearing what a momentous election will conclude on Tuesday, November 3. But you know it is. Most people already have made up their minds, and millions already have voted, so the last debate is rather anticlimactic. For most of us the debate is more a thought exercise than anything else.

In the few remaining days until the debate, the media – and you and I – will speculate on how it will go, and how often Trump will misbehave and flaunt the rules he’s agreed to observe. Have fun!


Notorious RBG Dead at 87

We all knew she couldn’t live forever, but I, for one, was shocked, surprised, and saddened by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg this evening at her home in Washington DC.  I think many of us were surprised, even though we knew she was ill with pancreatic cancer.

I am devastated. She was more important to the nation than many know.

Just leaving a rally, Donald Trump looked like a deer in the headlights when he heard from reporters that Justice Ginsburg had died. Amazingly enough, he was able to make appropriate comments in that moment and later in a written statement.

As I write, people who cared about Justice Ginsburg are gathered and gathering outside the Supreme Court of the United States. They are milling about aimlessly, just wanting to be with likeminded people, at one point breaking out in “Amazing Grace.”

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Notorious, Illustrious RBG, was 87 years young. I say young because she became a pop icon in her 80s, celebrity which she thoroughly enjoyed. Notorious RBG was a riff on the rapper Notorious BIG’s name, and she says they had something in common – they were both from Brooklyn NY.

I also call her young, because she just never missed a beat or a day of work except because of health issues. She was a Super Diva in the gym with a workout a book published about her exercise routine. Dogged by various cancers since 1999 Ginsburg overcame them all except this last. Finally, her health – pancreatic cancer — has interfered with RBG’s 27-year reign on the Supreme Court for the final time.

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Now, all we can hope is that the Republicans will take the same position in the days ahead as they took when Justice Scalia died in 2016. I paraphrase:

We are too close to the presidential election (the election was almost 10 months away) to consider President Obama’s nominee. The people should have a voice, so we will not consider a nominee until after the election.

The election is only seven weeks away. Will the Republicans be hypocrites or honorable people? Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will reveal the answer in the days to come.

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And finally:

Screen Shot 2020-07-03 at 10.56.12 PMMake your plan to vote and VOTE

early, in person,

by mail, OR

on election day.

I will vote on election day.

What’s your plan?

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Poor People’s Campaign Says Low-Income Voters Have Potential to Impact American Elections

Recently, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (PPC), released a report they hope will change how American politicians build their platforms and the issues they address as they campaign. Titled Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape, the report, researched and written by economist and Assistant Professor of Social Work at New York’s Columbia University, Robert Paul Hartley, makes a few startling observations about poor and low-income eligible non-voters.

Hartley reports that, “In the 2016 presidential election, there were 138 million voters out of 225 million eligible voters. Twenty-nine million of these voters were poor or low-income and there were an additional 34 million poor or low-income people who were eligible, but who did not vote.

Hartley calculates that non-voting low-wealth people had the potential to change the outcome of the 2016 election if only candidates had bothered to address poor people’s issues in their campaigns. Rev. Barber says, “Not only is it immoral to ignore poor and low-income people, not only is it economically [foolish], it is political suicide to ignore them in 2020.”

The PPC is currently waging concentrated voter registration drives in Texas and across the nation to get non-voting poor people prepared to vote in person or by mail in the November 3 election. The implications for this Fall’s candidates are clear: Ignore the issues of poor and low-wealth people between now and November 3 at your peril.

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, a member of the Texas PPC Steering Committee and co-chair of the Dallas Poor People’s Campaign noted that the report indicates that “the issues of poor people should be front and center in terms of discussions of those seeking to win in November.”

The issues of poor and low-wealth people include “health [care], jobs, wages, food, [and clean] water,” according to Shailly Gupta Barnes, who wrote the report’s foreword. Denita Jones, a Dallas PPC volunteer, agrees, “My government is failing me and millions like me. We need higher wages, better workplace protections, lower rents, access to quality affordable health care, and fresh healthy food. Real freedom means not having to choose between your health and your rent.” Jones continued, “This [Covid-19] crisis just takes the Band-Aid off a wound that has been festering for too long. It’s time to apply some UV light and disinfectant to the wound of inequality in this country.”

Another person involved with the Texas Poor People’s Campaign, Lauren Simmons who lives in Houston’s Third Ward, says, “Covid-19 has impacted our community physically, financially and emotionally. I have seen it up close and personal because I tested positive. I’m not surprised how poorly our [Texas] leaders have handled this issue, especially considering that we have the most uninsured people in this state.” Simmons added, “I’m also disturbed by the push to have children [and] school employees return to campuses that were already underfunded and ill equipped pre-Covid.”

Unleashing the Power of Poor and Low-Income Americans: Changing the Political Landscape can be found here.

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Last night, I sent the letter below to Marc Veasey, my congressman and to Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, and I will send it to Nancy Pelosi and the US Postal System Board of Governors. as well. The letter is long, but it’s important.

If you care about the November elections and the Post Office itself, I urge you to write to your congressional representatives as well. Feel free to use any or all of my letter as a template.

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As you know, the original US Post Office, now the US Postal System (USPS), was founded in July, 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General. It’s current iteration, the USPS was established nearly 200 years later, in 1971. However, to most of us, there is no difference, it’s The Post Office, and its mail carriers and blue mailboxes are part of the fabric of our American culture. We know our mail carriers by their creed, “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”

Recently appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy seems not to know or care about the mail carriers’ creed or the jobs they and other postal workers do. Rather, he seems to have embarked on a campaign to destabilize, undermine, and destroy the Post Office. Since his appointment this May, DeJoy has removed  upwards of 670 mail-sorting machines from Post Offices around the country; conducted a massive shuffling of 33 senior USPS officials, including the people in charge of day-to-day operations; eliminated overtime resulting in mail delivery delays; removed mail boxes from the neighborhood streets in some vote-by-mail states; and most recently told post offices to open later and close for lunch. Dejoy’s changes are not improving service, and they are alarming customers, many of whom are no longer getting their mail and prescription medications in a timely manner.

These piecemeal changes and slowdowns are especially alarming just two and a half months before a momentous presidential election. At this point, I am not going to talk about this in political terms; but if Mr. DeJoy continues to hobble the post office just ten weeks before the election, I will be forced to believe his actions are political in nature. Meanwhile, I suggest Mr. DeJoy’s containment or removal. He has no postal service experience and seems to be moving the USPS backward rather than forward.

I am appealing to you because as a registered voter and an American taxpayer, I need to know how you plan to put an end to Mr. DeJoy’s seemingly senseless decisions and restore the USPS to its recent, efficient level of operation.

Pamela E. Ice  Dallas Texas 75211