We will fight in the shade

Years ago, I got to meet Gerard Butler, and our conversation humorously revolved around this particular movie. He told me about one time sitting next to a woman on a plane who was watching the movie 300, and the woman was oblivious to the fact she was sitting next to King Leonidas himself. Halfway through the movie, he says he tapped her on the shoulder to get her attention, pointed at himself on the screen, and pointed out it was him. We laughed at how people can be so focused on something that they’re clueless about what’s going on all around them.

Georgia House Bill 531 reminds me of that conversation, this movie, and the above scene in particular. So, let me take you on a quick journey through my cortex and see if you agree.

The 2020 election season saw record turnout which occurred in the middle of a pandemic. Many states made changes in their election laws for this election as well. There were some states who made substantive changes to make it easier for people to vote with confidence during the pandemic. There were also states that made cosmetic changes that would feed Trump’s ego giving him the idea of an election night victory. I believe the former helped with the record turnout while the latter ended up feeding into the Big Lie about election fraud.

A democracy with a lower case d is always a work in progress. As such, changes to laws are inevitable to reinforce and support the democratic principles of the country. The Georgia Assembly has decided to change laws in a knee jerk response to the Big Lie instead of reaffirming democratic principles that we’d expect.

Georgia is one of many states with a proven history and track record of voter suppression, so House Bill 531 should not be a surprise to anyone with a heartbeat. The modern Republican Party, denoted as GQP, has reduced itself to relying on suppressive tactics and fearmongering instead of providing a positive vision to garner support and votes. The full embrace of people such as Trump and Margorie Taylor Greene underscore the implicit surrender to fact and reality and a shift to suppression and fear.

Reading the text of HB531 gives you an idea of the intent of this legislation, and it’s not intended to support and feed democracy. The intent of this bill is to make it harder to cast a vote in the state of Georgia and punish those who try to make it easier for voters to express their constitutionally protected right. My initial response to the bill after speed reading the text could best be expressed by the clip at the top from the movie 300. If Georgia Republicans want to block out the sun on election day, I will vote in the shade. In other words, I will not let their suppression stop me from exercising my rights, and I hope to be an influence to bring others along with me in the shade.

We will have to wait for the final legislation to be passed and signed into law to determine how the fight will go, but you better believe that I’m already thinking of tactics. For example, there’s actual text that forbids people from handing out water or food to people waiting in line to vote. How f**ked up is that for a state within the United States to expressly forbid humanitarian actions to assist fellow Americans when we would bomb the ever loving sh*t out of any other country that dared do such a thing to its people.

To fight this, there’s multiple tactics that can be used. The law states that food/water cannot be passed out within 25 feet of a line of voters. To defeat that, all you need is a mobile relief station and the ability to measure the safe distance between the line of voters and the relief station. As long as you’re outside of that 25ft mark, there’s not a damn thing the state can do about your actions.

Another tactic that I’m considering is to pre-plan and construct election day kits that a person could carry with them on the day they choose to vote. This kit could be used anywhere by anyone either on election day itself or during the early voting period. Something as simple as a rolling insulated backpack full of snacks and beverages that could also convert to a chair or stool to provide a seat for long waits. As this could be provided in advance of the election and filled by the voter themselves, there’s no violation of the law at all. If these are provided as gifts during events like concerts or holiday celebrations, how can they be tied to voting?

There’s no reason for the Georgia GQP to change laws they wrote for themselves at the beginning of their reign in Georgia other than for their personal benefit as a party. The funny thing is the laws they’re so eager to change now were written in the early 2000s as a way to benefit them more for elections to help win against Democrats. Now that the Democratic Party is taking advantage of laws they wrote, the GQP wants to change them again to get a competitive advantage. The easier solution would be to present popular ideas that would garner the most votes. However, this is the party of DJT and MTG.

So, give it your best shot GA GQP. You claim to revere the Constitution and the freedom it protects. If you want to block out the sun on election day, I will fight you in the shade, me and my fellow fighters. You’re going to get exactly what you’re asking for.

Insurrection Impeachment: Prosecution Rests

Yesterday, the prosecution finished presenting their case for Trump’s second impeachment. While I thought I knew the details of what happened on 1/6, the House managers somehow managed to drop even more knowledge and information that I had no clue existed. So, I’ll try to offer my insights on where things sit thus far.

While I initially thought that Trump’s actions of inciting the attempted coup warranted impeachment and a permanent bar from ever holding office again, I don’t think that would be sufficient based upon what the prosecution put forth this week. While I believe Trump’s actions fit the definition of stochastic terrorism, I could not have imagined how close we were to a full on constitutional crisis. Even being a fan of the TV show Designated Survivor, I don’t think Hollywood writers could have ever come up with a story to match what we’ve lived over the past four years.

After seeing the evidence presented, I would think a conviction and removal would be a foregone conclusion irrespective of partisan leanings. Undoubtedly there would be some ass kissers who would tarnish their reputation and piss on the Constitution by voting to acquit Trump. However, the optimist in me would think there would be more than enough people who revere the Constitution enough to not flush it down the toilet for a con man who doesn’t give a damn about America or any of the senators sitting in judgement of him. If any senators are mistaken in thinking that Trump does give a damn about them, they need to ask themselves why it took so long to get any law enforcement help to save their lives?

The attempted coup appears to have been planned, anticipated, and expected to succeed. The rally date and plans were changed apparently with help from within the White House. Trump’s speech was timed to end with the process of counting the Electoral College votes. Trump instructed his followers to march to the Capitol Building and stop the election process because they had been cheated. This all happened with the White House having changed out leadership at the Pentagon, and that new leadership withheld critical personnel necessary to secure the complex so the constitutional duty of counting the EC votes could happen unimpeded.

Now, the defense will need to lay out one hell of a case to counter what has been presented thus far. They claim they can present their defense in 3 hours or so. I don’t think Johnnie Cochran could defend Trump in this instance and get him off, but I will withhold any final notions on this case until the defense presents their side.

Irrespective of what the defense produces, I honestly think the House managers have uncovered enough evidence that would warrant a DoJ investigation. Something of this magnitude would undoubtedly require a Special Counsel(s) to conduct an impartial inquiry into the entire coup attempt to determine if any criminal charges are warranted to include conspiracy charges for elected officials all the way up to Trump himself.

I know most people would see Special Counsel and roll their eyes because of the Russia investigation. This would be different in that the Russia investigation was a counterintelligence investigation whereas this would be criminal in nature. That is a big difference, and I believe the scope of criminal charges would be broad enough in scope to include sitting members of Congress. Mind you, this is just my personal opinion, but we have evidence of several meetings and coordination with people who planned the 1/6 rally as well as the number of Congress members who all helped to push the lie about election fraud.

I guess I’ll see what the defense produces before I scream for a SC. In the mean time, I’ll continue to scream at the media to stop pushing the acquittal narrative. They need to focus on facts and not set the conditions for Republican Senators to shred the Constitution. If anything, they should be pushing the narrative of how could an acquittal occur after all we’ve seen. You know, make the defense team actually defend Trump. I guess I could also wish for skittle pooping unicorns too, huh?

Impeachment Trial: Insurrection Edition

As the sun rises this morning over our nation’s capitol, we’re also witnessing a sunset. It will either be a sunset on the insanity brought by the actions of Trump trying to overturn his election loss or on the Constitution itself. The decision of which path we take is in the hands of the 50 Republicans in the US Senate.

At first glance, a Senate conviction should be a foregone conclusion. The only question would be whether or not the vote was a unanimous decision. Trump’s actions leading up to and after the November election led to the failed coup attempt on January 6th. Between the speeches at his rallies and the arm twisting attempts behind the scenes, Trump was on a mission to ensure his reelection by any means necessary.

A Senate conviction should be easy. We’ve sanctioned countries and governments for the very same thing Trump tried to pull off. In inciting an attempted coup, Trump openly violated his oath of office by becoming an enemy to the Constitution. His claims of First Amendment protection against incitement collapses when you look at another American who only gave speeches, Anwar al-Awlaki.

Reality, however, shows that America is likely to see a different sunset. The group of cowards currently known as the Republican Senate group are more willing to sunset the Constitution itself instead of upholding their oaths and defending the Constitution and America. They’ve already shown a desire to chicken out using a procedural argument without addressing the actual series of incidents which culminated with the failed coup.

As the day goes on and the trial begins, we will see which choice is made. If we are to be the beacon of freedom that we claim to be, then there has to be no doubt that no one individual is above the law. Period. There can be no ambiguity on whether or not actions have consequences.

Impeachment is described as a political issue, but that severely understates the importance of the process. If we are going to refuse to indict a sitting president in a court of law for nefarious actions, then impeachment is our sole method to define the constitutional limits of a president’s behavior. If a president can foment anger to the point of a coup without fear of punishment, then the Constitution is already dead. We’re just too ashamed to admit it.

Roots Cause Analysis

Root cause analysis, as the website Tableau defines it, “is the process of discovering the root causes of problems in order to identify appropriate solutions”. RCA is used to solve all types of problems, and I thought about this process while digesting the news of the week.

In this one week in 2021, we’ve seen the GOP become the GQP by refusing to reject Marge and her illogical logic. We saw more arrests and indictments come down from the Trump Insurrection of 2021. A country music singer got his music yanked from the radio when a video surfaced of him using a racial slur. In not so mainstream news, there was also the suicide of Lafayette Parish Sheriff Deputy Clyde Kerr III. This particular story hit close to the heart for me because I can empathize with his struggle.

I honestly believe that a majority of America’s problems could be solved if we apply Root Cause Analysis, or better yet, Roots Cause Analysis. This is the only way to get to the cause of our problems and put forth ideas to make things better for everyone. I know this will work because of the knee jerk reaction to the 1619 Project when it was released.

America has never been honest about its original sin. Each lie to cover it up has led to more and more lies to get us to where we are today. Our society has never acknowledged that America was built upon stolen land and became what it is today from stolen labor.

Naturally, a country living in a lie will have people susceptible to believing even more lies. When a major political party peddle lies as its form of currency, it becomes a national emergency and incumbent upon its citizens to counteract those lies and the problems they cause. If we fail to break the cycle of lies, January 6th wl be remembered as a picnic compared to what awaits us in the future.

Don’t look at this post as anti-American sentiment because this is far from it. I wholeheartedly believe that America belongs to us all, especially those of us whose ancestors bled and died to make it what it is today. I just think that we owe it to ourselves to have a honest assessment of where we are, how we got here, and how we move forward towards a better union for us all. That requires analysis, and we have to be honest with our Roots. Everyone’s roots.

A path to unity

Remember this image?

Republicans spent years upon years and millions upon millions of dollars to investigate the deaths of four Americans in Libya. They investigated Hillary Clinton to the point where we damn near knew what she ate for breakfast every morning.

Do you recall any Republicans suggesting that we move on from that attack? Me either. This was an attack on foreign soil at a compound that may have been a CIA front. That didn’t stop the GOP from stretching their investigation into the September 2011 attack all the way until December 2016. If they were that dogged about an an attack on foreign soil, you’d think that a domestic attack would be a Defcon 1 situation, right?

I believe January 6th deserves a Special Select Committee to investigate the circumstances that led to the attack on the US Capitol. There should be both a House and Senate committee investigation done to determine if any elected officials violated their oath of office and are responsible for inciting an insurrection.

It is quite apparent that the GOP is not going to hold Trump accountable for anything he’s done. Hell, they are not going to hold themselves accountable either. Therefore, the committees can investigate the situation to see if anyone warrants prosecution for their role(s). If there are no prosecutions warranted, then the American public can be informed on exactly what happened to avoid a repeat incident.

I would disqualify any member of Congress who objected to the Electoral College vote as that itself would be a point of investigation. I would also enforce any and all subpoenas to the point of getting the DoJ involved with enforcement. No person should be off limits in regards to testifying either whether elected official or everyday citizen.

Some people would argue that such an investigation would take away from the productivity of Congress when we really need them working to help out those who are struggling. I’ll simply ask anyone questioning a thorough investigation a simple question. What do they honestly believe will get through a Congress that cannot hold anyone accountable for a failed coup?

Moving forward in unity requires acknowledging past mistakes and errors. Acting like January 6th never happened isn’t a solution. Acting like Republicans are suddenly going to govern responsibility is a foolish idea that should not be thought.

There has to be a reckoning for attempting to destroy the Constitution and all it stands for if we’re going to continue to be America. Put the spotlight on those out to wreck the country before they succeed. That’s the only way we move towards unity.