How did a probate judge get the power to overturn Roe v. Wade?

Clete Wetli, Contributor

With all of the hypocritical right-wing pearl clutching over ‘activist judges’ making law from the bench, it’s shocking that newly elected Madison County, AL Probate Judge Frank Barger felt like it was in his limited judicial purview to grant an aborted fetus the right to have an estate and an attorney in an obvious underhanded ploy to overturn Roe v. Wade. What’s equally stunning is that Barger doesn’t even have a law degree because it’s not currently a requirement to hold the position. But, he has somehow decided that he can upend centuries of precedent and grant legal rights to an aborted fetus in a clearly misguided attempt to prosecute a woman who simply did not violate the law when she decided to have a legal abortion.

What makes this rogue Probate Judge’s actions so despicable is that he’s using a recently passed Alabama ‘personhood’ statute to justify his blatant, religiously-motivated overreach.  The obviously unconstitutional Alabama law that was passed during the last midterm elections states that a fetus and mother have equal rights under the law and it was a highly partisan political attempt to make abortion illegal in the state in direct defiance of Roe v. Wade. In this particular case, the suit was filed two years after the abortion occurred which suggests that, again, this is a scheme designed to circumvent established constitutional law and precedent.

Sadly, this could lead to an enormous amount of very negative legal consequences if this absurdity is upheld. In short, it implies that all abortions are murder and because murder has no statute of limitations, it would open up legal liability to any woman alive who ever had an abortion. That’s just wrong in every way imaginable. But, that’s been the plan of extremist conservatives all along.

That’s what’s terrifying about Trump stacking the Supreme Court with ultra-conservative white bread frat boys who view their position on the high court as a chance to infuse their religious and extreme conservative beliefs into lasting legal precedent. This is dangerous and this must be stopped. Women should never be criminalized for exercising their right to choose or for making decisions about their own bodies.

The biggest outrage in this pathetic ploy is how conservatives have branded themselves for decades as the ‘law and order’ party, yet they continue to show no regard for the Constitution when it serves their political advantage. Whether it’s equal rights or equal pay for women, extremist Republicans have continued to try to pass laws that ensure women will be treated as second-class citizens. This latest bizarre and unethical plan is just another example of what conservatives and their religious zealot base thinks of women.

It’s time to demand that Probate Judge Frank Barger be impeached for his ignorant judicial malpractice. It’s also time to demand that Probate Judges in Madison County actually have a law degree as a pre-requisite to holding office. Next, people should demand that Alabama rescind its unconstitutional abortion laws because they are in direct conflict with existing federal law. After this horrific fiasco, Republicans have no right whatsoever to utter complaints about ‘activist’ judges.

In this unfortunate case, the woman who had the legal abortion deserves our sincere support She does not deserve public censure, not vengeful prosecution, and certainly not mountains of legal bills so that rabid Republicans can throw more red meat to their far-right religious base as they try to out-conservative each other. This is simply a travesty.

Let’s stand up for women and fight this judicial overreach. Probate judges shouldn’t be making any type of decisions in a legal matter such as this. Shame on you, Probate Judge, with no law degree, Barger. We can only hope you’re looking for another job in the next trimester.

Anti-vaxxers Ignorance Causing Irreparable Damage and Needless Deaths

Jerry Waters, Contributor

One of the unfortunate consequences of the modern conservative movement’s war on science and facts is that it has given credence and legitimacy to people who think that they shouldn’t be legally required to vaccinate their children from diseases like the measles. It’s part of the bizarre, deep-state conspiracy, politically evangelical mindset that believes that climate change is a hoax and that the acceptance of scientific facts are dependent on one’s personal beliefs and religious convictions. They believe their rights supersede the common good and they are causing irreparable damage and needless deaths, especially as they spread false and inaccurate information about the safety and effectiveness of medical vaccinations.

Right now, we’re seeing the effects as their actions are directly responsible for the enormous spike in measles cases (200 and counting) in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington. It’s getting so bad that a state of emergency was declared by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

This has happened because medical geniuses like model and horrible B-movie actress Jenny McCarthy went on Oprah in 2007 to claim that the MMR vaccine caused her child’s autism. Other celebrities with no medical background like Alicia Silverstone, Rob Schneider, Robert DeNiro, and Charlie Sheen have spread similar misinformation. Well, if you’re taking your medical advice from Charlie Sheen, you’re in for a bumpy and ride that may leave you with a burning, itching rash that just won’t go away!

To address these false claims and concerns about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, the scientific community has done tons of research to determine the validity of these claims. Without the smallest doubt, numerous studies have shown that the anti-vaxxers are simply wrong. The most recent longitudinal study followed 650,000 children over a span of years and showed no correlation between MMR vaccinations and autism. In fact, they found that unvaccinated kids were 17 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism than vaccinated children.

Yet, people are still taking the word of Charlie Sheen and Jenny McCarthy over studies that rely on facts, the scientific method, and rigorous, professional peer-review. Sheen, who thinks he’s made of, um, tiger blood, once said about his life, “It’s perfect. It’s awesome. Every day is just filled with just wins. All we do is put wins in the record books. We win so radically in our underwear before our first cup of coffee, it’s scary. People say it’s lonely at the top, but I sure like the view.” Isn’t this the guy who lost his sitcom job in an epic drug-fueled meltdown and then announced he was HIV positive? Is this a guy who should be using his celebrity to dispense medical advice? In all fairness to Sheen, he’s gone a year sober now and he’s not making an embarrassing spectacle of himself anymore, but his misguided public remarks on vaccinations have already caused serious damage to public health.

This is why educated, fact-based leadership matters. The right-wing is guilty of giving the anti-science crowd a platform with a megaphone and the devastating effects are becoming palpable in public policy and health.

The Trump administration’s war on science is destroying our environment and remains largely silent on important issues like vaccination so that they don’t lose the ignorant, bat-shit crazy folks that make up their cult-like base. It’s also a wink-nod approach that’s designed to line the pockets of their donors who have no sense of ethics or public responsibility because they prefer short-term profit and political power regardless of the human cost.

It’s time to start publicly denouncing these ant-vaxxers and to enthusiastically support science and facts. The stakes are too high to ignore these fools who do their damage daily on social media.

If only we had a vaccine that prevented ignorance and idiocy. Oh, wait, we do- it’s called education.

‘Repeatedly and brazenly’- Republicans’ disdain for the law

Franklin, Contributor

While more details emerge about the decades-long white-collar crime spree of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, Special Counsel Robert Mueller just released a heavily redacted 800-page memo advocating harsh federal sentencing for Manafort due to his deliberately, ‘repeatedly and brazenly’, violating the law for decades. Repeatedly and brazenly.

It’s a recurring and despicable theme in the dark era of Trump. If you’re a rich older white guy, the rules just don’t apply to you. It’s what happens when extreme capitalism conspires with Machiavellianism whilst having an obsessive affair with status-inspired vanity. It’s the only sensible explanation for Manafort’s $15,000 ostrich-leather jacket or his insane expenditures of over $900,000 in five years on designer suits.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

This outrageous disdain for the law and Constitutional norms is evident in every one of Trump’s appointments or picks for senior level positions. It’s obvious in his bullshit declaration of a national emergency on the southern border; yet, his previous declaration of a national emergency on the American opioid epidemic was simply flaccid and clearly inadequate. It was brash and shamelessly apparent in Trump’s tax plan that shifted more money to those sitting on mountains of cash at the expense of the working-class and poor.

Repeatedly and brazenly; rinse and repeat.

When Republicans consciously and intentionally decided to be Trump’s bitch, they prostituted their party and ideals in a way seldom seen in political history. They did it because they believe crap like Joe diGenova, former U.S. attorney and Kool-Aid drinking Republican, said recently to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, “We are in a civil war in this country. There’s two standards of justice, one for Democrats one for Republicans. The press is all Democrat, all liberal, all progressive, all left. They hate Republicans, they hate Trump. So, the suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. It’s not going to be. It’s going to be total war. And as I say to my friends, I do two things – I vote and I buy guns.”

Repeatedly and brazenly, they espouse a bizarre amalgam of greed, white supremacy, entitlement, privilege, and xenophobia. And it’s happening because Trump is literally the extreme conservative icon’s dream of an ideal president, as articulated in 2012 by Grover Norquist, who claimed the ideal president would be “a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen.” Republicans sold their souls for a debaucherous grifter, man-child who could do just that to advance their perverse political agenda.

Repeatedly and brazenly.

As we endure the constant and startling atrocities of Trump and his ilk, we should somehow remain optimistic that our nation will survive this assault on our sacred norms and proud institutions. Surely, Republicans are not genuinely proud of Trump or the immoral swamp he represents. Certainly, they will repent and regroup as the inevitable indictments fall and the ugly truth of his corruption and moral bankruptcy is irrefutably exposed. And not just Trump’s, but all his cronies who have engaged in the same type of reprehensible and obviously illegal behavior. We must remain steadfast that they, indeed, are not above the law.

Don’t think that Democrats or others aren’t prone to this sort of repeated and brazen illegality. The difference is that we hold our own responsible. Just ask Al Franken. And, true, there are those like former President Clinton who got away with egregious misconduct, yet liberals can still claim the moral high ground by committing to doing what’s morally right, particularly as we move forward. It matters that Democrats, in spite of their failures, continue to adhere to the highest ethical standards. If we don’t, we become them.

Repeatedly and brazenly and wittingly.

It’s time to remember that the goal of public service isn’t power, it’s all about making our nation a more perfect union. Our adherence to our American values is the only thing we should be doing repeatedly and brazenly.

Oh, and fuck all those greedy, immoral self-indulgent traitors like Paul Manafort… He truly deserves what he’s about to get and we can only hope it’s repeatedly and brazenly in federal prison.

Catastrophic loss of bugs should really bug you

Contributor, Clete Wetli

A new study released in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Biological Conservation, predicts that 40% of the world’s insects face extinction over the next few decades due to global urbanization and corporate agriculture. The research took empirical data from over seventy reports around the world that have been tracking the alarming decline of insects, notably dung beetles, wasps, bees, and butterflies.

Folks, that’s Mother Nature’s primal scream to stop the exploitation of natural resources.

It’s the gravest warning yet for mankind to change its destructive ways.

And, yes, this is very political and highly controversial. It’s why some Democrats are pushing for a New Green Deal and why Republicans are giddy that America pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Accords.

Notably, the 1 out of 6 species of bees that have recently become irrevocably extinct were not registered as Republicans or Democrats or even the Green Party and they certainly didn’t see the need for the massive concrete parking lot that took the place of their once pristine natural habitat.

Hey, so long as some entitled rich guy gets to make another billion, it’s worth it, right? Besides, as resources get increasingly scarce, it just means more dollars for some folks, what’s wrong with that?

Well, it’s bugging the hell out of me that people aren’t taking this seriously. It’s bugging me that this story isn’t dominating the headlines. Instead, we’re contemplating whether the Bloviator-In-Chief is going to shut down the government again if he doesn’t get to build his absurd border wall.

So, why should the loss of a few pesky bugs bug you? I mean, who the hell cares if mosquitoes or gnats become extinct, right? Well, the truth is that bugs are an integral part of our food chain and they are key players in necessary global functions like pollinating crops and ensuring carcasses end up becoming fertilizer. You may not like them, but a lot of animals on the planet eat some Honey Bunches of Bugs for breakfast. No bugs, no coffee… no coffee, no peace. Don’t even get me started on how important bugs are to the production of chocolate. Seriously.

Often, we focus on the plight of cute mammals, like pandas or spotted owls, becoming extinct, but insects are a vital part of the Earth’s ecosystem and actually outnumber other animals.

Americans don’t realize the peril they are in with Trump in office. It’s wasn’t just his rejection of the Paris Accords, it’s his administration’s unwavering, insane commitment to roll back all types of sensible environmental regulations. Frankly, I’m shocked that Trump’s White House didn’t serve dismembered spotted owl instead of ‘hamberders’ to championship college football teams.

That’s the real problem with the Republican Party’s incestuous embrace of the science deniers and the fossil fuel barons- for them it’s only about making a buck; for the rest of us, their willfully ignorant and prejudiced rejection of climate change evidence is a clear and present existential threat.

Republicans and their ilk are literally laying waste to our planet. They are killing the pollinators and destroying the bugs that are vital links in our fragile ecosystem. The evidence is all around us and it’s heartbreaking and overwhelming.

It’s why we’ve got to get behind people like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Yes, she’s young and rough around the edges, but she is absolutely right when it comes to the environment. We are running out of time for incremental policy change and it’s time for drastic, corrective action. This is especially true as Trump tries to undo decades of beneficial environmental regulations and safeguards. AOC is plainly telling us the inconvenient truth and that’s why the establishment wants to silence her.

Yeah, it’s fossil fuels and toxic waste and landfills and polluted aquifers and oil spills and deforestation and, yes, the extinction of the bees and butterflies.

It matters.

We can still stop this zombie-like march toward our deliberate self-destruction, but it’s going to take more than just remembering to use the office recycle bin and avoiding those stupid coffee pods. It’s going to require comprehensive legislation and policy initiatives that are truly big and genuinely prescient.

We’ve got to figure out a way to get folks to care about the creepy crawlys because they are key to the survival of our planet. They really matter that much.

When 40% of the Earth’s insects are gone, it may be too late.

I hope this bugs the hell out of you, just like it’s bugging the hell out of me. d���_��

The Sublime Crime of ‘Executive Time’

Contributor, Clete Wetli

In another unsurprising leaked and humiliating revelation this week, some disgruntled senior White House staffer disclosed Trump’s actual presidential work schedule to a salivating media. It turns out that Trump devotes the majority of his day and a good deal of his legendary stamina to a mysterious category called “executive time.”

Alrighty, then. What, pray tell, is this sacred time? Now, the word ‘executive’ is defined as a person having the power to put plans, actions, or laws into effect. In Trump’s case, that may be true in the most superficial of ways. So, maybe, the word ‘executive’ should be looked at in terms of its root word- to execute. That is, to kill. Killing time. Sleeping in and killing time until it’s time for that one afternoon appointment. Can’t let anything interfere with tweet time.

No wonder this got leaked. Anyone who actually works in any sort of real job would be pissed that this tanning bed addicted imbecile gets to just lay around on the clock for over half the day chugging Diet Pepsi and nibbling hamberders while calling his fawning buddies. I mean, this clown barely shows up for work and seems to spend most of his time murdering grammar on Twitter while watching Fox and Friends. But, “executive time” sure sounds a lot better than letting America in on the big secret that our Commander in Chief is simply fucking off all morning.

Well, I asked my boss for some executive time and didn’t get any response except an email from HR that advises me to attend some mandatory seminar or find other employment. Whatever.

Well, we all understand that being POTUS is very demanding and that there should be some flexibility in scheduling and hours. But, folks, Trump is making a mockery of the institution in every way imaginable. Whether it’s the outright violation of the emoluments clause, the shady profiteering and cronyism, the disrespect for traditions and norms, or his juvenile and stubborn refusal to listen to his own intelligence chiefs; it has become clear that Trump is derelict, incompetent, lazy, arrogant, and selfish in the most infantile of ways.

Some pundits have vociferously expressed gratitude for Trump’s excessive use of executive time because they believe it diminishes his preternatural and uncanny ability to harm and embarrass America. They may have a salient point. Yet, others like Cliff Sims, Trump apologist and founder of the propaganda machine Yellowhammer News, are trying to say that Trump’s executive time is just a style choice that is somehow key to his effectiveness. Yeah, right. Ok. Effective at what, exactly? Being an asshole and manufacturing imaginary crises? Making the rich richer and poor poorer? Bring back a bajillion coal jobs? Oh, I guess not so much.

What Trump is doing in the White House would get him fired in any other employment setting. He continually shows that he is purposely ignorant and bent on nothing more than confirming his own prejudices whilst indulging his base desires and instincts. It’s sad that a euphemism, ‘executive time’ had to be created to mislead people about what this deliberately ignorant lazy man-toddler is really up to. We laugh at the covfefe and hamberders, but it’s only because laughing prevents us from rioting in the streets and demanding wholesale revolution. Somehow, we’ve survived half a term with this charlatan.  Hopefully, Mueller has discovered enough to help forcibly remove him. If not, let’s pray that voter’s have had enough of Trump’s malarkey and that they quickly show him the door.

In the meantime, I’m curious to know if people get ‘executive time’ in prison… asking for a friend… wink, wink.

Attack of the Democratic Cannibals!

Well, it’s looking like there’s going to be literally scores of Democratic candidates running against Donald Trump in 2020 and the race is already a fascinating study into why we can’t have nice things.  You could see this clearly when California Senator Kamala Harris announced her candidacy in front of 20,000 adoring supporters because it drew immediate, puerile condemnation from the Bernie-bots on social media. Notwithstanding the obvious irony that Bernie Sanders is not really a member of the Democratic Party, the attacks on Harris were disproportionally vicious and extreme.  Sadly, this scenario will continue to play out as more and more candidates announce their intentions to run. The Democratic Cannibals have been awakened and they are ready to eat other Democrats that fail their fickle tests of ideological purity.

They can’t wait to eat Kirsten Gillibrand and Tulsi Gabbard. They drool when they hear O’Rourke. They can’t wait to rip them to shreds, especially if they have changed their minds on a hot-button issue.

And it’s not just the Democratic Cannibals that are fanatically devoted to a particular candidate who seem to be engaged in eating their own kind. In some cases, it’s the actual candidate that’s ready to eat a pound of liberal flesh and wash it down with a little chianti. In the case of ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, it may be a venti chai latte that he guzzles after metaphorically poisoning his liberal colleagues. Pathetically, that’s all Schultz has rhetorically to draw attention to his lukewarm, no-message, vainglorious, not-a-snowball’s-chance-in-hell-of winning candidacy.

The funny thing is that it’s the Democratic Cannibals that are responsible for bringing us the Orange Stain that is currently occupying the Oval Office. They did it by loudly chewing on Clinton, especially when their candidate didn’t win the nomination, and they spitefully cast their votes for Johnson and Stein. It felt so good to eat other Dems and Liberals, didn’t it?

Look, I’m not saying that Democrats shouldn’t be able to criticize other Democrats, nor am I saying that we shouldn’t have a shared philosophical frame. But, the Democratic Cannibals have taken their derision and divisiveness to a new destructive level. Often, the choice to kill and consume their brethren comes from disagreement over a single controversial issue like abortion, healthcare, or taxation. Instead of engaging in intelligent discourse or debate, they rage and cause indiscriminate damage.  The Democratic Cannibal is the anthropomorphic symbol of political extremism.

So, as we gear up for 2020, let’s try to remember who the real opposition is. Let’s focus our energies on getting a Democrat elected and saving our democracy, not to mention our place on the world stage.  This isn’t the time for us to have an intraparty food fight or to throw support behind people that we know have a zero chance of winning. The stakes are way too high in the aftermath of the Trumpocalypse. We can’t afford to eat our own.

We want a Democratic Party that doesn’t march in lockstep, but we also need to understand that there’s time for debate and a time to be unified. Lately, there’s been no clearer example than Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ability to unite Democrats when it really counted. Yes, there’s also room for upstarts like New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez even though there are stark difference in substance and tone between the freshman congresswoman and party leadership. Yet, when the chips were down, Democrats effectively united.

So, if you’re going to be a Democrat, then be a loyal member of the Democratic Party. If you can’t play nice, go join the Donner Party, but please quit talking with your mouth full… well, how about just quit talking… hey, have you met Howard Schultz? He’s got a chai latte with your name on it…

No! “Both sides” are not to blame for the shutdown!

Republicans are doing everything they possibly can to convince a disgusted American public that Trump’s partial government shutdown is somehow the result of “both sides” failing to come to an agreement over Trump’s insane border wall.

It’s just not true.

Republicans and Democrats had come to an agreement over government spending that Trump refused to sign only after he succumbed to the influence of right-wing nut jobs like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh at the very last minute.  In fact, Trump’s legislative gimp in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, wouldn’t have allowed a vote on the legislation if Trump hadn’t already said he was going to sign it in advance. Alas, all was going well until Ann Coulter opened her moldy, hateful pie-hole.

Trump wants this shutdown because it’s an effective tool of mass distraction from the Mueller investigation- an investigation that is slowly and surely revealing the many illegal activities of the Orange Imposter and his band of money hungry, ass-kissing sycophants. Trump also knows that his racist base loves that he’s shutting down the government over a border wall because that’ll keep those bad brown-skinned hombres out. Facts don’t matter, they love the symbolism of the wall to keep out rapey, gang-member, drug-dealing, criminal, disease-carrying, every-bad-thing-you-can-possibly-imagine foreigners and don’t care if a bunch of free-loadin’, overpaid federal government workers are hurt by the shutdown.

No! Both sides are not to blame. The blame lies solely with Trump. Well, maybe a little with gimp Mitch for having no human adult gonads. Yeah, this shitstorm is all born out of Trump’s moronic tantrum. Trump can’t find a way to resolve this now because no one in either party trusts him anymore. Trump’s already walked away from other, better deals and, in fact, he’s the one who turned DACA into a huge mess in the first place. Add that to the fact that the Republicans have zero interest in solving the immigration problem because it’s such a useful tool when it comes to firing up their racist, hateful base. If you don’t believe it, just look at how Alabama Congressional mouth-breather Mo Brooks uses it whenever he needs a media jolt to remind his drooling base that he’s still a shill for all things Trumpy.

But you should be enraged by all of the inane commentary that tries to paint the shutdown situation as one in which both sides are being unreasonable. Um, no, not at all. Sorry, the Democrats have been exceedingly reasonable and generously flexible. They just know orange bullshit when they see it and they’re done negotiating with a man-toddler who revels in orange bullshit.

It’s high time that people stop being lazy in their commentary and observations regarding politics in the age of Trump.  It’s okay to assign credit and blame appropriately even if turns out to be disproportional because the facts bear that out. However, it’s terrible to continue this stupefying chant that demands a pox on “both your houses” because both sides are to blame- it’s simply not true and its damaging net effect is to increase voter apathy and/or suppress meaningful civic engagement.

Just because we ended up with reality tv president doesn’t mean we have to lower our standards or pretend that he bears any semblance to his intelligent and opposable-thumb-wielding predecessors. Trump is hopefully an anomaly, a malignant tumor on our democracy that will soon be excised if there is any divinely inspired justice in the universe.

So, let’s follow the lead of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and start telling some inconvenient truths as if we have no more fucks to give! Let’s quit saying both sides are to blame when it’s perfectly clear where the blame lies.

This is Trump’s mess and Democrats are not going to clean his shitty orange diaper- that sounds like a job for Mitch the gimp… if you can find him.

When There’s No Middle Ground

twentytwentynews, middle ground

Clete Wetli, Contributor

The midterm post-mortems and finger-pointings have already commenced, and Alabama Democrats are bewildered, frustrated, and apoplectic. A red tsunami of straight ticket voting overwhelmed any wishful hope of a blue wave. Yet, Alabama Democrats keep making the same mistake they’ve made since Republicans stormed the statehouse and scorched the earth behind them. Alabama Democrats keep believing that there’s a philosophical or political middle ground and it simply doesn’t exist.

The Republicans know this and it’s why they’ve adopted the bullying and deceitful practices of Trump. They’ve figured out how to keep their base gorged on red meat and how to game the system to their own advantage through gerrymandering, voter suppression, and incendiary, deliberately misleading propaganda. This last election wasn’t about issues, it was about Republicans vilifying and demonizing their opposition. All who opposed them were labeled as ‘socialists’ or ‘un-American’ or a pejorative ‘other’.

They have deliberately eradicated the middle ground because it’s easier to maintain power by systematically dehumanizing the opposition. Sadly, Democrats keep trying to intellectualize and negotiate and compromise with an opposition that doesn’t respect them and seeks their complete political annihilation. While Alabama Republicans are thinking six moves ahead, Democrats remain stunned and paralyzed.

If Alabama Democrats are going to rise from the ashes of irrelevance, they need to remove their failed state party leadership and they need to do it immediately. They need a compelling, populist message that embraces their liberal ideals. It’s time to embrace the party platform and quit pretending there’s a lukewarm middle ground on issues like taxation, healthcare, gun control, and infrastructure. If you’re going to call yourself a Democrat, act like one and fight like one.

Democrats have allowed the conservative propaganda machine to go unchallenged. In a state where liberal media is non-existent, it’s the height of irony to hear conservative talk radio and television hosts decry fake news and liberal bias daily. Yet, Democrats won’t buy air time and they allow the conservative echo chamber to metastasize. While conservative Republicans saturate the airwaves with their messaging year-round, Democrats seem to give it a half-hearted try every two years and then act perplexed when it doesn’t resonate immediately.

Alabama Democrats had great candidates this past election cycle in spite of a dysfunctional state party that seemed to hinder more than help. So, it’s time to get back to work right now and not wait another year to clean house. It’s time to realize that in this hyper-partisan environment, there’s no middle ground and no one believes that “moderate” is a winning strategy. There is no excuse for not fielding viable candidates to challenge Republicans in every race. There is no excuse for allowing Worley and Reed to remain in their positions for another moment. There is no excuse for poor messaging or for failing to get the message out.

Alabama Democrats face certain extinction if they don’t change strategy and tactics. They must come to understand that the Republicans have ceded no middle ground and that it’s delusional to pretend any exists. Alabama Democrats desperately needs leadership with vision and a plan. They need to call an emergency meeting to show Worley and Reed the door and give people a reason to get involved. It starts with taking a bold stand and demanding immediate action. There’s no time to lick wounds or point fingers. There’s no room in the party for people that won’t get behind the platform or readily embrace its ideals.

Forget about that fictional blue dog. Not only will that dog not hunt, it ran away a long time ago and it’s not coming back.

We’re still with you, Wasyluka!

twentytwentynews, wasyluka

Franklin, Contributor

Now that the midterm election hangover is starting to wear off, there was one race that really stood out to the folks here at twentytwentynews.com and that was the powerful campaign of Amy Wasyluka for Alabama State Senate District 2. Her message was genuine and simple. Her energy was fierce and relentless. Her campaign staff and volunteers were loyal and dedicated.  She almost defeated the onslaught of straight ticket voting because she ran an amazing campaign that inspired people. Wasyluka gave us something to vote for instead of trying to convince us to just vote against the opposition.

After a gut-wrenching defeat by a mere few hundred votes, Wasyluka was back to work immediately, encouraging others to get involved in progressive causes and to engage in making their communities better. Wasyluka simply embodies the kind of leadership and character we need to move Alabama forward. She ran a positive campaign focused on healthcare, education, and infrastructure. We’re all praying that she decides to run again.

The Wasyluka campaign also showed us why it’s so important for more women to run for office. For her, healthcare and women’s issues weren’t an exercise in abstract empathy. She’s lived them. She became a voice for women who feel disenfranchised and ignored by a political system that seems to only recognize older, white men. Wasyluka knocked on countless doors and listened to the people of her district. She told us her story and we all felt like we got to know a dedicated, honest person instead of a duplicitous politician. It seemed like every day, she had something new and personal to say on social media. Wasyluka won our hearts.

Hopefully, Wasyluka will run again. During her campaign, she certainly inspired other women to get involved in the political process. In Alabama, that’s something we desperately need as women continue to be sorely underrepresented and marginalized.

In sharp contrast, Republican Kay Ivey won the governorship without doing much of diddly or squat. In fact, no one even knows what the hell she stands for or what her plans are for the state. The only people inspired by her victory are extremist Republicans who know that she’ll blindly rubber stamp any regressive laws that they throw across her desk.

So, as Democrats are still gathering signs to take to the Green Team for recycling and trying to figure out how they got decimated in the midterms, they ought to pause a moment and look at what worked in the Wasyluka campaign. First, she was genuine and always herself. She proposed real, workable solutions and gave people something they could vote for. She was running for something, rather than running against someone. Second, she worked with enthusiasm and spent every moment believing she could win. Her attitude was energetic, positive, and infectious. Third, she used social media to tell her story, rather than using it as a place to try and sell a political product or ideology. Last, she never muddied the waters. Her message was simple, understandable, and steady.

The people who worked on her campaign would do it all over again tomorrow. If you’ve worked in politics any length of time you probably know that not many other campaigns could make that type of claim. Wasyluka made us into believers. We saw that with her vision and her leadership, it was possible.

So, before we get distracted by the next stupid thing Trump does or the next embarrassing scandal or the next round of Republican dumb-assery emanating from Montgomery- let’s take a moment to learn from the Wasyluka campaign. At twentytwentynews.com, we were paying attention because we saw what a great Democratic campaign should look like in Alabama and why more brilliant, dedicated women like Amy Wasyluka need to run for public office.

We’re still with you, Wasyluka!

A Letter from the Peter Joffrion for Congress Campaign Trenches

midterms, 2018, political, campaign, twentytwentynews

Clete Wetli, Contributor

You’ve probably been wondering, “Where in the Hell is Franklin, Wetli, Waters, and the rest of the crew at twentytwentynews.com?” In fact, we’ve gotten a ton of emails and messages expressing concern over their recent silence. Some have speculated that Franklin succumbed to his love of bourbon and ran off with that cute shih-tzu that’s been giving him the eye. Others have wondered if Jerry Waters chained himself to an oil pipeline under construction in a last-ditch attempt to help try and save the environment. Some have said that Clete Wetli may have been abducted and shoved into a very deep, dark hole in the hidden basement at WVNN. Several reports have said that all he can hear is Dale Jackson’s voice saying, “It rubs the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again…”

That’s all fake news, my friends. The truth is that they’ve all been working around the clock for the Peter Joffrion for Congress campaign. They promise that they’ll get back to work at twentytwentynews.com in November after the election. But right now, they’re making phone calls, knocking on doors, writing postcards, and do everything they can to make sure that the Fifth Congressional District is represented by someone who doesn’t believe sea levels are on the rise due to rocks falling in the ocean.

Peter Joffrion himself has been working non-stop. He’s going to multiple events per day and his stamina is truly amazing. Peter doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk. He’s honest, hard-working, sensible, and passionate about the people he wants to represent. Just hanging around Peter and his wife, Kerry, makes you want to be a better person. Everyone who takes a minute to get to know him quickly decides that he should be the one who represents them in Congress.

The campaign has knocked on over ten thousand doors in five counties. They’ve made tens of thousands of phone calls and put out thousands of yard signs. They’ve written almost seven thousand postcards to date. It’s been a tremendous grassroots effort fueled by everyday people in North Alabama who want what’s best for their community. They know they can trust Peter Joffrion to work hard and do what’s right.

Peter Joffrion’s message is simple- Make sure people can afford quality healthcare for themselves and their families, create good paying jobs in rural areas, and ensure that more vocational education and training opportunities are available to people who can’t or don’t want to attend a four-year college. He’s not afraid to take a stand on issues like immigration or guns. Peter doesn’t think children should be incarcerated by ICE in cages or that everyone needs an assault rifle and thousands of rounds of ammunition. He’s not taking money from lobbyists or the NRA. Peter recognizes what it means to serve as a leader and his positions don’t change due to fickle poll numbers.

So, that’s what the gang has been doing. Right now, it’s crunch time and if you’ve got a moment before November 6th, you should come by and help. Go to www.peterjoffrion.com for details on how to get involved. If you hurry, there may be Cheetos available if Clete hasn’t eaten them all already. Regardless, it’s time to stand up to the Trump-loving politicians that are destroying our country. In two years, we’ve seen the damage they can wreak on our democracy. It’s time to get rid of pandering incompetents like Republican hypocrite Mo Brooks.

Rest assured, all the folks at twentytwentynews.com will be back on the job after the election. In the meantime, they’re working hard for Peter Joffrion and are doing everything they can to #FlipTheFifth!