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.

‘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.

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.

Another day, Another Shitastrophe

trump, shitstorm

Franklin, Contributor

As I ponder the onslaught of political gaslighting, I’ve come to relish the memory of a gentler time when our biggest scandal was the president sporting a tan suit. Between porn stars, money laundering schemes, clandestine meetings with Russians, and living large on the taxpayer’s dime, the Trump administration can only be described as a “shitastrophe”. It began as a notably large shit show and rapidly morphed into a category 5 shitastrophe. For the linguistically curious, that’s synonymous with “clusterfuck”, but several degrees worse because it was a wholly preventable condition and one that could be eradicated immediately if Congressional conservatives would simply open their eyes.

We all understand the importance of rallying behind your party’s surprise leader, even if he is a vulgar, mean-spirited, philandering, pathologically lying ignoramus. We get the part about passing an agenda and tolerating “eccentricities”. We even get the part about how he deserves a little slack for being inexperienced in politics and governing. However, conservatives have urinated on their collective moral conscience, and traded basic accountability for idol worship, in their self-loathing, cult-like worship of Trump.

The Democrats can continue to illuminate the obvious unethical and illegal machinations of Trump and his confederacy of self-promoting shysters, but until Republicans come to some minute degree of existential epiphany, they remain happy to look the other way and recruit more delusional apologists. Every day is another day of shitastrophe that they pretend is justified, excusable, and unremarkably normal. It’s like watching a fire-breathing, live-grenade juggling chihuahua unicycling through a warehouse full of fireworks while shouting, “Nothing to see here!” in perfectly pronounced Klingon.

We are witnesses to a mob-like criminal enterprise destroying government agencies and constitutional norms for their own profit and self-aggrandizement. We are subject to an unrelenting diatribe of lies and told that the facts are contextually pliable and inherently unreliable. We are asked to make our own morality into an irrelevant emoji as an apologetic means to excuse the blatant bad behavior of our leader, who refers to all of his actions and promises in absurd, delusional superlatives.

So, now the Department of Homeland Security will track journalists and “media-influencers” to keep us safe from having to hear any criticism of America, or its Shit-Gibbon-in-Chief. Just another shovel of excrement to ensure the longevity of the shitastrophe. As if the trade war, the dismantling of environmental safety regulations, and the daily revelations of scandal just wasn’t enough corrosive crap?

As the abomination of Trump’s shitastrophe spreads, we must recognize that the only way to win this war of minds and hearts is to strenuously exercise the First Amendment. This is more than a resistance of memes, more than well-organized protest marches with creatively snarky home-made signs. This is about finding new and creative means to get galvanizing messages to the mainstream and learning innovative ways to craft narratives that inspire and unite.

Like many, I begrudgingly gave Trump a chance in the hope that the weight of presidential responsibility would temper his juvenile urges and narcissistically-driven penchant for chaos. Trump not only failed, but showed that his worst is a looming evil promise. We cannot afford a second term of Trump. We cannot be apathetic as he uses his first term to further divide us. Underestimating him would be devastating and stunningly foolish.

As I write this, Trump is sending National Guard troops to the southern border to stop an imaginary threat and to give his angry base more fuel for their racist fires. As I write this, his ex-campaign manager, Manafort, is facing hundreds of years in prison and trying to craft benign explanations for all his nefarious Russian entanglements. As I write this, the porn star Stormy Daniels, is litigating her hush money contract with Trump and his greasy attorney, Cohen. As I write this, I wonder what thing he will next deface or what vital institution he will cripple. I cringe as he smears excrement on the public trust. As I write this, I count the days until we vote again and pray we have someone to vote for, instead of against. I miss Obama in his tan suit.

Another day, another shitastrophe in the era of Trump.

Ain’t no confusion about that collusion

trump, russia, collusion

Franklin, Contributor

The indictments keep coming and our witless President keeps tweeting his desperate protests that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russians. Well, except for that meeting in Trump Tower with his son, campaign manager, and a few Russians to discuss, um, um, “adoption”. Or, that time when Kushner tried to open a secret back channel to talk with the Russians because, um, um, well, just because. Or, that little meeting that was arranged by Betsy Davos’ brother, founder of Blackwater, in the Seychelle islands that was meant to be a secret meeting with Russians tied to the Kremlin about Russia’s involvement with Iran, but fake news people ratted him out. Or, Carter Page or Paul Manafort. Or, Trump’s lawyer, Cohen, trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow.

I mean, except for those couple of (several dozen) times and about twenty others that all have, um, um, very logical explanations.

I mean if you can’t trust a president whose friends pay off Playboy Playmates and porn star mistresses to keep quiet about their affairs, who can you trust? Old, fake news, right? Maybe, Putin can be trusted because he gave Trump his word that he’d never, never, never meddle in our elections and even offered to pinky swear to show his sincerity. Putin’s people don’t talk and, if they do, it can take years to find the bodies.

All those reports about Russians loaning Trump piles of money and buying his gaudy over-gilded properties is not, um, money-laundering, um, um, I mean it’s not collusion, it’s just business.

Trump keeps saying there’s no collusion and when he doubles down, like on Obama’s birth certificate or the Central Park Five or “clean” coal or a wall that Mexico will pay for, we know he’s, um, well, committed to the idea. We also know that he’ll do just about anything to get what he wants. Like that time he hired a bunch of illegal immigrants to build Trump Tower and didn’t pay them or the time he flagged rental applications to prevent black people from living in his properties or all the times he lied about his wealth to intimidate others or… well, you get the point.

So, maybe Trump has engaged in some secrets or illegal cooperation or conspiracies, in order to cheat or deceive others a few times in his life… oh, um, shit, that’s the actual definition of collusion. That basically describes Trump’s entire career in real estate and his romantic life. But, hey, the past is the past and Trump wants us to believe that neither he or his campaign wittingly conspired with the Russians to win the election or to amass wealth illegally.

So, Mueller just indicted thirteen Russians for trying to influence the election and for duping witless Trump campaign operatives. Well, that’s not exactly exoneration with the investigation ongoing and more Trump associates making plea deals and secretly meeting with the Special Counsel. But, hey, it’s just a witch-hunt, a hoax, a bunch of loser Democrats claiming that there’s collusion, right?

Let me help clear this up, “Ain’t no confusion about Trump’s collusion!” So much evidence of Trump’s cozy relationship with Russia and their rubles is already public record and Mueller is about to show us the money trail. It’s just a matter of time before all the dots are connected.

The saddest part of this whole story is that the Russian response to the indictment was apropos, “Americans only see what they want to see.” For so many Trumpers, it’s always been that way. Their love for alternative facts was the candy that Russia lavished upon them.

There’s more coming, folks, and if we’re lucky, Trump will get exactly what he has always deserved.

I had to invent a word to describe it: trumpcompetence

twentytwentynews, politics, surreal times, trump

Franklin, Contributor

The word most often used to characterize Trump’s dazzling ignorance and epic displays of ineptitude is “incompetence”, yet it lacks the descriptive power and intrinsic nuance necessary to accurately depict the terrifying chaos he perpetually creates at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Each and every day, there’s a fresh load of proverbial feces hitting the fan in the Oval Office, thrown from his little hands and spewing incessantly from his incoherent maw.

Look, I’m just a middle-class Canine-American trying to launch a news blog and I am just as tired as everyone else who must write about Trump’s daily tweets, imbecilic gaffes, and his uncanny ability to make decisions that harm all but his elitist golf buddies. I am beginning to wear a thunder-shirt and pop a few doggie downers when I have to watch the news. I’m burying bones in fear of the coming Trumpocalypse. As I watch the tremendous and bigly dangerous buffoonery of Trump, I struggle as an editor, with no opposable thumbs, to find synonyms and idioms to attach to his unique amalgam of stupidity, covfefe, and self-worship.

So, I’ve decided to call it “trumpcompetence”.  Here’s how it would look in a dictionary:

  • trump·com·pe·tence

Pronounced: trəmpˈkämpədəns. Noun. The singular and, heretofore, unmatched ability of Donald John Trump to lie in a pathological manner while performing obscene acts of narcissism and simultaneously engaging in the act of destroying government institutions, norms, and protocols through evil, juvenile intent and/or maladroit amateurishness. Please note: incompetence demonstrates a higher proficiency and success rate than trumpcompetence.

Ex. 1, “His whiny insistence on spending millions of dollars on an unnecessary military parade to prove to Little Rocket Man that his missile was bigger and more potent was, indeed, the height of trumpcompetence.”

Ex. 2, “The Republican Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, decided to release a misleading partisan memo revealing classified information in an ongoing investigation critical of the intelligence community to derail the Trump/Russia probe in a desperate act of trumpcompetence that borders on treason.”

Synonyms: bat-shit crazy, Twitler, dumbfuckery, and trumped-up horseshit.

Antonyms: Obama, proficiency, and “the right way of doing it”.

Thankfully, recorded history has few instances that can be compared to trumpcompetence. Nero fiddling while Rome burned or annual recipients of the Darwin Award bear close resemblance, but fail to match Trump’s stamina and consistency when it comes to screwing things up on a regular basis.

Trumpcompetence also has severe, unintended side-effects that have adversely affected conservatives. For example, they have found ways to justify Trump’s payment of $130,000 in hush money to his porn star mistress to earn a “mulligan” from evangelicals. Conservatives that have succumbed to trumpcompetence suddenly embrace huge deficits, uncontrollable growth in the nation’s debt, and now claim to love unlimited government spending.

Even in Alabama, conservative cognitive dissonance is intoxicating as trumpcompetence threatens to destroy NAFTA, which could eliminate 70,000 jobs in the reddest of red states. Further, they celebrate the trumpcompetence of Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he reignites the failed War on Drugs as the solution to the nation’s opioid crisis, which has left a trail of corpses in Alabama. No matter the failure or suffocating stench of the latest trumpcompetence, they are eager to trade in their core beliefs and values to claim they are worn out from all the winning.

Trumpcompetence is why the White House can’t keep staff or fill the hundreds of key positions that have been vacant for over a year. Trumpcompetence is why a Middle East peace deal is now as elusive as a glimpse of Trump’s tax returns. Trumpcompetence is the brazen arrogance of an orange real estate grifter who thinks that no one will ever figure out his glaringly obvious Russian money laundering operation.

Ah, with fond nostalgia, we miss the incompetence of President George W. Bush because it was a huge step up from the trumpcompetence we’re watching today. Even Trump would have to admit that we “misunderestimated” George Bush’s “strategery”.

Well, we can’t wait to see Trump’s second string of White House staffers. Surely, they will perform with the historic trumpcompetence that we’ve come to expect from a man who’s too busy pleasuring himself during “executive time” to be bothered with classified intelligence briefings.

Something tells me that the events that will likely occur under year two of Trump may make the word trumpcompetence obsolete before it even takes off.

We’ll do this again soon, but I gotta go, I’m suddenly feeling trumpstipated…

“I cannot recall”: the rapid descent into Trump’s “shithole”

trump, shithole, twentytwentynews

Clete Wetli, Contributor

When asked about Trump’s mind-numbingly racist and vulgar comments regarding immigration from “shithole” places like Haiti and Africa whilst the “stable genius” pined for more white Norwegians to come to America, repugnant Republican Senators Tom Cotton and David Perdue respectively claimed, “I cannot recall”.

Oh, the “selective memory defense” so expertly wielded by intellectual giants like Jefferson Beauregard Sessions and so many others of his ilk as they attempt to defend the indefensible.

Despite confirmation that all the other Senators present in the discussion heard Trump spew this insult, Cotton and Perdue issued a joint statement saying, “We do not recall the president saying those comments specifically but what he did call out was the imbalance in our current immigration system, which does not protect American workers and our national interest.”

They just eagerly jumped into Trump’s “shithole” gleefully joining him in defecating on statesmanship, protocol, and, most importantly, the truth.

Since the “shithole” comments became public, the airwaves have been full of hysterical right-wing pundits trying to justify Trump’s banal vulgarity and feebly denying his clear history of racist remarks. They sound disingenuous, foolish, and weary; for they know that they have sold their character and souls.

In a year’s time, Trump has done the unimaginable. He is single-handedly turning America into a “shithole” by haphazardly destroying critical environmental, financial, and educational regulations. He is widening wealth disparity with his crappy tax policy that overwhelmingly benefits the rich. He has diminished our stature on the world stage and has recklessly promoted violence and international conflict.

Every week it’s a new controversy, a new embarrassment, and a collective gasp as “the bar” plumbs new unfathomable lows. Yeah, right after “shithole-gate”, the latest news is that Trump’s personal lawyer paid out $130,000 in hush money to a porn star so that she wouldn’t go public about her sexual encounters that presumably ended in a Trump hump.

(Don’t feel bad, I got just as queasy as you did.)

There’s no greater joy today in America than sitting down at the kitchen table with your young children having to explain the meaning of “shitholes” and porn stars simply because they came in the room while you happened to be watching the evening news.

It has become simultaneously exhausting and enraging to write about Trump’s efforts to turn America into a “shithole”, while he and his wealthy sycophants find more ways to line their own pockets at the expense of everyone else.  Of course, the Trumpian wealthy are willing partners because they cannot smell the putrid shit from the lofty heights of their gaudy, gilded-towers.

Somehow, he has turned conservatives and Republicans into craven, willing ball-gagged gimps who purposely overlook his abuses, incompetence, misogyny, racism, and pathological selfishness.

Indeed, a year of Trump has been a spectacular shit show and the “shithole” he has created is about to overflow. Democrats will have to strongly unite, find their best shit shovel, and show up to the polls. Republicans, the ones with any decency or dignity left, will have to stand against the monster they created. Otherwise, Trump’s shit will just keep getting deeper and spread even farther.

Things are at a point now where I cannot tolerate Trump supporters. It’s not so much their warped political agenda, but blindly supporting Trump says much about their character, their capacity for cognitive dissonance, and their festering hatred for “others”.

So, Cotton and Perdue claim “they cannot recall” any sort of shit that may have hit the proverbial fan.  They are happy to be on the front lines of Trump’s “shithole” construction project that will rapidly turn America into the land of “haves and have-nots”.

We must remove Trump. He cannot be wished away, or as the saying goes, “wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which one fills up quicker.”

Republicans and Wall Street are Sticking it to Consumers, Again

Wall Street, Greed

Jerry Waters, Contributor

In another blatant and shameless move to screw over consumers so that Wall Street can get away fraud without fear of meaningful punishment, the Republican-led Congress just passed a bill that would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for customers to sue banks without going through mandatory third-party arbitration.

The problem is that the people doing the arbitration are hired by Wall Street. Not exactly a disinterested “third-party”, are they? The other big problem is that these arbitration proceedings are done in secret and that they don’t have to follow the same procedures as a court of law.

This egregious legislation comes right after Wells Fargo Bank was caught red-handed signing up thousands of their customers for banking products without their knowledge. It comes on the heels of Equifax negligently allowing their customer’s data to be hacked and dragging their feet in notifying them and fixing the problem.

Also, this comes at a time when the Trump administration is doing everything it can to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) because it wants less regulations for banks and Wall Street. Republicans have this bizarre philosophy that it’s ok to screw people over if it’s buried somewhere in the fine print. They really believe that banks should be able to take huge risks with your money and that if things don’t pan out, you shouldn’t complain and you certainly shouldn’t try to hold financial institutions responsible. You know, buyer beware. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the last push toward deregulation lead right into the collapse of the housing market and into The Great Recession?

The CFPB rule would stopped banks from forcing customers to sign mandatory arbitration agreements and it would allow them to join together in class-action suits and file other types of legal challenges. Ironically, even if consumers had the ability to sue banks for fraud and other malfeasance, the banks still have a monumental advantage because they have armies of well-paid attorneys to defend them.

Of course, Republicans argued that the price of credit cards and banking would go up and that consumers would suffer if they had the ability to sue banks for their fraudulent practices. Republicans don’t want to talk about how banks routinely screw people out of money and get away with it. They don’t want to talk about how fines are usually a mere slap on the wrist or how blatant criminal activity by top executives is either ignored or rewarded with a giant gold parachute. Republicans really don’t want to talk about the crazy amount of cash they receive as campaign contributions from Wall Street.

Trump and his rich cronies hate the CFPB and they will continue to do everything they can dilute consumer protections in the market. When Richard Cordray, head of the CFPB, remarked, “Wall Street won and ordinary people lost.”, he was met with an unusually rude response from Sen. Tom Cotton who replied, ““The unelected Mr. Cordray issued yet another stupid regulation that would have hurt consumers, the people’s democratically elected representatives voted to stop the regulation, and now Mr. Cordray whines that Congress stopped his stupid regulation. It’s well past time for Mr. Cordray to resign and begin his long-expected losing campaign for Governor of Ohio. If he won’t, President Trump should fire him.” Yeah, it’s not too hard to figure out who Cotton is in bed with, is it?

Folks, this is just the beginning of Trump’s many gifts to the wealthy. As he continues his insane push for more deregulation, more people are going to be hurt and more consumers are going to get screwed.

You’re about to get trumped right in the….

Prosecuting cross-over voters just more Republican intimidation

voter, suppression

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and the Alabama Republican Party should be ashamed of themselves, but we know that they are incapable of shame. That would infer that they had some degree of political conscious. It would also mean that they wanted more people to participate in the election process given the dismal turn-out numbers, but their actions show that’s clearly not the case.

Last year, Alabama legislators in the Republican supermajority passed a bill making it a felony for voters who participated in a partisan primary to vote later in the runoff of the opposing party. There wasn’t any significant effort to educate voters about the rule change and it appears that 676 Alabama voters, all Democrats, unwittingly violated this absurd law.

John Merrill wants to put them in jail and ruin their lives with a felony conviction.

At every turn, Republicans have tried to make it harder for people in Alabama to vote. Obsessed with the fantasy of rampant voter fraud, they’ve passed voter ID laws which are nothing more than a poll tax. Now, they’re threatening to put in people in jail and label them as lifelong felons just because they may not have understood this new ridiculous law. This is nothing more than intimidation and another Republican ploy to keep poor and minority voters away from the polls.

Perhaps, it would be a much better use of Merrill’s time to expand voting rights. Maybe, we could increase early voting or change the election day to Saturday or Sunday so that people wouldn’t have to take off work to cast a ballot. It may sound crazy, but shouldn’t we be more focused on automatic voter registration instead of creating more barriers to exercising a fundamental American right?

If we’re going to have this stupid cross-over voting law, wouldn’t it make sense to register by party affiliation like they do in other states? Well, it would make sense unless you’re a Republican hoping to put some voters in jail as a way to intimidate Democrats from showing up to the polls.

Their efforts to suppress voting aren’t all that surprising considering the lengths they’ve travelled to implement widespread gerrymandering in Alabama. Since they can’t seem to win with their regressive policies, they’ve taken to rigging the system every chance they get so they can falsely claim they have a huge legislative mandate. It’s time for Alabama Democrats to make this a central campaign issue and call these cheaters out publicly as often as possible.

Alabama Republicans have been hard at work for years trying to suppress voting and gerrymandering districts because they know that demographics are rapidly changing. They know that their predominantly older, white male base is shrinking rapidly. They know that less people are falling for their faux morality and bogus family values platform. They know that if they make it harder to vote, less people will exercise their rights and that plays right into their nefarious plan.

We’ve got to do more than just make legal challenges. We’ve got to make sure that the people of Alabama understand how this is impacting them. We can do that by making sure the media covers this issue. We can also challenge our current leadership to discuss these issues publicly. We can’t be satisfied with voter suppression being third page news. It negatively affects everyone in the state.

John Merrill and his Republican cronies need to quit messing with our voting rights. Instead, he should be focused on doing his job, which should include making it easier for all eligible voters in Alabama to exercise their rights.

Jailing cross-over voters and giving them a felony record is a pathetic waste of taxpayer dollars and a travesty. Stop this insanity.

I know you are, but what am I?

trump, strategy, blame

Franklin, Contributor

The imbecile just tweeted a fake GIF of himself hitting Hillary in the head with a golf ball. The moron just flipped on the Paris Accord and flopped back again and may still waffle in the wind depending on his whim. The douche canoe (yes, I heard that pejorative slang once before) is making the entire UN nervous because they think he’s exactly as stupidly unpredictable as Kim Jung Un and no one really wants the war that will ensue over two small penises bragging over which one’s bigger. Oh, the crowd was the biggest ever, regardless of the event, and his hands are bigly huge, the biggest if you look and you know what that really means.

No matter how much time elapses, Trump still epically sucks, he’s blindingly incompetent, grossly thin-skinned, and we know he’s, without one doubt, the very worst we could have elected to lead our great nation.

He just called the pathologically maniacal leader of North Korea “Rocket Man” and taunted him for having long gas lines in his country due to the sanctions we’ve imposed. Of course, that’s the path to mature diplomacy. He embarrasses our nation daily and his supporters find it cause for celebration as they spit on every institution we hold dear.

It makes one wonder if America finally got the president it deserved after decades of celebrating intellectual mediocrity and making excuses for collective complacency. I mean, there’s no still no excuse for Honey Boo Boo or The Apprentice. We’ve yet to figure out that the world doesn’t hate us for our freedoms, they hate us for our arrogance, ignorance, and delusional sense of superiority.

I’m a Canine-American, a lowly dog as they say, and even I know better than to shit where I eat. I am amazed at the Trumpster humans and their willingness to blindly follow the Orange one. They believe he is one of them, although he has never felt a day of their struggle or an ounce of their pain. They tuned into his show and think that his ability to fuck people out of their money makes him a successful businessman. Enough time has passed, but it still feels surreal that he won the presidency.

Each day, each hour, he finds new ways to demean the office and to destroy the things that made our nation strong and enviable. He is an open wound that festers and tolerates no ointment or salve. He is the personification of malignancy posing as buffoonery.

What he lacks in wit, he makes up for in juvenile immaturity and reckless, stubborn arbitrary decision making. Thank the Almighty, he doesn’t drink, but he sure makes everyone else have a few more than they had intended.

Somehow, some way, we will survive him. Maybe, it’s the wake-up call our nation needed to put down their over-priced lattes and smart phones and give a real damn about what’s going on that truly matters. Maybe, as we float from one cringing moment to the next, we may again learn to value relevant experience, statesmanship, and wisdom. Maybe, politicians will learn to talk more directly about their genuine values and thoughtful plans instead of worrying about how it will play in the polls. Each time I see Trump snuggle with an evangelical, it makes me want to eat the stuffing in the couch.

Indeed, the anomaly of the asshole we call the Trump should teach us all something about the strengths and fragilities of our republic.

Yet, I can’t help but worry that we are on a dangerous precipice. This is either our moment of existential truth or our moment of inevitable, self-imposed doom.

Somehow, we’ve got to change the conversation and get our country back on track, but not backward. I can’t have another debate with a Trump ass-licker that simply amounts to “I know you are, but what am I?” or “Some Democrat did it, too”.

I need to install a count-down clock before I lose my mind. I never thought we’d see the day where George W. looked like a genius in comparison. Maybe, he just didn’t have Twitter.