Time to Commit the Twitter Twit

Franklin, Contributor

For all the blistering criticism facing the Facebook, they finally did something laudable this last week when they banned dangerous morons like Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos, Louis Farrakhan, and a few other deplorables from their social media site.  Of course, Trump, aka Twitler, decided that the best use of his presidential executive time on a Saturday morning was to defend these hate-mongering, anti-Semitic, conspiracy-loving shitheads by claiming that they were the victims of unwarranted censorship. He went on to talk about how social media was biased against conservatives… Well, if that’s whose speech conservatives choose to cherish, then maybe there is some bias?

Well, alt-right dumbasses, that’s correct! Social media is, indeed, biased against people who promote hate speech and violence. In fact, it’s a perverse modern miracle that Trump’s even allowed to tweet out his banal, hate-filled bullshit when he ought to be, well, doing his job! That’s true, even if half of Twitler’s Twitter followers are Russian bots or Rudy Giulliani using multiple assumed identities.

As a Canine-American, I have more dignity, honor, and self-respect when I secretly eat cat turds out of the litterbox than when Trump Twitler crazy tweets at all hours from his gaudy gilded commode. Ooops- did I say that out loud?

I mean, the truly sad part is that this imbecile currently has a 46% approval rating and that fully a third of Americans thinks he’s doing a bang-up job. Of course, these same people thought Duck Dynasty and Honey-Boo were national treasures and wholeheartedly believe professional wrestling is real. They also think Betsy DeVos put the ‘y’ in education. They delight in ignorance, cruelty, and selfishness. Sadly, they require saving from themselves.

Look, it’s time to commit the Twitter twit. Trump isn’t making America great again, he’s lining his pockets and pissing on every last thing we hold dear in this country. It’s not just the documented ten thousand lies, it’s his blatant obstruction of justice, money laundering, and penchant for putting self-serving dipshits in charge of government agencies whose sole objectives are chaos and destruction. Trump needs to be committed to a penal or mental health facility. It’s not just his perpetual demeaning of the presidency or obviously criminal acts, it’s his unrelenting bigotry and peevish partisanship that’s turning America into a third-world autocracy.

Trump has triggered a constitutional crisis by ignoring Congressional subpoenas and illegally resisting any type of oversight or accountability. His Republican sycophants are willing accomplices and, they too, do not deserve the offices they hold. It’s time to hold Trump accountable on a very short leash. To commit to voting him out of office or committing him to a place where he’ll feel comfortable wearing his natural color, orange.

He has no business being in the White House when he exhibits conduct that’s suited for the Big House. Folks, it’s only going to get worse as he remains in the Oval Office. We’ve got to ensure the investigations continue, and more importantly, that we vote his sorry ass out in 2020, if he’s not already facing impeachment.

Our government works when we, the people (and enlightened Canine-Americans), hold it accountable. I mean, we saw this coming when we found out that there’d be no dog in the White House. I don’t think it’s because he didn’t want one, I think it’s because dogs have good sense about people and no dog wanted to be around him. It’s just a theory.

So, let’s quit chasing our tails and let’s wake up from our national nightmare. Americans are what make America great- in all their wonderful diversity and their commitment to authentic American values.

Trump and his ilk have no values and no conscience. It’s time to commit the twit.

A Cable from The TWENTYTWENTYNEWS.COM Bunker

It’s been a hot second since we’ve really talked. Like most folks, the staff here at twentytwentynews.com has been mildly nauseous since Trump took office and has seriously contemplated professional day-drinking as a viable career change. We’re not too sure what to think about the score of Democrats running in the primary or about how the investigations will be play out to finally nail the Teflon Orange Don to a big, beautiful wall.  We’ve got some diverse options to choose from and even a few septuagenarian white guys. Yet, we seem to be overwhelmed with a virulent type of political PTSD and feeling triggered.

At our last staff meeting, Franklin suggested that twentytwenty should recruit more writers and continue to provide even more creative and dynamic liberal content. He then chased his own tail in a dervish circle for ten minutes before collapsing and napping until he heard his kibble hit the bowl.  These things happen when your editor is a Canine-American… hey, don’t misinterpret that…

Soon, we’re planning to launch our new podcast which was inspired by the “All That’s Left” radio show which aired weekly for three hours live on conservative talk radio, WVNN, from February 2016 to February 2017. It starred Alabama’s Most Hated Liberal Voice, Clete Wetli. Although surrounded by right-wing lunacy, “All That’s Left” bravely took on the mindless Trump sycophants who called in to the show. The show caused quite a stir in Northern Alabama. Conservatives everywhere broke out in hives and couldn’t even sleep for fear of being “Woke”. More importantly, it proved that even on a red-meat, conspiracy-obsessed, fact-free, and propaganda infused radio hellscape, that there was an enthusiastic audience for insightful and entertaining liberal talk. The show’s been off the air for two years and people still remember Conservative Clown of the Week and You Gotta Love a Liberal.

So, stay tuned. Twentytwentynews is about to relaunch “All That’s Left” as a podcast! It’s going to be different, edgy, and unrestrained. Big changes have been made to the show and it promises to be better than ever!

At Twentytwenty we’re renewing our focus on articulating sound liberal opinion and messaging on issues that most affect you. It’s time for strong liberal voices to be heard and for that message to get out to voters. For too long, conservatives have had a stranglehold on media in deep red states like Alabama. This is why twentytwentynews keeps daring to take a loud, courageous stand. Liberal voices matter, and we will continue to fight for what we believe in.

With so many candidates in the primary, it’s easy for the overall message to get lost. Democrats proudly stand for working people. Democrats want a responsible, ethical government that puts the interests of the American people first. Democrats work tirelessly to ensure that all Americans have equal rights and equal opportunities under the law. We are the party of the people, in all their wonderful diversity.

Our messaging must come from the heart and share the personal, gripping stories of real people. For too long, we’ve stayed mired in the weeds of over-analysis, pedantic explanation, and pithy punditry. We need to frame our issues clearly, concisely, and passionately.  We get beat by morons because our messaging gets diffused and distorted.

So, as we take a deep breath before the impending political battle, we will stay focused on our liberal platform and progressive agenda. We will advocate sound policy and legislation that works for all Americans, not just a privileged few. We must gain control of our country again and put the conservative extremist voices on the fringe, where they truly belong. Stay tuned to twentytwentynews.com on the web and on social media.  I’m heading back to the secret underground bunker with Franklin and Jerry Waters- we’re about to take a beef jerky and Skittles break before resuming our heated discussion regarding world domination by liberals. Message us if you have a piece you’d like to see published. Raise your voice and keep your pencils sharp. Carpe Diem!

Passion That Can’t Be Denied

LaVerne Roxby, Contributor

We sank to the floor and gave in to the passion that had been building between us for weeks.  Yes, we knew it was wrong! We had tried to deny it, but, NO!  we couldn’t – the sexual tension was too strong. We became one as we yielded to our basic animal sexual instincts, all the time saying, “this can’t be happening, but it is” and other stuff like that.

After “it” was over, we went for hamburgers and cokes and never saw each other again . . . not for many years, and then we did. I looked up and said, “Ari?” at the same time he said, “Lola?” Damn, he looked good. Call it karma, call it fate, call it what you will, but there is no denying that when our eyes met once again, the fire that we had long ago extinguished had returned.  It was like a roiling boil on a hot stove.  My heart literally melted as I hit the go button on my scooter and raced across the dollar store to embrace him, flinging a great-grandchild off my lap as I went. He, wearing thick glasses and using two canes, ran to me, oblivious to the fact that he had knocked over a whole display of $1 a can peaches.  It was at that moment that I wished I wasn’t wearing a Depends, but I knew he would understand.  Love is like that;  never having to say you’re sorry. We met in the center of the dog food section, and it was there, on top of a 50-pound bag, that we took care of our long unfinished business as my granddaughter yelled at me for racing and for dropping HER child, and for not stopping to pick up HER child, and while the store manager called the police.  As we were being led away to separate police cars, I made the little sign with my finger that means “call me” and he blew me a kiss.  As the police car door was closing, I yelled to my granddaughter: “Don’t forget to get me that chocolate pudding that I like; you hear me now?”

Hurricane Crazies

The day of the “big” hurricane, the one we had always feared, was upon us. She was ‘a comin!! My in-laws, plus granny, descended on my house like a herd of migrant workers. The next thing I knew, granny was filling every bottle in the house with water; I’m not kidding – we had to clear a path to get from the kitchen to the living room. Next, she scrubbed the tub and filled it, too.  Oh, well – nobody was much interested in taking a bath anyway; plus, if this baby was as big as they said she was, we were all going to get plenty wet anyway. Suddenly, my mother-in-law started dragging blankets out of the linen closet – at first, I thought it was to pad the area where the sliding glass doors were (if you live in Florida, sliding glass doors are a must-have) but, no, she was settling in on the couch and my father-in-law was wrapping himself up and getting comfy on my loveseat. (Did I mention that we were in FLORIDA where blankets are only for show?  – you never take them out and actually use them.) About that time, my father-in-law yelled: “When are we going to eat?” Feeling the need to escape,  I ran into the dining room – that’s when  I heard a loud thumping noise against our  bay window – were we being bombarded by huge limbs from those high winds we were told were headed our way? NO, it was our stupid horse banging his head against the glass – even he wanted in!! I had a few words with him and then I shut the drapes. I yelled to my husband, “Who let the damn horse out – let me guess.” He said he had read in a book that that is exactly what you should do in a situation like this – let the animal run free.  I knew I was losing “it” so I took off for the family room (big mistake) where I came upon one of our two teenagers – the female one. She was walking around in short shorts and was barefooted (you can get away with that 24/7 in Florida, even when a hurricane is coming). She was pouting because we wouldn’t let her use the phone while it was lightning, and she said she was bored. I said, “Get me a gun so I can kill myself.” About then, I heard a loud thumping at the front door. I looked through the peep hole and, you guessed it – it was “the horse” only this time I was looking at his rear end (always a pleasant sight.) Upon closer inspection,  I realized that he was making a deposit, if you know what I mean. I yelled out, “Did you let the damn pig out so he could run free, too? I knew by the look on my husband’s face that, yes, he had. I was in a dad gum loony bin. I took off for my son’s room where I found him sprawled out on his king-sized waterbed (people are really into water down there) reading a surfing magazine, snacking and listening to a mellow Bob Marley song. Always Mr. Cool, he looked up and said, “What’s up, ma?” I said, “Move over and hand me the chips – there’s a bunch of crazies in the house.”

The Virtues of Colon Cleansing

Being a person who is into rituals, on a glorious Sunday morning, I brewed my coffee and picked up my low fat granola bar before leisurely seating myself at the computer to check my emails.  I immediately saw where two high school classmates had left me messages on Facebook. I excitedly clicked on the link only to discover that their messages were the same:  both  were extolling the virtues of colon cleansing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have that on my to-do list, but only in about 100 years.  In fact, colon cleansing is sitting right up there next to begging my dentist for a root canal. I know that my classmates only care about what is best for me,  and they certainly didn’t know that I would check my messages while eating my breakfast, but having a discussion about colons, period, is just not what I do on a social networking site. I prefer to keep it light out there – I mean, I have participated in discussions  about minor health issues, and the repairs that go with them,  but colons are something that I think are best kept as discussions between patients and doctors,  if a discussion is even necessary. In fact, my primary doctor doesn’t even ask, “how’s your colon?” unless it’s time for the dreaded, un-fun, drink that nasty drink beforehand, colonoscopy.  We have, I think, an unwritten agreement that she will not bring it up again for 10 more years because I recently went after she talked me into it.  I remember very well our discussion when I first agreed to undergo the  polyp check. She brought out a giant  (like 4 x 6 foot) diagram showing the large intestine and the path  the “see all” tube with the giant camera would travel  during the colonoscopy process.  Whoa! I had no idea of all the  activity that goes on in that area –  It looked  like a bustling little city. After 5 minutes of watching the path she was tracing with her long stick, I covered my eyes and said “ I really don’t need to see this – can I have the drug now that takes me out of this nightmare? “ Anyway, I am happy to report that I got an “A” on the colonoscopy experience and I now pretty much ignore anything that has to do with colons, except the punctuation kind. Now, if my former classmates want to start a campaign to cleanse the English language of that type of colon, I will jump right in and offer my opinion.  However,  I prefer to pick on the semi-colon because there’s only half as much to clean – and less chance of polyps.


Grudges

Some people hold grudges, and I don’t think it’s a good thing. “Get over it!” is what I say. Here’s one example: Fifty years ago (yes, 50!!) I did one small thing wrong and got my whole Girl Scout troop (Troop 354) in trouble. Even now, after  all these years, I can’t go home to Florida without having one of them say: “Remember that time when LaVerne got us all in trouble at the Coca-Cola plant?” They also usually bring up the other little incident, which happened at the local Air Force base, but that is another story entirely (definitely). Anyway, here’s what happened at the Coke plant: All of us were loaded up in the back of the troop mother’s station wagon – back then, you could do that – just tell everybody to climb in; if a few heads got knocked around, like up against the window glass, that was okay, it toughened you up for what life had in store for you later on. Anyway, we were merrily cruising along, with all the windows open, when the troop mother spotted a woman in another car that she needed/wanted (whatever), to talk to. She pulled over to the curb in front of the Coke plant (a big mistake) and so did the other woman. She left our car and, of course, told us to “stay right there.” Well, that was fine for about 5 minutes, and then it got HOT IN THERE. I suggested, in a sweet way, that perhaps we should go in and tour the Coke plant while she was busy talking and ignoring us. After all, we WERE wearing our uniforms. All of us formed a nice straight line (me in front) and marched in. I calmly told the receptionist that we were here for our tour. She looked in her little appointment book and said she didn’t see a tour scheduled for us. I looked at her and said, “There MUST be some mistake; we are supposed to be here NOW.” She asked where our leader was and I told her that she would be inside in a few minutes and that we had been instructed to begin the tour immediately as time was an issue.  The next thing I knew, we were on our way. I, of course, was leading the group. About 7-8 minutes later, as we were watching the bottling process (for you younger ones, this was back when Cokes came in glass bottles), and I was really enjoying myself,  I heard a small commotion, and then the troop monster (at this point, from the look on her face, I didn’t think she should be called “mother” anymore), had me by the arm and was  pulling me away from all the fun. She marched me, and all the rest of the troop followed, straight to the car. She was quite upset, and so was I – I did not get the free coke that I had been promised!!! Neither did the other girls, and that’s why they are still carrying a grudge today, I think. One of my troop members is now a psychologist. The next time I’m back home, I’m going to ask if I can lie on her couch and talk things out. It would really help me and, maybe her. You never know.

Hazel Brooks

As I got up to leave, she said: “I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.”  Her name is Hazel Brooks and she is 80 years old. We sat next to each other  on my recent flight from Grand Junction, Colorado to Dallas. I had been up since 2:00 am and had planned to sleep, but she and I ended up talking the whole 3 hours. She told me she lost her husband of 62 years this past April – she said they had a wonderful life. I love the story she told me of how they met. She was working in a restaurant in Texas and a lady came in and asked for a table. The lady said she was expecting her son who was home on leave from the war and asked Mrs. Brooks  to look for him – she said he was tall, dark and handsome and would be wearing a uniform.  Mrs. Brooks said he came in, she directed him to the table where his mother sat, and their romance began that day. They married 2 years later. They had three children – two daughters and one son. She also has 8 grandchildren and 10  great grandchildren.  While we were talking, she opened her wallet and showed me  photo after photo – the first one was of her handsome husband in his uniform. She knew the name of each person and age he or she was when each photo was taken.  She also told me where each one of them lives today.  She said she now lives with one of her daughters, who is blind, near Houston.  Her own home is up for sale – she and her husband lived there for  over  50 years.  She said it was hard to move out.   I told her I understood.

As we talked, she told me about her life. When she was a young girl, and her father was ill with cancer, the family went in two covered wagons from Texas to Arkansas and back – a trip that took 3 months – so her father could soak in the hot mineral springs in the hope of a cure.  He died a few weeks after they returned home – he was in his early 40s. She also told me about her oldest brother, nicknamed “Son.”  She remembers him being in horrible pain for several days before he died at 16  – it turns out that his appendix had burst.  Her eyes misted over as she told me about her brother and her father, both dead all these years. I thought about my own father, who died at 52. There was no miracle cure for him, either.

I listened as she told me about her crazy aunt – the one who had a daughter who couldn’t stand up straight so she put her on a table and ironed her back. She told me the hot iron caused horrible blisters and holes in her back and that her aunt then poured kerosene on the whole area, which also brought terrible pain.  I asked her what the family did when they found out – she said they tied the aunt up in the barn. We moved on to another topic so I found out little more except that her cousin grew up with a straight back.

I wish we had known each other when we were younger. I think we would have been the best of friends.

On Bass Tournaments

I love to talk. Sometimes I say the wrong thing, at the wrong time, to the wrong people. My husband, Al’s, big bass tournament was no exception. Here’s what happened: We went to Charleston, SC for a MAJOR tournament – we’re talking big names in fishing. There were 12 fishermen on each team from seven southern states. Anyway, I was milling around with at least 80 other women as the men were coming in on the last day of the 3-day tournament to weigh their fish. I was “lookin’ for muh man” just like the other wives – I was there to support him because he was “muh man.” One of the big sponsors of the tournament, chewing tobacco producers, was handing out samples (as in whole boxes) of their product to all wives.  I politely declined when I was asked if I would like some “for muh man.” Anyway, the crowd was getting larger all the time – the anticipation was building – we were about to have ourselves “a champyon.” The next thing I knew, a microphone had been stuck in my face and I was asked: “Little missy – have you got a man out there on the water today?” I answered, “yes.” The man then said: “What’s his name and what team is he on?” I responded, “Al Krakatos – Alabama.” Next, he said, and I’m not making this up: “Why ain’t you got yourself a box of that ‘baca for yur man?” I said, “Because it causes cancer and there are lots of children here today who see these tobacco-chewing bass fishermen as their heroes.” Well, you could have heard a fishing rod drop – they had a very good loud speaker, and I have a very big mouth. The large crowd suddenly got really, really quiet. About that time, “muh man,” he done come in, and I reverted to being the quiet little wife I was supposed to be but, funny thing is, we were totally ignored at the hoedown that night, which was sponsored by the tobacco people – imagine that. When we got back to the motel later, Al  whined, “The least you could have done was get me one of those brass spittoons that they were giving away with the chewing tobacco.” Knowing now what I didn’t know then (about the future state of our relationship), I should have gotten him at least five boxes of that ‘baca, and encouraged him to chew it. Live and learn.

No More Chubby Cheeks

Like many others, as the last new year approached, I decided to make some major life changes. You know the ones: eat better, eat less, exercise more, drink more water, etc.  I decided to work on all four at once because that’s the kind of person that I am. I hopped out of bed on day 1,  ate three grapes, drank a gallon of water, and prepared for the exercise phase. 

Step 1 is to dress for it. I found my exercise clothes in a large bag from the 1960s, dusted them off, and put on what still fit, which was basically the bag. (I have heard that simply putting on your exercise clothes will automatically cause you to lose 1 pound, and I believe it.) Once I was dressed, I headed to the gym. 

Step 2 is to go into the gym and actually use a piece of equipment. I entered the gym trying to appear as if I had been in one before, and casually surveyed the equipment.  Some of it looked like it belonged on an X-rated website, not that I have ever visited one.  I finally found a machine that looked like a bicycle, except it had a special torture gear. The minute I started pedaling, my legs began to tingle. Because it was such an unusual, uncomfortable feeling, I decided not to overdo it and hurt myself. I only pedaled until I had burned 10 calories and then I stopped to rest. After 5 minutes, I decided to go again. I pedaled to burn 10 more calories and then I knew I needed a major rest. I decided to lie down on the carpet by the bicycle from hell until I felt well enough to walk. While I was down there, I rose up on one arm and looked around. What I saw was a sea of chubby cheeks (both kinds) and some hairy armpits (mostly on men).  The cheeks motivated me to get up and head to the weight room while the hairy armpits motivated me to get up and move, period.  Once in the weight room, I approached a piece of equipment that had a sign stating  that I needed to use enough weights to equal my actual body weight. Well, there was a good-looking guy standing nearby so there was NO way I was going to use the correct amount of weights. I fudged by 30 pounds as he looked on. However, after I grabbed the overhead bars and put my feet on the lower bar, the jig was up: my whole body slammed down and the weights hit the floor.  He was kind enough to turn his head the other way.

Step 3 is to face reality. As I hurriedly left the weight room, I told myself that it was ridiculous to think I could look like a Hollywood starlet after only one gym visit – I needed to pace myself.  I therefore stopped in the lounge area and watched a little TV.  After a couple of shows, I felt re-energized and I completed my exercise regimen by watching other people work out while I drank a frappuccino.  All in all, it was a good first effort to get in better shape. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Fun at Grandma’s

Sometimes, when I was a child, I was downright evil – not evil like Linda Blair in The Exorcist where her head was spinning around as she was spewing out green split pea soup, but evil nonetheless. Take the incident with my cousin, Samantha, for example, when we were both about 12 years old. It was summertime and we were at our grandparents’ home in North Florida. They had an outdoor shower located a good 20 feet from the back of the house. The shower sides were covered with tarpaper and it was open at the top. Samantha decided to take a shower in the middle of the day, and this is where the evil side of me took over. Knowing that she was deathly afraid of “rain frogs,” (small green frogs that sort of stick to your skin when they make contact), I decided to take full advantage of the situation. Once she was inside the shower, this is what I did when the bad LaVerne took over:

           1.  Locked the back porch door

           2.  Grabbed nine or 10 frogs and put them in a Mason jar

3.  Quietly removed her clothes and towel from the top of the shower where they

     were hanging

4.  Climbed up on a ladder and poured the frogs on her.

Approximately 5 seconds later, all hell broke loose. Samantha ran screaming out of the shower, buck naked, and headed for the back door which was, as I said earlier, locked. She then threw open the lid on the wringer washing machine on the porch and grabbed some dirty towels, which she used to cover herself. I, meanwhile, ran around the side of the house and hurriedly got up on the front porch and sat in a rocking chair. All the adults were busy running to the back porch to see what the screaming was about so I felt sure that I was in the clear. Little did I know that one of my other cousins, a little brat about 6, had seen what I had done and he ratted me out. My grandfather, a wiry little man, gave me a few good swats with a hickory switch, and then all the adults went back to doing whatever it was that they were doing before.  What did I do? I calmly went back outside and beat the crap out of that bratty little cousin. This time, I made darn sure there weren’t any witnesses.

Trump and the blowing wind

Clete Wetli, Contributor

“If Hillary got in you wouldn’t have that stat, I can tell you right now. You would be doing wind, windmills and if it doesn’t — if it doesn’t blow you can forget about television for that night. [Laughter] Darling, I want to watch television. I’m sorry, the wind isn’t blowing. I know a lot about wind. I know a lot about wind.”- Donald J. Trump, MAGA Rally, Grand Rapids, Michigan – March 28, 2019

Yes, if Trump knows anything, he is undoubtedly an expert on blowing wind. Many people are saying that, believe me.

He has blown wind for his entire life and he knows more than his generals and scientists about it.

So, here we are. Two years and thousands of lies later. Our debt at historic levels and our institutions under a constant, corrosive attack by people whose only motivation is preserving their power and increasing their personal ill-begotten wealth. In truth, that is where we are.

In science, every human eye has a blind spot that corresponds to the placement of the optic nerve within the retina where there are no photoreceptors. In all their wisdom, the Founding Fathers never anticipated the blind spot of Trump in our democracy. It seemed that they thought that the electorate would never choose someone who was so hell bent on wreaking havoc on our political norms or who was so uniquely and blatantly unqualified to lead. In fact, it was never even considered that we might elect a leader who was intrinsically incapable of coherent thought or formulating complete sentences. Yet, here we are.

Listening to the blowing wind and suffocating on the stench it brings.

This week, I spoke with gleeful Trump cult followers that were simply drunk on the idea that Barr’s shameful initial synopsis of the Mueller Report seemed to clear Trump of Russian collusion.  I listened to their cacophonous illogical explanations and obtuse justifications of Trump’s obvious lies and unethical conduct. Ironically, without exception, each Trump zealot would reluctantly admit that they thought he was a terrible person in one capacity or another. They would cite his continual lies or his infidelity or his lack of ethics or his obvious criminal financial self-dealings. Yet, they would always circle back to supporting him because they thought he was on their side.

They were overjoyed to suck his wind.

Yes, a third, to perhaps half of our country gleefully breathes the foul air that blows from Trump’s rank wind-hole. They seemingly can’t get enough. They find it liberating, intoxicating, and elevating. They are like addicts who make any excuse for another hit of Trump; no matter how insane and no matter the consequence.

We’re two years in and I’m not exactly sure how to fight this effectively. Initially, I thought the truth might be an antidote, but it has sadly failed.  I am slowly coming to the realization that this is less about changing them and more about galvanizing those who refuse to breathe in the wind he blows. That, maybe, we need to put aside our single issue causes and learn to fight together for a greater good. The Republicans figured that out when they employed Grover Norquist’s strategy of, “We know what direction to go. We just need a president to sign this stuff. Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to be president of the United States.”  Well, he may have small digits, but they got exactly what they asked for. A useful idiot who can blow wind and sign decrees.

So, I write this tonight because I feel it’s imperative that we continue to resist and continue to fight for what we know in our hearts is true and right and American.

Trump may know a lot about blowing wind, but we know a lot more about truth and what it will really take for America to find its soul again.  2020 is coming and, soon, a fresh invigorating wind will blow from a different direction and it will bring a new season of hope and desperately needed change.

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.

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!

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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!

Political Civility isn’t just about the Tone of Rhetoric

twentytwentynews, political, civility

Clete Wetli, Contributor

As the nation mourns the loss of a hero and public servant, Sen. John McCain, there are many who have lauded his willingness to work in a bipartisan manner and his civility in public discourse. His passing in the age of Trump certainly highlights the importance of civility in political rhetoric, especially due to Trump’s prior disrespectful and boorish remarks about McCain’s time as a prisoner of war. In fact, Trump is not even welcome to attend McCain’s funeral and that speaks volumes about the despicable character of our current President.

America has seen tremendous change in the political landscape since McCain first ventured into politics in the 1980’s. It seems that in these last few decades, that our politics have become meaner, dirtier, more corrupt, more cynical, and dangerously personal. Since the media tends to focus on that trend, we’ve accepted it and we’re increasingly numb to it even when confronted with an ill-mannered, crass, ignoramus like Trump.

The focus always seems to be on the growing incivility of the rhetoric, but it’s the increasing incivility of conservative and Republican policies that should really concern Americans regardless of party affiliation.

Go ahead and pick an issue. Whether it’s trade or healthcare or civil rights or the environment or education, the new message of conservative Republicans is that you’re on your own and that unless you’re making some significant coin, you better get used to working a lot harder for less. Hell, they’re ready to turn space into a battleground so that they can exploit the natural resources of other planets simply to make more money. They are systematically rolling back civil rights and consumer protections and defunding public education. Their policies are atrocious, and some are downright evil.

Republicans used to have some positive core values and their policies, although arguably myopic, were somewhat digestible. Now, they are rotten with cruelty, racism, entitlement, and unquenchable greed at the deliberate expense of the unfortunate. Their brand of social Darwinism, Machiavellian ideology, and willingness to cheat, has polarized the country. They have proliferated a dangerous virus of propaganda that has infected their followers to the point that they don’t believe basic truths or understand what is happening right before their eyes. It is cultish and powerful. It is terrifying and absurd in our high-tech culture.

McCain seemed to be the last Republican that owned a moral compass or a backbone. That’s why he voted against the travesty that his colleagues attempted to pass off as a health care bill. It’s why he fought for campaign finance reform. It’s why he was not a party to those who bigots would disrespect Obama. McCain saw what the corruption was doing to his party and, sadly, he saw the culmination of its effects when Trump was elected. McCain realized that vitriolic rhetoric was only symptomatic of a far greater problem. The problem was that the Republican party platform and its leadership had been taken over by self-serving extremists. Folks who cared more about their own selfish enrichment than in the ideals that formed our country and kept it strong. Trump simply emboldened and empowered them.

Yes, the rhetoric is disgusting, but it’s Republican policies that seek to ensure that poor children have no healthcare. True, the rhetoric is vulgar, but it’s conservatism that would deny gay marriage and allow legal, institutional discrimination. Sure, the rhetoric is inexcusable, but it’s their policies that are sodomizing the American Dream.

Someone recently described the political polarization in America as a “cold civil war” and that’s fairly accurate if you can ignore the actual casualties caused by Republican policies. It’s not their unhinged rhetoric that should scare you anymore, it’s what they are doing and accomplishing.

As they continue to embrace Trump, they really should be forced to change their name. It does great disservice to men of character like Sen. John McCain when they call themselves Republicans. They all truly have become Republicans in name only.

The incivility of their language wounds us deeply, but it’s their policies that may kill the American Dream.