Category Archives: Local Politics

Guns And Butter; A View From A Democratic (small “d”) Perspective

Guns and butter have always been a part of America’s economics and the economics of all nations throughout the world.  I don’t know how many other nations use this term or even if they are familiar with it but I do know that it is used here in America.  Many in the younger generations are probably familiar with it even if due in great part to the fact that it was used in a well-known movie entitled Baby Boy. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, guns and butter is a model that demonstrates in a nation’s budget the relationship between the amount of money that it invests in defense and the amount that it invests in civilian goods.

In simple terms, the guns piece of this model represents the amount of a nation’s budget that it dedicates to protecting itself and the butter piece represents the amount that it dedicates to civilian goods including things such as the overall caring for its citizenry.  Accordingly, it is easy to see that guns and butter are very closely related.  Either guns or butter, or both, can be effectively used by a nation to impose its will upon the people; whether those people be people of their own nation or people of other nations.

The term “guns and butter” is used in general in this article to, hopefully, capture and hold the attention of those in the aforementioned younger generations that are reading it and specifically because of America’s position as the designated leader in determining what to do about President Putin’s attempt to takeover Ukraine by brute force.  This term makes it easier for me to make the following comparison while holding the attention of the younger generations, explain it in simple terms and still make my point.  Further, it is used because of the hypocritical position that America and far too many Americans find ourselves in as it relates to defending democracy.  Now that you have endured my somewhat lengthy preamble, allow me to make my point.

Right now – via Putin’s war, Russia is trying to impose its will upon the people of Ukraine.  While the world looks on, Russia is trying to beat Ukraine into submission through the use of the “guns” provided via its guns and butter budget and through trying to render ineffective or destroy the guns and butter that Ukraine has in place.  But the world is not only looking at Putin’s war – although it is obviously at the fore and that is where the world’s attention is primarily focused right now, it is also looking at America, the leader of the free world.  It is contemplating and processing those things that we are doing to protect and enhance our own democracy as we attempt to foster this concept in other nations around the world; as we, along with NATO and other nations provide as much help as possible to Ukraine without escalating Putin’s war into World War III.

What President Putin is doing is despicable even if he isn’t purposely targeting civilian areas – which include women, children, hospitals, water supplies and food storage areas – and Russian soldiers are not raping Ukrainian women and executing innocent civilians as is currently being reported!  His vitriol toward the Ukrainian people, lack of mercy for them, lack of respect for the rules of war and his incessant lies to the Russian people only compounds the despicableness of his war.  And he is doing all of this in an effort to stop the spread of democracy!  America is rightfully doing everything that it can to assist Ukraine in defending itself against a foreign bully who wants to take the Ukrainian peoples’ land and deprive its citizens of their freedom and rights.

But America has a problem that she must deal with before she can be viewed by all Americans and other people throughout the world as a country with righteous indignation at what Putin is doing to the Ukrainian people: It’s a hypocrite problem.  Fortunately, we can deal with and work to correct this problem while at the same time helping the Ukrainian people.  President Putin deserves to be viewed as the pariah that he is and to be isolated from the rest of the world.  The only drawback is that this is hurting the entire Russian population and they don’t deserve this.

As regards America’s hypocrite problem, in the event that you have not been keeping abreast of the political news lately, the Republican Party has twisted itself into an extremely complex political pretzel trying, by hook-or-crook, to assure that it positions Republicans in the strongest position possible to retake the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm election and still project the image that they are concerned about and protecting democracy.  They are faced with a big problem in pulling this off.  First, the majority of Republicans in the Senate and House still view Donald Trump as their leader and still support him as such.  Secondly, virtually all of the Republicans in the Senate and House are supporting the curtailment of the voting rights of all Americans based solely on Mr. Trump’s “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from him because the election system is rife with fraud!  There is no proof of this and even Bill Barr, Mr. Trump’s Attorney General when Mr. Trump was in office, said there was no election fraud.  Despite this, many Republican-controlled states across the country have passed hundreds of laws curtailing voting rights and there are more that are pending passage.

To make matters worse, as regards Putin’s war in Ukraine, many of the Republicans in the Senate and House are railing against President Biden and saying that he is not providing Ukraine with enough support!  The clencher?  They voted against the package that would provide Ukraine with this support!  In light of this situation and Republicans supporting the curtailment of voting rights, how much more of a hypocrite could these lawmakers be?!  And because they are our elected officials and, right or wrong, speak for the American people, it makes America – and therefore the American people, appear to be a bunch of hypocrites!  There is no doubt that the majority of Americans view a large percentage of our elected officials as hypocrites and it is very likely that the world views them as such as well; and since they are our elected officials and speak for America…  Finally, to make matters even worse, the most popular host on Fox News, which has always appeared to be an intricate part of the Republican Party – Tucker Carlson, is being used by Russian media as a poster child to justify Putin’s war.

Again, we can ultimately solve our hypocrite problem here in America while at the same time helping Ukraine and the Ukrainian people: We just need to have the resolve to do it.  It might not be an appropriate analogy to compare what Donald Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party are doing to Americans to what Putin is doing in Ukraine because what they are doing is not nearly as brutal.  But both the Putin war and what these Republicans are doing is an attack on democracy!  Both are despicable!  And the Republicans’ attack on democracy is not made less despicable because they are using butter rather than guns; it might be made more palatable but it is made no less despicable!  Americans must remember this when we go to the polls in the 2022 midterm elections and beyond.

The Republican Party’s focus is on people of color right now as they fight to curtail voting rights and even now, they are hurting people other than just people of color; in the eyes of the Republican Party, these other people are simply collateral damage.  But let there be no doubt, after they finish with the people of color, they will be coming for you; people who are not White, rich and powerful.  Don’t get too comfortable if you are White; you must meet the entire criteria.  Let what is happening in America and Ukraine be a wakeup call for all of us.  Let this motivate all of us to scrutinize politicians more closely, “watch what they do and not what they say” and judge them accordingly.  And finally, let that close scrutiny and observation cause us to always remember that whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis, Author – Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Progressives, Liberals, Moderates, Centrists: What Does It All Mean?

I don’t know who came up with the names Progressives, Liberals, Moderates and Centrists for members of the Democratic Party.  Further, I can’t define with clarity what each of those names mean; and I’m not sure that whoever came up with them can clearly define them either.  Why?  Because regardless of who you ask to define Progressives, Liberals, Moderates or Centrists, you never get the same answer from any of them.

I was compelled to mention the confusion on my part regarding these names, and I have no doubt that there are many other voters that are just as unclear on them, before I discuss all of the complaining by “Moderates” about how the “Progressives” in the House are really messing up President Biden’s agenda; especially the Build Back Better part of it.

What immediately makes me suspicious of these sore complaints and this great concern about the terrible damage that Progressives are doing to President Biden’s agenda is that among those who are complaining is Senator Kyrsten Sinema.  Yes, you read it right.  And yes, it’s the same Kyrsten Sinema who along with Senator Joe Manchin have been gumming up President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda from the very start.

These are two senators who are cozy enough with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican Party that they can run off to various places and have fundraisers hosted by Republicans.  And here is the best part, no one in the Republican Party objects to it!  Senator Sinema’s antics in Washington caught the attention of Saturday Night Live; so much so that they featured her in a satire.  It was spot on!

Senator Sinema was so angered because the physical infrastructure bill was not voted on like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that it would be that she accused her of betraying the trust of the American people.  Just so you know it, this is the bill that Democratic senators Manchin and Sinema hammered out with Republicans in the senate before sending it to the House.

So it is hard to know if Senator Sinema is upset because, according to her, House Progressives are damaging President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda or because they are screwing with her “bipartisan” infrastructure bill.  She has done more damage to the president’s agenda than any of the so-called damage that Progressives have done.  Progressives are fighting to get President Biden’s entire agenda, including the Build Back Better part of it, implemented.

Republicans have always believed that they are entitled to run things in Washington and around the country whether or not they are the majority Party; they don’t need to be in control of the House, Senate and Executive branches of government in order to control the House, Senate and Executive branches of government.  Unfortunately for Democrats, Republicans have proven this to be a fact time-and-time again.  They simply bully their way through governance.

Republicans have become emboldened since the election and subsequent defeat of Mr. Donald J. Trump.  Almost the entire Republican Party support Mr. Trump and his “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.  They still believe that he is the rightful president and that President Biden is not the President.  Even those Republican politicians who know better and have been elected officials for many years support and promulgate the “Big Lie.”  It does not matter to them that we are in a Constitutional crisis and our American democracy is at risk.

Americans already know that only one of the two political parties is interested in governing.  So it is a good thing that Progressives have committed to stand up to the Republican Party; the Party that is not interested in governing but instead has chosen to support Mr. Donald J. Trump and his “Big Lie”.  It is a good thing that Progressives have chosen to fight to implement President Biden’s full agenda.

It is unfortunate that we are currently fighting among ourselves but if that is what we must do to deliver on the promises that Democrats made to the American people when Mr. Biden was running for office then so be it.  Democrats will get beyond the fighting and provide the support that the president needs to implement his agenda.  And once that is accomplished, everyone will be okay with it: they might not agree with it or like it but they will be okay with it.  That is, everyone that is living on this planet and not an alternate one (earth 2) where the people prefer “alternative facts” and to live a lie (the “Big Lie”?) rather than the truth.

Again, just so you know it, “alternative facts” is a phrase used in an argument made by U.S. Counselor to The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America, Kellyanne Conway, in defense of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s lie about the attendance numbers of Mr. Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as The Donald J. Trump of the United States.  Ms. Conway said Mr. Spicer was giving “alternative facts.”

Americans must always fight in our effort to utterly rid ourselves of anyone who in any way assists in or seeks to destroy our democracy.  The best way to avoid being saddled with more people in government like Mr. Spicer and Ms. Conway is to vote out those elected officials who espouse “alternative facts” and support Mr. Trump’s “Big Lie.”  Together we can do this!  That is why you must always remember that whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Democrats Must Walk The Talk

It is urgent for Democrats to begin to walk the talk now!  It is far past time for them to stop tiptoeing around Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.  Democrats are tiptoeing around these senators because of their razor thin senate majority.  They are afraid to offend or upset these senators in any way due to the fear that if they do, they might decide to change Party.  Well, they just might do that.

The question is, are Democrats going to allow these two senators to make cowards of the entire Democratic Party?!  Are they going to allow them to cause all of us to die a thousand times like a coward would rather than to die once, if need be, standing on our feet while fighting for principle and what we believe in: while fighting to preserve the American democracy?!

Democrats must fight for what we believe in and we must do it now!  We must fight now while Democrats are still in power and have leverage.  It is possible that very soon, that time of power and leverage may run out.  Who will stop this crazed Republican Party then?!  Will anyone have the power to stop them or will we have seen the last of the American democracy?!  Will this then be Trump’s America; a new authoritarian country with the former The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America at the helm?!  Come on Democrats; where are you?!

If senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema want to become Republicans and stand with Republicans and Mr. Donald Trump in supporting and continuing to perpetrate his ‘Big Lie’ upon the American people, then let them.  Yes, it is a tough call for Democrats to make but since senators Manchin and Sinema have already made their choice as to which side of the ledger that they will stand on, then why not force them out into the open so that all of the American voters can see who they really are and whose interest they really represent; their own and those of the Republican Party or those of America and the American people?!

If it is their own interest and that of the Republican Party and not the interest of America and the American people, then polls indicate that most voters, whether they are Democrats Republicans or Independents, would not stand with them.  That would then mean that those senators and representatives that these voters elected to represent them, if they are reflecting the will of the people and not that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Leader Kevin McCarthy – would work in a bipartisan way to govern effectively and not simply obstruct.  If they continue to simply obstruct, then voters – whether they are Democrats, Republicans or Independents – must step up and vote them out of office.  If we don’t do that, then we will lose this American democracy; it’s as simple as that.

I must admit that I likely watch to much cable news.  That notwithstanding, I have never been so tired of hearing politicians talk but do nothing; even while the very foundation of the American democracy is being openly dismantled before their eyes!  It’s as if they just love to hear themselves talk while they flaunt their importance.  They want American voters to know how knowledgeable they are about this republic, governing and the American Constitution.  They talk fondly about how strong this American Republic is and opine about it as if it can never fall.   If they want to wrap their importance around them like they would a warm and cozy coat in the winter and wear it around with them wherever they go that’s fine.  But to talk fondly and opine about America and do nothing while she is being attacked and systematically, although it may be slowly, destroyed is unacceptable!  I do not want to watch what they say!  I want to watch what they do!

I know that I am not the only American who feels this way.  I know that there are many others who would like to see our government function in the way that it is meant to function.  That is not meant to imply that all of them want to see the same kind of policies put into place that I want to see put into place.  Many of these other Americans that I am referring to agree with me on very few things if they agree with me on anything at all.  But isn’t that what democracy is all about.  Can’t we disagree with one another and argue about which path we should take and yet be civil about it?  Can’t we still operate on the majority rule premise, even though we might huff-and-puff and stay upset about that decision for a long time after it is made?  All of us deal with this sort of thing with our individual families.  And sometimes these family issues are never completely resolved; but we keep trying.

As the American family, we must approach issues that involve the American people in this same way and with this same resolve.  We must elect politicians to office who feel this way and insist that they work hard and with this same resolve no matter the Party that they belong to.  Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or Independents, we must insist that these politicians place the interest of America and the American people above their own and that of their Party.  We must insist that they subordinate their personal ambitions to true statesmanship.  However, to elect politicians who will have this resolve and represent the will of the people rather than that of themselves or their Party, most of us – We the people – must commit to this premise and method of operation.  We must recommit ourselves to this great Republic, America, and to all those good things that she has stood for in the past and continues to stand for now.

Voting is the American way of letting our elected officials know the direction that we want America to travel in and which policies we want to see put into place.  This is normally accomplished by way of voting in a free and fair voting system that is honestly and carefully monitored by people – elected, appointed or otherwise selected, who assure that those who vote are legally authorized to do so.  Once it is determined that these voters meet all the required standards, the votes are counted, the vote count is certified and those individuals, bills etc. with most of the votes win.

Since Mr. Trump’s election in 2016 and the 2020 election, because Mr. Trump lost the 2020 election and Republicans see their electorate shrinking to the point where they might not be able to ever win another election – or at least, not win one in the near future – they have decided that they should choose their electorate rather than have their electorate choose them.  Therefore, they have unilaterally decided to dismantle America’s current election system and replace it with one that is more to their liking.  They have decided to replace election officials in as many states as possible that were elected by the people of those states with those selected by the Republican Party.  And after their hand-picked puppets have been installed, they have given them the power to overturn or decertify vote counts that they don’t like.  America is in the midst of a Constitutional crisis right now!  Where are you, Democrats?!

Sure, Democrats in every state in the United States want to be fair and recognize those Republicans who are not all about retaining their power at all cost and everything else be damned.  But Democrats, let’s not be so determined to be fair to those few Republicans who, after all, are only doing their job that we allow naivety to blind us as to what most Republicans are doing!  They are attempting to destroy America as we know it and put the former The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America back in charge.  We Know what happened when he was in charge before.  So other than being blinded by naivety, why in the world would we put him in charge again?!

It does not take all the Republicans in the senate to stop simply obstructing and allow reasonable governance to occur.  It only takes ten…well, maybe twelve; because there is always the Manchin-Sinema factor that Democrats must account for.  So, let’s stop talking about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Republicans and move forward to save our American democracy.  Where are you, Democrats?!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Women’s Dilemma: Roe v. Wade And Voting Rights

It’s a terrible situation that American women find themselves in as a result of Republican politics when it comes to their rights.  Not only are they in deep trouble as regards Roe v. Wade but they are in trouble as regards voting rights as well.  Where voting rights is concerned, all of us are in the same boat together; male and female.  Of course, the white males that are already in power – that’s why the rest of us are in this situation in the first place – and fighting to avoid ceding even the smallest bit of it, are in a much better position than are the rest of us.  Those white males who are in power now are there because they were elected to fill those positions even when all kinds of bells and whistles were sounding and every red light in America were flashing.  These bells and whistles began sounding and all of the red lights in America began to flash the moment that Mr. Donald J. Trump announced that he would run for President of the United States of America.

It is indeed a terrible situation that “the rest of us” find ourselves in and, unfortunately, this situation is having an immediate and devastating impact on women: and this devastating impact is due in great part to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) allowing Texas’ SB8 law to stand.  And now, the remainder of “the rest of us” – including those white males who want things to be fair and equal although they are in a sort of win-win situation, is scrambling to avoid having our votes not count or losing our right to vote altogether.  Women have long been out front in American elections – even though they have not held political office and political positions of power in the numbers that they deserve, and have always had a major impact on their outcomes.  Their efforts and input have had tremendous influence in helping to press for fairness and equality due in no small part to the threat of the overt power of their collective vote.

Like it or not, this overt power of women’s collective vote has proven to be a two edge sword: women definitely played a major part in putting Mr. Donald J. Trump into office and likely also played a major part in placing many of those who proved to be his minions into office.  That notwithstanding, Mr. Trump played the key role in painting women into the corner that they find themselves in now by packing courts, including the SCOTUS, with conservative judges.  There is no doubt that he could not have done this without strong support from then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Once Mr. Trump was elected and Leader McConnell began supporting his agenda, all of the other Republicans in the Senate and the House fell in line.  Don’t be fooled, these judges and all of their conservative supporters who claim to be ‘pro life’ rather than ‘pro choice’, are instead really just ‘anti choice’ and not ‘pro life’ and they must be recognized and labeled as such.

These comments about the two edge sword are not meant to point the finger at women and say that they alone are responsible for their current situation and all of our current political woes; all of us have had plenty to do with that: but they are meant to say that just like over the years women have been out front in Americas’ elections, they were also out front when Mr. Trump was elected.  More women voted for Mr. Trump than for Hillary Clinton.  Let me say it again, more women voted for Mr. Trump than for Hillary Clinton!

In July of 2018, I wrote and posted an article entitled ‘I Want To Understand Why The Majority Of White Women Voted For Trump In 2016’ to my website ‘Political Pawns And Puppets’ after Mr. Trump was elected that mentioned this fact.  In that article I referenced an article in HuffPost where a HuffPost reporter named Sarah Ruiz-Grossman apologized to women of color for the fact that white women, because of the large numbers that voted for him, put Mr. Trump over the top.  Women deserve the credit for doing a yeoman’s job in their contribution to assuring that American politicians operated with at least some semblance of a moral compass and shaping American elections over the years, so it is not unreasonable or harsh to recognize and have discourse about their contribution to the election of Mr. Trump: witness the article by Ms. Ruiz-Grossman in the HuffPost.

The point of this article is not to rehash what happened in the 2016 election and to gripe and moan and groan about how great things could have been had only more women voted for Secretary Hillary Clinton instead of Mr. Trump and point fingers at women.  Instead, the point is to grab women’s attention and hold on to it before the 2022 and 2024 elections so that they will vote to throw those Republican (and Democratic) Trump minions out of office and replace them with true statesmen Republicans (and Democrats – you know who you are) who will put Party and personal interest in its proper place and collectively place America and her interests, democracy and the American people first.  That way, elected officials – Democrats, Republicans and Independents will be able to have reasonable, meaningful discourse on all of the issues that require their attention and get America back on the right track.

So always remember – whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent – your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Justices Appointed To The Supreme Court By Donald J. Trump

Candidates nominated to become a Supreme Court Justice of the United States (SCOTUS) by Occupier of the Oval Office, Donald J. Trump, who were successfully seated, arguably are of the same ilk as is he.  Mr. Trump is a twice impeached ex-Occupier of the Oval Office who has proven to be a xenophobic incompetent leader who is a liar, conman and charlatan –  this truncated list of negative qualities is obviously by no means exhaustive – who refuses to let go of his ‘Big Lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen from him.  Mr. Trump has always been very meticulous when it comes to the people that he chooses to surround himself with so he was likely just as meticulous about selecting those who he nominated to become Supreme Court Justices.

It is well known that Mr. Trump places an all but unmatchable value on loyalty; he expects the three Justices that he chose to be loyal to him!  Based on this it is reasonable to assume that he vetted them thoroughly – whether directly or implied – on the loyalty issue.  The fact that Mr. Trump moved forward and nominated them does not mean that these nominees agreed – again, whether directly or implied – to be loyal to him.  But knowing how Mr. Trump operates – after the vetting, he would have had to believe in his mind that they understood that not committing to be loyal to him was a non-starter to their nomination.  None of the three candidates that Mr. Trump nominated to the Supreme Court could have been confirmed without the strong help of then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Lindsey Graham; especially nominee Amy Coney Barrett who was confirmed about a week before the 2020 election!

In light of what Republicans did to President Barrack Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland, the blatant hypocrisy of the Republican Party is even more painful to witness and one would think that this shameful conduct by its leaders would cause at least some members to push back against it.  But that is not the case.  The Republicans have no shame and dignity down to every last member of the Republican caucus has taken a back seat.  There are those who cry foul when some Democrats speak of expanding the Court because they do not believe that Democrats should stack the Court: what have the Republicans just done?!  It appears that this new conservative Supreme Court is shifting its focus toward rolling back all of the hard-won civil rights battles that have been accumulated through blood, sweat and tears over the years.  The shift is subtle but it is occurring.  All Americans must be vigilant and remain that way if we are to protect the rights of all Americans.  It is obvious that there are some who would prefer that this American Democracy become an Autocracy.

Under the leadership of Chief Justice John Roberts the current spider-like Supreme Court is not only subtle and stealthy but it is opaque by way of the use of its’ Shadow Docket, especially when former occupier of the Oval Office Donald J. Trump was in office.  It is spider-like, and this was a tactic likely concocted by Chief Justice Roberts, in that it sucks the life out of laws that it does not agree with but is too cowardly to take on head-on for fear of public backlash, and leaves the toothless hull of them in place.  That way, there are those Americans who will believe that the law with its full effect is still in place and the Justices can argue that they did not strike it down.  For example, do you remember when Chief Justice Roberts cast the key vote in gutting the Voting Rights Act?  In the unlikely event that you do not remember that, certainly you remember what the SCOTUS just did by allowing Texas SB8 to stand, in essence overturning Roe v. Wade, without any opinion from a lower court or oral arguments and while admitting that the bill was unconstitutional.

There was an article by Amanda Marcotte in Salon about this decision.  There was also an article by CNN legal analyst & Supreme Court biographer Joan Biskupic concerning it.  In both cases I think that they nailed it with regards to the John Roberts Supreme Court!  You should read these articles and see what you think: Amanda Marcotte’s article is entitled ‘The “soft” overturn of Roe v. Wade exposes how far-right John Roberts has let the Supreme Court go’ and Joan Biskupic’s is ‘John Roberts has lost control of the Supreme Court’.  However, I must push back a bit on Ms. Biskupic’s article because I don’t think that Chief Justice Roberts has lost control of the Supreme Court, rather I believe that it is doing exactly what he wants it to do while shielding him.

Simply reflect on Chief Justice Roberts’ concoction of the spider-like tactic in addressing the Voting Rights Act and the hull of it that continues to exist there while his reputation as an institutionalist remains intact and protected.  And not only should you reflect on what happened with the Voting Rights Act and what just happened with Texas’ SB8, but contemplate this; while the Roe v. Wade controversy has the spotlight, John Roberts’ spider-like, stealthy Supreme Court is further sucking any remaining life out of the Voting Rights Act.  In light of all of this, don’t be fooled by Justice Roberts joining the three dissenting Justices in slamming the majorities’ decision to let SB8 stand.  As Rachel Maddow so often says on her show, don’t watch what they say, watch what they do.  Republicans as a Party have lost their collective mind.  They are flagrantly and frantically working to subvert the will of the American people and replace it with their own will and agenda.

Voters are the only medicine that can cure this problem so Republicans are even working to replace election officials who were elected by the people to oversee America’s voting process with people of their own choosing; people who will count and certify votes the way that they want them counted and certified.  That way, they can place the people into office that they want to place in office and ignore the will of voters!  This entire effort to subvert the will of the American people is predicated upon the former The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America’s “Big Lie.”  Keep all of these things in mind when you are at the polls and always remember, whether you are a Democrat, Republican or Independent, your vote is the most important one of all…unless you don’t use it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Disbelief, Disappointment, Frustration, Fear, Anger, Stress, Exhaustion…Disbelief: January 6, 2021 Attempted Coup

The more that I reflect on the January 6, 2021 attempted coup by the mob of crazed Trump supporters who labeled themselves patriots while they killed one police officer and injured many others as they stormed the United States capitol, I thank God for the silver lining that this ominous black cloud in American history contained; failure.  It was an attempted coup.  I regularly go through the same cycle again and again: disbelief, disappointment, frustration, fear, anger, stress, exhaustion…and back to disbelief.  It is an involuntary thing that is brought on by the trauma of witnessing the Republican Party shamelessly and relentlessly press forward in supporting Donald J. Trump’s ‘big lie’ that the 2020 election was stolen from him.  It does not last long because I always consciously quickly discard it.

And each time that I have reflected on the horrible and shameful event of January 6th and passed through this cycle I see more clearly how fortunate that we Americans are to still have our fragile democracy; to still be moving forward with this Great American Experiment!  I see how extremely close that The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America was to pulling off a successful coup d’état: the margin between America remaining a democracy or becoming an authoritarian  country was paper-thin!

As I reflect on the attempted coup, the things that occurred during it and the things that continue to occur in real-time since then, it is definitely emotionally painful.  It is emotionally painful to the point to where it actually feels like physical pain.  That is why, as previously stated, I quickly discard it.  It is extremely hard to believe that those that we elected to protect Americans and America against all enemies foreign and domestic would turn their back on the oath that they placed their hand on the Bible and swore to in order to take office.  It is even harder to believe that an entire political party would do this!  How can personal political ambition hold such aggregate sway over an entire party especially when to choose political ambition over their sworn oath presents an existential threat to the American democracy?!

I know that there are a lot of other Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – who feel the same kind of pain that I feel.  I can see this in the faces of many of the cable news reporters and their guests.  These cable news hosts, being the professionals that they are, many times try to disguise the pain that they are feeling and not overemphasize the severity of the January 6th event and the overwhelming danger of the political games that the entire Republican Party is continuing to play.  They try valiantly to accentuate the positive with respect to what Democrats are doing to address the attempted coup and to prevent the same thing from occurring again.  And although they do not go so far as to eliminate the negative by avoiding acknowledging what Democrats are not doing – because they understand the pain and fear that the majority of the American people are experiencing, they do everything that they can to protect those Americans’ physical and mental health without misreporting or underreporting the news.

It’s hard work to watch Senators Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, John Cornyn, Lindsay Graham and many other senators like them completely forsake democracy.  These were politicians who – in the past, even if you disagreed with them on the issues, you felt like there was at least some degree of principle, honor, sincerity and commitment involved in the positions they held: now, principle, honor, sincerity and commitment are completely lacking.  There is no decency!  The only thing that counts is power…and staying in power at all costs!

As far as members of the House of Representatives is concerned, I intentionally excluded mentioning Leader McCarthy and the other Republican politicians in the House along with the senators mentioned above because I am convinced that Leader McCarthy’s word was never worth anything and that he was never an honorable politician.  He was always strictly about Kevin McCarthy and the Republican Party; emphasis on Kevin McCarthy, because his personal ambition has always held priority.  Therefore, although he and his cohorts are just as deep into choosing ‘the big lie’ and Party (Trump?) over their oath and democracy, I still could not bring myself to mention Leader McCarthy’s name in the same breath as that of the aforementioned senators.

That notwithstanding, the ease and lack of patriotic emotion with which all of these Republican senators and House members deal with the metaphorical fire that encapsulates America’s fragile democracy and the existential threat to it – which is only exacerbated by their disregard to their oath of office and their lack of decency, is astonishing.  Politics is indeed a tough profession that is only for those of a particular ilk.  It is definitely not for everyone.

I have always been aware of those people who are cynical when it comes to politics but I never really thought before that politicians could make me more skeptical of their profession than I already am.  Surprise!  The January 6, 2021 attempted coup and the things that have transpired and continue to take place since then have been a real eye-opener for me.  But unlike those cynical folks who eschew politics and find it so distasteful that they refuse to participate in it in any way, fashion or form, I have always done my civic duty and will continue to do so.  That is, if we can preserve our fragile democracy!  And right now, things don’t look all that promising.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

It Is Past Time For Democrats To Deal With Senator Joe Manchin

I am almost as sick and tired of hearing Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s name as I was of hearing The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America’s name when he was the Occupier of the Oval Office.  Before the 2020 election that gave the Democrats control of the senate by the slimmest margin possible – 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ vote, no one even knew who Senator Joe Manchin was; well, maybe a few people in West Virginia did.  Anyway, based on this slimmest of margins situation, Senator Manchin saw the opportunity for a power grab and he took it.

Since grabbing that power, he has been working hard to spread his name throughout America like, I suppose, anything that gets spread by a professional no matter his level on the, so-to-speak, professional totem pole.  There is no doubt that these power grabs when they are available are not uncommon and happen far too often by ambitious politicians.  They are usually winked at by other politicians, especially those of the same ilk, who are awaiting their own opportunity to further their personal professional goals.  That is likely among the reasons why Senator Manchin’s Democratic colleagues are handling him with kid gloves while he runs around with his Republican colleagues and sides with them against getting rid of the filibuster or changing it in any way.  Senator Machin is doing this under the guise of bipartisanship and preserving the voice of the minority Party.

This action by Senator Manchin has not gone unnoticed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and he and his lieutenants, which arguably could include Senator Manchin, are taking full advantage of the situation to allow Republican politicians around the country time to introduce and enact voter suppression laws.  This means that the cornerstone of the American democracy is at stake vs. a long held senate tradition; the filibuster.  Yes, we are talking about preserving the cornerstone of our democracy vs. the tradition of the filibuster!  The filibuster is not a part of the Constitution and there are some who argue that it came into being via a mistake!  Senator Joe Manchin is siding with the Republicans – all of whom, with the exception of two, are sticking together under the guidance of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to support Donald Trump’s ‘big lie’ – in supporting maintaining the filibuster tradition over the right of every eligible voter to vote.

In the meantime, President Joe Biden – who is an honorable and decent man – is also, and sincerely I might add, striving with everything within his power to work across the aisle and govern on a bipartisan basis.  President Biden was a part of the senate for 36 years so he knows how the senate works and that is why, even though the American people are severely divided and obviously polarized, he can still make bipartisanship work.  But Senator Mitch McConnell has been a part of the senate for just as long as was now President Biden so he too knows how the senate works.  The difference is that President Biden has been out of the senate since 2009 and Senator McConnell, who has served as a senator since 1985, is still there.  Senator McConnell has also served as Senate Majority leader.  A lot has changed since President Biden left the senate.  Is Senator McConnell taking advantage of President Biden’s sentiments and passion regarding that body and playing him like a cheap violin?

Whether or not Senator McConnell is taking advantage of President Biden is of much concern but it is not the point of focus.  Americans must keep our eyes on the prize; the franchise: the right of every eligible voter to vote!  If that means putting pressure on President Biden and all of our elected Democratic politicians and keeping it there until they do everything legally possible to secure and protect the right of every eligible voter to vote then so be it.  If it means peaceful demonstrations of all sorts (‘Good Trouble’) then so be it.

It is far past time for Democratic politicians to confront Senator Joe Manchin and deal with him.  They must strategically pressure him because he also has skin in the game: He too, has something to lose.  Knowing Democrats, there is no doubt that they are running scared, wringing their hands and asking themselves what will happen if Joe Manchin switches sides and becomes a Republican?!  Ooh (sound of knees knocking together)!  For all intents and purposes he has already switched sides.  And he will continue to use Democrats fear to consolidate his power.

Democrats lose either way because they refuse to argue their position to the American people from a moral standpoint rather than from a policies standpoint.  They are either afraid to argue this issue from a moral standpoint or they do not understand that the right to vote is a moral issue that demands an argument based on a moral premise.  The Republicans understand this.  And that is why they are running all-out in the opposite direction of morals while there is still time to accomplish their nefarious goal.  They are betting that the Democrats don’t understand that this is the case and that even if they do they are too busy being afraid to do what obviously needs to be done.

So here we Democrats are again taking to the streets and demonstrating in order to do what our Democratic politicians do not have the nerve to do to preserve the American democracy.  And once again we find ourselves hoping against hope that they will eventually grow the spine to do before it is too late.  We can send a message to politicians like those who wink at what Senator Joe Machin is doing and to Senator Manchin himself through our vote that now is not the time to try to further his personal ambitions through a power grab.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Cops Around The United States Are Still Killing Black People

Cops around the United States are still murdering Black People.  What are politicians in Denver, Colorado doing to address this problem?  Right now, it appears that they are doing the same thing as virtually all of the other politicians throughout the country…nothing!  Well, maybe – again like all of the other politicians – they are talking about it.  They are saying things like “our policemen need better training, our policemen are expected to handle situations that are really not a part of their expertise; things like mental health situations, there are a lot of good police officers and we really need to get rid of the bad apples” and on-and-on they go!  Blah, blah, blah, blah blah.  And like all of them have been saying since forever, they continue echoing the same old line saying, we can fix it…but it’s not going to happen overnight.

Overnight?!  Black folks have been complaining about unequal justice and being mistreated by the police since long before the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed!  Overnight?!  I would say that prior to 1964 until 2021 goes far beyond overnight, wouldn’t you?!  I agree with the statement that Jason Johnson made on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s Deadline: White House show.  Mr. Johnson said, and I paraphrase here; we have to break this down and start over, you can’t train this out of people!  Mr. Johnson was referring to America’s policemen and the biases that far too many white police officers have against people of color; especially Black people.  He was saying that these biases are baked in to the police culture.

The real problem is that most politicians are unwilling to risk their cushy, prestigious jobs in order to do what really needs to be done to fix the policing problem in America.  They refuse to break things down and start over.  They know that an extremely large percentage of Americans refuse to even acknowledge that America has a problem in terms of racism and prejudices.  Many white people still believe that Black people still have the same opportunities that they do if we are willing to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps” and work hard.  There is no doubt that many of them just say this but don’t really believe it but there are likely many of them that really do believe that this is true!  These politicians do not want to face the wrath of those who say that all things are equal because they risk losing their jobs if they do the right thing and work to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, Denver politicians and politicians throughout Colorado fall into this category of the “I can’t risk my job” group.  Denver and Colorado are a microcosm of what is happening at the federal level of our government.  But all of these politicians are our elected leaders who swore an oath to do what is best for America; shouldn’t they be willing to risk their jobs to uphold that oath?  Shouldn’t we expect them to be willing to risk their jobs to uphold that oath; especially when they are privy to information that is not available to the rest of us and they know that even if they face the wrath of some of their constituents that to risk their jobs is the right thing to do?

I shared my feelings about the problems that Denver has with its police force with my City Council representative, Stacie Gilmore, and suggested that she could perhaps take the lead in talking to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock about working to address this problem in an effort to mitigate it by getting ahead of it by using innovative methods to clean up the Denver police force and even possibly make it a model for other police departments around the country to use as an example to remake their police departments.  On about July 9, 2016 – subsequent to speaking to Councilwoman Gilmore, I wrote a letter to Mayor Hancock.  In that letter I provided him with a template that I believed would be beneficial in helping him to address the policing problem in Denver.

I had been writing about the policing problem in America long before I wrote to Mayor Hancock on July 9th and provided him with a template to reform the Denver police force.  In retrospect, I now believe that the template that I provided to Mayor Hancock fell far short of what actually needs to be done to correct the problem with Denver’s police department: We need to apply the remedy that Jason Johnson suggested that America needs to apply to all of its police departments!  The show of force that the police demonstrated at the United States Capitol during the January 6, 2021 insurrection vs. that which they have demonstrated and continue to demonstrate against peaceful protesters around our country is an excruciating reminder of the biases that exist in the American police forces.

Case in point: During the January 6, 2021 insurrection the insurrectionists were obviously in charge and not the police.  Even after these people had stormed the capitol and actually broken into it while a joint session of congress was going on to certify now President Joe Biden as the 46th president of the United States, the police were handling them with kid gloves.  They were cajoling them and asking them if there was any chance that they could get them to leave the building!  The police were doing this even after many police officers had already been badly injured by this crowd!  Some of these policemen who were defending the capitol even died!

Compare this to how police in Aurora, Colorado handled a much smaller group of people who were holding a violin vigil to honor 23-year-old Elijah Jovan McClain, an unarmed Black man who died after being placed in a chokehold by the Aurora, Colorado police.  What happened in this case?  The police showed up in large numbers clad in riot gear.  They proceeded to pepper spray the crowd until it dispersed.  These protesters were playing violins!

The city of Aurora and the city of Denver are adjacent to each other so they are obviously close neighbors.  And just like they are close neighbors, the Aurora police force and the Denver police force are not much different when it comes to policing Black people and other people of color vs. white people.  Both cities police departments treat Black people and other people of color like they are second-class citizens who are unworthy of being treated with the same amount of dignity and respect as that shown to their white counterparts.

I never heard anything back from Mayor Hancock or my City Council representative about the template that I shared with them and I have not noticed any visible improvement in the way that the Denver police treat Black people and other people of color.  Notwithstanding, I continue to hold on to the hope that things will change for the better and I will continue to do what I can to help bring about that change.  And if the mayor or my City Council representative should finally decide to contact me about that template I will be sure to tell them that it is time to upgrade it to the Jason Johnson approach; we need to break this thing down and start over.  We will have to somehow figure out how to use that model to break things down and start over.  And if we can’t do that, then the city of Denver will just have to start from scratch.  But the bottom line is, the problem absolutely must be addressed!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line


The Donald J. Trump Of The United States Of America And His Lickspittle Enablers’ Attack On Democracy

The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America is doing everything within his power to destroy the American democracy before he leaves office on January 20, 2021.  He continues to be assisted in this effort by his collection of toadies that he already has in the House and Senate.  Yet, because of his insatiable lust for power and corruption, he is seeking still more Republican representatives and senators who will do his bidding.  He is collecting these trophy representatives and senators through bullying, intimidation and any other means that he deems necessary.  He can smell their fear and sense their lust for power and he ruthlessly uses these things to bring them to their knees: he is a stone cold predator and always conducts himself as such.

There are some among these oath-breaker devoid of principle enablers who do not require bullying or intimidation to cast democracy and the Constitution on the trash heap, they follow him simply because they are Trump loyalist who believe that he can do no wrong.  They willingly accept the fact that loyalty to him is a one way street as he views it and always will be.  They also believe and willingly accept the statement that he made when he said that “I am the president, I can do anything that I want.”  They literally believe that The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America can do anything that he wants to do.

Those who support Mr. Trump and believe that he can do anything that he wants to do does not stop with Republican members of the House and Senate, it extends to more than half of all Republicans.  This poses a grave danger to our democracy and a serious threat to the survival of this republic; the American experiment that began almost 250 years ago.  Many of those Republicans who are not members of the House or Senate may not know that what Mr. Trump and these incumbent representatives and senators are doing is wrong and goes against everything that America has stood for during those almost 250 years and still stands for today; but these representatives and senators do!  I can’t even imagine that they don’t.  And if for some unimaginable reason they don’t, then they do not belong in office!

If our elected officials want to be leaders then they must show some leadership.  They must defend America against all enemies foreign and domestic and protect and defend the Constitution.  Those of them who have chosen to succumb to Mr. Trump – for whatever reason – kiss his ring and do his bidding should never be forgotten!  Always remember their names and never trust them again!  Hold them accountable, present them as examples and let them and what they have done live in infamy throughout history.  That way, those who follow them will realize the gravity of what they did and never repeat it!

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Here’s How I See It

I have seen a lot of news headlines lately with the articles following them stating that the Democrats expected a big blue wave but didn’t get it because they didn’t pursue Trump supporters hard enough: because they used virtual campaign techniques rather than the old fashion technique of getting out and knocking on doors and talking to people: because Republicans and Independents still remember the “basket of deplorables” statement that Secretary Hillary Clinton made in 2016 and their feelings remain badly hurt and 2020 Democrats made an equivalent mistake but without using Secretary Clinton’s exact words.  Poppycock!  Here’s how I see it…

Now I am just a regular old guy – who is, by the way, a rock-solid Democrat (I thought that you should know that), who believes that Trump supporters are going to be Trump supporters no matter what!  Some of those supporters might support him for different reasons than do others but he still has their non-wavering support.  For instance, Trump says you can grab women by their “p***y and get away with it; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump regularly denigrates women in other vile and vulgar ways through name-calling; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump calls Mexicans rapists and murders; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump readily denigrates any of his supporters no matter how loyal they have been to him and for how long they have been loyal to him, as soon as they openly disagree with him; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump rips children, including infants and toddlers, from the arms of their parents and locks them in cages without a solid plan to ever be able to reunite these children with their parents; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump cuddles up with dictators and other strongmen in secretive meetings while not allowing American note takers into the room and then refuses to tell the American people what was said during those meetings; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  Trump allowed Covid-19 to run rampant in the United States killing more than 241,000 Americans without establishing a plan to bring it under control and as of the writing of this article, still has no plan; his supporters accept this and don’t budge.  This list is by no means exhaustive.

All of his Republican enablers in the House and Senate also hear these things and witness his complete lack of respect for the office of the presidency and the long-held norms that have been observed by virtually every president before him and they accept this and don’t budge.  Those who voted for him in this 2020 election have witnessed his behavior and know exactly who he is yet they voted for him again.  They also – after all of the protests and demonstrations, after all of the fiery rhetoric about how terrible a person that he is and how unworthy he is to hold the highest office in America and how all of those who enable him should be voted out of office and replaced with elected officials who will respect their oaths of office and serve America with honor – voted those same enablers right back into office.  Why is that?!

Now that they have voted these Representatives and Senators back into office and voted for The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America to have a second term and the race is extremely tight between him and former Vice President Joe Biden, they are pointing the finger at Blacks and Latinos and trying to steer the narrative for this tight race toward them. Well, this regular old guy believes that he knows why this 2020 election between Mr. Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden is so tight.  It certainly ain’t because of Blacks and Latinos!  I agree with Princeton Professor Eddie S. Glaude, Jr.  This story is about White America!  It is about things that far too many White Americans do not want to talk about.  It is about something that our country has struggled with from the day of its founding; that something is race.

The previously mentioned Trump supporters likely enjoy having Democrats chase after them and they wrap this attention around them like a fur coat and completely enjoy the warm and cozy feeling as if this metaphorical wrap were an actual fur coat on a very cold wintry day.  But they haven’t the slightest intention on voting for anyone other than Mr. Trump.  These voters may say that they detest the way that The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America conducts himself but they like his policies because they are for the greater good.

The following scenario is from a Black man’s perspective because that has been my personal experience so that is what I know best.  Take a minute, close your eyes and really think about the things that Mr. Trump has done.  As you relax and let your mind transport you back through some of the things that he has done as The Donald J. Trump of the United States of America, allow yourself to feel and be a part of what is actually happening.  Imagine a young Black man walking home to enjoy candy that he has purchased at a convenience store.  He is attacked by a grown man (vigilante?) with a gun, who is a so-called neighborhood watch person on patrol, and ultimately shot and killed.  Now imagine a twelve-year-old Black child who has a plastic gun, is playing in the park and is shot and killed by a police officer who acted within a few seconds of he and his partner rushing up in their patrol car because someone reported a person in the park with a gun.  Now imagine that a Black man is standing on a corner selling loose cigarettes and the police arrive and within minutes have placed him in a chokehold and chocked him to death as he repeatedly tells them that he cannot breathe.  Now imagine a Black man that has been pulled over for a traffic stop and as he runs away is shot multiple times in the back and killed.  This is important so bear with me as I provide you with a few more examples…

Now imagine a black man who is on the pavement with a police officers’ knee on his neck for almost nine (9) minutes.  And as this Black man pleads for his life, says time-and-again that he can’t breathe and calls out for his mother; the officer, with his hands in his pockets and with his knee still on the Black man’s neck tells him to get up and get in the car…the Black man says “I can’t”…and then he dies.  Now imagine an innocent Black woman who is shot to death in her own apartment by police who are executing a no-knock warrant.  Multiple shots were fired into her home but the only charge filed was against one of the officers for endangering the dead Black woman’s neighbor because one of his bullets penetrated the wall of her apartment…and the list goes on.

But now I ask you to imagine just one more thing, imagine that all of those killed were White…and that the police officers who killed them were Black!  Would the greater good perspective that you hold still prevail?  Would you still be so tolerant of Mr. Trump?  I am not by any means saying that Trump supporters and enablers are responsible for bringing about the above mentioned deaths but I am saying that they condone them by winking at them and they tacitly tender their approval of them by refusing to speak truth to power!  One of the main means to throttle Mr. Trump and his enablers and prevent them from leading America backwards toward the days of Jim Crow and slavery is by way of our vote.  During this 2020 election, almost half of the American voters voted to give Mr. Trump four (4) more years in office.  That speaks volumes about the great divide that exists in America and is indicative of the great amount of work that all Americans have ahead of us if we are serious about creating a more perfect union.  It is neither perfect now nor will it ever be.  But if our democracy, this great American experiment that we are involved in, is to survive, we must work in perpetuity to make it perfect.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between the Line