My family is made up of my mother Johnny Ruth, my father Xavier, my eldest brother James, then myself, my younger brother Jr and my young and the youngest my dear sister Debbie.
I’d like to start by saying we were a military family. I guess you can say I’m a military brat! My father was a head of the military police and to say he was an enforcer of rules both at work and at home, is putting it mildly. We had three responses to anything he asked of us:
1. yes sir
2. no sir
3. I don’t understand sir.
Following his rules was the only option or corporal punishment soon followed.
I was born in the Bronx, New York City on March 21st, 1968 and then around the world we went traveling to Germany on occasion for duty. We moved roughly every 4 years. When stationed in the US we were we living at Fort Belvoir in Mount Clare Virginia , also bases in Maryland and Cincinnati, Ohio. Aside from our military moves, I’ve also lived in the Bronx, New York Philadelphia, Pa. and Iowa. Yes a short time in the midwest….. Iowa! yikes!
In middle school I auditioned for the SCPA the School of Creative and Performing Arts in while living in Cincinnati (not to be confused with SPCA.)
It wasn’t long after my audition that my parents divorced and it was at this point, Phoenix took flight! I haven’t fallen yet, although I’ve come close more than five times.
The first time as a toddler, I took my grandmother’s medication thinking it it was candy. In elementary school while with my father fishing on the Chesapeake Bay, I fell into the water and nearly drowned. While in Germany, I was within inches of being struck by a car. Also, in Germany, while on a field trip exploring rock formations in a cave, I slipped and nearly fell over a cliff. While living in the projects at 4th and Washington streets in Philadelphia, I was severely assaulted for just being myself. In my twenties I was stabbed by two punks and then the police had the audacity to assume I was the perpetrator and not the victim.
Most recently and the most challenging was my battle with kidney failure. I went to dialysis three times a week for nearly 14 years.
Nine months ago I received a new kidney. If you want to make a difference in another person’s life become an organ donor. I can’t describe the amazing power of a second chance in an already amazing life.
It has been unbelievable and I’ll be eternally grateful for this kidney.
I would happily describe in great depth the details of each of these events but it shows I’ve had the wind beneath my wings for my entire life.
The Wind Beneath My Wings would be my mother. She has lifted me through each crisis. Her strength and love is without a doubt unwavering for myself and each of my siblings. I wouldn’t be here or the person I am without the love of my mother. Thank you Johnny Ruth!
I must share that aside from my family, many of the best lessons has come from working at Spruce Street video in Philly for Less Harrison and Fran Price and their son, Lil Les who I’ve had the blessing to watch grow from a young child to a successful adult and yet can still can be a pain in my know you know what! I will always see him as a brother.
I will cherish my experience working at Spruce Street video from the age of 18 to 20, for allowing me to fully be myself with no apologies. It opened me to the doors of iconic clubs like Revival, Black Banana, The Bank and so many other nightclubs including Evolution, Shampoo and others I dare not mention!
I’d like to thank the person who told me I was and always will be legendary: Willie Ninja. He brought me into the House of Ninja and the world of vogue, a form of dance and expression. It truly changed my life!
This story could not be told without mentioning the guardian of my life and keeper of my spirit, who I like to refer to as my bunny head, Rebecca McGettigan. She keeps me focused on what’s important, caring for my health, my mind, my body and my soul.
There are so many people I would like to name for adding unbelievable moments in my life both past and present. There isn’t a word created to express how grateful and blessed I’ve been in this city of brotherly or sisterly, they, them, I, bi, straight, gay or whatever Love for allowing me;
this gay black man to be exactly who I am, a proud legendary Phoenix!
I thank the man upstairs daily for keeping me here to dance another day.
On Sunday, November 27th, a group of creative Philadelphians gathered for a photo shoot at the Rittenhouse Grill, Warwick Hotel in Philadelphia to photograph fashion designer, KVaughn’s Winter Collection of handmade scarves. My assistant and I arrived around Noon. Entering the lobby I thought I was at the wrong address. Was this the Warwick Hotel that once was known for the tawdry parties held by “The Rat Pack” or the soothing nights of laying back with your favorite date at Club Elan? Yes. After a multi million dollar face lift that rivals the W around the corner, The Warwick Hotel has surely reimagined its former grandeur.
Entering the Rittenhouse Grill, where the shoot took place, one could hear Kvaughn’s distinguished voice ordering his assistants to prepare each garment and making sure the models; men and women who have worked with the master designer in the past, pay careful attention to all of his suggestions and requests. There were several distinguished photographers in attendance including Brian Hunt of Etimo Photo and Ernest Thomas. We all proceeded to shoot in various setting in the cavernous space, while we ate and drink our way through an enjoyable creative experience. It was great to see my fellow photographers in action and enjoyed their camaraderie.
“Tick Tock (Knockin’ On Reckon’s Door – First Knock)”
Tick tock. Tick tock.
You might not think that 11 weeks could misshape time and transform history to the extent that nothing from the past to the future could be repositioned to an original configuration.
Yet, eleven weeks is how long the transition is from one presidency to another. And, if any of those precious days of the transition is frittered away or strangled in limbo, then that clock of continuation for the next administration to begin is stunted.
Usually, this period of weeks goes like clockwork, with smoothness to the course of momentum. For every president, from George Washington to Donald Trump, this peaceful transfer of power occurred.
Now, no one doubts that along the path of the forty-six men that have been elected to office of the Presidency, there had to be bruised egos from hard fought campaigns and a hint of varied states of rejection for losing an election or not being re-elected to this highest office in the land.
Unprecedented arrived when the man elected as 46th President of the United States of America was on that eleven week conveyor belt of transition.
For Joseph Robinette Biden, he was not afforded that largesse, logistical longitude, or just outright simplistic courtesy from his predecessor.
Unprecedented place that the United States of America was in, as COVID was raging across the country in 2020 and a frenzied Donald Trump was going around at events and rallies that were super-spreaders of that virus began to inject the psychological bloodstream of his followers with a whine of the only way he was going to lose the election was if it was stolen.
Just press the plunger on the needle downward as a verbal narcotic which was feeding the beast of distrust and a fascistic, fever dream. Oh, he can’t possibly lose, because he is our leader of strength against some unseen deep state. How could it ever be that more than eighty-plus million fellow Americans vote for anyone else but the great leader? Oh, sleepy Joe this, oh sleepy Joe that. Biden can’t win this election outright, can he?
Yes, he can. And, as a person who voted for Joe – we did. Sorry, Mr. President for calling you Joe. But, I mean no disrespect in addressing you like that.
Trump just saying he won in those late-night hours of election night of November 2020 is just that repetitive crutch of false bravado he relies on in thinking he could fool all of the public across this land.
Just say the election was stolen, or just find me 11,780 votes. Or, just put out a letter with the imprimatur of the Justice Department and send it to the states to get the ball rolling, But, hey, we don’t even have to start with the sneaky and slimy tactics of 2020, when we can go farther back in time to the ‘perfect call’ to Zelensky in persuading him just announce an investigation.
Parrot the words of being under siege and the victim over and over again is what Trump does. A man to the manor born is howling how much of a persecuted pauper donned in potato sack and ash he is, is an act we in New York City and now the rest of the United States of America have been witness to.
Tick tock. Tick tock.
Those eleven weeks from election to inauguration is how President Trump dissolved an accepted norm of peaceful transition into a catastrophic cocktail of systematic thuggery that would bring a tear of camaraderie to his old pal, Vladimir’s soulless eyes.
Putin’s gamble on the man from the tower on Fifth Avenue has paid off. Vladdy’s return on investment is truly a priceless asset.
What is that secret magic of two souls, which binds them in the strangest affinity?
Many people, including myself have often wondered why President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met each other in a one on one setting without the readout of translators at a later point.
Well, if both people spoke the same language, there would be scant need for a third party interpreting for them. From the syntax of Donald J. Trump, he can barely master the English language at points in time.
With the concealment as if its’ a state secret of some sort, Vladimir Putin’s ability to speak English is very rarely noted and seen. Yet, do a little bit of digging and a person can find all sorts of interesting things about a man that has something in common with Melania Trump( also. Both can speak German, too.
In some ways, I guess it’s like flexing a muscle to speak another language when needed. The whole world can think a person is deficient in understanding what is being said around you. Yet, Vladimir can pretty much comprehend the basic outline of free discourse when meeting on the sidelines of summits.
Vladdy P. can even croon a tune of sweetness when he needs to pour on the charm, as he did so at children’s charity fundraiser in St. Petersburg a few years ago. Ah, yes, when he tried to perform the act of a politician looking for some wayward brownie points of humanity and a soft touch.
Performance is one thing which Putin and Trump seem to have perfected over the years. For Donald, probably for the price of many a coin he would do anything, even donning a pair of denim coveralls and warbling a tune of his own. As I watched this clip of Donald singing the theme from “Green Acres”, I could almost smell the manure he was layin’ down.
And, as for the defeated President, Donald Trump, what did he do for those eleven weeks between the day of election and inauguration day?
Oh yeah – he did nothing but bitch, moan, plot and scheme about how things were rigged against him.
When one thinks of Donald Trump, propriety and order is definitely not in the arena of a man whose recklessness and arrogance is his tattered calling card from the moment the transition went into effect.
“The Congress declares it to be the purpose of this Act to promote the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of the President and the inauguration of a new President.” – The Presidential Transition Act of 1963/2015
Nobody gives much thought to the General Services Administration as much as the other more prominent agencies of the United States government. But, when it comes to the services that are provided during the transition of one Presidential administration to another, it is the engine that makes things run smoothly. If there are any sorts of mishaps or hiccups in getting an incoming team in place, then that aspect of a peaceful transition goes right in the ditch.
And, I guess until the recent past most Americans would have never figured that duo of words ‘peaceful transition’ could be undermined or sabotaged.
Facility services for office space, travel expenses, printing, postal, web services, expert expenses, staff expenses, consultancy fees, communication services, technology services were just some of the items and entities that were setup by the GSA for the incoming Presidential transition.
With November 3rd, 2020 being Election Day, it was not until November 23rd, 2020 when the Trump Administration recognized Joe Biden as ‘the apparent winner’.
This just didn’t happen out of the blue, but by the false declaration of Donald Trump having told the world that he won the election on the early morning hours of November 4th, 2020.
GSA administrator Emily Murphy, a Trump appointee had withheld an approval a letter of ascertainment to allow the Biden-Harris team to access $6.3 million dollars with an additional $1 million for orientation and a transition directory.
That being an impediment for the incoming administration on the domestic sphere was nothing compared to the short shrift which would be faced in an international space. It wasn’t until November 24th, 2020 when Joe Biden was given an approval for which he’d been denied for daily national security briefings by the Trump administration.
Custom and courtesy for Joe Biden got tossed out of the window back then, when he was already legally eligible to receive those classified national security briefings back when his Presidential nomination was formalized at the Democratic Party National Convention in August of 2020. But, hey, Trump acts like a thief of time like he always does.
Knee-capped and flying blind on the issues of Russia, Iran, China, the Middle-East and all things outside the borders of the United States of America is what the then President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their entire national security team were facing.
And, even to this date in 2022, that which happened via Donald J. Trump diddling about a stolen election still has a bitter residue is what the Biden administration has to deal with from coast to coast and from Moscow to Beijing and Riyadh and beyond.
Under the leadership of Emily Murphy at the GSA, she was acting as if hers was the only agency involved in the Presidential transition process. But, an equally important federal agency is the Federal Election Commission, who let their own feelings be known in a letter sent to the head of the GSA.
“The Biden Administration needs to hit the ground running like few before it. The resources that GSA contributes to this process are essential to its success. Your delay is damaging the ability of President-Elect Biden to fully address the pandemic head-on when he takes office.” – Ellen L. Weintraub Commissioner, Federal Election Commission
Commissioner Ellen Weintraub puts it bluntly in the letter to Trump appointee, Emily Murphy over at the GSA; telling her that there should be no delay in giving the assistance and services to allow the Biden transition to proceed forth.
“When Mr. Trump objects to the election results, he does so as one of the candidates who participated in the election, not as the nation’s Chief Executive, and not as your boss. His objections carry no official weight and they should not sway you from your duty under the law to immediately issue a letter of ascertainment to President-Elect Biden.” – Ellen L. Weintraub Commissioner, Federal Election Commission
Not everyone who were in charge of federal agencies just laid down on their backs and waited for President Trump to give them a belly rub or pat on the head for doing his bidding in underhanded schemes.
Murphy was feeling the heat and finally gave the President-Elect his due. Yet, even when she sent the letter to the President-Elect, he was addressed as Mr. Biden.
Damn, she couldn’t even pretend to be mature enough to give a man his due with stating his rightly won position. Geez, how shabby were the people in the Trump Administration? Oh, of course it would seem like a nothing thing to even quibble over in ordinary times. But, what America was in midst of with that then occupant of the White House being on the verge of needing a crowbar to extract him from the ceiling of the premises; it would have been a grander courtesy to address Mr. Biden as “President-Elect Bidien”. He earned that respect by winning the White House fair and square.
Putting his team in place, President-Elect Biden had to a lot of catching up to do on the foreign policy angle, as well as getting his arms around the then raging pandemic in America.
Obviously the American people were focused on our own health and economic state we were dealing with day by day in 2020, with barely any attention paid to what was going on around the globe.
Yet, in that period before the defeated President and winning President switched positions of power, deals were being cut, a coup was being concocted, and the hustle was on. Money here and there, backroom deals, and files tossed into boxes, and gone.
Donald Trump’s, son-in-law, Jared Kushner kept his cushiness with a Saudi Arabian Prince that has a penchant for a bone-saw to the extent that he received a $2 billion dollar (oh, and that’s not a typo of million) – yes,indeed, an investment to his firm once leaving the White House.
I guess the question of what’s a bloody bone-saw between friends would be inappropriate at this moment in time? But, who the hell am I kidding when a bucket of cash seems to be so much more appealing than the fretting over the dismemberment of Jamal Khasoggi.
In the realm of military intelligence and spy-craft there is a type of person known as a useful idiot. This person is useful for what they can do in assisting a benefactor, just like absolving someone for election meddling and defending them above your own intelligence services and ambitions.
This is where the conundrum of the invasion of Ukraine comes into play between a once ‘useful idiot’ and its’ benefactor. You see, no longer can Putin rely on anything which Trump or his acolytes in the Republican Party, or media eco-system would be able to do as interference for the rest of the civilized world to camouflage his actions.
Vlladimir Putin’s problem in the present is that no matter how many bodies he can conscript and push through the Russian war machine via decree, he can’t install the will inside of each and every man that is being sent for his barbaric invasion of Ukraine.
The Ukrainians have an intestinal will – because no people are going to let someone come in and take over their land. It’s just that simple.
Even with Putin’s psychology and pathology to think he is all knowing and all powerful; the reality belies the fact of a man who is out of touch with what is going on across the land of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian people are fighting for their lives, their land, and their future. In the past months, they’ve been able to take back parts of the country that have been occupied by the Russians. With troops from Putin’s army retreating, there is always the horror which they leave behind.
“They left behind devastated villages; in some of them there is not a single undamaged house. The occupiers turned schools into garbage dumps and churches – shattered, literally turned into toilets.” – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky
In the forest outside of the town of Izium in the Kharkiv region, over 400 bodies were found in a pit with many having gunshot wounds to the head with hands tied behind their backs and signs of torture. More than just fallen Ukrainian soldiers were found in the mass grave, but the townspeople who were caught in the catastrophe of Vladimir Putin’s bloodlust.
As President Zelenskyy surveyed the area in the forest outside of Izium, he noted the names of other cities which have been devastated by what can only be described as war crimes committed by Russia.
“Bucha, Mariupol, now, unfortunately, Izium. … Russia leaves death everywhere. And it must be held accountable for it. The world must bring Russia to real responsibility for this war,” – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky
Even Volodymr Zelensky’s hometown of Kryvyi Rih was not without its’ share of heartbreak and terror by Putin’s madness towards the locals, for it has been staggered by several breaches of the local dam by Russian missile strikes.
When the maternity hospital in Mariupol was destroyed by Russian airstrike and recorded images of expectant mothers being taken away to safety on stretchers were broadcast across the globe, the ruthless Russian disinformation machine went on overdrive with a visual tagging of the word “FAKE” atop the photos and claims that casualties were posers in “realistic makeup”.
Fake? Wow, I wonder where else have we heard that word in the past couple of years from an administration that existed on the water hose of disinformation and subterfuge over words and actions.
Without pomp, fanfare or some over-exaggerated need for adulation, President Volodomyr Zelensky projects a sobriety of his position in this current moment in time. He may not be a man of height, but without a doubt Zelensky is a man of supreme stature. This is what true leadership actually looks like and actually is; not trying to belittle or humiliate another human being every time one’s mouth is open. He is a man who does his job, without whining or trying to shift responsibility onto another person.
“I am thankful to all our warriors! I am thankful to everyone who participates in the rescue operations after the Russian strikes. We will respond to the terrorists for each of their vile acts, for each missile, for each projectile. We are capable of that. Glory to Ukraine!” – Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky
Times were few and far between when Trump had been called on the carpet, for the transparency of his behavior in the highest office in the land. Thus, when puffery of deference is brushed aside, clarity comes.
A single question which was asked of President Donald J. Trump during a press conference in the White House Briefing Room in 2020 laid bare a sort of clasping for a millisecond of normality from the questioner, as was the silence and avoidance came in making a truthful response to what was asked. Five single words hit the target: ‘Do you regret your lies?’
And, there it is, Donald Trump has it. You know, that deer caught in the headlights look on a person’s face, when they are trying to pull a Jackie Gleason hummina, hummina, hummina affectation of the Ralph Kramden character on the “Honeymooners” television show.
Trump’s avoiding regret, is as telling as a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court being stupefied at the low ebb of esteem of his warped wheelhouse.
“Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for criticizing the legitimacy of the court.”- Chief Justice John Roberts, United States Supreme Court
So, when Chief Justice John Roberts whines about not understanding why the court is held in such low bowels of legitimacy by the American public, he should look to the men and women seated to his left and to his right. Then after he does that, Justice Roberts can do a bit of navel gazing over his own part in lowering the bar for what’s seen as being legit or not legit.
The person being Chief Justice of the Supreme Court holds the legacy of standing as the titular head for that era of vastness of cases that come before the bench.
Now, the question that John Roberts is having to wrestle with in this maelstrom of the moment is how does The Roberts Court stack up in that realm of the deeming or dismissing of what is constitutional and what is not.
Hey, Justice Roberts – you wanted to be the big boss and now you’ve got to live with every lashing of the backlash which is coming hot and heavy from bold tongues and marching feet to the polls. It’s not our fault that Associate Justices Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Coney-Barrett are the engine that is driving the Supreme Court with you now being regulated in the backseat as an afterthought.
Oh yes, The Roberts Court is what your era in the Supreme Court will be known as in the dusty tomes in legal libraries and generalized society in the history of America.
You probably thought your position as being Chief Justice would be like a magic pill that everyone would swallow to be in your good graces. But, uh-uh, propriety of how this era of the court exists will be known for the dismantling of rights guaranteed to American citizens. From the stripping of civil rights in Shelby and abortion rights in Dobbs; this is the hallmark of The Roberts Court.
“To the extent that a citizen’s right to vote is debased, he is that much less a citizen” – Chief Justice Earl Warren, United States Supreme Court
The Warren Court expanded rights and The Roberts Court constricted rights.
But, it’s much more than just the decisions that The Roberts Court has handed down that makes us out here in America give them the fish-eye. It’s who the people that sit on that bench have slithered their way past confirmation to get there and will twist the knife into the Constitution for many decades to come.
Taking one step beyond an ideological sphere, another aspect of the illegitimacy that the Supreme Court is seen as being comes what has been revealed and documented for the American public to witness.
Brett Kavanaugh, who talks about loving beer with such glee, is also a man who was plausibly accused of being a sexual menace in his past.Amy Coney-Barrett, who in the past has had the title of being a ‘handmaid’ – yep, that exact word is what she was afforded from the group she was associated with.
Neither Brett nor Amy can hold a candle to the bitter man of black robe who always seems bent on giving the world the middle finger of disgust.Clarence Thomas is the one member of the Supreme Court that has embodied the double scoop of deviousness. First, from his own past of varied sexual harassment allegations and secondly, his gentile Ginni’s cagey doings of hijacking a fair and free election with a coup.
Ginni Thomas’ fervent actions in perpetuating the big lieand working overtime in subverting the 2020 election has now finally come to terms with a scheduled date with the January 6th Committee for a long-overdue interview in the coming future.
I guess this late-breaking bit of information about the Queen of the House of Thomas is the twisted cherry of irony atop of it all.
From this strain of conservatism, it perpetuates the factor of cruelty being the point of what they place before each and every American that is living under the rule of The Roberts Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts turns into the Claude Rains character in “Casablanca” in acting as if he is shocked, shocked, shocked at how people are seeing the transparency in the viciousness that is going down with the decisions that the court makes. Nobody out here in America thinks that the six-person majority on the Supreme Court is operating in the best interest of the millions of people affected by their rulings.
In some ways, it would better for the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to just ignore us and not give some lame, half-heartedly talk on how ‘confused’ he is by the reaction of people seeing the court bathed in fraudulence. As a citizen of the United States, I don’t need that gas-lightning.
I feel this way, because John Roberts and the other five members of the court are going to keep doing what they are doing whether or not they give some half-assed speech to some conservative think-tank in extolling the virtues of their decisions.
So, for now and into the future, The Roberts Court has placed itself into the framework of the legal canons that will be cited in law books and among the rest of society at large. John Roberts’ legacy will be what is written in the books, but also in banks of memory by each and every one of us who are living through this moment in time.
Chief Justice John Roberts seems so consumed about how the public views the court that he is on some sort of glad-handing tour of being Mr. Get Along, as he is trying to smooth the jagged edges off the draconian rulings that he has overseen.
Seems as if time and power has slipped away from Roberts’ grasp, as in a four year period things have taken a shift of adjustment. No, not of an ideological way it has gone.
Donald Trump who never met an angle he wouldn’t try to work towards his own benefit may have been the person who nominated Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney-Barrett, with an assist from The Federalist Society and then-majority leader of the Senate Mitch McConnell.
Of course, it would be easy to just view the courts’ shift in a numbers way. Trump had three bites of the nomination apple and made it a most appealing meal for his own legacy.
Yet, the moment of this era of now was not met by the predominance of neither of the Trumpian Trio, but a pernicious pair.
Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas were confirmed to the Supreme Court way before the 45th President was in office. Yet, in the alignment of attitude, both of these men are purely in the venomous vein of Donald Trump, as time and time again they don’t give half a thought of how their actions demean and diminish others.
Led by Chief Justice Earl Warren, The Warren Court was in effect from the starting date of October 5th, 1953 to the ending date of June 23rd, 1969.
Here are the standout rulings that have reshaped the civil rights, civil liberties, judicial and federal power in revolutionary rulings of constitutionality:
RACIAL SEGREGATION AND MISCEGENATION –
Brown v. Board of Education 1954
Loving v. Virginia 1967 (uh-huh, Clarence?)
Cooper v. Aaron
Gomillion v. Lightfoot
Griffin v. County School Board
Green v. School Board of New Kent County
Lucy v. Adams
Boynton v. Virginia
VOTING, REDISTRICTING & REAPPORTIONMENT –
Baker v. Carr 1962,
Reynolds v. Sims 1964 (one man, one vote)
Wesberry v. Sanders
CRIMINAL PROCEDURE –
Brady v. Maryland
Mapp v. Ohio 1961
Miranda v. Arizona 1966 (right to remain silent)
Escobedo v. Illinois
Gideon v. Wainwright 1963 (right to counsel)
Katz v. United States
Terry v. Ohio 1968
FREE SPEECH –
New York Times Co. v. Sullivan
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Yates v. United States
Rothv. United States
Jacobellis v. Ohio
Memoirs v. Massachusetts
Tinker v. Des Moines School District
ESTABLISHMENT AND FREE EXERCISE CLAUSE –
Engel v. Vitale 1962 (ban organized school prayer)
Abington School District v. Schempp (no mandated Bible readings)
Sherbert v. Verner
RIGHT TO PRIVACY –
Griswold v. Connecticut 1965 (right to birth control)
CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT –
Trop v. Dulles
Robinson v. California
Now, that’s The Warren Court. Many of us would have thought the rulings made in the 1950’s and 1960’s should be unmovable and precedent setting. But, precedents seem not to have permanence as once we may have thought.
September 29 2005 was the starting date of the era of the Supreme Court being led by Chief Justice John Roberts.
One decent ruling here and there by The Roberts Court doesn’t erase the malevolent air of the majority of the Supreme Court’s decisions over the years.
Obergefell v. Hodges decision in 2015, which guarantees the right of marriage equality doesn’t take away from Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence of 2022’s Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade; as he proclaimed what previous decisions should be taken out in future rulings.
So, here are just a few of The Roberts Court’s greatest hits on the judicial jukebox:
Shelby County v. Holder 2013 – 1965 Voting Rights Act section struck down
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby 2014 – religious exemption to Affordable Care Act
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 2010 – campaign finance law struck down
Bostock v. Clayton County 2020 – upholding LGBTQ+ employment discrimination
Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee 2021 – Arizona voting laws upheld against Voting Rights Act
Americans for Prosperity Foundation v. Bonta 2021 – failure to disclose financial donors upheld
NY State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen 2022 – concealed carry license struck down
And, last but not least, the pieste de resistance of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization 2022 – GOODBYE, ROE!!
Unlike Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas who truly relish screwing people over with their decisions, it is Chief Justice John Roberts who acts so wishy-washy in taking a victory lap in all which he has overseen in being head of the court that bears his name. Don’t pretend to be squeamish over what you have wrought and the aftermath of it, John Roberts. Own it!
Straight from a bush your brethren on the bench were birthed. Oh yes, Alito from George W. and George H.W. gave us Clarence.
The Roberts Court has their jukebox of hits, as does Trump’s administration. Neither entity is bathed in gold; even though the resident in Florida tries to corner the market on gold-leaf in attempting to wish we all had amnesia.
Yet, it is quite a task in trying to get the public to just forget events during his time in office. Here are just a few tidbits from The Trump Misery Index:
A 2020 highlight of Trump’s lowlights has to be placed first above the rest – September 8th, 2020 whistleblower complaint from a DHS official had fingered Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli of directing analysts to downplay threats from (DVE – Domestic Violent Extremists) white supremacists and Russian election interference. Oh yes, Russia, Russia, Russia! You can’t see Trump without seeing Putin bulldogging him from behind.
June 28th, 2017 – President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity demanded that all 50 states turn over sensitive, personal data about all registered voters.
August 7th, 2017 – Trump Justice Department filed brief at Supreme Court (Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute) that would make it easier to purge registered voters from election rolls.
May 22nd, 2018 – Trump administration issues a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to block access under Title X of the Civil Rights Act that would deny informing women of their reproductive health care options.
June 11th, 2018 – Trump administration’s U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna announced creation of a denaturalization task force to strip naturalized citizens of citizenship rights.
August 15th, 2018 – Trump administration proposed restriction to protest rights in Washington, limiting spontaneous demonstrations and a possibility of charging fees for protesting.
October 1st, 2018 – Trump Department of State policy change would stop family visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations that work in the United States.
October 30th, 2018 – Donald Trump intent to sign an executive order ending birthright citizenship, as the next day he tweeted on October 31st – “It will be ended one way or the other”.
December 11th, 2018 – Trump declared ‘proud to shut down the government’, which resulted in a historic 35 day shutdown that affected not only federal workers, contractors, and their families, but also the surrounding communities that depended upon them.
February 22nd, 2019 – Department of Health and Human Services ruled to undermine Title X family planning programs and services.
April 11, 2019 – Trump administration ordered all federal agencies to hold off on policy decisions until they are reviewed by the White House.
August 28th, 2019 – Trump administration announced a change in policy of children born to U.S. military members and overseas government employees would no longer automatically be U.S. citizens.
June 1st, 2020 – Peaceful protesters were dispersed by flash-bang grenades, police officers on horseback, and members of the National Guard for the benefit of a Trump photo-op while he haphazardly held a Holy Bible upside down in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
June 24th, 2020 – Trump White House opposes H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act.
June 24th, 2020 – Trump White House opposes H.R. 7120, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act; named for George Floyd, whose videotaped murder at the boot of police led to a global outcry for racial justice.
While the Coronavirus Pandemic was raging across the United States of America, another anvil of atrocity from out of the Trump White House was leveled upon an economically and medically vulnerable public.
June 25th, 2020 – Trump administration filed a brief at the Supreme Court, arguing for an entire invalidation of the Affordable Care Act.
July 16th, 2020 – Commission on Unalienable Rights from the Department of State releases draft report to the public, which conveyed an ideological bent towards Christian conservatism’s targeting of ‘newly found manufactured human rights’; which was an underhanded swipe at LGBTQ-related rights.
“Loose talk of ‘rights’ unmoors us from the principles of liberal democracy.” – Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Trump Administration
September 3rd, 2020 – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (which Justice Clarence Thomas once headed) issued an opinion of abandonment of Section 707 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
September 4th, 2020 – OMB Director Russell Vought sent a memo to department and agency heads, instructing them to end anti-racist trainings.
September 22nd, 2020 – President Trump Executive order prohibits federal agencies, contractors, and grantees from engaging in workplace diversity trainings.
October 1st, 2020 – White House opposed H.R. 8406, The HEROES Act.
October 8th, 2020 – Trump Justice Department memo suspended all diversity, inclusion and anti-bias trainings.
October 21, 2020 – President Trump executive order to expand his ability to hire and fire tens of thousands of Federal Employees, which would lead to the reclassification of certain workers.
November 16th, 2020 – Trump Social Security Administration rule to shift people who apply for disability benefits appeals from impartial administrative judges to only agency attorneys to those appeals.
December 8th, 2020 – Trump White House opposed H.R. 6395 – The National Defense Authorization Act, due to the proposed renaming of military assets which had been named for the Confederacy.
For a President who came into office touting in his inaugural address about ‘American Carnage’, it was more than obvious he’d toss a final turd in the melting pot on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, which came just two days before his term would come to an end.
January 18th, 2021 – President Donald J. Trump’s 1776 Commission issued a report calling for ‘patriotic education’ to be taught from sea to shining sea. (and, of course with a sneer, this was his message on MLK Day)
Alas, those years in the White House was just another chapter in the systematically, destructive hurricane that is the life of Donald Trump.
“Trump’s pathway to success is littered with bodies.” – Wayne Barrett, investigative journalist and author, “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, The Downfall, The Reinvention”
Donald discards this and that which no longer suits his perceived worthiness or time. In all aspects of this man’s life, everything and everyone is expendable.
From undocumented Polish immigrants who were hired to demolish the Bonwit Teller department store building on Fifth Avenue that made way for Trump Tower, whose health had been decimated by asbestos and then stiffed of their wages. And onward to striking casino workers at Trump’s Taj Mahal who were standing up for reinstatement of their health, pensions and other benefits that had been erased during one of Trump’s many bankruptcy proceedings to make himself financially solvent. There are so many lives which have been laid to waste in Trump’s path of greed, disillusion, and destruction.
Donald Trump puts on the air of being that of white glove and above board. Yet, anyone who scratches the surface of the real estate development business knows that this man’s alliances are of rougher trade.
Local Union 282’s Bobby Sasso would be the face that Trump would get in contact with for the contracts with concrete delivery men for those towers touching towards the heavens above New York City. Well, of course, everything that keeps the skyscrapers scraping the sky always has to have that air of white glove legitimacy, even though Donald Trump knew exactly which families he was dealing with and was running the shots behind the scenes.
New York City being the media capital of the world keeps the spotlight brightest on Trump’s deals and developments in flux, while what was going on in another state was not given as much coverage upon it.
Atlantic City is closer to Philadelphia than it is to the isle of Manhattan. Philly is where Nicky Scarfo’s sphere of influence was key to Donald’s casino empire from his first Trump Plaza, second Trump Castle, and third Trump Taj Mahal.
“Well, the whole history of populism is against elites, you know, and what’s driving the Trump campaign, and what I think drove the Brexit vote, is not animosity towards elites. That may be a small part of it, but what’s really driving it is antagonism towards immigrants, mostly minorities. That’s what’s driving the Trump campaign. That’s what’s driving the Trump campaign. I thought it was pretty remarkable, when you will listen to the Dana Bashes and the other commentators on CNN, one election after another, when he carried all but Texas of the old Confederacy, and they would, one night after another, say, “Isn’t it remarkable that a kid from Queens is winning in Alabama?” instead of offering the logical explanation for it, which is that it’s naked racism that he is appealing to.” – Wayne Barrett, journalist and author, “Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Deals, The Downfall, The Reinvention”
A mid-70’s racial discrimination case against Donald and Fred Trump over the charges by the Nixon Justice Department brought involving the exclusion of blacks and Latinos in Trump apartments were established as pattern and practice, leading a settlement with the federal government and Donald attesting to him not actually being personally in charge of doing any actual renting in an affidavit.
To obtain a real estate broker’s license in New York State, a person has to file sworn documents. One of which Donald Trump signed in saying he was in charge of all rentals of the apartments. Like a juggler of schemes, Donald made one claim for federal consumption and another for state consumption at almost the simultaneous period of time.
Always scheming is the Trump way. Donald’s learned at the knee of Fred and Roy Cohn, both of whom send best regards from their crypts below.
Fred’s looking up right now at you, Donald, as he’s snickering so vindictively a command – “Come on down, Boy! Temperature’s just fine. Right here, right beside me, where you belong! I’ve been waiting for you for years”
Candidates chosen by the former President didn’t fall far from his poisonous tree. Wow, how’s bout’ those apples. Oh yeah, they’re just as rotten as the bark from the seeds of sedition, cynicism and nefarious doings that are rooted from the vine of Trump.
“The problem is they are a weird political party and they need to be branded as such. These 26 QAnon people, alright that’s not necessarily the extreme. I mean these are people that talk about testicle tanning. These are people that go to Hungary for conferences. These are not normal, by and large – a large part of the Republican Party is just out and out weird. And when you have Moscow Mitch saying we need more sane people that means you’ve got a lot of really crazy people.” – James Carville, Democratic political strategist
So, let’s start to meet this less than stellar cast from Donald’s harvest:Kari “Election Denying Diva” Lake and Doug “Trippin’ In A Traitor’s Time Machine” Mastriano.
There are people who are leaders and those who are led by others. Kari Lake of Arizona and Doug Mastriano of Pennsylvania are leaders. Whether or not you agree with their ideology, you will know that if they are elected to the Governors’ mansion in either of their states, they will follow through in communicating their policies in a coherent way. When elected, Lake and Mastriano will be running the state from top to bottom and bottom to top. No one will doubt who is in charge.
So, if these two persons are considered to the pair who will be leaders, there is a third man who falls in the rear of needing to be led. The one who mugs for the camera with affable smile definitely will not be the person in charge of manipulating the strings of policies that will be brought forth.
Cue Herschel “Hell If I Know What I’m Saying” Walker.
Incoherence, thy name is Herschel Walker.
Herschel Walker, once a pigskin phenomenon, had the speed and finesses upon a football field many a year ago. As a Senate candidate from Georgia, it seems that dexterity of clasping a football under his arm when running like the wind vanishes when he opens his mouth to speak a few words of sense.
Herschel Walker seems a man who has a way of getting tripped up with facts; such as the number of children he actually has. As a conservative who spews the ‘family values’ spiel when lecturing about men abandoning their children; Walker has been for lack of a better word ‘screwed’ by his own past parental performance
His 22 year old son, Christian Walker is himself a right-wing social media celebrity in his own right, who has been spoken of by his father about the closeness of their relationship. I have no doubt that both father and son are close and loving towards each other. Yet, one child is not two, and two children isn’t three. And in this case, three children is sure as hell are not four.
In a 72 hour head-spinning period in June 2022, Herschel Walker taking the adage of being fruitful and multiplying was being revealed to the public and likely voters in Georgia. Herschel has two other sons, aged 10 and 13. As for the 10 year old, only being taken to court caused this faux family man to admit he parented that child. Since the seeds were slipping out of the Walker family bag, Herschel’s own campaign disclosed him having a 40 year old daughter also.
Of course, like any other evangelical conservative pushing the pious line of pretending to be holier than thou, the Republican candidate for senate said the following at a later event:
“Tired of people misleading the American people” – Herschel Walker, Republican Senate Candidate – Georgia
Oh no, Herschel, I guess looking in the mirror at the misleader in your own reflection must really be a bummer for you.
But, it’s not just the lack of clarity on the issue of how many children Walker has fathered, when the problem with this candidate for Senate is so much worse.
Hershel’s musing on evolution with wondering ‘why are there still apes?’ and spurting out a possible solution to the gun madness problem in the United States after the Uvalde school shooting of 19 elementary school children and their 2 teachers in Texas with words of such damned confusion: “Cane killed Abel…you know, and uh – that’s a problem that we have. And, I say – what we need to do is look into how we can stop those things. You know they talk about doing a disinformation – well, what about getting a department that can look at young men that’s looking at women…that’s looking at social media. What about doing that? Looking into things like that – we can stop that that way.”
For me, what is the real kicker (all pun intended) by this former Georgia running back is the illogical word salad tossed about on the subject of an American hero.
John Lewis was a civil rights icon, who as a Congressman from Georgia was the leading force behind the aptly named The John Lewis Voting Rights Act. The legendary existence of John Lewis is known near and far, as he was bloodied and almost killed on what was known as Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama with other fearless souls marching towards the Edmund Pettis Bridge.
Seems to me as a New Yorker, I know more about John Lewis than the man who wants to be a Senator from the state for which he was a longtime member of the House of Representatives.
“You know what’s sad about that, you know – to use the name of a great man to bring up something that is so bad is a terrible to do. You know Senator Lewis – one of the greatest Senators there’s ever been. And, for African-Americans that’s absolutely incredible how they there throw his name on a bill with voting rights – I think it’s a shame. First of all, when you look at the bill, you know – the bill doesn’t fit what John Lewis stood for. And, I think they know that. And, I think it’s sad for them to do this to him. And, let’s go to the voter rights want to talk about voting. First of all, you want to get people to vote, because they are legal to vote. You want to try to encourage people to vote. That is the most precious thing that you have. Not encouraged, but encouraged – and, I what I mean by that is – you get things done now. Don’t talk about it afterward – don’t talk about it during – but, get it done right now. If no one is legal to vote – we go in – get the IDs – get everything done right now, instead of waiting when its’ time to vote – and start talking about it. We shouldn’t – and they are – I think people have got to remember” – Herschel Walker, candidate for United States Senate, R-GA
**by the way, transcribing the text from the audio for what Mr. Walker was murmuring was truly mind-numbing to get some semblance of readability**
Now, hey, everybody may not be able to articulate their feelings and thoughts so easily. Okay, I get that. But, damn, c’mon, Herschel, the United States Senate might not be filled with 100 mental wizards; yet, there has to be some modicum of a standard to be able to communicate your point. They may not all say what they need to say with perfect tone and syntax. But, at least I can grasp what they are speaking about.
This is what I mean when it comes to a person that is going to be led. And, that person is you, if you are elected to the United States Senate from Georgia. You will just be the face and those of intellectual and ideological acuity will be the depth and breadth of the body that formulates substance.
Now, in the states of Arizona and Pennsylvania, there are gubernatorial candidates Kari Lake and Doug Mastriano, whose extremism isn’t hidden in silence, but promoted with broad smile and pride.
Kari Lake, who was formerly a television anchor, has taken the political world in Arizona by storm. With her endorsement by Donald Trump and embrace of the previous election being stolen, Lake has made it well known that she is going to do whatever it takes to smash the corrupt election system; which seems to be only the conspiracies that are swirling around in her head.
“I will be damned if when I am Governor we’re going to have another election run this way” –Kari Lake
Not yet done with the kooks that are running out of Arizona, is the man running for United States Senate under the Republican flag, Blake Masters. Backed financially by his former boss, billionaire Peter Thiel and endorsed by Donald Trump, theories on the fringe abound from Masters.
“Don’t we suspect that, like, one third of the people outside of the Capitol complex on January 6 were actual FBI agents hanging out?” – Blake Masters, candidate for U.S. Senate. R-AZ
Moving onto Pennsylvania, there’s Doug Mastriano, a man who sees his candidacy as a mission driven by a higher power.
“We’re going to bring the state back to righteousness, this is our day, our hour to take our state back and renew the blessings of America.” – Doug Mastriano, Candidate for Governor, R – PA
An affinity for that 17th letter of the alphabet also is a driving force of Doug’s beliefs. It is one which I shall only use conservatively in this article. Alas, it is the letter that churns a conspiracy and it’s theorists who are now on the cusp of possibly winning of elections.
Pennsylvania State Senator Mastriano and fellow Republican Congressman Lou Barletta were involved in that Trump scheme of fake-electors which the House January 6th Committee are investigating. Ironically enough, Gettysburg was the location of a sham hearing that Mastriano helmed where Rudy Guiliani spouted the election scheme of Trump being robbed of a win.
“Country not right – country not right. Our country is not right. But, given that, what is even more depressing to me is we have one party, who – as we advance into the 21st century, we have so many things to think about; and their candidate, their main position is a Big Lie, that Donald Trump won the last election. There is no diagnosis of the world, global trends, needs of education, needs of global corporations – they are running on a Big Lie.” – Thomas L. Friedman, columnist, The New York Times
Making a payment of almost four-thousand dollars, Mastriano’s campaign financed several buses to take people to the “Save America” rally in Washington on January 6th 2021.
Doug Mastriano wears his beliefs on his sleeve most of the time. Yet, there was once when he decided to go full on Confederate uniform in a faculty photograph for the U.S. Army War College where he once taught.
At Gettysburg, those who decide to participate in full-dress portrayals for re-enactments of military battles on that blood-soaked location can either be the blue or the grey. Union or Confederate uniforms are the choices. For Doug Mastriano, his choice was grey. Not an odd choice that was made by a man whose affinity for intolerance and insurrection is well documented.
With history of this country, those on the side of the Confederacy are considered traitors against the United States of America. And, on January 6th, 2021, the insurrectionists had that parallel pulsation flowing through their veins as they were hell-bent on destruction.
Mastriano being under fire for this outrageous action of posing in a Confederate uniform from many quarters in Pennsylvania was defended with tweeted zeal from one of his senior campaign advisors, Jenna Ellis.
If you haven’t heard of Jenna Ellis beyond her being an advisor to the Mastriano campaign, she also was a lawyer for the Trump White House who closely worked with John Eastman, Sidney Powell, and Rudy Guiliani on the coup plot. So, I guess it shows to reason that Ellis is as ever bold as all the rest in Trumpworld that loves to bash the left about history when it suits them. But, avoid getting into it when it comes to the January 6th Committee investigating a violent insurrection.
Traitor-lovers gonna’ do what traitors-lovers are gonna’ do. Yep!
Be it the uniform of one or a fancy imprimatur of designation, a la esquire.
But, hey, the man’s out of office and what harm could he possibly do to the country. Okay, his endorsement of wacky candidates isn’t based on policy but of which one of them could pucker up to the hilt.
I guess Donald Trump could have just sat back on the patio at Mar-a-Lago with a hamburger in hand, diet soda sipped and thoughts of being just another Floridian retiree. But, who am I kidding in thinking normalcy would describe him. You just couldn’t sit back in a rocking chair with warm glass of milk and having a nice afternoon nap after playing a few rounds of golf. Oh no, you’ve got that compunction to be Mr. Everything and Everywhere. So, now, whatever and whomever arrives at your doorstep is your just desserts.
Who is it?
The reckoning of Donald John Trump has begun.
“Tick Tock (Knockin’ On Reckon’s Door – First Knock)”
“Tick Tock (Knockin’ On Reckon’s Door – First Knock)” – FOOTNOTES
1.-Hear Vladimir Putin speaking English – CNN
2.-Melania Trump’s Language Skills Are Seriously Impressive – Elite Daily
40.- Photo Surfaces of Doug Mastriano in Confederate Uniform –NBC10 Philadelphia
41.-Jenna Ellis @JennaEllisEsq – Twitter
Media MELT DOWN that Mastriano apparently once posed as a civil war historical figure for a photo. And? He has a Ph.D in HISTORY. The left wants to erase history. @dougmastriano wants us to learn from it. I invite @Reuters to go on a Gettysburg tour with Doug. You’ll learn a lot!
For me inclusion mean us and not they. In conversation references to The Blacks, The Women, The Gays , The Italians, The Jewish, The Irish . Yes these are descriptions. Generally it takes our mind to some stereotype we’ve seen from movies to real life. In fact some act like the stereotype because it’s expected of them . I also think referring to a group as They or Them is a good way to disconnect.
If it’s them over there we don’t really have to know them . We can presume we already know them by the stereotypes in our heads . The stereotypes which have been spoon fed to us . Everyone of those people is really our people. We all arrived the same way and we will exit this realm in a similar way .
Reach out to someone different than you . Share stories . Then if you decide you are not compatible part ways in peace. Joy is picking my daughter up at the airport after 2 years of pandemic crisis. Happy Saturday.
About The Artist: Mikel Elam was born in Philadelphia. He attended the University of the Arts receiving his BFA in painting. He also attended the School of the Visual Arts in New York. He has been showing his paintings in numerous gallery spaces nationally and internationally for the last 25 years. Mikel is currently an artist in residence at the Fitler Club in Philadelphia.
The first memory I have about arriving in London in 1980 was trying to get my rental car out of the Hertz parking lot at Heathrow Airport. I was a 24 year old novice at driving on the opposite side of the road let alone the opposite side of the car, that was the real problem I had with it. I circled around and around the lot trying to learn how to acclimate myself to the situation but what made it even more problematic was that the car had a four speed stick shift! Imagine the terror of that moment. I gave up. Took the keys back to the counter and asked where I could hail a taxi.
The taxi drive was my second vivid memory of London. Taxi drivers in London didn’t behave the same way drivers in the states behaved. No. These drivers wore a suit and a tie to work. They opened the door for me and happily and carefully assisted in loading my tons of camera equipment throughout the cabs trunk and interior. I was informed back in the states that taxi drivers in England-at least then- had to go to school to become licensed and had to take a specific test to show they knew the incredibly complicated seemingly unorganized street patterns that are a common trait of trying to get around in the enormous city of London and its surrounding boroughs.
I arrived at the White House Hotel in Covent Garden not realizing my company, Smithkline Corporation shared no expense in where to accommodate me during my one week stay. The place was just like you would imagine from old English films. The room were old, but neat and clean and the most charming thing is that the concierge told me I was just a 15 minute walk to Harrods department store. I heard it was the largest department store in the world at that time. I just had to do a little shopping there before I departed for home.
While shopping at Harrods I was waited on by a young woman in the men’s fragrance department. I was taken by her British accent and amazed by her makeup. So perfectly done for such a young person who wasn’t a professional model. After I commented about it she asserted that wearing proper makeup at Harrods was a requirement for all sales women at the store. One of the reasons why I suppose the place became so famous. Talk about attention to detail. Harrods embodied that mystique in spades. After a brief chat the salesperson agreed to meet me back at my hotel room for drinks and dinner. We spent the night together and that was the beginning of a most memorable trip.