Merging with Murderers

As most of you already know, I am not a sports person. And while I might occasionally enjoy a baseball game if the Mets or the Dodgers are playing, you couldn’t pay me enough money to make me watch grown people hitting a tiny little ball around on a golf course, trying to hit it into a tiny little hole. {yawn} Boring. I don’t follow golf, couldn’t name a single golfer other than Arnold Palmer or Tiger Woods, but my interest was piqued when I read of the merger between the PGA and Saudi LIV. Why anybody in their right mind whose last name isn’t ‘Trump’ or ‘Kushner’ would even do business with the Saudis at this point is beyond me. Of all the articles I’ve read, Clay Jones sums it up the best, and with his, you get a cartoon, too!


The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is a Saudi Arabian entity controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and is worth over $620 billion. It invests in many private projects to boost the image of Saudia Arabia to distract from its horrible record on human rights, such as its investments in the civil war in Yemen, oppressing its own citizens, murdering journalist Jamal Khashoggi and sawing him into several pieces in the basement of its embassy in Turkey, etc, etc.

The fund is very secretive and corrupt, but it’s owned by a corrupt government that doesn’t allow freedom to its citizens, so that’s natural.

One way the fund spends its money is to reward someone who defends Saudi Arabia and its murderous Crown Prince. Jared Kushner got a cushy gift from the PIF of $2 billion right after he left the White House. Steve Baby Fishmouth Mnuchin already received a financial…

View original post 1,032 more words

Filosofa Writes A Letter … Again

This is the letter I will be sending to my ‘representative’ in the U.S. House of Representatives, Mr. Warren Davidson, later today …

Dear Mr. Davidson,

I would like to take a few moments to let you know why you do not represent me.  Yes, I realize you won the election fair and square, but you still do not represent me.  Why?  Because your values and mine appear to be 180° apart, because you do not make legislative decisions that are in the best interest of the people of this nation, or even the people of your district.

Here are the things I consider to be most important for this country, that I think should be top priorities in the House of Representatives:

  • Equality.  Women should have the same rights as men to make their own medical decisions, to be treated as equals in the workplace, and not to be dominated by men.  LGBTQ people deserve the exact same rights as straight people.  Black people, Hispanics, and Asians all deserve the same rights and privileges as white people.  And atheists, Muslims, Hindus, and Jews all deserve the exact same civil and human rights as Christians.  There should be no differences.  These are the rights that need to be codified into law and the law enforced rigidly.
  • Guns.  I do not believe that guns belong in the hands of civilians, period.  It is a Pandora’s Box.  That said, I realize I’m fighting a losing battle, but I am a student of Constitutional Law and I can tell you that there is nothing in the 2nd Amendment that guarantees the right of every man, woman and child in the U.S. to own an AR-15 assault weapon.  A Congress with a conscience would be working diligently to pass a permanent and irrevocable assault weapon ban.  Do you realize that in Cincinnati there were 29 shootings in just 10 days?
  • Voting rights. Every person age 18 or older in this country should have access to the ballot.    Gerrymandering and voter restriction laws like the one recently passed in Ohio deprive people, typically poor people, minorities, and young people, of their constitutional right.  Last year, Congress had the opportunity to pass two very important voting rights laws that would have overridden any restrictive state laws, and you fell down on the job.  Reinstate those bills and this time pass them!
  • Economic.  I do not view money as the most important consideration, but that said, I realize that it is necessary for life.  Every working person deserves a livable income, and $7.25 per hour (or less in the cases of tipped employees) does not constitute a living wage!  The federal minimum wage has been stagnant since 2009, despite a significant rise in the cost of living during that time.  Why?  Because Congress is more interested in helping the wealthy 1% than the rest of us.  I see no reason whatsoever for anybody to have millions or billions of dollars sitting around in investment accounts while people are struggling, some putting their children to bed hungry at night or living in cardboard boxes on the streets.

Certainly there are other important priorities such as education, healthcare, the environment, the war in Ukraine, etc., but the ones I listed are, in my book, the highest priorities that Congress should be focusing on instead of revenge investigations and petty bickering that will accomplish nothing.  I believe that if you sat down, one-to-one, with everyone in your district and asked them to talk about these priorities, you would find that at least 85% of them would be in agreement with me.  But are you?  Based on your actions, your votes, and your weekly newsletters, I would say that you and I do not share the same set of values and concerns, and therefore I must conclude that you do not represent me or the majority of people, and you seem to have no desire to do so.

Thank you for taking the time to listen.  A response will be welcomed.


Jill Dennison — citizen, voter, taxpayer

I’ll let you all know when/if I receive a response.  I usually do get one, but it’s typically a canned response written by an aide, or perhaps even by AI!

Da ‘Toons Tell Da Story!

Monday afternoon seems like just about as good a time as any for a bit of political humour, don’t you think?  I’ve been collecting political cartoons for the past week or so and it’s time to clean out the file and share some of them!  Mind you that you have to consider the broader definition of the word “humour” here, for it’s a darker humour than, say, a Pickles cartoon or Charlie Brown & Snoopy, but the political cartoonists have an innate understanding of what is happening in our world, and the talent to reduce a situation into a single image.

Look closely at the images in the letters on this one

Dr. Caitlin Bernard, Indiana law, abortion, 10-year old, rape victim, political cartoon

Putin, Lukashenko, nucleau weapons, Belarus, Russia, Ukrains Warm, political cartoon

Obstructionist, Not Conservative!

On the first day the members of the 118th Congress walked into the Capitol to vote on a Speaker of the House, there was no doubt that it would end up being Kevin McCarthy.  Oh sure … they made him beg and sweat for it, forced concessions knowing that his fragile ego would not allow him to accept defeat at any cost, but there was no viable competition within the Republican House members for the job.  It’s a sad statement that Kevin McCarthy is actually the best they had to offer, for on a scale of 1-to-10, I’d give him a 2.

Now, I want to talk a bit about the House Freedom Caucus, for they are the worst of what the Republican Party has to offer.

The House Freedom Caucus (HFC) got its start in mid-January, 2015, when the most radical right-wing members of the Party joined forces with the sole goal of pushing the Party further to the right.  I will always believe that two things prompted this:  the election not once, but twice, of a Black man to the presidency, and the passage of the Affordable Care Act that, at least in theory, would enable all people in this country to have healthcare when they need it.

The HFC was founded by nine right-wing men calling themselves ultra-conservatives, including Jim (Gym) Jordan, Mick Mulvaney, Mark Meadows, and Ron DeSantis … yes, THAT Ron DeSantis!  They call themselves ‘conservatives’ but by definition they are obstructionists.  Their interest has absolutely nothing to do with the best interests of the nation or of its people and they will use any means at their disposal to obstruct good governance and throw the nation into turmoil.  Why?  Because they crave power, because they do not adhere to democratic principles but would much prefer an autocracy, and at the moment, their goal is to set the stage for President Biden’s defeat in 2024.  There is no Republican – not Trump or DeSantis, not Haley or Pence, and certainly not Hutchinson or Ramaswamy, who can win the general election as things stand now.  But, if the HFC can destroy the economy, destroy the trust of our allies abroad, then blame it all on Joe Biden, they might just stand a chance … at least that’s what they’re banking on.

The HFC has only 46 seats in the House of Representatives, but if you think about it, that’s more than 10% of the full House, so while they don’t hold a majority, they do make a difference … and certainly not one that is positive for the nation.  Historically they have been against anything and everything that promotes equality or helps people, such as the aforementioned Affordable Care Act, the Respect for Marriage Act that codified the right of same-sex couples to marry, and they almost unanimously voted to overturn President Biden’s electoral win in January 2021.  I sense they would relish a civil war of sorts in this nation.

Why are they on my radar today?  Because they are making empty threats right and left, saying they will refuse to vote for the deal worked out between the President and McCarthy to avoid a default on our debt that would send shockwaves around the globe, not to mention crash the economy here in the U.S.  They are threatening McCarthy with an ouster from his seat as Speaker of the House.  Now, with only 46 members, their threats can be passed off as idle … except they are screeching at the top of their lungs from their highest perches.  Except that we PAY these bastards and in exchange we expect them to put our interests ahead of their egos, yet they are unwilling to do so.  You could lose your job tomorrow, become homeless next month, and die of starvation by August and not a single member of the HFC would give a royal damn!  Only one thing matters to them:  next year’s election.

Here is a list of the members of the HFC.  Is your representative listed?  If so, call him/her, write him/her, and tell them that they are NOT doing the job you pay them to do and to either work for the people, else get the hell out of Congress!

118th Congress House Freedom Caucus members and allies

State District Representative
AZ 5 Andy Biggs
NC 8 Dan Bishop
CO 3 Lauren Boebert
OK 2 Josh Brecheen
CO 4 Ken Buck
MO 7 Eric Burlison
VA 6 Ben Cline
TX 27 Michael Cloud
GA 9 Andrew Clyde
GA 10 Mike Collins
AZ 2 Eli Crane
OH 8 Warren Davidson
TN 4 Scott DesJarlais
FL 19 Byron Donalds
SC 3 Jeff Duncan
ID 1 Russ Fulcher
FL 1 Matt Gaetz
VA 5 Bob Good
AZ 9 Paul Gosar
TN 7 Mark Green
GA 14 Marjorie Taylor Greene
VA 9 Morgan Griffith
WY At large Harriet Hageman
MD 1 Andy Harris
TN 1 Diana Harshbarger
LA 3 Clay Higgins
TX 13 Ronny Jackson
LA 4 Mike Johnson
OH 4 Jim Jordan
AZ 8 Debbie Lesko
FL 13 Anna Paulina Luna
IL 15 Mary Miller
OH 7 Max Miller
WV 2 Alex Mooney
AL 2 Barry Moore
NC 3 Greg Murphy
TX 22 Troy Nehls
SC 5 Ralph Norman
TN 5 Andy Ogles
AL 6 Gary Palmer
PA 10 Scott Perry
FL 8 Bill Posey
MT 2 Matt Rosendale
TX 21 Chip Roy
AZ 1 David Schweikert
TX 3 Keith Self
FL 17 Greg Steube
WI 7 Tom Tiffany
TX 14 Randy Weber

No Pony In This Show

I don’t care what Donald Trump has to say about the tentative debt ceiling agreement reached between President Biden and Kevin McCarthy, nor do I give a rat’s arse what Ron DeSantis thinks of it.  Neither of them are the president, neither are sitting in Congress, nor are they likely to be either.  They are, therefore, irrelevant to the discussion!  The unfortunate truth is that at this point, the only people whose opinions are relevant are the 535 members of Congress whose majority approval is required to pass this bill and save the nation from an extremely consequential default on its debt.

Is this a good bill?  Hell no!  The debt ceiling should have been lifted without consequence, without conditions.  The debt ceiling is simply the device that allows us to pay the debts we have already incurred through the years. Period. Budget negotiations are intended to be separate from paying the debt, but in this day of political polarization and obstructionism on one side of the aisle, that was not to be.  I am frustrated over the concessions that President Biden had to make, especially in three areas:  the environment, food stamp work requirements, and taxes/IRS funding. But, I realize that given the time frame and the crucial importance of raising the debt ceiling, there was no other viable option.  I would, if I were a member of Congress, voice my disgust, my protest, but I would vote for this bill, because the alternative would be so much worse … for everyone.

People like Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis are what I think of as pseudo-politicos because their actual understanding of governance, of how government is intended to operate, is nil.  Furthermore, they don’t care … they are politicians, not governors nor leaders in any sense of the word.  Their only focus is on winning the next election, on pulling the wool over the eyes of enough people with their lies and loud voices to gain or maintain a high-level office with its built-in power, privileges, and potential for greater wealth.  They need to shut up, but since they won’t, then the media needs to refuse to give them a voice.

I’ve said it so many times that I think I say it in my sleep: ‘Rights’ like the freedom of speech and freedom of the press, are always accompanied by responsibilities.  The responsibility of the press is to tell the truth, not to tell people what they want to hear, or what the politicians want them to hear, but instead to tell them what they need to hear:  the truth.  Nobody … NOBODY needs to hear what a twice-impeached former president posts on his private social media outlet.  And if Trump or DeSantis wish to campaign for next year’s election, then fine, but they need to keep their message one of what they plan if they should win, not weigh in on what is happening now that really is none of their business beyond the extent to which it is the business of us all. They have no pony in this show.

There Is Wisdom In These Words

Seth Abramson is a bit of everything from professor of communication arts and sciences to criminal defense attorney to author to political analyst/writer, and his views are usually spot on.  His newsletter this morning hit the nail on the head regarding the Republican Party, debt ceiling, and the GOP intent to destroy not only the president, but the presidency and with it, the democratic foundation of the nation.  Take a look … see what you think …

A Five-Paragraph Explanation of the Debt Crisis

While the consequences of America going into default on its financial obligations are impossible to overstate, the story about how and why we got to where we are is in fact a fairly simple one.

By Seth Abramson

27 May 2023

Congressional spending in Washington over the last few decades has consistently been excessive, with most of the problem relating to overspending on the Pentagon, unnecessary pork sought by politicians of both major political parties in the United States, various forms of corporate welfare, and reckless tax cuts for the wealthy. The GOP has been particularly irresponsible in its spending under Republican presidents, presuming—rightly—that it can simply wait for a Democratic president to enter the White House to demand austerity and falsely accuse Democrats (who are certainly not blameless in the problem of overspending) of being the sole cause of profligacy in DC. One thing that’s remained constant in all this is that Republicans have no concern about raising the nation’s debt ceiling when a Republican president is in office. Their supposedly principled views on this matter manifest only when the man or woman they would be sticking it to by putting up a fight over the debt ceiling is a Democrat.

Several years ago, a new phenomenon intruded on the predictable, almost-clockwork-like parade of events, accusations, and recriminations described above. And that was this: the Republican Party ceased to be a credible negotiating party in Washington for the simple reason that it decided to conclude its ever-tenuous interest in governance. It realized, in short, that since most of its base had no love for the federal government anyway—in part because GOP leaders had methodically lied to it about how much of the average Republican’s life depends on federal spending—it could simply make its political platform the end of responsible federal governance. Thus, when Republicans were in control of the Congress with a Democratic president, unprecedented holds on judicial nominations issued, including one that literally stripped Barack Obama of his constitutional right to nominate a Supreme Court justice; executive-branch positions requiring Congressional confirmation, even many that related to national security and international diplomacy, remained unfilled when the GOP ran Congress and it was a Democratic president getting denied the power to govern responsibly; and even the viability of democracy—including formerly uncontroversial concepts like absentee voting and early voting—was soon called into question by a political party no longer operating like a political party at all, replacing its policy platform with an implied promise to toss sand in the gears of American government at every turn. The GOP became, in short, a cult dedicated to pampering the Big Feelings of its base, which were monstrously (and often also incoherently and/or paradoxically) anti-government.

Then the pandemic came, and hundreds of thousands of innocents died needlessly for the simple reason that America’s president at the time happened to be the leader of the Republican Party and a chief advocate for venal and petty obstructionism of the normal functions of government (also, he himself had grown up in a cult in which bad news is ignored). The recklessness, negligence, and in a few cases the criminality of Donald Trump and his administration in the first year of the pandemic deepened the cost of the pandemic in America—ensuring we would be hit harder by COVID-19 than any other nation—and also extended its duration, forcing already high federal spending to increase even more dramatically than it would have otherwise in the midst of a national emergency. Whereas before the coronavirus arrived, spending in Washington as a percentage of GDP had remained below the heights of World War II, once the pandemic began under Trump the nation fully entered a debt crisis. And yet the Republican Party continued to ignore the problem because (per its credo) it could not be said to properly exist until a Democrat was back in the White House. Once Joe Biden was elected and Trump’s violent coup—aided in various ways many Republican politicians in Washington and the fifty states—was put down, Republicans set about trying to keep President Biden from getting America out of the hole Trump had put it in by demanding austerity at exactly the mid-pandemic moment that they knew it was unwise and would cause further harm to the country.

Fortunately, President Biden was able to pass much of his post-pandemic agenda—which, while expensive, helped the United States climb out of the pandemic and bring unemployment to its lowest level since 1969. Indeed, the American economy is now so hot that the Fed has had to work overtime to slow it down. Fears of a recession linger. It is at this sensitive time in the history of the United States, with a war in Europe and civil upheavals caused by an unprecedentedly far-right SCOTUS and a post-pandemic economy teetering on the brink of calamity that the Republican Party has decided to press a gun to the heads of all Americans on the comparatively minor issue of the debt ceiling, which, we must recall, is not a concern for the GOP (nor is federal spending generally) when one of their number is in the Oval Office. Indeed, the Republicans would soon make clear that they weren’t actually interested in fiscal responsibility by passing a debt-ceiling hike that was tied to a condition any American would’ve known in advance was going to be unacceptable to any person of common sense: specifically, the GOP now demanded that, in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in the way it did without question or tumult under Donald Trump, the entirety of Joe Biden’s domestic policy agenda (which in totality made him one of the most successful—if, inexplicably, not popular—first-term presidents in U.S. history) would have to be nixed completely.

It was not a serious proposal, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was meant as propaganda for the Republican base to spread on social media, which they now have en masse. The propaganda follows these misleading, even gaslighting talking points: (1) Republicans passed a debt-ceiling hike already (technically true, but it was devised in such a way that no politician of the party opposite could possibly have voted for it or received it as being in good faith); (2) Democrats have since “refused to negotiate” (wildly untrue, as despite knowing that he doesn’t have a good-faith negotiating partner Biden and the Democrats have made shockingly robust and persistent attempts to hammer out a deal with the men and women who admit—yes, some say so publicly—that they have taken the nation “hostage”); and (3) Democrats are responsible for the present debt crisis because the party passed the most recent spending bill in Washington before Republicans could take over (while it’s true Democrats passed a budget in December 2022 because they were obligated to do so, and while it’s true that that budget reflects the priorities of the leader of the Democratic Party as he continues to try to save America from four years of stunning mismanagement under Trump, it is yet again wildly untrue that the 2022 spending bill necessitated the current crisis, which the Republicans chose to fabricate after ignoring out-of-control spending for four years under Trump). Nevertheless, the Republicans are betting that enough independents will blame Biden for the collapse of the American economy that the GOP carefully engineered that it will help Trump get back into power in 2024—presumably so that he can do even more damage to American democracy, our economy, the ability of our government to function consistent with the U.S. Constitution, and our preparedness for dealing with myriad near-term domestic and international crises.

This is the current Default Crisis in a nutshell, and this is why I say that the present course of action elected by the Republicans is part and parcel of the insurrection it has sought to wage inside America for years. Some parts of that insurrection were of course criminal—like January 6—while others aren’t criminal but unconstitutional. Still others are neither criminal nor unconstitutional but indisputably un-American. The Republican Party would be happy to see the American government shut down—even collapse—because that is the end both its paramilitary and political fringe have now been working toward for years. One hopes that the Biden administration will see before it is too late that not only does it not have a good-faith negotiating partner (in fact, Kevin McCarthy isn’t even in control of his own party, its insurrectionist faction is) but is trying to extend his hand to people who want American democracy to expire.

The Pick O’ The ‘Toons!!!

Well, the news as I write this tonight is that Kevin McCarthy and President Biden have reached an agreement to raise the debt ceiling until after next year’s elections, each side doing a bit of give-and-take.  Don’t get too excited, though … the bill isn’t completely written yet, then it goes to the House, possibly as early as this morning, and they will have until probably Wednesday to peruse it and decide whether to vote ‘yea’ or ‘nay’.  Since the House members are on leave due to the holiday, it may take them longer.  Then, if it passes the House, it goes to the Senate and must pass there, too … not as easy a task as you might think.  And then, it goes back to President Biden for signature.  All of this must happen prior to June 5th, a week from Monday, in order to avoid defaulting on our debt.  Will it?  I have doubts that it will go smoothly, but I suspect that like the annual budget negotiations, it will be resolved at the 11th hour.  We shall see.  Meanwhile, I have a few political cartoons that I need to share, and now seems as good a time as any!  Be sure to check out the very last one about Josh Hawley — it’s a hoot!!!

I was curious about that last one … I had no idea he had written a book, so I did some digging.  Josh Hawley has, indeed, written a book titled … wait for it … Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs

Josh Hawley, the ‘man’ who fist-pumped the rioters from behind a safe fence, then ran for his life once they breached the Capitol!  🤣🤣🤣🤣

The Hostage Situation Grows By Day

So, not only are the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives holding the nation at knifepoint in the debt ceiling drama, but they are bragging about it!  Kevin McCarthy, Matt Gaetz and others have actually bragged about their efforts to attach ‘conditions’ to raising the debt ceiling … something that was not done during any of the three times the debt ceiling was raised under Donald Trump.  This, in and of itself, proves to me that the Republicans in Congress are not serious about governing, but rather are using the pretext of governing to run a three-ring circus with the likes of Marge Greene, George Santos, and Jim (Gym) Jordan as the top clowns and Kevin McCarthy as the ringleader.

One more time, for those who are Republicans and did not understand the first 50 times I said it:

The debt ceiling is NOT the budget … it is debt that we have already incurred and that MUST be paid in a timely manner! 

Please, Republicans, try to understand this!  You don’t sit at your kitchen table in the evening and say to your spouse, “Hmmmm … I won’t pay the electric bill unless you stop playing golf on Saturdays.”

Now, I have a suggestion to make.  If the United States defaults on its debt because the Republicans in the House of Representatives did not do their job, then one of the first things that should happen is that all congressional pay stops immediately!  The Capitol building should be closed, all offices locked, and no member of Congress allowed to enter the building nor access their office, computer, or other equipment.

Foolhardy, you say?  Is it any more foolhardy than holding the nation and its allies hostage to their whims … whims that are designed to hurt the poorest in the nation, while feeding the wealthy?  Any more foolhardy than sending the global economy into a tailspin?  Any more foolhardy than any of the other ‘policies’ that are spewed forth by the Republican Party for the sole purpose of making the rich, richer and the poor, poorer?

Kevin McCarthy is NOT a ‘Speaker of the House’ but rather a puppet of the other House Republicans like Comer, Greene, Jordan, Boebert, Scalise and others to whom he promised that which he could not deliver in order to obtain his current job … a job that he isn’t likely to be able to keep past summer.  Meanwhile, he and the other Republicans in Congress, most of whom apparently have never read the United States Constitution, are playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette … with our lives.

I was going to recommend that everyone reading this contact their representative today and demand that they vote to raise the debt ceiling with NO STRINGS ATTACHED, however … Congress has already left the building for their Memorial Day holiday and the House will not return until June 5th, four days after the June 1 deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for a possible default.  There was a time … a time when we had people of conscience in Congress, that they would have cancelled or shortened their break for the good of the country, but not this Congress.  Thanks, guys … I hope you have the lousiest Memorial Day you’ve ever had.

I also liked Robert Reich’s take on the debt ceiling hostage situation and would likely have reblogged his if I hadn’t already written this one … take a look.

Chef José Andrés Speaks … We Better Listen!

I have written before about Chef José Andrés and his organization, World Central Kitchen, the not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters.  They travel all over the world, feeding those displaced by natural disasters, war, or famine, and since February 2022 they have been a huge presence in and around Ukraine as they help feed the hungry there.

More recently, though, Chef Andrés has partnered with George Washington University to found the Global Food Institute, the goal of which is to deliver solutions to the biggest challenges facing the world’s food system.  Chef Andrés wrote the following OpEd for The Washington Post on Monday evening and I hope everyone will read it, think about it, for what he says is true:  hunger is a global crisis that is already a world-wide threat and will only grow worse over time.

Why global hunger is a national security threat

José Andrés

22 May 2023

Threats to U.S. national security are not just measured in missiles, armies and terrorists. Political and economic turmoil, in countries that are important to America and its allies, can also be overwhelming.

That’s why fighting hunger and thirst is no longer just a challenge for aid workers. The scale of the global crisis is so great that hunger now represents a threat to our security, our borders and our projection of power.

Don’t take a chef’s word for it. Over the past decade or so, the U.S. intelligence community assessed the likely impact of global food and water insecurity.

U.S. security agencies predicted a world, right around now, when water shortages and floods would “risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives.”

They forecast that in countries of strategic importance to us, “declining food security will almost certainly contribute to social disruptions and political instability.”

I have argued for a national security adviser for food and a secretary of food. I have proposed the creation of a National Food Agency to center food policy on the needs of American citizens.

But I have not succeeded in convincing my friends on either side of the aisle on Capitol Hill or at the White House that food must stop being a policy afterthought [emphasis added].

The time has come for us all to prioritize food in our public policy — at home and internationally.

Consider one of the most divisive factors in politics today, both in the United States and in Europe: immigration from the Global South.

What is driving so many families to risk their lives on perilous journeys through the jungle, across rivers or on the open seas?

Violence, corruption and lack of opportunity are nothing new in the Western Hemisphere. Though they are clearly factors in the surge to the U.S. southern border, there is something new about what is moving so many people today.

That is food. To be precise: malnutrition, hunger and food price inflation.

Three years ago, the majority of migrants came from the Northern Triangle countries: Honduras, Guatemala and El Savador. Now, most migrants at our border come from other countries, including Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua and Cuba.

What ties these countries together?

Cuba is suffering extraordinary food shortages and price hikes. About three-quarters of Venezuelans live on less than $1.90 a day, which, economists say, is nowhere near enough to feed one person, never mind a family. In some regions of Nicaragua, almost 1 in 4 children under the age of 5 has chronic malnutrition.

I could tell you the same stories about the Northern Triangle countries a few years ago. Or I could tell you about the Honduran family we fed as they sheltered under a bridge in McAllen, Tex. They recognized the logo of World Central Kitchen, the nonprofit I founded, because we had fed them in Honduras the year before, when back-to-back hurricanes wiped out their farm.

As severe drought devastates crops across South America, the World Food Program recently warned that “the whole continent is on the move.”

We cannot build a wall high enough to stop the army of mothers with hungry children in their arms.

Our problem is not that we lack the resources or knowhow to relieve these unbearable pressures. Our problem is that we lack focus.

The United States spends around $25 billion a year on Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Texas alone wants to spend $4 billion on the border.

That’s what the United States spends on feeding the whole planet through the World Food Program in a normal year. It’s four times what the administration proposes to spend on stabilizing the democracies and economies of Central America to help stop migration.

Food is not just an existential challenge beyond our borders. In the United States, about half of the adult population either has diabetes or is prediabetic. Two in five adults are obese. Last year, supplies of baby formula collapsed because of contamination at one factory, and the shortages endure.

The Government Accountability Office recently found that the federal government leads 200 different efforts across 21 different agencies to improve our diets. Yet we still cannot match our farming subsidies to our nutritional needs.

Everybody and nobody is in charge of food.

Food can be the solution to multiple crises: from our health to our climate, from immigration to global security. But only if we think differently and prioritize our food.

Our global food systems are broken, and we urgently need structural change. That starts right here in Washington.

So Many Fools …

I’ve got a bit of a snarky buildup this morning and I thought I’d share some of the things that are weighing on my mind … why should I keep such fun to myself, right?

Three organizations have now issued warnings about travel to the state of Florida.  Last month, Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group issued a travel advisory for LGBTQ people, on Wednesday the League of United Latin American Citizens issued an advisory for people of Hispanic descent, and on Friday, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (NAACP) issued a warning that it is no longer safe for Black people to travel to or within Florida.  This, in addition to all the other crap (book bans, ‘Don’t Say Gay’ laws, discrimination, the Disney vs DeSantis feud, downgrading education, etc.) happening in Florida under their authoritarian governor, Ron DeSantis, has got to be a severe blow to the state whose economy relies heavily on tourism.

In part, the advisory by the NAACP reads …

“… the governor and the state of Florida have shown that African Americans are not welcome in the state of Florida.”

Ron DeSantis seems to want a straight, white state – well, it looks like he’s about to get his wish.  Only thing is that it will likely cut the state’s revenue by more than half.  Watch for unemployment numbers to go through the ceiling and the state to be unable to fund the programs to help people.  Way to go, DeSantis!  Perhaps at some point the people of Florida will look around and say, “Wha-what happened?  We thought he was gonna make Florida great again?”

The name of U.S. Representative Barry Loudermilk has only crossed my radar one other time … when it was revealed that he had given an unofficial tour (tours were banned during that time because of the pandemic) of the Capitol the day before  January 6th, 2021 – a tour that included such areas as stairwells used only by members of Congress that are typically off-limits to the public.

A still from a video that shows a tour on 5 January 2021 led by Barry Loudermilk. Why is this guy taking a picture of a stairwell?  Photograph: US House of Representatives Jan/ZUMA Press Wire Service/REX/Shutterstock

Video of January 6th shows one of the men from that tour marching toward the Capitol on January 6th, saying: “There’s no escape Pelosi, Schumer, Nadler. We’re coming for you.”

But yesterday, Mr. Loudermilk came crashing back onto my radar and nearly cracked my screen!

Mr. Loudermilk is allegedly ‘investigating’ the events of January 6th, but in fact is investigating the Capitol Police and the members of the January 6th committee who did such an excellent job at folding back the layers and showing us the people involved at every level.  In March, he set up a portal for people to submit tips from “individuals with knowledge of the events of January 6th and the Select Committee” about the security of the Capitol, delay in support from the National Guard and more.

If Mr. Loudermilk wishes to know more about January 6th, all he has to do is read the 752-page final report by the January 6th committee that was published last December.  But no … he must play cloak-and-dagger games with taxpayer dollars.  Yet another Pennywise the Clown in the Republican House.

My representative in the U.S. House of Representatives, Warren Davidson, sent out his usual weekly newsletter on Monday.  One part reads …

Freedom surrendered is rarely reclaimed, yet it must be restored to protect our constitutional Second Amendment rights. This week, I joined my friend and colleague Lauren Boebert by cosponsoring the Shall Not Be Infringed Act of 2023. This legislation repeals gun control measures passed under Democratic control and supported by Joe Biden last year. The Second Amendment is essential to defending our freedom. Read more about our legislation as reported by Newsmax here .

So damn much to stir the angst here!  First, it speaks volumes that the ignoble Lauren Boebert is his ‘friend’ and that they are co-conspirators in anything!  But more to the point, that he would seek to repeal the small amount of gun legislation that has been passed in the last year-and-a-half is simply unspeakable!  Children are getting killed by guns in schools, people are being killed by guns in the supermarkets, malls, in their neighborhoods and on the streets!  And this bastard wants to repeal the milquetoast legislation passed last year that did damn little to solve the problems to start with???  I hope his and Lauren’s bill goes down in flames, never to be seen again.  And the third thing that infuriated me was his take on the Second Amendment … has he not even read the U.S. Constitution???  Does he not understand that there is NO blanket right for the average Joe to own a gun???  And he associates himself with Newsmax, of all things???  This ‘man’ has no intelligence, no conscience, no common sense, and he does NOT belong in Congress!

Whew!  And on that note, I think I’ve shared enough angst for one morning, don’t you?  Happy Tuesday, my friends!