The Games People Play

I titled this post as I did for a very good reason … our lawmakers at every level are playing games … with our lives.  They are playing with our right to vote, with the bridges that just waiting for a heavier-than-average rush hour to collapse and kill thousands, they are playing with the rights of Blacks, Hispanics and those of Asian descent to … well, to live, actually.  And they are playing with numbers … how they can profit the most from the 98% of us who live from paycheck to paycheck.  Oh yes, folks, our lawmakers are great games players, just not very good representatives of We the People.


For the People …

Over the past 2 weeks, I have spent hours pouring over the For the People Act, the legislation that is currently collecting dust in the United States Senate.  This is legislation that, in addition to much else, would guarantee every eligible person age 18 or over the right to vote.  But the Senate seems to think … wait, let me amend that before I go any further … the Republicans and two Democratic members of the Senate … seem to think that We the People should not have a voice in the government we support financially!  The more I study this bill, the more I am growling, for there is literally NOTHING in it that should give rise for concern.  If, that is, we had legislators who put country above party, who truly cared about the future of this nation, who treasured integrity and honesty above profit and power.  Sadly, we don’t.

I will have a post, more likely 2-3 posts, summarizing this bill, what it would mean to you and I, and the Republicans’ objections to it within the next week or so, but for now, suffice it to say that as long as our elected officials care more about themselves than about us, as long as they are tethered to the former guy’s wagon, and as long as there are enough uneducated people in this nation who will fall for their lies, this bill is likely to be burned at the stake before it gets a chance to see the light of day.  It’s a damn shame that we will almost certainly end up trashing the democratic principles on which this nation was founded so that the likes of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy can stay in power and keep the money rolling in … to their bank accounts.


Now about that infrastructure bill …

There has been much hassle over the infrastructure bill while bridges and roadways further erode, while people are still drinking water that is proven unsafe, but hey … let’s thank those bloody Republicans for keeping our tax dollars safe, shall we?  Oh yeah … rather than spend them on our safety, they can spend them to build and buy more military hardware, better guns, even more nukes that will someday in the not-so-distant future destroy us all!

Today, the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) announced that the infrastructure bill, often touted as a bipartisan bill, though I question this, would add in excess of $250 billion to the already bloated federal deficit over the next decade.  Well duh … bridges, roadways, water & sewer systems … they cost money!  They also save human lives, but hey … no biggie, right?

Now, since the CBO is so happily crunching numbers … I have another request for them.  How about calculating the amount of additional revenue this nation would garner if every single person with a net worth over $1 million was forced to pay a fair share in taxes as the rest of us have been doing for all our lives?  Yeah … I want to know how much of that money required for infrastructure could be covered if the likes of Jeff Bezos, Exxon Mobile, Smith & Wesson, and every other corporation or individual worth millions paid the same rate in taxes as the rest of us do.  I’m betting these assholes could more than cover the infrastructure, upgrade our schools, and cover Medicare for All if they just opened their wallets and paid … the same progressive income tax that the rest of us pay!  How ‘bout it CBO … you game for calculating this one?

During my career years, ages 13-57, I never once begrudged Uncle Sam the amount I spent on federal income taxes.  I am a CPA and for years have prepared clients’ tax returns, but I refuse to lie or cheat on their behalf.  But I admit that I see red when I see that certain corporations paid zero income taxes, or that a multi-millionaire, nay billionaire, paid somewhere around 1% – 2% while the average John Doe is paying 12% – 25%.  C’mon, Congress, close the damn loopholes!  Tax the wealthy … they can afford it … I can’t!


On April 19th, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln spoke these words in his infamous Gettysburg Address …

“ … that these dead shall not have died in vain– that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

That government of, by, and for the people is perishing from the earth.  It has had a dagger thrust into its heart and is just now gasping its last breaths.  Are you content to let it die?  Will we sit back and watch as those with money take power unto themselves and subjugate the rest of us?  Sigh.  And on that note, I bid you a good night.

A Bombshell That Few Noticed

Last week, we found out that the former guy had instructed then-acting-attorney general Jeffrey Rosen to “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.”  I saw this headline in numerous news sites that I visit daily, and like most of the rest of you, I growled a bit, called him a few choice names, then moved on to other stories.  But as Robert Reich points out … that was the wrong move.  This is THE story that is most important in its implications.  I’ll let Mr. Reich explain …


A Trump bombshell quietly dropped last week. And it should shock us all

Robert Reich

A newly released memo shows that Trump told the acting attorney general: ‘Just say the election was corrupt [and] leave the rest to me and the [Republican] congressmen’

We’ve become so inured to Donald Trump’s proto-fascism that we barely blink an eye when we learn that he tried to manipulate the 2020 election. Yet the most recent revelation should frighten every American to their core.

On Friday, the House oversight committee released notes of a 27 December telephone call from Trump to then acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, in which Trump told Rosen: “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me and the R congressmen.” The notes were taken by Richard Donoghue, Rosen’s deputy, who was also on the call.

The release of these notes has barely made a stir. The weekend news was filled with more immediate things – infrastructure! The Delta strain! Inflation! Wildfires! In light of everything else going on, Trump’s bizarre efforts in the last weeks of his presidency seem wearily irrelevant. Didn’t we already know how desperate he was?

In a word, no. This revelation is hugely important.

Rosen obviously rejected Trump’s request. But what if Rosen had obeyed Trump and said to the American public that the election was corrupt – and then “left the rest” to Trump and the Republican congressmen? What would Trump’s and the Republicans’ next moves have been? And which Republican congressmen were in cahoots with Trump in this attempted coup d’état?

Make no mistake: this was an attempted coup.

Trump knew it. Just weeks earlier, then attorney general William Barr said the justice department had found no evidence of widespread fraud that could have overturned the results.

And a few days after Trump’s call to Rosen – on 2 January – Trump told Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, to “find” votes to change the election outcome. He berated Raffensperger for not doing more to overturn the election.

Emails released last month also show that Trump and his allies in the last weeks of his presidency pressured the justice department to investigate totally unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud – forwarding them conspiracy theories and even a draft legal brief they hoped would be filed with the supreme court.

Some people, especially Republican officeholders, believe we should simply forget these sordid details. We must not.

For the first time in the history of the United States we did not have a peaceful transition of power. For the first time in American history, a president refused – still refuses – to concede, and continues to claim, with no basis in fact, that the election was “stolen” from him. For the first time in history, a president actively plotted a coup.

It would have been bad enough were Trump a mere crackpot acting on his own pathetic stage – a would-be dictator who accidentally became president and then, when he lost re-election, went bonkers – after which he was swept into the dustbin of history.

We might then merely regret this temporary lapse in American presidential history. At best, Trump would be seen as a fool and the whole affair an embarrassment to the country.

But Trump was no accident and he’s not in any dustbin. He has turned one of America’s two major parties into his own cult. He has cast the major political division in the US as a clash between those who believe him about the 2020 election and those who do not. He has emboldened state Republicans to execute the most brazen attack on voting rights since Jim Crow. Most Republican senators and representatives dare not cross him. Some of his followers continue to threaten violence against the government. By all accounts, he is running for president again in 2024.

Donald Trump’s proto-fascism poses the largest internal threat to American democracy since the civil war.

What to do about it? Fight it, and the sooner the better.

This final revelation – Trump’s 27 December call to the acting attorney general in which he pleads “Just say the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” – should trigger section 3 of the 14th amendment, which bars anyone from holding office who “engaged in insurrection” against the US. The current attorney general of the United States, Merrick Garland, should issue an advisory opinion clearly stating this. If Trump wants to take it to the supreme court, fine.

If we don’t know our history, we are destined to repeat it – a much needed reprise

Keith’s words today are so true, so important, they should be heard by every person in this country, young and old alike. Please take a few minutes to read his words, to contemplate them in this period when some are trying to literally bury the history of this nation. Thank you, Keith.

musingsofanoldfart

I read this week from an UPI article that 60% of millennials and Gen-Zers are unaware that 6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust by the Nazis in World War II. I use the word “exterminated” as that is what the Nazis did by gassing Jews after they rounded them up. If the brashness of this statement offends – I apologize for the needed candor. It is meant to wake people up.

But, the Nazi genocide of Jews is among too many persecutions around the world and over time. The United States has had three persecutions of groups of people, two of which leading to many deaths. We should never forget these sad parts of our history or white-wash (word intentionally chosen) them away.

– European settlers of the US over time seized land from, killed many and moved Native Americans over the course of three centuries. Even today…

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Trumpism Is Not Over

I don’t typically do a re-blog of a re-blog, for I do understand that it’s tedious to have to click once, read a small bit, then click again to read the rest, but in this case, I make an exception, for our friend Jerry (aka Grumpy) has written a post that I think is worth both your time and that extra ‘click’. Our other friend, Jeff, over at On the Fence Voters has re-blogged Jerry’s post and I am re-blogging Jeff’s reblog of Jerry’s … confused yet? Yeah, me too. So, just read it because Jerry offers remarkable insight that we all need to be aware of. Thanks Jerry! Thanks Jeff!!!

On The Fence Voters

Our friend Jerry over at Grumpy’s Grumblings has another excellent post detailing the continued capitulation of the white evangelical community toward the disgraced former president. I’ve included a link at the end to continue reading. Thanks Jerry!

In my wildest dreams and worst nightmares, prior to November 2016 I never could have imagined Donald J. Trump being elected as President of the United States. The mere thought of it seemed like an outrageous joke. But it happened.

Then, I was sure that in only a matter of months, the American people—including those who voted for him—would see Donald Trump as the vicious, mean-spirited, self-serving dunce he really is. (Although, I was shocked that any person, much less millions of Americans, couldn’t see that right from the start.) But it didn’t happen.

I felt certain that at some point, most of the evangelicals who voted for the world’s greatest grifter would…

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The U.S. Has Lost Its Collective Conscience

Today, I am deeply disappointed in a large portion of this nation.  Oh, there are many reasons, but my current angst is fueled by some responses I have read and heard to the testimony of the four police officers before the House Select Committee investigating the January 6th insurrection on Tuesday.

First, I would like to ask that you watch this 8-minute interview Don Lemon did with Officer Michael Fanone yesterday.  Lemon plays a clip of a voicemail that Officer Fanone received during the time he was testifying and … it is so vile, so disgusting, so cruel … but I think it’s important to understand how a certain segment of our society thinks.  My apologies, but I cannot embed this video, however here is the link:

Don Lemon interview with Officer Michael Fanone

Tragic and disgusting.  Officer Fanone and every other officer who defended the Capitol and protected our lawmakers on that day are heroes, and yet this is how we treat them???

And then there were a multitude of comments from a variety of sources.  I won’t give the people who uttered these comments the attention they seek by mentioning their names, only their words …

  • Corrections officers around the country get the shit kicked out of them and their faces slashed many times yearly by violent inmates, yet you never see any of them crying like a little bitches at congressional hearings.
  • I am shocked at the cowardice. They should be fired – not fit for duty.
  • Cowards all.
  • Did they not even practice their fake crying before this hearing?
  • Let’s hear the testimonies of the cops from Philadelphia, New York, Denver, Portland and all the other cities who had to deal with BLM/ANTIFA riots last summer.
  • What a pussy. “You guys won, you held.” Um, people weren’t there to do anything, they got bored and left. That’s because it wasn’t an insurrection and more than half the people there walked in open doors with the permission of the police.

Some of the people uttering this filth are our elected officials, others are media ‘personalities’.  But the comment that disturbed me the most, I think, came from one of my own readers, a man I consider a friend, Scott Lawlor …

“this was not an insurrection, it was mostly peaceful people going to make their voices heard on results they didn’t agree with. now, for the record, anyone who broke the law, which was a minority by the way, should absolutely be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

they took their grievances to the seat of power, which is a better thing to do than, oh, I don’t know, burn buildings, attack people and steal, like blm and antifa did last summer causing around 2 billion dollars in property damage. The democrats in this hearing are just a bunch of crybabies, you can tell the emotionalism is all fake and for show. We weren’t an hour away from marshal law, AOC wasn’t fearing for her life since she wasn’t even there, this is just all lies and propaganda by the democrat elites and the media to paint every single republican and conservative as a brainless white supremacist and I am sick and tired of the intollerence from these elitists who believe the narrative and continue to give voice to their obvious disdain for anyone who may thing differently from them.

It’s a free country and just as a progressive can say, write, and think anything they want, I have the freedom to disagree with those thoughts but it seems to me that it’s the democrats who are more intollerant than any conservatives I know.”

He then included a video put out by The Rubin Report titled “Shameful Theatrics” whereby Dave Rubin basically echoes what Scott said, only took far longer to say it.  I must admit that it seems to me people in this country no longer care about truth, about facts, about fairness and I despair for the future of this country.  People hear someone like Tucker Carlson or Dave Rubin giving their own distorted view of the facts, whether about the COVID vaccine or Black Lives Matter or voting rights or the January 6th insurrection (and yes, it WAS an insurrection!) and they become as parrots, chirping that opinion to others, mindless of the facts.

It is a pitiful reflection on a nation when facts are thrown in the trash and sensationalism becomes the norm, when heroes who save lives are denigrated, and when truth is mocked.

Still Recovering From The Hugs & Kisses …

Today, I would like to introduce you to two anomalies.  These are people, relatively young people, who serve in the U.S. Congress and are members of the Republican Party.  What, you ask, makes them an anomaly?  Two things:  they are intelligent and most importantly, they have a conscience.  Yes, a conscience … I know it’s hard to believe in this, the 21st century, the age of Republican far-right lunacy and conspiracy theories.  The two people I wish to introduce you to today are Liz Cheney, representative from Wyoming, and Adam Kinzinger, representative from Illinois.  They’ve both been in the news enough that you no doubt know their names.

They are, to the best of my knowledge, the only two congressional republicans who will be serving on the House Select Committee to investigate the events of and leading up to January 6th, the day insurgents attacked Congress and attempted to overthrow our election, our choice, our government.  Cheney and Kinzinger are not serving by appointment via House Minority Leader McCarthy, but they are serving voluntarily, because their conscience demands that they be a part of finding the truth.  Their goal is not, as Jim Jordan’s and Jim Banks’ would have been, to disrupt the proceedings, to whitewash the details, to bury the facts, and to play the “whaddaboutism” game, rather their goal is to find out who was involved in the planning of the attempted coup, who played a role in inciting and encouraging the ignorant masses who stormed the U.S. Capitol that day, and bring those people into the spotlight, bring them to justice.  Their goal is to ensure that such an event can never happen again, that the remnants of a democracy will not be turned to ash and buried.

As expected, GOP leaders, if they can be called such, are attacking Cheney and Kinzinger, accusing them of harboring an anti-Trump agenda and suggesting they’re just doing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bidding. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy even debuted a new label on Monday, tagging Kinzinger and Cheney as “Pelosi Republicans.”  I wonder if he thinks this is funny?  If he does, then I am more convinced than ever that he has the mentality of a teenager sniggering behind the girls’ gym locker room.  Meanwhile, a growing number of House Republicans are clamoring for Kinzinger and Cheney to face internal consequences for accepting committee seats from Speaker Pelosi.  I guess in their case, political loyalties outweigh loyalty to country.

STOP!!!  This is not an US vs THEM contest!!!  Or is it?  The Democrats … nay, most of the people in this nation … want to know what happened, how it was that our very core of values, of governance, could come so close to toppling.  WE the PEOPLE want to know who, what, why, when, and HOW.  We want to know who in our government colluded, incited, and plotted against the voice of those of us who voted our conscience.  I think we can probably all guess most of them, but I want to see the irrefutable evidence, then I want the Department of Justice to see that they pay the price for their seditious actions.

On Tuesday, the select committee to investigate January 6th held its first hearings.  I haven’t yet watched the entire testimony of the four police officers who were called on to testify, but I have seen enough to break my heart.  In one clip I watched, Representative Cheney said, “You hear former president Trump say, ‘It was a loving crowd.  There was a lot of love in the crowd.’”  And then she asked Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell, “How does that make you feel?”  His response …

“To me, it’s insulting, just demoralizing because of everything that we did to prevent everyone in the Capitol from getting hurt. And what he was doing, instead of sending the military, instead of sending the support or telling his people, his supporters, to stop this nonsense, he begged them to continue fighting. I’m still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed.”

Officer Gonell stayed on duty, despite being injured, throughout the night, going home only after the votes were certified, around 4:00 a.m.  Despite pleas by his wife and his doctor, he continued to work for the next fifteen days, until finally his foot became so bad that he couldn’t get a shoe on, and then doctors had to fuse together the broken bones in his foot.  He will also need surgery on his shoulder.  Both of his hands were injured, and he suffered chemical burns on his skin from the spray that was used as a weapon against him.  And yet, he didn’t miss a day’s work.  Why?

“My sense of duty for the country, for the Constitution, at that time was bigger than even my love for my wife and my son.”

Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said one group of rioters, perhaps 20 people, screamed the n-word at him as he was trying to keep them from breaching the House chamber — racial insults he said he had never experienced while in uniform. At the end of that day, he sat down in the Capitol Rotunda and sobbed …

“I became very emotional and began yelling, ’How the (expletive) can something like this happen?’ Is this America? My blood is red. I’m an American citizen. I’m a police officer. I’m a peace officer.

Four officers testified on Tuesday, two Capitol police officers and two officers with the D.C. police force.  One of the D.C. officers was Michael Fanone, who has been vocal about the events of that day … understandably, since he was brutally beaten, thrown down the stairs, tased, and suffered a heart attack, among other injuries.  Officer Fanone was understandably hurt and angry during his testimony and at one point slammed his fist on the table in front of him.…

“What makes the struggle harder and more painful is to know so many of my fellow citizens, including so many of the people I put my life at risk to defend are downplaying or outright denying what happened. I feel like I went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room. Too many are now telling me that hell doesn’t exist or that hell actually wasn’t that bad. The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful.”

I began this post talking about the courage of Representatives Cheney and Kinzinger.  After Tuesday’s testimony by the four officers, Adam Kinzinger was so overcome that he was near tears when he gave a tribute to the officers’ bravery …

“You guys may like individually feel a little broken. You guys all talk about the effects you have to deal with and, you know, you talk about the impact of that day, but you guys won. You guys held. You know, democracies are not defined by our bad days. We`re defined by how we come back from back from bad days.”

This picture tells you all you need to know about Liz Cheney’s reactions to their testimony.

Representative Liz Cheney hugs Officer Dunn after his testimony

We must find out who played a role, no matter how small, in the storming of the Capitol on January 6th, and those people must be removed from Congress, indicted, tried, and imprisoned.  Nothing less is acceptable. Sedition is a serious crime and frankly, we aren’t out of the woods yet, for many are calling January 6th simply a trial run.  As for the Republican’s hateful rhetoric … the press needs to stop covering it.  Full stop.  In reporting Kevin McCarthy’s and Louie Gohmert’s and others’ every word, they are fanning the flames.  We don’t need that.  We don’t give a rat’s ass what they have to say … we’re more interested in getting to the truth.

Voting Is A RIGHT, Not A Privilege!!!

In 1965, Congress passed, and President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Please note and remember that this bill was NOT titled the Voting Privilege Act of 1965, but the Voting RIGHTS Act … rights, not privileges.

Several constitutional amendments, the 15th, the 19th, and the 26th, require that voting rights of U.S. citizens cannot be abridged on account of race, color, previous condition of servitude, sex, or age (18 and older).  Are we all in agreement here that every person over the age of 18 has the right to vote?

However, according to a recent PEW Research study, white people don’t think that voting is a right, but rather a privilege that one must earn!  It’s no damn wonder, then, that 42 states are in the process of drafting or passing legislation that would make it far more difficult for people of colour, for the elderly, for college students, and for working women to cast a vote.

More than once I have ranted about those who don’t vote, or who vote for an inviable third-party candidate.  In my view it is irresponsible — we all have a DUTY to vote, even if we aren’t enamoured of any of the candidates.  I have also proposed that we have mandatory voting.  I have proposed switching election dates to Sunday so that all will have time and access to the vote.  I have also proposed that every state should go to an all-postal voting system in order to make voting as painless as possible for everyone. So, you can imagine that I am LIVID to find out that white people think voting is a privilege to be earned.

Why???  We all have to live under the laws that are determined by the president and members of Congress, so WHY THE HELL shouldn’t we ALL have a voice in choosing those people???  Why should some be forced to follow laws made by people that they didn’t even have a chance to vote for or against?  I have long ranted against restrictions in some states that disenfranchise former prisoners who are on parole.  They paid their dues, served their time … now they are out of prison, most are gainfully employed and paying taxes … WHY THE HELL shouldn’t they be allowed to vote???

And this is a partisan issue.  Among Democrats, only 21% see the right to vote as a ‘privilege’, while among Republicans, 67% believe that the ‘privilege’ of voting must be earned.

Quite frankly, I cannot imagine anything short of actually being in prison during election day that should prevent a person from voting.  Qualified?  Well, if they are a citizen, then in my mind they are qualified.  If John Doe is a Black citizen, an employed taxpayer, then why do the tighty whiteys want to take away his right … yes, RIGHT … to vote?  Do they think they are better than he is?  Do they think their opinion has more value than his?  Or … do they just figure he isn’t as smart or as ‘entitled’ as they are? Or … are they afraid?  Afraid that if enough Black people have a say in who makes the laws that govern us all, they might lose their privileged status?  Are they afraid that someday our Congress won’t be 90% white, but will instead be 40% white?  What, exactly, are you afraid of, Karen?

Black Americans are more likely than those in other racial and ethnic groups to see voting as a fundamental right, while White Americans are the least likely to say this. About three-quarters of Black Americans (77%) say voting is a right for every U.S. citizen and should not be restricted, as do 63% of Hispanic Americans and 66% of Asian Americans. White Americans are about evenly divided: 51% say voting is a right, while 48% say it is a privilege.

That 48% … they make me ashamed to be Caucasian … make me wish my olive-toned skin were much darker, for I am NOT white … not at heart … not if this is the way white people think!  Stick your Ango-Saxon heritage where the sun doesn’t shine … I am not as one with you!

Never before in my 70 years here on earth, as a citizen of the United States, have I been so ashamed of this country and its people.  Were it just me, I would leave this country tomorrow, by whatever means I could, including death, and never have a regret – that is how much I despise what is happening in this country.  But I feel an obligation, a responsibility, in part to my daughter and granddaughter, and in part to the people of this nation, to fight the good fight, to fight against the white supremacist forces of evil.

When Conservative became Noservative

Our friend Brosephus shares his thoughts on today’s Republican conservatives, or ‘noservatives’ as he so aptly dubs them. What, he asks, has happened to the Republican Party in the past decade or two? Where is the party that actually DID something instead of simply trying to put roadblocks up for the other party? Brosephus’ post is one well worth reading and pondering. Thank you, Brosephus!

The Mind of Brosephus

Cover of Time Magazine from March 21, 2016

There’s been several topics that have popped up that I haven’t had the time to write about. Most times, these topics usually get discussed in the comment section. I appreciate that because I don’t always have the time to post a new topic to address recent events to allow “on topic” commenting.

That said, I happened to come across the above Time Magazine cover, and I think it asks a very important question that we don’t discuss enough. What happened to the Republican Party? I’m talking beyond the personality cult it’s become with the sole intent on pissing off liberals. What happened to the ideas and guiding principles of conservatism?

For example, let’s discuss immigration for a minute. Conservatives will whine and bitch to no end about how immigration is a problem and there’s a border crisis going on. We’ve been hearing…

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Snarky Snippets Are Baaaaack!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a snarky snippets post, though in truth almost all of my posts contain an element of snark!  Anyway … I have just a couple of short ones for you this afternoon …


Killing us softly with …

The big news yesterday was that the U.S. has seen a significant drop in life expectancy … the biggest decrease since WWII.  My first thought was … “Well duh.  625,000+ people dead in the U.S. from the pandemic – what do you expect?”  And certainly, the pandemic has played a role in the decline in life expectancy, but it isn’t the only culprit.  Turns out that the ever-expanding income disparity is one of the biggest culprits, and it has been bringing down life expectancy rates for a few years now, even before the pandemic.

During the second half of the 2010s, life expectancy fell on a sustained basis for the first time since the fighting of World War II killed several hundred thousand Americans.

It’s hard to imagine a more alarming sign of a society’s well-being than an inability to keep its citizens alive. While some of the reasons are mysterious, others are fairly clear. American society has become far more unequal than it used to be, and the recent increases in mortality are concentrated among working-class Americans, especially those without a four-year college degree.

For many, daily life lacks the structure, status and meaning that it once had, as the Princeton University economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton have explained. Many people feel less of a connection to an employer, a labor union, a church or community groups. They are less likely to be married. They are more likely to endure chronic pain and to report being unhappy.

These trends have led to a surge of “deaths of despair” (a phrase that Case and Deaton coined), from drugs, alcohol and suicide. Other health problems, including diabetes and strokes, have also surged among the working class. Notably, the class gaps in life expectancy seem to be starker in the U.S. than in most other rich countries.

Covid has also caused sharp increases in racial inequality. As a Times article on the new report explains:

From 2019 to 2020, Hispanic people experienced the greatest drop in life expectancy — three years — and Black Americans saw a decrease of 2.9 years. White Americans experienced the smallest decline, of 1.2 years.

Covid has also killed more men than women, Case and Deaton pointed out, increasing the mortality gap between the sexes, after years in which it had mostly been shrinking. Life expectancy was 5.7 years longer for women last year, up from 5.1 years in 2019. The gap had fallen to a low of 4.8 years in the early 2010s.

The bottom line: Covid has both worsened and exposed a crisis in health inequality. But that crisis existed before Covid and will continue to exist when the pandemic is over – if it ever is.


Spot on!!!

You all know my feelings on rich bastards wasting their money on not-so-cheap thrills like building a rocket ship and flying to the edge of space for no other reason that they can afford to do it.  The latest was Jeff Bezos, and frankly I’m so disgusted with this ‘man’ and his lack of compassion, lack of humility, that I am seriously considering canceling my Amazon account permanently.  Anyway … talk show host Gayle King got the best of him in my view yesterday when she spoke with Bezos on CBS This Morning and she asked him …

“All of you keep saying this is not a competition, and I find that so hard to believe because you’re all type A personalities. Don’t you want to be first? It really to you isn’t a game of whose is bigger? Honestly, it really isn’t?”

I nearly choked with laughter!  Penis-envy run amok!


Filiwhat?  Filiwho?  Filihow?

President Biden made an appearance here in Cincinnati, Ohio yesterday and at the end of the day he participated in a CNN Town Hall along with Don Lemon.  When asked about the filibuster and whether it should be killed off in the Senate, he was far less forceful than I would have liked.

“There’s no reason to protect it other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done. Nothing at all will get done.”

WTF???  Nothing at all is getting done now!!!  The Senate Republicans have all but killed the For the People Act, the infrastructure bill, and anything else that might be on the table with their damned filibuster!  Joe did say he wouldn’t mind seeing it altered to the ways of yore, when senators actually had to stand on the floor of the Senate and expound for hours, but let’s face it … the Republicans have enough hot air in them to ramble and rant for days without coming up for air!


Moscow Mitch said WHAT???

You may have noticed that a number of Republicans have been urging people in this country to get the Covid vaccine this week … people like Mitch McConnell, Steve Scalise, and even Fox’ Sean Hannity.  I note we haven’t heard the positive take from the absolutely disgusting Tucker Carlson, but then he marches to the beat of a different drummer, so don’t hold your breath.

I’m not sure what triggered the Republicans’ sudden faux concern for people, but hopefully their constituents listen to them, for as long as we continue to have some 30% of the nation refusing to be vaccinated, we are NOT going to end the pandemic.  Period.  One of my favourite late-night comedians has a humorous take on the newly-discovered consciences that I think will give you a chuckle or two. This is, in my opinion, one of the best Colbert has done!

The GOP Madness … Doing Us A Favour?

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two of the Republican House members who had been appointed by Kevin McCarthy to sit on the committee to investigate the January 6th insurrection.  The two were Jim Jordan of Ohio and Jim Burns of Indiana, and Speaker Pelosi was well within her rights to reject them, for both had refused to certify the election results from the 2020 election, though there was no question whatsoever that President Biden had won by more than 7 million votes. Both attempted to stifle our votes, our voices.

McCarthy, who qualifies as one of the head clowns in the GOP circus, went ballistic and pulled the other three, the ones Pelosi had agreed to, off of the committee.  Fine by me, for his only goal was to be disruptive and ensure that the committee would be unable to conduct a full investigation as we need them to.  Why?  Why are Republicans so adamant that we not get to the bottom of an attack that threatened the democratic principles founded in the U.S. Constitution?  Because … they know the role that certain Republicans played in inciting and participating in the events of the day.  Some of those people carry the last name “Trump” and that is already a proven fact!  So, let’s cover it up … bury it so that they don’t have to try to justify their actions, justify their attempt to rob We the People of our voice … so that come November 2022, people will have forgotten the coup that almost was, and those who bear some responsibility for the events won’t have to answer awkward questions that might land them on the other side of the iron bars!

That said, Washington Post columnists Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman have collaborated on a piece that I think worthy of being shared.  For what little my opinion may be worth, I am 100% in agreement with these gentlemen …


How Kevin McCarthy is boosting the integrity of the Jan. 6 investigation

Opinion by Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman

21 July 2021; 5:08 p.m. EDT

We should be thankful that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) just pulled Republicans out of any involvement in the select committee to examine the Jan. 6 insurrection. In so doing, he ensured that the committee’s investigation will both have more integrity and be more likely to undertake a valuable accounting.

Which goes to a larger truth about this moment: Efforts at a real examination of arguably the worst outbreak of political violence in modern times — and efforts to protect our democracy more broadly — will not be bipartisan. These things will be done by Democrats alone.

McCarthy’s handling of the Jan. 6 committee illustrates the point. It comes after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she is nixing two of McCarthy’s picks to serve on it: Reps. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

McCarthy mustered great outrage about this, railing that it was an “abuse of power” that had cost the committee “all legitimacy and credibility.”

In fact, precisely the opposite is true: By pulling out, McCarthy has boosted the committee’s legitimacy and credibility immeasurably. The less involved McCarthy is with this committee, the more likely it will be to undertake a genuine and comprehensive accounting.

McCarthy’s picks were expressly designed to prevent that accounting. This is not speculation or a mere guess at McCarthy’s motives. It is unavoidably clear from the public statements and conduct of Banks and Jordan themselves.

Banks’s first act on getting named by McCarthy was to release a statement declaring that the committee must investigate the “hundreds of violent political riots” in which “many more innocent Americans and law-enforcement officers were attacked.”

That’s an explicit declaration that the insurrection and Donald Trump’s incitement of it should not be the focus of the committee and is a less serious matter than those riots.

Similarly, after Jordan was picked, he immediately declared he wants to serve on the committee because “this is impeachment round three,” unwittingly revealing — or perhaps unabashedly declaring — that he saw his role as solely a means for working to exonerate Trump.

What’s more, Jordan had already played a prominent role in spreading the very lies about the 2020 election that helped inspire the insurrection the committee will be investigating. Given that the committee is charged with probing the causes of the violence — and that those lies are a major cause — any real accounting must also implicate Republicans such as Jordan.

On top of all this, remember that McCarthy could have exercised even more control over the investigation — yet declined. Back in May, Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the Homeland Security Committee chair, announced an agreement with the ranking Republican on an evenly divided 10-member bipartisan commission, with both parties having veto power over subpoenas.

Guess who voted against that commission? McCarthy, Banks and Jordan did.

All three also voted to object to President Biden’s electors, a vote that represented the culmination of the lies this committee will investigate as a cause of the violence.

There’s another hidden dynamic here, too: McCarthy and Jordan are very likely witnesses themselves. McCarthy made a frantic appeal to Trump to call off the rioters; he likely has firsthand experience of Trump’s truly sociopathic and insurrectionist intentions that day.

And Jordan was present in a Dec. 21 White House meeting with Trump and others, at which they discussed how to overturn Biden’s electors on the day of what would become the insurrection. What was said at that meeting will be of great interest to the committee.

“Anyone who is a material witness to the key events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection doesn’t really belong on the committee,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the select committee, told us.

“The investigative inquiry is being shaped right now,” Raskin continued, “but those are likely to be key events in the chronology.”

Here’s the bottom line: By nixing Banks and Jordan, Pelosi actually protected the integrity of the committee’s investigation, from their openly advertised intention to misdirect, disrupt and sabotage it. By appointing publicly committed saboteurs, McCarthy openly advertised the same intention.

The conventions of political reporting are such that this basic and obvious truth will not be faithfully rendered in press accounts. But it follows from a straightforward interpretation of the statements and conduct of those Republicans themselves.