The Dems in Disarray Media Narrative Continues

I was so exhausted last night that I missed Jeff’s spot-on post. The media is condemning the Democratic Party for putting its shoes on the wrong feet, while turning a blind eye to the Republican Party who is trying to steal others’ shoes, even if it means chopping off their feet! Great post, Jeff! Thanks!

On The Fence Voters

One of the more prevailing narratives over the past several years by the mainstream media is how the Democratic Party is always in disarray. To hear some of them, you’d think Democrats can never agree on anything.

A recent article by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post drives home the idea by pointing out that there are differences in opinion between Senator Bernie Sanders in the Senate and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on how Democrats should move forward on health care.

Sanders has been a vocal advocate of Medicare for all, a government-run health care system where every citizen in the country is covered from birth to death. Pelosi is advocating for an expanded version of The Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Pelosi would like to make the ACA subsidy enhancements included in the American Rescue Act permanent. Sanders, for his part, would like to lower the Medicare eligibility age requirement…

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Thoughts On “Karen” and … Another DAMMIT

Sometime last year, I noticed I was seeing more and more news stories about women named ‘Karen’.  Now, I’ve known a few people named Karen in my live, and in fact even have a niece who is so-named, a former co-worker, and one of my daughter’s bandmates.  But suddenly there is a surge of women with this name.  I wondered if it were a generational thing, or what.  But then one day I read an article that ‘splained it to me.

Apparently ‘Karen’ is the name given to women who act like grade-A jerks, being racist and intolerant in this, the 21st century.  It rather makes me feel sorry for women who were given the name ‘Karen’ at birth and are stuck with it in this, the era of having to name every behaviour.  I have written about a few ‘Karens’ before , but today I have another one for you …

Last June, a woman named Debra Hunter was shopping at a Pier 1 store in Jacksonville, Florida where she was loudly verbally abusing the store’s staff.  Another customer, Heather Sprague, began recording the altercation because …

“I wanted her to know she was being held accountable for her actions. It only took her to decide she was done and to leave the store, which really was the goal.”

But, once Hunter turned and saw that she was being recorded, she flipped Ms. Sprague off and then walked over to her and coughed directly into her face.  This at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.  What Hunter could not have known is that Heather Sprague is a cancer patient, currently undergoing treatment for a brain tumour, but I somehow don’t think it would have made a difference even if she had known.

On Friday, a judge in Jacksonville sentenced Hunter to 30 days in jail and also ordered her to pay a $500 fine, serve six months’ probation and participate in a mental health evaluation along with anger management.  Hunter’s husband pleaded in her defense that they had faced numerous hardships leading up to the incident, including losing everything they had in a house fire …

“It was like air being inflated into a balloon, and it finally got to the point where she couldn’t handle any more air. And then she finally rubbed up against something and just popped.”

Hunter told the judge her family has paid the price for her mistakes, adding that her children continue to lose friends, and that they don’t go out in their community anymore.  It is sad that Mr. Hunter and the children are paying the price, but it doesn’t negate what Ms. Hunter did, and frankly from all I’ve read, there has been no sign or remorse or apology.

Okay, so there are lots of ‘Karens’ in the U.S. today, but … what do we call a guy who acts like a jerk?  Shouldn’t there be some equivalent for males?  Hmmmm … how about a ‘Mitch’ … or a ‘Tucker’ … or a ‘Matt’?

And now I must turn from the topic of Karens to … yep, you got it … another tragedy, another Black man killed by a white cop.


On Sunday there was another tragic shooting death of an unarmed Black man by a white police officer, this time just about ten miles from Minneapolis, where the trial of Derek Chauvin is entering its third week.

The victim’s name was Daunte Wright.  Say his name … SAY HIS NAME!

Duante Wright

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says he and his wife are ‘praying’ for Duante Wright’s family.  Sorry, guv, but that does not help … it does not help his family and it damn sure does not bring him back to life!  Keep your goddamn prayers and do something useful, like initiate some police reforms in your damn state!  First George Floyd and now Duante Wright.  How can you even sleep at night???

It started as a traffic stop.  Mr. Wright called his mother and told her he expected they had stopped him for the air fresheners he had dangling from his rear-view mirror, which is illegal in Minnesota.  But, when police checked his license they discovered that he had an outstanding warrant or warrants, so they attempted to take him into custody.  Mr. Wright jumped back into his vehicle and as he was attempting to drive off, Officer Kim Potter, a 25-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, shot him through the window of his vehicle.

Mr. Wright managed to drive for several blocks before striking another vehicle.  Mr. Wright was pronounced dead at the scene.  He was 20 years old.

Officer Kim Potter

Yesterday it was reported that Officer Potter shot Mr. Wright “by accident”, that she thought she had fired her taser rather than her gun.  She’s been on the police force for 25 years, she’s president of the Brooklyn Center Police Officer’s Association, and she didn’t know the difference between a gun and a taser???  Oh please, don’t take me for a damn fool!

This community is already stressed, with the trial for Derek Chauvin, the officer who brutally murdered George Floyd, taking place just down the road a piece.  Naturally, protesters gathered ‘round the police department on Sunday night after Mr. Wright’s murder.

Police ordered the protesters to disperse, and when they refused, they were hit with tear gas, some were arrested, and shots were fired, though in honesty I do not know whether the shots were by protesters or police, as details remain sketchy.  Today, the schools are closed in this suburb of Minneapolis and the Minnesota Twins (a Major League baseball team) postponed their game against the Boston Red Sox.

I also do not know what the warrant or warrants against Mr. Wright were, but given the fact he was only 20 years old, I’m guessing they weren’t serious enough to end his life over.

This country has many, many causes for shame, but this … racism in police, the very people we hire and PAY to protect us … is among the biggest reasons that we should all hang our heads.  R.I.P. Mr. Duante Wright … you deserved better.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/10

People like Matt Gaetz and Mitch McConnell give the political cartoonists much material to work with these days!  It’s almost impossible not to mock them … it’s almost as if they’re begging us to!  Our friend TokyoSand found some of the very best ones last week, as she always does.  Thank you, TS!

See All The ‘Toons!

Two Worlds

Of late … well, for the past decade or so … I have wondered how the human species could possibly survive to the end of this century, for we are destroying our home, our world, and each other at an alarming rate. Professor Taboo, aka PT, has written a post that I think should be required reading for every human alive … thoughtful and though-provoking. Thank you, Prof, for your words of wisdom and the eye-opening photos.

The Professor's Convatorium


OF WONDER AND SPLENDOR

Just like as in a nest of boxes round,
Degrees of sizes in each box are found:
So, in this world, may many others be
Thinner and less, and less still by degree:
Although they are not subject to our sense,
A world may be no bigger than two-pence.
Nature is curious, and such works may shape,
Which our dull senses easily escape.Margaret CavendishOf Many Worlds in This World

There are a number of Earth’s animals, great and small, that care for each other. They seem to have feelings for the welfare of another. They demonstrate an innate behavior to protect their own as a whole rather than and possibly at the demise of themselves. In human terms this is called compassion, empathy, courage, altruism, love, and other inspiring virtues. In scientific terms it is known as eusociality and forms of superorganism behavior

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Mitch McConnell Likes Falling Bridges!

Throughout President Obama’s eight year tenure, one man stood out as the biggest hurdle to anything and everything Obama and his team proposed.  That man, of course, is the ignoble Mitch McConnell … the poster boy for why we need term limits.  McConnell’s power is far greater than it should be and when he pledges obstruction, you can count on him destroying everything in his path … even our lives.

Most recently, McConnell has pledged to do everything in his power to keep the infrastructure bill from seeing the light of day in the Senate.  Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times, addresses the infrastructure bill and McConnell’s self-serving intended obstruction in his latest newsletter …


Mitch McConnell, Fickle Fiscal Prude

By Frank Bruni

Opinion Columnist

The numbers stagger me too.

President Biden is promoting more than $2 trillion for infrastructure (loosely defined). He signed legislation for $1.9 trillion for pandemic relief, economic stimulus and anti-poverty initiatives.

All of this comes after the Trump administration’s mammoth relief-and-stimulus spending in 2020, and all of this precedes what will almost certainly be yet more requests for additional trillions from the Biden administration.

We’re in uncharted waters. Experts offering assurances that all will be well — or even better than well — are giving us their best educated guesses. No one — not the cheerleaders, not the naysayers — truly knows how this will all turn out.

But here’s the thing: At some point you have to pick a path, choose a side, place your bet. In many instances the potential price of a flawed wager is almost certainly less steep than the cost of inaction. This instance, I think, is one of those. Maybe America will go too big in the end. But too small hasn’t worked for us.

Too small led to the economic dispossession and pessimism exploited by a junior-league demagogue and would-be despot who hurt this country gravely. Too small factored into our shameful and unsustainable degree of income inequality.

Too small was a culprit in America’s world-leading number of coronavirus infections and Covid-related deaths last year. By contrast, too big — or rather, big — was a partner in the speedy development and distribution of vaccines.

Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, has pledged to fight Biden’s infrastructure package “every step of the way,” as a sudden defender of fiscal discipline. I say “sudden” because his attachment to it over the past few years, before Biden took office, was as steady as a Slinky.

He was perfectly happy to run up the federal debt to stay in good with President Donald Trump, who wanted tax cuts and more gleaming military hardware. Now? We mustn’t leave crippling bills to our children and grandchildren! How horridly gluttonous! How downright immoral!

How utterly laughable. The truth about most politicians and spending is that they’re for it if the outlays bolster their electoral fortunes and against it if the other side may have more to gain. They’re not in thrall to some fixed economic ideology. They’re bound to partisan rivalries and enamored of ideological fashions of the moment.

Remember all of those fiscally principled Tea Party candidates who rocked the Republican Party and swarmed to Washington in 2010? That didn’t turn out to be any kind of revolution. Many of those candidates, along with most other Republicans, exiled their thriftiness when President Barack Obama exited the White House, then embraced Trump in all of his profligacy.

But back to infrastructure and Biden’s big-ticket legislation. Over recent decades of congressional sclerosis, America has fallen behind and imperiled its future prosperity. We’ve no choice but to catch up, and catching up, I believe, will cost more than McConnell is willing to agree to. It may cost even more than Biden is pitching.

Or not. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the choice is between overdoing and underdoing. That it’s that clear, that stark. I’d vote for overdoing. We haven’t tried that in a while.

And my read of the American mood right now is that people are frustrated with the status quo and the timidity of politicians too focused on one another to focus on everyone else. There’s a hankering for movement of some kind — of any kind. There’s an appetite for boldness. Let’s feed it.

Bring Back The Pony Express!

It was 161 years ago today that the first Pony Express riders set out to deliver the mail.  From History.com …

On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.

The Pony Express debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still largely cut off from the eastern part of the country. Letters sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which typically took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the recently established Butterfield Express overland route, which could take from three weeks to many months to arrive. Compared to the snail’s pace of the existing delivery methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed like lightning speed.

The Pony Express Company, the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business, was set up over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across the present-day states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Riders, who were paid approximately $25 per week and carried loads estimated at up to 20 pounds of mail, were changed every 75 to 100 miles, with horses switched out every 10 to 15 miles. Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917), who reportedly signed on with the Pony Express at age 14. The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.

The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every half-ounce of mail. The company began as a private enterprise and its owners hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the U.S. government, but that never happened. With the advent of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861, the Pony Express ceased operations. However, the legend of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail lives on today.

You might be wondering why I’m making a big deal over this, but bear with me.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) was actually already in existence when the Pony Express came onto the mail delivery scene, having been established in 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General.  So, why the need for the Pony Express nearly a full century later?  Because the USPS wasn’t doing such a great job, apparently.

Now, the reason I bring up the Pony Express is that once again, the USPS is doing a pretty lousy job under the leadership of the highly unqualified Louis DeJoy.  DeJoy just announced a new “10-year plan,” which is one way to describe the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation. His plan includes longer first-class mail delivery times, reduced post office hours, and higher prices.  It seems to me that his ’plan’ is already in action, as the last card I sent took 15 days to arrive at its destination.

Last year DeJoy crippled the Postal Service. He banned employee overtime, decommissioned mail-sorting machines, and removed drop boxes. He did this during a deadly pandemic that had millions of Americans relying on the mail for their medications, businesses, and safely voting by mail in November’s election.

Speaking of medications … my insulin sat in the Post Office from last Saturday until this past Wednesday … unrefrigerated and undelivered.  Why?  Good question, and one I fully intend to ask Mr. DeJoy!  Although … he hasn’t answered either of my last two letters … perhaps the USPS hasn’t managed to deliver them yet?  Funny that they sit on my insulin, but manage to deliver all the junk mail that goes straight into the trash bin.

President Biden has nominated three members to the USPS Board of Governors with the intention of removing Mr. DeJoy and hiring someone qualified to do the job without costing us an arm and a leg and ensuring that our mail is delivered in a timely fashion.  But of course, the Senate must have much more important business to attend to, for they haven’t yet gotten ‘round to confirming these three.

So, I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to re-instate the Pony Express?  We would, no doubt, get our mail quicker and for about the same price.  Given the volume of mail in this country, there’s no doubt they could upgrade to faster horses and think how many jobs would be created!  We could leave the USPS in place for the time being, a service for those who seem to like being ripped off by our own government.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I have only two snippets tonight … one is great news, the other a horrid example of man’s inhumanity to man.  One warms my heart, the other breaks it.


Let me begin with the good …

While Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was signing a bill into law that would effectively disenfranchise over half the population of Georgia so that they will find it almost impossible to vote in next year’s election, just two states to the north, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was preparing to sign into law a bill that does the exact opposite … ensures that every person over the age of 18 is able to vote.

The Voting Rights Act of Virginia aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state. Virginia is the first state to enact its own version of the federal Voting Rights Act, while 43 other states are working diligently to keep minorities and the poor away from the polls.  Says the governor …

“At a time when voting rights are under attack across our country, Virginia is expanding access to the ballot box, not restricting it. With the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, our Commonwealth is creating a model for how states can provide comprehensive voter protections that strengthen democracy and the integrity of our elections. I am proud to support this historic legislation, and I urge Congress to follow Virginia’s example.”

The legislation would require local election officials to get feedback through public comment or pre-approval from the attorney general’s office in order to make any changes in voting regulations, according to a release from Northam’s office.

It also requires that local election officials provide voting materials in foreign languages as needed. Individuals who experience voter suppression will also be allowed to sue, where any civil penalties awarded will go toward a newly established Voter Education and Outreach Fund.

The bill comes after Northam restored voting rights to 69,000 former felons through executive action earlier this month.  I realize this is a controversial topic, but in my view, the former felon has paid his dues with a prison sentence, and once he gets out, he is a taxpayer and a citizen just like you or me.  If he’s going to pay taxes in this country, then he must have a voice, a vote.

My hat is off to the Virginia State Legislature and to Governor Ralph Northam for doing everything they can to protect the U.S. Constitution and the people of Virginia.  THIS is a fine example of democratic principles at work.


Now for the bad and the ugly …

Byong Choi died on February 24th at the age of 83 as a result of bone marrow tuberculosis.  He had been a hard-working accountant and restauranteur in Orange Country, California for most of his life.  Due to coronavirus restrictions, his funeral was delayed until March 19th.

The following Monday, Byong Choi’s wife, Yong, 82, received a handwritten, cursive letter at her Leisure World Seal Beach retirement community home postmarked the same date as the funeral …

Read that letter again, please … go ahead, I’ll wait.  What do you feel when you read those hate-filled words?  Broken-hearted?  Enraged?  I felt both, as I’m sure most people with an ounce of human kindness did.

The Seal Beach Police Department in the county has launched an investigation into what it calls an anti-Asian hate crime, but I have doubts the letter-writer will be caught, and if he or she is, they’ll get naught more than a slap on the wrist.  I have no doubt that this was written by one of those white people with a false sense of entitlement who believes their ugly white skin makes them somehow superior, more deserving.

This letter came just days after the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, where 8 people were murdered, six of them women of Asian descent.  And why … why all of a sudden have fat white people taken a dislike to those of Asian heritage?  Because one person called the coronavirus the “China virus” and the “Kung Flu”, thinking he was being cute or funny.  What he did with those words were to set off a chain of events that has targeted Asian-Americans such as the Choi family, the women in Atlanta, and many others.  What he did was criminal.

People … read the damn words on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty …

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

And yet today, hate crimes against those of Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent are at an all-time high.  Those people are vilified by a portion of the country’s white population.  Why?  What the hell makes them think they are better than the rest of us?  I regret to inform you that the United States is no longer the nation it once was, is no longer a port in the stormy sea for those seeking asylum or refuge.  It is time we send the Statue of Liberty back to France, for we no longer deserve it.

Humanity is still a thing

Reading the news every day, it’s easy to believe that simple humanity has been lost in the great web greed, politics, corruption, bigotry and more. But, as blogging buddy Owen reminds us … Humanity Is Still A Thing. Thank you, Owen, for the timely reminder.

R2030 - In hope of a better decade

It is time to write something positive.

Today in Nantes, France, some young people rescued a family from a fire, showing great courage and putting their own lives at risk by scaling a building. The young peope who conducted the rescue were all migrants.

Migrant youths in Nantes, France, rescued a baby and parents from a deadly fire. (Image from connexionfrance.com)
Migrant youths in Nantes, France, rescued a baby and parents from a deadly fire.
(Image from connexionfrance.com)

The incident invokes memories of a news story from 2018, also in France, where a migrant in Paris scaled a building to rescue a small boy.

Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, scaled four balconies of a building in Paris before pulling a child to safety.
Mamoudou Gassama, a migrant from Mali, scaled four balconies of a building in Paris before pulling a child to safety.
(Image from New York Times via You Tube)

These stuning moments of humanity tell us something profound; that we are human before we are a skin colour. We are human before we are a passport holder. We are human before we…

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Good People Doing Good Things — Wesley Hamilton

Sorry this post is late … I was so exhausted last night that I thought I had put it on the schedule for 3:00 a.m., but turns out it was still in draft!


Wesley Hamilton was only 24 years old when two bullets paralyzed him from the waist down.  On January 14, 2012, Hamilton got caught up in an altercation with a stranger outside an apartment complex. The man shot Hamilton twice in his abdomen.  When the bullets pierced his body, he thought he was going to die.

“I laid on that ground taking my last breaths, having regrets about life, because it wasn’t until that moment that I realized I had never lived.”

Hamilton survived, suffering a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At 24, he became “a single father in a wheelchair,” he said — adjusting to a new life faced with new challenges.

“I felt hopeless and useless.  It defeated me.”

A year later, Hamilton was diagnosed with a pressure ulcer on his tailbone from the extended hours of sitting. He underwent six surgeries and spent the next two years confined to bed rest.

In the years following his injury, Hamilton said he became dangerously overweight, depressed and suicidal.

It was his daughter, Navaeh, who ultimately became his lifeline.

“I was determined to be a better person and a better father. My love for her is greater than she’ll ever know. And that love inspired me to … take control of my life.”

w-hamilton-daughterHe enrolled in community college and took a nutrition course. He started a healthy eating regimen and took up weightlifting. He lost 100 pounds within a year.

For Hamilton, it was only the beginning. He became an award-winning adaptive athlete and eventually a certified adaptive CrossFit instructor. Through his journey, Hamilton realized he wanted to help other people with disabilities regain their livelihood.

Since 2017, his non-profit, Disabled But Not Really, has empowered dozens of people through adaptive physical training and nutrition coaching — helping them take their health back into their own hands and rise above their limitations.

w-hamilton-2Hamilton developed an eight-week fitness program, and before the pandemic hit, participants would meet for one-hour group sessions twice a week as well as nutrition seminars.

When group classes were suspended because of Covid-19, Hamilton said he was committed to continuing to serve and support his program participants through private training sessions.

“People deserve to know they are more than their circumstances. My purpose is to inspire. And it’s to show people what happiness really looks like despite the adversity that you have to face.”

Mr. Hamilton was recently interviewed by CNN’s Laura Klairmont … what follows is a portion of that interview:

CNN: How has your organization pivoted programming in response to the pandemic and what are your future plans?

Wesley Hamilton: Just like so many other organizations, we had to change our whole way that we create an impact. (We) also want to make sure that everybody is safe during these uncertain times.

We understood the lack of access to fitness centers. So, I made my garage into a gym. I host a 12-week program that is personal training two days a week, as well as nutritional information seminars that we provide to help those athletes become a better version of themselves and have an overall better quality of life.

I believe our work is very important right now during Covid, because we are targeting a community of people that are at high-risk of so many things that our organization provides information and education for — fitness and nutrition.

With all of these changes happening, we want to continually be innovative. We want to go out to the community. We’re launching a mobile trailer gym. It’s our way of really making sure that everybody gets the same access. And our end goal is our own fitness center for people with disabilities.

CNN: What are some of the everyday obstacles that people with disabilities face?

Hamilton: One thing that’s not talked about a lot is why people with disabilities aren’t really seen in society. The disabled community is very isolated because of the lack of accessibility we have to face in any facility or business — grocery stores to gyms, stairs to elevators, car issues. The world is … just not really built for accessibility.

It breaks you. It brings you down on a level that you don’t feel accepted in a world that is supposed to accept everybody. More people will feel comfortable at home than trying to go out into a world that makes you very, very uncomfortable. (And) you have to deal with the way people look at you, and that’s debilitating in itself.

Most of the time I didn’t want to get out until I realized that I had to to raise awareness for what was needing to be changed. Ninety percent of my day, I face obstacles. Facilities should be mindful enough to make sure that they have a universal design that speaks to everybody. Systems that are in place actually need to be rewritten. No one should feel alienated. It’s the reason why I felt the need to create my organization. Innovation has to start somewhere. And certain facilities just need to see you there. Once you start to create that and bring people around that are different, we start to think of ideas to make everyone be accepted in one place.

CNN: You’re not only helping those you work with get physically fit. How do you support them on a deeper level?

Hamilton: My main goal is to teach people how to take control of their life — take full accountability and embrace your reality despite the circumstances that you face. When we go through our program, it’s only the beginning. I want to be there through your whole journey because I want to see you successful. Even though our training looks just like normal gym strength and conditioning, it’s really reshaping the things that you can do in life.

We make sure that we are attacking the mindset as well as tackling the physical aspect of the person we’re helping. Allowing them to be vulnerable, to talk about their challenges, allows us to help them, and it gives them peace and makes their day more successful.

I’m bringing people of all sorts together to be empowered by one another. It’s a community of people that are different, but together we are the same. I believe that people everywhere that are differently abled should experience that.

Mr. Hamilton is living proof that being confined to a wheelchair doesn’t have to mean the end of life, but in fact can be a new beginning.  How many people has he helped to find out who they are, to learn to live a full life despite their disabilities?  Perhaps we’ll never know, but more than a few I’d be willing to bet.  This is truly a case of turning adversity into strength … and helping others do the same.

Just A Few Thoughts …

I frequently write about the income disparity in this nation.  I’m not a fan of great wealth, see it as unnecessary hoarding while others do without, and I do support government-funded programs that help people in need.  One person often comments on these posts with his opposing view, saying the wealthy earned it, let them keep it … all of it.  Of course, there is a fallacy in that the majority of very wealthy people actually inherited most of their wealth and have not done much to earn it at all, apart from hiring wise people to advise them in their investment strategies to increase their wealth.  Recently this person, whose comments I largely ignore, said that if people simply learned to “invest more wisely”, there wouldn’t be poverty.

Wisely, I did not respond to his comment, for at that moment my answer would not have been calm and reasoned.  Obviously, this person has zero understanding of poverty.  WHAT is there to invest, if you cannot even afford to pay the rent, utilities, and have some left over to buy food???  Even for the average mid-range earner, investment opportunities are largely limited to an employer’s 401(k) plan, for at the end of the month there is little left over.

It is the ignorance born of wealth and entitlement that bothers me the most.  The wealthy don’t even attempt to understand the other 99% of the world … they live in ivory towers, sheltered and shielded from poverty, from the homeless, and even from the very people who are, by their labours, helping the rich get richer.  They oppose a substantial increase in the minimum wage rate, for that might cut into their own profits just a bit.  They oppose helping the poor, falsely claiming that they are poor because they are too lazy to work.  They oppose such healthcare programs as Medicare for All because they have access to the finest medical care available and don’t understand what it’s like for the family who cannot afford to take their sick child to a doctor this week.

Yesterday, I read that President Biden will soon unveil his promised infrastructure plan, the first part based on repairing roads, bridges and railways, and the second part focused on families and children.  Already, however, Republicans are calling it useless and a waste of money.  Why?  Because they don’t live in Flint, Michigan where the water is still not safe to drink.  Because they don’t, as a rule, drive over the unsafe bridges and on the highways filled with potholes … instead they travel by private jet or helicopter.  There can be no mistake … the Republican Party, once called the “Party of Lincoln”, is a party that exists solely for the wealthy and that is largely funded by the wealthy.  Lincoln would be appalled by what the party has become today … a bigoted, corrupt organization that is doing everything in its power to keep the poor “in their place” and to return Blacks to the days of Jim Crow.

The Republican Party claims to be in favour of ‘smaller government’, but this is a nation of 330 million people … just how small do they think the government can be, and yet serve those people?  Given that most every Republican in Congress is either well on their way to being a millionaire, or is already one, is it really any surprise that they have no comprehension how the rest of us live?  What does it take?  We pay their salaries out of our meager incomes, and in return we get … NOTHING.  They do not represent us, they represent the heads of corporations like Exxon-Mobil, Kraft Foods, AT&T, and so many others.  They represent people who have more money than you or I can even imagine, who have never struggled to pay the bills, buy food, or seek medical attention a single day in their lives.  And now, as they see their ship may soon run aground, they are doing everything in their power to take away our voice, our right to vote them out of office.  Rather than consider altering the party’s platform, becoming more humanitarian, supporting policies that help people and the environment, they cling to their old ways, cling to the plutocracy, and rob us of our right to participate in the government that we fund.

Rather than pay taxes that could fund such things as infrastructure, feeding the poor, building renewable energy facilities and more, the wealthy spend their money to buy politicians who will do their best to ensure none of these things that would help people can happen.  “Whatever it takes” to keep the poor from rising out of the ashes, to keep the working people from seeing a brighter future, the wealthy and the Republican Party will support it.  There are notable exceptions such as those who have signed on to the Giving Pledge, but they are the exception, not the rule.  Those born into wealth cannot understand what they have never known and it is easier to turn a blind eye than to see how the rest of us struggle.

I am against great wealth … it is the hoarding of money that could ultimately make so many lives so much better.  I make no apologies for my views, for I have experienced that which almost no wealthy person ever has … I have been without a home, I have had my electricity turned off because I couldn’t pay the bill, and I have been denied medical care when I hadn’t the money to pay.  Perhaps the Republican Party should have to live that way for a while and perhaps they would find a bit of humanity within their shriveled little hearts.  Until something changes, this nation cannot realistically be called the “United” States because we are not.