There Outta Be A Law!

There is currently no law in the U.S. that says a convicted felon cannot run for public office all the way up to the presidency.  Crazy, right?  You’ll likely remember the Bundy brothers – Ammon and Ryan – and their father, Cliven, who came to fame in 2014 when they engaged in an armed standoff with Bureau of Land Management agents at their Bunkerville, Nevada, ranch amid a dispute over the father Cliven Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees.  All three were indicted and served jail time.

Then in 2016, Ammon gained further notoriety over a protest at the Malheur national wildlife refuge – part of a campaign to force the federal government to turn public land over to states.

Bundy was arrested twice last year at Idaho’s state capitol after leading a march to protest Idaho’s stay-at-home pandemic order and was later charged with criminal trespass for disrupting a meeting of the state legislature. In April of this year, he was arrested again over a similar encounter. He has pleaded not guilty in one case and has not yet entered a plea in the second.  But despite all this, guess what?  Yep, you guessed it … Ammon Bundy has filed the paperwork to run for the office of Governor of Idaho in 2022!

Bundy says his reason for seeking the governorship is that he wants to defend Idaho from “Joe Biden and those in the Deep State that control him” because they “are going to try to take away our gun rights, freedom of religion, parental rights, and more and further violate the constitution in unimaginable ways even more than they’ve already done.”

Interestingly, though, the GOP doesn’t seem to want Bundy.  Idaho Republican party chairman, Tom Luna, said this month that Bundy is not welcome among GOP ranks, pointing to Bundy’s failure to register as a Republican before at the time he filed initial campaign paperwork.  So, he didn’t register, but with his history and his attitude, what else could he be but a Republican???  But there’s more, according to Luna …

“Furthermore, we do not support his antics or his chaotic political theater. That is not the Idaho Republican party, and we will not turn a blind eye to his behaviors.”

In his campaign launch video, Bundy drew attention to his long battle with the federal government over the use of government land, which make up about two-thirds of the state. His platform is to eliminate property and income taxes, federal control over land and public health mandates.  Hmmmm … sounds to me as if he plans to secede Idaho from the United States, for none of this would fall under his authority even as governor.

Says Bundy …

“We cannot afford to have state leadership that lets the federal government bully us, or walk all over us. And it’s an unfair fight, when the federal government unlawfully attacks the people, believe me, I know as my family and I experienced this first-hand, when we were unlawfully attacked by federal officials at our family ranch in Nevada in 2014. But we did not back down, and thankfully, like-minded patriots across the country stood with us, as we fought back against federal tyranny to protect our land and our rights.”

Oh yes, indeed, Ammon … you are a great hero … convicted felon, jailbird, squatter, killer of wildlife and more.

Why don’t we have laws prohibiting convicted felons from running for office?  Perhaps such laws were never needed before, but this is a new day, a day when QAnon conspiracists sit in Congress, a day when an armed insurrection is referred to as “nothing out of the ordinary”, and a day when a television comedian, a madman, could sit in the Oval Office for 4 full years.  It’s time to up our game.  It’s time to put the brakes on before we see this nation enter the ranks of a banana republic with the likes of Ammon Bundy, Margie QAnon Greene, Josh fist-bump Hawley, Ted Cancun Cruz, Matt sex-trafficker Gaetz, Lauren gimme-my-gun Boebert and others running the show!

STOP!

I sometimes have to laugh when I hear it said that the U.S. is such a progressive, forward-thinking nation, for others are far ahead of the U.S. in many ways.  One of those ways is plastics, or more specifically, the elimination of single-use plastics.  Take New Zealand, for example, the country that has committed to banning a swathe of single-use plastics, including cotton buds, bags, cutlery, plates and bowls, straws and fruit labels.

From an article in The Guardian

New Zealand had already banned most single-use plastic bags in 2019, but the changes will include packaging for produce, as well as a range of other items. These steps follow similar bans overseas: outlawing plastic bags is now common around the world, and the UK introduced a ban on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds in 2020. The EU has voted for a similar ban to be introduced this year. In some countries, Covid-19 has stalled progress on plastics – a number of US states rolled back their bans on plastic bags and halted new legislation to limit plastic products as the pandemic reached its height. Environmental groups have also reported enormous quantities of “Covid waste” – including plastic gloves, hand sanitiser bottles and surgical masks – are clogging oceans.

The U.S. lags far behind.  Even though I take my own re-usable canvas bags to the grocery store, and mesh produce bags so that I do not have to use the store’s plastic bags, I am amazed by the amount of plastic I am still bringing home each week from the grocery.  Produce and meat that are pre-wrapped in plastic are the worst culprits. Laundry detergent, dish detergent and almost all cleaning products are packaged in plastic.  And why can’t the producers of bottled water find another material from which to make their bottles?  I would gladly pay a bit more to know that the bottle is re-cyclable.

Did you know that the average person in the U.S. throws away 231 pounds of plastic per year???  The UK isn’t far behind, at 218 pounds of plastic waste per person per annum.  According to a study published in Science Advances …

… 300 million tons of plastic trash are produced annually, of which at least 8.8 million tons end up in the ocean.  What’s that you say?  Recycling?  HAH!  It doesn’t work much for plastics and only about 9% of plastic can be recycled.  Why?  Mainly because it is an expensive operation and has very little payback.  In other words, profit over life once again.  Oh, and remember that plastics are made from petroleum products — fossil fuels — so if we cut back on plastics, we will also be helping the environment in another way, less oil being produced.

The solution, as I see it, is two-step.  One, yes governments must work diligently to reduce plastic waste via single-use plastics.  But more importantly, and a more long-term solution, is the companies that produce all this garbage must invest in research to develop a more sustainable product, one that is fairly easily recycled and that is biodegradable.  But meanwhile, until that happens, it is up to US … You and I … the consumer, to “Just say ‘no’” to single use plastics.  Refuse to buy products that are packaged in layers of plastic.  Take your own re-usable cups to Starbucks and fast-food places.  Take your own reusable bags to the grocery.  Every little bit helps, my friends.

NPR: The Plastic Problem Isn’t Your Fault, But You Can Be Part Of The Solution

National Geographic: U.S. generates more plastic trash than any other nation

Anti-Vax Lunacy

I am as stubborn as they come, but I am fully vaccinated.  Why, you ask?  Because I believe that while I have every right to take chances with my own life, I have absolutely NO RIGHT to put others in danger.  It’s called ‘having a social conscience.’  It’s called ‘caring about others.’  It’s called ‘doing the right thing.’

I am appalled by those who have cited every excuse in the book for refusing to be vaccinated against COVID.  This pandemic has killed over 4 million people around the world … 623,029 in the United States, as of this writing, though by the time you are reading it, the number will be even higher.  And WE … You and I … have the key to stopping it in our hands.  If we fail to use that key, then we are complicit in those deaths.

The excuses are myriad and utterly without merit … in other words, the excuses are the epitome of stupidity.  Here are just a few (along with my non-scientific, sometimes snide rebuttals in blue):

  • We don’t know what the long-term side effects are. (So?  We DO know what the long-term effects of the coronavirus are … one of which is death!)
  • The vaccine might hurt my fertility. (So???  The world is already over-populated and with climate change, food and water resources are getting scarcer by the day … you don’t need any more kids!)
  • It’s none of your business if I don’t get vaccinated. (Oh hold on just a second there, madame!  It is the business of every single person on this planet!  We are, in case you haven’t noticed, all in this together!  Wake up and smell the f*cking coffee!)
  • I’m young and healthy, so I don’t need to get vaccinated. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha … first, ask some of the young people who are still suffering symptoms months after getting COVID.  Second, you can still transmit it to others … do you have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers???  Why not think of somebody besides yourself just for once?)
  • These vaccines only have emergency use authorization, not full FDA approval. (Yeah, and your point is?  Do you realize how long full FDA approval takes?  Do you see the drop in cases since the vaccine has been widely accepted?  )
  • I don’t want to get Covid-19 from the vaccine. (Oh for Pete’s sake … you cannot get COVID from the vaccine! None of them contain so much as a smidge of the actual virus!)
  • My faith will protect me, so I don’t need to get vaccinated. (My jaw drops on this one.  A lot of the 3,000+ people who died in the planes, in the World Trade Center, and in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania on September 11th, 2001, had faith even stronger than yours and it did not protect them.  Faith is a state of mind, it will not protect you from real world situations.  How ‘bout you take my hand and let me lead you to that nice doctor over there who can ‘splain this to you better than I can?)
  • I might not be able to afford a vaccine. (It’s free, stupid. The government is footing the bill on this one, for they want you to stay alive, though I have no idea why!)

And those are just the relatively sane excuses!  Others run along the lines of conspiracy theories such as Bill Gates has arranged to implant some sort of microchip into your body via the vaccine, or it’s a government plot to turn your brain into spinach soufflé.  (Note to readers … anybody who believes the conspiracy theories brain is already spinach soufflé or oatmeal … not sure which)

The propaganda network, Fox “News”, has played a large role in instigating the anti-vaccine movement and in my book, some of the deaths we are seeing today are on their hands.  Not only the brainless Tucker Carlson, but other Fox ‘hosts’ have denigrated the vaccine, urged their not-so-bright viewers to ‘resist’ the call to be vaccinated … this despite the fact that Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox, was vaccinated last December!  YO RUPERT … find your conscience … I think I saw it standing outside your broker’s office on Wall Street!

The US averaged about 19,455 coronavirus cases over the last seven days, a 47% increase over the previous week. Fully a third of those are coming from five hot spots: Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada, all states with low vaccination rates.

Generally speaking, I would argue that what goes into my body is my choice.  However, I make my choices based on a myriad of informed sources, I respect scientific data, and I understand that sometimes we must make decisions without having perfect information.  With that said, I could see no alternative other than to become vaccinated.  But, until the rest of the nation opens their eyes, this nation will continue to see new cases, new variants, new protective mandates, and yes, new deaths.  Those who continue to hold out, who continue to argue and engage in conspiracy theories that don’t even make sense, will keep this nation under COVID’s thumb.

Just Two Snarky Snippets

I could write at least 50 snarky snippets tonight, for my mood is dark, but in the interest of not steaming up my glasses any more than they already are, I’ll settle for two …


Bye-Bye Mr. Saul

Sometimes you have to look at things and just laugh.  Take, for example, the case of this man …

Andrew Saul was the Trump-appointed Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, fired on Friday by President Joe Biden.  First, Saul was asked to resign … a request which he refused.  Then, left with no other choice, the President terminated his employment.  You’re still waiting for the funny part, right?  The funny part is that Saul refuses to leave!  He claims his term lasts until January 2025, that he is “term-protected”, and he plans to be at work on Monday morning.  In the words of the late, great Forest Gump … “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Typically, the position of head of an independent agency such as the U.S. Postal Service or the Social Security Administration is protected from a change in administration, but in this case, both a recent Supreme Court ruling, followed by a Justice Department memo affirmed the President’s authority to terminate Mr. Saul’s employment.  According to a statement issued by the White House …

“Since taking office, Commissioner Saul has undermined and politicized Social Security disability benefits, terminated the agency’s telework policy that was utilized by up to 25 percent of the agency’s workforce, not repaired SSA’s relationships with relevant Federal employee unions including in the context of COVID-19 workplace safety planning, reduced due process protections for benefits appeals hearings, and taken other actions that run contrary to the mission of the agency and the President’s policy agenda.”

A wealthy former women’s apparel executive and prominent Republican donor, Saul, 74 — who served on the board of a conservative think tank that has called for cuts to Social Security benefits — had overseen one of the biggest operations in the federal government since his 2019 Senate confirmation. The Social Security Administration pays out more than $1 trillion a year to about 64 million beneficiaries (yours truly is one of those), who include seniors, the disabled and low-income Americans.

Now what in this man’s past qualified him to head the Social Security Administration … selling clothes to women somehow doesn’t get it in my mind!  And to add insult to injury, he was known for calling for cuts in Social Security!  I spent a lifetime paying into Social Security so that now, in my post-employment days, I could have a bit of income — not enough to live on, but it helps.  I’ll be damned if I want some bozo who sold panties and bras for a living controlling my hard-earned retirement income!

Much like the aforementioned DeJoy, Saul was not initially hired to promote and enhance the work of the agency he was charged with overseeing, but rather was tasked with that agency’s destruction.  I hope that on Monday Mr. Saul finds his computer access cut off, Metro Police waiting to escort him off the property, and his paycheck stopped.  Oh … Saul’s response to his firing?

“I quite frankly feel I’m doing an excellent job there.”  🤣🤣🤣

I hope Louis DeJoy is next.


CPAC Again???

There is yet another Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) taking place in Dallas this weekend.  No wonder the Republican Party hasn’t got the time to actually do their jobs, for they are always busy preparing for and attending these ‘conferences’ where nothing is ever accomplished except tooting their own horns and airing their grievances.

The ‘star’ of the show on Friday seems to have been Representative Madison Cawthorn, a genuine nutcase from the word ‘go’.  He has a theory about President Biden’s plan to have volunteers go door-to-door offering information and assistance to people about the COVID vaccine.  Says ol’ Madison …

“Think about the mechanisms they would have to build to be able to actually execute that massive of a thing.  And then think about what those mechanisms could be used for. They could then go door to door and take your guns. They could go door to door and take your Bibles.”

If only.  I honestly don’t know where the Republican Party finds these nuts … they must be shaking the trees really hard.

Kevin’s Slim Pickens

Clay Jones is, as usual, spot on with this one about the House Committee to investigate the events of January 6th.

claytoonz

Cjones07132021

A friend of mine used to hold a July 4th pool party every year…until one attendee got drunk and pooped in the pool. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence the pool pooper is a Republican. But nevertheless, no more July 4th pool parties. And pooping in the pool is exactly what House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy plans to do in the January 6 Committee.

The first attempt to have a commission to investigate the white nationalist MAGA terrorist insurrection on the Capitol Complex passed the House with very little GOP support, and died in the Senate. Republicans claimed they voted against it because the commission, with equal representation by both parties and each having full subpoena powers, would be too partisan. Before the vote, Democrats gave Republicans EVERYTHING they demanded before they could vote for it…and they still voted against it.

It’s kinda like taking your kids shopping for back-to-school…

View original post 795 more words

I Still Care, Dammit

I’m tired, folks.  I’m sick and tired of fighting to try to make people care about their own lives, their own future.  I’m tempted to say, “To hell with you all!  You want to die of COVID, then go right ahead.  You want to be a racist, a homophobe, to hate people you don’t even know based on a single characteristic – then go ahead, limit your world to a handful of white bigots like yourself.  You want to live in a country where chaos is the norm, where no laws benefitting you or anybody else ever pass, then fine … enjoy your petty, shallow life as a tool in the Republican toolbox!”  I’m tempted to say that, and I can afford to, for my own life is in its twilight hours, but what stops me is that the majority of us have children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren who deserve better than the ignorant among us would subject us to.

With every passing day, there is more and more wrong in this country.  The causes are two-fold:  the greed of our politicians and the ignorance of the voting public.  The majority of us still use our brains, still understand that the current situation is untenable, and are looking for reasonable solutions.  But therein lies the problem … reasonable solutions to unreasonable problems simply don’t work.

The personification of this is a statement by a right-wing shock jock the other day …

“If you tell people you can’t have a Twitter account, you can’t have a Facebook account, well, what else is there to do but actually walk into the Capitol and go all insurrectional? If you can’t talk about it, you can only act.”

Wow … so, next time I get banned from Twitter, I should go into the Capitol with my gun and face-paint and threaten people’s lives?  What rocks do these people come out from under???  Worse yet … how many people agree with his statement?  How many people believe that if you don’t like something, you should simply shoot it, blow it up, or otherwise disable it?

Among my former ‘friends’ are a number of people who are simply giddy … yes, giddy … about the current state of affairs, the chaos and drama perpetuated by politicians on the Republican side of the aisle.  It’s excitement in their boring little lives … to them it is akin to watching an exciting shoot-em up movie.

Folks, this is not a game, this is not a movie, this is not some country in the undeveloped world … this is the United States, once a respected republic, but now … now the laughingstock of the Western world.  We are no longer respected, we are no longer trusted among our allies.  Why?  Need you ask?

While citizens in other nations are still under lockdown, still waiting for the vaccine to become available to them, the people of the United States are stubbornly proclaiming the vaccine to be akin to some nefarious plot by government, comparing it to Naziism, to Apartheid.  Obviously, these people have no sense of history, do not understand either concept, and have no concept of how many innocent people died as a result of both.  Ignorance, again.

I have to wonder … since we are obviously not teaching our children history, such as the history of South Africa or Germany and Europe before and during World War II, and since we have obviously NOT taught them to THINK for themselves, what the Sam Hell are we teaching them in school?  Which leads me to another pet peeve … the Republicans denial of Critical Race Theory, which is not much more than the fact that racism is carefully embedded in our systems as a result of the racist history of this nation.  The Republicans claim none of this is true … or, if it is, they don’t want the next generation to know about it.  Let’s hide slavery, Jim Crow, police killings, the removal and murder of Native Americans, the Japanese internment camps, and more.  Yes, let’s bury the evidence, not let our children know what evil has persisted in this nation ever since well before it was even a nation.

I am, needless to say, disappointed in the people of this nation.  I am disappointed in any who can still believe in the Big Lie, who can support anyone affiliated with the Republican Party.  I am disappointed in friends who are too shallow to even pay attention to what is happening in this nation, but instead focus on “being happy” to the exclusion of all else.  If the people of this nation don’t wake up soon, it will be too late and this nation will find itself in the same situation as other nations under dictatorial regimes.  The ignorance of people in the United States is rapidly driving us into a descent from which there may never be a lifeline.  For my money, I am 70 years of age with likely only another year or two on earth, but I have loved ones who will survive me and for their sake, I still care.  Damn me … I still care.

Governance??? I Think Not!

If you step back for a minute or two … take a few deep breaths and ponder the news stories of the past week … you cannot help but conclude that this nation is in one heck of a mess, thanks almost exclusively to the Republican Party, formerly known as the GOP that once stood for ‘Grand’ Old Party.  Never in my 70 years have I seen so much blatant corruption, so much complete disregard for the well-being of this nation and its people as I’m seeing today.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in a single story, or a few particular stories, that you literally cannot see the forest for the trees, but once you step back and look from a distance, you cannot help being horrified at the bloody mess we are in.

Just a few examples …

  • Republicans have attempted to shift the blame for the January 6th attempted insurrection/coup to such groups as Black Lives Matter and Antifa, neither of which were on the scene, neither of which would be caught dead wearing the maga gear and painted bodies that the insurrectionists wore.
  • One freshman House member, also a follower of the conspiracy theory group QAnon, continually compares the mask mandate and push to get the nation vaccinated with Hitler and the Holocaust!
  • Not one single Republican voted for the American Rescue Plan Act, aka the Coronavirus Relief Bill in March, however they have all been more than willing to take credit when they are among their constituents.
  • The entire Republican Party has defended the filibuster … an outdated act that has been used more often than not to protect white supremacy.
  • The Republicans in Congress have done their level best to attempt to stifle any bipartisan investigation into the events and origins of January 6th, and even members of Congress who were frightened for their lives and condemned the insurrectionists on that day, have now claimed it was nothing more than a few tourists.
  • The majority of Republicans still claim to believe the Big Lie, despite every shred of evidence supporting President Biden’s win in November 2020.

And those are just a few.  But what set me off tonight was a Republican House member Charles Eugene Roy, aka Chip Roy.  This ‘man’ has been in Congress since January 2019 which, in my book, is about 30 months too long!  Roy is a Republican and a Texan who served as chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz, which should tell you most of what you need to know.  He’s done a number of stupid things since taking office, but the one I focus on today is a statement caught on tape in which he said …

“Nobody knows what anybody’s gonna do right now. That’s the thing, this is the problem. I actually say, ‘Thank the Lord, 18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done.’ That’s what we want.  Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months, our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022, and then get in there and lead. I do not apologize one bit for pushing back against the leftist mob that seeks to destroy America from within. I am proud of this country, not embarrassed by it and I will obstruct the agenda of those that are with everything I’ve got.”

There is not a doubt in my mind that Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and a host of other congressional Republicans have said the exact same thing, but just didn’t happen to get caught on tape.  So this, my friends, is the Republican Party platform:  obstruct and obfuscate.  Ensure that President Biden gets no legislation passed.  Ensure that the Democrats’ policies are dead on arrival.  Ensure that the people of this nation get no benefit from such things as an increase in the minimum wage, infrastructure repairs & renovations, lower prescription prices, gun regulations that will save lives, expanded early childhood education, environmental regulations to counter climate change, or any other damn thing that might help We the People, that might make this nation a better place for us all!  This isn’t governance, this is game playing … with our LIVES!

Chip Roy should give back the $435,000 that he has thus far been paid as a member of the House of Representatives, for he represents NONE of us!  Frankly, we should demand a return of his salary and a few hundred others who have done not one damn thing for this country other than stir up trouble, encourage racism, and take bribes in the form of campaign donations from rich corporations.

I’ve noted on more than one occasion that the Republican Party does not appear to have a platform, no policies, no ideology other than to obstruct and criticize the Democrats.  Mr. Roy’s words simply support what I’ve said … there IS NO policy, there is NOTHING of substance within the Republican Party.  They are, as I’ve also said, the party of “NO” and nothing more.  The only thing they seem to stand for is turning this nation from what was once a democratic republic into an autocratic plutocracy, and they’re doing a damn fine job of it!  Voter suppression seems to be at the top of their list, for unless they suppress our votes, the votes of women, of the poor, of Blacks and Hispanics, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of winning an election.  So, nearly every single state in the nation is pushing through voter suppression laws and last week the Supreme Court effectively tore down the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and gave the ignominious Republican Party a ‘thumbs up’.

Democrats damn well better get their act together and come up with some truly great humanitarian policies and some equally great candidates for office.  Only one seat in the Senate and 5 seats in the House of Representatives must be flipped in order to give the Republicans a majority in both chambers of Congress.  WE CANNOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN!

Give Him The Boot

First, I would like to start by saying I hope all my Florida friends are safe as Hurricane Elsa made landfall in Florida just a few hours ago.  Keep safe and well, my friends.

I took a day-and-a-half off from my blog, from the news, just mostly read and played games with the family, in order to try to clear my head from the past several years when it seems that I have been on a non-stop rant about one thing or another.  I came back to ye olde blog with renewed energy … well, I had it for Jolly Monday on Tuesday, at least.  And then I read of the gun deaths over the holiday weekend and that pretty much shot any degree of tranquility I had managed to achieve.  And then today, I see this tweet from a U.S. Representative from my own state, a Republican and an asshole, Jim Jordan:

“Democrats made the Fourth of July controversial. Republicans just love America.”

Not wishing to be thrown back in Twitter jail just yet, I tempered my response …

“HA HA HA HA HA … You are soooo funny, Mr. Jordan!  No, you don’t love the country, you don’t even give a royal f*ck about the people here.  You just love money, guns, and power.  I hope you are voted OUT!!!!”

A bit of background for some who may not be as familiar with Mr. Jordan …

He has been in the U.S. Congress since 2007, and is a founding member of the unconscionably conservative House Freedom Caucus.  He was a close buddy of the former guy, which should tell you all you need to know, and the former guy awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a private ceremony just days before leaving office in January.  On what grounds, or for what heroic deed the medal was awarded escapes me, for Jordan … is not a good person.  The only reason I can figure is that Jordan was one of eight House lawmakers who were part of Trump’s defense team in his Senate impeachment trial last year.  Perhaps in Trump’s mind, that qualifies Jordan … in my mind, it just makes him an even bigger jerk than he was before.

But let’s go back a bit in Mr. Jordan’s history.  From 1987 until 1995, Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach with Ohio State University’s wrestling program.  During that time, Dr. Richard Strauss was the team physician.  Turns out that Dr. Strauss was sexually abusing the boys on the team, and … wait for it … Jim Jordan was well aware of it!

Ohio State opened an independent investigation in 2018 … thirteen years after Dr. Strauss had died by his own hand.  During the course of the investigation, at least eight wrestlers/students came forward and said that they had complained to Jordan, but he did nothing.  One of the students, Dunyasha Yetts, said in testimony …

“For God’s sake, Strauss’s locker was right next to Jordan’s and Jordan even said he’d kill him if he tried anything with him!”

None of the students accused Jordan of committing sexual assault, however four former wrestlers named him as a defendant in a lawsuit against the university.  Jordan refused to cooperate with investigations into Strauss. He described his accusers as “pawns in a political plot” and said he did not even hear any locker room talk about Strauss or sexual abuse at OSU. In response to Jordan’s denials, one of the students, Mike DiSabato said, “I considered Jim Jordan a friend. But at the end of the day, he is absolutely lying if he says he doesn’t know what was going on.”

Take it all for what it’s worth, but to me … where there is so much smoke, there is a fire, and eight students claiming they told Jordan of the abuse at the hands of the doctor constitutes a great deal of smoke!

And then … he went to Washington.  A step up from being a wrestling coach, being responsible for making the laws that directly affect some 330 million people, and indirectly affect the entire globe.  One of his first moves was to use the Freedom Caucus to shove then-Speaker of the House John Boehner out of his position.  Another was to bring the equally corrupt and ignoble Warren Davidson into the House.  Thus far, in my book, Jordan is batting 0.  He is not “for the people”, he is for lining his own pockets, for increasing his own power, and will support anything that plays into those two goals.

Jordan is also a consummate liar, for in 2018 when asked by Anderson Cooper if he had ever heard the former guy tell a lie, he replied …

“I have not … nothing comes to mind. I don’t know that Trump has ever said something wrong that he needs to apologize for.”

He was one of the 139 representatives who voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in Congress, and to this day claims that the election was “stolen”.  He is against environmental regulations and against women’s rights.  I could go on and on, but really … need I say more?

Jordan does not represent my district, but I hope the people in his district have the good sense to give him the boot in the mid-term elections next year.  Meanwhile, I will be working tirelessly to try to convince the people of my own district to give Warren Davidson that same boot!  We do not need right-wing radicals who completely disregard the will of the people sitting in Congress taking up space, time, and money!

Good People Doing Good Things — Team Rubicon Again!

In October 2017 in another ‘good people post I wrote about Team Rubicon, a group of veterans started by Jake Wood, in 2010, initially in response to the devastating earthquake that had hit Haiti, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and at least that many more homeless.    Wood convinced a former classmate and a few other former Marines to join him and starting off with a group of 8, they headed to Haiti with medical supplies and equipment.  But, the story didn’t end there.  After Haiti, Wood and his friend William McNulty did some brainstorming, realized that their group was pretty effective, and veterans had the skills and know-how to do such things.  In the years since, the group expanded to around 120,000 volunteers, 70% of them veterans, and have been all over the world providing assistance to people in the wake of natural disasters and regional conflicts.  In all, they have responded to more than 500 humanitarian crises in the past decade.

This week, Team Rubicon crossed my radar once again when CNN reported on them for their response to the pandemic for the past year.  When the pandemic first hit, Wood knew there would be a need for their services …

“We immediately pivoted to get our volunteers doing work like supporting food banks, delivering groceries directly to people’s doorsteps, setting up Covid testing sites. I’m really proud of the contribution we’ve made.”

The group established a nationwide campaign, Neighbors Helping Neighbors, to help the most vulnerable members of society in a way that keeps at-risk populations safe and contains the spread of the virus.  This campaign offered volunteers many ways to get involved. While most Team Rubicon operations are highly organized, Wood encouraged volunteers to do what he calls “individual acts of service” — such as checking on an elderly neighbor or helping someone whose immune system is compromised.

Wood’s group also assisted with a number of large-scale operations across the United States. Veterans helped get food to those in need, often in conjunction with organizations like Feeding America and Meals on Wheels. Additionally, Team Rubicon’s volunteers helped operate critical health care efforts, such as a drive-thru testing site and a 250-bed federal medical station in Santa Clara, California.

For the past six months, the group has also been very involved with vaccination efforts in all 50 states.

“We’ve supported hundreds of sites across the country, doing the simple things like site setup and teardown, patient registration, optimizing patient flow. It’s been a modern-day medical wartime effort to get doses into the arms of Americans. And so, we’re really proud we’ve been able to support nearly two million doses across the country.”

During the pandemic alone, Team Rubicon says its volunteers have so far helped nearly 10 million people around the country.

“This was a whole of America emergency, and it required a whole of America response. This is a moment for all Americans to rise to the occasion by thinking about the greater good.”

CNN recently interviewed Wood regarding Team Rubicon’s efforts during the time of the pandemic.  Here is a brief snippet from that interview …

CNN: Your volunteers pitched in a lot with food distribution. Is that type of work usual for Team Rubicon?

Jake Wood: It’s certainly outside the norm of what we do, but we quickly saw that food banks and food security in general would become really important in this pandemic. Many food banks and pantries rely on volunteers, like we do, but many of those (volunteers) tend to be in the at-risk demographic of over 65. So, those services were grinding to a halt, just as they were becoming more needed. Our volunteers have been helping with the logistics of food sorting and getting meals to people’s doorsteps.

CNN: How has Team Rubicon been helping with the medical needs that have been sparked by this virus?

Wood: We have had volunteers on the front lines of all this — whether they’re running a testing site in North Carolina or a hospital center in California. We’ve also deployed members of our international medical team here domestically to help decompress health care systems that were overwhelmed.

One of my proudest accomplishments over the last year was the work that we did in the Navajo Nation. The people living there had one of the highest case rates and fatality rates of anywhere in America and Team Rubicon stepped in with hundreds of medical providers for nearly 300 days. I have no doubt that we were saving the lives of numerous people while we were there. And that’s now extended into the vaccine work.

We’ve supported over 12,000 vaccinations in the Navajo Nation, which has one of the highest vaccine uptake rates of anywhere across the country, which is a testament to the community-oriented approach that they have. It’s that mentality of, “We’re in this together” — and we need more of that across the country.

CNN: How do you think your group has handled all of the challenges posed by the pandemic?

Wood: Fifteen months ago, we were all faced with a choice: Were we going to retreat into our cave and hope that the pandemic would pass us by or were we going to help as many people as we could? And at Team Rubicon, we didn’t blink. We stretched ourselves into missions that we had never imagined doing before.

Our team was flexible, adaptive, innovative — and they were committed to helping their country during one of the greatest crises it’s ever faced. The one thing that I’d want people to know about Team Rubicon is that when you need us, we will be there.

I give Team Rubicon two thumbs up for their dedication and hard work.  To learn a bit more and see some of the other places they’ve been, people they’ve helped, check out their website!

Boom 🧨

Just what pleasure do people get from setting off obnoxiously loud fireworks for hours on end?  I’ve never understood it.  I am sitting here at just after midnight, and every few seconds comes another loud BOOM!  This is an apartment complex of 180 townhouses, most occupied by working class families with children and pets.  Some actually go to bed and sleep at night, but obviously not tonight. My own cats are cowering under the sofa.  There are a number of fireworks shows in and around this city with fireworks that are actually pretty, that light up the night sky with colour, so why don’t these fools attend one of those?  No, they would rather set off fireworks that only make loud noise and cause my heart to literally jump with every single one.  I am too old for this crap.

The reason for the fireworks?  Today is the 4th of July 2021.  Here in the United States it is a federal holiday commemorating the passage of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776.  There was a time when this day meant something to me. Today, I find it difficult to feel any particular loyalty to a nation that is so divided we seem to be two distinctly separate countries, only without geographic boundaries.  There is no middle ground anymore … you are either a liberal or conservative, Democrat of Republican, human or racist, thinker or follower.  There have, of course, always been such divisions, but until about a decade ago, there was a middle ground, some things that we could all agree on.  Today, that middle ground is gone, replaced by a wide chasm, a desolate wasteland where neither side will venture.  Worse yet, civility and respect have also flown the coop such that if one person disagrees with another, they will call each other vulgar names and hurl accusations, maybe even threats.

We are on a path that is taking us far from the ideology that this nation was once based on, that of “all ‘men’ being created equal.”  Racism is on the rise around the nation, promoted by many of our elected officials.  Our right to participate in our government via our vote is on the chopping block and was dealt what may turn out to be a death blow last Thursday by none other than the U.S. Supreme Court.

Inflation is >5% just in the past year, and many families who lost income during the pandemic are struggling to survive while state governments are cutting unemployment benefits.

Gun violence is beyond words … anybody can buy and own a gun … as many of them as they want.  They can buy automatic weapons that can kill everyone in the room within a minute or two.  Shootings at grocery stores, mosques, on the streets, in theaters and bars have become commonplace and one half of the nation would protect their right to own a gun before they would protect their own children.

The U.S. is the #1 per capita emitter of the carbon that is literally killing us all with melting icecaps, rising sea levels, deadly heat, water shortages, ruined crops and more and the people of this nation rebel at any suggestion that they make certain lifestyle changes to try to turn things around.

No, I’m afraid there really isn’t a whole lot to celebrate this holiday.  The one bright spot is that we do, after four long years, finally have a president who is intelligent and compassionate, who cares about the needs of the people, but even that bright light is dimmed by those who would put up obstacles at every turn to slow or halt any progress he might make.

So no, I’m not celebrating this holiday … this is just another Sunday to me and frankly I’ll be glad when this long weekend is over and the fireworks stop so the kitties can come out from under the sofa, we can stop worrying about a fire here in da hood, and my heart can settle back into my chest.