I Just Don’t Get It 🤷

Perhaps I’m a bit simple-minded these days, but I’m really confused over something and I’m hoping someone can make sense of this for me.  The issue?  Why is it that the United States Congress can pass, relatively without argument, a bill that allocates $768 billion for a single year to the military, in large part to purchase more tanks, guns, and nuclear weapons … hardware made with the sole purpose of killing humans … but they cannot pass a bill that would help people who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table?

To be clear, here is a summary of the major points in the Build Back Better bill (aka BBB) that congressional Republicans are determined to send to its grave:

  • Universal preschool for children
  • Free community college
  • Lower prescription drug costs
  • Tax cuts for families with children and childcare support
  • 12 weeks of paid family leave
  • Housing investments
  • Tax cuts for electric vehicles and other climate incentives

The cost of the Build Back Better bill is $150 billion per year … just under 20% of the cost of the recently passed defense bill.  Build Back Better helps people … people who need the help whether due to the pandemic or other circumstances beyond their control, whereas the defense bill largely helps arms manufacturers.  The refusal of Republicans in Congress to even consider the BBB at this time is a huge hypocrisy and in my view is further proof, as if any were needed, that Republicans largely do not give a royal damn about the average person in this nation, including their own voters.  Their fortunes and therefore their votes are tied to the wealthy corporations and groups like the NRA, arms manufacturers, and fossil fuel industry and to hell with John Doe!

And on another, but related note, why in the Sam Hell are both of the voting rights bills stagnating somewhere in the Capitol, unlikely to see the light of day?  With nearly every state in the nation passing draconian laws that will make it harder for the average citizen to vote and damn near impossible for many who are not white middle-class males to vote, it is not rocket science to figure out that the federal government needs to step in and protect the most important right granted to We the People under the U.S. Constitution!

The two voting rights bills, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and the Freedom to Vote Act, are being held up by not only every Republican senator, but two Democratic senators, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.  These 52 unconscionable people either do not understand the meaning of a democracy or else are determined to undermine the very foundation of our nation and turn it into a banana republic, an illegitimate dictatorship.

The Republicans in Congress are not in the least bit bothered by spending nearly a trillion dollars of OUR hard-earned tax dollars to build more killing machinery, yet they will not lift so much as a pen to protect our rights, our very lives.  I sincerely hope that the majority of Republican senators and representatives currently sitting in Congress are voted out of office next November for they do NOT represent the people of this country!

Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers

As I sat down to write this post, I sighed deeply, not really feeling in the right spirit for a ‘good people’ post.  But, knowing how much you all enjoy the good people posts, I carried on and within a few minutes of reading about good people, my dark mood began to lift.  Funny how good people can do that, isn’t it?


Jimmy Finch lives in Clarksville, Tennessee, about 90 miles from Mayfield, Kentucky, where a devastating tornado hit last Friday night.  Mayfield reportedly suffered the worst damage throughout the five states that were impacted by tornadoes that night.

On Sunday morning, Jimmy Finch loaded food and a smoker onto his small trailer and headed out to feed the people of Mayfield.  As Jimmy tells it …

“I know they don’t have electricity. No restaurants. No running water. I just figured I would do what I could do. So I showed up with some food and some water.  I just came down here trying to feed the people. Everybody’s talking about they’re sending up prayers and, you know, their well wishes and everything. You know, folks can’t eat no prayer. You gotta put something in their stomach. Give them something to hold on to.”

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Something To Think About …

Since becoming largely disabled due to a heart condition in early September, one of the things I have been able to do is spend more time reading!  Way back in the day, I used to read 3-4 books of an average 450 pages each, every week.  But then … I began blogging, Donald Trump came on the scene, the clowns took over the country, and my days and nights were suddenly filled with trolling the news and writing 2-3 blog posts every day.  Reading for pleasure took a backseat and I was lucky to read 100 pages a week.  But now, being unable to leave my chair for more than a few minutes at a time, I am once again a voracious reader and have read, on average, 6-7 books every week.

One of the topics that is near and dear to my heart is September 11, 2001.  When I became ill in early September, I had just started working on a 20-year-anniversary post, but never managed to finish it.  I don’t know that I ever will, but among the books I have read over the past three months are a couple of 9/11 books, the most recent being “The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11” by Garrett M. Graff.  This book is composed of thousands of personal accounts of that day, from the North and South towers to the Pentagon to the field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania where flight 93 was brought down by passengers determined to fight back against the hijackers.

As I read those personal accounts of people … thousands of people … firefighters, police officers, government workers and civilians … risking and often losing their own lives in their attempt to help people, I couldn’t help thinking of this country today, some 20 years later.  What a difference!!!

When I was working on my master’s degree, I worked for a professor of Political Science, the late Dr. Joseph Scolnick, at the University of Virginia.  I well remember one paper I helped him research that proposed the most effective way to bring about cohesion within a divided nation was an external threat.  Throughout history, some countries have even manufactured external threats in order to bring their citizenry together.  We saw a prime example of how an external threat brought people together with our own eyes in the hours and days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 when people went out of their way, out of their comfort zone, even in one case buying a brand-new truck and donating it to the rescue efforts!  Shop owners opened their doors and their hearts to the injured, the displaced, and the traumatized.  There were no strangers on that day.  And I wonder …

With the current level of divisiveness in this country today, largely magnified and enhanced by the former guy and his puppets, if we suffered a similar attack, would we rise to the occasion as we did on September 11, 2001?  Or would we remain so politically divided that each side would point the fingers of blame at the other?  Would racism, religious differences and ideological divides keep us from coming together in the interest of humanity?  Would a Republican risk his life to run into a burning building to carry a Democrat out?  Would we, the average people in this nation, pitch in to help in any way we could, or would we find ways to attack and denigrate one group or another?

I have no answers for those questions.  I like to believe that we would, once again, rally to the cause, come together as humans, setting aside our differences, but I find it difficult to believe most days when I see the pure hatred between ethnicities, religions, and political parties.  A year and a half ago, when COVID first hit the U.S. hard, I thought this would be the thing that brought this nation together, the enemy we could all join hands and fight against.  Instead, the pandemic has further divided us over such things as masks, social distancing, legislation, and vaccines.  Even after more than 818,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, we cannot all agree to do what is necessary to protect both ourselves and others, so why would I think we would rush into a burning building to save a stranger?

As I said, I have no answers, but I ask only that you … think about it.

Do You Know What’s in the Infrastructure Bill?

These days it seems we are bombarded with ‘misinformation’ … I call them lies … but call it what you will, it has left us in the dark on many issues.  One topic that has been subjected to so many lies and so much confusion is the recently passed infrastructure bill, or BIF.  Many are simply confused, others are attempting to paint it as something it isn’t.  But, our friend TokyoSand over at the Political Charge blog has some excellent FACTUAL information!  I hope you’ll take a moment or two to read her post and see for yourself what is actually contained in this bill, rather than believing the falsehoods that readily float on the media and the internet.  Thank you, TokyoSand!

We can’t amplify and tout the fantastic infrastructure bill if we don’t know what’s in it. This overview will help.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Good grief!  Have the Republicans in Congress completely lost their bloody minds?  On Friday, the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that has been the source of much haggling for months finally passed in the House.  It would not have passed this time either, had it not been for 13 Republicans who stepped up to the plate and put the best interests of the people ahead of the Republican Party.

  • Don Bacon of Nebraska
  • Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania
  • Andrew Garbarino of New York
  • Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio
  • John Katko of New York
  • Adam Kinzinger of Illinois
  • Nicole Malliotakis of New York
  • David McKinley of West Virginia
  • Tom Reed of New York
  • Chris Smith of New Jersey
  • Fred Upton of Michigan
  • Jeff van Drew of New Jersey
  • Don Young of Alaska

Filosofa gives a huge thumbs-up to these 13 men and women!  👍

But then came the repercussions from the circus show otherwise known as the GOP, or the Republican Party.  A sampling …

  • “I can’t believe Republicans just gave the Democrats their socialism bill” — Matt Gaetz  👎
  • “That 13 House Republicans provided the votes needed to pass this is absurd” — Chip Roy  👎
  • “Vote for this infrastructure bill and I will primary the hell out of you” — Madison Cawthorn  👎
  • Says ol’ Margie Greene … any Republican who voted for the bill would be “a traitor to our party, a traitor to their voters and a traitor to our donors.” After the vote, she accused the 13 of having voted to “pass Joe Biden’s Communist takeover of America” and tweeted the phone numbers to their congressional offices.  👎👎

It becomes obvious that either a) these people have no idea what ‘infrastructure’ is, or b) they don’t care if people are killed on crumbling roadways and bridges, if the people of this nation have clean, safe, drinking water, and more.  My best guess is the latter explanation … the Republican Party no longer gives a damn about their constituents or about the people who pay their salaries … they care only about their own power and wealth.

Six Democrats voted against the bill, but you don’t hear other Democrats deriding them and calling them names.  Just goes to show the difference in the level of maturity, don’t you think?

A number of Republicans are either leaving the party or deciding not to run again next year because they are ashamed of what the party has become and no longer wish to be associated with it.  While I fully understand their logic and cannot argue to the contrary, perhaps it would be better for the country if those few who still have a conscience stayed in the party and tried to make a difference.  We’ll never know.

The Republican Party has become something that would make the Founding Fathers roll over in their graves.  The only way they will change is if the most radical of them are voted out of office.  There was a time when I thought the vast majority of people in this country were too smart to fall for some of the crap the GOP is dishing out, but today I’m not so sure.

Black Face On White Supremacy

On September 14th, Californians will cast their vote to either keep current Governor Gavin Newsom or replace him with one of a number of other candidates vying for his job. The leading contender appears to be Larry Elder, who I have mentioned before here on Filosofa’s Word. Elder is NOT a man under whose governance I would wish to live! Clay Jones over at Claytoonz has done a fantastic job of showing us who Elder is … read on!

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Over the weekend, a speaker at a rally for California governor Gavin Newsome said his Republican opponent, Larry Elder, is a “black face on white supremacy.” Larry Elder is a controversial right-wing Trump-supporting conspiracy-spreading whack job with a radio show who also happens to be black. But black people can be conservative lunatics too, right? Is it fair to accuse one of them, like Larry Elder, of being a “black face on white supremacy?” After all, Larry Elder is totally 100 percent in favor of reparations for slavery.

Of course, it’s not descendants of slaves Larry wants reparations for. No, Larry believe slave OWNERS should be rewarded reparations.

Ya’ see, Larry was talking to fellow black conservative lunatic, Candace Owens (which helps defend him from the charges of racism because she can be his prop for a black friend), and he argued since slavery was legal, slave owners were robbed…

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The Good, The Bad, The Hopeful

A few days ago, my dear friend Ellen sent me Maureen Dowd’s column from the New York Times.  She says so much that the topic of the column rather defies description, but her vision of where this nation is today is spot on.  She also gives us hope in a more positive, yet realistic assessment of President Biden’s policies and actions than we’re used to hearing these days.


Drowning Our Future in the Past

By Maureen Dowd

Opinion Columnist

It isn’t a pretty picture.

One coast is burning. The other is under water. In between, anti-abortion vigilantes may soon rampage across gunslinging territory.

What has happened to this country?

America is reeling backward, strangled by the past, nasty and uncaring, with everyone at one another’s throats.

Post-Trump, we let ourselves hope that the new president could heal and soothe, restore a sense of rationality, decency and sanity. But the light at the end of the tunnel turned out to be just a firefly.

We feel the return of dread: We’re rattled by the catastrophic exit from Afghanistan; the coming abortion war sparked by Texas; the Trumpian Supreme Court dragging us into the past; the confounding nature of this plague; the way Mother Nature is throttling us, leaving New Yorkers to drown in their basements. And now comes Donald Trump, tromping toward another presidential run.

It feels as if nothing can be overcome. Everything is being relitigated.

We’re choking on enlightened climate proposals but the disparity between the disasters we see, and what’s being done in Washington, makes it feel as though nothing is happening except climate change. We’re so far from getting a handle on the problem, the discussions around it seem almost theoretical.

Joe Manchin, tied to the energy industry, balks at climate change provisions in the reconciliation bill. He should be looking for ways to get West Virginia in touch with reality rather than living in the past.

“Manchin’s claim that climate pollution would be worsened by the elimination of fossil fuels — or by the resolution’s actual, more incremental climate provisions — is highly dubious, if not outright false,” The Intercept reported, noting that the truth is that Manchin’s personal wealth would “be impacted.” Since he joined the Senate, The Intercept said, he has grossed some $4.5 million from coal companies he founded.

With its new abortion law, sending women back to the back alley and encouraging Stasi-like participation from the citizenry, Texas now becomes the capital of American unreason. The law “essentially delegated enforcement of that prohibition to the populace at large,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

There were medieval fiefs more enlightened than the Lone Star G.O.P.

Between putting women in danger by pushing that law and putting children in danger by imposing his anti-mask mania on school districts that want to mask up, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has become a scourge of the first rank.

A cynical slice of the Republican Party — and this includes Trump — privately denigrates anti-abortion activists as wackos, but publicly moves in lock-step with them in order to cling to that base and keep power.

But the anti-abortion forces were somehow clever enough to hijack the Supreme Court and Republicans will have to contend with the backlash when the court tosses Roe v. Wade aside.

As botched as the withdrawal from Afghanistan was, at least Joe Biden was trying to move into the future and do triage on one of America’s worst mistakes.

And unlike other presidents — J.F.K. with the Bay of Pigs, L.B.J. with the Vietnam War and Barack Obama with the Afghanistan surge — Biden did not allow himself to be suckered by the generals, the overweening Ivy Leaguers and the Blob, the expense account monsters who keep this town whirring and always have a seat at the table, no matter how wrong they were, and are.

The Afghanistan tragedy, as James Risen wrote in The Intercept, was just two decades of Americans lying to one another, and it “brought out in Americans the same imperial arrogance that doomed the U.S. involvement in Vietnam.”

Unlike his three predecessors, Biden risked Saudi ire by directing the Justice Department and other agencies on Friday to review and declassify documents related to the F.B.I.’s investigation into 9/11. Families of 9/11 victims had been pushing for the release of the secret files to learn more about the role the Saudis played in the attacks.

The enablers of our misbegotten occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq have been shrieking like banshees at Biden, trying to manacle him to their own past mistakes as he attempts to lift off.

With peerless chutzpah, Tony Blair called Biden’s decision to depart cynical and driven by an “imbecilic political slogan about ending ‘the forever wars.’”

But Biden knew enough not to spend more lives and treasure to prop up a kleptocracy. He oversaw some bad weeks in Afghanistan but George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld should be blamed for 20 bad years.

Remarkably, as Jon Allsop pointed out in The Columbia Journalism Review, the word “Bush” was not mentioned once on any of the Sunday news shows the weekend Kabul was falling.

“He looks like the Babe Ruth of presidents when you compare him to Trump,” Harry Reid, the former Democratic Senate majority leader, told The Washington Post’s Ben Terris, for a story this past week on Bush nostalgia.

With a memory like a goldfish, America circles its bowl, returning to where we have been, unable to move forward, condemned to repeat a past we should escape.

Perhaps We Trusted Too Much

If you were born with pale skin in the United States in the last 150 years, you have led a life of great privilege, though you might not realize it.  You might begin to realize it if you could exchange brief life stories with someone your age born in Ghana, Afghanistan, Hong Kong, Brazil, Iraq … most any other non-democratic nation.  But here’s the thing … we are so used to that life of privilege that we no longer appreciate it, we take it for granted.

Since you were old enough to talk, you’ve understood that this is a mostly free nation, that people have certain ‘unalienable’ rights.  You can choose your own career path, can choose to be well-educated … or not.  You can choose, within the confines of your economic status, where to live, what sort of car to drive.  You are not told who, or even if you must marry.  You are not forced into any religion.  And perhaps most importantly of all, you have the right to vote in order to keep people in government who are dedicated to preserving your rights.

You were told when you first learned about the founding of the U.S. and the U.S. Constitution that this document was the foundation of our nation and was the primary safeguard against the country ever becoming a Nazi Germany ruled by a madman.  You were told that the Constitution guaranteed that religion and government would always be kept separate, that you would never be beheaded for not believing in any religion.  It is your right, you were told, to be a Jew, Muslin, Hindu, Christian, or atheist.  It is your right to marry whomever you choose.  It is your right to have the final say over your body.  And you thought all this was guaranteed, that those ‘rights’ could never be taken away from you.

It may just be that you were wrong.

We became lazy, we became complacent, we became inured to the little things that were chipping away at our lives, our freedoms, as we didn’t even realize it.  We trusted in our government and its foundational separation of powers that would always keep any one branch of government from having too much power.  We never asked ourselves what would happen if two or even three of those branches plotted to join hands and become all-powerful.  We had the utmost faith in the impartial, non-partisan, 9-member Supreme Court that would always rule in favour of ‘right’.  We trusted in the ‘Separation of Church and State’ doctrine to keep us free of bigoted, restrictive rules imposed by religious sects.

But a funny thing happened as we travelled through the decades.  Men became intoxicated by power and the smell of money. And then they lied to us.  They lied about little things, they lied about big things.  They manipulated us, told us that those who try to help people in need are ‘socialists’ and ‘communists’, even though the majority of people do not even understand what those terms mean, but these greedy men gave us their interpretation and … we were too lazy to educate ourselves with facts, to learn the truth of the matter.

I won’t go through the entire scenario of the past twelve years or so, but here we are today … dangerously close to the precipice, to that thin line that separates a democratic republic from an autocracy.  Even now, when we nearly lost our voices and our freedoms on January 6th, far too many people believe that the men lying to them on a near-hourly basis are the good guys, the guys in the white hats.  They have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into believing that white folks like themselves are being pushed into a minority and that … somehow this is not a good thing.  They have been convinced that climate change is a hoax, that the pandemic is but a minor blip on the radar, and that somehow all evil stems from one side of the political spectrum.

A quote by Nelson Mandela speaks volumes here …

The United States is at a crossroads.  We can continue to allow the politicians, our elected representatives, to lie to us, to rob us, to cheat on us, as we take comfort in the fact that we have a job, a comfortable home, a ‘happy’ life, or we can educate ourselves, wake up and realize what could happen, how drastically our lives could change over the coming few years if we simply do nothing, continue to believe that somehow it will “all work out in the long run.”  A lot of people in Germany 90 years ago made the same mistake.

The Week’s Best Cartoons: Texas’ Abortion Ban

I haven’t re-blogged TokyoSand’s Saturday cartoon post for the past two weeks, for there is so much deeply wrong in this country today that the cartoons seemed to somehow fall flat with me.  However, given my own malaise and the primary topic of this week’s cartoons — women’s rights, which is near and dear to my own heart — I’ve decided to re-blog this week’s post.  The main topic, of course, is the new Texas law, currently upheld by the white-male-dominant Supreme Court, that has set women’s rights back a hundred years or more.  And then, there’s climate change — no longer is it possible to reject the science of climate change when we’re had uncontrollable wildfires, floods, and mega-storms, not to mention killer heat all summer long.  So, sit back and enjoy the ‘toons … you’ll find the entire collection over at Tokyo’s place (link at end).

Note to readers:  I have been having health issues for some 3 weeks now and my energy levels are on a roller coaster ride, mostly at the bottom of the track.  Therefore, I have not posted much and have not responded to comments at all, nor am I likely to try to catch up at this point.  I have read all comments, and appreciate those of you who have helped out by keeping the conversations going.  I shall pick up here and try not to fall behind again.  I appreciate your patience and apologize for my laziness.


See The Rest Of The ‘Toons Here!

Good People Doing Good Things — In The Wake Of A Storm

On Sunday, exactly sixteen years after the infamous Hurricane Katrina swept up through the Gulf of Mexico along almost the same path, Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana.  At least seven are dead and more than one million without electricity.  Sounds like a perfect place for a few good people to step in, doesn’t it?


Back in February when an unexpected snowstorm hit Texas I wrote about Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, Texas, who opened the doors of his showroom to anyone in need of warmth and shelter.  McIngvale’s generosity and kindness dates back 16 years to the time of Hurricane Katrina when he opened his doors to those in need of shelter.  And today, in the wake of Hurricane Ida, McIngvale, age 70, is once again heeding the call of those in need.

But this time, McIngvale is sending dozens of trucks loaded to the brim with the most essential things.  Says McIngvale …

“Our hearts go out for the residents of Louisiana, especially in New Orleans residents are getting hit by this terrible hurricane.  So on Monday at Gallery Furniture from eight to five in the afternoon, we’re gonna have a giant drive. Looking for people to bring non-perishable foods, diapers, all the normal things for hurricanes and we’re gonna get about 30 trucks and take them to Louisiana to help the people out and be doing that as long as the need’s there. And we’re also having Louisiana residents that evacuated to Houston sleep here free.”


And as Hurricane Ida swept through New Orleans causing massive evacuations, the nursing staff at the NICU at Ochsner Health Hospital in New Orleans volunteered to stay through the night with the babies who desperately needed them.  Says Nurse Paula Jean Simon …

“I am so proud. My team pulls together, doesn’t matter what’s happening, they’re going to make sure the babies are taken care of.”


And lastly, wherever there is a disaster, you won’t likely have to look far to find Chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen staff setting up shop and providing food and more to the people in need.  This week is no exception … Andrés came to New Orleans straight from Haiti where they have been providing food and assistance to the people displaced by first by an earthquake that killed over 2,000, followed by Hurricane Grace.

Andrés tweeted on August 29th

Hello friends of @WCKitchen! I’m on the ground in New Orleans with @natemook & WCK’s Relief team…Winds are getting bad as Hurricane #Ida makes landfall…We have 3 kitchens ready with supplies already for 100,000+ meals! Now we will shelter until Ida passes…


My apologies for both the lateness and the brevity of this good people post, but I hope to get back up to speed soon!