Orbán Is Teaching, Republicans Are All Ears

On Thursday, the Republicans began their annual CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) meeting … in the nation of Hungary, not here in the U.S.  Not even in a democratic nation, but in one ruled by an authoritarian, Viktor Orbán.  One might ask why they would go to the extra trouble, extra expense, and spend the extra time holding their meetings more than 4,000 miles away.  And I might answer that it is their goal to model the United States on Orbán’s example, to establish the same sort of country that Hungary is today.  Need proof?

The unconscionable Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and organizer of CPAC, told NPR this week that he was bringing his event to Hungary because it “represents Christian conservative values” and American conservatives want to replicate this in the U.S. by learning from the country’s ultra-right-wing authoritarian prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

The conference’s program shows exactly what topics are important to the Trump wing of the Republican Party, with sessions entitled: “Western civilization under attack,” “In God we trust,” “The father is a man, the mother is a woman,” and “Culture wars in the media.”  Joining Schlapp and the rest of the KKK Republicans will be the truly nasty Candace Owens and her current hubby, Parler CEO George Farmer.  Oh, and guess who else will be making an appearance via video message?  The ignoble Tucker Carlson of Fox ‘News’ and Mark Meadows, former chief of staff for the twice-impeached former guy.  What a lineup, eh?  So much filth all in one place!  They may have to burn the building just to get rid of the stench.

But the ‘star’ of the show is Orbán himself, the main reason the convention is being held in Hungary to begin with.  In his opening remarks on Thursday, he said …

  • “We need to take back the institutions in Washington and Brussels. We need to find friends, and we need to find allies. We need to coordinate the movement of our troops, because we have a big challenge ahead of us.”
  • “Have your own media. It’s the only way to point out the insanity of the progressive left. The problem is that the western media is adjusted to the leftist viewpoint. Those who taught reporters in universities already had progressive leftist principles. Of course, the GOP has its media allies, but they can’t compete with the mainstream liberal media. My friend, Tucker Carlson is the only one who puts himself out there. His show is the most popular. What does it mean? It means programs like his should be broadcasted day and night. Or as you say 24/7.”

The press at CPAC is mostly home-grown, from state-run Hungarian media. Independent European and U.S. outlets were largely denied access, and CBS News was one of a small number allowed access to the conference.  Journalists from international media outlets, including the New Yorker, Vox Media, Vice News, Rolling Stone, and the Associated Press, were denied access to the event despite months of requests.

Are you starting to feel the chills going up your spine yet?  I do.

Let me tell you just a bit about Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.  He is a white supremacist authoritarian. He’s restricted Muslim immigration and LGBTQ rights while building a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  The former guy was a big fan of Orbán, saying …

“Viktor Orbán has done a tremendous job in so many different ways — highly respected, respected all over Europe — probably, like me, a little bit controversial, but that’s OK.”

I rarely repeat the words of the former guy, for in my book he is completely irrelevant, but I do so this time to give you an idea of the sort of person Orbán is … and believe me, he is not a good person and he is definitely NOT highly respected throughout Europe.

All of the international democracy rating agencies agree that Hungary is no longer a democracy.  During his 12 years in power, Orbán has chipped away at the foundations of Hungarian democracy. It has been replaced with an authoritarian regime that wields a cynical interpretation of the law as a weapon; the country is governed by rules like the border journalism permits, regulations that can seem reasonable on their face but actually serve to undermine essential democratic freedoms.

Elections there are free, in the sense that the vote counts aren’t nakedly rigged. But they are unfair: The government controls the airwaves and media companies to such a degree that the opposition can’t get their message out.

Viktor Orbán is an autocrat, he does not govern but he rules … and yes there is a difference, a BIG difference.  Orbán is, by any reasonable definition, a fascist, although some would argue he is merely a ‘soft fascist’.  Fascism … it’s a scary word, isn’t it?  The former guy made no attempt to hide the fact that he wanted to rule rather than govern, and he chipped away at the restraints that kept him, to an extent at least, from doing so.  He plotted not one, but three attempts to overthrow the will of the people in the 2020 election, to install himself as an unelected autocrat for … how long?  4 years?  6 years?  A lifetime?

The fact that CPAC chose to hold their annual convention in Hungary and more to the point to have Orbán as their main speaker should tell you all you need to know about the course being plotted by Republicans aka conservatives for the United States.  It’s an ugly picture my friends.  I’m not a scaremonger or a conspiracy theorist, but the Republican Party has been overtaken by a wanna-be dictator and they are falling all over themselves trying to lick his boots, to please him.  What does that say for the future of this nation?

A Plea For Responsibility

The following is the text of a letter written by Senate Majority Leader Charles (Chuck) Schumer to the head of Fox ‘News’ network.  I fully concur with all that Senator Schumer says and I hope that somewhere under his greed, Mr. Rupert Murdoch has at least a shred of a conscience.  Murdoch and his Fox network are complicit in the murders of 10 people last weekend in Buffalo, New York, as well as countless others in recent years.  Free speech is one thing, but when it is not accompanied by responsibility and accountability, it can destroy lives, destroy a nation.


Dear Mr. Rupert Murdoch et al.:

I write to urge you to immediately cease the reckless amplification of the so-called “Great Replacement” theory on your network’s broadcasts.  Proponents of this white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theory believe that a complicit or cooperative class of elites are advancing a plot designed to undermine the political power and culture of white Americans.  For years, these types of beliefs have existed at the fringes of American life.  However, this pernicious theory, which has no basis in fact, has been injected into the mainstream thanks in large part to a dangerous level of amplification by your network and its anchors.

A recent AP poll found that nearly one third of American adults believe that a group of people is trying to replace native-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains.  That same poll found that your viewers are nearly three times more likely to believe in Replacement Theory than other networks.  This should come as no surprise, given the central role these themes have played in your network’s programming in recent years.  A recent New York Times investigation found that Tucker Carlson alone amplified this dangerous and unfounded theory in more than 400 episodes of his show.

I urge you to take into consideration the very real impacts of the dangerous rhetoric being broadcast on your network on a nightly basis.  In 2018, a white man who killed 11 worshipers in a Pittsburgh synagogue blamed Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.  In 2019, a white man who expressed anger over “the Hispanic invasion of Texas” killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart and later told the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.  And just days ago in Buffalo, a white man killed 10 people in a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side.  In a manifesto posted online, the individual responsible for this heinous murder wrote that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”

These incidents alone, to say nothing of the many more which have occurred in recent years, have led to dozens of lives being lost and countless others irreversibly impacted.  The devastation and despair that families and communities feel in the wake of these incidents cannot be overstated.  For instance, my constituents in east Buffalo who will be forced to relive this tragic event every single time they visit the supermarket for a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.  It is on their behalf, and on behalf of the residents in communities in Pittsburgh, El Paso, and cities around the country who bear the consequences of this hateful ideology that I write you.

While it was good to see the Wall Street Journal Editorial board write that “Politicians and media figures have an obligation to condemn … such conspiratorial notions as ‘white replacement theory’”, words of condemnation are hardly enough.  To this end, I implore you to immediately cease all dissemination of false white nationalist, far-right conspiracy theories on your network.

Sincerely,

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

CC: Tucker Carlson

The President Speaks … Will the Nation Listen?

Today, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden spoke in Buffalo, New York, regarding the horrific mass shooting on Saturday.  I, for one, am thankful to have a president who cares, as President Biden so obviously does, who attempts to bring calm in times of chaos, hope in times of despair, and unity in times of divisiveness.

Meet The New Press Secretary!

I will miss Jen Psaki.  After the 4 years of the previous administration with such reprobates as the bumbling Sean Spicer, the nasty Sarah Huckabee Sanders, silent Stephanie Grisham, and the grand bimbo Kayleigh McEnany, Ms. Psaki has been as a breath of fresh air.  I shall miss her compassion and her intelligence, as well as her uncanny ability to put an antagonist in his place without missing a beat.  Would that we could make her position a lifelong appointment …

But Ms. Psaki said early in her tenure that she would not stay for the entire 4-year term of the Biden presidency, and in fact she expected to stay only a year or so, but a series of crises – the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continuation of the pandemic, among other issues – convinced her to stay longer.  However, she has other fish to fry, and we owe her a debt of gratitude for bringing intelligence, humour and dignity back into the White House pressroom.

And now, it’s time to move on.  But my sadness over Psaki’s leaving is offset by my joy at her chosen replacement!  Allow me to introduce Ms. Karine Jean-Pierre.  Jean-Pierre has been White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary since 2021 and served as the chief of staff for vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris on the 2020 United States presidential campaign.  Prior to that, she was the senior advisor and national spokeswoman for MoveOn.org and a political analyst for NBC News and MSNBC. She is also a former lecturer in international and public affairs at Columbia University.

Ms. Jean-Pierre’s educational background makes her a fine fit for the office of press secretary:  She is a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology. She received her MPA from the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2003, where she served in student government and decided to pursue politics.

She brings a combination of education and experience that far exceeds any of the four from the previous administration.  Oh yes, and she adds something else to the Biden administration:  diversity.  You see, Ms. Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman and the first openly gay person to serve in this position.  Now, I’m thrilled about the diversity, happy to see that President Biden is keeping his promise to diversify the executive branch, but I don’t want that to be the sole focus, for Ms. Jean-Pierre is more than that.  It would be unfair to assume that she only got the job because of her skin colour or gender identification.  She is a well-qualified woman who will do an excellent job … and she has a big pair of shoes to fill!

In making the announcement, President Biden said …

“Karine not only brings the experience, talent and integrity needed for this difficult job, but she will continue to lead the way in communicating about the work of the Biden-Harris Administration on behalf of the American people. Jill and I have known and respected Karine a long time and she will be a strong voice speaking for me and this Administration.

Jen Psaki has set the standard for returning decency, respect and decorum to the White House Briefing Room. I want to say thank you to Jen for raising the bar, communicating directly and truthfully to the American people, and keeping her sense of humor while doing so. I thank Jen for her service to the country, and wish her the very best as she moves forward.”

Ms. Jean-Pierre and her partner, CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux, are the parents of one daughter.  As she said of her work in the Obama White House …

“What’s been wonderful is that I was not the only; I was one of many. President Obama didn’t hire LGBT staffers, he hired experienced individuals who happen to be LGBT. Serving and working for President Obama where you can be openly gay has been an amazing honor. It felt incredible to be a part of an administration that prioritizes LGBT issues.”

Welcome aboard, Ms. Jean-Pierre … we look forward to seeing you in action!  And Ms. Psaki – you will be missed, and yours will be a long-lived legacy, for you restored so much to the position.  Thank you for all that you did.

Jen Psaki (right) getting ready to hand over the reins to Karina Jean-Pierre

You Say You Won’t Vote In November???

You’ve all heard it many times before.  I’ve posted it here on Filosofa’s Word a number of times in various contexts.  But today, I am asking you to read it and think about it from the perspective of those who, given the political chaos and unrest at present, still shrug their shoulders, say that “these things always work out, so I’m not gonna worry about it”, or those who don’t like either candidate in an election so they either just don’t vote, or throw away their vote on some third party or write-in candidate.

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

– Martin Niemöller, January 6, 1946

Think of it in today’s terms …

First they came for the Blacks

And I did not speak out

Because I was not Black

Then they came for LGBTQ people

And I did not speak out

Because I was not an LGBTQ person

Then they came for teachers

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a teacher

Then they came for voters

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a voter

And then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

Sadly, I have many friends, former friends, and even former family members who are among those who shrug their shoulders, tell me to “chill, Jill”, and go on with the business of posting pictures of their meals, going on vacations, and whatever else floats their boat.  They claim they only seek ‘happiness’.  They cannot see what is before them, cannot see that we are on the cusp of any number of events that can and likely will change the very face of this nation.  In our lifetime we have survived Watergate, Vietnam, 9/11, and now the pandemic, they tell me.  Yes, but this is different.  I can feel it in the air, feel it in my bones … this time, some of us, perhaps most of us, won’t get off so easily.  Even those who side with the right-wing state of evil and corruption will not find that bed of roses at the end of the day.

Maybe there’s still time to change the way this nation is headed, but we need people to wake up, need them to THINK!  Those who don their blinders and stuff cotton in their ears, then walk around singing, “La la la ♫ la la ♫ … I can’t hear you” are the problem.  Those who say they won’t vote, or who will throw their vote away … they are the problem.  Those who don’t even bother to read a newspaper, because they are too busy shopping online for a new collar for the dog, are the problem.  And those who believe what they are told by the likes of Fox ‘News’ and other right-wing media … they are responsible for what comes next.

No, I don’t expect brownshirts to come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night, but listen … hear that?  Those who seem to have tired of democracy, of a government “of, by, and for the people,” are already taking over schools, threatening teachers who actually teach our children.  They are already taking away our voting rights.  And they are already trying to convince the Supreme Court to diminish women’s rights by reversing Roe v Wade and LGBTQ rights by reversing Obergefell v Hodges.  What’s next?  Take away integrated schools, return to the doctrine of “separate but equal” which was never even close to ‘equal’?

This year, it is more important than ever that we not only vote, but help ensure that our friends and neighbors are able to register and to either obtain a mail-in ballot or else get to the right poll at the right time on election day.  It is, perhaps, the single most important thing we can do this year.  If you have the resources and the ability, I would encourage you to follow TokyoSand at Political Charge, for she always has good ideas about ways to help get voters to the polls.

Filosofa’s Grumblings …

So much for that ‘poisoned pill’ that Twitter said would stop the clown, Elon Musk, from effecting a hostile takeover of the social media giant.  Around noon today, I received no less than five “breaking news” texts on my cell phone informing me that Twitter has agreed to allow Musk to proceed with his takeover for somewhere in the neighborhood of $44 billion.  The deal is expected to be completed sometime this year.  Now I have a dilemma.  I said last week that I will close down my Twitter account the day Elon Musk takes over Twitter.  I meant it then, and I still mean it.  However, I’ve also read a number of people who I respect saying that those of us who stand for truth & justice, for racial and income equality, for the LGBTQ community and more, should stay on Twitter and fight, continue to make our voices heard, continue to hassle, annoy, and generally be a pain in the arse of those who are bigoted and corrupt.

What are your thoughts on this?  Admittedly, it made me step back for a minute and think, and I still haven’t come to a firm conclusion.  Why would I shut down my account?  What would be gained?  My thoughts are that I would be making a statement, and that if enough of us leave Twitter, Elon Musk will rue the day he even thought about making such a purchase.  What would be gained?  I would have assuaged my own conscience, for I do not believe in supporting the wealthy in any way, shape, or form.  I would not hate myself for talking the talk but failing to walk the walk.  But what would be lost?  Communications with friends and people from all walks of life.  What else would be lost?  A layer of stress, an hour or so of my daily time. A venue for my blog posts – my voice.

Needless to say, I’m undecided as yet, and I likely have some time to ponder, since I understand that Musk, for all his wealth, doesn’t have immediate access to a measly $44 billion and will have to play some liquidation games in order to fund his latest circus act.  Remember my post from earlier this month,  where I calculated that over 26 million children could eat for a full year for what Musk is paying to buy yet another plaything for his bored mind?  This, my friends, is why I despise those with great wealth … if they helped people as much as they could, they would no longer have that wealth.  That they have millions or billions of dollars is an automatic tell that they do nothing to help either the planet or humankind.

I’ll let you all know when I decide which direction I plan to take, but right at this moment I’m inclined to say it just isn’t worth the aggravation and stress to remain on Twitter, which will be a private company owned and operated by a wealthy clown.  Let me know your thoughts …


Speaking of Twitter … I came across this on Sunday and it damn near brought a tear to my eyes.  I almost never share people’s tweets here on ye olde blog, but this one … I need to share it with you and I hope Ron DeSantis and his bunch of homophobic, racist boot-lickers have seen this at least 1,000 times!

“Gov DeSantis, when I was a little boy growing up in Florida I had to drink from the “colored ” fountain at the Volusia County Courthouse. The “white “water was cool but ours was warm. This made me feel bad. May I share this with students in Florida?”

Is this what the Republicans want to take this nation back to?  Sure as hell seems like it sometimes, doesn’t it?

Time To WAKE UP ⏰ Democrats!!!

Listen up, Democrats!  It’s past time to stop this “Oh woe, Oh woe, Oh thrice times woe” bullshit (thanks, Roger!)  The Republicans cannot be handed a majority in the House of Representatives or the Senate in November, but it seems that is exactly what the lily-livered wusses of the Democratic Party plan to do!  If you believe your party is destined to take a walloping in November, and if you keep wringing your hands and whining instead of doing something about it, then yeah … that is precisely what will happen!  Check out Blake Hounshell’s latest column.

If, on the other hand, we get off our fat arses and get out there, make our voices heard, campaign like the life of the nation depends on it (because it does!), and make sure the names of the contenders in November are heard so loudly and so often that they are burned into people’s minds, then we stand a chance of keeping a democracy.  In fact, we should stand a damn good chance of keeping the current majorities in both chambers of Congress, given that the Republican Party is so damn screwed up they can’t even keep their stories straight!  A few examples:

  • Margie Greene, a freshman House Representative from Georgia, played a role in the January 6th violent white nationalist insurrection and as such, should not be eligible to run for re-election in November. She testified at a hearing on Friday, and it seems that … ol’ Marge isn’t too bright, for her answer to everything was “I don’t remember” or some variation of that theme.  For me, the kicker was when she was asked whether she urged President Donald Trump to impose martial law as a way to remain in power.  Her response?  “I don’t recall.”  I really think something that damn important would not just … slip her mind.  She’s a liar, just like Kevin McCarthy …
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, whose dream is to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House after the mid-term elections, told people after the January 6th attempted coup/insurrection that Trump was responsible for what happened and should be held accountable. He went so far as to tell people that he was planning to ask Trump to step down, and he did some research to investigate whether Amendment 25 was an option for removing Trump.  But then, when that was made public, he denied it … vehemently!  But then, lo and behold, there was an irrefutable recording.  Apparently, Trump Republicans are now saying that McCarthy will never be Speaker of the House.
  • And then there’s Mark Meadows, who was once Trump’s Chief of Staff, and who, it was recently disclosed, was registered to vote in three states at once! And … who is it crying “voter fraud”???  But Meadows is in even deeper than that, for it was also recently discovered that he was warned that violence was part of the plan for the events of January 6th, and he … did nothing.
  • It’s almost too easy these days to pick on U.S. House Representative Madison Cawthorn from North Carolina. He has been the subject of much consternation and many jokes as he claimed his colleagues invited him to a drug party, but the latest … well, a picture speaks louder than words, yes?

Cawthorn did not deny that the pictures were real, but referred offhandedly to them as “goofy vacation photos during a game on a cruise (taken waaay before I ran for Congress)”.  Okaaaaaaayyyy, Maddy!

So look, Democrats … the Republican Party is truly a bloomin’ mess!  I cannot think of many in the upper echelons of the party who have not lied repeatedly and worse yet, been caught in their lies.  Yes, the maga crowd seems to still be rah-rah-rah-ing Trump and his boot-lickers, but I think the maga crowd is growing smaller in light of some of these more blatant transgressions, and some, at least, are beginning to realize that this sort of trickery is not the way to run a country. I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but I think I have more enthusiasm for Democrats to hold, or even increase their majority in both chambers of Congress in November!  Where’s the spice, Democrats?

The only reason the pundits, even those who lean toward the left, are so pessimistic this year is that President Biden’s approval numbers are low.  They are low, in large part, because of things happening that were out of his control, and in part because the press seems determined to highlight his mistakes and ignore his many successes.  Historically, the midterms go in favour of whichever party does not sit in the Oval Office, and historically congressional elections will follow the approval ratings of the incumbent president.  But history has its exceptions, and this year could well be one of those exceptions.  We better work to make that happen!

President Biden is not perfect … he is human (which is much more than I can say for the former guy).  Sure, he has made mistakes … every president who has ever served has made mistakes.  But, Biden has done a heck of a lot of good that he gets far too little credit for in the press.  They prefer to focus on the economy, but what they leave out is the fact that the U.S. economy is in no worse shape than any other western nation and the causes are global issues, not unique to the United States!

So, let’s put some energy into this campaign!  Our friend rawgod suggested that the Democrats need a ‘fiery slogan’ … and maybe he’s right!  Something that speaks of determination, of democracy, of PEOPLE over profit!  Something that speaks to the average Joe, struggling to pay his bills and feed his family.  Just think how effective the Trump campaign’s slogan of “Make America Great Again” was – and still is!  MAGA is now synonymous with GOP!!!

And we need to start holding the press’ feet to the fire, calling them out on their lukewarm attitude toward the President, his Cabinet members, and Democrats in Congress.  Put a bumper sticker on your car showing your support for your local candidates!  Attend a rally or two by your preferred candidates if you can … show the world that the Democratic Party ain’t dead yet!  Because my friends … if the Democratic Party is dead, then the very basis of the nation is dead, the U.S. Constitution will be shredded.  If we leave the managing of the nation to the likes of Greene, Trump, McCarthy, Boebert, Cawthorn, Cruz, Vance, Oz and the like, then we can damn well kiss democracy, kiss the Constitution “good-bye”.

A Pessimistic View of the Mid-terms

Jeff hasn’t been posting much of late, but when he does, he DOES! This post says everything I’ve been feeling, and likely much of what you’ve all been feeling of late. Please take a few minutes to read and think about it … share his words if you feel so inclined, for we need everyone to understand where the current path leads. Thanks, Jeff!

On The Fence Voters

I try like hell to be an optimist. I keep thinking my fellow Americans will ultimately do the right thing when it matters most. When they see the clear difference between our two political parties, they will surely choose the one that gives us the best chance of continuing to live in a democratic society and address the vital issues confronting us in the 21st century.

Unfortunately, of late, I’ve failed to maintain that positivity. I find myself increasingly in the category of folks who say the November mid-term elections will be a catastrophe for Democrats. Our current president has done a lot to move the country forward. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to matter to folks.

The American people are pissed. About everything, it seems. And, if I’m to be completely honest with myself, why shouldn’t they be? Inflation is out of control; the pandemic is still lurking, although…

View original post 1,089 more words

Thoughts On “Freedom Of Speech”

“The First Amendment exists to allow all of our voices to be heard, not to grant one voice the right to drown out all others” — columnist Allison Press

We hear a lot about ‘freedom of speech’ these days.  It seems that everyone has their own idea about what, exactly, constitutes ‘free speech’.  Perhaps, had the Founding Fathers realized how our society would devolve, realized to what depraved lows the human species could sink, they would have been a bit more specific, would have included some limitations and certainly would have made note of the fact that freedom … any and every freedom … is accompanied by responsibility.  But alas, they had just come out from under the heavy thumb of Great Britain and wanted to create a nation that encouraged people to think, to speak freely and open the floor for discussion, for a meeting of the minds that would, ultimately, make this a nation that would truly be “of the people, by the people, and for the people” as Lincoln would quote some 76 years later.

Freedom of speech was included in the 1st Amendment in order to ensure that people could have a voice, could be free to express ideas and share information without fear of government censorship.  Fast forward from the writing of the Constitution to present … the year 2022.  Today, people claim free speech gives them the right to put lives in danger by refusing to wear a mask or be vaccinated against a deadly virus that has already taken the lives of over 1 million people in this nation alone.  They insist that free speech gives them the right to spread lies that lead to violence and sometimes death.  Somehow, my friends, I don’t think this is what the framers of the Constitution intended when they said …

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

And yet today, a relatively small group of religious fanatics would impose their will on the rest of this nation, would see their own religious doctrine taught in schools … schools attended by children of all and no religions.  Those 45 words of the 1st Amendment have been so widely misinterpreted and expanded that people like James Madison, the chief author of the Bill of Rights that contains the 1st Amendment, would be horrified if he could see how his words have been twisted and skewed.

Out of necessity, some limitations on free speech have been quantified over the past 235 years:

  • Obscene material such as child pornography
  • Plagiarism of copyrighted material
  • Defamation (libel and slander)
  • True threats

But are those enough?  I want to ask you something … would we even need those few restrictions on free speech if everyone took seriously their responsibilities?

It is common sense … COMMON SENSE … that we should not terrorize children, should not abuse them in any way, certainly not sexually.  There could be no child pornography if all people had a conscience, if they stood by their responsibilities and respected the rights of children to simply enjoy those relatively few days of innocent childhood.  But NOOOOOO … some perverted individuals think it’s their ‘right’ to not only sexually abuse children, but then to take pictures and video of the act(s) and publish them!  What is WRONG with these people???  What is WRONG with the people who would pay money to buy this crap?

What people seem to forget, or not care about, is that words have consequences.  If you yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theater, the resulting mass exodus is likely to result in people being trampled and some will likely die.  And so, there is a law against doing so, since some people apparently don’t have enough sense of responsibility to think first.  In the same manner, on January 6, 2021, a number of people including the twice-impeached former president uttered words to the effect of “FIRE!” … words that stirred the masses to action, caused them to break & enter the U.S. Capitol, vandalize the building and contents, create murder & mayhem, and terrorize our lawmakers as they attempted to overthrow the government.  Inciting a riot, inciting a violent coup attempt, is not protected free speech … nor should it ever be.

Whatever happened to responsibility?  When did the people of this nation decide it is acceptable or forgivable to lie, cheat and steal?  I think about that line in that is often misattributed to the Hippocratic Oath: “First do no harm.”  Shouldn’t that be the maxim by which humans measure their behaviour?  We should indeed be able to speak, to offer our opinions, but not if it leads to harm, not if it creates violence.  When we fail to accept and uphold the responsibility that accompanies any freedom, then we are certain to ultimately lose that freedom.  The same is true of free speech … if you use it for harm, to incite violence, to perpetuate a lie, then you will not only lose your own right to speak freely, but you will cost all of us that right.

Things That Make Filosofa Grrrrrrowl

I could only shake my head when reading the following headline …

Six Deaths Linked To Drug Overdoses In Northeast Washington

… but probably not for the reason you are thinking.  While I have empathy for the families of those six people, in just the last three days, there have been 117 reported gun deaths, but nowhere will you see that mentioned in the media.  THAT, my friends, is what astounds me.  Has the free press succumbed to the demands of the NRA and the gun manufacturers to downplay gun violence?  Or are we simply so desensitized by the massive levels of gun violence in this nation that we just shrug our shoulders, that it is no longer considered newsworthy?

To date, there have been 11,798 gun deaths this year alone in this country.  Of those, 5,132 were homicides and 6,666 were suicides.  84 children under the age of 11 were killed, 192 injured.  350 teens were killed, 849 injured.  And that’s just in the first 101 days of this year!  Extrapolating the numbers, we stand to see 42,636 gun deaths by the end of this year!  Do we continue to just shrug our shoulders and allow the gun industry to control our lawmakers to the extent that they are unwilling to do anything to stop this madness?

When the framers of the U.S. Constitution drafted that document, this was not what they had in mind.  Back then, there were muskets … not high-velocity assault weapons that can kill hundreds within a few minutes, and they damn sure didn’t intend people to carry guns into grocery stores and schools and simply start shooting.  They did not intend people to own arsenals.  They did not intend parents to buy guns for their children.

So yeah … drug overdose is a terrible thing, and with over 100,000 deaths by overdose in a 12-month period last year, it must be taken seriously.  However, drug overdose is self-inflicted, whereas about half of gun deaths are not, so let us not ignore the horrible gun madness that is plaguing this country.  Surely, we can care about both?


Last month, as I’m sure you’ve heard since it has been plastered all over the media, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and idiot extraordinaire, purchased 9.2% of the stock in Twitter for a purchase price of $2.64 billion.  Yeah, wrap your head around that one, my friends.  That amount of money could have bought food for 44 million children for a year!  But Musk has never pretended to give a whit about human causes, so why am I surprised, shocked, and sickened by his wastefulness?

Long story short, many trumpeters in the nation were hoping that Musk would take a seat on Twitter’s Board of Directors and instantly re-instate the former guy on Twitter.  Funny, though … when offered the seat, he declined it.  If, in fact, his only purpose for joining the Board would have been to re-instate the former pig guy, then perhaps it was this announcement by Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal that changed Musk’s mind …

“Twitter is committed to impartiality in the development and enforcement of its policies and rules.  Our policy decisions are not determined by the Board or shareholders, and we have no plans to reverse any policy decisions.”

Then again, some are speculating that Musk declined the seat on the Board because board members are limited to owning 14.9% of the company’s stock, and Musk may be plotting to ultimately own a majority 51%.  The games people play with their billions of dollars 🙄.  Isn’t it pathetic that they are so high up in their ivory towers that they cannot see the rest of the world down here struggling simply to survive?


After last week’s acquittal of Matthew Martin, one of the insurrectionists who aided the mayhem and murder in the U.S. Capitol on January 6th last year, I was pleased to read yesterday that another such insurrectionist didn’t get so lucky as to have a Trump-appointed judge who refuses to defend the U.S. Constitution.

Thomas Robertson, a former Virginia police officer, was found guilty on all six counts by a jury.  The charges included impeding law enforcement officers, obstructing an official proceeding, entering and remaining in restricted grounds and tampering with evidence.  Prosecutors provided video evidence and  cited online posts Robertson wrote a month before the attack where he called for an “opened armed rebellion.”

This ‘man’ is a threat to human life … investigators said they found a rifle and bomb-making material in his home and learned that he bought another 37 guns on the internet after his original arrest in January 2021.  Just what was he plotting this time?

Of the more than 2,500 people who entered the Capitol illegally on that day, just over 800 have been arrested in connection with the attempted coup, and this is only the second jury trial for any of the defendants.  Apparently, federal prosecutors are either understaffed, else they don’t see this as the high priority I see it as being.  No sentencing date has been set as yet for Robertson, but the combination of his charges could net him up to 20 years in prison.