Open Letter to Donald Trump

Disclaimer:  This is a rant that is much needed in order to preserve my own sanity. 

Mr. Trump,

I have not written to you since last June, and frankly had hoped that I would never have occasion to write to you again.  However, you haven’t learned a damn thing and cannot seem to keep your mouth closed and your thumbs off your tweety-machine, and thus I am once again compelled to write.

Two issues need to be addressed.  The first is your attempt to denigrate Senator John McCain, a true hero.  Yes, Donnie, Senator McCain is a war hero … you can choose to believe what you wish, for that is your right, but it is not … I repeat it is NOT your right to publicly make the sort of statements that you have been making which strike grief in the hearts of every person in this nation, but especially Senator McCain’s family.

John McCain’s plane was shot down by a missile on October 26th, 1967 and he was severely injured and taken prisoner.  Tortured daily, he nonetheless refused the early release that was offered to him by the North Vietnamese, stating “I will accept neither parole nor special favors from the enemy”.  This, Mr. Trump, was a man of honour.  Meanwhile, where were you?  Oh yes, that’s right … your daddy paid a doctor to lie and say you had blisters, or some such thing, and thereby you were able to dodge the draft, while Senator McCain was being tortured in a POW camp.  I hope you understand when I tell you that Senator John McCain was a thousand times better man than you will ever be.  Perhaps you could learn about being a man by reading this wonderful tribute to Senator McCain.   Whatever you do, stop causing his family grief!  This is beneath even you, and makes you look the fool, not him.

Now, about those sanctions against North Korea and your buddy Kim.  Let me make myself perfectly clear, on behalf not only of myself, but on behalf of the entire nation:  You do not own the United States of America.  You are an employee of the people.  Your job is to do that which is in the best interest of the nation in accordance with the law of the land.  The United States Department of Treasury, under your own choice, Steve Mnuchin, imposed additional sanctions on North Korea just yesterday.  Those sanctions were determined by people who understand far more than you, to be just and appropriate.  It is not … I repeat it is NOT … your place to rescind those sanctions!

You have proven, twice now, that you are incapable of convincing Kim Jong-un to relinquish his nuclear weapons program and have made yourself look a fool to both North Koreans and your own fellow-citizens.  Cease and desist, already!  Admit your defeat and move along now. Leave these crucial negotiations to those who know what they are doing.

These latest sanctions were against two Chinese shipping companies for their role in evading U.N. sanctions against North Korea.  Every indication is that the sanctions were just and proper.  Who the Sam hell do you think you are to decide otherwise, against the opinion of experts?  When asked to explain this dangerous action on your part, your own spokesperson, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, could only come up with “Trump likes Kim”.  Right … you like Rodrigo Duterte and Vladimir Putin, too.  You overstepped your bounds on this one, Donnie.

There is so much more I could address here, but it would fill several volumes, so I leave it with these two.  I realize that you believe you are popular, but among the majority, among thinking people, you are not.  You are a pariah.  You did not win the election, you won only the electoral college.  You are not a president, but rather a moron sitting in the chair that was occupied by presidents, men of intellect, for many years before you.  The best thing you could do for this nation today would be resign, but as I realize your egotism will not allow you to do that, then please do the next best thing for the remainder of your sole term:  Sit down, shut up, and do nothing.  Let the rest of government function in its own right without your interference.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, citizen, voter, taxpayer, member in good standing of We The People

Six Days …

Six days.  It only took six days after a gunman opened fire on two mosques in New Zealand, killing at least 50 people, before the government took action and banned assault-type weapons that were never meant for civilian use to begin with.  Yesterday, New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a national ban on military-style semiautomatic weapons, on parts that allow guns to be modified into such weapons, and on high-capacity ammunition magazines.

This, my friends, is how a true leader responds to a crisis.  This is the action of a leader who actually cares what happens to the people in the country she is tasked with leading.  This is a leader who puts people ahead of corporate greed and politics.  Every nation deserves such a leader.

Now, you might say, well, New Zealand doesn’t have the National Rifle Association (NRA) to contend with.  Well, yes and no.  New Zealand actually does have a National Rifle Association, but their function is entirely different than the one in the U.S.  The New Zealand NRA is the country’s governing body for the sport of long-range target shooting. It does not engage in political lobbying.  When Prime Minister Ardern announced the ban on semiautomatic weapons yesterday, the NRA-NZ responded positively and even noted that they are considering a name change to avoid being associated with the U.S. NRA.

In New Zealand, gun owners are subjected to rigorous background checks and requirements, and even after acquiring a license, gun owners in New Zealand continue to be subjected to scrutiny from the authorities.

“If your name comes up with a police or traffic complaint, that list gets looked at by the police firearms division. If it looks like your name is coming up more often, they’ll come and have a word with you.” – Ross Mason, Chairman NRA-NZ

Can you imagine the outrage among gun owners if this happened in the U.S.?  Or, can you imagine the reaction if it was suggested that gun owners voluntarily give up their firearms?  Within the first four days after the shootings, a number of gun owners had turned in their semiautomatic weapons.  One man, a farmer named John Hart, turned his rifle over to police, then tweeted …John Hart

Did you read that, folks?  “My convenience doesn’t outweigh the risk of misuse.”  That should be a bumper sticker and we should hand them out with every gun purchase, every box of ammo …

I don’t know about you folks, but to me, this reaction all the way from the head of government down to the citizens, is a breath of fresh air.  This is the way it should be.  Consider this.  If a roller coaster at an amusement park derails and 30-40 people are killed or injured, all hell breaks loose.  The ride, or likely the entire park is shut down indefinitely.  The manufacturers of the ride are called in.  Safety experts and mechanics are called in to determine the cause.  If there is fault, fines are levied. And lawsuits are filed against the park and the ride’s manufacturer.  That ride will never operate again in all likelihood.  Why?  Because we place a high priority on human life.

But if a gunman goes on a spree in Las Vegas or a high school in Parkland, Florida, the nutters immediately come out ranting “don’t try to take our guns!” The NRA issues a statement before the dust even settles warning the sensible among us that this is “not the time” to mention gun regulation or gun safety.  A few days pass, the media move on to other things, and life returns to normal … until the next time.

Apparently, the NRA in the U.S. is not content to interfere and subvert any attempts at sensible gun safety legislation in the U.S., but have also stuck their nose into New Zealand’s business this week.  Former police minister and New Zealand National Party MP Judith Collins says that both she and the current police minister, Stuart Nash had begun receiving propaganda material from the U.S. NRA.  In the past, she said, when she sought to introduce gun law reforms during her two stints as police minister, she was inundated by material from the NRA in the U.S.

“They talked about how we were trying to take away their Second Amendment rights to own guns. We don’t have a right to bear arms. To own a gun in New Zealand is absolutely a privilege and not a right.”

Say WHAT???  By what right does the NRA here in the U.S. get off trying to change gun laws in a nation on the other side of the globe?  The NRA has gone beyond what is acceptable so many times in the past, but this one takes the cake.  Fortunately, New Zealanders have better sense that the average gun-lovin’ American, and Ms. Collins told them to …bugger off

I’ve said it all before, but it bears repeating.  The U.S. has the most lax gun laws, the most guns per capita (more guns than people, at approximately 400 million guns and only 330 million people), and the highest rate of deaths by guns than any other nation on earth.  It is past time for us to re-consider the 2nd Amendment that has cost the lives of more citizens of this nation than every war we’ve ever been involved in.  New Zealand certainly has the right idea, as do Australia and every other nation on the globe.  Yesterday I saw a New York Times’ OpEd piece titled, “America Deserves a Leader as Good as Jacinda Ardern”.  I second that!

Two thumbs up to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the good people of New Zealand for putting human lives ahead of corporate greed.

Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest

The sheer arrogance and ignorance of some within the Trump regime, including Trump himself, is astounding, jaw-dropping and mind numbing!  Keep in mind that U.S. foreign policy is in tatters at the moment.  Donald Trump is literally despised by all truly democratic nations and loved only by autocrats and strongmen dictators.  Trump has no idea how to conduct foreign relations.  Well, given that he is on wife #3, and has cheated on her at least twice that we’re aware of, I think it’s safe to say he has no idea how to conduct relations.  Period.  However, that doesn’t stop him from sticking his nose into others’ business and telling them how to run their countries.  Three examples in the news just this week …


Dumb

For starters, we have Richard Grenell back in the news.  You may remember the post I did about him last June when he first went to Germany as the Ambassador from the United States.  Grenell is a former Fox ‘News’ commentator, which should tell you something.  When he first arrived in Germany, he made a fool of himself by criticizing Chancellor Angela Merkel on just about every and any issue he could think of, including immigration.

grenell

Richard Grenell

Grenell is back in the news this week, and at least one German lawmaker is calling for his expulsion, saying he is acting like “a high commissioner of an occupying power.”  In his remarks, Grenell criticized the budget of Germany’s finance minister and said it was unacceptable that the country was once again going to miss its NATO defense spending target.

This is not the role of a diplomat and in fact flies in the face of the very definition of the word ‘diplomacy’!  I hope Germany does send him packing, for he is further damaging relations between the U.S. and Germany that Trump has already rent with his frequent criticisms of Ms. Merkel.  Imagine if Pete Wittig, Germany’s ambassador to the U.S. tried to tell Trump that, say, he is wrong to declare a state of national emergency just to rob the U.S. of funds to build his ego wall.  Trump would expel him in about 2 seconds flat, right?


Dumber

Then there was Trump himself, who in all his narcissistic arrogance offered President Macron an unsolicited lecture.

“How is the Paris Environmental Accord working out for France? After 18 weeks of rioting by the Yellow Vest Protesters, I guess not so well!”

After similar comments by Trump last December, France’s Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian appropriately said …

“We do not take domestic American politics into account, and we want that to be reciprocated. I say this to Donald Trump, and the French president says it, too: Leave our nation be.”

It seems to me that Trump’s own nation is in worse shape under his reign than those nations he chooses to criticize and condemn.  Perhaps he should clean up his own house first.


Dumbest

And finally, the very definition of ignominy, is Don Trump, Jr.

Don Trump, Jr., who has proven more than a few times that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and he is truly as much of an idiot as his father, had the unmitigated gall to criticize UK Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of Brexit.  He went so far as to actually write an OpEd piece published in Britain’s The Telegraph, chastising May … taking her to task for not following the advice of his father! It would be funny, except it isn’t.  He claims that …

“… and ultimately, a process that should have taken only a few short months has become a years-long stalemate.”

A ‘few short months’???  And he knows this because …???  Junior’s international experiences are limited to colluding with the Russian’s to get his father elected and murdering wild animals in Africa! don-trump-junior.pngTrump the Younger went on to inform the land of the Magna Carta, John Locke and Oliver Cromwell that, in his “expert” view, “democracy in the U.K. is all but dead.”  Say WHAT???  Savvy readers will note that it is the U.S. where democracy is ‘all but dead’ and his father is the very one to have pulled the trigger!  This is simply beyond words … this young idiot, this “chip off the old block”, this killer of beautiful animals … has the nerve to give his unsolicited and unwanted opinion on a topic of which he knows nothing!  Junior has no role in our government, is not a member of the cabinet nor the administration … why does he even speak???  My apologies to all my friends in the UK for this abomination … and his father.


Never before has a United States president acted with such reckless abandon, seemingly intent on destroying every relationship the U.S. has worked toward building since it’s founding.  Never before has a president’s family member taken it upon himself to stick his nose into the business of our allies.  Never before has a madman taken the helm, determined to plow into the largest iceberg he can find at warp speed.  To all our allies, on behalf of We the People, I apologize for the terrible behaviour of the ‘man’ in the White House, his family members and appointees, and hope you will bear with us until we are able to rectify this situation.

Still More Snarky Snippets …

Will there ever come a day that I can read a news story and not want to throw something?  I wonder.  I had a greater plan for today, but as you may have noticed, my plans often go awry.  Today, I slept too late to finish the post I started last night, so instead, I bring you more snarky snippets …


Abandoning ship?

Donna-BrazileDonna Brazile has long been associated with the fight for liberal causes.  And yet, this week Ms. Brazile joined none other than state television network, Fox ‘News’.  Why?  Brazile is far above the likes of Jeanine Pirro or Ann Coulter.  I first saw Ms. Brazile on This Week with George Stephanopoulos many, many years ago, and she impressed me with her intelligence, knowledge, her ability to speak well on nearly any topic and the warmth she projected.  So why would she align herself with a network known for its extremely right-leaning views, and outright conspiracy theories?

“I know I’m going to get criticized by my friends in the progressive movement for being on Fox News. My response is that, if we learned anything from the 2016 election, it is that we can’t have a country where we don’t talk to those who disagree with our political views. You can be darn sure that I’m still going to be me on Fox News.”

Hmmm … that almost makes sense.  We do have to talk to each other, to try to understand those on the “other side” of the aisle.  Perhaps this should be looked upon as an opportunity for Trump’s supporters to actually hear a reasoned voice, a logical opinion for a change.  I simply have no respect for Fox at this point, and do not trust them or their motives.  I will reserve judgment until we see the results.  Will Fox allow Ms. Brazile to “still be me”?  I have my doubts, but time will tell.


Score one for Planet Earth!

Judge-Rudolph-Contreras.jpgThumbs up for Judge Rudolph Contreras of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia who ruled against the Trump administration and in favour of the environment.  Judge Contreras concluded that the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) “did not sufficiently consider climate change” when making decisions to auction off federal land in Wyoming to oil and gas drilling. The judge temporarily blocked drilling on roughly 300,000 acres of land in the state.

While the judge did not void the leases, what his decision does is to force the BLM to perform environmental impact studies on hundreds of projects currently under way in Wyoming.

The Interior Department began to take into account the climate impacts of federal oil, gas and coal leasing toward the end of President Obama’s second term, but Trump jettisoned those plans almost immediately after taking office.

No doubt Judge Contreras’ ruling will be appealed and will work its way up the judicial ladder, but it is a start … a step in the right direction.


Two peas in a pod …

two-peas-in-a-pod.pngYesterday, Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, visited Donald Trump in the White House.  Bolsonaro had nothing but the highest praise for our Idiot-in-Chief:

“It gives me great pleasure to be here in the United States, to take part in this visit, after decades on end of anti-U.S. presidents in Brazil. We will certainly work toward the benefit of our two nations. Just as [Trump] wants to have a ‘great’ America, I…also want to make sure we have a great Brazil. We have a great deal in common. I have been highly criticized because of this but I will not, of course, deny what I do think. … I’m willing to open my heart up to him and do whatever is to the benefit of both the Brazilian and the Americans.”

Pity the poor people of Brazil!  I cannot help but wonder if Bolsonaro’s election was bought and paid for by Putin, just as Trump’s was.

Bolsonaro-Trump.jpg

Two peas in a pod — Bolsonaro & Trump

Since Bolsonaro took office, police in Rio de Janeiro have averaged more than three killings a day, and residents have accused the police of brutality, including waging unauthorized sniper campaigns and firing indiscriminately from a helicopter.

Bolsonaro’s embrace of fiery populist rhetoric has also frequently boiled over to galvanize supporters into acts of violence, specifically targeted at opposition supporters and the media.  Sound familiar?  During the Brazilian election last November, the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism documented more than 140 cases of violence against reporters, mostly by Bolsonaro supporters.  Sound familiar?

On Monday night, Bolsonaro appeared on Fox ‘News’, and said …

“The vast majority of potential immigrants do not have good intentions.”

Sound familiar?

“Brazil and the United States stand side-by-side in their efforts to ensure liberties in respect to traditional family lifestyle, respect to God, our creator against gender ideology or politically correct attitude and against fake news.”

Sound familiar?  Pity the people of Brazil … and we of the United States.


And that, folks, is a wrap.  Have a great rest of the day!

Saudi Crown Prince MBS Cracked Down On Dissenters With Saudi Rapid Intervention Group

There are a few expressions that say the same thing: “If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas”, and “You are judged by the company you keep”. Last October saw the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an act ordered by Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Donald Trump has thrown his lot in with MBS, refuses to condemn the killing, and is considering selling nukes to Saudi Arabia. This, to me, makes a loud statement of where Trump’s loyalties lie. But there is more … much more … that has been happening in Saudi Arabia, and our friend Gronda brings us … the rest of the story. Thank you, Gronda, for this excellent piece and permission to share!

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of JAMAL BIN KHASHOGGI JAMAL KHASHOGGI/ MBS

It turns out that the brutal dismemberment murder of the Washington Post journalist and US resident Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi embassy in Turkey, around October 2018 at the hands of  the Saudis led by its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmam (MBS), was not the first time that the Saudis had conducted this type of operation. It seems that ever since the Crown Prince Mohammed came into power sometime in late-2016-2017, as the heir apparent to its King,  that he increased the assignments of a “hit squad”—called the Saudi Rapid Intervention Group.

In short there was a major crackdown put into action around late 2016-2017 by the man known as MBS, which included the surveillance, kidnapping, detention/ imprisonment, torture and killing of Saudi dissenters. These operations were conducted under the auspices and orders of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. So, the killing of Jamal Khashoggi was…

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The Hope For Our Future …

The best news of the week was brought to us by students skipping school!  That’s right … kids from 123 nations chose to take a stand, to make their voices heard about climate change, so they played hookey, skipped school and engaged in peaceful protest on Friday.

Last October, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that without dramatic change, global emissions are set to rise to a level that would usher in catastrophic consequences in just over a decade. Exactly one month later, the historic Camp Fire broke out in Paradise, California, claiming 85 lives and destroying more than 15,000 structures.

There are three types of reactions to this:  1) those who still claim to deny that human activities are destroying our atmosphere, 2) those who agree and somewhat understand that climate change is indeed a very imminent threat, but do nothing, and 3) those who are doing something, either making changes in their own lifestyle, lobbying Congress to take action, or speaking out loudly enough to get the attention of the first two groups.  These kids are in the 3rd group!

The young people understand, for they are not blinded by the things we are … convenience, laziness, and greed.  They also realize that it is their future, far more than ours, that is threatened.  It is reminiscent of the young people who turned into activists for gun control after the Parkland school shooting in February 2018, but on a much grander scale.

Around the world, students in 123 countries will not be attending classes in protest, instead taking to the streets to demand their leaders take meaningful action to address climate change.  In the United States, the Youth Climate Strike group, founded by three young women from Colorado, New York, and Minnesota, has helped organize strikes in over 100 cities across the country.

One such group, Minnesota Can’t Wait, is co-founded by Isra Hirsi, aged 16, who just happens to be the daughter of freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar.  When asked why she and her group were participating in Friday’s protest, she had this to say …

“Because you need dramatic action for dramatic change. And it’s really important, especially in the United States, when we probably are the biggest contributors to climate change in this entire world, to take that action and to show our politicians that younger people really care about this issue from all different communities and all different places and we want to do something about it, and we’re not going to stand idly by [while] you [are] not doing anything.”

Thunberg

Greta Thunberg – Stockholm, Sweden

The youth climate strikes began last September, when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, stopped going to school on Fridays. She quickly became known for skipping school to protest outside the Swedish Parliament, all in an effort to draw attention to climate change and demand her government implement policies in line with the Paris climate agreement. Since then, students of all ages and from most nations have been striking to demand action on climate change.

It is estimated that 1.4 million young people took part in the protests.  According to Greta Thunberg …

“This movement had to happen, we didn’t have a choice. We knew there was a climate crisis … We knew, because everything we read and watched screamed out to us that something was very wrong.”

They could see what our leaders in Washington D.C. cannot see, that ‘something’ is ‘very wrong’.  I give two thumbs up to these young people who are determined to make themselves heard for the future of this planet … for their future!  I will let them tell you of their efforts through pictures from around the world yesterday.

Capetown-SA

Capetown, South Africa

Delhi-India

Delhi, India

Dresden-Germany

Dresden, Germany

Dublin-Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Edinburgh-Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland

Lisbon-Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

London-England

London, England

Prague

Prague, Czech Republic

Quezon-City-Philippines

Quezon City, Philippines

San-Francisco

San Francisco, California, USA

Seoul-2

Seoul, South Korea

Stockholm-Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Sydney-Australia

Sydney, Australia

Taipei-Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

Tokyo-Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Washington-DC

Washington, D.C., USA

Perhaps we could all take a page out of these kids’ books?  Great jobs, young people!  I’m proud to know that you are the future of our planet … perhaps there is hope after all!

Apologies And Thoughts …

My apologies, but there can be no Saturday Surprise today.  In light of the terrible Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday, then the tragic mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand by a white supremacist on Friday, I simply could not get into ‘fun’ mode and felt that perhaps it would be inappropriate anyway.  Saturday Surprise will, hopefully, return next Saturday.

I am deeply disturbed and saddened by both of the aforementioned events.  Each took the lives of innocent people, and each was preventable.  And, while the causes of the two may seem to be completely different, they really aren’t all that different.  They both track back to arrogance and a sense of entitlement.  Today I would like to share a few of my own thoughts about the two aforementioned events with you.

First, the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302.  I’ve already written about this at some length and won’t repeat what I’ve already said.  But this crash could easily have been prevented.  Boeing knew that the 737 Max 8 had a flaw, and one crash had already occurred, Lion Air flight 610 on October 29th, 2018.  Boeing was negotiating with the FAA for a software fix when the government shut down and talks came to a halt for 5 weeks.  And the rest is history.

This, my friends, is a tragic example of capitalism run amok.  Corporate greed.  Profit vs people’s lives.  We live in a corporate world, where governments pander to rich industrialists such as Boeing, Smith & Wesson, Exxon, General Motors and many others.  People are put on the back burner.  People’s lives take a backseat to the bottom line.  189 people lost their lives on the Lion Air flight and 157 people lost their lives on the Ethiopian Airlines flight.  346 people died because Boeing was more interested in their profits than in those 346 lives.  How many lives will be lost due to the burning of fossil fuels, because coal and oil companies care more about profit than lives?  How many will be lost due to the spraying of known toxic chemicals on the food we eat, because ‘Big Ag’ cares more for its bottom line than your life or mine?  The time has come … actually came long ago … to rein in capitalism, to impose strict safety regulations on every company doing business.  Will it happen?  Probably not, for those corporations buy our politicians about as easily as we buy a can of peas.

There is a lot of blame to go around for the killings at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Islamic Center, it would seem, for everyone seems to be pointing fingers.  Many blame the internet and social media, and yes, there is an element of blame there, since the killer had apparently been posting images of weapons and a “manifesto” for his actions online.  Some blame right-wing leaders, such as Trump, who have given voice to and even encouraged and emboldened the white supremacists, and certainly they must share a portion of the blame.

But, the reality is that the internet is … us.  It is people, expressing their opinions, their hopes, sharing family moments, keeping up with sports, communicating, and in some cases, promoting hate.  People.  Trump and other right-wing personas exist only because they are given a voice … by people.  Who is to blame?  The man, Brenton Tarrant, who planned and carried out the massacre, and any associates who may have helped him, certainly carries the lion’s share of blame.  Perhaps he got his ideas from radicals and white supremacists on the internet, but who put those ideas out there?

I propose that there is enough blame to go around for most all of us.  Sure, Donald Trump opened a can of really nasty worms with his hate speech, his call for a Muslim ban, his denigration of all races other than Caucasian.  But people did not have to fall in line behind him.  They did, because they chose to, not because he forced them to.

But here’s the other thing, and it is, as I think about it, the main reason I write this blog:  We have an obligation to speak out, nay … to SHOUT out … about the injustice of Islamophobia, of homophobia, of misogyny, of white supremacy.  It is not enough for those of us who know it is wrong to just shake our collective heads and roll our collective eyes when these things happen!  It is NOT enough to send “thoughts and prayers”!  Unless we wish to keep seeing bastards like Brenton Tarrant shooting up mosques, shopping malls, movie theaters and schools, then we need to use our voices.

Remember that oft-quoted quotation by Martin Niemöller?

First 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 for me.

We need, more than anything, to have conversations, not screaming matches, not hateful speech on social media sites.  We need to speak to and treat each other with respect.  It is okay to disagree, but we are getting absolutely nowhere by demeaning others and shouting at the tops of our lungs.  But speak we must, for to remain silent is to ensure that tragedies like those from this past week will be ever prevalent.  Freedom of speech is not only a right, but also a responsibility. Will we sit quietly by and allow bigots to rule the world in which we live? Think about it.

Mindless Slaughter 😿

Could somebody tell me, please, who put humans in charge of deciding which species belongs where, and how many should be allowed to live? Humans themselves have grossly overpopulated this planet to the point where in some areas, there are not sufficient resources such as water and food, to support the population.  But humans think it is their right to determine how many wolves or moose should be in a given area?  Why do humans always have to manipulate, to be in control?  Who the Sam Heck left humans in charge of this planet?  A planet, I might add, that they have done a lousy job of caring for.

Read the following sentence from an article in the Anchorage Daily News

“The ADF&G [Alaska Department of Fish and Game] is charged, by the Board of Game and the Alaska Legislature, to manage moose numbers in Unit 13 at the optimum harvest level for the hunting public.”

moose-hunterHumans believe it is their right to “manage” the number of moose to make certain there are plenty for those damned hunters to kill, come fall – or whenever hunting season is in Alaska!  But wait … it gets even better.

Somebody in Fish & Game, or in the legislature, thinks that when the moose population drops, it is a result of wolves and/or bears killing the moose.  They don’t know for sure, but they think so.  They have determined what is the ‘ideal’ number of wolves in one particular area of Alaska referred to as Unit 13, and that magic number is between 135 and 165.  This year, however, somebody determined that there are between 350 and 550 wolves in Unit 13, and they are concerned that the wolves will dine on the moose and … aw, golly gee, the hunters will be unable to kill moose!aerial-killing-wolvesSo … guess what they are doing to “manage” the number of wolves?  It’s called ‘aerial wolf hunting’, and it is exactly what it sounds like … killing wolves with high-powered rifles from airplanes.  For no reason other than that hunters want to be able to kill moose!  Back when Sarah Palin was Governor of Alaska, she encouraged aerial wolf hunting, and even offered cash incentives!

Congress passed the Federal Airborne Hunting Act of 1972, which made it illegal for hunters to shoot animals from a plane or helicopter.  However, once the Fish & Game guys determine there are “too many” wolves, then the government gives special permission for this mass slaughter. spirit wolfBut, here’s the catch … how do you know how many wolves there are?  Again, quoting from the article in the Anchorage Daily News

“In recent years, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been able to do population surveys and provide estimates that are a bit more reliable than those of the past. However, one needs to remember that although Unit 13 has boundaries, the wolves do not. [Emphasis added] Obviously real populations are difficult to accurately pin down.”

I’ve got news for these bloomin’ eejits … the wolves and moose were there long before humans were, and hopefully will still be there long after!  They co-existed in nature without any manipulation by humans! People are the interlopers here, folks, not the wolves and not the bears … people.

Now, if we wish to take this a step further, to extrapolate some data here … as I mentioned in the beginning, humans have already overpopulated the earth.  There are currently 7,558,988,647 humans on this planet as of the moment I am writing this, approximately 1:00 a.m.  You can check for yourself.  Go ahead … see how much it has increased since this writing.  It is estimated that by the end of the century, at current growth rates, there will be more than 11 billion humans on earth.  Such population cannot be maintained given the rapid depletion of non-renewable resources or given the degradation of the capacity of the environment to give support to the population.  (Makes the anti-abortion crowd look rather silly, doesn’t it?)

So, what do you think?  Humans have already proven that when it comes to making babies, they think more is better, so they aren’t likely to police themselves.  Personally, I think China had the right idea with their ‘one child’ policy.  But, given humans’ disdain for the lives of wolves, deer, and a host of other beautiful animals, what would you say to instituting a ‘predator management program’ similar to that in Alaska in order to thin the human population?

Now, before any of you start beating the keyboard sending me comments asking me if I’ve lost my marbles, yes, I am being facetious and no, I would not condone the random killing of humans simply to thin the pack.  But there are two points I am trying to make here:

  1. Humans do not have some superiority that gives them the right to kill animals for sport. They damn sure don’t have the right to decide how many of a certain species should be allowed to live in a specific area.  The critters were here long before we were, they are far more beautiful, and far more self-sufficient than we are.  Leave them alone!!!
  2. You’ve heard the expression about making sure your own house is clean before you go about criticizing somebody else’s? Same applies here.  We are doing a crap job of taking care of this planet.  We spew toxins into the air, water and ground as if they would simply dissipate.  They don’t.  We spray chemicals on our food … chemicals that then contaminate our water sources.  We are, whether the climate deniers would agree or not, destroying the only home we will ever have.  No, folks, there is no home for us on Mars, or Saturn or the moon.  Earth is it … and we are killing it.

I am appalled by the story about killing hundreds of wolves from airplanes just so there will be enough moose for hunters to kill and mount the heads over their fireplaces, bragging to their amigos.  Want to impress your friends?  Do something good like join Jimmy Carter in Habitat for Humanity and build houses for poor people.  Volunteer at your local homeless shelter.  That impresses me much more than the head of a moose who gave his life so you could brag.howling wolf.jpg

Sociologists Unravel The Mystery Of President Trump’s Supporters Who Continue To Back Him

It could be that this report that Gronda has written about is the answer to the question that has been keeping us awake at night: What does it take to shake Trump supporters awake? The report is disturbing if it is correct, but well worth the read and worth pondering, for it does answer a number of questions. Thank you, Gronda, for bringing us this information and allowing me to share.

Gronda Morin

Anyone who’s a ‘Never Trumper’ from the left to the right have been pondering the question, who are those peoples who continue to back the republican President Donald Trump despite his bullying, abusive character flaws, just for starters. The Washington Post has numbered his lies as exceeding 9,000 whoppers since he became president in November 2016.

At the start, I had excused away President Trump’s supporters allegiance to him based on my personal theory that many of them were suffering from economic anxiety especially in rural areas where good paying manufacturing/ plant jobs were more scarce. But over time, I did note that there had to be other reasons to explain those who continued to back President Trump, as many of his policies were counter to their economic well being.

Two sociologists have developed the profile of the type of individual who continues to back President Trump which could end…

View original post 2,385 more words

Expendable Lives …

The United States seems to be out to destroy its own people, and others along with them.  First, we pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, putting the entire world in danger of extinction, but most of all its own citizens.  Then we pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement, making the world far less safe, and turning our friends and allies against us.  Then we renege on numerous trade agreements, denigrate world leaders, and further alienate our allies.  We encourage large farmers to use dangerous chemicals to produce our food.  We scale back regulations that made our air a little cleaner, our cars a little safer, and more.  The latest in this all-out effort to destroy the people of the United States is a sweetheart deal between our government and Boeing Aircraft.Lion-Air-crash-Indonesia-plane-what-happened-why-did-Boeing-737-Max-8-crash-739292Last October, a Lion Air Boeing 737 Max 8 flight went down over the Java Sea, killing 189 people.  Last Sunday, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 flight crashed, killing all 157 people on board.  One might just begin to think that perhaps there is something wrong with the Max 8, yes?  Well, guess what, folks?  Every single nation on the globe has decided to err on the side of caution and ground the Boeing 737 Max 8 until further notice, pending safety reviews.  Every nation, that is, except the United States!  And, do you know why the U.S. isn’t grounding the Max 8?  First, I will let Donald Trump himself explain it to you.

“Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly. Pilots are no longer needed, but rather computer scientists from MIT. I see it all the time in many products. Always seeking to go one unnecessary step further, when often old and simpler is far better. Split second decisions are needed, and the complexity creates danger. All of this for great cost yet very little gain. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want Albert Einstein to be my pilot. I want great flying professionals that are allowed to easily and quickly take control of a plane!”

Say WHAT??? Perhaps Daniel K. Elwell, the acting administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, can explain it better.

“The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 MAX.  Thus far, our review shows no systematic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft.  Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action. In the course of our urgent review of data on the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crash, if any issues affecting the continued airworthiness of the aircraft are identified, the FAA will take immediate and appropriate action.”

Okay, neither of those guys have any answers, but perhaps Robert Reich does.

“The 737 Max 8 has been grounded all over the world – except in the U.S. Why? Maybe because Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg personally lobbied Trump not to ground it, and Trump’s toothless, brainless FAA under Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao (who also happens to be married to Mitch McConnell) refuses to take action.”

Now that answer is most likely nearest to the truth.  Trump pandering to and covering for yet another of his rich cronies, and to add insult to injury, Elaine Chao, married to Bootlicker-in-Chief Mitch McConnell, heads the Department of Transportation that oversees the Federal Aviation Agency.

Two United States airlines fly the 737 Max 8 aircraft and both said they planned to keep flying. Southwest Airlines has 34 of the planes and American Airlines has 24.  My advice to all would be to boycott those two airlines.  Since the federal government will not act, we must.  We the People have power in this case … the power of choice.  When Southwest and American are flying planes that are not even half full, when it begins to hit their bottom line, you can bet your sweet patootie they will stop flying the Max 8, despite Donald Trump and despite Elaine Chao.

Boeing deserves whatever it gets, up to and including bankruptcy.  They have known for some time that there were problems with this plane, but have been far too slow to address those problems.  According to The Wall Street Journal …

“A software fix to the MCAS flight-control feature by the FAA and Boeing had been expected in early January, but discussions between regulators and the plane maker dragged on, partly over differences of opinion about technical and engineering issues, according to people familiar with the details. Officials from various parts of Boeing and the FAA had differing views about how extensive the fix should be. U.S. officials have said the federal government’s recent shutdown also halted work on the fix for five weeks.”

While our government and Boeing dragged their feet, while Donald Trump shut down the government over an elusive ‘wall’, dangerous planes were left in the sky until more people died.  And now … the United States government cares so little for the lives of its people that it refuses to ground these planes.

At least two American pilots, flying United States routes on the Max 8 filed incident reports with the FAA in November that raised similar safety concerns to those preceding the crashes in Indonesia and in Ethiopia. Another pilot wrote of having been given insufficient training to fly the plane: “I think it is unconscionable that a manufacturer, the FAA, and the airlines would have pilots flying an airplane without adequately training, or even providing available resources and sufficient documentation to understand the highly complex systems that differentiate this aircraft from prior models,” the pilot wrote. “I am left to wonder: what else don’t I know? The Flight Manual is inadequate and almost criminally insufficient.”

But the FAA turned a deaf ear.  How many more people will have to die before the lives of people matter more than corporate greed?  Think about this:  every other nation in the world cares more for its people than the United States of America does.  Doesn’t exactly give you a warm feeling inside, does it?