The Boiling Frog

Most of the blogs I read on a semi-regular basis are political or historical in nature, but there are a handful that I try to catch once a week or so for their humour or feel-good value. Recently, our friends Ellen and Benjamin introduced me to a new one, Nuggets of Gold. Nuggets is usually humorous and/or uplifting. The blogger, Joy of Roses, is a very lovable lady, and about once a week I pop in there for a smile or two and a hug. Yesterday, however, she took on a more serious tone, just for the day, and wrote this post which I think puts into words something that most of us feel at a gut level but have tried to avoid voicing, rather like the elephant in the room. So, allow me to introduce you to Joy of Roses, and please think about her words … I hope they are not prophetic, but they are certainly reflective of our situation today. Thank you, Joy of Roses, for this well-written and thoughtful post and for your permission to share it.

Nuggets of Gold

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When I was in school and first studied about Hitler I remember feeling sickened by what I learned. It was mind boggling to me how a Country could let someone so evil take over power and do all the horrible things that he did!

What I grew to realize was that he wasn’t outright evil all at once. It was a growing thing. He didn’t call for the extermination of the Jews right away. He started slowly taking their rights away, and then encouraging people not to buy from them and so on. He persuaded people to believe that he was doing the right thing for the Country, that he would make Germany great again. He was disgruntled about how Germany was.

There are articles that say that his stare could be mesmerizing and intimidating and he would use that when making speeches and making eye contact with others. It…

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It’s Not About Abortion – It’s About Life

Yesterday, Planned Parenthood announced that it would withdraw from the federal family planning program known as Title X.  The Title X Family Planning program was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies, and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under Trump’s hand-picked Alex Azar, attached a new condition on receiving Title X funding – that the recipients, such as Planned Parenthood, can no longer make abortion referrals.  This, my friends, is nothing more than the federal government attempting to inflict the beliefs of the Christian evangelical community, a vocal minority of the population, on everyone in the nation.  It is an attempt to make religious beliefs into public policy.  It is a huge step away from being the secular nation that we started out to be, that we need to be.

But let’s be clear … while the intent may be to deprive a woman of the right to have an abortion, this is not about abortion.  This is not about whether a woman has a right to decide what is right for her, in some cases having an abortion.  This is about whether a woman has a right to live or not.  Planned Parenthood is not just about helping a woman get an abortion, and in fact that is a very small percentage of what they do.

planned-parenthood-servicesAs you can see, money spent on providing abortions is a mere 3% of their total, AND … NO FEDERAL MONIES are spent on abortion.  Now, look at some of the other things they do …

  • STD and HIV testing and treatment
  • Birth control
  • Screening for reproductive cancers (like breast, cervical, testicular, and prostate cancers)
  • Pap tests and well woman exams
  • Vaccines
  • PrEP and PEP (medicines to help prevent HIV)
  • Pregnancy services and prenatal care
  • Transgender health services, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
  • Vasectomy and other sterilization services
  • Condoms

Planned Parenthood saves lives.  In many rural areas, they are the only provider of the above services that may save a woman’s life.  Or a man’s, for you may note they also do screening for testicular and prostate cancers.  They provide prenatal care … the anti-abortion group might do well to consider that they are robbing that fetus they care so much about of such things as the vitamins to ensure they are healthy, and regular screenings to detect any potential problems that might be avoided with timely treatment.

Evangelicals have been calling for the government to ‘de-fund’ Planned Parenthood for decades, but instead of de-funding it, the government set a criteria that they could no longer make abortion referrals.  Planned Parenthood said, in essence, “Okay, keep your money then … for there are times that a woman’s life and health depend on abortion.”

There’s a certain irony here, too, that a large portion of what Planned Parenthood does involves birth control and family planning education, both of which significantly lower the need for abortions, and yet those who claim to be “pro-life” are depriving women of those services as well.

I do not applaud Planned Parenthood’s decision, but I do support it … it was the right thing for them to do.  However, I do not support the government’s imposition of the criteria, I do not support the evangelicals who coerced the government into setting the criteria.  Those evangelicals call themselves “pro-life”, but they are not.  They are not considering the lives of the thousands of women who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, annual checkups, family planning services, and much more.

There will be backlash over this.  I do not know what the end result will be, but somehow, we must continue to fund Planned Parenthood.  They do not provide abortions with Title X funds, but only with private funding.  They provide a tremendous service to women, they save lives of both babies and mothers, and they are an integral part of women’s healthcare, especially among lower income women.

I came across a short video on Scottie’s Toybox that I think explains the issue quite well … please take a minute or two … well, actually 7 minutes, but it is well worth the time spent.

Are we going to be held hostage in other areas by the evangelicals?  Are we going to let them dictate, for example, that there must be mandatory religious classes in schools?  Are we going to let them tell us that it is okay for employers to discriminate against LGBT people?  The United States is, appropriately, a secular nation, not as some would believe, a Christian nation.  Twenty-five percent, fully one-fourth of this nation are non-Christians.  We are Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists and agnostics.  We have a voice, too.  We pay taxes, too.  We contribute our skills and ideas as much as any.  And 50.52% of this nation are women.  We pay taxes and have a voice, too.

Abortion is not the root of all evil.  Often a woman has an abortion because she is unable to provide for her child.  The world is already over-populated and the last thing we need are more hungry mouths to feed.  Those same people who call for an end to all abortions, also fight against their tax dollars going to help feed and shelter those children once they are born.  Pro-life???  I don’t think so … just anti-women.  If you ever doubted that it’s still a man’s world, doubt no more.mans world

Too Little, Too Late, But Still …

There have been some positive signs that perhaps this nation as a whole is sick and tired of the white supremacists and their rhetoric, sick and tired of seeing white people with notions of superiority thinking they have more ‘natural rights’ than others.  It’s far too little, too late, but still … it’s a start.


And it only took five years …

In 2014, New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo choked an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, to death.  It was not the first, nor would it be the last case of a white cop killing an unarmed black man, but it was the case that brought the #BlackLivesMatter movement to the forefront of the public eye.  In almost every one of these cases, the police officers have gotten off scot-free, even kept their jobs.  On Monday, a New York City Commissioner James P. O’Neill made a decision that will, hopefully, set a new precedent, by firing Officer Pantaleo, and stripping him of his pension benefits.

Garner’s crime five years ago was that he was allegedly selling cigarettes outside a convenience store.  For this, he paid with his life.  It is my opinion that Officer Panteleo should have been tried and convicted.  The department had a rule against using the chokehold he used on Mr. Garner, and Garner said, “I can’t breathe”, but still Panteleo didn’t release his hold.  Blatant cruelty.  And yet, despite Mr. Garner’s death having been ruled a homicide, Panteleo was never charged.

As I said, this is a case of too little, too late.  Pateleo should be in prison, but instead he is in his lawyer’s office trying to force the NYPD to reinstate him, his benefits, and pay him back pay for time lost.  And, it took James O’Neill five years to decide to fire him.  When they say the “wheels of justice” turn slowly, they aren’t kidding!  Still, it is a small step in the right direction.


A slippery slope …

The 1st Amendment right to free speech is a slippery slope and has been the cause of much disagreement throughout time.  At what point does free speech cross the line and become punishable?  At what point should speech be silenced?  Some would answer “never”, but most reasonable people agree that there must be limits, but rarely agree to the terms of said ‘limits’.  In this age of social media, the question becomes even more relevant, for there are those who believe that hate speech is protected under the 1st Amendment, and spew their hate all over Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for all the world to see.

Last week, social media outlets Facebook and Instagram suspended the accounts of James Orien Allsup, and Twitter had already suspended his account in late 2017.  James Orien Allsup is a white supremacist who marched with the other white supremacists at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 and whose hate speech can still be seen on YouTube.  There will be some, no doubt, who will cry “Foul!” at the move by Facebook and Instagram, but frankly, I support the move.

I am a staunch advocate for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.  However, in my book there is a line.  When you publicly threaten or incite violence, then you have shirked the responsibility that accompanies those rights.  I say the same about media outlets such as Fox and Breitbart that engage in conspiracy theories that have already led to violence and loss of life.  I applaud Facebook and Instagram, and would urge YouTube to remove this man from their platform as well.


The New York Times is doing an excellent series titled The 1619 Project:

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

I will be including some of their works in future posts, but I urge you to check it out for yourselves.  Racism, white supremacy, white nationalism … whatever name you give it … is ugly, and in this country, it is increasing at what I consider to be an alarming rate.  We need to tackle this subject, to take off the window dressing and show it for what it is … arrogant hate.  A friend sent me a meme recently that I think should be made into a poster and mailed to every member of any of the 1,000+ hate groups around the country! racism-for-dummies.jpg

If You Give A Kid A Gun …

In this era of Trump, we’ve heard some pretty stupid things, but something I read just this morning takes the cake.  With the subject of gun control back in the headlines in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a couple of weeks ago, the NRA is spewing their message once again about “a good guy with a gun”, etc.

Florida is one of the states considering a ban on assault weapons, so the NRA jumped into action, sending one of their leading lobbyists and former president of the NRA (1995-1998), Marion Hammer, to speak to a group of economists. marion-hammer.pngMs. Hammer’s first argument against the proposed amendment to ban assault weapons was that Florida Governor Rick Scott “solicited and offered significant financial incentives to gun manufacturers to come to Florida to bring more jobs”.  And now, the poor gun manufacturers may suffer a financial loss if assault weapons are banned.  They’ve got my deepest sympathy.  Hey!  I’ve got an idea … let’s send them “thoughts and prayers”, shall we?

But, Ms. Hammer’s second argument for why Florida should drop the ridiculous notion of saving lives by banning these guns that were intended only for use by the military, is even more ludicrous …

“How do you tell a 10-year-old little girl who got a Ruger 10/22 with a pink stock for her birthday that her rifle is an assault weapon and she has to turn it over to government or be arrested for felony possession?”

pink-assault-riflePick your jaws up off the ground now, take a deep breath.  Yes, she actually said that.  What sort of an idiot gives a 10-year-old child a damn assault rifle???  Anybody … ANYBODY who would give a child a gun of any sort, let alone an assault weapon, deserves to be drawn and quartered!!!

This is not the first time Ms. Hammer has come onto my radar.  About a year ago, I dedicated an entire post to her when she asserted her power to force the state to issue certain questionable gun licenses.  I was appalled that someone who doesn’t even hold a position in government had the sort of power she had, that she was able to browbeat and intimidate government officials to do her bidding.

Lest you think that most of the nation has better sense than to place firearms in the small arms of children, read this excerpt from an article in The Guardian last year …

A 2012 report by the Hunting Heritage Trust and the National Shooting Sports Foundation states: “It is important to consider more hunting and target shooting recruitment programs aimed at middle school level, or earlier.”

The report lays out a “Youth Hunter and Shooter Ambassador Program” strategy, in which kids are encouraged to influence their friends to get into guns. “Youth ambassadors and others should focus on getting newcomers to take a first step into target shooting through any means … The point should be to get newcomers started shooting something, with the natural next step being a move toward actual firearms.”

Young children looking to get into shooting have plenty of options when it comes to guns designed just for them. A 2014 article on NRA Family, an NRA-run website, profiles Marlin’s “new kid-friendly rifles”. The writer enthuses that Marlin’s “new XT line of .22 rifles … are not just sized for kids; they’re completely designed for kids”.pink-gunsAnother article on the NRA Family website suggests kids might also think about using Thompson/Center HotShot rifle, “a tiny gun intended for the very youngest shooters”. A company spokesman explains that gun targets “the six- to 12-year-old range”. These come in a variety of fun colour options.

Ms. Hammer was instrumental in the passage of Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law that allowed George Zimmerman to get off scot-free after murdering an unarmed young black man, Trayvon Martin.  And, while Governor Scott was happily giving tax incentives to companies like Colt and the Russian Kalashnikov (makers of the notorious AK-47), there was the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in 2016 that killed 49 people and wounded 53 more.  And then in 2018, the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where 17 people died and 17 more were wounded.

gun-ad-kidOh yeah, folks, the answer is not only more guns, but let’s start ‘em off as soon as their old enough to hold one in their hand.  Right out of the cradle, so that by the time they are teenagers, they will already own an arsenal that includes at least 3 or 4 assault rifles and maybe even a grenade launcher or two, eh?

21st Century … or Dark Ages???

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer … to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

— Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

There has been considerable debate about whether Title VII extends protections against discrimination to the LGBT community, and at present, it varies by state and locality, despite the fact that the entire Civil Rights Act is a federal law.  At this time, only 21 states have outlawed discrimination against members of the LGBT community.  A bill, the Equality Act,  was introduced into the House of Representatives in March of this year by Representative David Cicilline. The bill has passed in the House and is now languishing in the Senate committee, but the odds of it becoming the law of the land seem slim at the moment, given the makeup of the current Senate, and the fact that Donald Trump spoke against it after right-wing religious organizations urged the White House to issue an opposition statement to the bill.

There are currently three cases on the docket of the U.S. Supreme Court that will be heard on October 8th.  Briefly …

Zarda v Altitude Express:  Donald Zarda was fired from Altitude Express, where he worked as a skydiver. He informed a woman he was gay while they were strapped to each other because he thought it would make her feel more comfortable. She later informed his employer that she wasn’t happy with his sharing his being gay and he was subsequently fired. Zarda died in 2014 but his estate pursued the case.

Bostock v Clayton County:  Gerald Bostock, a child welfare services coordinator, was in a gay recreational softball league. He said his participation in the league and his sexual orientation became a problem with someone at work. Then he was fired for “conduct unbecoming of a county employee,” which he said was tied to his sexuality.

Harris Funeral Homes v EEOC:  Aimee Stephens, a trans woman, was fired from her job at a funeral parlor after she informed the funeral director she worked for that she was transgender. She had worked in funeral services for nearly 20 years and received positive feedback from her employer.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in all three cases on the same day, and according to Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, senior attorney at Lambda Legal, a civil rights organization focused on LGBTQ people …

“This is a momentous occasion. It is a pivotal moment and the public should be paying attention.  These cases will affect the ability of LGBTQ people to be full members of society and to contribute to society by entering the workplace and be free of discrimination.”

Meanwhile, the United States Justice Department under Trump’s hand-picked Attorney General William Barr sent a brief to the Supreme Court two days ago stating that they should find in favour of the employer in the Harris Funeral Homes case, arguing that …

“In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status. In the particular context of Title VII — legislation originally designed to eliminate employment discrimination against racial and other minorities — it was especially clear that the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘sex’ referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace.”

Since when is it right and proper for the Department of Justice to tell the Supreme Court how to rule???  The Judiciary is an independent branch that is intended to be apolitical, not influenced by partisan politics.  However, the reality does not always match the intent.  Today, there are 5 justices who lean toward conservative opinions, 4 who are more liberal.  Chief Justice John Roberts is typically the more moderate of the conservative-leaning justices, often casting the deciding vote.  It is likely to come down to his single vote, and there are serious concerns, for he wrote a dissenting opinion in the 2014 case of Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage at the federal level.  And lately he has disappointed us a few times, such as his vote to give state lawmakers virtually unlimited authority to draw district lines (gerrymandering) once every 10 years, pick their voters and entrench their political power.

This is the 21st century, not the Dark Ages.  It is time we learn to accept people … ALL people … for who they are.  If the employers in these three cases are allowed to prevail, it will indeed be a dark day in the United States, and no doubt it will then be only a matter of time until we see cases coming before the court dealing with discrimination in housing, in education, in every aspect of life.  I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time until a case comes before the Supreme Court that challenges Obergefell v Hodges.  And then what?  If we strip the LGBT community of their rights, will we soon see cases attempting to strip African-Americans of their rights by challenging other aspects of the Civil Rights Act, or of the Voting Rights Act?

Keep your eyes on this one, folks, for how these three cases are decided will be the best indicator yet whether or not there is still “liberty and justice for all” in this nation.

Steve King — Riding Off Into The Sunset?

Well, it looks like U.S. Representative Steve King from Iowa may have finally crossed one line too many.  Maybe.  King is an unapologetic bigot in every sense of the word, and yet his district has re-elected him every two years since 2002!  Says something about the people in Iowa, doesn’t it?  A recap of some of his most egregious offenses …

  • He has a long history of white-nationalist affiliations. The Washington Post described King as the “Congressman most openly affiliated with white nationalism”. His racist comments resulted in him being stripped of all his committee assignments earlier this year.
  • In an interview with the New York Times, King questioned why “white nationalist,” among other terms, are deemed racist language.
  • On the House floor in July 2006, King suggested building a border wall along the country’s southern border and said the top of the fence could be electrified. “We do that with livestock all the time.”
  • In March 2008, King said terrorists would celebrate a Barack Obama presidency and that al Qaeda “would be dancing in the streets in greater numbers than they did on September 11 because they would declare victory in this war on terror.”
  • While talking about “Dreamers” in a July 2013 interview for Newsmax TV, King claimed that for every young immigrant who becomes a school valedictorian there are “100 out there that, they weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

steve-king-2  steve-king-3

This is but a sampling of his atrocious views … in fact, I awarded him my coveted Idiot of the Week award in March 2017 … check it out to read about more of his idiocy!  In short, he is against anyone who is not white, straight, Christian and preferably male.  But his latest seems to be, perhaps, the straw that broke the camel’s back, even in ultra-conservative Iowa.

King has long been a foe of women’s rights, particularly the right to choose to have an abortion.  On Wednesday, he was giving a speech at the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale, Iowa, when he attempted to justify his reason for refusing to support abortions even in cases of incest or rape …

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?  Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages taken place and whatever happened to culture after society? I know I can’t certify that I’m not a part of a product of that.  I’ve got 174 people who say they don’t want exceptions for rape and incest because they understand it is not the baby’s fault, to abort the baby, because of the sin of the father, and maybe sometimes the sin of the mother too. And so I refused to do that.”

Even the republicans were riled over that one … well, some of them anyway.  House Republican leaders broke from their August recess to publicly chastise him.  Liz Cheney, the party’s third highest-ranking member, tweeted that King’s comments were “appalling and bizarre … it’s time for him to go.”

Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, and Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the minority whip, both said Mr. King’s comments underscored why he had been removed from his committees.  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has said she will no longer support Mr. King. Even #MoscowMitch McConnell has said that King should resign!

King faces a republican contender in the primary, State Senator Randy Feenstra, and a number of republicans have said they will support any republican who is not Steve King!  If campaign donations are an early indicator, Feenstra stands a good chance, with $260,000 in donations as compared to King’s significantly lower $62,000.  And, even if King survives the primary race, he will face democrat J.D. Scholten who almost beat him in 2018, losing by only about 10,000 votes.  Perhaps the people of Iowa are tired of King’s perversion, his hateful rhetoric, his bigotry?  Let us hope so.

America and Guns

This afternoon’s post comes from Simeon Levine, a young man of 17 years living in Australia. Though he lives 9,500 miles away, in another hemisphere, and has only spent 17 years on this planet, Mr. Levine sees as clearly as any, more than most in this country, the culture of guns in the U.S. Thank you, Simeon Levine, for this post and for your generous permission to re-blog!

Levine Lowdown

On the 3rd and 4th
of August 2019, 32 people were killed and 51 injured in two separate mass
shootings in America. Hundreds of family members and friends left grieving, and
bystanders forever replaying the traumatic circumstance again and again inside
their heads. Communities destroyed by the loss of life, thousands fearful of
the future and millions left shocked and overwhelmed by the situation.

I am Australian. I
feel helpless. I can’t even begin to gain a comprehensive understanding of the
American system and the obsession with guns. In April 1996, the Port Arthur
massacre left 35 people killed and 23 injured, one of Australia’s largest mass
shootings, and one of the last mass shootings. After the massacre, Prime Minister,
John Howard, restricted the legal ownership and use of self-loading rifles,
shotguns and tightened recreational shooters guidelines. A “buy-back” scheme
was introduced, costing millions of dollars, but protecting the lives…

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Sources of *Sigh*s

As most of you who have followed this blog for any length of time know, I am a lover of animals.  I have often said I prefer goats, bears, lions, snakes and spiders to most humans, especially these days.  So, you might imagine the low-throated growl that has been emitting from me ever since reading the following headline this morning …

U.S. Significantly Weakens Endangered Species Act

First, he destroys the camaraderie of the nation, turns brother against brother, mother against child, and friend against friend.  Then, he destroys the environment, not only of the nation, but of the entire planet, by reversing nearly every environmental protection regulation on the books and pulling the U.S. – against the will of the majority – out of the Paris Climate Accords.  And now … now he is destroying the beautiful wildlife, many species of which were here on earth long before humans were, and all of which are more worthy of life than humans!Bald Eagle.jpgThe story:

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 is a key legislation for both domestic and international conservation. The act aims to provide a framework to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats.  Under the current law, assessments about which species should be labeled as ‘endangered’ must be made solely based on science, without consideration for economic impacts.  But, if the new ruling is allowed to go into effect, regulators would be forced to conduct economic assessments — for instance, estimating lost revenue from a prohibition on logging in a critical habitat — when deciding whether a species warrants protection.

David Bernhardt

David Bernhardt (Why are all of Trump’s minions like him:  fat, old, white, male???)

The ruling appears to be in the interest of the fossil fuel and logging industries.  David Bernhardt, Trump’s Secretary of the Interior, is a former oil and gas lobbyist who has long been a critic of the Endangered Species Act, saying that it places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies, such as coal, oil and gas companies.

Environmental groups, Democratic state attorneys general and Democrats in Congress denounced the changes and vowed to challenge them in Congress and in the courts.  But, as we have seen, both Congress and the courts have had very limited success in stopping the runaway train that is Donald Trump.Grizzly Bear.jpgMake no mistake … allowing thousands of species to become extinct will have a significant impact on this planet, as will allowing the fossil fuel industry to continue operating unregulated.  The human species is on the brink of bringing about its own extinction, and frankly, I’m not so sure that’s an altogether bad thing!  We are not trying to live in harmony with nature but are rather trying to dominate and destroy nature.

I have a terrific idea!  Since Trump is removing the protections for both the environment and wildlife, let’s also remove the protections for Trump … protections, I might add, that we the taxpayers pay with our hard-earned money!  No more Secret Service protection for Donnie!


And in other news … if you didn’t think that Donald Trump had brainwashed republicans before, this will surely convince you.  According to a recent study by Pew Research, while most Americans continue to say it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power, the share expressing this opinion has declined since last year. Most of the change has been among Republicans – especially conservative Republicans. The study found that …

Currently, 66% of the public says “it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power to deal directly with many of the country’s problems.” About three-in-ten adults (29%) offer the contrasting opinion that “problems could be dealt with more effectively if U.S. presidents didn’t have to worry so much about Congress or the courts.” In March 2018, 76% of the public said it would be too risky to give presidents more power.

Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.

The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since then, from 27% to 43%.

There was a reason the framers of the Constitution put in place three independent branches of the federal government, a system of “checks and balances”, to provide oversight.  Donald Trump has already largely trampled the Constitution in this area, for any time he cannot get his way through Congress or the courts, he simply writes an ‘executive order’, or circumvents the system altogether.  And now, we find that increasingly, republicans are fine with that.  At this point, I would say we are already experiencing an autocratic government, and teetering on the brink of a dictatorship.  This is no longer just a nightmare scenario, my friends, but a clear and present danger. So yes, be afraid … be very afraid.

Stupidity And Guns Don’t Mix …

To brighten your Sunday afternoon, I bring you the tale of three stupid people.  Now, I don’t make a habit of calling people stupid … I suffered a beating for using that word when I was about four or five years old and use the word only sparingly ever since.  But, in the case of these three men, the word just fits so well.


Stupid … just plain stupid

AndreychenkoDmitriy Andreychenko of Springfield, Missouri, is a stupid man.  He is a 2nd Amendment supporter and he apparently keeps what little brain he has where the sun doesn’t shine.

On Thursday, less than a week after a mass shooting in an El Paso Wal-Mart that left 22 people dead and injured 26 others, Dmitriy Andreychenko decided to “test” his 2nd Amendment rights.  So, he loaded up for bear, donned his body armour, and walked into a local Wal-Mart store with an assault rifle, a pistol, and more than 100 rounds of ammunition.  He didn’t intend to shoot anybody, he says, but was merely checking to see if his 2nd Amendment rights would be “respected in public”.

His wife tried to talk him out of it, told him it was “not a smart idea”.  He tried to get his sister to go along and record a video of the experiment, but she apparently had more sense than he, and so Mr. Andreychenko was left to use his own cell phone to record what he referred to as a ‘social experiment’.

People, understandably, panicked at the sight of a heavily-armed man in body armour, and the store manager immediately had an employee pull the fire alarm in order to get people out of the store quickly.  Police were called and Mr. Andreychenko was arrested promptly and without incident, unless you count the police officer who was involved in a car crash on his way to the scene.  But Mr. Andreychenko was puzzled by his arrest …

“This is Missouri, I understand if we were somewhere else like New York or California, people would freak out.”

I told you he’s stupid.

If convicted, he will serve up to four years in prison and face a fine of up to $10,000.  Although Missouri is one of some 30 states that allows for openly carrying a weapon, Prosecutor Dan Patterson equated Andreychenko’s actions to yelling fire in a crowded theater.

I’m thinking I’m going to move to a country that doesn’t allow guns in the hands of stupid people.


And speaking of stupid …

Timothy-IrelandTimothy James Ireland, Jr. of Toledo, Ohio, has also seemingly left his brain in a dark place.  This one took his hatred of “other” to social media, posting on Facebook about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez …

“She should be shot. Can’t fire me, my employer would load the gun for me.”

When contacted by police, Mr. Ireland said he was “very proud” of his post and admitted to owning a number of firearms and that he “always carries concealed”, or in other words, never leaves home without his gun.

Sigh.


Too much stupid …

wacholzThis time it’s the owner of a gun store in Murphy, North Carolina, that sat on his brain.  Doc Wacholz, the owner of Cherokee Guns, thought it was a good idea to put up this billboard advertising his wares …billboard

Ol’ Doc was so proud of his work, in fact, that he posted a picture of it on Facebook, and even had bumper stickers made of it, which he sells in his store.  He says he chose the four members of Congress for his billboard because, “their message of turning this country into a socialist country”.  The four, known as ‘The Squad’, have come under fire from republicans of late, and have received threats against their lives because of the hateful rhetoric of none other than Donald Trump.  See, folks … words have consequences … words matter.

The billboard has since been removed, but is not likely to soon be forgotten, since it went viral on social media.


This is the mentality we are dealing with in the U.S.  It is an ugly place to be.  I go out to a store or a restaurant and I find myself looking at everybody I see, wondering … is he packing a pistol somewhere on his person?  Is he one of those fools who would shoot up the place if his food wasn’t to his liking, or if the store was out of his brand of coffee?  You just don’t know any more.  The framers of the Constitution never intended for us to have to live like this.

I will repeat once again what I have said so many times before.  With every right comes a responsibility.  It seems to me that the vast majority of gun-owners in this nation have shirked the responsibility and have assumed their rights to be unlimited.  We can appeal to Congress to enact strict gun laws, but as long as the republican members of Congress are indebted to the NRA, it ain’t gonna happen, folks.  And almost every republican member of Congress has, in fact, accepted donations from the gun lobby.

It is up to us, the people of this nation, to use our brains, to understand what the “right to bear arms” really means, to act with a conscience and a bit of good sense.  In the immortal words of Forrest Gump:  “Stupid is as stupid does.”  And stupid is costing lives … lots of lives.  Maybe mine is next, or yours.  Think about it.

A Handful of Mini-Rants

Yesterday, I shared a post of Gronda’s telling about the arrests of immigrants working at Koch Foods, the cruelty of the administration and ICE agents acting on behalf of Trump & Co.  More than a few times I have written about the cruelty of the administration ripping children from their parents arms, putting them in detention centers that are no better than prison camps, depriving them of basic human necessities.  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m getting sick and tired of this administration’s lack of compassion, lack of humanitarian values.  I am in a ranty mood tonight, so buckle up …


jimmy-aldoudJimmy Aldaoud has lived in the U.S. ever since he was six months old. Born a refugee in Greece, his parents migrated to the U.S. legally in 1979. He was a member of the Chaldean Catholic minority, many of whose members fled Iraq following the second U.S. invasion. He did not speak Arabic and had never been to Iraq. But when he encountered legal issues in the United States, which his lawyer attributed to his mental health issues including paranoid schizophrenia, he was deported to Iraq by the Trump Administration.

Jimmy Aldaoud had Type I diabetes and was insulin-dependent.  He had no family, knew nobody in Iraq.  Shortly after arriving there, he was filmed in a video where he said …

“I’ve been sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic. I get insulin shots. I was throwing up… sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat. You know, I got nothing over here.”

Jimmy Aldaoud is now dead because he could not get the insulin he needed.  No … actually, he is dead because the Trump administration decided to deport a man who lived in this country for 40 years.


Yo folks!  Remember in 2016, during the never-ending presidential campaign, when Donald Trump said that he was going to build a wall and Mexico was going to pay for it?  Remember that?  Well, those of us with functional brains knew the instant he said it that Mexico wasn’t going to pay for the wall.  Why should they?  They aren’t the ones who asked for a damn wall, and the president of the U.S. has no leverage to force another country to pay for his own ego trip.

Well, guess what?  Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall … YOU are!!!  The latest is a proposal by the Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby, a republican (go figure) from Alabama (go figure, again) that would transfer some $5 billion from the departments of Labour, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education in order to divert those funds for … you guessed it … Trump’s wall!

It is not a done deal yet, for even if it gets the 60 votes needed to pass in the Senate, it would still need to pass in the Democratic majority House of Representatives, but the fact that Mr. Shelby and his cohorts think this is a good idea should raise the hackles of every single citizen in this nation.  Taking away from health care for the poor and elderly, and taking away from the education of our young!

Ironically, in Shelby’s last campaign, he campaigned on cutting wasteful spending.  So, does he consider saving lives and educating our children to be wasteful, yet building a stupid wall that serves no purpose other than to stroke the ego of a megalomaniac not wasteful???  Where is the man’s brain?  Better yet, where is his conscience?  Oh, that’s right … he’s a republican.


Martha McSally of Arizona lost the election in 2018 for U.S. Senate to Democratic candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, and yet, Martha McSally sits in the U.S. Senate today.  Why?  Because republican Governor Doug Ducey appointed her to replace the late Senator John McCain after McCain’s death.  Martha McSally is another republican fool who believes that any single gun regulation is unconstitutional and that mass shootings really aren’t the federal government’s problem nor responsibility.

It won’t surprise you to know that McSally has an “A” rating with the NRA and is in their pockets.   She was one of the nation’s largest 2018 recipients of campaign contributions from gun-rights organizations, with more than $200,000 in gun money.

“Just like I can sell my car, I can sell my gun. Any restrictions on that at gun shows or other places is just absolutely unconstitutional.”

There is a word for her, but out of respect for my readers, I shall leave that to your own imagination.


It seems to me that this nation no longer stands for anything.  We once welcomed people from other nations who were seeking a better life, or fleeing from persecution, but now they are called ‘vile and reprehensible’ by the so-called leaders of our nation, and are treated abominably, in violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  We once promoted something called the “American Dream”, but it turns out that dream was only allowed to white, straight, Christian males.  We once spoke of “liberty and justice for all”, but today that is a joke, unless again, you are white, straight, Christian and male.  What does this nation stand for … what is its value?  As best I can tell, it stands for the wealthy people, for big businesses, for making money … but only for a few … less than 1% of the people of this nation are currently represented in our government.  Why don’t we do a thorough housecleaning and see if we can restore some values to this country?  Because we have no power and are quickly losing our voice.  If we don’t raise our voices very loudly and very soon, we will be living as the German and Italian people did in 1940.  Think about it.