Robin Hood Reversal

Hypocrisy abounds in the United States.  Take, for one example, those who call themselves ‘pro-life’.  They will take away women’s rights in order to ensure that a fetus, that may or may not turn into an actual human life, is protected, sometimes at the cost of the woman’s life, yet they will go out and shoot innocent animals, not for food, but simply for the ‘pleasure’ of killing, of taking a life.  Oh … you say it’s only human life they are ‘pro’?  Well, let’s delve a little deeper there.

Many of the very same ones who call themselves ‘pro-life’ support the death penalty, whereby at some point we could take the life of a perfectly innocent human who will later be exonerated … but he cannot be freed, for he is dead.  They rail against tax dollars being used in support of single mothers struggling to buy food to feed those babies that the ‘pro-lifers’ insisted they have.  They also stand firm for unlimited guns in the hands of any who want them, claiming it is a “god-given” right.  Guns, I might remind you, have a singular purpose:  to kill, to take those lives that these people claim to be protecting.  ‘Pro-life’ is really nothing more than anti-women.  Call a spade a bloody shovel, as my friend Mary says.

Perhaps one of the greatest hypocrisies that abound in the U.S. today is the attitude of some toward immigrants.  I would bet money that every single person who wants to ‘build a wall’ or ‘shut down the border’ is the child of immigrant ancestry.  Their grandparents or great-great-great grandparents – someone from their family tree came to this country from another seeking freedoms or opportunities they were deprived of in their ancestral land.  And yet, when people are knocking on the door at our southern border or seeking admission from a Middle Eastern nation, the people of this nation would turn them away.  Too bad the Indigenous People of North America didn’t have the wherewithal to turn away those who came to our shores in the 16th and 17th centuries and beyond!

As a child, I was told that ‘America’ is the land of opportunity, the ‘Land of milk and honey’, the land where you can grow up to be anything you want.  And that’s true for the mostly-white, mostly-male millionaires and billionaires, but for the rest of us … we have an opportunity to try to survive as best we can.  Dodge the bullets, folks, keep your head down and work your ass off and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to afford to pay your rent and buy groceries next week.

And speaking of those wealthy people … here’s a statistic that will blow your mind.  19,000 – The number of Americans who made at least $1 million in 2020 who also collected unemployment assistance that year, according to new IRS data. That included 4,500 people who earned between $5 million and $10 million and 229 people with eight-figure incomes or more.  Think on that one for just a minute … a person whose total salary in 2020, the year of the pandemic when people were in serious danger of going hungry or losing their homes, was over a million dollars, got an additional $13,900 from our taxpayer dollars!!!  Not just one person but 19,000 millionaires got extra money from We the People.  Talk about hypocrisy!!!  That anyone who had already made $1 million or more that year, or had millions in the bank, would even apply for unemployment benefits is the lowest of low.

Certain members of Congress are hoping to be able to cut Social Security and Medicare soon … programs that we working people have paid into every day of our working lives … but there is no mention of cutting their own pensions or salaries or perks.  I call it Robin Hood Reversal … rob from the poor to give to the rich.

DAMMIT!!! 🤬

Wednesday, 1:30 a.m.

1:30 this morning, I had just finished my music post and was getting ready to put it on the schedule for the usual time, 11:00 a.m.  Suddenly my phone went mad with a knock-knock here and a knock-knock there.  Being nearly deaf, my notification sound is a sharp knock, which I can hear much better than any tone.  Usually, it is silent at 1:30 in the morning, so I knew something was up.  Sure enough … three notifications from The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the New York Times informing me that a gunman had shot and killed multiple people in a Wal-Mart store in Virginia.

GODDAMMIT PEOPLE!!!!  Two days before Thanksgiving and people cannot even go buy a damned turkey or some sweet potatoes without getting killed???  We the People … our damned lives are less important to the members of Congress we pay to protect us than the profits of the damned gun industry?

As I pound the keyboard, hitting as many wrong keys as right ones, my loving cat Oliver, sensing my distress, hops onto my lap and using his paw, gently pulls my left hand away from the keyboard.  Whoever called them ‘dumb animals’ was dead wrong … they’re a hell of a lot smarter than we humans are.

Having spent a few minutes patting Oliver and chatting with him, my tears have dried and I am now somewhat calmer … at least I’m hitting the right keys now!  By the time I resume this post later today, hopefully there will be some details, but already … barely 3 hours after the massacre, Wal-Mart management is sending useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ just as most of our elected officials who cannot be bothered to take guns out of the hands of lunatics will be doing by this afternoon.  The latest from the BBC is that they think it may have been the store manager who opened fire, but … don’t worry, folks, for a Wal-Mart corporate executive said that the company is “shocked by this tragic event.”

On that note, I shall switch gears, pat Oliver a bit longer, have a piece of cheese, try for some sleep (it is now 2:45 a.m.), and return to this story later this morning.

Wednesday afternoon

Well, details remain sketchy but apparently it was the night manager who did the shooting.  He was in the break room with a number of employees planning for today’s deluge of last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers, and just as the meeting was about to break up, the manager pulled out a pistol and opened fire.  Six people were killed and either 4 or 5 were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries.  Given that there were some 20+ employees in that break room and the store was crowded with shoppers, it’s a small wonder that there weren’t more killed.  The gunman then turned the gun on himself and was dead when police arrived.  The name of the shooter (murderer) has not been released and the FBI is involved in the investigation.

Mass shootings … as commonplace as syrup on pancakes.  Someday perhaps we will have lawmakers who see it as their duty to craft restrictive gun laws with teeth, but as long as the gun industry is allowed to put lots of money into the pockets of these men and women, essentially buying their votes against ANY gun restrictions, these shootings will continue to escalate.  People claim the biggest reason for gun ownership is self-defense, but it is rare that a gun is used for self-defense.  The night manager at Wal-Mart certainly wasn’t ‘defending’ himself, nor was the murderer at Club Q last weekend, nor was the man who killed three University of Virginia football players ten days ago.  More often than not, guns are used to murder people for any or no reason, but not self-defense.

In some states today, it is as easy to buy a gun as it is to buy a pack of bananas.  When does it stop?  Does it stop when some crazed gunman kills a large number of members of Congress, or perhaps the President?  I know you’re all tired of hearing me rant about guns, and I’m tired of writing about guns, but until something is done, I WILL KEEP WRITING ABOUT IT!!!

And Yet Again …

I have not yet written about the horrific massacre in Colorado that left 5 people dead and 25 injured, not because I had nothing to say, but rather because I have too much to say.  Meanwhile, Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner have said it for me, and in a much better way than I could have, for mine would have been a rant.  I will, no doubt, have more of my own words on this subject sometime soon, once I can stop 🤬.


Guns and Hatred

Once more

Dan Rather and Elliott Kirschner

22 November 2022

Guns and hatred collide once more.

Peace is broken; lives are shattered.

Again we see the pictures and learn the names of those who have been slaughtered.

“Authorities are trying to determine a motive.” But the broader narrative is already known.

Those who feed the hate, stoke the vitriol, and profit off of our divisions hide behind meaningless expressions of thoughts and prayers. For them, there is no pause for reflection, no sense that we can do better.

Anger, waves of anger, sweep over a deep trench of hopelessness.

We have mourned before, and we surely will again.

A cycle repeats. The words we uttered for the last tragedy could be reprised for this one, and likely the one to come.

In what sane world do we accept a national impotence in the face of unending bloodshed? None.

Why do we demonize people for how they express their love for others? Or for what they look like? Or for how they pray?

Why is celebrating our common humanity not enough?

What do we tell our children? How do we teach them?

Hate is learned, and it is being taught.

If we are honest with our history, we know that hatred has been a constant in our national story. But so too have attempts to rise above it, to make progress toward a more just and equitable nation, to strive for that “more perfect union.”

We celebrate acts of heroism. We find support in our collective grief. But we should never accept this murderous hostility to our diversity. Our national strength is rooted in our differences. We are all at our best when we support each other.

Far too many continue to live in fear because of who they are. This fear is not an accident or unintentional. There are powerful people in this country who base their power on the ability to frighten.

Cultivated terror is a poison that infects our society. Once unleashed, it is impossible to control. It easily explodes in violence, as it did in Colorado Springs. There will be another set of charges to mark, another court case to cover, another verdict to await. But we can already pass a verdict on a society that allows this to continue.

Completely eliminating cultivated hate and violence is not possible, but we can drastically reduce it — if only enough Americans unite to make it happen.

Club Q

Short, sweet, and to the point … words of wisdom from across the pond.

Coalition of the Brave

Six years ago, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, came under attack by a gun-toting lunatic, who killed 49 people at the LGBT venue. On Saturday, Club Q in Colorado Springs, came under attack from a maniac, and five people are confirmed to have lost their lives, thanks to a combination of the strange attitude towards guns in the US, and prejudice against the LGBT community.

The situation is still evolving, but it seems likely this attack was motivated by homophobia. It was made possible by easy access to deadly weapons, and a culture that worships guns. We hear the usual arguments, namely that guns are necessary to oppose tyranny, but how many lives have been sacrificed in the name of that particular philosophy, versus how many tyrants removed from power in the US? When does the culture of gun love change?

View original post

WHAT A WASTE!!!

The total annual salaries for the 435 members of the House of Representatives is $76,300,300.  That’s just the salary, not including benefits, travel, and other perks, and not including all their staff!  When you add it all up, the total budget for the House of Representatives is $1.715 billion!  We the Taxpayers are the ones who pay these salaries.  Now, mind you, I don’t begrudge them their pay and relative to what the average corporate executive earns in a year, House members’ salaries are actually less.  But what I do mind is paying for people to do a job that they are not doing, but instead are spending their time and our money on pointless, stupid time-wasting games.

As the Republican Party leadership makes plans for their next session beginning January 3rd, 2023, we hear that their sole intent will be to impeach President Biden … multiple times if possible … for grounds as yet undetermined.  They play to spend their entire first year doing nothing but running investigations into every aspect of the Biden administration, including the president’s family members, looking for evidence of … what???

These are just a few of the ‘investigations’ they are plotting:

  • They will seek to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, not for misdeeds but because they are displeased that the Biden administration’s immigration policies are more humane than the Trump administration’s.

  • They’re planning to probe the alleged “politicization” of the Justice Department, claiming it is a hotbed of leftists and Democratic partisans. Additionally, they plan an investigation into what they claim is the ‘mistreatment’ of the January 6th insurrectionists.  Say WHAT???

  • They intend to investigate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the goal of gutting the IRS budget. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provided funding for additional IRS staffing to pursue tax fraud by corporations and the wealthy, but the Republicans want to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  • They say they plan to waste even more time and resources “investigating” the source of Covid, claiming that there was some vast ‘conspiracy’ involving none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, responsible for the virus. They say they want to see Fauci imprisoned, or perhaps even executed for his alleged ‘crimes’.

  • And of course they plan to make President Biden’s son, Hunter, the subject of some massive investigation into his emails, his computer, his sexual relationships, and probably the brand of socks he wears! Funny the double standard here … Trump’s children were involved in a number of unsavory things, but not once was an investigation launched into their shenanigans.  In fact, they were given high-level security clearances against the recommendations of the White House personnel security office at Trump’s behest.

These are but a few of the pseudo-investigations that Kevin McCarthy, Marge Greene and others are rubbing their hands together and salivating over launching.  The end goal, as I mentioned, is to impeach President Biden.  Why?  Because he’s not a Republican, because he won the 2020 election, because he’s a man of conscience and integrity, unlike most of the Republicans.  And there may well be yet another reason … because Donald Trump asked ordered them to.

Now, we can shrug it off, for it’s unlikely with the slim majority the Republicans will have in the House that they will succeed in impeaching the president.  Surely there are at least a few who would be uncomfortable with such a dramatic and ludicrous move.  And even if they succeeded in impeachment, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the Senate would convict him.  But it is still important because it is a denigration of our entire government, turning the United States Congress into a circus act.  In my mind, at least, it signals the beginning of the end of a democratic system.  The Republicans are obviously not interested in earning their keep, in providing good governance, but are only interested in domination.  Then again, maybe part of the scheme is to deflect attention from their own crimes and those of their ‘leader’, Donald Trump.

What makes me furious is that the Republicans have absolutely no plan for policy-making or for legislating, which is what we hired them to do!  Their sole focus is going to be on trying to bring down the Biden administration and block any and all legislation proposed by the Democrats.  And for this … for this we are going to pay them $76,300,300!!!  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m sick and damned tired of paying hard-earned tax dollars and getting absolutely nothing in return!  I’d far rather my tax dollars go to help improve the lot in life of people who are struggling just to survive in this world than the already-wealthy bozos the Republicans have shoved into Congress!

Too little hype, several climate change initiatives passed in last week’s elections

There is no single issue that is more important to the survival of life on earth than the environment and climate change. None. Yet, I think most of us were unaware of the environment-related issues that were on the ballot on November 8th, most of which passed muster with the voters. Our friend Keith summarizes …

musingsofanoldfart

In an article by Frida Garza of The Guardian called “Voters pass historic climate initiatives in ‘silent surprise’ of US midterms,” some very good news occurred while we weren’t paying too much attention.

The full article can be linked to below, but here are a few paragraphs that summarize the story:

“While the economy and abortion rights drove momentum behind the midterm election this year, voters in cities and states across the US also turned out to pass a number of climate ballot initiatives .

Among the measures passed were ahistoric multibillion-dollar investmentinto environmental improvement projects in New York state, including up to $1.5bn in funding for climate change mitigation. This election also saw a $50m green bond act pass in Rhode Island, and in Colorado, the city of Boulder approved a climate tax as well as a ballot measure that will allow the city to borrow against…

View original post 321 more words

We Cannot Abandon Them!!!

One of my biggest concerns about Republicans holding a majority, albeit a small one, in the House of Representatives next year is the threat that I’ve heard bandied about that they would cut off all future funding to Ukraine.  Some claim we “need to move on from Ukraine”, but how do you just abandon an entire nation of people?  It breaks my heart to think that this nation would simply stop aiding Ukraine, leaving them to almost certain takeover by Russia, and at the cost of how many lives?  And then yesterday I came across this piece by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and recently-returned New York Times writer Nicholas Kristof.  This article shows us why we must continue to support Ukraine, why anything else is unthinkable from a humanitarian perspective.  The article is a bit long, so I will share only a portion here, but I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the rest.


I Went to Ukraine, and I Saw a Resolve That We Should Learn From

By Nicholas Kristof

Photographs by Emile Ducke

16 November 2022

IZIUM, Ukraine — Inna Osipova pointed to the 30-foot pile of rubble that is all that’s left of her apartment building. She and her 5-year-old son narrowly escaped when Russian shelling destroyed the structure, but her grandmother did not and is interred somewhere in the wreckage. Osipova hopes her body will be found so she can be given a proper burial.

Her voice cracked with emotion, but she held together until I asked what she thought of Americans who say it’s time to move on from supporting Ukraine.

“We’re people, you understand,” she said, and she began weeping. “It doesn’t matter if we’re Ukrainian or American — such things should not happen.” And then she was crying too hard to continue.

“We’re people, you understand,” said Inna Osipova, in front of the ruins of her apartment building, which entombs her grandmother. “It doesn’t matter if we’re Ukrainian or American — such things should not happen.”

These areas in northeastern Ukraine, recently liberated after months of Russian occupation, show what’s at stake as some Americans and Europeans seek to trim assistance for Ukraine. There are bombed-out buildings, survivors cooking over open fires outside, children injured by land mines, freshly vacated Russian torture chambers — 23 discovered so far here in the Kharkiv region alone — along with mass graves of corpses with hands tied and shattered limbs.

“Right now people are finding graves everywhere in the villages,” said Tamara Kravchenko, who runs the only funeral home still operating in Izium. “The Russians would often just throw dirt on bodies where they killed them. Every day we find someone.”

“We will be dealing with this for a long time,” she added.

While President Vladimir Putin of Russia seems unable to break the spirit of Ukrainians, he is already shattering the will of some Americans and Europeans.

“Under Republicans, not another penny will go to Ukraine,” says Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, the firebrand Republican. The Republican leader in the House, Kevin McCarthy, says that it’s time to end the “blank check” for Ukraine. A Wall Street Journal poll published this month found that 48 percent of Republicans believe the United States is doing too much to help Ukraine, up from 6 percent in March. On the American left and in Germany and France, there are also signs of impatience, though fewer.

“I’m not afraid that Ukrainians will tire of being attacked by missiles but that people in other countries will say, ‘Enough. Time to turn the page,’” said Oleksandr Danylyuk, 47, a former minister of finance who signed up to be a soldier after the Russian invasion in February, was injured in June and is now recovering.

He’s right. Buck up, America and Europe! And take some inspiration from Ukrainians themselves. I see people here suffering enormous hardship — yet ever more determined to fight back.

Anastasia Blyshchyk, 26, was a television journalist whose boyfriend, Oleksandr Makhov, enlisted as a soldier immediately after Putin invaded. After reaching the front, Makhov proposed to her by video call, jokingly proffering a ring from a grenade. “Yes!” she said, and they giddily planned what to name their children.

Then Makhov was killed in May by Russian fire — and Blyshchyk signed up to be a soldier herself. I met her on an icy afternoon near her base. She may have felt shattered, but she projected strength, wearing body armor and walking carefully to avoid land mines. “Follow in my footsteps,” she advised.

Anastasia Blyshchyk, a former television journalist, joined the military after her boyfriend was killed in combat. “They killed the man I love,” she said. “Of course I’m here.”

“Today is exactly six months since Oleksandr was killed,” she said, quivering but not teary. “I’ve promised myself I won’t cry.”

I asked her why she enlisted to fight the Russians.

“They killed the man I love,” she said simply. “Of course I’m here.”

Please do take the time to read the rest, for it is both interesting and informative.

Herschel Walker HUMILIATES himself unlike ever before in DISASTROUS appearance

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry over this video clip of the very unqualified-for-senate candidate Herschel Walker. There will be a runoff election in Georgia on December 6th between Senator Raphael Warnock and this former footballer … let us hope that common sense prevails!!!

Scottie's Playtime

View original post

A Beacon of Light and Hope

Yesterday was a red-letter day for human rights in the U.S. Senate.  The senate passed a bill, the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), that, if it passes in the House of Representatives, will codify protection for same-sex marriage.  Now, that in itself is an accomplishment worthy of a big WHOO HOO!!!  But even more encouraging, the bill was passed by a margin of 62-37 with 12 Republicans voting in favour!  I had been reading for days about the Republican/conservative backlash against this bill, so when I heard that 12 Republicans voted to protect same-sex marriage, I was stunned … in a good way!

Republican Susan Collins joined forces with Democrat Tammy Baldwin and worked across the aisle to rally support for this bill.  Those Republicans who voted in favour deserve recognition.  In addition to Susan Collins, they are …

  • Rob Portman (Ohio)
  • Thom Tillis (N.C.)
  • Mitt Romney (Utah)
  • Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
  • Roy Blunt (Mo.)
  • Richard Burr (N.C.)
  • Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.)
  • Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.)
  • Dan Sullivan (Alaska)
  • Joni Ernst (Iowa)
  • Todd Young (Ind.)

Thank you, Senators!

The RFMA repeals the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.  It also requires that every state recognize a valid same-sex marriage.  It does fall short of requiring that every state issue licenses for same-sex marriages. The reason for this distinction is to keep the bill from being overridden by the Supreme Court who has previously ruled that the federal government cannot “commandeer” states to enforce federal laws or pass specific statutes. If Congress compelled states to license same-sex marriages, the judiciary would invalidate the law as a violation of this anti-commandeering doctrine.

There has been a very real concern that the Supreme Court is poised to strike down Obergefell v Hodges, the case that requires states to license and recognize same-sex marriages.  Once signed into law, the Respect for Marriage Act will make it more difficult for the Court to overturn the 2015 decision.

As an added bonus, the bill would also protect inter-racial marriages if the ultra-conservative, backward-looking Supreme Court were to decide to overturn the 1967 ruling in Loving v Virginia the ruling that laws banning interracial marriage violate the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Next, the bill moves to the House where it is expected to pass, possibly by the end of this week.  If they table it until January, it will be doomed to fail, but at present there is no reason to think it won’t pass the House and be signed into law by President Biden at least by the end of the year.  Score one for human rights, for civil rights, for LGBTQ rights!  Score one for bipartisanship.

Lost In The Fray

Amid the continual coverage of last Tuesday’s elections, and amid the speculation about whether the former guy would be so dumb as to launch another presidential campaign, this little tidbit of actual news seemed to be largely overlooked on Monday …

Three killed and two wounded in shooting at University of Virginia

Now, I know that last week’s elections were among the most important mid-terms in the history of our nation, and I know a lot of people are fixated on the former guy, but … how can a shooting that killed three college students be relegated to a minor news story???

And while most of you probably did hear about the UVa shooting once the networks eventually found time to report on it, four students were found dead on Sunday in an off-campus house at the University of Idaho.

Having read about the UVa shooting in The Guardian, a UK publication, I opened the New York Times website and all I saw was election coverage, speculation, reactions, etc.  I went to The Washington Post’s site, and again … all election news or journalistic speculation.  And I wonder if we are so inured to gun violence in this country that it isn’t even front-page news anymore.  Or is it that people are so enthralled by the political drama that they can only focus on that one thing?  I haven’t even heard the usual “thoughts and prayers” by the politicians this time – I guess they are too focused on their own fortunes or misfortunes to pay attention to the misfortunes of the families of seven dead students.

The three victims in the UVa shooting were

From left, Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry, the University of Virginia football players who were killed Sunday. (University of Virginia Athletics/AP)

The youths had attended a play about Emmett Till in Washington, D.C. and their bus was just returning to the UVa campus when one of the students, who I shall not name, opened fire inside the bus.  The shooter was also a student, though not in the same class as most of the rest of the group.  No motive has yet been discerned.

Information on the deaths of the University of Idaho students is still very sketchy and all I know for sure is that the four deaths are being investigated as a homicide.  Initial reporting indicated the four were shot to death, but that has since been changed and no ‘cause of death’ is officially available.

I do realize the importance of this month’s election and I am as focused on the results and what they might mean for the future of this nation as much as anyone.  But one of the most serious problems we have in this nation is guns, and the lives of college students being cut short by a man with a gun is too important to just give a passing glance.  In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott won his bid to remain governor of the state.  Texas, where last May 24th, 19 students and two teachers were brutally murdered in an elementary school in Uvalde.  Said Kimberly Mata Rubio, the mother of the slain 10-year-old Lexi Rubio …

“Abbott hasn’t done anything to curb gun violence or prevent another school shooting from happening in Texas in the 6 months since the Uvalde elementary school shooting.”

But apparently the people of Texas care more about things other than the lives of their children.  The issue of school shootings and guns in general is woven into our political discourse and the two really cannot or should not be separated.  More and more in this country the laws lean toward unlimited and unrestricted gun ownership … and use.  The man charged in the UVa murder had twice failed background checks, but still was able to purchase a gun.  Something wrong here, folks.

The media does us a disservice when they focus on the political fray to the exclusion of all else.  We need to hold their feet to the fire, hold them accountable to report all the news, not just the political news.  Life matters.  Say their names:  Devin Chandler.  Lavel Davis Jr.  D’Sean Perry.