♫ Don’t Lie To Me ♫

It was just a couple of days ago that I played You Don’t Send Me Flowers, by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond.  I typically try to put a few weeks’ distance between songs by the same artist, but just yesterday, a dear friend sent me information about a new song by Ms. Streisand, and I didn’t want to put it aside for any length of time, knowing I would likely forget it.  Now, I don’t intend these music posts to be political, necessarily, but sometimes they are, for the music is … well, not so much political as a statement against social injustice, or sometimes even revolutionary.

This song, Don’t Lie to Me, is Barbra Streisand’s first new original music since 2005, and was the first new single off her upcoming album Walls, due out November 2nd.   In a recent interview with Time magazine, Streisand explains what motivated her to write this song, along with John Shanks, Jonas Myrin, and Jay Landers …

“My problem is what’s been happening to America. Even basic human decency seems to be melting away faster than the polar ice caps. An artist – at least – has a form of expression, which I’m grateful for. It gives me a way to let off a little steam.  It’s easy to feel powerless, but we’re not.

They’re very troubling times. The leader of the free world doesn’t seem to care much about truth, and he’s chipping away at the pillars of democracy, like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press. I believe in the power of the truth, and I can’t stand being lied to. I don’t think the country should be lied to either. So that started me thinking about how to put down my thoughts in music and lyrics about what was on my mind.”

When asked about the title of her upcoming album, Walls, she explained …

“Well, we have a president who wants to build walls, and that got me thinking—walls can be structural, and walls can be emotional; walls between people. So I asked my dear friends Marilyn and Alan Bergman to write a song for this album, and it came out as “Walls,” which says we would have that better day if all those walls came tumbling down. I hope we find a way to tear down walls and build more bridges instead. There’s also a very hopeful song on this, “Better Angels,” that was inspired by Lincoln’s first inaugural address. It reminds us of who we have the potential to be when we listen to the better angels of our nature.”

The interview is quite interesting, if you feel inclined to take a look.  But for now, without further ado …

Don’t Lie to Me
Barbra Streisand

Why can’t you just tell me the truth?
Hard to believe the things you say
Why can’t you feel the tears I cried today, cried today, cried today
How do you win if we all lose?
You change the facts to justify
Your lips move but your words get in the way, in the way, in the way

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Head and heart on our knees
You can’t see what we all see

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

You can build towers of bronze and gold
You can build castles in the sky
You can use smoke and mirrors, old clichés
Not today, not today

Kings and Queens, crooks and thieves
You don’t see the forest for the trees
Hand on heart, down our knees
You can’t see what everyone sees

How do you sleep when the world keeps turning?
All that we built has come undone
How do you sleep when the world is burning?
Everyone answers to someone

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Where’s the new horizon?
Where’s the new horizon?

How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
How do you sleep?
(How do you sleep when the world is turning?)
How do you sleep?
(All that we built has come undone)
Enough is enough
(How do you sleep when the world is burning?)
How do you sleep?
(Everyone answers to someone)

Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me
Don’t lie to me, don’t lie to me, you lie to me

Can’t you see I’m crying?
(Can’t you see we’re crying?)
Can’t you see we’re crying?
Everyone answers to someone

Songwriters: Barbra Streisand / John Shanks / Jonas Myrin / Jay Landers
Don’t Lie to Me lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Snarky Snippets From The Bouncing Mind

Good Sunday morning, my friends!  I haven’t unleashed my snarky side for several days now, and it’s bubbling over.  So, what better way to start Sunday than with a few snarky snippets?


Election security?

While Mitch McConnell continues to refuse to even allow the Senate to consider election security bills that have passed the House already for fear it would upset the tender feelings of Trump, there are some positive things happening in the area of election security.  Tentatively.

The intelligence community (IC) is picking up slack where the Senate is falling down on the job.  Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats has installed a new czar to oversee election security efforts on a large-scale basis.  His choice is Shelby Pierson, an intelligence veteran.  According to Coats …

“Election security is an enduring challenge and a top priority for the IC. In order to build on our successful approach to the 2018 elections, the IC must properly align its resources to bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue. There is no one more qualified to serve as the very first election threats executive than Shelby Pierson, whose knowledge and experience make her the right person to lead this critical mission.”

It’s good to know that somebody in our federal government ‘has our back’… but wait.  You will note that in the first paragraph, I added “tentatively”.  There’s a reason for that.  See, Donald Trump doesn’t want to talk about election security, doesn’t want to hear about it.  Why?  Because, it was the very lack of adequate election security that enabled him to be placed, albeit not elected, into office.  The proven Russian interference, without which it is highly unlikely he would be sitting in the Oval Office today, is a sore spot, a blow to his ego.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said she was told to keep any efforts at election security “below his level”.  Never mind that when it comes to the security of the nation, his personal feelings ought not to matter … everyone in his administration is so scared shitless of him that they will go to great lengths to hide things from him. trump tantrum

Consider this … earlier this month, it was reported that no less than five people in Trump’s administration said (anonymously, of course) that he is eager to tell Dan Coats to “hit the road, Jack!”  If that should happen, then all bets on election security are off.  This wouldn’t be the first time Coats has butted heads with Trump.  He has been critical of Trump’s relationship (bromance?) with Russia’s Vladimir Putin (who hasn’t?) and he told a Senate panel that North Korea is unlikely to be willing to give up their nuclear weapons, contrary to Trump’s claims and his relationship (another bromance?) with Kim Jong-un.  We now know that Coats was right, Trump was wrong, but that does put Coats in an awkward position.

Speculation is that Trump is considering replacing Coats with Fred Fleitz, former chief of staff to National Security Advisor John Bolton.  Fleitz met with Trump recently, and has made no secret that he would like to scale back the Office of the Director of National Security significantly.  If that happens … there can be no doubt that election security will become the lowest of all priorities, if it doesn’t fall off the bottom of the priority list altogether.


Partisan … straws???

You’ve heard, unless you’ve been living on a desert island without communication for the last few years, about the effort among environmentalists to reduce and eventually cease the use of single-use plastics, right?  Plastic straws are one of the worst culprits, for they are so numerous, they do not decompose or biodegrade, therefore they stay in landfills, or worse yet end up in oceans, and unlike some other plastics, there is a relatively simple solution … good old-fashioned paper straws!  But guess what, folks?

Paper straws are ‘liberal’, read democratic, and therefore plastic straws are republicans!  Who decided this?  Well, none other than Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

Parscale

Brad Parscale

“I’m so over paper straws, and I’m sure you are too. Much like most liberal ideas, paper straws don’t work and they fall apart instantly. That’s why we just launched our latest product – Official Trump Straws. Now you can finally be free from liberal paper straws that fall apart within minutes and ruin your drink.”

Um … I remember the 1950s, before the advent of plastic straws, when all we had were paper straws and they worked very well, thank you.  However, if there is anyone reading this who really wants to make sure they are getting bona fide republican straws, you can head on over to the Donald Trump campaign store (yes, there really is such a thing … where do you think people get all those ugly red hats?) and pick up a 10-pack of reusable plastic straws, which are red and emblazoned with “TRUMP” in silver, for a mere $15. trump-straw-2What a deal, eh … $1.50 for one lousy straw that … who could put something in their mouth with that word on it???  Oh, and shipping takes two weeks.  Meanwhile, try explaining to your grandchildren why your use of a plastic straw was more important than their life.  Oh, and one other thing … there is yet a third option … you can pick the cup up, bring it to your lips, tilt it a little bit, and drink without any straw!  What a novel idea, yes?


“We will do our best to go on without him …”

Trump was scheduled to attend the 110th annual national convention of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) this weekend.  Historically, presidents of both parties have spoken and attended a Q&A session at the annual meeting of the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.  As a candidate in 2016, he declined an invitation to attend.  Trump declined to attend the convention in 2017 … no reason given.  But this year, he had accepted the invitation … until he found out about the Q&A session.

“I very much wanted to go, but we had a date. The date got changed and unfortunately they wanted to do it in the form of a question and answer.”

The date was set far in advance and did not change.  Nor did the format, but he thought he would just give a speech and leave.  In light of his recent racist tirade that is largely dominating the media these days, he was apparently afraid to face questions by a civil rights group.

Wendell Anthony, the NAACP Detroit Branch President, said …

“He blew an opportunity quite frankly, but we will do our best to go on without him.”

Dripping sarcasm … I love it!  He continued …

“There is a format; every candidate has said that he or she would be glad to participate in. It’s beyond us as to why that would be of some discomfort for the president. We are American citizens. We have a right to question our presidents and ask the leader of the free world what our future will be.”

Absolutely.  If Trump wishes to continue playing ‘president’, then he must play by the rules of the game … oh wait … for him, there are no rules, right?  Take heart, however, for intelligent people who know how to speak and have something of importance to say will be there:  Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Stacey Abrams, Rashida Talib and Bernie Sanders, to name a few.  Who needs Trump anyway?

The interesting thing is that this wasn’t widely published in the media.  I only saw it on BET’s website and a local Detroit station.  Puzzling.  Muzzled?  Chicken?


Well, that’s your daily dose of snark for this Sunday … now go have some fun, enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Dorothy Thompson, the Journalist Who Warned the World About Adolf Hitler

Have you ever heard of Dorothy Thompson? I hadn’t either until our blogging-buddy Mary posted a link to another blog that she thought relevant to my topic-of-the-moment, Trump’s racism. Turns out that Ms. Thompson was a quite notable journalist during WWII, and had the distinction of being the first U.S. journalist to be expelled from Germany by Hitler! This post is noteworthy for three reasons: 1) it is fascinating and I learned much that I didn’t already know; 2) it is very well-written; 3) parts of it are chilling, as you will see, when compared to the situation in the U.S. today. Please take a minute to read and think about this post. Thank you, Peter, for permission to share this with my readers!

Life Unscripted

I write for fun, but not everyone has that luxury. A great many people in the world write to earn their living and I have always thought that to be a tough way to go: deadlines are a pain, and I can attest to that after publishing a small journal for a few years. There is this challenge to stay relevant and also inspired enough to write every day are the fabric of nightmares and sleepless nights, but some people excel at it.temerity

I was struck over this past weekend by the brazen cowardice of the U.S. Congress. It astounded me that a sitting president would tell elected members of Congress that they should go back to some country they “came from” and that

seehearspeakThe U.S. Congress

Congress would sit by silent as brass monkeys. Yet… that is what happened.

One word that has largely disappeared from our vocabulary is…

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Call A Spade A … Bloody Shovel?

I had no intention of addressing this issue again, thought it was a no-brainer, thought everyone got the memo a few days ago and we could move on.  But, I keep hearing people either deny or defend the fact that Donald Trump is a racist.  As my friend Mary from the UK says, “Call a spade a bloody shovel!”  I’ve heard the “yeah, well, whadabout ___________________?” (fill in the blank with any of the 20 or so republican stock excuses).  I’ve heard that the democrats are just trying to discredit him, making a mountain out of a molehill.  I’m tired of having to re-visit this, but … it is important that everyone understand that this ‘man’ is a racist, since he is in a position of so much unchecked power.  He believes that he, because of his pale skin, because of his Caucasian ethnicity, is better than the rest of us who do not match him.  Largely because of this, he represents less than half of the people in this country, and as he recently said, the rest of us, if we don’t like it, can leave!

Okay, so in my inbox today was an OpEd in the New York Times by one of my favourite journalists, Nicholas Kristof, on this very topic, and I would like to share his words with you.

Trump Is Racist to the Bone

Trump’s hate is evident from his jawbones down to his thumbs and little toes.

nicholas-kristof-thumblargeBy Nicholas Kristof
Opinion Columnist

July 17, 2019

After instructing four women of color in the House of Representatives to “go back” where they came from, President Trump now claims, “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body!”

That appears incorrect. I have identified the following racist bones in Trump’s body:

Phalanges and metacarpals: These are bones of the fingers and hands that Trump has used to tweet tirades against black and brown people and to retweet Nazi sympathizers, including, twice, an account called @WhiteGenocideTM with a photo of the founder of the American Nazi Party.

Mandible and maxilla: These are the jawbones that Trump has used to denounce Mexican immigrants as “criminals, drug dealers, rapists,” not to mention to refuse to criticize the Ku Klux Klan.

Femurs, fibulas, tibias, metatarsals: These foot and leg bones carried Trump into his casinos, where black staff members would be rushed off the floor so he couldn’t see them, according to a former employee, Kip Brown.

Virtually every remaining bone was implicated in Trump’s early refusal to rent apartments in his buildings to blacks, leading the Nixon administration Justice Department (not exactly a pillar of liberalism) to sue him for housing discrimination in the 1970s. A former building superintendent working for Trump explained that any rent application from a black person was coded “C,” for “colored,” apparently so that the office would know to reject it.

“Racist” is an explosive term that should never be lightly flung as an epithet, and it is more likely to end a conversation than clarify it. For a single tweet or action there is a possibility of misunderstanding or ambiguity.

Yet for more than 45 years, since that housing discrimination, Trump has engaged in a consistent pattern of racist behavior and speech. His latest controversial tweets are not an aberration but a culmination. This isn’t a matter of a single tweet; it’s a lifetime with a narrative arc of bigotry.

America’s history is a tapestry of innumerable threads, many of them triumphant and inspiring that we should be deeply proud of, but Trump goes out of his way to weave together two of the most shameful strands.

One is the racism and nativism that go back to the 18th and 19th centuries, to the Philadelphia speaker who in 1844 denounced Irish immigrants as “scum unloaded on American wharves” and helped provoke anti-Catholic riots, to the waves of hysteria against African-Americans, Italians, Chinese, Jews, Japanese-Americans, Latinos and other immigrants. There is another strain of American hospitality highlighted by the Statue of Liberty and the admission of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees beginning in the 1970s, but the nativism is real — it’s why Trump’s family, alarmed by anti-German bigotry, pretended to be Swedish.

The other thread that Trump pulls is more political: what we now call McCarthyism, although it, too, goes back to our nation’s earliest days. It vilifies opponents as enemies of the state.

More than two centuries ago, opponents of Thomas Jefferson warned that he was a Jacobin who if elected would unleash a French-style reign of terror upon America. As one commentator put it, “The Bible would be cast into a bonfire, our holy worship changed into a dance of Jacobin phrensy, our wives and daughters dishonored.” Senator Joseph McCarthy updated that in the 20th century with reckless accusations that leftists were Communists — and now Trump picks up that mantle by suggesting that his four progressive targets in Congress “might be” Communists, not to mention that they “hate our Country” and are “pro Al-Qaeda.”

I’m not sure whether this new McCarthyism is instinctive and unthinking, or these bilious rants represent a shrewd effort to manipulate voters into seeing the 2020 presidential campaign through the prism not of issues but of racial identity, in hopes of winning Trump an edge with white voters.

I do know that Trump has taken two of the most ignominious threads in American history — nativism and McCarthyism — and woven them together in an outburst that is an affront to democratic norms.

If anyone doubts that Trump’s statements were despicable, note that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission specifically bars employers from using “ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from.’”

Frankly, I’m even more troubled by Trump’s policies than by his tweets, and I wish the reaction to Trump focused more on practical initiatives to reduce child poverty, treat drug addiction or end mass incarceration. But the question put to Congress this week was a resolution properly condemning the presidential tirade. It was grotesque to see Republicans who had been mute at presidential bigotry suddenly protest that the backers of the resolution violated rules of decorum.

Really? We’re left again with the question: How can members of the party of Lincoln today protest the label of racism, but not the racism itself — in a man who for 45 years has shown himself to be a racist from his mandible to his metatarsals?


And lastly … another well-respected journalist speaks.  Typically, we expect a bit of humour from Don Lemon, but on this topic, he is dead serious.  If you want to skip the back-and-forth between Lemon and Chris Cuomo, fast forward to about the 5:17 mark and start there.  It is well worth watching.

And now, I hope the matter is laid to rest and that we can all agree to call a spade a bloody shovel, and to call Donald Trump by what he is: a racist extraordinaire.

Republican Party: Rigging is better than conforming

When Trump was electorally elected (never forget that he actually lost the election – lost the vote of the people by nearly 3 million votes), I said it was a pushback against the country having had an African-American President for 8 years. But, given Trump’s bluster, his nastiness, his dishonesty, his schoolyard bullying ways, I thought it would not be long before Republicans began leaving the GOP in droves, thus forcing the party to change its ways, to move back more to the center of political ideology and distance itself from Trump. Shows what I know, eh? That didn’t happen, still hasn’t happened, and the GOP has sacrificed any shred of integrity it may have once had to rig and skew next year’s election. Jeff over at On the Fence Voters has written a well-researched piece and included a link to a documentary that is an eye-opener. Thanks, Jeff, for your hard work on this post and permission to share it with my friends & readers.

On The Fence Voters

How Obama’s election prompted a desperate power grab

A few days ago, I happened to watch the new documentary called Rigged – The Voter Suppression Playbook, which you can now catch on Amazon Prime. It deals with how the Republican Party began a systematic voter suppression and gerrymandering extravaganza not long after an incident that occurred in 2008.

Af first I wasn’t sure what event they were talking about. Let’s see, what event transpired in 2008 that would have inspired such actions?

Oh yeah! The black guy won.

Now it makes sense. It must have been as if one of the Tsunami Warning sirens, which are sometimes tested out here in the Pacific Northwest, blasted so loud to every member of the Republican hierarchy, that it became an ‘all hands on deck’ response. Or, maybe it was like the loud signal we sometimes hear on the local newscast when…

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Ramblings …

I’m just trying to digest some of what is happening today, this week, and thought I’d share my thoughts with you all, see what your own thoughts are.

Yesterday, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died at age 99.  One of the things he will long be remembered for is his stance that a sitting president is not above the law.  In 1997, he wrote the opinion that Bill Clinton must face Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit because a sitting president does not have immunity from all civil lawsuits for actions when he was not in office.

In another case in 2006, Hamdan v Rumsfeld, he wrote: “The Executive is bound to comply with the Rule of Law that prevails in this jurisdiction.”  And in a recent interview, when asked how he viewed Trump’s abuse of power, Stevens said …

“The president is exercising powers that do not really belong to him. I mean, he has to comply with subpoenas and things like that.”

I may have a tribute to Justice Stevens later, but for now I am wondering … how has this nation changed so much from the days of Justice Stevens’ rulings?  Nixon tried to abuse the power of the office, and he was stopped both by Congress and the Supreme Court.  That was in 1974 … forty-five years ago.  What changed?

Sure, Trump is a bully who rules by instilling fear of his red-faced wrath, but frankly, his power, his authority, derives from We the People.  He has no power without the approval of Congress and the Court, and Congress derives their power from us.  Or at least, so the theory goes.  Which brings me to my next thought.

After the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, Trump remarked that there were “very fine people” on both sides – one of those sides being white supremacists who had committed murder on that day.  Based on those remarks, his net approval rating dropped by 10%.  But this week, after his blatantly racist remarks … and yes, they were racist remarks … about four members of Congress, it turns out that his approval rating among republicans actually went up by 5%!

How can this be?

His approval rating among independents dropped a bit, thus his overall approval rating remains unchanged.  But … think about this.  Some people who did not approve of him a week ago, now like him because he denigrated lawmakers based on their ethnicity and the colour of their skin.  What does this say about us?

One thing it says is that the divisiveness of this nation is a division of values, or morals.  Certainly, that is not the only cause of the deep chasm between right and left, but it is part of it.  Apparently, there is a large contingent for whom money is more important than humanity, profit over people.  But, I wonder … does it also say that the white supremacists, those who believe their Caucasian ancestry makes them somehow ‘better’ than the rest of us, are gaining momentum?  Are their numbers growing, and if so … why?  What has changed?

And where does this lead us? Are those who support Trump, not in spite of but because of his bluster, his arrogance, his racism, willing to hand him the keys to the kingdom, willing to allow him complete power to rule with impunity?  For it seems to me that is the direction this country is headed.  Those of us who are not without conscience are demeaned and mocked, told “if you don’t like it, leave”.  Trump has taken the law into his own hands and dared any to challenge him.

The democrats in Congress are divided, not because any are enamoured of Trump, but simply because this situation is without precedent and they are not sure which way to turn.  It’s understandable, but unfortunate, for we need them to be unified in the fight to keep this nation from becoming an authoritarian regime.  They are the last, best hope to force accountability, but instead they sit on their thumbs because they cannot agree on how best to proceed.

It disturbs me to see what is happening in this country today.  It makes me sad that not only do we have more corruption in the upper echelons of our government than perhaps ever before, but that the people of this nation are willing to turn a blind eye.  I don’t understand it, but it flies in the face of the premises on which the nation was founded.  Where do we go from here?Text dividers

Still More Tears Of Shame

It’s a known fact that Trump only likes people who are Caucasian and who pay homage to him by approving of his antics and wearing an ugly red hat.  But he took his phobia  of ‘other’ a bit too far last week when speaking of four freshman democratic members of Congress …

“So interesting to see ‘Progressive Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly……….and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run.”

“Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how…….it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements!”

The comment was sexist, Islamophobic, crass, and far beneath the dignity of the office he claims.  Nancy Pelosi appropriately chastised him …

“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again. Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power. … I reject @realDonaldTrump’s xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation. Rather than attack Members of Congress, he should work with us for humane immigration policy that reflects American values. Stop the raids — #FamiliesBelongTogether!”

I concur 100% with Pelosi’s admonishment, and as always, I am stunned at the cruelty, the ignorance of the ‘man’ in the Oval Office.  But more than that, what appalls and confuses me is that those who support Trump, both in Congress and in the population at large, can hear his words and still think he is qualified for the office he claims.  NEVER before has a president been so crass, so uneducated, so disrespectful, and yet he still has a following of somewhere around 35% – 40%.  It is jaw-dropping.

I wrote the above yesterday, planned to make it the first of a couple of snarky snippets, but this morning I awaken to news that in the face of public outrage over his comments, he has dialed up the heat even more, and I decided this is to be the sole topic for this post.

He who uttered racist, hate-filled words directed at members of Congress based solely on their ethnicity, now “demands” an apology from them!  People … this is so very wrong.  As Speaker Pelosi said above, this affirms that his plan to ‘make America great’ is nothing more than a plan to make America white.  What an abomination … what a sorry excuse for a ‘man’, for a ‘president’.  His latest …

“When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!”

If people are angry with the Congresswomen, then those people are immediately identified, in my book, as racists … terrible, bigoted racists.  That the ‘man’ who sits in the Oval Office uses this level of vitriol against duly elected officials in a branch of government equal to his own, is simply beyond belief, unacceptable.

The four members of Congress with whom he has taken issue are:

  • Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts
  • Rashida Tlaib of Michigan
  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York
  • Ilhan Omar of Minnesota

4-muslim-congressAll but one, Ilhan Omar, were born in the United States and are therefore U.S. citizens by birth.  Ilhan Omar became a U.S. citizen in 2000, at the age of 17.  Every one of them have as much right as Trump himself to reside in this country, and they have as much … nay, more … right to sit in Congress than Trump has to sit in the Oval Office, for they were all actually elected by a majority of the voters in their districts, and without the help of Vladimir Putin or an ‘electoral college’.

“If Democrats want to unite around the foul language & racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular & unrepresentative Congresswomen, it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I can tell you that they have made Israel feel abandoned by the U.S.”

Frankly, their concerns about Israel are justified and mirror my own.  Under Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel has become a domineering bully, and Trump has fed the monster.

Only one republican in Congress found the guts to speak out against Trump’s diatribe, and that was a milquetoast reaction by Representative Chip Roy, who tweeted …

“POTUS was wrong to say any American citizen, whether in Congress or not, has any ‘home’ besides the U.S.”

All the rest of the republicans sitting in the Capitol today remained silent.  Their silence speaks more loudly than any words could, don’t you think?

Fox ‘News’ commentators Griff Jenkins, Jedidiah Bila, and Todd Piro laughed about Trump’s racist tweets.  They referred to them as “very comedic”.Fox commentatorsFortunately, other leaders around the world were appalled …

“Donald Trump telling four ethnic minority American congresswomen to “go back” where they “originally came from”. 1950s racism straight from the White House.” – David Lammy, Member of Parliament of the UK

“The President of the United States telling elected politicians — or any other Americans for that matter — to ‘go back’ to other countries is not OK, and diplomatic politeness should not stop us saying so, loudly and clearly.” – Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland

“I’ve heard it from racists and fascists. Never from a mainstream politician. Here you have the president of the U.S.A. using that same sort of language.” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

“It’s an insult to the Statue of Liberty, America’s most famous symbol, an insult to the American values where migrants from all over the world are united as one nation under one law.” – Ibrahim Milhim, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority

“Trump’s racism is sickening. Any European politician who fails to condemn this has questions to answer & should be ashamed of themselves.” – Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian politician and member of the EU Parliament

Donald Trump is the shame of this nation, a wart that grows larger and uglier with each passing day.  He shames us all when he speaks such hateful, vitriolic words.  Today, I am ashamed of this nation, ashamed to be called an “American”.

‘Toons To Brighten Your Sunday …

It’s Sunday afternoon, and I decided that instead of something dark and depressing, I would give you something to chuckle about … ‘TOONS!  Well … now that I think about it, some of these might be a bit dark and depressing … but at least there’s an element of humour in them.


The most crucial issue facing the nation … the globe … today is the environment, and frankly the U.S. is doing damn little to improve it.  Still, the cartoonists find food for the grist mill …

environmentenvironment-2environment-4Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190708.tifCOLORenvironment-7


Ol’ Jeffrey Epstein, the monster who has committed heinous crimes against women and children, who got off with a slap-on-the-wrist once before, who has long been a close personal friend of another sex abuser who happens to sit in the Oval Office, has once again been arrested for sex-trafficking, and so is back in the news …

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Although Trump claimed this week that he is giving up the fight to have a question about citizenship added to the 2020 Census, I suspect we haven’t heard the end of it.  

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There was never any doubt that Trump would run for re-election in 2020, especially given that he registered to do so on the day of his inauguration in 2017!  

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The thing that I find most frightening about the Trump presidency circus is the fact that he believes himself to be above the law, his hand-picked Attorney-General, William Barr, confirms that he is above the law, the Senate allows him to be above the law, and the republicans both in and out of government see nothing wrong with him being above the law …

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And I end with a few random ‘toons just for kicks …

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Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Honouring Racism????

You remember the “Unite the Right” fiasco in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017?  The rally was organized by a large number of different groups, mainly white supremacists and neo-Nazis.  People died, more were injured, some beaten up, others injured when a car plowed into a group of people.  And remember in the aftermath, when Donald Trump said there were good people on both sides?  That rally was in protest of plans to remove a Confederate statue of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general.

In the days following Charlottesville, Confederate  statues began falling:  activists in Durham, North Carolina, used ropes to tear down a statue of a Confederate soldier outside the city’s former courthouse; authorities in Baltimore moved to take down the city’s Confederate monuments; and the mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, where state law prohibits the removal of a Confederate monument from a city park, ordered it covered up with plastic.

Confederate statues are a source of great controversy, as some claim they are a valuable part of U.S. history, while others say they enshrine evil – the evil that was slavery.  Some accuse those who want the statues removed of attempting to “wipe out any pride Southerners should have in their heritage.”  Trump argued that the removal of these monuments amounted to “changing history,” adding, “I wonder, is it George Washington next week?”; then later, tweeting that “the history and culture of our great country” are “being ripped apart” by those who wish to see the monuments gone.

There remain some 1,500 memorials to the Confederacy around the nation today.  One such is a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest that stands 25 feet high and depicts Forrest on a horse, shooting behind himself, flanked by Confederate battle flags.  The sculptor of the statue is Jack Kershaw—who is primarily known for defending the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr.  The statue is located in Nashville, Tennessee, in plain sight of Interstate Highway 65.  Since it is located on private property, it cannot be removed by state or county officials, and efforts to use landscaping to obscure it from view have failed. Forrest statue.jpegLet me tell you just a bit about Nathan Bedford Forrest …

Forrest was a Confederate Army general during the American Civil War.  On April 12, 1864, he led the Battle of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow massacre, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee.  Fort Pillow was an African-American Union fort, and even thought the troops surrendered, they and their families who were residing within the fort were brutally tortured and murdered.  The total deaths were estimated at 350, including women and children, and there were almost as many injured or captured.

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Nathan Bedford Forrest

Then in 1867, after the conclusion of the Civil War, Forrest became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, a position he would hold for two years.  The Klan, with Forrest at the lead, suppressed voting rights of blacks and Republicans in the South through violence and intimidation during the elections of 1868.  Near the end of his life, he denied his role in the Fort Pillow Massacre, and claimed he had never been a member of the KKK, but his words are proven to be lies in the annals of history.

So why, you ask, am I giving you a history lesson today?  Because yesterday, the State of Tennessee celebrated the life of Nathan Bedford Forrest.  It is bad enough to have a statue of a Confederate figure, but to celebrate a man who was responsible for the deaths of African-Americans solely because their skin is dark … that, my friends, is an abomination.

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Governor Bill Lee

In 1921, a state representative named John Travis of Henry County, Tennessee, got a bill passed marking the 100th birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest, and every year since, the state’s governor has signed a proclamation to observe “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”.  This year was no exception, and current Governor Bill Lee signed the proclamation on Thursday.

Even Republican Senator Ted Cruz, for whom I have more pity than respect, spoke against honouring a man who should have been tried as a war criminal …

“This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law.”

proclamation.jpgMy friend Herb tells me that I am too critical of the South.  Things like this might explain why.  Racism is alive and well all over the United States, but in most places it simmers beneath the surface, while in the South, they embrace it, they are proud of the heritage of slavery, proud to be the home of the KKK.  Sorry, folks, it’s time to change the law that honours a slave trader, murderer and racist extraordinaire.  You won’t find statues honouring Adolf Hitler in Germany, nor will you find a day dedicated to honouring his memory there.

We cannot forget the shameful past of this nation, nor should we.  But we do not have to celebrate it!

Don’t Tread On Me

Our friend Jeff from On the Fence Voters has written a piece for another publication and has shared a portion of that work in a post on his blog. Jeff lives in Oregon, part of the Pacific Northwest that we tend to think of as being liberal, non-racist, progressive. But beneath the surface, all is not what it seems. There is a growing movement in Northern California and part of Oregon to actually secede from the U.S. and form a 51st state to be called the State of Jefferson. We think of racism as being predominantly in the deep south, but perhaps that is a fallacy, perhaps the south is only more vocal, more obvious about it. Take a look at Jeff’s article, if you will, and give him some feedback. Thanks, Jeff, for permission to share this enlightening piece of work!

On The Fence Voters

A detailed look at a secessionist movement, and Oregon’s progressive utopia

Several months ago I decided that in addition to our blog, I was going to do some freelance writing for other publications. Today, I would like to share an excerpt of an article I did for a print and online magazine called The Culture Crush. Following the excerpt, I will include links to the full article, as well as other links associated with my piece. But first, I need to provide some brief background and context.

As we all know, the election of Donald Trump in 2016 dramatically magnified the already deep divisions we have been experiencing in our country. Since moving to Oregon in 2016, I learned some things about this state that I hadn’t known previously. For one, the state has a deep and troubling history of white nationalism and militias, that date back to the founding…

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