Tears of Rage …

There are so many important things I need to write about today that as I sit at the keyboard, I am conflicted, not knowing where to begin.  Trump’s emoluments lawsuit?  His DACA threat?  His intent to pull out of Syria?  His threat to pull out of NAFTA?  His ignorant statement that The Washington Post should have to register as a lobbyist organization?  Laura Ingraham’s cruel statements about the kids protesting for gun regulation and the backlash against her?  Then again, I have a piece started about how gerrymandering could affect the mid-term elections, but it requires more research that I haven’t yet found time for.  Sigh.  But I know that I will write about none of these topics for this post, because while they are all extremely important, another story has stirred my emotions … all of them: rage, grief, despair.

Stephon Clark with his two children

A young man, Stephon Clark, was only 22-years-old when he died, fatally shot in his grandmother’s backyard by police officers.  Police said he was coming toward them with a weapon.  In fact, he held a cell phone.  Police said they shot in self-defense … all twenty times.  In fact, six of the eight bullets that hit Mr. Clark, hit him in the back … in the back!!!  They shot an unarmed man six times in the back!  Stephon, as I’m sure you have guessed by now, was black. It happened two weeks ago, 18 March, to be precise. At first I steered clear of this story, for it was reported that Stephon may have been vandalizing cars in the neighborhood, and details seemed conflicting in several areas.  Besides, our friend Gronda had done a fine post about it, so I went in a different direction.    But when I heard the autopsy reports, I began to lean toward writing about it after all.  And then today … on Saturday night, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s car hit a 61-year-old woman in a crowd of protestors and then … sped away!!! That’s right … one of “Sacramento’s Finest” is guilty of hit-and-run against a woman who was doing nothing more than protesting a brutal murder by other members of “Sacramento’s Finest”! It was at this point that I knew I had to write this else my fury would eat me alive.

Wanda Cleveland, the woman the deputy hit, will fortunately be alright.  She was treated at the hospital for injuries to her arm and the back of her head.  The incident was captured on video, so there should be no doubt as to who the guilty deputy is, though the Sheriff’s office has not released that information as yet.  They say only that it is ‘under investigation’.  There is already a demand that the two officers who shot Stephon be fired, and I would add this deputy’s name to the list of people who do not need to be in law enforcement.

Does anybody remember the riots in Los Angeles in 1991 after the videotaped beating of Rodney King by L.A.P.D. officers?  It looks a lot like Sacramento wants to repeat those riots.  Protests in Sacramento had been ongoing for days, but those protests increased in intensity and tension after the results of the autopsy were released.  Thus far, the protests have shut down major roadways, blocked entry to an NBA game and created a seemingly ever-present tension in the streets of California’s capital.  I must commend the protestors, for through it all, there have been only two arrests.

And there have been signs of compassion and remorse.  Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg walked with Clark’s family as they left his funeral last week.  The Sacramento Kings NBA team has launched an education fund for Clark’s children.  Protest organizers are cautiously optimistic about the new Police Chief Daniel Hahn, who just last August became the city’s first African American police chief. Hahn did not hesitate to swiftly release body-cam videos of the shooting and summon the assistance of the state attorney general’s office to investigate it.

So yes, there are signs that this is being taken seriously, there may well be olive branches extended, but it is not enough.  Steps must be taken to hold law enforcement accountable, and thus far that has not been done.  As Attorney General under President Obama, Loretta Lynch initiated investigations and implemented procedures to ensure federal oversight of police departments, especially those accused of racial profiling.  Upon taking office, Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, who has a history of proven racism,  repealed much of what Ms. Lynch had put into place, saying …

“It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies.”

Then whose responsibility is it, Mr. Sessions???  We The People are sick and tired of unarmed black men being gunned down in cold blood by local police, and never being held accountable.  Local police across the nation have proven that they are not going to terminate officers who shoot unarmed black men.  Community outrage?  Sure, for a while, and then it dies down, the officers are found “not guilty” and reinstated in their positions, their killing weapons returned to them so that they can go out and take another young life.  #BlackLivesMatter is a movement that is rarely understood among the white population of this nation.  It is not saying, as some would claim, that only black lives matter … it is saying that black lives matter every bit as much as white lives!  Just maybe not to the police, the courts, or the current Department of Justice.

Something must change.  This cannot continue.  The people of Sacramento are angry.  The people of this nation are angry, at least most of us.  And we are tired … tired of racial injustice, tired of law enforcement being “above the law”.  Tired of white supremacism, bigotry, racism and hatred.  I hope the protests in Sacramento continue until finally somebody sits up and takes notice.  I do not hope to see more lives lost, but hope that, like the young people who marched for laws to control guns, the protesters are spirited, yet operate peacefully, within the bounds of the law. But the point must be made, somehow, that no, this is not okay with us!

In two days, 04 April 2017, it will have been 50 years since the assassination of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King.  Are we any further along in our quest for racial equality than we were 50 years ago?  You tell me …

We, The Unrepresented Majority …

The concept of representation in government has become skewed.  This has flitted across my consciousness frequently for months … nay, for several years, truth be told.  But in the last week, the thought has repeatedly smacked me hard upside the head, and a short piece in the Opinions section of The Washington Post this morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

When we vote for the candidate of our choice on election day, we assume that the winning candidate will represent us.  Now, it may be the case that a candidate is put into office almost exclusively by the votes of the wealthy, the white, the Christians, the republicans … but once in office, he represents us all.  His job is not simply to ensure that the laws are written to enhance and protect the specific groups that voted for him.  But that concept has been lost along the way … not by all politicians, but absolutely by almost every single republican in Congress or the White House.  Nowhere in the oath he takes does it say he will uphold the Constitution to the extent it supports only the minority.

The divide between democrats and republicans has become so great that perhaps neither can see what they are doing to this nation.  Certainly the republicans in Congress have all but forgotten that their allegiance is to this nation and its people … ALL of its people.

Outgoing republican Senator Bob Corker was asked yesterday why he does not support crafting and enacting legislation that would protect the Russian investigation under Robert Mueller from the idiosyncrasies of Donald Trump, who could essentially fire Mueller and close down the investigation at any time.   And he answered …

“The president is, as you know — you’ve seen his numbers among the Republican base — it’s very strong. It’s more than strong, it’s tribal in nature. People who tell me, who are out on trail, say, look, people don’t ask about issues anymore. They don’t care about issues. They want to know if you’re with Trump or not.”

Think about that one for a few minutes, folks.  The republicans in Congress will refuse to do what they know to be the right thing, for it may anger the 35% or so of the nation who still support Trump.  Mid-terms are coming up in a short eight months, you know, and we wouldn’t want to do anything to anger our base.  Mr. Corker just made it as plain as the nose on your face that the only people he and his cronies believe they need to represent are the minority of citizens who support Donald Trump.  I don’t support Trump, therefore Mr. Corker feels no obligation to give a royal whit about my best interests, or yours.

The first three Articles in the U.S. Constitution outline the responsibilities of the three branches of government.  Article I is the legislative branch – Congress.  Do you know why it came before the executive branch – the president?  Because the framers believed Congress was the more important.  They were the ones who would defend this nation … and We The People.  Congress would make laws, it was believed, in the best interest of all the people.  Note that today, the majority of the people in the United States are convinced that the investigation by Robert Mueller and his team is of particular importance, given the growing evidence before our eyes that the Trump family and campaign had extraordinary ties to Russia.  And the majority is more convinced than ever that Donald Trump has much to hide, given his obsessively erratic behaviour of the past week – behaviour that reeks of guilt.  But the majority of the country does not matter … not at all … to the republican lawmakers who are more intent on stroking and appeasing the minority, because they do not wish to risk losing voters.  Is this all that matters?  Apparently so.

And equally infuriating is the fact that some 35% of the nation “don’t care about issues”.  They only care whether a legislator supports Trump, not whether he supports them or their families.  A few short hours ago, I told Hugh that I really needed to stop referring to Trump supporters in negative language, for perhaps I had been unfair in judging them based on their vote.  Too bad I cannot stick to that, but at this point, I will go on record as saying that anybody … man, woman, Christian, atheist, straight, gay, white, black … anybody who cares more about supporting Trump than the many crucial issues we face today, such as health care, immigration, education, infrastructure, foreign relations, climate change, and much more, is ignorant.  If Trump dies tomorrow, our lives will go on (and be better for it).  If our air becomes unbreathable or our water undrinkable tomorrow, we will all die.  If millions of people cannot afford healthcare, they will die.  But 35% of this nation don’t care about the issues???  Wake up and smell the coffee, people!  Wake up and see how you have been manipulated and used for the personal gain of one ‘man’ and his family!

The world will never be perfect, nor will this nation.  But once we stop striving to make it better, as our representatives and their blind followers have done, then we are doomed.  We elect representatives based on how well we feel they will represent us and the things we most care about.  Some in this country have lost sight of that concept, and in so doing have handed over the lives of every single person in this country to a corrupt, selfish individual.  In the past few weeks, I have asked myself why I write this blog.  I needn’t ask any more.  This is why I write this blog, for I cannot sit idly by and allow the ignorant to rule our world without at least trying to make a difference.

WHAT A CROCK!!!!

What a complete and total waste of taxpayer’s hard-earned money!  What a travesty of justice!

The headline:

Republicans on House Panel Find No Evidence of Collusion, Russian Preference for Trump

“We’ve found no evidence of collusion … perhaps some bad judgment, inappropriate meetings, inappropriate judgment at taking meetings … only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, meetings, whatever and weave that into some sort of a fiction, page turner spy thriller.  We’re not dealing in fiction, we’re dealing in facts, and we found no evidence of any collusion.” – Republican Representative K. Michael Conaway

Either this man is lying through his teeth, as is every member of that panel, else they did not even open their eyes during their entire investigation.  There is so much smoke that the building is nearly up in flames, and they conclude that there is no fire, and ‘let’s go back to sleep now, boys’.  I wonder how they plan to justify their conclusions when Robert Mueller finalizes his report and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that there was mass collusion between multiple members of the Trump campaign and the Russians?  They will either be proven liars or ignorant fools. Or both.

Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking democrat on the panel, said just last month that based on what he had seen, there was “ample evidence” of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.  Democrats’ requests for subpoenas for hostile witnesses have been ignored by the panel.  Conaway’s response?  “We’ve interviewed everyone we think we need to interview.”  FOUL!!!

Democrats were not involved with drafting the GOP’s report and were not presented with a copy of the findings.  Conaway said democrats would receive a copy of the report on Tuesday, and the final copy is expected to be made public sometime in April.

Now I ask you this:  How, with all the indictments and guilty pleas that have been a result of Robert Mueller’s investigation, can the House panel simply close their eyes and say, “Nope, nothing to see here, folks.”?  HOW???

Here is the list of the republicans on the panel:And here is the comprehensive list as of February 28 of all who have been indicted and/or made plea deals as a result of the Mueller investigation:

1) George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser, pleaded guilty in October to making false statements to the FBI.

2) Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser, pleaded guilty in December to making false statements to the FBI.

3) Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chair, was indicted in October in Washington, DC on charges of conspiracy, money laundering, false statements, and failure to disclose foreign assets — all related to his work for Ukrainian politicians before he joined the Trump campaign. He’s pleaded not guilty on all counts. Then, in February, Mueller filed a new case against him in Virginia, with tax, financial, and bank fraud charges.

4) Rick Gates, a former Trump campaign aide and Manafort’s longtime junior business partner, was indicted on similar charges to Manafort. But he has now agreed to a plea deal with Mueller’s team, pleading guilty to just one false statements charge and one conspiracy charge.

5-20) 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies were indicted on conspiracy charges, with some also being accused of identity theft. The charges related to a Russian propaganda effort designed to interfere with the 2016 campaign. The companies involved are the Internet Research Agency, often described as a “Russian troll farm,” and two other companies that helped finance it. The Russian nationals indicted include 12 of the agency’s employees and its alleged financier, Yevgeny Prigozhin.

21) Richard Pinedo: This California man pleaded guilty to an identity theft charge in connection with the Russian indictments, and has agreed to cooperate with Mueller.

22) Alex van der Zwaan: This London lawyer pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his contacts with Rick Gates and another unnamed person based in Ukraine.

Nope, no collusion here … nothing to see here … move along and let’s get busy building that wall, mining more coal, trashing more federal lands to drill for oil, and put all this nonsense about collusion behind us, right?

WRONG!  

Look once again at that list of the members of the investigative panel.  They should not even have their name on the ballot in November, let alone be re-elected.  Did they bow to pressure from Trump?  Do they really believe that We The People are so stupid as to buy their garbage?  Was there pressure from someone other than Trump?  Were rewards offered, perhaps campaign donations to add to their coffers?  Or were they simply tired of pretending to do a job, the one for which we pay them?  I don’t know the answers, but I do know that their consciences ought to be keeping them awake as I write this post.  I do know that they are Dishonest with a capital ‘D’.  And I do know they do not deserve our respect nor our votes.

Trump was fairly please, as he tweeted …

THE HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE HAS, AFTER A 14 MONTH LONG IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION, FOUND NO EVIDENCE OF COLLUSION OR COORDINATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND RUSSIA TO INFLUENCE THE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

7:49 PM – 12 Mar 2018

Ultimately, it appears, the only investigation that will get to the truth is that by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  If something happens that disrupts his investigation, that halts it, we will have no justice in this nation, now or likely ever again.  I will be tweeting this post directly to the two panel members from my state, as well as to Trump.

NRA Decides Constitutionality???

In the annals of lawsuits, this one has to rank right up there with the old woman who sued McDonalds (and won) for making the coffee too hot and she was burned when she foolishly spilled it between her legs.  Who’s suing who, you ask?  The plaintiff in the case, the sue-er, is none other than the infamous National Rifle Association, the NRA.  The defendant, the sue-ee, is the State of Florida.  And why, you ask, is the NRA suing Florida?  Because the State of Florida had the cojones to stand up and do something about the foolish free-for-all with guns that led to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, on February 14th.  The State of Florida took the bull by the horns, listened to the grief stricken voices of the Parkland survivors last month, and said, “ENOUGH!!!!!”  My hat is off, and my thumbs are up to the Florida State Legislature and Governor Rick Scott.

First, let us look at the bill that was passed by the Florida State legislature, and then signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott on Friday.  The new law raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and extends the waiting period to three days for the purchase of all firearms. It also gives law enforcement more power to seize weapons, prohibits the sale of “bump stocks” — devices that can be put on semi-automatic weapons to increase their rate of fire. The measure also allows some school personnel to be armed.  The bill is too little; it is, perhaps, merely an effort to pay lip service to the young people who have made a valiant and determined effort to stop the madness, but still, it is a start. A small step.  Small steps are better than no steps.  A journey of a thousand miles, as the saying goes, begins with a single step.

The NRA had been on a long leash, obviously, waiting and knowing the moment was coming, for they filed their suit only one hour after Governor Scott signed the bill into law.  Since when does a lobbyist group have the right to write the laws in this nation?  Since when does the NRA decide constitutionality???  Since when is the NRA the Supreme Law of the Land?

The NRA claims “We filed a lawsuit against the state for violating the constitutional rights of 18- to 21-year-olds.”  Seriously???  18-21-year-olds have a constitutional right to murder?  To buy and carry, concealed, a weapon that can cause mass destruction and take as many as 400 lives in a single 60-second minute?  That’s right, people … the gun the shooter in Parkland, Florida, used on 14 February was an AR-15, which can fire up to 400 rounds per minute.  And we believe that the founding fathers intended children age 18 to be in control of one of these weapons???

No, the NRA filed that suit because they were told by the people controlling their purse-strings to get rid of that law at all costs, for it might cost a few thousand sales to the gun industry.  Might also save a few thousand lives, but hey … no big deal, right?

Personally, I would have liked to see the law go even further, to include universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles.  And I would, again, have preferred not to call for armed personnel within the school.  However, I still must applaud especially Governor Scott, for it took courage for him to stand against the NRA.  Scott has previously had an A+ rating with the NRA, yet he ignored their threats and signed the bill.  For once, perhaps, he put the safety and the wishes of his constituency above the corrupt gun lobby.  And I also applaud the Florida Legislature, where 67 republicans with A ratings from the NRA also voted for the bill.

If Florida could do it, so can the rest of the states.  Come on Texas, South Carolina, Utah, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota … get off your collective patooties, grow some cojones, and follow suit.  Don’t let the NRA lawsuit worry you.  The public, the citizens, the voters stand behind stricter gun laws, and the lawmakers damn well better put a higher value on We The People than they do the NRA.  Most gun owners do not belong to the NRA.  The NRA actually represents a very small group of ordinary people.  Their bigger concern is the manufacturers and sellers of guns.  Just think, if every state in the nation passed even the watered-down law that Florida passed, the NRA would bankrupt itself filing lawsuits against every single state!

I wonder if I can file a lawsuit against the NRA, for here I sit at 5:00 a.m., seething as I write this story, drinking my umpteenth cup of coffee and eating pretzels with peanut-butter, as my fingers literally beat the printed letters off my laptop keyboard.  A rather unhealthy lifestyle caused by the angst of reading of the hypocrisy of the NRA.  I should think that at the very least I could sue for a new laptop, as I no longer have an “N” printed on the key between ‘B’ and ‘M’.

This nation has lost its way if we place more value on giving guns to 18-year-olds than we place on human life.  We have lost our way when lawmakers are actually unwilling to do their job for fear of reprisals from an unsavory organization like the NRA.  Wayne LaPierre is not one of our lawmakers.   We The People did not vote him into office, nor has he been, to the best of my knowledge, appointed to a judicial position.  There was a time I would have predicted that the suit by the NRA would have no teeth, no chance of winning.  Today, I am less sure.  I think the answer is for every state to pass similar, or even tougher gun laws.  Make the NRA spread themselves thin trying to keep up with all their lawsuits.  I know of no other answer, for the members of Congress have already shown us that our wishes, our very lives, have less value to them than their NRA funding.  This nation needs to stand up to the bullies in the gun industry … NOW!

How Kind, Mr. Ryan …

Paul Ryan’s net worth is reported to be $7 million.  Not a lot by the standards of the top 1%, but a figure that is beyond imagining for most of us … the other 99%.  Yesterday, Ryan was apparently attempting to convince his Twitter followers how wonderful the tax bill passed by Congress in December was, when he tweeted …

Ryan-tweet$1.50 per week, $78 per year.  Mr. Ryan likely throws away $78 without a thought on any given day. I doubt there is an article of clothing in his closet that costs less than $78.  I am willing to bet that some members of Congress have paid that much for a pair of bloomin’ socks!  This, as much as anything, offers proof that our elected representatives are completely oblivious to the needs of those they supposedly represent.

After he came under fire from some of us in the 99%, he removed the tweet, but once seen, it cannot be forgotten, and fortunately it was seen by enough, recorded by the media, that it is not going away anytime soon.

A recent comment on one of my posts noted that the ever-widening gap between “us” and “them” is likely to lead to the next civil war in the United States.  They may be right, for it is clear the people who are making the laws under which we all must live are not only out of touch with We The People, but that they plan to stay that way.

gianforteDo you know who the wealthiest member of Congress is?  Greg Gianforte, with a net worth of $315 million.  You remember Greg, right?  He’s the one who, on May 24, 2017,  the night before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, beat up a reporter from The Guardian who was only doing his job, asking a question.  Gianforte didn’l like the question. He was conviceted of a misdemeanor, but was nonetheless elected and still has his $315 million.  If I had done that, I would still be in jail, and would still be poor.

Mind you, I have no problem with people who work hard, are innovative and earn their way, having millions of dollars.  None at all.  There surely must be rewards for hard work and innovation.  However, we do not need people representing us, people making decisions that affect our very lives, who cannot even comprehend what it is like to have to decide between paying the telephone bill or putting food on the table.

To see Mr. Ryan patting himself on the back for passing a bill that will benefit his wealthy friends to the tune of millions of dollars, while giving the secretary an extra $78 in a year is sickening and disgusting.  And it’s even worse than it appears on the surface, for in early 2019, when that secretary sits down to prepare her income tax return, she will find that $78 and possibly more is going right back to Uncle Sam, for she will no longer be allowed to take certain deductions that she was once able to.

The really sad part is that those who are seeing an extra dollar or two on their paychecks may well praise the republicans for their tax bill, may go to the polls in November, before they have seen the ultimate outcome of their “tax cut”, and vote the same rich candidates right back into office.

The upper 1% see the rest of us as fools, and perhaps we are.  It is time for us ‘fools’ to awaken from our dream where we believed that our elected officials were actually looking out for us, for our best interests, for they are not and perhaps never were.

We did not need that extra $1.50 nearly as much as we needed Congress to work toward fixing what was wrong with ACA, but instead they have fractured it to the point that it no longer guarantees affordable healthcare to all.  We did not need that $1.50 nearly as much as we needed regualtions on fossil fuels that would put us on the path to a cleaner environment.  We needed regulations on the banking industry that would prevent the likes of the Koch brothers from causing another crisis such as we saw in 2008, where many of us in the 99% lost a significant portion of our retirement funds.  We needed reforms in our education system that would make college more affordable for all, not just those in the upper echelons.  No, we did not need an extra $1.50 on our paychecks that is but an illusion to begin with.

Paul Ryan,  Mitch McConnell and most of all Donald Trump are so out of touch with the reality of the people they purport to represent that it is unconscionable.  I wonder how these people can look themselves in the eye when they shave or brush their teeth in the mornings.  I wonder how they fall asleep at night.

Think about this, republicans, as you boast and toast the fact that your guys have a majority in Congress, that your guys are in charge and leading the way toward “making America great again”, that your guys have those ‘liberal snowflake democrats’ under their heels.  They aren’t doing you any favours, and the only people for whom they are making the nation great are themselves.

As for you, Mr. Paul Ryan, you can take that $1.50 and put it you-know-where.  A civil war of the 1% vs the 99%?  Think it’s impossible?  I wouldn’t be too sure.  We in the 99% may be fools in believing you and your cohorts actually represent our best interests, but eventually the day will come when we say, “ENOUGH!!!!”

ryan-home

Paul Ryan’s home

Other homes in Ryan’s hometown

His Worst Idea Yet!

“… Trump is seeking to parlay his first State of the Union address on Tuesday into cash for his reelection campaign by offering supporters a chance to see their name flashed on the screen during a broadcast of the speech.” – The Washington Post, 29 January 2018

First thought:  What re-election campaign???  The next presidential election is nearly three full years away!  And I do not expect to see Trump’s name anywhere on that ballot, but hope that he is but a dim, albeit terrible memory by that time.  Second thought:  Are we paying him to run this country or to campaign for a chance at another four years to bring about our destruction? Why is this ‘man’ running his campaign on our time and money?  Third thought:  He is using the State of the Union Address to advertise for self-gain???

Who knew a single sentence could be so thought-provoking?

While my first and second thoughts are certainly important, it is the third that is most appalling.  He is selling advertising on the State of the Union Address.  For his own personal gain.  He is using what is meant to be a serious address to Congress and the nation to solicit funds for himself!  Never before in the history of this nation has a president stooped to such moral lows.  Take a look for yourself:  Trump’s solicitation

What’s next?  Advertisements for Trump’s hotels on bills he signs?  Ads for Trump Towers on official White House correspondence? Maybe a billboard on the front lawn of the White House? Perhaps by next year, Moe and Larry will join the circus, or Bugs and Mickey! He is using our government for his own personal gain, and I, for one, am incensed. Perhaps this is not the worst thing he has done in his single year in office, but it is a blatant slap in the face to We The People, a demeaning of the office we should be able to respect.

I was not planning to watch the State of the Union Address anyway, for I cannot stomach seeing his ugly mug, but if I had been planning to, my plans would have changed now.  I sincerely hope that very few will tune in, but instead read the key points (if there actually are any) or the transcript after the fact.  Of course, even if the ratings are low, Kellyanne and Sarah will no doubt tell us tomorrow that it was the most watched program in the history of television, just as they told us that his inauguration was the best-attended.  Alternative facts, folks … might as well get used to them.

Trump’s SHITHOLE Moment …

Since Donald Trump took an oath that he did not even understand on 20 January 2017, I have been referring to the federal government collectively as a ‘circus’. Tonight, I amend that assessment, for a circus at least has the illusion of fun, of brightness, and it has certain appeal.  Tonight, I re-name the government of the United States under the ‘leadership’ of one Donald Trump, as a Freak Show.  That’s right, a Freak Show.

The man who claims to be the leader of the United States, a once-respected Western naton, made the following statement:

“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

The remark was reportedly in reference to people from Haiti, El Salvador and African countries.  The White House did not bother to deny the comment, but rather excused it, put a spin on it …

“Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people … He will always reject temporary, weak and dangerous stopgap measures that threaten the lives of hardworking Americans.”

What a load of, please pardon my language, bullshit. These ‘stopgap measures’ save people’s lives, people who are fleeing for safety, for an opportunity to survive, to have a life for themselves and their children! I don’t know about you folks, but I do not wish to have Trump fighting for me or my rights, if that means he so rudely and obnoxiously speaks of people who come to this country for a better life for they and their children.  I would rather spend a day in the company of 100 Haitians than a single minute with a member of the Washington elite.

Donald Trump should have studied a little harder, perhaps taken some history classes when he was a youngster, for he obviously does not realize that this nation is built on the foundation of immigration, of diversity, of welcoming with open arms people from all nations, of all cultures, races and religions. Has he forgotten, or did he ever know, the words engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

liberty-words“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

I am not alone in my outrage:

“Trump’s comments about the immigrants from “shithole countries” is among the worst statements he has ever uttered. It might very well be the worst.” – Dan Rather, journalist and former news anchor

“What’s the word for a country that elects a racist, serial lying, profiteer who revels in conflicts of interest’ brags about assaulting women; attacks freedom of the press, freedom of religion, private citizens, & law enforcement; and calls for investigations of political rivals?” – Walter Shaub, former Director of the United States Office of Government Ethics

“… are further proof that his Make America Great Again agenda is really a Make America White Again agenda” – Cedric Richmond, Democratic Representative, Louisiana

“I condemn this unforgivable statement and this demeaning of the office of the Presidency.” – Elijah Cummings, Democratic Representative, Maryland

“… unkind, divisive, elitist, and fly in the face of our nation’s values. This behavior is unacceptable from the leader of our nation.”Republican Representative Mia Love, Utah

“The American family was born from immigrants fleeing persecution and poverty and searching for a better future, Our strength lies in our diversity, including those who came here from Africa, the Caribbean and every other corner of the world. To deny these facts would be to ignore the brightest part of our history.”Republican Senator Tim Scott, South Carolina

“America was built on the backs of immigrants from around the globe. We must honor that history, not reject it. It starts with respectful rhetoric and signing bipartisan DACA legislation.” – John Kasich, Republican Ohio Governor

“@realDonaldTrump, your mouth is the foulest shithole in the world. With what authority do you proclaim who’s welcome in America and who’s not. America’s greatness is built on diversity, or have you forgotten your immigrant background, Donald?” – Vincente Fox Quesada, former President of Mexico

Quesada put a poll on Twitter asking whether, if Trump had made this comment during the campaign last year, it would have changed the outcome of the election.  See for yourself the sad results …

Trump poll election

It would have been the same.  Sad, but almost certainly true.  It did not phase his lemmings when he called for violence at his rallies, it did not matter to them that he admitted to sexually abusing many women.  It did not matter that he was a liar and a dishonest businessman, that he was a racist and a bigot.  And so, sadly, this would not mattered to them, either.

We have seen Donald Trump at his worst … or so we thought.  Every time we think he cannot possibly sink to any lower depth of crassness, of inhumanity, of utter stupidity, he proves us wrong.  Donald Trump is the absolute most disgusting president we have ever had in the 230 year history of this nation, bar none.  If this, in combination with his other several thousand disgusting, racist, bigoted, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic comments does not convince his lemmings that he is highly unqualified for the office he holds, then I wash my hands of those lemmings, for they have brought an abomination beyond my wildest imaginings into our midst and given him the keys to our lives with impunity.

Any member of Congress who condones or ignores this better be voted out of Congress in November, for this is not the nation we are, and if they support this, then they do not … I repeat they do not … represent We The People.

Trump has been abominable before … mostly every day … but this is a new low  and I suggest we work toward getting him and his cronies out of the White House before he shows us how much lower he can go.  All those in favour, please raise your hands.  🖐️

Think Again …

So, you think that Senator or Representative you voted into office last year is serving in the best interest of We The People?  You think he/she cares about the issues that affect our daily lives?  You think he/she votes on bills keeping in mind how it will affect not only his/her constituents, but the nation as a whole?  Boy are you in for a shock!  We The People are not even in the running, not anywhere in the minds of our elected representatives and are important only for about 30 minutes once every 2-6 years, as we stand in front of the voting booth.

U.S. Representative Chris Collins, representing New York’s 27th congressional district since 2013, led the headlines today …

Top GOP congressman: My donors told me to pass the Republican tax bill or ‘don’t ever call me again’Business Insider, 07 November 2017

Now, while it is on my to-do list, I have not studied the tax bill, so can judge only on what I read, but from everything I am seeing, reading and hearing, the tax bill is essentially what we all expected it to be:  huge benefits for the wealthy and for corporations, little or nothing for the middle-income earners, and cuts in services for the poor.  If you are not familiar with the word ‘plutocracy’, now may be a good time for you to study it a bit.

“Moderate Republicans from New York and New Jersey worry their constituents would lose big if they can no longer deduct their state and local taxes from their federal tax bill — one of the key ways Republicans are hoping to pay for the corporate tax cut at the center of the plan. Outside groups on the right, like Club for Growth, also object to the bill, saying that taxes for millionaires should be cut even more. Outside estimates project that millions of middle-class Americans could end up paying higher taxes.

Yet the bill is still expected to pass the House.” Vox, 07 November 2017

chris collins

Rep. Chris Collins

Let’s look a bit at Mr. Collins’ record over the past few months, for I believe he is representative of most in Congress.

  • He supported Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, saying, “The Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. I respect President Trump’s decision at the recommendation of the Attorney General.”
  • He voted to repeal ACA (Obamacare) and voted for the abominable GOP health “care” plan that would have taken health care away from millions, even though he admittedly had not read the bill! I guess, one doesn’t need to read what they are voting for, since their ‘donors’ are telling them how to vote.  “Don’t bother reading the fine print, sonny, just sign on the dotted line.”
  • He supported Trump’s ‘executive order’ banning people from Muslim countries (except those where Trump conducts business and makes a profit), saying “I get a little frustrated with the folks who don’t like Trump trying to make something into something it’s not. So I’m just disappointed that we can’t have a true and honest debate without someone inflaming the situation and claiming there’s religious overtones.”

So, it is obvious that Mr. Collins has been a bootlicker all along, but still … when I hear that ‘donors’, which amounts large corporations, wealthy people who are heavily invested in large corporations, and lobbying groups such as the NRA, are threatening to cut off funding if our elected representatives don’t do things their way, I get a little hot under the collar.

The problem, of course, for all members of Congress is that if they are honest and truly want to work in the best interest of the nation and its people, they are doomed to fail, for unfortunately in our current election process, it is a matter of “he who has the most toys, wins”.  Without the money from the donors, the opponent, who is in the pocket of the 1%, will have more television ads, more money to dig up dirt on his opponent, more full-page newspaper ads, more money for rallies, and other public appearances.  Unfortunately in our culture today, the one who is seen most, who has the greatest name recognition, is the one whose name a majority of voters will tic on their ballot each November.  Thus, the rare honest candidate is doomed before ever leaving the gate.  And we wonder why there is so much voter apathy?  Think on this one for a bit … and don’t forget to look up that word: PLUTOCRACY.

No, It Is NOT Too Soon …

Yesterday, a man named Devin Patrick Kelley entered a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and opened fire on the people inside the church, killing at least 26 and injuring many more.  He performed this atrocity with a gun.  The gun was a Luger assault rifle, a German weapon designed for warfare, not self-protection..

There are those who will say that it is too soon to discuss the relevant fact that this crime, this mass murder, was committed with a gun.  They would say that it is disrespectful of the victims to use this atrocity to launch a discussion of gun regulations, or lack thereof.  NO, it is not too soon and it is not disrespectful.  It is exactly the right time, when perhaps a few people get angry enough to make some changes around here! What is disrespectful is to fail to heed what is happening in this nation, to allow people to continue to bring guns into public places and shoot people.  All the recent gun atrocities should be a wake up call, but instead there are those who want to keep saying, “hush, hush now, don’t upset anyone”.  What is disrespectful is Donald Trump’s comment …

 “We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries, but this isn’t a guns situation [emphasis added] … we could go into it but it’s a little bit soon to go into it. Fortunately, somebody else had a gun that was shooting in the opposite direction, otherwise it wouldn’t have been as bad as it was, it would have been much worse.”

This is, indeed, a “guns situation”.  Granted, Mr. Kelley had a history of violence, having been court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child. He was sentenced to 12 months’ confinement and received a “bad conduct” discharge in 2014.  So yes, he was obviously mentally unstable, so why was he allowed to own a gun?  And an assault rifle, one that was banned for ten years until 2004 when the NRA convinced Congress to allow the ban on assault weapons to lapse.

Yes, Donald Trump, this is precisely a “guns situation”, for without the gun, Mr. Kelley would have been unable to kill 26 people.  Had he entered that building with a knife or even a machete, he would not have been able to murder 26 people.  Just as Dylan Roof, Charles Whitman, and Stephen Paddock, to name just a few, would not have killed anybody, but for their guns.

This nation is indeed under attack, but the threat does not come from Middle-Eastern refugees … the threat comes from our own backyard.  The threat comes from those who go about uttering the same tired old phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.  Yes, people kill people … mostly with guns!  Typically white, male U.S. citizens with a grudge against somebody or something, real or imagined, and with a gun!

To add insult to Trump’s inane statement, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton made equally inane remarks, calling for more armed security guards in church or “at least arming some of the parishioners so they can respond to something like this.” The same ol’ spiel we hear from the NRA … if some guns are causing mass shootings and deaths, then more guns must be the solution.  Paxton also used that other tired old NRA adage: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Well guess what, folks?  That one has been disproven time and time again, but the NRA and its proponents always manage to put a different spin on it.  Not to mention that they manage to put enough greenbacks in the pockets of Congress to sway their votes. Let me ask you a question:  You own a gunshop.  A man walks into your shop, wants to buy a gun.  Is he a “good guy” or a “bad guy”?  You don’t know, you cannot know.  And frankly, even if he is a good guy today, there is nothing that says he won’t turn into a bad guy under a given set of circumstances.  All you know is that he is a human, subject to the foibles that have plagued mankind since the beginning of time.

Gun laws in this nation are a joke, for truly, there are few laws and they are not uniformly enforced. It is obvious that We The People do not matter, for some 80% of people in this nation are in favour of tougher restrictions on gun ownership, including re-establishing the ban on assault weapons and denying gun ownership to the mentally ill and to those with a history of violence.  Those are bare-bones minimum requirements, and yet even though the vast majority support those regulations, Congress is unwilling to pass such laws, for the NRA is buying their vote.  If you are satisfied with this situation, if you are sitting back saying how terrible this tragedy was, but believing it cannot happen to you or your family … then you are part of the problem.

As for me, I am not going to wait for “the right time” to shine a very bright spotlight on this issue, for there will never be a “right time” in the minds of those who don’t wish to hear what I have to say.  I can only say that at this point, I am thoroughly disgusted with the so-called president, with Congress, and with those who sit back and allow the status quo, who support unlimited gun ownership.  I am very seriously considering taking my family to another country, one where it is understood that, human nature being what it is, guns do not belong in the hands of every Tom, Dick and Harry.

McConnell And Company … Our Executioners

I have only one word to define the GOP senators who are in support of a health care bill that would be disastrous to ALL of us who do not have six figures in our bank accounts:  BASTARDS!

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their preliminary analysis that the senate bill would only rob 22,000 citizens from having adequate medical coverage, some 1,000 fewer than the House bill that was passed last month.  Republican senators are patting themselves on the back for this.  22,000 vs. 23,000 … no matter … either way it is an abomination!  Even robbing 1,000 people of the right to live is an abomination.

As everybody who reads this blog is aware, I did not vote for Trump and cannot stand the ‘man’ and his sleazy, lying ways.  But those poor suckers who did vote for him did so, at least in part, because he promised them …

“I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now. But we’re going to save so much money on the other side. But for the most it’s going to be a private plan and people are going to be able to go out and negotiate great plans with lots of different competition with lots of competitors with great companies and they can have their doctors, they can have plans, they can have everything.” 27 September 2015

“We’re going to have insurance for everybody. There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid.”

“We don’t want anyone who currently has insurance to not have insurance.” – Kellyanne Conway, speaking on behalf of Trump.

“I firmly believe that nobody will be worse off financially in the process that we’re going through.” – Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services.

NPR has put together an excellent chart  that clearly summarizes the projected effects on We The People of both the House and Senate bills.  The bottom line is that every single one of us stand to lose.  So, you have insurance through your employer?  Plan to pay more.  You have a pre-existing condition?  Plan to pay more and have fewer benefits.  Between the ages of 55-65?  You will pay up to five times more for your medical insurance. Have an elderly parent in a nursing home?  Medicaid coverage is likely to be cut. Are you a woman who needs a mammogram you cannot afford?  Planned Parenthood, who would do it for free, will be cut off completely from federal funds for a minimum of one year. Have a severely disabled child who receives Medicaid, as I do?  Better start figuring out where to apply for that second job so that you can cover his/her expenses, for Medicaid will be cut dramatically.

And the list goes on.  For full details, please do check out the chart (link above).

conway-stephanopoulosLast Sunday on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Kellyanne Conway said, and I paraphrase, that nobody would lose their Medicaid.  If you are on Medicaid now, you will not lose it.  But, for those who do lose it, there will be other options, such as getting a job. Ask me again why I refer to her as America’s #1 BIMBO!

But now comes the real kick-in-the-teeth …

Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) There are worse pictures of him.

Mitch McConnell

Senator Mitch McConnell drafted the senate bill behind closed doors, in secrecy, with only a handful of GOP senators contributing at all.  Senator Mitch McConnell, who has been in office since 1984, is determined to shove through his abomination of a so-called ‘health care’ bill this week, before Congress recesses for its unearned July 4th break.  Well, guess who some of his largest campaign donors are?  Louisville, Ky.-based Kindred Healthcare, a health care services company, was the third-largest contributor to McConnell’s campaign committee from 2011 to 2016, donating $104,650. Health insurer Humana was number 4, with $103,300 in donations. Financial firm Blackstone Group came in first with $217,700 in donations.

DO I NEED TO SAY MORE?????

I have something to say to two groups of people:

  • GOP Members Of Congress: Get your collective heads out of your collective arses and remember that it is not Koch Brothers, not Humana, not Mitch McConnell, and for damn sure NOT Donald Trump who pay your salaries and allow you to remain in your current jobs.  No, it is We The People, and you are treading on us in the worst, most horrific way possible.  You are attempting to sentence us to death or destitution in order to line your own pockets and those of the already filthy rich insurance companies.  I do not know nor care how you manage to sleep at night with this on your conscience, but I will tell you this:  We The People will remember this in sixteen months when the mid-term elections roll around.  You The Crooks will be outed.  Mitch McConnell does not seek re-election until 2020, but if there is any sort of justice, he will be impeached for his criminal behaviour against the very people who have put him into office again … and again … and again … ad nauseam.

  • Trump Supporters: Wake up and pull your collective heads out of your collective arses!  Back in 2015-2016, Donald Trump made you a bunch of promises that I and others tried to tell you were falsehoods, promises he could not possibly keep. But so mesmerized were you by his promises that you tuned us out.  You believed because you wanted to believe, and damn anyone who tried to make you see the truth!  No, I do not think you are stupid, but I do think that you are ignorant, lazy and uneducated.  You are ignorant for you do not see the writing on the wall, do not understand what this healthcare bill means for all of us.  You are lazy because rather than do some research, you find it easier to watch Fox News, Breitbart and Alex Jones and take their word that Trump is God and liberals, Democrats and Socialists are evil incarnate. And frankly, you deserve whatever you get, but the rest of us do not!  You have sentenced 98% of this nation to higher costs, fewer benefits, and in many cases …. Death.  And this is only the beginning … there is even worse to come.

Yes, I am angry.  I have tried very hard to keep my arguments on an intellectual plane, eschewing rants in favour of reasoned discourse.  I am fairly certain I will return to that tomorrow.  However today, I am angry.  Today I shall rant.  Not because this abomination of a bill affects me personally, though it does, but because it affects us ALL.  Because the very people who we trusted enough to vote into office, the very people whose salaries we pay, are the very people who are thumbing their noses at us and they watch us lose … and lose … and lose still more until we have nothing left for which to live.

Note to Readers:  I have said since May, when the House passed their ludicrous “health care” bill, that the Senate would never pass such a destructive bill.  In light of the handful of Senators who are against McConnell’s bill, I would like to say that I still believe this.  However, in light of the huge amounts of cash in the form of special favours, perks and campaign monies that are, even as I write, being passed among senators, I must change my stance.  It is obvious to me that the greed of our elected representatives is far stronger than our best interests.