Your Right To Vote — Going, Going …

I am fuming, so let the reader beware that this is likely to be a rant of Filosophic proportions.


Let’s get one thing straight here, people … WE ARE ALL IN THIS BLOODY MESS TOGETHER!  Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Atheists, White, Black, Male, Female, Gay, Straight, Young, Old … WE ARE ALL SUFFERING THE SAME DAMN FATE!  What the Sam Hell is so hard about just stepping up to the plate, accepting that we have one hell of a mess on our hands, and working together to find the best way to keep people safe and at the same time, attempt to restore the democratic republic that has been seriously eroded over the past three months … er, years???

Whew … that said …

Why am I angry tonight?  Because, we have an election coming up in exactly 165 days, just over 5 months, and not only Trump, but the majority of the damn Republicans in Congress are doing every single thing they can think of to ensure that the election is dishonest, unfair, and that as many poor, elderly, and minority voters as possible will not be able to vote.  I’m sick of this, people!

Given that the coronavirus will almost certainly still be at pandemic levels, given that there will be no cure, no vaccine that is sufficiently tested to be widely available, and given that there is no reason to believe the number of new cases or the death toll will be dramatically decreased by November, it only makes sense that we go to a system of mail-in voting.  Now, it’s no surprise that the damn fool sitting on his fat arse in the Oval Office is trying his level best to put a stop to the mail-in voting efforts … that’s a given, but some of the people on the far right side of the aisle on Capitol Hill are playing games with not only our taxpayer dollars, but with our very lives and I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

Former Representative Darrell Issa, who served in the House of Representatives from 2001 – 2019, declining to run in the 2018 election, as he was outclassed and knew it, has filed a lawsuit to attempt to stop California from going to an all-mail voting system in November.  WHY???  Because he, and the conservative group backing him, Judicial Watch, claim that switching to an all-mail voting system is a democratic attempt to “interfere with the election”!  Say WHAT???  Interfering in what way, exactly?  Is it interfering to ensure that ALL eligible voters have the right to vote in a safe manner?

The lawsuit claims that Governor Newsom’s order to allow all-mail voting violates elections provisions of the Constitution and represents an “unlawful attempt to supersede and replace California election law” by creating “an entirely new system” that does not conform with an existing state law, the Voter’s Choice Act, which lays out requirements for counties that wish to mail ballots to all voters.  Make sense of that if you can!

Newsome is running again this year, hoping to win the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter who resigned in January after pleading guilty to campaign finance violations (remember the rabbit?) The lawsuit also charges that Newsom’s order has scrambled Issa’s campaign by compelling him to “reevaluate his electoral strategy” and increasing the cost of running a campaign.  So WHAT???  Get over it, Darrell!  Our lives are more important than your damn campaign costs!

And on top of that, of course, Donald Trump is threatening to withhold federal funds from states that implement mail-in voting, calling it ‘voter fraud’.  Without a shred of evidence, Trump claims …

“I think just common sense would tell you that massive manipulation can take place. And you do have cases of fraudulent ballots where they actually print them and they give them to people to sign, maybe the same person signs them with different writing, different pens. I don’t know. It’s a lot of things can happen.”

voter fraudNever mind that many states, including my own, have had the option for mail-in voting for years and never mind that voter fraud is virtually non-existent in the U.S.  Trump cannot make that decision … well, he can, but it won’t hold water if Congress challenges him.  Will Congress step up to the plate and protect our voting rights?  I don’t know about you, but my level of trust in Congress to protect us against Trump right now is around nil.

Voting in the U.S. is a right, not a privilege, not as Trump claims, an ‘honour’ … it is a right set forth in the U.S. Constitution and one that is not to be infringed on, although in truth the republicans have infringed on it numerous times in past years, with restrictive voter ID laws, gerrymandering and other games intended to disenfranchise those of us likely to vote democratic.  People like Darrell Issa and Donald Trump are attempting to interfere with that constitutional right.  We must stop them!  If you live in the district Issa is running in, California’s 50th district, San Diego County, make sure he knows that you will not vote for him unless he withdraws his lawsuit and shuts the f— up!  The rest of us need to make sure our representatives and senators know this is NOT going to fly!

There are many crucial issues facing the people of the United States today, but I can think of none that are more important than protecting our right to vote … EVERYONE’S right to vote!  If nothing else, all of this should make you more determined than ever before to vote in this year’s election and vote these asses out of Washington!

And to conclude … Seth Meyers takes a more even-toned approach addressing the same topic …

The Solution Is NOT Guns!

Back in 1787, the Founding Fathers drafted a brilliant document that would become known as the Constitution of the United States.  Unfortunately, they also made some mistakes, one that has cost hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of lives, unnecessarily.  You see, the nation was a fledgling, only a few years past gaining their independence from England after a bloody war that they damn near lost, so the framers of the document were leery that a foreign power might see the nation as vulnerable and try to take it while it was still learning to stand on its own.  So, after ratifying the original document, they added a “Bill of Rights”, the 2nd Amendment of which gave citizens the “right to bear arms”.  This, my friends, was a lethal mistake, one that every one of us have paid for in one way or another.

Now, the Founders figured the best way to protect the nation from foreign interference was to maintain a militia … everyday men … farmers, shopkeepers, etc., who could grab their rifle or musket and march off to defend and protect the nation if the need arose.  Thus they wrote the Second Amendment:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That’s it, folks, the entire text, all 27 words of it.  Sadly, though, the Founders only familiarity with ‘arms’ were muskets and such … never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined AR-15s and AK-47s, weapons that can mow down hundreds of people in less time than it took me to write this sentence.  And because of that lack of foresight, the U.S. Supreme Court has been trying ever since to define just what ‘arms’ are to be protected and to what extent.

Unfortunately, long ago common sense flew out the door of the Supreme Court and Congress when the word ‘gun’ is mentioned, and the elements that have determined the ‘law’, such as it is, are those with a vested interest in the weapons industry.  Public safety is entirely overlooked in the debate over guns.  The only consideration is … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.  I won’t bore you with the lengthy list of cases that have first teetered, then tottered, back and forth, regarding what, if any, regulations should be placed on who can own a gun, how many, what type, etc., but suffice it to say that the U.S. is the only nation on the globe where a person’s right to own a gun is more protected than his right to drive a car.

And as a result …

One week ago yesterday, on May 9th, a sunny afternoon in the small town of Griffin, Georgia, a 12-year-old boy was killed … shot dead by his 5-year-old brother who found a gun that had been tossed into the bushes the day before by three men eluding the police during a chase.  According to neighbor Tom Whitehead …

“The little one found a gun, had to be right here… somewhere in these bushes he walked over here, found a gun. Turns around. Thinks he’s playing, says ‘bang bang’. It was loaded and killed him.  Think about that mother. The next day, Mother’s Day, and one boy is dead by the hand of his younger brother.”

And as a result …

The total number of deaths by gun violence in the U.S. as of May 16th is 14,815 … a number that is sure to have already increased by the time you read this.  84 of that number were children under the age of 11, and 322 teens under the age of 18 are also included in the number. gun-violence-5-2020

And as a result …

In March 2017, a mother and her two-year-old toddler were sitting on the bed, while the nine-year-old was sitting on the floor, playing a video game.  The mother had a loaded gun in her hand, but couldn’t find her holster, so she placed the gun (loaded with a round chambered) on the bed next to the two-year-old while she got up to look for her holster.  The two-year-old then picked up the gun, pulled the trigger, shot and killed his nine-year-old brother.  The mother had, in the past, allowed the toddler to pull the trigger on the gun when it was unloaded.

I could go on, but you get the picture … this is happening every day in the United States. Look at the chart above … already this year, not even five months into the year, we are on track to tie or beat previous years.

The gun culture in the U.S. is beyond crazy.  This is not in any way, shape, or form what James Madison meant in 1791 when he proposed the Second Amendment as a way to empower state militias.  Today, there are no state militias.  None.  There are juveniles in grown men’s bodies who believe that they must own a firearm in order to feel like a ‘man’, but these men do not belong to militias and they are doing not one damn thing to keep this country safe, but instead are making it the most dangerous nation in the industrialized world.  People in other nations are aghast … “What are you Americans thinking???”, they ask.  What are we thinking, indeed?

The wealthy arms manufacturers fund the National Rifle Association who in turn *buys our legislators, thereby ensuring that guns will continue to be a part of what they call “The American Way of Life”.  What a joke!  “The American Way of Death” would be more apt.  And thus it happened that in March, while people were beginning to die by the thousands from the coronavirus, it was the single biggest month for gun sales.  WHY???  WTF are people thinking?  In April, gun lobbyists convinced the federal government to list gun shops as “essential services” so that while people in some states could not purchase a bottle of wine, or a pack of toilet paper, they could go out and buy a gun.  Five states’ governors had the cojones to order gun shops closed anyway, but April’s total was still the fourth highest ever. In three of the five states where gun stores were supposed to be closed, the numbers were higher than they were in April of 2019.

The United States is facing more problems of a greater magnitude today than since the end of World War II, the coronavirus pandemic obviously being at the top of the immediate list.  I would rank numbers two and three as racism and gun violence … problems that far outweigh even the sinking economy.  And yet, Donald Trump wastes every waking minute ranting, calling out his imagined enemies, denigrating the press, dreaming up conspiracy theories, and patting himself on the back for successes that exist only in his own mind.  We’re in trouble, people, and guns are not going to solve the problem, for they ARE a big part of the problem.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has taken NRA donations of $1,267,139 during his congressional career, but the leader of the pack is Mitt Romney, who has taken $13,647,676 during his time in Congress.  Interestingly, the 2nd highest in NRA donations is Senator Richard Burr, who is currently under investigation for insider trading violations.  Senator Burr has collected a handy $6,987,380 in his twenty-five years in Congress.  Source:  Brady United Organization

Running While Black?

The most heinous crime I can imagine was committed three months ago in the State of Georgia, where a gun-lovin’ racist, Brian Kemp, is governor. This is the stuff of the mid-1950s, not the 21st century!!! Our friend Jeff is as incensed as I am, and he has written a passionate piece about the brutal slaying of Ahmaud Arbery, a black man gunned down for no reason by a couple of Georgia crackers. Thank you, Jeff. Sigh.

On The Fence Voters

Pissed. Angry. Distraught. Hopeless. Any of these words describe your feelings these days? Personally, I’ve had them all in the last 24 hours. And then I saw a video of a young African-American male gunned down and slaughtered by a couple of yahoo vigilante white dudes. My head exploded.

Another one murdered—this time apparently for having the nerve to jog down the street in the middle of the day. The nerve of this young man, right? How dare he run while black, in a white neighborhood? Doesn’t he know his place?

For those of you wondering what the story is, perhaps you haven’t seen the video yet. Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man, is seen being chased by two white men in a pickup truck outside the city of Brunswick, Georgia. A confrontation occurs between the younger white man and Arbery, shots were fired, and Arbery is seen falling to…

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BAH HUMBUG!!!

Okay, folks … these are not snarky snippets … these are full-blown, out-and-out rants.  I’m fed up with certain members of our government and …


I strongly object to corporate bailouts during this pandemic crisis.  People who don’t have millions stashed in overseas accounts or investment portfolios ought to be the sole focus of any and all bailouts that use our tax dollars.  Last month, numerous industries including the dying coal industry received stipends from our government, using our money, so that the CEOs wouldn’t have to dig into their own deep pockets.  Now, the auto industry comes crying to us with their hands held out.

Auto sales are down.  Duh … gee, really?  There’s no place to go, so why buy a new car.  Besides, nobody has money for non-essentials at the moment … we’re all trying to figure out how to pay the rent and buy food to feed our families, not how to afford a new overpriced Chevrolet.  So, why is it our problem that the Big Three aren’t making money right now?  We’ve got enough problems of our own without having to spend our money to put money in the pockets of rich dudes!

The argument is that massive losses could leave workers unemployed and stall any economic recovery.  No, those automakers aren’t going to close their factories permanently just because they’re losing money now, and if we bail them out now so that their CEOs can still take their summer vacations, what happens then?  Do they keep making more cars that they can’t sell?  Shut the damn factories down until people can afford to and have a desire to buy cars, stupid!  It isn’t rocket science!

And meanwhile, on the other side of town …

Democrats in Congress want to increase food stamps by 15% in an effort to help families who are running out of food.  They claim that a similar move during the Great Recession reduced hunger and helped the economy.  But, of course, the republicans would prefer to spend our money to bail out the auto industry, airlines, hotel industry and fossil fuel industry than to actually help people who need help.

scrooge-1Bah Humbug to you, too, Scrooge McConnell & Co.  


The United States Postal Service (USPS) that Trump has refused to help out unless they raise their rates, which would hurt every single person in this nation, now has a new Postmaster General.  The former Postmaster General, David Williams, resigned last week due to the meddling by Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, that led to the loan Congress had already approved for the USPS being held up.  The newly appointed Louis DeJoy is a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He just happens to be a top donor to Trump and the Republican National Committee.  What a surprise, eh?

Trump’s ongoing feud with the USPS is largely tied to his hatred of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who is also the owner of The Washington Post, a newspaper that calls Trump on his lies and pulls no punches when it comes to reporting on the madman at the helm of this ship.  So, let me sum this up for you.  Because Donald Trump is a lousy president, and certain media outlets call a spade a spade, hold his feet to the fire when he screws up (daily), and because one of those outlets is owned by a man who also owns a company that mails millions of packages to We the People via the USPS, Trump has installed a sycophant to raise postal rates which will cost us all.  Amazon will pay more to ship our packages, and they will pass that cost right on to We the Consumer.  This, friends, is not about the best interests of this nation, this is greed and revenge of the sorry excuse for a human being that resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

scrooge-2Bah Humbug to you, Donald Trump and Steve Mnuchin, you greedy little weasel!


Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie … once given kudos by members of both parties and the people of New Jersey for his wise and humane responses to the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, gets no kudos today!  It seems that his view on the value of a human life has changed since he threw his lot in with Donald Trump.

In a recent interview with CNN’s Dana Bash, da Gov had this to say …

“Of course, everybody wants to save every life they can ― but the question is, towards what end, ultimately?”

To what end, indeed?  To what end does the Secret Service continue to protect Donald Trump and his family?  Why bother … just accept the inevitable.

And then … then he had the unmitigated gall to compare the coronavirus pandemic to World War II …

“We sacrificed those lives. We sent our young men during WWII over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing, knowing that many of them would not come home alive. And we decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life.”

Not even close to an apples-to-apples comparison!  More like a coconut-to-lasagne comparison.  scrooge-3Bah Humbug to you, Bridgegate Christie!


Does everybody who comes into contact with Donald Trump just lose both their brains and their humanity?  It sure seems like it.  Okay, I’m done ranting for the moment … be thankful you don’t have to live with me!

WHY???

hungry41 million people in the United States alone do not have enough food to eat.  That’s more than 12% of the population in a nation that sells itself as a “great” country, and where some people have billions of dollars sitting in offshore accounts and investment portfolios that are doing nothing for anyone.  Worldwide, although enough food is produced to feed the world’s population, some 820 million people go hungry each day.  That’s 1 in 9, or approximately 11% of the people in the world.

Think about those numbers for just a minute … and now consider this from an article in the New York Times

In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge ditches to bury 1 million pounds of onions. And in South Florida, a region that supplies much of the Eastern half of the United States with produce, tractors are crisscrossing bean and cabbage fields, plowing perfectly ripe vegetables back into the soil.

After weeks of concern about shortages in grocery stores and mad scrambles to find the last box of pasta or toilet paper roll, many of the nation’s largest farms are struggling with another ghastly effect of the pandemic. They are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell.

The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. And even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses.

The amount of waste is staggering. The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week.

WTF???  I urge you to go read the rest of the New York Times article for yourself.

Mothers cannot get enough milk to feed their children … while farmers are dumping 3.7 million gallons of the life-sustaining stuff every day???  And the United States bills itself as the ‘richest nation on earth’?  I think not … perhaps the greediest, likely the stupidest, but obviously whatever wealth is in this country is not available to keep people from starving.

To be fair, some farmers have been donating some of their surplus to food banks and Meals on Wheels programs, which have been overwhelmed with demand. But there is only so much perishable food that charities with limited numbers of refrigerators and volunteers can absorb.  So … why isn’t the federal government helping to coordinate the efforts to move the food to where it is needed?  Why can’t they do something decent just for a change?  Why, for that matter, aren’t trucking companies volunteering their labour and resources to help move that food to the people who are starving???

And where are those damned evangelical churches who rake in millions of dollars … what are they doing?  Not a damn thing … Joel Osteen (net worth $60 million), Franklin Graham (net worth $12 million), Robert Jeffress (net worth $18 million) and Rick Warren (net worth $28 million) could make a huge difference if they coughed up some of their ill-gotten gains to help move the food.

This, to me, is the single most unconscionable abomination of recent times!  And those wealthy philanthropists like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates … yes, I know they have contributed to other causes in this, the era of the pandemic, but why the hell can’t they dig a little deeper into those pockets, rent some trucks, find ways to transport the produce and dairy products from the farms to the cities where people are literally starving to death?  Why is it that the only people who seem to care about this are those of us without the resources to do more than make small donations or volunteer a few hours of time, while those with the resources either don’t know or don’t care?

This global pandemic has already taken nearly a quarter-million lives worldwide, more than 54,000 in the U.S. alone.  But you know what, folks?  At the end of the day, we’re going to find that number is actually higher because of people around the globe who couldn’t get much-needed food, while farmers were plowing it back into the ground, planting new crops in hopes they will be able to supply … not people who need it … but hotels and restaurants and the people who can afford to patronize them.  I am very nearly at the point of declaring that I will never again eat in any restaurant, but unless I can get a substantial number of people to join me in that protest, it would be meaningless.

There is plenty of blame to go around, and some of it is ours.  Turns out that on average, Americans eat more veggies when meals are prepared for them in restaurants than when they cook at home.  I am the opposite, for I cook fresh veggies every night, but … what a lazy society we have become!  And now, the price is being paid by those who can’t even afford a gallon of milk, let alone a restaurant meal.  Tonight in what is touted as one of the richest countries on earth, some children will go to bed hungry and not wake up tomorrow, while farmers will wake to destroy more food, and the wealthy will wake to Eggs Benedict and steak.  Think about that one.

Snarky Snippets — Just A Little Bitchy

I am trying to still believe that most people in the United States are sane, that they are reasonably intelligent, and that it is only the minority that are swathed in ignorance.  These days, it’s hard to maintain that belief.


This woman needs to be put away somewhere!

Remember yesterday … or was it the day before? … when I wrote about Georgia’s Governor Brian Kemp who wants the tattoo parlours, hair & nail salons, bowling alleys and gyms to open by the end of this week, with movie theaters to follow next week?  Well, out in Nevada, the mayor of Las Vegas Carolyn Goodman has trumped even Kemp’s stupidity.

Mayor Goodman called for restaurants, hotels and casinos in Las Vegas to reopen.  Well, first of all that in and of itself just about qualifies her for Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week Award (I swear I’m going to have to reprise that feature!) but wait ‘til you hear her reasoning!

Goodman was interviewed on CNN by Anderson Cooper last night, where she put forth her theory that … all the restaurants, casinos and bars should open, and then they can determine which ones spawn the most number of coronavirus infections, and close those down again, leaving the ones deemed ‘safer’ to remain open.  Has your jaw hit the floor yet?  I think Anderson’s expression says it all. Carolyn-Goodman

“I am not a private owner. That’s the competition in this country. The free enterprise and to be able to make sure that what you offer the public meets the needs of the public. Right now we’re in a crisis health-wise, and so for a restaurant to be open or a small boutique to be open, they better figure it out. That’s their job. That’s not the mayor’s job.

I want everything back. We never closed down the United States. We’ve never closed down Nevada. We’ve never closed down Las Vegas because that’s our job. Entertainment capital of the world where everything is clean. We would never have gotten to the point we are now as the center for entertainment, conventions and sports and everything else so positive without being clean.”

shake-head

When Anderson Cooper pressed her about the dangers of such a move, Goodman said “it sounds like you’re being an alarmist,” and cited her “long life” as the credentials for her thought process.  Ohhhh the utter ignorance!  How in the Sam Hell did this woman ever get elected mayor???


A spot of humour amidst the dark detritus

I had to chuckle at something I read last evening.  In Hawaii, on the Island of Oahu, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has ordered the mandatory wearing of facemasks for everyone when outside of their own homes.  These rulings concern me, for I and many others who suffer chronic breathing illnesses cannot wear a face mask … it would risk our life more certainly than exposure to the coronavirus.  So, I took a moment to read the article and … well, read the mayor’s words for yourself …

“There are exceptions to the new mandate, such as conducting business in a bank. Usually people who are wearing masks, going into a bank, it’s not a good outcome.”

It was the best chuckle I had all evening!  And yes, there are exceptions for asthmatics and people with heart conditions, but you might get fined anyway.


Guess who’s home tonight?

Funny, isn’t it, that the majority of inmates in prisons around the nation remain … in prison.  I don’t argue that point, for they were put there for a reason.  We cannot simply let murderers, robbers, etc. out because the virus might somehow be brought into the prison … we’d have millions of criminals walking amongst us … it would be almost as bad as being in the White House!

And speaking of the White House … a few of Trump’s former cronies who were in prison … got out.  Take, Michael Cohen, for example.  He has been cleared for release and is now undergoing a 14-day quarantine before he will be confined to his home for the duration of his sentence.  This is his home …cohen-home-1cohen-home-2He has served about 11 months of his 3-year sentence.

Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman Richard Gates is asking to serve the remainder of his 45-day jail sentence at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a court filing.  He, too, will serve the remainder of his sentence in his home …

gates-home-1

No doubt there are others, will be others of Trump’s gang of thugs who will be released to serve the rest of their time in their luxury multi-million dollar homes with all the amenities.  Meanwhile, José who was caught with an ounce of weed, will continue to serve his 5-year sentence behind bars.


Okay, I’m done blowing off steam tonight, but stay tuned …

Filosofa Is Ranting … AGAIN!

Last evening, Donald Trump crossed a line in my book.  He’s crossed many before, but this, taken in conjunction with his statement a few days ago that he had “total authority”, is the final straw.  I hold every person who voted for, and still approves of Donald Trump responsible for handing the ‘keys to the kingdom’ to a cruel and evil tyrant determined to have his way at all costs, determined to destroy the United States.

Why am I ranting, you ask?  Believe me, I toned it down a lot from my first draft!  Let me tell you …

According to the U.S. Constitution, we have three equal branches of government, but yesterday … Donald Trump threatened to trash the Constitution in order to have his way.  Oh sure, he’s been trashing it, shredding it, trampling it and burning it for over three years now, but this is beyond any of his previous abominable moves.

Yesterday, Donald Trump threatened to shut down both chambers of Congress to allow him to fill vacancies in his administration without Senate approval.  This is unconscionable … this is the action of a strongarm dictator, determined to get his way … or else!  This is the exact sort of tyrant the Founding Fathers worried about, the reason they built checks and balances into the Constitution so that no one person could hijack the democratic principles on which this nation was founded.

He spent much of his daily campaign rally (disguised as a coronavirus briefing), railing against democrats for blocking his nominations when in fact, the nominations are awaiting Senate approval and the Senate is controlled by the republicans … his own bootlickers!

He ended his little tirade with …

“They know they’ve been warned and they’ve been warned right now. If they don’t approve it, then we’re going to go this route and we’ll probably be challenged in court and we’ll see who wins.”

The Constitution grants the president the authority to adjourn Congress if leaders of the House and Senate can’t agree on whether to adjourn.  However, in 233 years of governance under the Constitution, that authority has never once been exercised.  And furthermore, there is currently no disagreement between the two chambers — they have already agreed to adjourn on Jan. 3, 2021.

In 2014, republican senators challenged some of President Obama’s recess appointments in the Supreme Court and won their case.  The Supreme Court ruled that only the Senate — not the president — can decide when it is in session.  Seems cut and dried to me, but this is the era of Trump, when nothing follows any logical pattern, when he can browbeat and bully to get his way, when children are thrown into cages by order of Trump, and when justice as we once knew it no longer exists.


And in other news …

Well isn’t that convenient?

The criminal trial for several associates of Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has been postponed until well after the November election.  How very convenient!

parnas-frugmanA federal judge in New York on Wednesday ordered that the trial of Lev Parnas, Igor Fruman and two other men on campaign-finance-related charges be postponed from this October to February of next year.

Parnas and Fruman worked closely with Giuliani on several efforts related to Ukraine, including a successful drive to oust the U.S. ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch. She was removed from her post last May. An indictment returned against the businessmen last year charged them with violating U.S. campaign finance laws by funneling funds from abroad and hiding their source. In the indictment, Yovanovitch’s ouster is discussed as one of the goals the conspirators were allegedly seeking to achieve.

The reason cited for the delay was logistical problems related to the pandemic … my guess is that money or favours changed hands to push it to after the election so that it wouldn’t be ongoing, or fresh in people’s minds on election day.  Amazing how this pandemic that is killing the rest of us has played right into Trump’s hands in a number of ways, isn’t it?


Profit over people

In a 24-hour period ending on Wednesday everning, the U.S. recorded more than 4,500 deaths as a result of the coronavirus, an all-time daily high.  And yet Trump stands firm that he is re-opening the country, possibly even before May 1st.  Later today, he plans to “unveil” his plan for opening the economy.  Likely his plan will be disregarded by most, except the republican governors who care far more for the wealthy industrialists in their states than the working people.  We, the poor and middle class, are expendable, you know.

Turns out that yesterday Trump attempted a conference call with bankers from such institutions as Goldman-Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America and others.  First, it was a fiasco, as he didn’t give much advance notice and most of the CEOs he planned to touch base with already had other commitments for the time he specified.  One of the executives involved in the call referred to it as a ‘shit show’, if that tells you anything.

Trump’s intent was to talk with the bankers about how to re-start the economy, and apparently he expected them to be eager to get back to ‘business as usual’, but he was in for a bit of a surprise.  One of the CEOs complained …

“I really don’t understand how they are communicating on this. He’s got to stop talking about turning the economy back on and start talking about making people feel safe, things that are happening around testing and the health care system. That’s the only way you will really get the economy reopened over a period of time.”

Now, as a rule I have little or no respect for bankers, considering them to be a greedy lot concerned more about their own investment portfolios than our lives, but this is one case where I will give them a thumbs up for saying just what the rest of the nation is saying (except money-grubbing industrialists and the politicians in their pockets).


I would like to remind the people of this country that we did not elect Donald Trump to lead this nation.  We elected Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes more than Donald Trump.  Through corrupt machinations primarily by the republicans in certain states, he was placed into the Oval Office and has been destroying this nation since the first day he took office.  But today, in a crisis of astronomical proportions, we are stuck with a person at the helm who does not have a clue what he is doing and does not care, but is determined to claim absolute power, to lead not as a president representing the people, but as an authoritarian who puts his own interests first.  Remember all these abominations on November 3rd, please, or we may very well find ourselves in the same situation the German people found themselves in 1933.  Think about it.

Essential??? I Think Not!!!

Merriam-Webster defines the word “essential” as:

Of the utmost importance: BASIC, INDISPENSABLE, NECESSARY

When I think about things that qualify under that definition, I think first of air, food, water, and shelter.  In truth, with only those we can survive.  Our lifestyles have, by necessity, added certain other things to the list, such as clothing, soap, medications, electricity, etc.  Now, I could expand the list even more, in light of 21st century living, to include companionship, the internet, a certain level of income – enough to pay for the other ‘essentials’ only, and maybe I would even include pets.

However, under no circumstances can I consider guns to be essential … not by the broadest stretch of the imagination.  And yet, that is exactly what the buffoon in the Oval Office, coerced by one of the nation’s largest lobbying groups, has decided.  Guns are an essential part of everyday living.  Hmmmm … makes me wonder just how I have survived all these 68 years without a gun?

In recent weeks, governors stepped up to the plate where the federal government dropped the ball, and ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses, including gun shops.  Well, never let it be said that the National Rifle Association (NRA) took that lying down!  They contacted former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, incoming Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, and a former NRA employee who is now a White House staffer.  At the end of the day, the Department of Homeland Security added the gun industry to its “critical infrastructure” list, prompting governors around the country to declare them “essential businesses” that can operate during the pandemic, just as critical as grocery stores, hospitals and pharmacies.

BULLSHIT!

The FBI conducted 3.7 million background checks in March, a new single-month record.  More than 1% of the entire population of this country bought guns in a single month!  What the hell?  Do they think they can kill the coronavirus by shooting it?

There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to begin!

First off, consider this … people are confined to their homes more with their families.  In some cases, this is probably a good thing – families will bond in new ways (although I dread the new ‘baby boom’ that is sure to emerge around Christmas time, for the world is already over-populated).  But, in many cases, families will begin to get on one another’s nerves and I fully expect the incidence of domestic violence to increase significantly.  Bad enough that papa is smacking mama and the kiddies around, but if papa has that brand-new gun in the drawer of his nightstand …ambulanceNow think about this one … people are getting frustrated by the lack of such ‘essentials’ as toilet paper, disinfecting wipes, and often even an onion or an apple are in short supply at the grocery.  What about that guy with a bit of a temper, who has a list of ten things and can only find one when he’s at the grocery, but he sees another customer with two carts overflowing with … yep, you got it … toilet paper.  He doesn’t think, but reaches for that gun in his pocket …ambulance-2I’ve said more than once that the suicide rate in this country will double or more this year, due to the depression that is inevitable for some of us in this state of isolation.  So, John Doe has lost his job, cannot pay his rent, his lousy $1,200 government subsidy is long gone, and his family refuses to visit or allow him to visit for … who knows how long?  He might take an overdose and might survive that, but if he has a gun …graveIf you had any doubts … if you had so much as a shred of doubt that the government of this country is bought and paid for by the NRA, those doubts should be erased by now.  We the People, our lives, our well-being, do not matter one bit to the likes of Trump and his cronies.  Yes, we need the grocery stores to stay open, for without food we die, and in this nation, few are self-sufficient in growing their own food.  Yes, we need the hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies to remain open, for without them, some people will die.  But, if the gun shops close, lives may actually be saved!

At the end of 2017, there were 393 million guns in civilian hands … in a nation of 330 million people!  Think on that one … why do we even need gun shops, if there are already more guns than people in this country???  They for damn certain are NOT essential!

The average person in this country is already in fear of picking up some germ at the grocery store, and now … in addition … we better be looking for suspicious bulges in men’s pants pockets (no, not those).  In recent years, I have been known to walk out of a store if I saw somebody carrying a gun, but in today’s mentality of fear, it’s likely that every Tom, Dick and Harry will be “packing heat”.  And I’m willing to bet that the majority of those 3.7 million who bought guns last month don’t have a clue how to use them!  Just last week in Michigan, a man accidentally shot himself in the leg with a gun he bought to defend himself against “pandemic-related chaos”.

The United States is the only country on the entire globe with such a gun culture that guns are considered more important than books, education, clothing, or even dentists.  This nation needs to do some serious thinking about its priorities.  Personally, if I have to have a gun to feel safe, then this is not a life worth living, and I feel more threatened by a gun than I do any virus.

The Purge Continues …

At a time when the people of this country are in dire circumstances, one might be forgiven for thinking that the single most important focus of the nation’s government, particularly the person in the highest position of authority, would be focused on the crisis at hand.  That is how we think of leadership, but it is time for those of us who reside in the United States to realize that we actually have no real leader.  Instead, we have a vindictive, cruel, narcissistic megalomaniac at the helm of this sinking ship.  And make no mistake — this ship is sinking.

Late last night, Trump sent this letter to Congress …Atkinson-letterMichael Atkinson, you may remember, is the Inspector General who alerted lawmakers to a whistleblower complaint last September that was at the center of allegations that led to Trump’s impeachment.  Michael Atkinson did his job – Donald Trump did not.  This is nothing more or less than revenge, pure and simple.  One would hope that the person in the highest office of government would be above petty revenge, but not here.

In the words of Representative Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee …

“This is decapitating the leadership of the intelligence community in the middle of a national crisis.  It’s unconscionable. And of course, it sends a message throughout the federal government and in particular to other inspectors general that if they do their job as this professional did and Michael Atkinson was a complete professional, they too may be fired by a vindictive president. He’s settling scores. We’re in the middle of this pandemic and thousands of people are dying and he is retaliating against people who are on his enemies list and doing it in the dead of night.”

Trump claims that Atkinson was wrong to have taken his concerns to Congress, that Trump had the right to hide his own improper and illegal behaviour from both Congress and from We the People, who he is paid to serve.  He seems to have completely forgotten that he is, despite the fancy trappings that accompany his position, naught more than a public servant who serves at the pleasure of We the People.

“Whether it’s Lt. Col. Vindman, Captain Crozier, or Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson: President Trump fires people for telling the truth. Michael Atkinson is a man of integrity who has served our nation for almost two decades. Being fired for having the courage to speak truth to power makes him a patriot.” – Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer

Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was a Ukraine specialist on the White House National Security Council who testified during the House impeachment about monitoring Trump’s July 25 telephone conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. It was that call that raised concerns Trump was pressing Zelensky for a political favor. Vindman was removed from his White House post days after Trump was acquitted by the Senate.

Captain Brett Crozier was the commander of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt who was removed after the leaking of a blunt letter he wrote to his superiors about what he saw as insufficient measures to fight a coronavirus outbreak aboard the vessel.

At this, a time when we look to our heads of government to provide stability and leadership, we are getting slapped in the face, we have a madman with no conscience sitting in the chair in the Oval Office.  I call on Mike Pence and every other cabinet member to invoke the 25th Amendment NOW!  Donald Trump is clearly unfit to lead this nation, is clearly mentally unstable, and is clearly more interested in his own reputation, his own power and wealth, than he is in the people of this nation.  His narcissism is costing lives – OURS!

This is just the latest in a series of people he has fired, people who were doing their jobs, who were protecting this nation, but who refused to swear an oath of fealty to Donald Trump.  A public servant’s oath is to the people of the nation, not the person occupying the Oval Office.  No, I don’t expect that Mike Pence or any other member of Trump’s cabinet will have the cojones to put the people of this nation ahead of their own self-interest, for they are too afraid for their own futures.  But, I DO expect the people of this nation to open their eyes, take off the damned rose-coloured glasses through which you have been viewing the madman, and VOTE HIM OUT in November!  If we don’t then we will have the blood of future generations on our hands.

Profiting From A Crisis

Thus far, eight states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont) have banned single-use plastic bags in the U.S.  Fourteen others, including Florida, have moved in the opposite direction, adopting laws to tie the hands of local officials.  In January, New Jersey attempted to pass a law banning single-use plastics, but the bill failed.  Why?  Why aren’t all 50 states on-board with this legislation?  Take a look at what plastic bags and bottles are doing …bags-1bags-2

bags-3

bags-4And the answer to the question why all 50 states aren’t doing their part is simple … the GOP motto is: profit over all else.  Profit is more important in this nation than people, than wildlife, than the environment … in fact, today’s profit is more important than life on earth tomorrow for far too many of our so-called ‘leaders’.  I could expound at some length about this concept, but for today I have a single focus:  those damn plastic bags that they shove down our throats at the grocery store.

Even though only eight states thus far have banned plastic bags, it’s a start, it’s progress.  Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have raised public awareness and many of us now bring our own reusable canvas bags to the grocery and use reusable mesh bags for produce.  Even with that, the stores have been very slow in finding packaging alternatives, so we still end up with unwanted plastic in our rubbish.  Single use plastics account for around 20% of solid rubbish in the U.S., and only about 10% of that is recycled, so 90% ends up in landfills, rivers and ultimately the ocean.

Never let it be said that big industries, focused solely on profit, miss an opportunity to increase their profit, even at the cost of earth’s future.  Enter the coronavirus.  By March 18th, the plastic industry in the U.S. had kicked into high gear.  The trade group Plastics Industry Association requested that the US Department of Health endorse the idea that “single-use plastic products are the most sanitary choice when it comes to many applications.”  A conservative nonprofit called the Independent Women’s Forum started running ads pressuring Washington state, New York, and California to reverse their bag bans. IWF’s ad’s claim: “Researchers say COVID-19 can survive on reusable tote bags for nine days. However, some state legislators are enforcing draconian bans on plastic bags, which might contribute to the spread of the virus and other harmful microorganisms.” 

Many of the groups that have picked up these claims, including the Manhattan Institute and Competitive Enterprise Institute, receive support from the Kochs, the infamous family of moguls who made their fortune in the petrochemical industry.  Now are you starting to smell a rat?  The plastic industry’s tactics seem to be working: Maine’s plastic bag ban was supposed to go into effect on April 22, but it’s been postponed till January 2021. New Hampshire’s governor Christopher Sununu, who has misrepresented climate science, has gone further to use the state of emergency to temporarily ban reusable bags. Republicans in Washington state, New York, and New Jersey have been waging campaigns to reverse or delay the blue states’ bans because of coronavirus.

On Sunday, when I had access to daughter Chris’ car and could go to a grocery store a bit farther afield than the Kroger that is only a half-mile from my home (my van is not reliable and I go no further in it than I could walk home), I went to the Meijer store, a midwestern chain, hoping to find some of those rare items such as toilet paper and Clorox wipes that had been impossible to find at Kroger.  A sign on the door warned that re-usable bags were prohibited, but I entered anyway, figuring to argue the point when I got to the check out.  But a young manager stopped me almost before my posterior had cleared the automatic doors and informed me that I could not bring “those bags” into the store.  I rarely give away pieces of my mind, as I have so few left, but he got a rather large piece.  Enraged, I accused him of personally killing every fish in the ocean and also told him that the lives of his own grandchildren (he was only about 25) were on his shoulders, as he was ensuring they would die from lack of water to drink and air to breathe.  I then indignantly stormed out and returned to my own Kroger, hoping against all hope that they had not implemented a similar rule.  They hadn’t, but I was informed I would have to bag my own groceries, for they wouldn’t touch my bags.

Now, there are two things to argue here.  First of all, my bags are a few million times less likely to have any form of germ, let alone a corona-bug, on them than that can of peas you see in aisle #12, or even the tomatoes you picked up in produce.  My bags were wiped down with disinfecting wipes after their last use, and have resided in my locked van ever since.  They are sterile!  Every item in the store is germier than my bags!

The other thing, and the whole point of this post, is that the coronavirus pandemic is a short-term problem.  Yes, a very serious problem at this time, but nonetheless one with a limited lifespan.  Destruction of the environment is an ongoing problem that is shortening the hope for the continuation of life … any life … on earth every single day.  Just because we have a serious problem with this pandemic does not mean we can ignore all the other problems in the world!  The coronavirus has resulted in thousands of deaths and may even rise into the millions.  I’m not making light of that, but there are 7.8 billion human inhabitants on this planet, and exponentially more other life forms that rely on us turning around the damage that has been done over the past 150-200 years.  Plastics in all forms are part of that destruction, and single use plastic bottles and bags are one of the biggest culprits.

The re-usable bags aren’t the problem, but rather the excuse that is being used as the plastic industry seeks to profit from this human crisis.  Once again, We the People are being lied to and tricked, and I for one am damned sick and tired of it.  And for the record, I will never shop at Meijer again, nor any other store that attempts to force me to use their plastic bags!  Excuse me … I need to breathe now.