A Sort of Despotism

Our friend and fellow-blogger Hugh Curtler has provided a short excerpt from Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, long considered one of the most influential and relevant books of the 19th century. This is a short piece, but even though it was published 182 years ago. Please take a moment to read it and think about it. Many thanks, dear Hugh, for such a timely piece and implied permission to re-blog!

hughcurtler

In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville visited the United States for nine months ostensibly to examine our prison system, but in fact to examine the American political system. He later wrote Democracy In America, a most remarkable book that very few read any more (sad to say). In a chapter of that book titled “What Sort of Despotism Democratic Nations Have to Fear” he provided us with an analysis that is as timely today as it was when he wrote it, proving once again that the classics are always relevant:

“I seek to trace the novel features under which despotism may appear in the world. The first thing that strikes the observer is an innumerable multitude of men all equal and alike, incessantly endeavoring to procure the petty and paltry pleasures with which they glut their lives. Each of them, living apart, is a stranger to the fate of the…

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Why The Fuss?

Much ado has been stirred by the silent protest movement that began with Colin Kaepernick and his decision to ‘take a knee’ rather than stand for the national anthem in a pre-season game last year. Since then, other players have followed suit in this non-violent, silent form of protest … protest against the systemic racism that has become a part of our society, a part of our very government. I have been trying to form the words to write more in depth about this, but our friend Hugh has done such an excellent job expressing the same thoughts I wanted to convey, that I am sharing his post, rather than re-invent the wheel. Please read this one … it is so important. Thank you, Hugh, for your excellent writing and permission to share.

hughcurtler

As pretty much everyone knows by now — even our good friend Lisa in far-off Ecuador — growing numbers of NFL players are refusing stand for the national anthem before football games and this has caused a great uproar. The roar was barely heard until the President stuck his oar into the mess and decided to stir it up. Most recently he has threatened to eliminate all tax breaks for the NFL to hurt the owners where they live and force them to insist that their players behave themselves. This has brought about a quantum leap in protest, much of it directed to the President’s insensitive manner of addressing the issue.

In all this confusion the central issue has somehow been lost. The President himself fails to make the distinction, as I mentioned in a previous post, between protesting the flag and protesting racial injustice. The latter is the real…

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When Is The Right Time To Discuss Gun Control? The Answer Is Anytime You Can

The NRA and its ‘bought-and-paid-for’ politicians, including leaders of both chambers of Congress, as well as the ‘man’ in the White House, have been busily telling us that it is a sacrilege, that it is profane, for us to discuss the need for stronger gun legislation at this time. They are dead wrong. Two blogger-friends have expounded on the need to have this discussion NOW, and I am re-blogging both, for they are both excellent pieces. Please, whether you agree or disagree that we have a gun-addiction problem in this country, take the time to read and ponder Keith and Gronda’s words, both of whom I agree with wholeheartedly. Thank you, Keith and Gronda, for your work, and permission to share.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of bump stocks that turn guns into machine guns

We have already heard ad nauseam the republicans’ talking point, that right now, so soon after the 10/1/17 Las Vegas Mass shooting tragedy, it is too soon to be discussing issues pertaining to gun control.

“We the people” who are part of the resistance, beg to disagree. We are certain that all those who are grieving because of loved ones suffering harm, would want us who are supportive of sensible gun control measures, tackling this issue head-on with no delay. They would want to save others from experiencing their pain.

Image result for photos of bump stocks that turn guns into machine guns

For example, I see no reason for “bump-stock” devices being an item that is legal to sell, especially when its sole purpose is to turn a rifle into a machine guns. Machine guns have been  illegal to purchase, if made after May 1986.

In Nevada, it is legal for a resident to own a machine gun. Under federal law…

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When is the right time?

The NRA and its ‘bought-and-paid-for’ politicians, including leaders of both chambers of Congress, as well as the ‘man’ in the White House, have been busily telling us that it is a sacrilege, that it is profane, for us to discuss the need for stronger gun legislation at this time. They are dead wrong. Two blogger-friends have expounded on the need to have this discussion NOW, and I am re-blogging both, for they are both excellent pieces. Please, whether you agree or disagree that we have a gun-addiction problem in this country, take the time to read and ponder Keith and Gronda’s words, both of whom I agree with wholeheartedly. Thank you, Keith and Gronda, for your work, and permission to share.

musingsofanoldfart

We should mourn the loss of innocent American lives at the hands of one shooter. We should offer our prayers, thoughts and support to the victims, injured, caregivers and their families and friends. And, we should demand from our lawmakers to act like parents and grandparents and to stiffen our gun governance.

NRA funded politicians, who unfortunately include the leaders of the two chambers of Congress and the White House, say now is not the time to discuss gun control. When is the time? The NRA is likely horse whispering in their ears to stiff arm the gun control proponents until the crisis abates. Then, lip service will be given to the subject as it is defeated once again, given the NRA’s ability to highly mobilize its confederation of zealous followers, even though they are small in number.

Speaker Paul Ryan has noted that it is more than a gun…

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To My Friends and Family on Facebook, I’m closing my Facebook Accounts

My blogger-friend Rob Goldstein has closed his Facebook accounts, and I must admit that I am considering doing the same. To understand the reasons, please check out his very informative post about Facebook’s role in helping Russia to interfere in our sham of an election last year, thus leaving us in the mess we are in today. Thank you, Rob, for compiling this very helpful information, and for giving me permission to share your post.

Art by Rob Goldstein


Update: 09/27/2017 
This is the latest update from ABC News on Russia’s weaponized use of Facebook to subvert the 2016 U.S. Election

A screenshot of a September 27, 2017 report from ABC News regarding Putin's use of Facebook to steal the 2016 US Election Russia pushed Trump as the only viable option

Posts that circulated to a targeted, swing-state audience on the social media site railed against illegal immigrants and claimed “the only viable option is to elect Trump.” They were shared by what looked like a grassroots American group called Secured Borders, but Congressional investigators say the group is actually a Russian fabrication designed to influence American voters during and after the presidential election.

“Their goal was to spread dissension, was to split our country apart, and they did a pretty good job,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Facebook told Congressional investigators about a series of posts from a group calling itself “Secured Borders,” which had the look of a grassroots American…

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Number Of US Military Soldiers Being Sent To Puerto Rico Is Woefully Inadequate

Finally, after 8 long days, the Trump administration has waived the Jones Act and is sending troops and aid to Puerto Rico, where people are still living without the essentials: food, water, shelter, medicine. But the aid we are sending is woefully inadequate … a case of too little, too late. Trump will no doubt be patting himself on the back, but he should receive no kudos, for he wasted more than a week waging a war with the NFL players and mocking John McCain, rather than helping the people of Puerto Rico. Blogger-friend Gronda’s post explains what the needs are, what we are doing, and what we SHOULD be doing. Please take a few minutes to read this very informative post. Thank you, Gronda, for keeping us informed and for allowing me to share!

Gronda Morin

CARTER

On September 27, 2017, NPR’s Robert Siegel posted the below report of an interview which included himself, another host Ailsa Chang and the guests Phillip Carter, director of the Military, Veterans and Society Program at the Center for a New American Security and Edwin Rivera who lives in Puerto Rico, about aid the U.S. military could provide to Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.

Mr. Carter is stating that at least 50,000 military service members are required to adequately address the crisis in Puerto Rico after it was razed by Hurricane Maria around September 20, 2017. But according to a Stars & Stripes report, only 7,500 military personnel will be heading to Puerto Rico where the infrastructure has been decimated and where a humanitarian crisis exists.

With the recent rhetoric from the republican President Donald Trump’s administrating announcing the deployment of military troops to Puerto Rico and its…

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Dangerous Game

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are in a proverbial pissing match … one which has extreme potential to cost hundreds of millions of lives around the globe. My friend Hugh Curtler has summed it all up far better than I could have, so I am sharing this post with you. Please take a few minutes to read this … it is IMPORTANT! Thank you, Hugh, for your excellent post and permission to share!

hughcurtler

The posturing between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un of North Korea would be mildly amusing it weren’t for the fact that both of these men seem to lack any sense of balance and both are marginally insane — and they sit on top of powder kegs playing with matches.

Their posturing ceased to be even slightly amusing when the North Korean foreign Minister recently cried “foul” and, not knowing that things don’t work this way, insisted that Trump has “declared war” on North Korea; they now have license to shoot down any American plane that ventures close enough to set off sparks. Meantime, the United States has chosen the moment to fly bombers with fighter escorts near the Korean border in a show of strength — at a time when the posturing needs to stop and clear heads need to take command — if there are any clear heads on either…

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How The President’s Swamp Keeps Draining Our Taxpayers’ Monies (Tom Price)?

It would appear that the goal of Trump and his minions is to bankrupt the federal government in the shortest possible amount of time. And yet, they cannot find money to fund healthcare. Please read my friend Gronda’s post on the latest in a series of abuses of power and OUR money! Thank you,, Gronda, for this enlightening post and for permission to share!

Gronda Morin

Image result for cartoons about tom price

While the republican US congress representatives are doing their best to take away affordable quality healthcare insurance via Obamacare from “we the people,” with their claim that they are saving a failing program which they deliberately caused, like their decision to not fund risk insurance (reinsurance) as required by the ACA bill, the head of HHS, Tom Price has been spending tax payer monies to the tune of $400, 000 on private jets as of May 2017.  Somehow, Tom Price despite his own wealth is clueless about how inappropriate his actions are. He is part of the president’s swamp.

Here is the rest of the story…

On September 23, 2017, Dan Diamond of Politico penned the following report, “Tom Price to halt taxpayer-funded travel on private jets.” (POLITICO has identified more than $400,000 in charter jet spending for the HHS secretary’s travels since May.)

Excerpts:

Health and Human Services…

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Four disasters this week

My friend and fellow-blogger Keith has written another excellent post that I would like to share with you today. He speaks of four disasters this week, and … well, I will let Keith tell you in his own words, for there is really nothing for me to add. Thank you, Keith for such an excellent, well-stated post, and for your permission to re-blog.

musingsofanoldfart

Between the horrible earthquake outside of Mexico City and Hurricane Maria, two disasters are harming people. This is on top of the two terrible hurricanes that hit Texas (Harvey) and Florida and the Caribbean Islands (Irma) in the past three weeks. We need to help those impacted and who may still be impacted as Maria continues onward. At last count, 245 people in Mexico City and the area have died from the earthquake and Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, etc. have been decimated by Maria.

While it is highly likely man-influenced climate change has made the hurricanes more powerful, two other disasters are clearly man-made and harmful to people. For one, we have to travel to Myanmar and Bangladesh as the government of Myanmar is doing an ethnic cleansing of a minority group of Muslims called Rohingyas. Over 400,000 Rohingyas have sought refuge in Bangladesh to escape the raping, killing, beating and burning of their homes…

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Racism Made Donald J. Trump The 45th US President

This week, an ESPN anchor, Jemele Hill, came under fire from Trump & Co for a tweet she posted stating a truism, that Donald Trump is a white supremacist. I agree 100%. Along the same vein, friend and fellow-blogger Gronda has made an excellent post based on an article by author Ta-Nehisi Coates that says racism & white supremacy is the only reason Trump sits in the Oval Office today. Please take a minute or two to read this excellent post. Thank you, Gronda, for this post and for allowing me to share it.

Gronda Morin

Image result for photos of president obama“We the people” are well aware that racism is the elephant in the room that too many peoples want to pretend it is not there. This is an insidious infection within the USA culture that we can no longer afford ignore. We have to end it.

The author Ta-Nehisi Coates has written an insightful commentary on the subject of how racism set the stage for the current republican President Donald Trump now dwelling in the White House. I have footnoted a link below to the entire very lengthy narrative.

Image result for photos of president trumpIn the October 2017 Atlantic Magazine edition, Ta-Nehisi Coates penned the following article, “The First White President.” He argues that the foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy.

“IT IS INSUFFICIENT TO STATE the obvious of Donald Trump: that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this…

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